Now that we’ve gotten the character creation out of the way, we turn our focus today to the basic rules of the game.
Before we get to talking about how to roll for tests in the Fantasy AGE system, let’s talk about dice first. Fantasy AGE relies exclusively on six-sided dice.
The normal ability test is a 3d6 + Ability roll. However, its important to remember that you need to roll two dice of the same color, and a third die of another color. This differently colored die is called the Stunt Die, and is used to generate Stunt Points, determine degrees of success, or break ties.
Whenever you make an ability and roll doubles, you generate Stunt Points equal to the face value of the Stunt Die. These are then spent on special maneuvers. These are often Combat Stunts, though Spell, Roleplaying and Exploration stunts exist too.
Difficulties for Fantasy AGE range from 7 (Routine) to 21 (Nigh Impossible) with most tests being 11 (Average) or Challenging (13).
On a successful roll, you can determine how well your character did by checking the Stunt Die. A result of 1 means you barely succeeded while a 6 is a flawless success.
Fantasy AGE sticks to the basics here, introducing the concept of “Action time” to get new RPG players into the idea of turn-based combat.
Initiative is handled in standard fashion, with Dexterity (Initiative) ability test. For ties, the Stunt Die value acts as a tie breaker. Doubles don’t do anything here, so no Stunt Points are generated.
Initiative is resolved from the highest Initiative roll down to the lowest, with lesser NPCs acting in groups. Initiative is only rolled once and remains the same throughout the fight.
Actions in Fantasy AGE are divided into Major and Minor Actions. During a turn, a character may perform 1 Major and 1 Minor action, or 2 Minor Actions. These can be performed in any sequence.
Major actions include: All-Out Attack, Charge, Defend, Heal, Melee Attack, Ranged Attack and Run.
Healing consumes bandages and allows a character to make a TN 11 Intelligence (healing) test to recover Health equal to the Stunt Die + the healer’s Intelligence. A character cannot benefit from another Heal action until additional damage is taken.
Minor actions are: Activate, Aim, Guard Up, Move, Prepare, Press the Attack, Ready, Stand Firm.
Guard up allows the player to add a +1 or +2 to the character’s Defense until the end of the round. The trade off is that they suffer the same value as a penalty to all actions they make for the rest of the round as well.
Press the Attack allows you to pursue a target opponent if they choose to move away in their next turn.
Stand Firm allows the character to try and resist any and all effort to move them from where they stand.
In addition to Major and Minor Actions, two other actions are considered to be Variable, as they can be Major or Minor depending on circumstances. These are the Cast and Reload actions.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of actions, Combat is the next section covered. Combat is pretty straightforward in Fantasy AGE, as it usually relies on Ability Tests with Accuracy or Fighting vs the target’s Defense as the TN.
Damage is resolved by rolling the weapon’s damage rating and adding the attacking character’s Strength Ability. This value is reduced by the opponent’s armor.
This is where the magic happens. During a successful attack roll, if the player rolls doubles, they generate a number of Stunt Points equal to the value of the Stunt Die.
The Stunt Points must be used right away, and a stunt can only be performed once per round with the exception of the Skirmish Stunt.
The Combat Stunt list is pretty extensive, with 15 different stunts to choose from, costing anywhere from 1 to 5 SP each to execute. The Stunts range from anything from free movement, to free reloads, bonus damage, bonuses to tests and inflicting status effects on your target.
GRENADES, MOUNTS AND FLYING COMBATANTS
The Combat section also takes some time to talk about special rules regarding special cases. Grenades are given a few minor rules, and a special Stunt to go with it. Mounted combat considerations are provided with some bonuses to fighting mounted against opponents on foot and Flight is given some attention in the form of special Minor and Major actions.
HEALTH AND HEALING
Healing in Fantasy AGE is pretty straightforward. The Heal action was discussed earlier, but there are other options for healing, such as taking a 5-minute rest after combat, where a character recovers 5 + Constitution + Level of Health.
Another option is getting some sleep, which recovers 10 + Constitution + Level.
Finally, there’s magical healing from the Healing Arcana (which we’ll tackle later on in the Magic section of the Let’s Study series.)
I’m really liking how Fantasy AGE is written with new players in mind. The rules are clear, and easy to comprehend, and there are enough examples to guide a new player through it without raising too many questions.
The Stunts are an interesting implementation of special maneuvers found in other games, and each time someone rolls doubles becomes a highlight in every encounter as the character suddenly does something above and beyond the usual “I hit, you hit” exchange.
Next up, we’ll take a look at the Chapter of Character Options, which deals with Ability Focuses and Talents.