Hello and welcome to the last part of our Let’s Study series of the Fantaji Universal role-Playing Game. We’ll be taking a look at the last 1/4th of the book, detailing some “mods” and settings that come with the game.
Mods are technically rules extensions that push the mechanics further, and are great for imbuing your game with a specific feel.
The “neutral” mods are applicable to across different settings, and include:
This Mod allows you to build arcs into a character story, defining a pre-set path towards their destiny as opposed to choosing random Milestones as you go along.
This Mod allows you to generate more Drama when you roll better than your opponent.
This Mod let you cash in Themes for more benefits than what the default Milestone System has.
As mentioned earlier, Fantaji comes bundled with 3 mini-settings, which I believe will be expanded further once Anthropos Games is able to produce full sized books for them. In the Fantaji book, they show a complete Campaign Worksheet, giving you a glimpse of how it was planned out to help you when you make your own games.
This is their dark historical fantasy game. It’s got a whole lot of grim and gritty fantasy going for it, from a plague that has devastated the land, to a conflict between three kingdoms, and religous unrest. It’s a kind of setting that might interest fans of Dragon Age in terms of bleakness, though there’s a lot of cultural flavor in each of the kingdoms that is reminiscent to Early Dark RPG, also by Anthropos Games.
The Land of Mazaki
For Anime-ish fantasy fans, Mazaki would be your thing. With fantastical animals and multiple clashing cultures, it’s a setting ripe for action-adventure without being too depressing.
An interesting point to this setting is the importance of keeping nature in balance. The harmony of nature is already thrown off in the game, and the presence of angry feral spirits can serve as a backdrop of a full campaign.
Fans of Asian-inspired settings will also like the fact that Mazaki introduces an Elemental magic system AND a martial arts system that slots seamlessly with the core Fantaji rules.
For fans of modern urban horror, Waning Moon serves as a gothic setting with demons and fey creatures in a modern world, and the humans who wage war against them. It’s pretty much inspired by the likes of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural.
It’s an intriguing setting, and I especially like the hellgate system.
For Sci-Fi fans, Fantaji flexes its techno-muscles with Gamma Centauri, a space opera / Cyberpunk dystopia that has earth reduced to a husk of its former self, having been drained by aliens. It’s pretty bleak as far as space opera goes, but it does present a unique setting that I’ve not seen much of.
Gamma Centauri introduces a Damage Grades Mod that simulates damage dealt by things bigger than human-scale.
Review & Conclusion
Fantaji reminds me of Early Dark in the sense that both of them are clearly works of people who had a single, powerful vision. Fantaji’s approach to gaming takes narrative elements and “gamify”s them, using Drama as a currency to push characters (or obstacles) further. The “Playing To” mechanic insures that all actions serve the hidden bounds of a story’s themes and it all comes together like clockwork.
That said, the elegance of the mechanics also makes it a little difficult to grasp. I’ve read through it and I understand it, but it wasn’t easy. YOu will need to discard quite a bit of your old habits as far as RPG rules go. I definitely see spending more than a few practice sessions of work from all players to finally get it up and running smoothly, but once everyone gets it, Fantaji should run very well.
In addition, Fantaji is very well illustrated and the layout is clean. The language used is pretty accessible, though there are a few parts which make me flinch just the slightest bit, such as when it uses marketing language inside the product (it’s “crazy versatile!” being the most memorable phrase that comes to mind.)
Overall, Fantaji is an unique entry to the lineup of universal RPGs that has a LOT of new ideas. If you like generic RPGs but are tired of point buy options, you might want to give Fantaji a go. It’s not quite FATE, but it certainly feels like a fork of the idea of gamifying a narrative. Definitely a worthy addition to an RPG shelf.
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