fragged empire

[Let’s Study Fragged Empire] Part 2: Character Creation


I’m back! After a long, long time of running around with real life stuff, we’re finally settling in to see how to go about building a character for Fragged Empire!

Character Creation in Fragged Empire feels a little bit involved, with some point-based Attributes, a few skills, some traits and then resources. It’s a lot of tiny subsystems, honestly, and I’m curious if it call comes together as elegantly as they did in some of the more impressive rules-heavy games I’ve read, like Fantasy Craft.

Starting Level

Most characters in Fragged Empire start at level 1. Your character also begins with Resources, Influence and Spare Time Points equal to your Level +2. They also begin with 1 Trait.

Pick a Race

Next step would be to pick from one of the four races presented in the earlier chapter.

I’m going Nephilim for this example, so I get the following:

+1 Bio Tech, Engineering and Exotic
+1 to all Spare Time Rolls
+1 Recover
Gain Language, High X’ion or Primal X’ion
-1 Conversation
-2 Culture
Complication: Prejudice from Kaltorans and Legion


Starting characters have 18 points to distribute among six Attributes: Strength, Reflexes, Movement, Focus, Intelligence and perception. Attributes range from 0-5 with 0 representing some sort of impairment and 5 being amazingly gifted.

Strength determines the character’s physical might and general quality of health
Reflexes are all about physical responses to the environment as well as flexibility, and agaility
Movement is how quickly your character can get from one place to another
Focus is your character’s mental strength and ability to focus. This is the attribute used for long-ranged combat.
Intelligence is about the speed of the character’s thought and ability to make quick decisions
Perception is used to determine the accuracy of ranged attacks in combat

After going over the Attributes, I’m going for:

Strength 2
Reflexes 2
Focus 4
Intelligence 3
perception 4

I’m looking at a Nephilim Sniper sort of character so I’ve decided to spend my points accordingly.


The next step involves picking Trained Skills. A Trained Skill grants a +1 bonus to skill rolls, while untrained skills suffer a -2 penalty. Characters pick 6 Primary (Everyday of Professional), 2 Personal Combat Skills, and 2 Vehicle Systems to be trained in.

Looking over the character sheet, these are my picks:

Bio Tech

Personal Combat:



As a level 1 character, I also get to select a Trait, I had to flip around the book to locate where these are listed and found them towards the back.

For the character I’ll go for “Adept” which allows me to spend 1 Fate Point to add an additional 1d6 to any Skill, Attack, System, Healing or Repair Roll.

Resources and Influence

Next step would be assigning Resources and Influence. These represent the ability to maintain weapons and gear, while Influence represents favour with an NPC group.

I start off with 3 points in Resources and Influence. I haven’t gotten to the equipment rules yet so I’ll pass on specifics for this step for now.

Spare Time Points

The rather amusingly named Spare Time Points are a resource unit of time spent by the character doing miscellaneous stuff. The character starts with 3 Spare Time Points, which can then be spent to make Equipment Modifications or to acquire minor items and services.

Overall, character creation is easy enough from the procedural point of view, but it does feel a bit too fiddly. I got strange PTSD flashbacks of trying to build a character for the 3rd edition of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. I wish it was a little bit simpler, but I understand that the author designed it for a purpose. I’ll figure out eventually if it does meet that objective when we get to the full mechanics of the game.

[Let’s Study Fragged Empire] Part 1: Introduction

We’re kicking off this series of Let’s Study posts for Fragged Empire by taking a look at the introductory chapter.

What’s in the name?

I had a bit of a chuckle when I saw this as it directly addressed my first question regarding the game, which was “What the heck is Fragged Empire?”

Turns out that they included the definition of the term, which has something to do with killing off a leader by their own soldiers in a fashion that looks like an accident (such as a dropped fragmentation grenade at their feet) during a battle.

It’s an interesting use for a term that I had come to associate with videogames where Fragged meant to kill something, and it’s a neat bit of trivia.

Key Setting Themes

Ah, Themes, my old friend. Readers will remember that I tend to blather on and on about themes and mood in games at times, so seeing this right off the bat is a welcome sight.

Fragged Empire draws on four themes for the game:

Post-Post-Apocalypitic Setting – With this and Numenera, I’m starting to think that this sort of genre is starting to pick up in popularity. The idea of being that far removed from the apocalypse as to constitute a “do over” of new civilzations is something that certainly has a lot of space for creative types and room for players to explore a world far removed from our normas while still retaining familiar technology

Cultural Tension – Culture is another aspect of games that I love, and I’m glad that it has a shout out so early on. With four distinct races struggling to survive and flourish in the new world of Fragged Empire, I’m looking forward to seeing how the game expands on such a distant future culture. Eclipse Phase and CthulhuTech did a great job at this, so Fragged Empire has a lot to live up to.

Genetic Engineering – In an interesting hint at the setting history, it seems that when humanity died out, their successors were the genetically engineered Archons. Amusingly the Archons also drove themselves into a genocidal war and died out to their own Geneticically Engineered offspring. It’s an interesting bit of history and begs the question of whether the game is hinting that this third generation is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past two.

Exploration – In a similar note to Numenera, the new generation of player characters exist in a world built atop the ruins of the Archon and Human civilization, leaving a lot of things to be discovered and (mis)understood. Plenty of potential for interesting stories.


The next two pages are a starmap of the Habrixis Sector, as well as a System Map of the Haven System. None of these mean anything to me yet, but will likely make for good reference later on.

Short Story: Galatea

What follows is a short story that introduces some signature characters for Fragged Empire. It’s a good bit of fiction, except for one little line that left me confused involving using a spanner to screw in a bolt. Aside from that, it’s a punchy piece with lot’s of action.

Short Story: History

The next short story is a fiction about two characters discussing the history of the setting. It’s an easier to swallow information dump, but at the same time I was hoping that they’d lay out everything first rather than relay it via the biased views of two characters.

Faction Snapshots

The next section shows the various playable races in the game. Each is given a gorgeous full color single page image, and a one page summary.

The summary is a little bit confusing from an organizational standpoint, as there’s a little bit of character creation (such as how each race affects a character’s traits) stuffed into the summary along with notes on Culture and a summary of who they are.

The factions presented are:

Corporation – Formerly known as the Vagarti, this race was rejected by their creators as inferior. Reorganizing themselves into a massive corporate entity, the Corporation has found new purpose beyond their genetic “heritage”.

Kaltoran – Bearing “genetic memories” Kaltorans are an optimistic and passionate race that want to go past the horrors that they inflicted and were subject to in the war.

Legion – A simian-ish race of disciplined soldiers, the Legion are an army without a war to fight. Bred to become weapons the race now struggles to find purpose for themselves in times of peace.

Nephilim – This “race” of genetically engineered beings are very intellectual and emotionally distant. They are the largest and most powerful military force, but one that is kept in check by the need to cooperate with the others for survival.

Overall, it’s an interesting setup for these individual races and civilization is held together by their interactions.

Rules Introduction

The last section of the Introduction Chapter has a quick summary of the rules. That said the only real mechanical detail in the section is that you use a 3d6 resolution system. There’s mention of things like tactical miniatures combat, the rules being best fit for long sandbox games and a nonlinear character progression.

An “optional” section at the end is a list of Game Types that can be supported by Fragged Empire, such as having surival horror, casual (easy combat) games and one with more story focus. Accompanied by a list of tweaks to accommodate that style of play.

Overall, Fragged Empire is pretty unique. There’s a lot of good ideas, and the organization of the material is a little bit different from what I’m used to. The artwork is, as I said gorgeous, and helps convey a lot of the mood of the game.

Next up, we’ll try to put together a character for Fragged Empire!

This Let’s Study series made possible by Patreon. If you’d like to help me secure more titles to cover in detail, please consider becoming a patron!

Next up: Let’s Study Fragged Empire by Design Ministries

coverAfter taking a few days off from my last post, I’m pleased to announce that the next Let’s Study article will be about a recent release: Fragged Empire by Design Ministries. It’s an interesting far-future RPG where players take on the role of a number of disparate new races born from the experimentation of several older races before you.

Here’s a quick look at the book’s marketing blurb:

“Betrayed by your creators, you are a genetically engineered remnant emerging from the ruin of genocidal war…”

A tabletop RPG setting & rules, set in a far future ‘post, post-apocalyptic’ setting. Your people have survived 100 years of brutal tribalism & savagery and are just now emerging back into space.

Set in the style of Firefly, Millennium Falcon, Alien, Farscape, Blake 7, Mass Effect & Knights of the Old Republic.

I do like the initial idea of this, but seeing a laundry list of inspirations right away does make me a little bit nervous. I’m from the school that wants to see the tone of the setting unfold by itself, rather than be given pop-culture pegs right away. It’s a good practice in design, but I’m not completely sold on the idea of it being used in promotional material.

Moving on, we get a look at some opening text to set the tone of the game, which I have replicated in formatting to try and preserve the author’s intent:

It is over 10,000 years into the future.
Earth is forgotten.
Humanity is dead.
Genetic erosion, brought on by thousands of years of apathy.
You are one of many genetically engineered descendants.
Created by the eugenicist Archons (humanity’s heirs), or the vengeful monster X’ion.
A genocidal war has ravaged the known galaxy.
X’ion won, killing the Archons, destroying their empire, and then abandoning his army to vanish without a trace.
This event threw the galaxy into 100 years of brutal tribalism.
After 100 years, your people have just re-entered space.
No one knows what’s out there.
Four surviving races have banded together.
Not out of a common direction, but out of necessity.
No one knows where this new society is headed.
Each race is struggling for survival.
They need each other.

Again I’m getting this sense that there’s a LOT that is going on with this setting and the author can’t wait to get us involved. But a few tiny flags pop up now and then that make me hesitate. For one, I’m getting this sense of being just a little bit displaced. I don’t have much of an anchor to the world as is, and while Numenera manages to somehow still make it work by retaining Humans as some sort of common ground, Fragged Empire doesn’t quite have this because of the fact that all the races aren’t human but some sort of descendant race.

Here’s hoping that the setting chapters manage to iron things out better. I’ve got high hopes for Fragged Empire, as it’s an entirely new setting, and isn’t just another Star Wars clone.

Tomorrow, we kick off our exploration of this brand new world with a look at the Introductory chapter.

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