Fantasy AGE is the latest corebook release from Green Ronin, and is the core rules that powered the Dragon AGE RPG, the TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana setting as featured in Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop web series, and the upcoming new edition of the Blue Rose RPG.
The system will be familiar to those used to D20, but it would be a disservice to say that Fantasy AGE is a “clone” of that ruleset. Green Ronin introduces a whole bunch of interesting subsystems and tweaks that result in an entirely different experience at the table.
That said, let’s get started, shall we?
The book opens with an introductory chapter that goes over the very basic concepts of an RPG. It’s often a clear indicator that the Fantasy AGE RPG is positioned to be a good entry-level product that you can use to introduce people to the hobby in general.
We see some familiar text right off the bat, with a quick discussion of “What is a roleplaying game?” to a “Getting Started” section that tackles what Characters are (and what they do) as well as the concepts of Adventures, Campaigns and what a Setting is.
There’s also an Example of Play section that gives a slice of how Fantasy AGE plays out at the table.
I have to say that I’m glad to see a short section talking about the importance of the Group Dynamic as well. It’s easy to get lost in just talking about your rules, but even just saying a little something about the importance of players (and their characters) getting along says a lot about how the authors wanted this book to be a great first RPG product that assists in setting the proper foundations of a fun group.
Basic Game Concepts
At this point, the book starts off by introducing the game’s basics. Characters were already discussed ahead, but the basic resolution mechanic is introduced as well.
Fantasy AGE uses a 3d6 + Ability roll (modified by bonuses or penalties) against a target number.
It’s a simple enough mechanic, and one that I personally prefer over a d20 roll. The reason for this is that the 3d6 probabilities form a bell curve, where the chance of rolling middle values of the range of results is higher than the chance of rolling the extremes.
This sort of mechanic allows for a more “predictable” performance when taking actions, rather than in the standard 1d20 roll where the chance of rolling any of the numbers is a straight 5%.
Finally there’s a short discussion on the different rolls that might be required, but all using six-sided dice.
the Introduction wraps up with a short note on the rest of the book. Chapter 1 kicks off the Player’s Guide section, which takes up Chapters 1 to 6, and the Game Master Chapters are from 7 to 12
So far we’re off to a good start! I’m enjoying the language of the book as it’s very accessible. There’s a sense that the authors were doing their best to make the game friendly and easy to get into.
Tomorrow we’ll start off with a look at Character Creation, beginning with a look at the available races in Fantasy AGE by default, and follow up with a sample character or two for good measure!