Archive for the ‘TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana’ Category


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fage
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?

Introduction

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!

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The Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook is available in PDF format from DriveThruRPG for only $15.99 or roughly Php 720.

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153950Amazing what not being in GenCon can do to someone’s willpower. As soon as I realized that TitansGrave: the Ashes of Valkana had become available on DriveThruRPG it was already downloading.

So much for that marshmallow test moment.

Anyway, since I have it, I might as well take a peek and share my thoughts on it, yes?

Foreword

The book opens up with a neat little letter from Wil Wheaton, the creator of the setting. Everyone knows him from his incredibly impressive Geek credentials, and Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is a big feather on his cap as it is the realization of his own wild imaginings in the 80’s (a decade near and dear to my own heart.)

Chapter 1: Valkana

The first Chapter of the book gives a run down on the history of the world of Valkana. Those that have watched the Tabletop videos will be familiar with this as Wil pretty much narrates this in vivid detail. It’s a solid introduction to the setting, and a lovely backdrop for the current state of unrest (and opportunity) for the player characters.

The book focuses its attentions to describing one region in particular: The Tasmetra Basin, which is graced by a lovely poster map. The Tasmetra Basin contains three city states: Nestora, Karros and Vorakis.

Each of the city-states is given thorough treatment, with a look at their history, rulership, people, notable citizens and locations. Nestora in particular enjoys a two-page spread city map, something that I wish we could have seen for Karros and Vorakis.

Chapter 2: Characters and Equipment

Being a setting book for Fantasy AGE, Valkana diverges in key points from the default of the Fantasy AGE book. Most notably in the form of a new race: the Saurians, and the existence of certain weapons that are more science-fiction than fantasy.

Saurians have a full race write-up in the same format as Fantasy AGE and anyone familiar with Fantasy AGE will get this without any issues.

The game also introduces a few Class Modifications that will apply towards the default classes of Fantasy AGE, such as different starting weapon groups to account for the new weapons in the game.

New Focuses and Talents are also introduced, mostly to allow for interaction with the advanced technologies available to Valkana’s science-fantasy setting. The technologies themselves are introduced next, from blaster weapons to special armor and even handy tools like flashlights and binoculars.

Chapters 3 to 10: The Adventure

The rest of the book is a complete campaign that traces the entire plot of the Tabletop campaign. I won’t go into too much detail here as I don’t want to spoil anything to those who haven’t watched the show.

Each chapter is broken into multiple scenes, each of which is labeled as as Combat or Roleplaying encounter. There’s some “read aloud” text now an then, but plenty of little asides for a GM to use in his own game. The formatting for the adventures are very well done with enemy statistics appearing exactly when they need to be visible at the point in the game.

The adventure is a solid one, with interesting locales, conflicts and more than just fighting involved to get through the conflicts and more than it’s fair share of plot twists.

The book ends with the character sheets for the 4 protagonists from the show, which can appear as NPCs, or serve as pregenerated characters for new groups.

Conclusion

TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana is a splendid setting that gets the whole Thundarr: The Barbarian vibe across in a consistent world. The setting is very cool, especially for an 80’s kid like me, and the artwork is an absolute joy.

The additional mechanics are very sparse but definitely useful for branching the AGE system into sci-fi stuff, without adding too much complexity.

The adventure is the key component of this product and it is perhaps one of the most fun-looking I’ve read up on in a while. At this point I’m already tempted to call up my gaming group to ask them if we could run this right away.

My only nitpick about it is that I wish it covered more ground in the setting. Still you could have more than enough fun romping around the regions detailed in the book so far.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this line might develop into and how they plan to expand it. Bottomline? Buy it. It might just be your new favorite science-fantasy setting.

Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is available in DriveThruRPG for only $13.99 or roughly Php 674.00


If you’re one of those stuck NOT being in GenCon like me, this should help it hurt a little less… TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana, the Science-Fantasy RPG from the mind of Wil Wheaton is now available in PDF format on DriveThruRPG!

153950Here’s the official blurb from the page:

You watched the show; now play the game! Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is Wil Wheaton’s new tabletop RPG show on Geek & Sundry. It introduces an original science fantasy setting that mixes high magic and hi-tech. Written by a stellar team of award-winning designers, this companion book for the Fantasy AGE RPG gives you background info on Titansgrave, and all the adventures you saw on the show. The adventures include new encounters and options that will let you make the story your own. So grab your blaster and ready your spells. Titansgrave needs heroes!

I’m definitely interested in this, and seeing as I’ll be doing a Let’s Study series for Fantasy AGE, I don’t think it will take long for a Let’s Study review for TitansGrave to happen soon!

You can grab TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana on PDF for only $13.99