What’s combat like in the new edition of Fantasy AGE? First of all, if you’ve played Fantasy AGE before, or any other AGE game, the basic procedure is the same: Roll initiative and round by round, take a major and minor action, or two minor actions. You attack using an ability + focus associated with a weapon or attack form, rolling a test against the target’s Defense. Most of what we’ve added won’t be unfamiliar, though some of it has been tweaked.
The selection of actions is mostly unchanged, though Defend and Guard Up, which had some confusing elements when compared to each other, have been streamlined. The previous Stand Firm has been changed because as written it was also difficult to use. We have also added Full Speed, a new major action utilized in chases, and Stunt Attack.
Stunt Attack may be familiar to you from Modern AGE and The Expanse, and represents the fact that in AGE games, many special attacks such as grapples or trying to bypass armor are handled by stunts, not some other special subsystem. Fantasy AGE’s version gives you 2 SP on a successful attack, or on a roll of doubles, all the SP indicated, at the cost of the base attack inflicting 0 damage. Thus, you would use Stunt Attack to spend SP on the Grab stunt to get a hold of an enemy—that’s it. Easy.
Fantasy AGE’s combat stunts have been revised somewhat, but are largely the same as the prior edition. We’ve added options to grab and pin an enemy. Here’s Grab:
- Grab (Melee, 2 SP): You grapple with your enemy. You and your target make opposed Accuracy (Brawling) tests. If you win, you grab your target and they can’t move out of your reach until after your next turn. On subsequent turns, you may use a minor action to maintain the grab, preventing them from moving away from you as long as you make another successful opposed simple Accuracy (Brawling) test with your target, though your target rolls this test as a reaction—they don’t need to use an action to try to break free. Grabbing a foe doesn’t prevent them from attacking, casting spells, or taking other actions—they just have to stay adjacent to you while doing it.
Furthermore, members of each character class can add Class Stunts to their repertoire on top of the universal combat stunts, and as you might imagine, the ones for Warrior characters are particularly potent. Here’s an example:
- Storm of Strikes (Warrior Stunt, 5 SP): You unleash swift blows in every direction where a foe can be found. Apply your attack roll to a number of additional targets equal to your Dexterity. If you are using a missile weapon, you must have sufficient ammunition to attack all targets, but reloading is part of this stunt and doesn’t use up actions as usual, unless reloading your weapon requires a major action or multiple minor actions per reload, in which case you can’t use this stunt.
Perhaps the biggest revision to the combat system is the addition of Conditions—special injuries and other factors with standardized effects—but we’ve strived to keep them to a minimum so that they speed play instead of hindering it. Furthermore, Conditions are useful due to the fact that dropping to 0 Health doesn’t necessarily mean you or your foe are dying. Bandits might take you for ransom. You might knock out a foe out of mercy. A hated enemy might even give you a painful scar to remember them by. If you’ve knocked someone down to 0 Health, you choose whether they take a Defeat Condition, choosing from Dying, Helpless, or Unconscious. These make you vulnerable to a coup de grace—even when mercifully beaten, someone in that dire condition can still be dispatched—or the adventure might continue with your capture, waking up later, aching…or the traditional bleed-out.
More About Miniatures
Fantasy AGE still runs smoothly with pure imagination, in what some call the “theater of the mind.” We have however spruced up options for using miniatures beyond the loose advice in the prior edition with the introduction of optional Tactical Speed and a bit more discussion of miniature or token and map based play. Beyond giving you more options, we’re recognizing that in the virtual tabletop era, maps are very common in online games.
All this happens in Chapter 2 of the new Fantasy AGE, but that chapter has more than revised combat rules:
- Chase rules
- Social attitudes and influence
- Rules for investigation
We’ll talk about some of those in future previews!