A Gathering of the AGEs: Consolidated Rules in Fantasy AGE 2e

Fantasy AGE Core RulebookHey folks, Malcolm here. I’m not the developer of the new edition of Fantasy AGE but I am one of the developers of the core rulebook. While I can’t give you a first-person perspective on the whole game, I can tell you a bit about the parts I helped work on. So, I thought I’d write a couple of pieces about that!

One of the goals of Fantasy AGE’s second edition was to consolidate various rules developments from multiple AGE games and supplements. If you’re an Adventure Game Engine completist you might recognize the following new and updated rules as familiar—with a few exceptions, because they’re from AGE works that haven’t come out yet but influenced development nonetheless! In any event, this is one of the factors that led us to eventually decide the new core rulebook was a true “Second Edition” of Fantasy AGE even though much of 1e remains compatible.

Challenge Tests: Challenge tests are advanced tests with certain special conditions, meant to emulate heists and other forms of dramatic extended tasks where characters need to apply multiple focuses, and fallout from failures can occur mid-test. Originally created by Crystal Frasier (and called “breaching tests”) for Modern AGE’s World of Lazarus supplement, it proved to be such a good idea we moved it to the core rulebook. The Expanse merged challenge tests and Modern AGE’s chase tests, and that final evolution is part of Fantasy AGE now.

Daring: Daring, an optional rule that promotes dramatic reversals in encounters, is an evolution of the rules for Serendipity, originally from the Modern AGE Companion.

Daring is one of the cool new optional rules in Fantasy AGE 2nd edition

Peril and Daring!

Defeat Conditions: Despite making their first appearance in Fantasy AGE 2E, Defeat Conditions were originally invented for Cthulhu Awakens, to provide alternatives to death as the result of dramatic combat.

Fortune: Fortune is an invention of Steve Kenson, originally devised for The Expanse roleplaying game, where escalating Health wasn’t appropriate but “script immunity” was a better fit. It was a great idea in that game, and it’s a cool option in Fantasy AGE, too.

Minor Arcana: These petty spells originally hail from the Threefold setting for Modern AGE.

Peril: Peril, where success lands you in deeper trouble, began as the Churn spiral in The Expanse. Interestingly, in the Modern AGE Companion it’s present and called Complications.

Relationships: Relationships, an optional rule to strengthen character connections in Fantasy AGE, was first introduced in Blue Rose.

Revised Spellcasting: In the new edition of Fantasy AGE spells only fail to be cast when a mage decides to abandon them or doesn’t have the magic points for them, because we determined spending MP on nothing happening wasn’t fun. Instead, if you fail a casting roll, the MP cost goes up. This is another option that was originally piloted in Modern AGE’s Threefold setting.

Simple Tests: A “test that doesn’t use stunts/SP” has existed in an ad hoc fashion since the beginning of the AGE system but the Simple Test concept, introduced in the Modern AGE Mastery Guide, gathers them all together as versions of simple tests and lets the GM use them at their discretion as well.

These nine examples aren’t the only ones, and notably, much of the Fantasy AGE Companion from the game’s first edition has been updated and added to the core of Fantasy AGE 2E.

Works Cited!

Want to know about the games that provided input for the new Fantasy AGE? Check them out:

Blue Rose: The AGE Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy

Cthulhu Awakens

The Expanse Roleplaying Game

Modern AGE

Modern AGE Companion

Threefold (Modern AGE)

World of Lazarus (Modern AGE)