You can now Pre-Order the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook and get the PDF version for just $5, or buy the PDF on its own. Fantasy AGE is the rules set that powers Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana, as well as the award-winning Dragon Age RPG and Blue Rose: The RPG of Romantic Fantasy (now Kickstarting).
The Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook will be releasing in PDF format and going up for pre-order soon. We will debut the game at GenCon, alongside Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. The most frequently asked question I’ve been getting is, “How is Fantasy AGE different than Dragon Age?” Both games feature the Adventure Game Engine (AGE) so this is a natural question to ask and the one I’m going to delve into today.
The first thing I’d like to talk about is backgrounds. In Dragon Age a background is basically a mix of culture, social class, and race. You might be a Fereldan Freeman, High-born Dwarf, or Qunari Beresaad, for example. That works because Dragon Age is set in a specific place: Thedas. Fantasy AGE, on the other hand, has no attached world. Its rules are meant to be used with a campaign setting that you choose or create. I thus did not want to assume too much about the culture of the setting.
Therefore Fantasy AGE breaks out backgrounds into three parts. First you choose a race. To make the game as broadly useful to gamers as possible, we went with the “fantasy classics” here: dwarf, elf, gnome, halfling, human, and orc (and Titansgrave adds saurians to the mix). You roll for your social class (outsider, lower class, middle class, or upper class), then you generate a background based on the class. This is meant to represent the career you trained for or engaged in before you became an adventure. Examples include hermit, laborer, merchant, and pirate. Your race, social class, and background modify your starting character in various ways: ability increases, focuses, and other benefits.
The heart of any AGE game is the ability test. When you try to do something, you roll 3d6 and add the relevant ability (Communication, Dexterity, etc.). If your total meets or beats the Target Number, you succeed. If you roll doubles on the test, you get to do something cool as a stunt. Easy enough!
Dragon Age features 8 abilities inspired by the video game Dragon Age: Origins. They are:
In Fantasy AGE there are 9 abilities instead of 8. They are:
So you can see that in Fantasy AGE two abilities were added (Accuracy and Fighting), one was removed (Magic), and one simply had its name changed (Cunning to Intelligence). The latter is the easiest to explain. I simply thought Intelligence was a better name for the ability and conveyed its nature more clearly than Cunning. But why the other changes?
In Dragon Age Dexterity and Strength both do a couple of things. Dexterity adds to your Defense (making your harder to hit) and adds to your attack rolls with light melee weapons and missile weapons. Strength adds to your attack rolls with heavy melee weapons and damage to all melee and thrown weapons. All this has certain implications. First, it makes big monsters that hit hard but strike inaccurately harder to model. A + 8 Strength, for example, means +8 on the attack roll and damage. Fantasy AGE breaks this out into separate abilities: Fighting and Strength. Now it’s easier to represent something like an ogre, who might have a Fighting 3 and Strength 7. Second, Dexterity in Dragon Age is something of a superstat for rogues. In Fantasy AGE I thus decided to break it out into Accuracy and Dexterity. Now it’s Accuracy that adds to your attack rolls with light melee and missile weapons and Dexterity that adds to your Defense. The net result these changes means you have some real choices to make when you level up and get to increase an ability. As a warrior, do you want to hit harder or more often? As a rogue do you want to dodge more often or hit enemies more frequently?
As for the Magic ability, I cut it for a couple of reasons. First, to keep the overall number of abilities down. Second, because I felt everything it did could be modeled with other abilities: namely, Intelligence and Willpower. In Fantasy AGE your casting roll is based on Intelligence but your Spellpower is based on Willpower. In Dragon Age both of these are based on your Magic ability.
Speaking of magic, that’s perhaps the biggest change from Dragon Age. The basics remain the same. Mages have a pool of Magic Points (MPs) that they spend to cast spells. You can keep casting until you run out of MPs, and you can cast the same spell over and over if you want to. What is different is how you acquire spells. In Fantasy AGE there are magic talents, each of which corresponds to a themed group of four spells known as an arcana (Earth Arcana, Divination Arcana, and Fire Arcana, for example). When you get the novice degree of a magic talent, you learn the first two spells of its arcana. You get another at the journeyman degree and the final one at the master degree (as well as some other benefits). A level 1 mage starts with two magic talents at novice degree, which translates to four spells. Mages then acquire more spells as they go up in level by learning new arcana or mastering the ones they have.
In Dragon Age you can customize your character with a specialization like Blood Mage, Spirit Healer, or Templar. You get one specialization at level 6 and another at level 14. Fantasy AGE retains the basic concept of the specialization but gives you access to them earlier. You get your first at level 4 and second at level 12. Since you can take your first specialization at level 4, I eased up on the requirements somewhat so it shouldn’t be hard to pick the specialization you want. There are four for each class, twelve in total. The specializations are Arcane Scholar, Assassin, Berserker, Duelist, Elementalist, Guardian, Knight, Mage Hunter, Miracle Worker, Sharpshooter, Swashbuckler, and Sword Mage.
And those are the biggest differences between Fantasy AGE and Dragon Age. As you can see, the games have the same core, but some slightly different expressions. If you’ve played Dragon Age, you’ll find Fantasy AGE a breeze to pick up. If you haven’t played Dragon Age or indeed any other RPG before, that’s OK too. Fantasy AGE is designed with new players in mind.
By Chris Pramas
Episodes 0 and 1 of Titansgrave debuted on Geek & Sundry last week and we’ve been delighted with the response. After working on this since last year, it was great to see the show begin and the way the community embraced it. For those of you not so familiar with RPGs generally and Green Ronin specifically, let me quickly answer the most common question we are seeing. Yes, you’ll be able to buy the Fantasy AGE RPG and yes, there will be a Titansgrave book to go with it. I’ve been working feverishly (sometimes literally) to finish them so we can debut them at GenCon in August. They will be in stores shortly thereafter. You can follow the above links to read about the Fantasy AGE and Titansgrave books in our online store.
So this week you were introduced to our fabulous players and their characters: Laura Bailey as Lemley, Hank Green as Aankia, Alison Haislip as Killiel, and Yuri Lowenthal as S’lethkk. Back in March I flew down to Burbank for a character creation day. Hank could not be there (we did his character over Skype), but the other players were, as was GM Wil Wheaton. While some people like to just make their characters at home and bring them to the first session, I prefer to create characters as a group. This lets everyone talk and bounce ideas off one another, which usually leads to stronger characters.
Wil started by giving the players some background on Valkana and explaining that it’s a science fantasy “swords and blasters” setting. I then guided Laura, Alison, and Yuri through character creation. They conveniently settled on warrior, rogue, and mage (the three classes of Fantasy AGE) respectively. Hank had previously made a rogue as well.
As for races, I explained that Fantasy AGE featured dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, humans, and orcs (the fantasy classics, if you will). Valkana also has saurians, who are a race of intelligent lizardfolk. I think it was Yuri who first asked about playing a mixed-heritage character like a half-orc. I like to accommodate players if I can, so even though I didn’t have rules for such at that moment I said they could do that if they wanted. And oh, they wanted. Half elf/half human? Too tame for our intrepid adventures! Alison decided Killiel would be half elf and half dwarf. Yuri got crazy with half saurian and half orc (you can see Hank’s amusing reaction to that in Episode 0). Laura, perhaps feeling left out as a plain ole human, decided that she was adopted by saurians. I rolled with all this and made rulings on the fly as needed. Later, as I was finishing Fantasy AGE, I made sure to add a section on mixed heritage characters to cover the bases.
After doing all the nuts and bolts work of picking classes, talents, spells, equipment, and so on, we moved on to goals and ties. This is an important stage of character creation in Fantasy AGE, as it helps flesh out the characters. Players create personal goals for their characters. Basically, why is your character an adventurer and what do they want to achieve? Ties are the things that bind the characters together. How did the group get together? What made them into an adventuring party? This is where a lot of the fun stuff you see in Episode 0 was first conceived. You can see by the end of that even though this was the first adventure of the campaign, the group already had a nascent identity. The character creation day was also crucial for Wil, who was then able to take what he had learned about the characters and think about ways to work that material into the campaign. As you’ll see in the coming weeks, this is something Wil is quite adept at!
With characters created, I flew back home from Burbank 12 hours after I arrived. I would return in just a few days for the beginning of the shoot. More on that another time!
By Jack Norris
So…wow. There’s been a lot of stuff released or announced involving the AGE (Adventure Gaming Engine) system lately. Lot of things going on and it can be hard to keep everything straight. So, for this week’s Ronin Round Table? Let’s recap.
Fantasy Age is the AGE system reworked from the version used in Dragon Age to provide players and GMs with a broader fantasy experience, not linked to the world of Thedas. The rules will be similar to Dragon Age’s rules, but with some changes to character creation, especially the magic system for mages. The first release for Fantasy Age will be its corebook, intentionally designed as a shorter, more streamlined book to help get you ready to play quickly.
There’s been a lot of discussion on this already and more to come, but just recap quickly this is the setting for Wil Wheaton’s new RPG based Tabletop series. It’s a post-apocalyptic techno-fantasy in the vein of Thundarr the Barbarian. Titansgrave will use the Fantasy Age rules.
So…Blue Rose’s kickstarter didn’t launch on April. That’s because between some high profile Kickstarters from other fine creators and companies and us working to get various other releases ready, the month just rushed by a too quickly to run it right. However, it’s coming soon. Steve Kenson and I have been figuring out changes to the world of Aldis and recent events there while Chris and Nicole are discussing the logistics of the Kickstarter to help ensure things go well. Watch for an announcement and your opportunity to back the Kickstarter when it’s ready to go live.
Lest anyone think I forgot. There’s Dragon Age, the game that started it all. The new corebook is out in PDF, has been updated with various fixes and corrections, and is being sent to print. The GM screen is next, with the included adventure in editing. Then we’ll have Faces of Thedas, which details various important characters and groups throughout the Dragon Age setting. All the first drafts are written and while development slowed briefly due to Titansgrave, Fantasy Age, etc… it will be picking up again soon.
So yeah, LOTS of AGE related material on the horizon. I’ll update folks with more information as it comes. It’s going to be an exciting year!
Last week we were finally able to reveal our role in Wil Wheaton’s upcoming RPG Show, Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. We’ve been working hard on this project for many months and were delighted and relieved for the news to go public. Nicole and I were in Burbank all last week for the filming, so we got to watch the reaction to the news from the set. Quite gratifying after months of secrecy!
Last year, when Wil and I were first talking over the project, I noted that the schedule was aggressive. I may have even said “ridiculously aggressive.” Wil paused and asked, “Do you think we shouldn’t try to do it?” And I said, “We absolutely should. This could be the best thing to happen to RPGs since the publication of the D&D red box in 1983.” That may sound like hyperbole to you but I meant it then and I believe it even more after the filming. No one has done a show like Titansgrave before. We’re going to show a huge number of people how awesome roleplaying games are and what it’s like to play in a campaign. I think it’s going to be an amazing boost for the entire roleplaying hobby and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
The show debuts on Geek & Sundry on June 2 and runs for ten episodes. At GenCon Green Ronin will release two books together: the Fantasy AGE RPG and Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana world and adventure book. Fantasy AGE is the next development of the Adventure Game Engine, the rules system I designed for the Dragon Age RPG. This is a core rulebook for the system and you can use it with a huge variety of settings. Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is a book that features world information and supporting rules, and the adventures that are featured on the show. This means you can play your own version of the campaign the cast got to experience. Since each episode will be roughly 45-60 minutes, the book will include plenty of encounters new to viewers, as well as options for customizing the story for your group.
If creating a book like that in a short time sounds like a lot of work, it is! That’s why we recruited a crack team of designers to put the adventures together. These folks had short deadlines and limited world information when they started, so they deserve huge kudos for doing a great job in challenging circumstances. So who are these intrepid writers? Let me introduce them:
Keith Baker (Eberron, Gloom)
Leonard Balsera (Fate Core, Dresden Files RPG)
Jackson Lanzing (Hacktivist, Freakshow)
Nicole Lindroos (Vampire: The Masquerade, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying)
Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, The Maze of Games)
Clark Valentine (Dresden Files RPG, Fate Accelerated)
Ray Winninger (DC Heroes, Dungeoncraft)
We also recruited cartographer supreme Andy Law (whose work you can see in the new Freeport: City of Adventure book) to do the maps and he did a stellar job on short notice.
All in all, a great team and we could not have done this without them. I’ve been developing the adventures, and working on world and story stuff with Ryan Wheaton, Nicole, and Wil.
Now that the shoot is over, it’s full steam ahead to finish the two books and get everything off to print in time for GenCon. We’ll have much more to share with you about Fantasy AGE and Titansgrave as the clock ticks down to their debut. Watch this space and our social media, and we hope to see you at GenCon!
Green Ronin Publishing