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Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Preview: Stunts!

Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

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Stunts are a hallmark of the Adventure Game Engine, and something we looked at very carefully for Fantasy AGE’s new edition—one that’s available for preorder (with discount PDF option) and in PDF now, by the way! Look at the PDF and you’ll be able to see all the details for yourself, but this article will still serve you as a general review.

Where Stunts Have Been

Stunts have been part of the Adventure Game Engine since Dragon Age and have proven to be one of the most enjoyable, useful elements of the system. Dragon Age made more central use of stunts restricted to certain character types when it came to magic, to get into the flavor of its video game source material. The first edition of Fantasy AGE was designed in a more setting-neutral fashion with less of this kind of focus, but the rules were otherwise very similar.

The basic way to trigger a stunt remains the same: Roll matching results (doubles) on any two dice on your winning test, and consult the Stunt Die (called the Dragon Die in Dragon Age, and the Drama Die in The Expanse and the upcoming Fifth Season Roleplaying). You get as many stunt points (SP) as the result of that specially marked die. You can then spend the points on the stunt tables for various extraordinary effects, from extra damage to the ability to distract an enemy. Stunt lists for combat, exploration, and “roleplaying” (as social things were called) remained core to Fantasy AGE. Other AGE games, such as Modern AGE, used more and variant tables to hook the system to a particular flavor or expand what stunts could do. Modern AGE presented a large number of stunts in particular.

Stunts let you do all sorts of wild combat actions!

Stunts in the New Fantasy AGE

In looking at prior designs we wanted to better define what stunts are for, how to use them, and how to enhance Fantasy AGE as a distinct game with a (loose) class-based, heroic fantasy design. We also wanted to make stunts easier to pick, since while it usually just takes a session or two to select them on the fly with ease, some players found making that decision a bit flustering. With all that in mind, we kept the basics of stunts, but refined them, as follows:

More about story and function: We introduce stunts with an eye toward how they work in the story of the game, as well as its systems. A stunt has to tell a story that makes sense! Chapter 6 of Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition now makes that clear, along with the roles of stunts to represent exceptional performance and to cover a number of unusual situations (such as grappling and disarming opponents) other games might cover with special subsystems.

More ways to get stunt points: Fantasy AGE now includes the Stunt Attack option, where you can forego normal combat results to gain 2 stunt points for a special maneuver, such as when you want to restrain someone without hurting them. We’ve also introduced Daring, where you might gain extra stunt points in tough times, as failure accumulates and you’ve earned a truly stunning reversal of fortune; and Relationships, where powerful emotions about others can become a reserve of stunt points to call on when those bonds enter the story.

Basic and class stunts: Perhaps the biggest change is the introduction of a distinction between basic stunts, which anyone can use most of the time, and various forms of advanced stunts, including class stunts. Class stunts are earned as characters gain levels, letting them perform tasks supported by the class with true excellence. A few weeks ago we previewed an example Warrior class stunt. Here are a couple of others, from the Warrior and other classes. Be aware that class stunts are a little more potent than their basic counterparts by design, to support what each class is best at.


Envoy Stunt—Dominate Foe (4 SP): You compel an enemy to feel intense fear, confusion, or distraction. Select one target who can perceive you and has a Willpower no higher than your Communication. You impose one of the following conditions on them: Confused, Defenseless, or Frightened. You choose which condition affects your target. It lasts until the end of your next turn.

Mage Stunt—Battle Magic (2 SP; Spell):  You may follow up your spell with an Arcane Blast as an immediate free action, though the blast becomes a simple test that can’t generate or use SP.

Rogue Stunt—Evade (2 SP): You slip past your foes. Until your next turn, you gain +2 to Defense, and each time an attack misses you, you may move 4 yards without using an action.

Warrior Stunt—Limb Strike (3 SP): Your blow injures one of your foe’s appendages, and they take a –3 penalty to tests that use it until your next turn. Furthermore, a blow to a humanoid leg or equivalent levies a –5 penalty to Speed, while one inflicted on a shield arm deprives your opponent of its Defense bonus.


See For Yourself

As we’ve said, the game ready for preorder and out on PDF. Give it a look!

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Core Rulebook – Available to pre-order now!

We are excited to announce that the day has come at last! The Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Core Rulebook pre-order is live!

You can get a copy of the PDF immediately with your pre-order by selecting the $5 add-on when you add the print book to your cart. And if the costs for shipping are a bit rough, be sure to ask your Friendly Local Game Store to pre-order the book. If they belong to our Pre-Order Plus program (all it takes is a quick email), you can get the $5 PDF through your local store too! We know international shipping has gotten a little extreme lately, so be sure to support your FLGS, skip the shipping fees, and take advantage of a great deal all at the same time!


Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

Available to Pre-Order now!

Leap into sword & sorcery RPG adventures with the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook!

Powered by the popular Adventure Game Engine,Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition is easy to learn, fun to play, and welcoming to new roleplayers. The Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook includes these features:

  • Simple Character Creation: Pick an ancestry (such as draak, dwarf, goblin, and wildfolk), pick a class (envoy, mage, rogue, or warrior), pick a specialization (such as duelist, diplomat, pirate, and sword mage), and jump into the action.
  • Heroic Stunts: The heart of the game is the stunt system, which brings dynamism and drama to the table. Roll doubles on 3d6 to pull off unexpected moves in combat, cast more potent spells, perform amazing feats of physical and mental prowess, or even cut a rival down to size with a few clever words.
  • Mighty Magic: Spell casters learn arcana, which are themed groups of spells. Mixing and matching the 19 arcana gives the mage class a huge amount of flexibility. To get started, choose two arcana like Beast, Cold, Death, Earth, Fate, Fire, Healing, Protection, Mind, and Shadow.
  • Game Master Guidance: If you are new to RPGs or have never GMed before, the Core Rulebook breaks it all down for you. Not just GM advice but practicalities as well. There’s guidance for each of the GM’s four roles: Game Planner, Game Host, Game Runner, and Game Moderator.
  • Customizable Rules: The GM can use optional rules for the campaign to better reflect the setting. Choices include the twin systems of Peril and Daring, which allow for dramatic swings from disadvantage to advantage as the tension builds. Horror rules can give the campaign a sinister turn. The Fortune system is an alternate way to handle health and damage first introduced in The Expanse RPG.
  • The Stranger Shores: The Core Rulebook introduces a campaign setting of its own called Stranger Shores. Brave the Deeps, which have been the doom of many a ship. Sail with a Mystic Navigator to travel to distant lands.
  • Breakwater Bay: Enter the Stranger Shores with Breakwater Bay, a starting adventure area to kick off your campaign. The book includes Set Sails for Breakwater Bay, a complete adventure.
  • So Much More: You’ll also find character talents, challenging monsters, chase rules, magic items, relationships and bonds, and more. This is the complete package.
  • Part of the Family: Green Ronin publishes other RPGs powered by the Adventure Game Engine: The Expanse, Modern AGE, Blue Rose, Cthulhu Awakens, and Fifth Season. If you’ve played any AGE games, you already know the core of the system. Veteran gamers will be pleased to hear that Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition is largely compatible with all previous Fantasy AGE releases.

Swords, sorcery, stunts, and Stranger Shores—the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook is your portal to exciting new RPG adventures!

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Preview: Magic

Fantasy AGE Core RulebookFantasy AGE’s magic system is getting a bit of a polish for the new edition. The fundamental rules are the same, but there are more spells and options for spellcasting characters. This preview is going to be a bit more straightforward, as we’ve made various adjustments across other AGE books, and took those efforts and adjusted them some more for the upcoming core rulebook. Many of these got their start in the old Fantasy AGE Companion¸ but in each case we’ve revisited the spells and other rules to examine game balance and clarity of writing.

Let’s take a tour.

More Spells and Arcana

The Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook includes 19 magic talents—seven more than the old Basic Rulebook: Air Arcana, Beast Arcana, Cold Arcana, Death Arcana, Divination Arcana, Earth Arcana, Enchantment Arcana, Fate Arcana, Fire Arcana, Healing Arcana, Heroic Arcana, Illusion Arcana, Lightning Arcana, Power Arcana, Protection Arcana, Mind Arcana, Shadow Arcana, Water Arcana, and Wood Arcana.

In addition, each Arcana has multiple spell possibilities, so two mages with the same Arcana can possess different spell selections.

Fantasy AGE Magic!


Example Spell: Tree Form

Requirements: Wood Arcana (Master)

Spell Type: Enhancement

MP Cost: 12

Casting Time: Major Action

Target Number: 15

Your body transforms, taking on the form of an animated tree.

This transformation lasts for the remainder of the encounter or until you choose to end the spell (a free action). You gain the following statistics as your body turns into that of a gnarl­walker (see Chapter 9).

Abilities: Constitution 6, Dexterity 0, Strength 6, even if this would reduce your ability ratings. All other abilities retain the caster’s usual ratings.

  • Focuses: Fighting (Branch Blows), Intelligence (Natural Lore).
  • Other Statistics: You gain an Armor Rating of 8 from the monstrously tough hide special quality. This doesn’t stack with worn armor, however.
  • Special Qualities: You gain the gnarlwalker special qual­ities of big, made of wood, many branches, mighty and lethal, monstrously tough hide, and voice of the green.
  • Your new body doesn’t impede your ability to cast other spells. However, your clothing and worn equipment are absorbed into your tree form, reappearing when you return to your usual form.

In this case, we not only included this spell in the core rules (there was an earlier version of it in the Fantasy AGE Companion) but made a dedicated creature for both the spell and the GM’s general use instead of reskinning the walking dead, as the precious version did.

Alternatives to Duds

In the last edition of Fantasy AGE if you failed a casting roll, you lost the magic points and got nothing in return, which leads to some dud results for mage characters. The new rules include an option to save a failed spell by spending more magic points, and a spell failure now costs less than a normal casting.

Minor Arcana

Introduced in prior AGE material, minor arcana join the core Fantasy AGE rules. These minor utility spells just cost 1 MP each, and they allow mages to do a number of convenient things outside the purview of action and high sorcery.


Example Minor Arcana: Mage’s Compass

Mage’s compass tells the mage unerringly where a cardinal direction (usually north) lies, and the time until the next sunrise or sunset. The direction cannot use as its reference point a specific geographical location beyond a cardinal direction or the equivalent in worlds that have unusual dimensions.


Divine Magic

The idea of “divine” versus “arcane” magic is an RPG neologism that was never especially prevalent in supernatural beliefs or fantasy fiction until popular RPGs conceived of the split. In some respect Fantasy AGE has always cleaved to an older tradition from sword and sorcery where gods and demons are simply part of the practice of magic. However, divine magic as a category is popular! That’s why we’ve added options for spellcasters who concentrate on magic from the gods, but these rules are optional. We’re Fantasy AGE, so we do things our own way.

Other Amazing Feats

We still haven’t talked about stunts, creatures, GMing material, and a number of other revised and new parts of the new Fantasy AGE core rulebook. Maybe next time!

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Preview: The Latest in AGE-ology

Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook 2nd EditionThis time around we’ll talk about some of the rules that are new to the 2nd edition of Fantasy AGE. As some of you may know, we’ve devised new rules across multiple Adventure Game Engine lines, including Modern AGE, Blue Rose, Cthulhu Awakens, and The Expanse. Many of these rules could be ported to Fantasy AGE with minimal adaptation, so, well, we did it! That’s the advantage of a common system.


New Core Systems

New-to-Fantasy AGE core rules include:

  • Rules for foot, riding, or vehicle chases—and crashes, too. These rules, evolved from Modern AGE, emphasize chases as dramatic events instead of counting map inches.
  • An investigation system which can run on high or low detail, depending on what fits the adventure.
  • A straightforward social system.
  • Challenge tests, for complicated extended tasks, such as heists—and Simple Tests when you need a straightforward answer without stunts. (Yes, it sounds weird, but once you see them, you’ll know why.)
  • Conditions and more defeat options. Falling to 0 Health isn’t automatically lethal anymore. Instead, the attacker or scenario determines whether you’ve been knocked out, killed, or simply beaten down for capture—though the rules provide an option for your foe to leave you with a scar you’ll never forget.

This is besides the various changes and expansions, such as talents and specializations. we’ve been talking about in other articles. There are also a number of other small tweaks here and there that help smooth play, and a couple of places where we’ve refined rules descriptions.

New Optional Systems

Fantasy AGE’s 2nd edition also includes a number of optional systems. These aren’t “default” Fantasy AGE, but what does that even mean? It’s your game.

Peril! You may have seen this system before, in The Expanse, where we call it the Churn, and in the Modern AGE Companion, where we call it Complications. Peril is Fantasy AGE’s version: a system where heroes who succeed frequently automatically generate further challenges, so that there are always dangers to face in adventures.

Daring! Of course, sometimes heroes in trouble need a dramatic reversal. The original version of this system from the Modern Age Companion, Serendipity, has been further refined into Daring, its Fantasy Age form. Daring offers special benefits to characters suffering from a run of bad luck, so that once fate smiles upon them once again, they can hit harder and do better than ever before.

Fortune! A popular option originally designed for The Expanse, Fortune is an optional replacement for Health that represents a hero’s ‘script immunity” beyond raw toughness. Characters spend Fortune to indicate that attacks and dangers just miss them, and provide a way to trade safety for excellence, as you spend Fortune to boost dice rolls.

Relationships! Originally introduced in the Blue Rose RPG, Relationships have become one of AGE system’s signature systems. Relationships provide Bonds heroes can draw upon when they support strong feelings about another PC or NPC—and sometimes, more abstract things. You can use it to represent powerful love, implacable hate, or even the kind of snarky friendships heroes tend to have.

More!

I wasn’t sure what I should put in this article and what I should save, but I’m at over 500 words now, so why get long-winded? I’ll tell you about things like divine magic another time. Cheers!

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Combat Preview: Let’s You and Them Fight

Fantasy AGE Core RulebookWhat’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.

Actions

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.

Combat Stunts

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.

Combat in Fantasy AGE can be full of exciting Stunts!

Victory Conditions

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.

Beyond Combat

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!

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Preview: Advancements – and Damage!

Fantasy AGE 2nd edition Core RulebookFantasy AGE’s new edition does its best to strike a balance between keeping the game familiar—so familiar that many elements from the old edition work with little to no adjustments—and making improvements in all areas. One of those improvements was giving characters more ways to distinguish themselves from each other right from the beginning of play, and one of the ways to make it happen is through level advancements: the benefits characters gain as they level up.

Getting Focused

Most of the game’s focuses are the same, though there are a few tweaks here and there, such as a Slings focus since we added that heretofore missing weapon category to the game. At Level 11, however, two things happen: Your character gains a +1 Bonus to all the focuses they know for free, and they can add the option to double focus by spending an additional focus advancement on a focus they already know. Thus, known focus bonuses increase from +2 to +3, and focuses you choose to concentrate on can increase to +4.

More Talents

In addition to the all-new ancestry talents mentioned earlier in this series, we’ve revised many talents from the prior edition’s Basic Rulebook and Fantasy AGE Companion.

More Specializations—and Sooner

In the new edition, characters take a specialization starting right at Level 1, to better define who they are right from the start. Characters also gain one specialization slot at each odd-numbered level, with fewer restrictions than there used to be.

Fantasy AGE Advancements and Damage

What About Dawizar—I mean, Damage Scaling?

One long-time observation about Fantasy AGE is that characters and monsters get pretty tough compared to the damage output of various weapons, spells, and other threats as characters go up in level.

We crunched the numbers to get a look at this and determined how a model attack would scale at different levels and monster Threat ranks. We wanted to avoid the “treadmill effect” of advancement becoming meaningless where equally advanced enemies would inflict equivalent damage, so that characters and creatures are actually never any harder to beat in encounters (many games do this with monsters and things like “Level 20 slippery ice,” but Fantasy AGE isn’t one of them). We also wanted class niches to become increasingly present in the equation. Consequently, every class has a version of the following level 6 feature:

  • Damage Bonus: You may add your weapon focus (if you have one) when inflicting damage with a melee or ranged attack.

That’s taken from the Envoy. Mages also gain this for Arcane Blast and spells. This may seem like a piddly benefit, but at Level 11 this +2 bonus increases to +3 and might even be increased to +4.

At Level 16, members of each class gain an additional damage bonus that works out to around 1d6 depending on their class, on an action or in a circumstance appropriate to their class. This stacks with other bonuses. Here’s the one for the Rogue:

  • Stunt Die to Damage: You may add the value of the stunt die of your attack test when you use Pinpoint Attack to inflict damage against a creature.

In addition, members of each class gain various other circumstantial damage bonuses. Compared against the math, they meet our design goals.


Specialization Preview: Skald

Skalds are battlefield poets who sing and write about heroes and war—those of ancient times, and those before them—during the heat of battle. They fulfil a dual role, urging heroes on to greatness, then immortalizing their deeds in verse. These chronicles can feature skalds themselves, who plunge into the thick of the fight to witness bravery and horror, and participate as earnestly as their companions, adding inspirational words to the clash of steel and roars of beasts.

Skald Talent

Classes: Envoy.

Requirements: Communication 2 or higher, the Communication (Performance) focus, and the Intelligence (Military Lore) focus.

You’re a fighting poet who draws upon legends of heroism and tactical brilliance to achieve victory.

Novice: You spout improvised and memorized poetry that guide your friends and intimidate your foes. When using the Coordinate Envoy ability, you can use the stunt attack option as a minor action, but instead of an attack roll you make an opposed Communication (Performance) test vs. your foe’s reaction Willpower (Morale) roll. If you use this and the ordinary Coordinate ability in the same turn, you must pass on the SP you gained from each to a different ally. Your ally must be able to understand you.

In addition, to survive the battles you’ll sing about, you receive training in one additional Weapon Group of your choice.

Expert: Your knowledge of great battles gives you tactical wisdom that supplements your fighting ability. Once per encounter, you may add your Intelligence (Military Lore) focus bonus to your attack roll, as an applicable bit of lore occurs to you. You may instead grant this bonus to an ally (they get your focus bonus, not theirs), who must use it on their next turn. Neither option uses up an additional action, but you can only use one of these options once per encounter. If you affect an ally, they must be able to understand you.

Master: Your lore-backed verses can wound your enemies’ spirits as powerfully as a blade might cut their bodies. As a major action, you can make a Communication (Performance) test vs. your foe’s reaction Willpower (Morale) roll. Your foe must be able to feel fear, understand you, and be within 10 yards. If you succeed, you inflict 1d6 + Willpower penetrating damage, and you can attach combat and Envoy stunts to the result if you have the SP and they’re appropriate to an attack based on frightening and demoralizing a foe. You may not, however, use this attack to perform a coup de grace—no matter how artfully you tell someone they’re going to die, you can’t just kill them that way.

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Preview: Staying Classy

Last time around we chatted about ancestries in the new edition of Fantasy AGE, which is just going through final production tweaking ahead of its PDF and print preorder release—soon! This time, let’s talk about classes

Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

Four Classes?

We took a long time to get the new edition of Fantasy AGE together, and people wondered whether we were going to stick with the three classes found in the original game, or go classless, like Modern AGE and The Expanse. Well, the answer is that we now have four character classes:

  • Envoy: Our new character class, a master of influence who rallies hearts and acts as the face of group of heroes.
  • Mage: Spiritualist, sorcerer, sage, theurgist—those who concentrate on magical power, no matter the doctrine.
  • Rogue: Sneaky experts and agile combatants.
  • Warrior: A tough-as-nails expert in direct combat using virtually any weapon.

Class Tune Ups

We’ve changed each individual class as well, to resolve some feedback from playtesting and developer experience, as well as to help you better individualize your character to set them apart from other members of the same class.

Class Stunts: The new edition of Fantasy AGE includes class stunts. These are acquired as characters gain levels. Each class has its own stunt list, consisting of stunts that are slightly more potent than the stunts available to all characters.

Damage Bonuses: Responding to concerns about how damage scales in Fantasy AGE, each class has features allowing them to inflict more damage when they use a class’s special purview.

First Specialization: Characters gain a free degree in a specialization at first level. Instead of being a bonus for perseverance, a specialization in the new edition is a way to make your character distinctive from the start. And best of all, the new edition has revised and entirely new specializations to choose from.

The Envoy is a new option for Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition classes!Introducing the Envoy

An envoy is a master of social situations, building or exploiting relationships and group interactions. The classic envoy is an agent of a ruling court or council who both carries out the orders of their superiors and works to increase their own influence and rank. You can also use the envoy to repre­sent anyone who is primarily concerned with deals, diplo­macy, leading, or deceiving others, from a noble captain of the guard to a scoundrel with a heart of gold or even a con artist.

As an envoy you aren’t the best fighter in combat, and don’t have the stealth and subterfuge a rogue uses to pick off foes from the shadows. You can hold your own in a fight, especially if you can find weaker-willed targets to cow or bamboozle, but you are much more in your element in social encounters. If you are playing an envoy you should expect to do a lot of the talking with patrons, friendly rivals, suspicious officials, and tight-fisted merchants.

Primary Abilities: Communication, Fighting, Intelligence, and Willpower

Secondary Abilities: Accuracy, Constitution, Dexterity, Perception, and Strength

Starting Health: 25 + Constitution + 1d6

Weapon Groups: Any three of the following: Black Powder, Bludgeons, Bows, Brawling, Light Blades, or Spears

Level 1 Class Powers

Coordinate

You create opportunities for your allies. Whenever you generate Stunt Points, you get an extra SP that you can give to another character. Alternately, you can give 2 of your SP from the stunt attack action to an ally (in which case you do not generate an additional extra SP). In either case, the given SP must be used on the character’s next turn, or it is lost.

Dazzle

Whether it is through charming patter, a dour glare, cutting remarks, or the performance of tricks and art you can dazzle a foe, leaving them unable to concentrate on attacking you. As a minor action select one foe, that can hear you, to dazzle. If your Communication is greater than their Will­power, you gain a +1 bonus to Defense against their attacks until the beginning of your next turn.

Social Chameleon

You have two social classes, and two backgrounds. Deter­mine your first social class and background normally. For your second social class and background, you may select any different social class and then select any background appropriate to that social class. You select a focus for each background, as normal (thus gaining one additional focus).

Select one social class and background that represent the circumstances you found yourself in as a child. The other represents a second society you successfully integrated yourself into, gaining a new class and background by the time you were a young adult. For example, you may have been born into the life of a criminal but fought your way up to be seen as a dilettante. Or you might have been raised as a guilder but spent enough time with soldiers to be able to move comfortably among them.

When using backgrounds to determine starting wealth, use the higher of your two backgrounds.

Want to Advance?

Next time we’ll talk about level improvements, including the revised and expanded set of talents and specializations available in the new edition.

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Preview: Ancestries

Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook 2nd edition

Coming Soon! Pre-order begins in February.

Fantasy AGE’s new edition is coming soon—and we’ve been remiss when it comes to telling you about it! If you didn’t get involved in playtesting, you may not be aware of some of the revisions in store. One of those is revised and expanded ancestries. Let’s talk about it.

Ancestries?

In the last edition of Fantasy AGE, we used “race” instead of ancestry, following what was familiar to gamers at the time. However, there was always some internal unease. In the Threefold book for Modern AGE back in 2019 we standardized to “ancestry.” This removes some problematic implications and doesn’t make us drill down on the ultimate nature of these varied fantasy origins.

2nd Edition Ancestries

The original Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook presented a small number of classic fantasy ancestries. The new edition features a much wider set of options—the following ones, to be precise:

  • Draak
  • Dwarf
  • Elf
  • Gnome
  • Goblin
  • Halfling
  • Human
  • Orc
  • Wildfolk

Some of these have been revised from the old Fantasy AGE Companion, but all of them have been reexamined. In addition, guidelines to play characters of mixed ancestry are part of the core rules.

Ancestries in Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition

Ancestry Talents

In addition to the core benefits of an ancestry, characters can deepen their ancestral abilities through Ancestry Talents, a new addition to Fantasy AGE that provide further benefits if you want to epitomize a particular ancestry. Each ancestry has its own talent.


Example Ancestry Talent: Dwarven Secrets

Ancestries: Dwarf Classes: Any

You live for the stone-hearted ways of the dwarves.

Novice: Structures and natural caves tell you their secrets readily. You may use Intelligence (Engineering) tests to determine your direction indoors and underground, including whether you’re going up or down, at a TN determined by the Game Master. If someone without this degree could do the same, you gain a +2 bonus to your test on top of any provided by focuses and other advantages.

Expert: When besieged, a true dwarf takes up the axe. When using a weapon from the Axes group, you gain +1 SP whenever your attack roll scores doubles.

Master: You partake of the endurance of stones against foul magic—or you call upon secret teachings to counter sorcery with the power of certain runes. If you fail any test to resist or reduce the effects of a spell, you may make a second test using Constitution (Tolerance) against the same target for the same benefits if you succeed. In any case, you must keep the results of this second roll.


Next Time: Classes

In the next article in this series, we’ll talk about what character classes are like in the new edition of Fantasy AGE. Until then, be daring!

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Coming in February

Fantasy AGE 2nd edition Core Rulebook

If you are looking for a new fantasy roleplaying game, your timing couldn’t be better because the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook is almost here! It will be available as a PDF and go up for print pre-order next month. With our Pre-Order Plus Program, you can add the PDF for only $5 more when you pre-order the printed book, so you can start reading the game as soon as your order is in.

 

 

 

 


What does Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition have to offer? Glad you asked!

  • Fantasy AGE is easy to learn and fun to play. You can make a character in less than 30 minutes, and you only need three 6-sided dice to play.
  • Fantasy AGE is a class and level game so it’s easy to transition to from similar RPGs. The core classes are Envoy, Mage, Rogue, and Warrior (social, magic, sneaky, fighty). You can customize your character with specializations starting at level 1. Choose from duelist, diplomat, elementalist, mystic navigator, pirate, skald, sword mage, and many more.
  • The heart of the game is the stunt system, which brings dynamism and drama to the table. Roll doubles on 3d6 to pull off heroic maneuvers in combat, cast mightier spells, perform amazing feats of physical and mental prowess, or even cut a rival down to size with a few clever words.
  • Fantasy AGE is a toolkit you can use with the setting of your choice. Game Masters have many options to customize the rules for their campaigns. For example, the mage class represents all spellcasters and the game has no de facto stance on the nature of magic. In one campaign, all magic might come from ancestral spirits. In another, there might be a strict difference between arcane and divine magic with rules to reflect it.
  • Fantasy AGE features optional rules systems for Peril, which ramps up the challenges heroes face, and Daring, which allows those same heroes to pull off even more impressive feats.
  • The Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook is a complete game, with player and Game Master info and advice, an array of magical arcana and enchanted items, a selection of monsters and other adversaries, and an adventure so you can start right away.
  • The game is built with the Adventure Game Engine (AGE), which powers many other Green Ronin RPGs: Blue Rose, The Expanse, Modern AGE, and this year brings Cthulhu Awakens and The Fifth Season as well. Each game has some bespoke mechanics to reflect genre and setting (Blue Rose has psychic powers, Modern AGE has modes of play and forgoes classes, and The Expanse has rules for advanced weaponry and spaceship combat, for example) but they all share a common core of rules. If you play any AGE RPG, you already know the basics of the others.

If you are new to Fantasy AGE, you can see the game in just a few weeks. If you’d like to get a sense of the Adventure Game Engine in the meantime, check out the free Quickstart for our Blue Rose RPG.

 

Fantasy AGE: Origins

I designed the Adventure Game Engine in 2008 for our licensed Dragon Age RPG that came out the following year. This was a big hit for us, and it didn’t take long for fans to let us know that they loved the rules but wanted to see a more general version not tied to the world of Thedas. To coincide with Wil Wheaton’s RPG web series Titansgrave, which used the rules, we released the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook in 2015 to great acclaim. From there the Adventure Game Engine became our house system, with Blue Rose, Modern AGE, and The Expanse following. One reason we began work on the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook was to take some of the cool mechanical innovations of those games and implement them in the game’s next iteration. Like the churn in The Expanse? It forms the basis of the Peril system in Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition, for example.

 

What Does 2nd Edition Mean?

Current Fantasy AGE fans know we’ve been working on the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook for several years. We have not previously called it 2nd Edition because one of the original design goals was to make it 99% compatible with the existing Fantasy AGE line. Two things happened along the way. First, it proved difficult to communicate that this was going to be a brand-new rulebook with some changes but mostly compatible with the Basic Rulebook. Second, during development and playtesting, we found more things that we wanted to update or expand, so now it’s more like 90% compatible. For these reasons, we decided that just calling it 2nd Edition would be best. Still, most of the 1st Edition line works just fine with 2nd Edition. You can use stat blocks from the Bestiary and adventures with little tweaking required. While much material from the Fantasy AGE Companion has been updated and incorporated into the new Core Rulebook, Lairs and the Campaign Builders Guide remain quite useful for the Game Master.

We know Fantasy AGE fans have been waiting for the Core Rulebook for a long time, but now the hour is nigh! Thanks for all your support over the years. Your patience will soon be rewarded.

 

The AGE System is a Map

Nothing quite starts off a new year like a cryptic blog post title, so here we go! Seriously though, I’d like to chat about how I feel about what the Adventure Game Engine is as it now powers a wider array of games than ever: Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose, The Expanse, Cthulhu Awakens, and as per our recent announcement, The Fifth Season. And of course, it all goes back to its roots in the Dragon Age roleplaying game and Chris Pramas’s design.

Unfamiliar with the Adventure Game Engine? We’ve got you covered with our handy “What Is AGE?” primer!

The AGE System provides nearly infinite story opportunities and options!

I’m the Modern AGE developer, and that means taking an expansive view of the system that has come to be my default. This makes AGE something of a map: The system has “bare metal” mechanical features I can play with in a number of different ways. Very few things about the system are fundamental, but what is there—the fixed points on the map—help me answer questions about how a given instance of the game is supposed to work, and what the play experience should be like.

Are classes essential? Modern AGE proved they weren’t, but that protecting unique niches still mattered. Spending points on spells and other powers? Not essential, but a sign saying power should have some kind of cost.

The core of the AGE experience is something I like to call a “punctuated curve.” The core mechanics are 3d6 + modifiers versus a target number. 3d6 outputs a curve of results, where some numbers on the dice, in the middle of the range, are more likely than others. So, a character’s abilities are fairly reliable. But this sort of thing wouldn’t be especially cool without an additional element. In AGE, this is scoring doubles and generating stunt points. Thus, in the set of successful rolls there’s just under a 50% chance of a more interesting success.

This principle doesn’t tell us what a “more interesting success” is, and of course, that’s up to what stunts the player will pick—and stunts turn out to be something we can greatly customize by a game’s genre and setting. In Fantasy AGE Trojan War, divine stunts can be acquired with the help of the gods. In Cthulhu Awakens, certain stunts represent mind-melting insights won through exposure to the Mythos. The Expanse has stunts related to spacecraft.

But that point on the map can be zoomed in on, divided by area, and customized even further. Stunts represent exceptional results, but we can split them off from doubles. This is how we get the stunt attack mechanic in newer AGE rules sets, and how we use Bonds, where we add an opportunity to do amazing things because of a relationship or belief.

This is the kind of flexibility that lets AGE work for multiple games—we strip it down, see what remains, and it shows us what we can play with to address themes and play experience. While we sometimes do aim for cross-compatibility between games, we usually don’t fret that option A in one game contradicts B in another. You can pick and choose when crossing over. The point is to generate familiarity that lets you make your own crossovers and house rules, while presenting lots of readymade options to choose from.

What do you think is essential to the AGE system? What’s flexible? What should be one, not the other? Feel free to let us know!