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A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Tablet Edition
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/16/2016 08:44:04

Opening with an Introduction that gives an overview of the adventure in which you are about to embark, the freedom and excitement of role-playing, taking control of your own character's destiny in a shared story, rather than watching or reading what others (writers, actors, directors...) have decided he should do; and explains the roles of Narrator (this game's term for the Game Master or GM) and players, then there's a brief overview of the contents of the book and we're off!

First up is an overview of the setting in Chapter 1: A Westeros Primer. If you are interested in this work you have probably read George R.R. Martins' novels or watched the TV show Game of Thrones already, but here's a fascinating account of the land and the people that dwell thereon from the pen of one Maester Jesiah - looking almost like an illuminated manuscript complete with the sigils of major houses. For this game is all about power struggles and intrigues - although there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to get more physical here as well - as the houses vie for power, position and perhaps the Iron Throne itself (which is said to be remarkably uncomfortable as a chair, whatever it might represent). The history is written from a standpoint of about the time the story in the novels begins... which may of course unfold quite differently in your hands.

The chapter continues with further notes. Knights are central to many of the stories told here, but they are by no means the only players in the Game of Thrones. Still, concepts of chivalry and the importance of rank and of bloodline run deep. There's an outline of how the land is governed and law works - mostly at the whim of whichever lordling is in control, by right of birth or of conquest, at that place. Details of technology, of religious beliefs, of the concept of knighthood as practised here, of maesters and more are also to be found in this chapter. Essential reading to give an overview of the setting.

Next, Chapter 2: Game Rules provides a look at the game mechanics underpinning A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. They are based around fists-full of d6s, with bonuses and modifiers as appropriate. Put simply, to attempt a task you decide which ability applies and use that to decide how many dice to roll - these are your Test Dice. If you qualify for a bonus, you get to add more dice to your roll, but then select the highest ones to the number of Test Dice you have. Modifiers are numerical additions or subtractions from the result achieved with the Test Dice. The aim is you test your abilities against a Narrator-set difficulty for the task you are trying to perform. That's the basics, and there are plenty of examples and special cases to show you how it all works. It's more straightforward than it looks at first glance, and soon becomes second nature.

We then dive straight in to characters, beginning with a series of archetypes for those who don't want to go through all the effort of creating one from scratch. These can of course be customised to suit your specific needs and desires. These come as Adults or Young Adults - youthful characters can be quite potent in the Game of Thrones, particularly if they are heirs to one of the houses. However, if you'd rather create your own character from the ground up, move on swiftly to Chapter 3: Character Creation and find out how it's done.

Now it gets interesting. The assumption is that the players get together and create members of a single noble house. Thus individual and group fortunes are tied together, success and failure affect everybody. So you start off by designing, as a group, your house and lands. Only then do you consider the role you wish to play in that house. In creating that character, first you decide his age (banded from youths under 9 to venerable people over the age of 80) and status (from 1-6). These can be chosen or rolled randomly as preferred, although it may be best if everyone uses the same method! Then you start fleshing out the character with things like the area of expertise you're after - Expert, Leader, Rogue, Schemer, or Warrior - backgrounds, goals, etc. Only then do you get to grips with determining abilities and other things that tie into the game mechanics directly. As everyone is affilitated to the same house, you'll need to ensure that all aspects you want are covered. High status comes at a price - rank is bought from the same pool of points as your other abilities! There is plenty of guidance - and lots of examples - to help you through the process.

The next couple of chapters - Chapter 4: Abilities and Specialities and Chapter 5: Destiny and Qualities - go into great depth about all the options available and how to use them to best effect once the game begins. Choose carefully, these are the building blocks upon which your character will stand or fall.

Then comes the fascinating Chapter 6: Houses and Lands. We've already touched on the notion that the default is a group of characters associated with the same house. Here we learn how to create, as a group, that house. It's recommended that you do this before you create individual characters, so that you'll already have an idea of the place into which each of them will have to fit - but others may prefer to create characters first and build a house around them, so do not feel constrained, pick whatever seems right for you as a group. You start by deciding where in the Realms you're based (or you can roll for it). The first time I did this, it was a cold day and we unanimously decided to build in the deserts of Dorne on account that it was warm there! There are lots of ideas and notes to help as the process continues, choosing resourcesm, determining the history of your house, and so on. Of course, some groups may choose to play individual characters without this common bond, others may prefer to represent a noble house apiece and vie with each other rather than with NPC nobles for power and status. It's up to you - but this is a good manual for designing houses, and indeed quantifying the existing ones too. And if you want to be the Starks or the Lannisters, go right ahead! There's even advice on choosing a motto (or 'Words' as they're known in Westeros) and a coat of arms for your house. Whilst in the books houses go for sigils and colours, here there's a primer on standard European heraldry to help you create a good-looking and effective coat of arms. The final step is to describe the household - some people will be your characters, but most will be NPCs, but you will know who they are and what they are like.

After Chapter 7: Equipment gets you all the stuff you need, there are separate chapters on the three ways your characters will interact with the world and everyone in it: Intrigue, Combat and Warfare. Each is a mix of ideas and concepts and the game mechanics you need to make them happen. Although it comes over as if you can reduce everything to rolls of the dice, these are the guidelines, the element of chance in an uncertain world - it's what your characters say and do that is important, and a good Narrator will focus on role-play, interactions and planning far more than the fall of dice.

Speaking of the Narrator, Chapter 11: The Narrator provides a wealth of material to aid him in designing and running adventures and campaigns. Ideas are presented in the way major characters in the novels embodied them, be it Lord Eddard Stark facing dilemmas, his wife Catelyn living up to expectations, Petyr Baylish's treachery or Ser Barristan Selmy showing the influence of history on the present... and there's more, of course. There's also detailed advice about making the rules work for your story.

Overall, it's a fine representation of the novels and TV show in game terms, with plenty to think about as you embark on the Game of Thrones! See if your house will become a power behind the Iron Throne or even see a member of it sitting there, or perhaps you will be safer but more obscure... but remember, Winter is coming!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Tablet Edition
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A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying: A Game of Thrones Edition
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/16/2016 08:42:22

This revised version of the A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying came about due to the increased popularity of George R.R. Martins' work brought about by the TV adaptation Game of Thrones. The core ruleset is unchanged, although errata have been applied. A short introductory adventure - the one from the Quick Start - and a longer one, Peril at King's Landing (also available as a separate book), are also included to get you off to a flying start. The artwork is even better than before, and overall presentation improved as well. The Introduction explains all this, as well as having the usual 'What is a role-playing game?' information.

Chapter 1: A Westeros Primer is concerned with the setting. It opens with notes from Maester Jesiah (looking almost as if he'd written them himself, illuminated manuscript style), which give an overview of the history, current affairs and geography of Westeros. Fascinating reading, followed by a set of notes on life in Westeros - the legal situation (mostly down to the whim of the local lordling although many take their responsibilities seriously), the current state of technology, religion, ending with knighthood and the role of the maester.

Next, Chapter 2: Game Rules covers the basics of how to play the game. The core game mechanic is based around fists-full of d6s, with bonuses and modifiers as appropriate. Put simply, to attempt a task you decide which ability applies and use that to decide how many dice to roll - these are your Test Dice. If you qualify for a bonus, you get to add more dice to your roll, but then select the highest ones to the number of Test Dice you have. Modifiers are numerical additions or subtractions from the result achieved with the Test Dice. The aim is you test your abilities against a Narrator-set difficulty for the task you are trying to perform. That's the basics, and there are plenty of examples and special cases to show you how it all works. It's more straightforward than it looks at first glance, and soon becomes second nature. This chapter ends with some character archetypes - use these as exemplars or even for your own character, or just as guidelines as you move on to Chapter 3: Character Creation.

The whole business of character creation is intended to be a communal effort, as the default mode of playing the game is for the characters to be all members of (or associated with) a single noble house. So in creating the character, you are also laying a lot of the groundwork towards designing a house (although that is covered in more detail in Chapter 6: Houses and Lands). Whilst Chapter 3 takes you through the process, Chapter 4: Abilities and Specialities and Chapter 5: Destiny and Qualities provide the fine detail of the choices that you need to make, and also explain how you use everything you pick to effect with the game mechanics. Well worth a good read through before you start off making your characters, a thorough understanding will aid you in creating potent characters which complement one another. Once you have done, Chapter 7: Equipment ensures your characters have everything that they need.

The next three chapters cover Intrigue, Combat and Warfare: the main occupations of the average noble house on Westeros. Each could be reduced to a series of die rolls, but of course - especially in the case of intrigue - there is plenty more scope than that, each of these activities has scope for ample role-playing with the dice merely adding the element of chance ito an uncertain world. It is the combination of players and Narrator that will bring the game to life with role-play, interactions and planning taking precedence over the fall of the dice.

Speaking of the Narrator, Chapter 11 is devoted to a masterclass in how to run the game with a wealth of material to aid you in designing and running adventures and campaigns. Ideas are presented in the way major characters in the novels embodied them, be it Lord Eddard Stark facing dilemmas, his wife Catelyn living up to expectations, Petyr Baylish's treachery or Ser Barristan Selmy showing the influence of history on the present... and there's more, of course. There's also detailed advice about making the rules work for your story, on managing play during sessions and so on.

The rest of the book contains the two adventures, being a Journey to King's Landing and Peril in King's Landing once you get there. They serve as a good introduction to Westeros and the game of thrones in general, and are good fun as the characters get involved in a tournament and all the intrigue going on around it. These will get your campaign off to a flying start, with plenty of scope for further development.

Set just before the time of the books (and TV show), make your own mark on Westeros. Perhaps it will be one of your characters that will sit on the Iron Throne - although be warned, it's said to be very uncomfortable!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying: A Game of Thrones Edition
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Night's Watch
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2016 08:50:24

Whilst all the noble houses are engrossed in the Game of Thrones - and those beholden to them get caught up in it, like it or not, especially when scheming turns to open skirmishing - there is one group that remains aloof, dedicated to a higher purpose. That purpose is the defence of Westeros from those that dwell in the far north, and that group is the Night's Watch. Clad in their distinctive black, they live an almost monastic existence - only men are accepted, and they are not permitted to marry - leaving home and family to serve until death on the Wall. This book contains all you need to know to create characters who are members of the Watch, run a Night's Watch campaign or otherwise have them feature in whatever is going on in your game.

The Introduction gives an overview of the Night's Watch and its role in Westeros society, and talks about how a Night's Watch campaign might appeal - especially to those who fancy exploration and combat (including combat against supernatural powers) over intrigue and scheming. There is a timeline showing the history of the Night's Watch and the Wall they are sworn to defend - it's been standing for over 8,000 years.

Then Chapter 1: The Night's Watch looks at every aspect of the organisation. It starts by looking at why anyone might take the black (as enlisting in the Night's Watch is commonly termed) - some by choice and some perforce... it is often offered to convicted criminals as an alternative to execution. One of the few truly egalitarian organisations in Westeros, it's somewhere that you prosper by your own merits alone without reference to your birth or status. Some younger sons who feel they'll never get a chance at heading up their house take this route, but so do some smallfolk who reckon they have the capability to be knights but lack the social standing. It can also provide better prospects for a bastard son than remaining at home ever could in the fiercely dynastic society of Westeros.

Once arrived all potential recruits undergo a common training. No matter where they come from or what their background might be, they learn to use a longsword and a heavy shield. Only those who were annointed knights before taking the black are excused - and they are expected to teach their martial skills to others. Only once a recruit has passed this basic training does he swear his oath - by the deities of their choice, there is a sept and a godswood available - and become a sworn brother of the Night's Watch. Then they are assigned to one of the various branches of service. Rangers go out into the wilderness north of the Wall, exploring and patrolling. Stewards practise crafts, hunt, farm and undertake administrative duties. Builders look after the fabric of the Wall itself, and of the castles built along its length.

Next we read ideas for running a Night's Watch campaign, beginning with some plot seeds to enliven the journey north and the training period should you decide to begin with the party having just decided (or been forced) to take the black. This is followed by a considerable amount of detail about the three branches, peppered with sample characters, and a look at society amongst the Watch and the ways in which they perceive status - seniority, length of service and accomplishment. The few actual offices - Lord Commander and the Firsts of each branch - are elected for life. There's quite a bit about desertion as well, more common than you might imagine given that it carries a death sentence. Notes explain how to incorporate this aspect into a more conventional game as a deserter or the Sworn Brothers chasing him interact with the party's house. The rest of the chapter covers creating specifically Night's Watch characters from scratch, as well as some archetypes to start you off, serve as exemplars or to use if you're in a hurry. Use these in conjuction with the regular rules to create characters best suited to take the black. There are also notes about creating castles along the Wall, perhaps to serve as your party's base of operations.

Moving on to Chapter 2: The Wall and the Gift, we read about the Wall in more detail - its history, what it's like and even how to get over it, not to mention defending it and the castles dotted along its length. Chief of these is Castle Black, the Night's Watch headquarters. Plenty of detail here to make it come to life in your game. Most of the others are abandoned, but there are short notes about each which may be expanded if you decide to reactivate them. Then we learn about the Gift, land immediately south of the Wall granted to the Night's Watch to enable them to be self-supporting. This chapter also contains information about day to day life and several mini-adventures based on ranging, as the patrols of the rangers are known, and other aspects of Night's Watch life.

Chapter 3: Beyond the Wall looks at those who live north of the Wall and the terrain in which they live. Read about the Free Folk and their society, the giants who ally with them, and the King-beyond-the-Wall who leads them, as well as other clans found in the frozen wastes. The geography is explained (as much as it is known...), and all the resources needed to create Wildling characters of your own are provided. You can also create entire tribes. Notes on combat beyond the Wall and the environmental hazards are followed by a selection of scenario ideas covering life amongst the Free Folk.

Finally Chapter 4: Lords of the Long Night addresses the Others, supernatural beings thought by some to be mere legend but who - as winter approaches - are beginning to appear again. There are more scenario ideas, but a word of warning: unlike virtually everthing else in this game, this section draws more on the authors' imaginations than the setting provided by George R.R. Martins! Purists may wish to leave this aside, others may find it a logical and worthwhile expansion - up to you to decide.

Overall, this book brings the Night's Watch to life and provides loads of scope for adventure. My only complaint is that venturing this close to the Wall is too darn cold!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night's Watch
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A Song of Ice and Fire Chronicle Starter
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/11/2016 09:04:32

Central both to the books of George R.R. Martin and the TV show, and hence to the game as well, are the noble houses and the never-ending dance of the Game of Thrones. Although there's a lot of support in the core rulebook for the process of creating your own houses to provide an original focus for your game, it can be quite a daunting prospect. This book is in effect a worked example of the house creation process, and can fill many roles. Perhaps you like one of these houses well enough to take it on as your own. Perhaps the Narrator will use all or some of them as the other houses with which yours interacts. There is also an expansion of the Riverlands region, where it is assumed that these houses are to be found - although only one actually holds allegiance to the Tullys who rule over them. Maybe at this time of relative peace they don't mind too much! Finally, there's a plotline to kickstart a new chronicle and enable your new house to make a start at making their mark on Westeros.

The houses and their allegiances are: Barnell (which looks to the Starks), Bartheld (Baratheon), Dulver (Lannister), Kytley (Frey), Marsten (Arryn) and Tullison (Tully). In many ways it is the houses, rather than individuals, who are the players in the Game of Thrones, and these house provide ample scope. They are, however, all quite nice... nicer than many (most?) of those found in the books, although there is a note with each one about how to run them in a darker manner if so wished. For each house there is a history, their arms and words, a stat block and information on their holdings, style and much, much more. There are detailed notes on persons of note in each house (including full character stat blocks) with plenty of background to enable you to bring them to life. Mostly they hang together well - even if Bartheld appears to think it's called Hart House half the time, Hart House being the name of their principle residence but it comes over rather confusing! - and the characters are interesting and well-developed. Plenty of scope here...

The middle section of the book is devoted to the Riverlands, presenting corners of the region suitable for annexation by a house of the group's own devising if they don't want to play any of the ones provided. There's also the delightful Market Town, determined to live free of noble influence, serving as neutral territory and home to many a scheme and plot. There are also various traditions, events and locations suitable for incorporation into whatever is going on in your game. Each listing is replete with interesting characters and other snippets poised to breathe life into proceedings, as well as many ideas for plots.

Finally there is the Iron Plot. This is an adventure that begins in the party's own house, but takes the characters far afield about the business of the house's liege lord. It can serve as an introduction to a whole series of adventures, a jumping-off point for your whole chronicle. It also provides opportunities to introduce some of the major players in Westeros, the ones well-known from the books or TV screen, into your game, rubbing shoulders - crossing swords or wits even - with members of the party. Part of the adventure involves investigating another house, and two options are provided for the target house - both ones listed in this book. but of course the party may be part of one of them. It all ends, of course, with a good brawl... but one which leaves as many questions as it answers, great scope for further adventure.

This is indeed a shining example of what you can do with this ruleset - a resource you can mine or just an exemplar for your own creations, but well worthy of being picked up by any Narrator.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Song of Ice and Fire Chronicle Starter
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Cosmic Handbook
by Colin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/29/2016 13:03:53

Great expansion on cosmic games and the future state of the Freedom Universe.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Handbook
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Cosmic Handbook
by Paul M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2015 16:23:57

Fantastic source material and very creatively written! Funny, informative. I especially enjoyed the lead into the cosmic genre in the different ages of comics.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #2: Eclipse Syndicate
by William R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2015 15:17:38

The Ellipse Syndicate is an interesting idea for a team of villains as in a way they are sympathetically written while still being self-centered and criminal at the same time. My only real complaint is has more to do with their creator (who was, I assume, made up for this product) who has no connection to the established Freedom City setting - I feel that there are characters who have already been presented that could have filled that role and really tied the Eclipse Syndicate more into the overall setting.

But otherwise I'm looking forward to introducing them in my own game soon!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #2: Eclipse Syndicate
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Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #11: Alchemistress
by William R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2015 15:13:31

An interesting character overall, Alchemistress might perhaps have better developed connections to the overall Freedom City setting by perhaps being made part of an already established super villain group rather than being a solo villain.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #11: Alchemistress
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Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #4: Purple Haze and Scarlet Mist
by William R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2015 15:12:02

As usual Green Ronin has made some very interesting NPCs to be used in the Freedom City setting. With ties to a character that has long been ignored for the most part and connections to an apparent revival of a previously mentioned other character that might be released at a later date (at least that's how I read the references), Purple Haze & Scarlet Mist can be a useful pair of characters that PCs can deal with several times and never be bored given their power sets and personalities.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #4: Purple Haze and Scarlet Mist
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Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
by Matthew D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/04/2015 22:41:33

I'm writing this review about 2 hours after completing our first game using the Fantasy AGE system. We played the starting adventure in the back of the book. The entire session lasted about 5 hours, including character creation and some heavy role-playing in the beginning to get used to the system.

Some general comments and thoughts:

-Character creation was pretty straight forward. There were four players and they took about 15-20 minutes make characters. All were experienced role-payers, but none had played Fantasy AGE prior to tonight. -Any confusion or ambiguity in the rules was easily explained with the short glossary or a quick index check -The pdf file was nice. Bookmark links worked. Index page links worked.

-Role-playing was smooth, with things like persuasion or empathy checks being completed easily -Everybody loved the Stunt mechanic. It added much fun and variety to the game.

-Combat clipped along, never felt like it was lagging. Players commented after the game that they really noticed how fast and smoothly turns progressed and the rounds flew by -We used Spellsheets for the casters that I found online that had all spells (with stats, cost, TN, etc.). None of the casters took much longer than other players. Everything was simple and straight-forward for magic-users. -Before the game, I had printed several copies of the combat/spell stunt tables and major/minor action lists for the players reference. It made things much easier for everybody.

Overall, I feel this was a fun system for a quick pick-up game, a one-shot, or short campaign. It's perfect for introducing people to table-tops for the first time. I have reservations about how efficient or easy this will remain for a longer or deeper game. It seems like it could fall apart or burn out at higher levels, but I guess we'll have to keep playing and find out. For now, we love it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
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Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #9: Pandemic
by Dominique S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/01/2015 19:43:16

Pandemic is another release in the Green Ronin Games line of Rouges Gallery character supplements. As with other releases in the series, this entry contains information on the character’s background and origin; his personality; and overview of his powers; his enemies; and a plot hook for GMs. There’s also a brief side bar with a warning for GMs on potential problems his power set could cause. Due to his rather unique powers, things could become quite ugly for PCs if they’re not careful when dealing with him.

Pandemic has got to be one of the more original characters appearing in the Emerald City campaign setting. He’s a former research scientist, searching for possible cures to various super diseases. Unfortunately for him, expose to alien DNA had some serious side effects, which resulted in him being transformed into a walking plague. He’s dangerous, very dangerous, as his abilities make him highly contagious. PCs would be well advised to take extreme care when dealing with him

I like this guy. He’s got a distinct look and feel to him, that’s rather unique. His powers, if used as written, will provide for some interesting game play, especially if one or more of the PCs, or someone close to them, becomes infected. I’m giving this one 5 out of 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #9: Pandemic
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Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
by Roger (. L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/26/2015 02:57:48

http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2015/09/26/rezension-fantasy-in-gruen-fantasy-age/

Nach dem großen Erfolg von Dragon Age als Tischrollenspiel bringt uns Green Ronin die zugrundeliegende Würfelengine generisch überarbeitet als Fantasy AGE, und Wil Wheaton hyped gleich heftigst mit. Oliver fühlt sich stark an seinen persönlichen Favoriten D&D5 erinnert – mit ein paar netten Zusatzelementen, die den Kampf und die Würflerei beleben.

Rezension: Fantasy in Grün – Fantasy AGE

Seitdem Wil Wheaton seine Titansgrave-Kampagne angefangen hat, findet man das zugrundeliegende Regelwerk Fantasy AGE jeden Tag auf den vorderen Verkaufsrängen bei RPGNow. Einen besseren Start hätte sich die generische Variante des Dragon Age-Tischrollenspiels kaum wünschen können. Was also hat dieses schlanke und dennoch relativ vollständige Regelwerk zu bieten? Die Spielwelt

Fantasy AGE ist die Veröffentlichung der AGE-Regelengine ohne ein großes beigefügtes Setting. Es soll sich für 08/15-Fantasy eignen und bringt darum auch nur die typischen EDO-Rassen mit. Wer ein AGE-angepasstes Setting will, sollte zu Dragon Age, Midgard, Blue Rose oder Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana greifen.

Die Regeln

Die Probe in Fantasy AGE ist einfacher Wurf gegen einen dem SL bekannten Zielwert. Hierbei werden 3W6 geworfen und zwei weitere Modifikatoren hinzuaddiert: das Attribut und der Focus.

Attribute rangieren zu Beginn von -2 bis zu +5. Sie werden direkt auf die passenden Würfe aufgeschlagen und drücken die generellen Fähigkeiten einer Spielfigur in neun Bereichen aus: Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Constitution, Communication, Perception, Willpower, Fighting und Accuracy.

Foci stellen das Fertigkeitensystem dar. Bis einschließlich Stufe 10 darf man einen Focus nur einmal erwerben, er verleiht in dem betreffenden Skill einen Bonus von +2. Erwirbt man ihn ab Stufe 11 ein zweites Mal, so gibt es einen fixen Bonus von +3.

Typische Proben in Fantasy AGE wären zum Beispiel Tests auf Constitution (Stamina) oder Dexterity (Acrobatics). Das bedeutet, dass man das entsprechende Attribut zum Wurf hinzuaddiert. Den genannten Focus auch – aber nur wenn die Spielfigur diesen auch erworben hat.

Zielwerte rangieren von 7 bis 21. Da ein Wurf von 3W6 statistisch gesehen Ergebnisse im Bereich von 9 bis 12 beim Wurf am wahrscheinlichsten macht, kann man auch ungefähr davon ausgehen, dass man eine Schwierigkeit von 11 + Attribut + Focus sehr gut schaffen kann. Anders als beim W20-Wurf sind extreme Ergebnisse unwahrscheinlich bis sehr unwahrscheinlich.

Beim Kampf ist der zu übertreffende Zielwert hingegen 10 + Dexterity + Schild. Da der Schildbonus nur von +1 bis +3 variiert, kommt es hauptsächlich auf die Geschicklichkeit des Ziels an, wie leicht es zu treffen ist. Haben der Angreifer und der Verteidiger ähnlich hohe Werte in relevanten Attributen, ist der Treffer ein sehr wahrscheinliches Ereignis.

Die Basis-Regeln (ohne Charaktergenerierung) für Kampf und Proben passen auf elf Seiten. Der Systemkern selbst ist schlank und gut verständlich.

Ein echtes Umdenken ist hier meiner Meinung nach für D&D-Spieler nicht nötig. Die Unterschiede in der Basis-Engine von Fantasy AGE zu gängigen D&D-Varianten und -Derivaten sind marginal. Das muss nicht schlecht sein. Die Einarbeitung ist sicherlich für Spieler dieser Systeme gering – ein attraktiver Markt für einen Verlag, und Green Ronin hat sich ja auch in der d20-Ecke reichlich herumgetrieben. Umgekehrt macht Fantasy AGE auch im Detail vieles anders, und wenn es denn auch nicht der große, neue Systementwurf sein mag, so ist es doch eine reine Geschmacksfrage, welchem System man letztlich den Vorzug gibt. Stunts

Stunts sind bei bestimmten Wurfergebnissen möglich und sind ein Alleinstellungsmerkmal der AGE-Engine. Alle Proben werden mit 3W6 absolviert, wobei einer der Würfel als „Stunt Die“ erkennbar sein muss – also durch anderes Design oder andere Farbe. Der Stunt Die bestimmt nicht nur den Erfolgsgrad einer Probe (je höher desto besser, später auch modifiziert): Zeigen zwei der Würfel in der Probe die gleiche Augenzahl, so generiert die Probe auch so viele Stunt-Punkte wie die Augenzahl des Stunt Die.

Hierfür kann man Stunts kaufen. Im Kampf sind das Manöver, die mehr Schaden oder andere Effekte bewirken. Bei Proben außerhalb des Kampfes kann man sich gemäß einer Optionalregel auch Zusatzeffekte aus einer Tabelle kaufen. Durch Talente kann man die Stunt-Punkt-Kosten bestimmter Manöver senken oder weitere mögliche Stunts über die Standardauswahl hinaus erwerben. Vor allem der Kampf gewinnt dadurch an Spannung. Außerdem ist dieses System besser für 3W6 geeignet als zum Beispiel die Extremwerte 3 oder 18 als Auslöser für besonders gelungene Aktionen zu verwenden, die statistisch eh nur einmal alle 216 Würfe vorkommen.

Stunts eignen sich auch, um Monsterpowers abzubilden:

Eine Medusa kann Stunt-Punkte dazu einsetzen, Gegner ihrem versteinernden Blick auszusetzen. Dies kostet 2 SP pro Gegner. Es kommt zu einem vergleichenden Wurf zwischen der Kreatur und dem Charakter. Versagt der Spieler, erhält die Spielfigur 4W6 Schaden und Abzüge von -2 auf alle Aktionen bis zur nächsten Rast. Fällt man durch diesen Schaden auf 0 Trefferpunkte wird die Spielfigur versteinert.

Hier zeigt sich auch gleich, wie ähnlich sich Fantasy AGE und D&D5 in vielen Designaspekten sind. Der vergleichende Wurf ersetzt den D&D-typischen Rettungswurf. Auch viele Monster aus dem D&D5 Monster Manual bewirken sofortigen Tod oder andere extreme Effekte nur dann, wenn sie die Spielfigur auf 0 Trefferpunkte drücken.

Magie Fantasy AGE unterscheidet nicht zwischen Klerikern und Magiern, sondern bietet nur eine Klasse Zauberwirker an – den Mage. Nur diese Basisklasse darf magische Talente erwerben, die wiederum den Zugang zu den Zaubersprüchen darstellen.

Gezaubert wird hierbei ganz einfach – man muss einen Intelligenzwurf ausführen. Hat man den Focus einer bestimmten Magieschule erworben, kommt der mit +2 auch noch drauf. Übertrifft man die Zielzahl des Zaubers, so gelingt er. Zum Spruchwirken muss man Magiepunkte ausgeben, die man mit der Zeit wieder regeneriert. Diese sind auch perdu, wenn man den Zauberwurf versiebt. Dafür kann man beim erfolgreichen Wirken eventuell die Kosten durch Stunt-Punkte drücken.

Die Spruchauswahl ist stark beschränkt. Alle Sprüche sind fix durch die Magieschule festgelegt, man hat also nur die Wahl, welche Schule man durch ein Talent erwirbt und zu welchem Grad. Es gibt drei Grade. Auf dem ersten erhält man zwei Sprüche und für die beiden anderen Grade je einen. Man beginnt das Spiel mit zwei Anfängertalenten und somit insgesamt vier Sprüchen. Je nachdem, wie man steigert, können das bis Stufe 5 maximal acht (leichtgewichtige) Sprüche werden. Steigert man eine Schule gezielt auf den höchsten Grad, kann man einen Hammerspruch wirken, dafür kennt man aber insgesamt nur sechs Sprüche. 9 Seiten reichen hiermit auch, die gesamte Spruchauswahl im Grundbuch abzudecken.

Charaktererschaffung

Die Charaktererschaffung setzt sich aus den folgenden Schritten zusammen: Man erwürfelt die neun Attribute. Ein simples Kaufsystem ist optional. Man wählt eine Rasse. Man darf dann aus zwei Foci wählen, ein Attribut um 1 erhöhen, außerdem gibt es rassenspezifische Spezialfähigkeiten wie Dunkelsicht. Zusätzlich darf man noch zweimal auf einer ebenfalls rassenspezifischen Tabelle weitere Boni erwürfeln. Zwei Würfe bestimmen die soziale Klasse und die Ausbildung des Charakters, zusammen bilden diese den Hintergrund der Spielfigur. Jeder Hintergrund hat zwei Foci zur Auswahl. Danach wählt man eine der drei Klassen: Mage, Rogue oder Warrior. Diese legen bis zur 20. Stufe fest, welche weiteren Fähigkeiten und Talente man pro Aufstieg erwerben darf. Auf Stufe 1 erwirbt man die Standardfähigkeiten der Klasse wie Zaubern oder die Fähigkeit, Rüstung ohne Abzüge zu tragen.

Damit sind die eigentlichen, für die Attribute wichtigen Schritte auch schon vollzogen. Warum man sich bei der all der Würflerei vorher schon sein Charakterkonzept überlegen soll, ist mir schleierhaft. Da man nach Standard eh keine Auswahl beim Hintergrund hat, ist das etwas hanebüchen, aber naja. Es liest sich gut.

Interessant wird das Ganze beim Stufenanstieg. Die Klasse legt nicht nur spezifische Aufstiegspfade, sondern auch vier primäre und fünf sekundäre Attribute fest. Auf jeder Stufe darf man einen neuen Focus wählen und ein Attribut erhöhen – wobei das bei sehr hohen Werten teurer wird. Hierbei darf man auf geraden Stufen aus den primären Attributen und ihren Foci wählen und bei ungeraden aus den sekundären. So rundet sich der Charakter mit vielfältigen Attributen und Fertigkeiten ab und so wird auch das Powergaming begrenzt. Zusätzlich gibt’s noch mehr Treffer- und Magiepunkte.

Auf den Stufen 4, 6 und 8 darf man eine erste Spezialisierung wählen und sie auf den höchsten Grad steigern, auf den Stufen 12, 14 und 16 eine zweite. Beispiele für Spezialisierungen sind Attentäter, Wunderwirker oder Scharfschütze – sie kommen den Prestigeklassen aus D&D3 oder den Heldenklassen aus Dungeonslayers nahe. Es gibt also reichlich am Charakter zu entwickeln und zu individualisieren.

Spielbarkeit aus Spielleitersicht

Der SL-Teil des Buchs ist mit 39 Seiten sehr dick, insbesondere gemessen an der Gesamtzahl von 145 Seiten. Meiner Meinung schon eher zu dick, zumal es deswegen im Anschluss nur für 14 Monster und vier Seiten magischer Gegenstände reicht. Bei einem D&D-ähnlichen Spiel ist das ein Totalversäumnis, und es steht zu hoffen, dass Settingbände oder eine Monstersammlung diesen Missstand ausgleichen.

Insgesamt ist die dargereichte Information sehr gut aufbereitet und sollte SL-Novizen einiges an Handreiche bieten, um gute Spiele zu leiten. Bei den zwei Seiten zum Thema Gefahren und Fallen hat man sich dann jedoch nicht mit Ruhm bekleckert. Regeltechnisch reicht dies völlig aus, nur bleibt es einem dann selbst überlassen, Fallen und Gefahren auszugestalten. Drei Beispiele mit je einem Absatz sind doch eher wenig.

Am Ende enthält das Buch ein Minisetting und Abenteuer mit einem Dutzend Seiten Umfang.

Die Regelengine hingegen leitet sich mit vielleicht zwei Blatt Papier zum Spicken (Stuntlisten) ohne Probleme. Was will man mehr?

Spielbarkeit aus Spielersicht

Das größte Problem für Spieler dürfte der unzureichende Charakterbogen sein. Es wird wohl den Fans überlassen sein, einen besseren zu entwickeln, auf dem all die Spezialisierungen, Talente und Foci übersichtlich und mit ihren Graden Platz haben. Der im Buch enthaltene taugt jedenfalls nichts.

Ansonsten gilt das selbe wie für den SL: Eine knackige Engine, leicht einzuüben.

Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis

Knapp über zehn USD pro 100 Seiten – das Buch liegt meiner Meinung nach gerade noch im grünen Bereich, was die Bepreisung angeht. Das hochwertige PDF mit Bookmarks wird dem Anspruch an ein solches Produkt jedenfalls gerecht.

Spielbericht Ohne Testspiel.

Erscheinungsbild

Das Layout ist schlicht, übersichtlich und augenfreundlich. Informationen und Tabellen wurden übersichtlich gestaltet und dargestellt, die Textmenge pro Seite geht auch vollkommen in Ordnung. Stimmungsvolle Illustrationen sind vorhanden, wenn auch nicht auf jeder Seite. Index, klickbares Inhaltsverzeichnis, Bookmarks – das ist weitestgehend Stand der Technik im PDF.

Bonus/Downloadcontent

Die Homepage von Green Ronin behandelt das neue Produkt sehr stiefmütterlich. Also fast gar nicht.

Fazit

Fantasy AGE erinnert mich sehr stark an D&D5. Es hat eine schlanke, leicht einzuprägende Engine. Ich finde es sogar so ähnlich, und auch in so hoher Qualität ausgeführt, dass ich ihm die selbe Note logischerweise nicht vorenthalten kann – der klare Daumen nach oben. Es ist meiner Auffassung nach letztendlich Jacke wie Hose, ob man D&D5 oder Fantasy AGE spielt. Unterschiede existieren nur im Detail und beide wollen wohl die genau gleiche Zielgruppe ansprechen.

Daher bleibt es wohl den Settings überlassen, welchem System man den Vorzug gibt. D&D5 eignet sich halt hervorragend zum Bespielen der 40 Jahre Altlasten. Die AGE-Engine muss sich mit Dragon Age und anderen oben genannten Settings aber auch vor niemand verstecken.

Das Gesamtprodukt wirkt jedenfalls rund und man kriegt Regel- und SL-Teil in einem Produkt. Es müssen halt nicht immer 300+ Seiten sein! Sowohl Einsteiger als auch alte Haudegen werden mit Fantasy AGE Spaß haben – auch wegen den Stunts, denn die verleihen einer bewährten Formel ganz neue Würze.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
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Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #2: Eclipse Syndicate
by Dominique S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2015 09:36:48

The Eclipse Syndicate is the only group entry, so far, in Green Ronin Games line of Rouges Gallery supplements. Like other entries in the series it consists of several standard subsections dealing with the group’s history, motivations/goals, their tactics, and resources available to the team, before delving into descriptions of individual team members.

As far as content goes, the Eclipse Syndicate consists of four members, all female, each being a clone, but with a distinctly different power set. With the exception of one member, they’re all PL10 characters, who can easily be dropped into any ongoing campaign. The group makes its living acting as super powered muscle for hire, and fill out that role nicely.

My one complaint, and it’s no fault of the writer, is that I feel that this should have been a slightly larger product, with some additional info on the members of the team. Coming in at 5 pages, with only 3 pages devoted to actual content, it feels a bit “cramped”. I’d have gladly paid extra for the additional content. Don’t get me wrong, I like the supplement I just wanted a bit “more” from it.

Overall, I’m giving this one four out of five stars.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #2: Eclipse Syndicate
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Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #8: Arctic Fox
by Dominique S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/21/2015 23:59:16

I'll start this one off by stating that I have soft spot for super soldier themed characters, but with that said, I love the concept for this guy. Like the other entries in Green Ronin's Rouges Gallery line of releases, Arctic Fox is laid out in standardized format, consisting of the character's backstory, info on his personality, a brief overview of his powers/abilities, as well as a few notes on potential allies and any enemies he may face. All followed up with a few plot hooks to kick start the GMs creative juices. There's also a bit of fiction tossed in, in the form an email from an AEGIS special agent concerning Arctic Fox's run in with military personnel.

As far as Artic Fox goes, he's a grizzled old Cold Warrior. A former Soviet super soldier now in semi-retirement, who mainly takes on contracts to support his family. But don't let his age fool you, this guy is tough. As in Taskmaster or Deathstroke: the Terminator tough. In addition to superhuman levels attributes, he's got a small arsenal of advanced weaponry to call on. I could easily see him being used by a GM for a recurring character in a campaign.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I really like this guy, and highly recommend you check him out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Rogues Gallery #8: Arctic Fox
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Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
by Philip T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2015 16:08:08

Fantasy AGE provides a simple rules system with a lot of flexibility and just enough crunch for those who want to get stuck into it. Character creation takes 10 minutes or so, with the familiar staples of earlier Fantasy games and reminiscent of D&D 3/3.5; even for folks new to tabletop, it will all be smooth and easy. Using D6s makes entry into the game easy, since everyone has some lying around. Although three base classes seems stingy, it's the variables for Background, Focuses and other character traits that makes a PC stand out from the herd. Add the Stunt system to the mix and you have a unique character that feels like they can make their mark on a campaign. The GM section lays out the basics in simple format. Fantasy AGE is generic, so a great deal of the GM section is dedicated to creating a campaign world, and provides some good, solid advice and a range of perspectives. A small Bestiary rounds it out with most of the Fantasy stereotypes, from Goblins to Dragons, and the humanoid monsters can easily be converted into base player races with only a little effort. What lets it down some is the order of things. For someone who has spent time with established, refined systems and source materials, the greatest improvement to be made for Fantasy AGE would be in the provision of Appendices for all these easy-look-up tables. Even as a seasoned player and GM, there was a lot of flicking back and forth between Chapters, and several important tables or references are tricky to find. The order of components isn't as fluid or refined as other products. The PDF compounds the issue slightly with fairly haphazard bookmarks.

Pros: Simple system. Flexiblity. Stunts. Supporting Community on GR Forums and Google+. Cons: Poor flow. Bad Bookmarking.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
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