Recent Chat Activity (Main Lobby)
Join Chat

Loading Chat Log...

Prefer not to see ads? Become a Community Supporter.
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Fantasy Craft, by Crafty Games

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Montgomery
    Posts
    483
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Fantasy Craft, by Crafty Games

    Ok, so really, where to begin? I guess a bit of history first: Fantasy Craft is a d20 OGL compliant RPG by Crafty Games, makers of Spycraft 2.0 (which as many of you know, is my self professed favorite RPG on the market). Following the success of Spycraft 2.0, Crafty began work on both Fantasy Craft, and a street crime/police game called 10,000 Bullets, both of which were slated to be Spycraft 2.0 products, with 10,000 Bullets due out back in 2007. 10,000 Bullets was pushed back, however, to put it on a new system which was being developed for Fantasy Craft, deemed MasterCraft, and is still scheduled to come out soon now that Crafty has finally released the flagship of this new game engine. So, for both a D&D fan, and a Spycraft fan, how does Fantasy Craft stack up? Well I'm glad you asked.

    Now, the hardcover version of the book isn't due out until October, but I was able to purchase the PDF through drivethrurpg.com. I had a bit of trouble with the purchase, but that wasn't Crafty's Fault, so I won't ding them for it, and I've never had any trouble with drivethrurpg.com for the three years I've been using them, so I'm willing to write it off as a fluke. The cost was 30$ on sale (normally 50$ I believe), and for 6$ more (normally 10$ I believe) I also picked up the first official campaign. I'll review that at a later date, but for now let's focus on the core book.

    For 30$ (or heck, even 50$), what you're getting is quite extensive. There's over 400 pages here, so it's not QUITE as think as the 500 page Spycraft book, but it's still fairly intimidating. Take heart, though, for in this one book is everything you need as a player, or as a GM, which is nice, and helps counterbalance the slightly above average price tag.

    First, let's talk production value. Firing up the PDF, you're greeted by a quite impressive bit of cover art. It's got quite a bit going on, and perhaps more than most covers (aside from probably the WoD core book) sets the tone for the game. There's blood and guts, monsters, violence, treasure... all seen from the apparent perspective of the inside of dragon's gaping maw.

    One disappointment I have in the production value side of the house was that most of the pages aren't in color. Sure, there's the occasional bit of text highlighted in red, but that's it. One of the benefits to Spycraft's PDF was it was completely colorized with colored art and (in a stroke of genius, imo) things such as they highlighted sections of the example character sheet, so you could see what parts were related, and at a glance look up what was supposed to go there. No such luck with Fantasy Craft.
    That said there is a ton of neat artwork in the book, so I can't complain. The game has a very stylized look that I am quite fond of, highly reminiscent of older D&D, and Warhammer.


    So let's go over the basics of the system. Character creation is very similar to Spycraft 2.0 in that you begin with your concept. From there you assign attribute scores (via point buy). You then select an Origin, which is a two parter: Race (of which there are 12), and Specialty (of which there are 36). Race is who you are, Specialty is what you have been trained to do. If you select human though, as humans are the most versatile race (per the standard fantasy trope), you have another list called Talents (of which there are 24), which replace your Race selection. Non-human races have some big advantages, but they also pick up some drawbacks. Human talents, on the other hand, are fairly universally positive, but not to the degree of the bonuses other races may receive. Specialties are all always positive. As far as races go, there's your standard humans, elves, dwarves, hobbits (called Pechs), Goblins, Giants, Ogres and Orcs, as well as Drakes (what the Dragonborn SHOULD have been), Rootwalkers (think like Ents in LotR), Unborn (mechanical constructs), and Saurian (think Lizardmen from Warhammer). Some of these races are Large creatures, too. However, the versatility of humans and the descriptions of the other races leads me to believe it is expected for MOST players to play humans. There may be another race or two represented, but for the most part, humans are going to be the staple race of the game. It's good to see humans being worth a damn in a fantasy RPG though... you always have to wonder how they tend to dominate the realm other than by GM Fiat, but not so here. Also of note, each Race has several subraces, which are accessed by the proper feats, only purchasable at creation.
    Level, independent of your class now steps in to assign action dice (which you can use to attack, damage, heal, defend, turn threats into critical successes, and turn enemy's errors into critical failures... I've discussed the basics of this system elsewhere, but if you're interested check here, and throughout this thread where I discuss them in terms of Spycraft They remain largely unchanged here), as well giving bonus weapon proficiencies (which you can use to purchase either proficiencies, or "Tricks", which are basically melee powers), and extra Feats, and Interests.
    Now you select your class. There's 12 Base Classes and 6 Expert Classes (attainable at level 5) included in this book, and a statement that more classes (and Master Classes, attainable at level 10) will be available in future supplements, so let's look at what we've got. There's your Soldier, your Mage, and your Priest, a combat leader style character called a Captain, and a really interesting sounding mounted combat specialist called a Lancer. Also, wow did the author of this book love him some rogues (There's an Assassin, Burglar, Explorer, and Scout, all of whom are focused on different elements of what you usually associate with rogue type characters). However just as Spycraft (contrary to its name) is not just an espionage game, but truly a replacement for d20 Modern, Fantasy Craft isn't content to be just a combat/dungeon crawler game either. There are several classes geared around conversation, such as the manipulative Courtier, or the crafting and loremaster called the Keeper.
    Next is skills. Skills operate much like they do in 3.5 D&D. The primary difference is that some extra uses of a skill are more codified than they are in D&D... for instance Intimidate has two codified uses: Browbeat (for use in getting someone to change their opinion of another), or Coerce (for use in getting someone to change their opinion of you and your actions). The benefit of this system is that you can have different error and threat ranges for specific sub skills (and the inclusion of more charts to assist the DM in rules arbitration), but the downside is a tad more book keeping for all. There's also a system in place for dividing your time between multiple skill checks (such as having to keep your balance while performing a heal check). There's also a retread of Spycraft's cooperation mechanic, and a simplified knowledge check. Other than that though, nothing TOO special here. The only other thing of note is the Spellcasting is a skill for arcane casters. More on magic later.
    Next is Feats. Like Spycraft before it, Fantasy Craft features a dizzying array of feats, and you acquire feats at a much faster rate than standard D&D. Many feats chain into others. One thing to note as a plus for Crafty: Feat chains are named so that they appear next to each other, in order in the alphabetical descriptions. X Basics, X Mastery, X Supremacy is the typical naming scheme. Feats provide one of the biggest ways to differentiate your character from others of his class.
    Lastly comes Interests. Interests mark your intellectual pursuits. They can be used to gain languages, or Studies, which help with related knowledge checks. You do not have to take all the Interests given to you, but you forever lose the slot if you forgo it.
    Now you derive your additional statistics. Then you're off to gear.

    Gear acquisition was always a weak point in Spycraft. It was unweildy, and though robust once you got the hang of it, it was certainly difficult to grasp for newcomers. Fantasy Craft makes some significant changes to the system, probably because your gear in Spycraft was a combination of your personal gear and issued gear, but in this game it is all personal gear. To illustrate this, there's a mechanic called Lifestyle. Lifestyle is made of two stats: Panache, and Prudence. Panache represents your ability to present yourself fashionably and acquire nice things. With a higher Panache, you receive bonuses to your Appearance, and Panache represents additional money you begin each adventure with. Prudence represents your ability to save money over time. Between adventures, characters are assumed to spend most of the money they made on the last one during their downtime. Prudence shows how much of that money you spend. For instance, say a party of two each receives a 1000 silver piece haul at the end of an adventure. Member 1 has a Prudence of 0, Member 2 has a Prudence of 5. After the adventure, the characters spend their month of Downtime until they decide to set off on their next adventure in a city. Member 1 will, at the end of the month, be down to 15% of his haul, leaving him with only 150 silver pieces. Member 2 would have 40% of his haul left, leaving him with 400 silver pieces.
    One thing about armor in this game... heavier armor can actually make you EASIER to hit. Armor's primary function is damage reduction.
    Gear is worthy of continued mention because, in a similar vein to how magic items in 4E D&D are templates over the standard weapon types, magic items in this system are also templates applied over standard weapons, though not quite in the same manner as 4E. Here, each individual bonus is applied bit by bit... This Longsword has, say, a fire aura, and boosts your Vitality by 10, and grants you the Quick Draw feat... each of those being an individually assigned template.

    So now we get into the nitty gritty, the game mechanics. In many ways, it's similar to 3.5 D&D, but in some key ways it's different. There's no attacks of opportunity, for one. Within your melee range you simply stop enemy movement unless they tumble past, or move slowly past in 5ft steps. There's several status effects as well, about on par with 4E, though fewer than Spycraft's over 40. Fantasy Craft also does not feature distinct move actions or standard actions.... there's simply full round, and half actions, and free actions. Some spells may take longer to cast than a full round as well. One neat thing is that you don't have to do a full round action as your whole turn. Say you make a half action move, then decide to make a full action skill check... the skill check simply takes your remaining half action this round, and your first half action next round.
    There's an enormous list of combat actions anyone can take, though they've fortunately included a summary of them all on the character sheet. There's also about 2 dozen "Tricks" which are basically melee powers that can be acquired by anyone who wants to learn them. There are also ranged and spellcasting tricks to be had as well.

    Magic. Here goes. Magic is fueled by a spell point system. Spells are gained mostly at character creation if you can cast them. Arcane Casters learn a number of spells equal to their Wisdom + Spellcasting Ranks (which, if their spellcasting improves, they gain more spells), however their Level indicates which of these spells they can cast. Based on the campaign type, the DM may let them select your spells, or may require them to roll for them. Magic is a skill check for Arcane Casters.
    Magic is quite different for Divine casters. Divine casters have Paths, which basically dictate their spells for them, and they have far fewer spells at a time than Arcane Casters. However, their spells are not their own, they are granted by a higher power, and as such can NOT fail.
    There are around 300 spells included in the book.

    Now the GM section. For GMs, the game is designed to be easy to create new and interesting things. NPCs are made in a similar manner to how they were in Spycraft. You assign Roman Numeral values to about a dozen stats, showing the person or creature's relative competence or ability. This is done without regard for player level. You then assign qualities to the character, such as "Flying", or "Treacherous" (which allows them to be capable of critical strikes).
    Now, when players reach this creature, you take into account their average level, and use that to guide you through a series of charts converting the Roman Numerals into actual number values for use in the game. While sounding clumsy, it is something that once you're used to, allows you to create an encounter without being sure what level the players will be when they get there while still knowing approximately how difficult it will be for them when they get there.
    There's a decent size bestiary included full of fantasy staples, and most brilliantly, a chart explaining how to convert monsters from any d20 or OGL supplement to the MasterCraft system.
    Also present is Spycraft's distinction between minions and special characters. Minions are supposed to be easy to kill, though they can pose a significant damage threat to the heroes. Special characters, however, are not nearly so easy to kill, and are a very significant threat to players.
    Campaigns are also managed via a slew of Campaign Qualities, which can be used to ramp up the grit or the high-magic heroism of your game, set the time and technology level of your world, and many other things. There are subplots which can be used basically as side quests for character development.

    There is also a very well written section, perhaps one of the best I've seen, on how to design a convincing world, how to create fun and interesting social and combat encounters, and how to create compelling games.

    I definitely give this game a hearty endorsement. I obviously haven't gotten a chance to play it yet, but I'll rectify this soon enough. Could this pull me, a long time D&D stalwart away from D&D? It looks probable, actually. I'm very impressed with the game all around. Forget Pathfinder, forget 4E. THIS is what D&D should have been.
    Last edited by korhal23; 08-11-2009 at 08:12 PM. Reason: minor typos
    Fighter: "I can kill a guy in one turn."
    Cleric: "I can kill a guy in half a turn."
    Wizard: "I can kill a guy before my turn."
    Bard: "I can get three idiots to kill guys for me."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Richardson
    Posts
    429
    Blog Entries
    5
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Heck yeah. That's what I call a review. And consequently, I'd play this game in a heartbeat.

    So, Korhal, have you had a chance to play Fantasy Craft yet? What precise improvements on 3.5 and 4e does the game make? For instance, what dice-throws are involved? How would the system compare to, say, Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion?
    There is no path, traveler; the path is made by walking.
    -Antonio Machado

  3. #3
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
    Undead Abomination
    Community Supporter
    Player/GM: Either
    LFG: LFG
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Under-Inland Empire
    Posts
    9,474
    Blog Entries
    3
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Thumbs up

    An incredibly awesome review, Korhal23. Thanks for the 411. I would definitely love to see more of this game and will keep an eye on releases. The HB version has made the top of my list of items to purchase in October, no question.
    Last edited by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon; 08-11-2009 at 09:38 PM.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Montgomery
    Posts
    483
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    No, Tam, I haven't gotten a chance to play yet. But, good news, a PbP just went up at
    http://www.penandpapergames.com/foru...296#post102296
    if you're interested. I flagged myself as interested over there. I'll also be trying to find a group to play around here though. We'll see how that goes. I'm unfamiliar with Savage Worlds Fantasy, so I can't speak to that. But what you have is basically a game of 3.5 D&D, with rules trimmed down to avoid the super crunchy side of 3.5, while having some powers similar to (but not quite like) there are in 4E. Propose a specific scenario, and I'll tell you how this game does it differently (or the same). There's enough similarities to D&D that it all feels immediately familiar, but there's enough differences that you'd have to spend a bit of time to become familiar with how Fantasy Craft does things.
    Fighter: "I can kill a guy in one turn."
    Cleric: "I can kill a guy in half a turn."
    Wizard: "I can kill a guy before my turn."
    Bard: "I can get three idiots to kill guys for me."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Monroeville
    Age
    35
    Posts
    977
    Blog Entries
    48
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I kinda like some of the stuff you are talking about in that system. Classes dedicated to conversation, ways to handle spending money during downtime, a robust list of feats with clear combinations, sounds like its a great system to me. Lot of way to build in more role playing aspects.

    D&D 4E started touching on that stuff with the skill challenges, but it sounds like it was more of a core concern in Fantasy Craft. I may need to get a copy of that and have a read. I've never played much D&D 3.5 and I haven't touched Spycraft so it'll be something new for sure.

    Thanks for the review! Its a pretty solid synopsis of things.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Montgomery
    Posts
    483
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Thanks guys Oh, one point I forgot to mention that was kind of a minor nitpick for me, Iconic Classes. Some of the non-human races have "Iconic Classes", which is this games version of Favored Class. If your highest leveled class is not one of your race's Iconic Classes, you start with two fewer action dice. Not a huge penalty, but just seems kind of unnecessary to me. But it's not a very harsh penalty so it won't stop someone who wants to be a different class, and it could easily be done away with for a campaign.
    Fighter: "I can kill a guy in one turn."
    Cleric: "I can kill a guy in half a turn."
    Wizard: "I can kill a guy before my turn."
    Bard: "I can get three idiots to kill guys for me."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Age
    23
    Posts
    6
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I'm not a D & D hater. In fact, I play D & D at least once a week. Still, it's nice to see a alternative fantasy game that focuses a little bit LESS on combat actions. Does the core book have any rules for custom rapid prototype figures or mini's? I really like using a hex map and mini's in my games. One of the things I actually liked about the new edition of D & D actually.
    _________________________________
    <3 good facebook statuses
    Last edited by RoleMaster91; 04-23-2012 at 10:20 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Warner Robins
    Age
    33
    Posts
    20
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Impressions of a D&D hater:

    No, that's not a typo. I've never particularly liked D&D, and getting to play it regularly for a couple years(with some d20 Modern here or there) has only made things worse. Between the class imbalance(spellcasters > everything else, always), the way feats are handled, trap options("it looked good in print; why does my character suck so much now?"), strange overpowered synergies, and more . . . yeah, never cared for it. The Paizo guys claimed to have dealt with a number of these things in Pathfinder, but they didn't, and in fact in a number of cases just made things worse. So that wasn't really an option.

    Then along came Fantasy Craft, and it blew me away. To my knowledge the folks at Craft Games never made promises of fixing any of the problems I've had with other d20 games -- they just did it and released their product and it was good! So here's a small list of things that really impressed me in Fantasy Craft.

    The way they handled feats.
    Chains go a maximum of 3 deep, and most feats are equally useful regardless of the level you get them at. And they're very well-balanced with each other as well. A knife specialist will have some handy tricks and bonuses that put them on part, albeit in a different way, to the spear specialist. That's just one example, but other feat types(Spellcasting, Covert, etc.) are handled similarly well.

    Broader classes. Because of proficiencies and interests, nobody is left out in the cold in any situation. Obviously a dedicated fighter is going to shine best in combat situations and a social specialist is going to shine in social situations, but everyone can at least contribute in all situations. Between the classes and specialties you can make a character for nearly any concept and have them be quite good at what they're intended to do without completely sucking in non-specialized situations. Even your mage is going to have a few proficiencies that he can use to pick up some tricks and stances, and a number of those have defensive applications as well so they synch up quite well with combat casting.

    Social characters don't suck. In D&D and most iterations of d20 that I'm familiar with, combat is everything(almost like the skill system was an afterthought). In Fantasy Craft, social characters have their own niche, but related to my point above they don't completely suck when they do find themselves in combat! Sure, they won't dish out the damage like a soldier, but they have social tricks that they can employ in combat. These mostly work by inflicting certain status effects -- enraging them, distracting them, intimidating them, etc. -- with some tricks that can even take enemies completely out of a fight if they fail their save(chances of that are low enough that they're not going to remove the need for actual damage-dealers, but high enough they they will still be considered a valuable addition to an adventuring party rather than dead weight most of the time).

    Magic / Melee balance. I know perfect balance isn't really possible, but Fantasy Craft comes pretty darn close. Both spellcasters and other combatants are useful, just in different ways. Tricks, stances, and the standard combat maneuvers give some nice versatility to dedicated physical fighters, whereas a more limited spell selection and a limited number of spell points(which refresh each encounter) keep the mage from totally dominating the battlefield(no more "why are we here again?" syndrome). The Mage in FC is also a little tougher and can participate in actual combat if it runs out of spell points w/o being a total liability, and it's a "skill monkey" class as well so can do stuff outside of combat pretty well, too. Most of the spells are combat-related, but given that you don't get a ton of them I'm not really sure how to change that so making the mage a highly-skilled class seems like a nice compromise I think.

    That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. I'm reading through this and loving it. It's totally not what I would have said I wanted if anyone had asked, but . . . it's hitting all of the right spots anyway. I can't recommend it enough.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Age
    23
    Posts
    6
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Geek, D & D tried to fix some of those problems by putting EVERYTHING in combat (social tricks) and making EVERYONE a spell-caster. I don't know if that's a fix or not for a social gamers (I would guess not), but they at least tried something new...
    _________________________________
    <3 good facebook statuses
    Last edited by RoleMaster91; 04-23-2012 at 10:19 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. [Crafty] Fantasy Craft: The Wait is Over
    By pkapera in forum News
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-10-2009, 04:36 PM
  2. [Crafty] Fantasy Craft - First Look
    By pkapera in forum News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-03-2008, 11:40 AM
  3. [Crafty] Fantasy Craft Art Preview!
    By pkapera in forum News
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-11-2008, 06:49 AM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-14-2007, 02:09 AM
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-07-2007, 04:49 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •