Recently I had the opportunity to interview the gentlemen behind Crafty Games, creators of “Spycraft”
and the “Master Craft.” Their latest effort is a fantasy RPG entitled “Fantasy Craft.” I asked for an early look at the work in progress for “Fantasy Craft” and Crafty Games kindly provided me with two, nearly complete chapters.
The first chapter “Chapter 2: Lore” gives some basic background about the dice mechanics of the game and the skill setup. There are strong echoes of the d20 OGL system, but with major changes. Some difference are the use of “action dice” to increase or decrease a good/bad dice roll. Each player has a finite pool of “action dice” to manipulate dice roles. These dice also re-roll on a “6,” (actually the highest number on the die, since some people use d8/d10 for their action dice) so the numbers can go ridiculously high with some luck. This mechanic places “Fantasy Craft” in the “cinematic” vein of gaming. Nothing is impossible, as long as you have some action dice remaining…and faith in your ability to roll “6s.”
Chapter 2 also covers skills, which use the usual d20 roll versus a difficulty number to determine success. The major difference here is an optional (but really cool, in my opinion) rule that allows different stats to to apply to different skills. A strong fighter uses strength for intimidation checks, but a honey-tongued bard might choose charisma. If I am reading it correctly, you can use any stat you like for any skill, as long as there is a story justification. I was always annoyed that to intimidate someone, you need social skills ie. charisma. Can’t a grunting, hulking thug intimidate without knowing the social graces?
“Chapter 5: Combat” is, unsurprisingly, all about the combat system. The combat round consists of flat-footedness/initiative/surprise rounds/combat rounds. Do not make the assumption that “Fantasy Craft” uses the d20 OGL system. Notably, there are no iterative attacks, attacks of opportunity and move/attack actions. Instead the system uses a simplified system of one “full action” or two “half actions” in any given round. Attacking is a half-action and moving is a half-action. In a single round a PC can attack twice, move twice or or any combination of the two. I liked this as it will cut down the time taken at high levels for combat. Fighters with five attacks really “hogged” game time under 3.5. Now that everyone has only two attacks at most (barring special abilities), combat should move along much faster.
As usual, hitting someone requires a high d20 roll, subject to additional action dice. Action dice also apply if you roll a failure (usually a 1) or a critical hit (20, of course) they manipulate the results. Adding critical failure as a combat result pleases me greatly. Rolling a “one” means you missed the attack. When the DM adds some action dice to that “one,” real fun ensues. Perhaps the DM rolls well with his action dice and a weapon breaks, the sure-footed hero trips or the villain receives reinforcements. Chaos makes for entertaining battles.
“Fantasy Craft” also distinguishes between combatants, standard and special. Standard characters are easy to kill and arrive in large numbers. Special characters are “real” NPCs with normal statistics and much harder to kill. I always enjoyed killing “mooks” in large numbers.
I do not want to go into too much detail about the combat system, but any OGL player will feel right at home. I should note that there are many additions that distinguish it from other OGL-based games. There are new conditions (fixated,) new types of damage (“stressed”) and actions (“taunt” and “anticipate.”) Overall, it looks like a fun system.
The production value of the raw pages I saw was excellent. Art is black and white, but well done. Even at this early stage the editing was very clean and typos minimal. I have a good feeling about this product.
I am looking forward to seeing the completed book (sometime next year.)
Trask, The Last Tyromancer