05 September 2014

Moving to FantasyCraft

I've started playing FantasyCraft. If you haven't heard of it, it's pretty simple: imagine that instead of going in a strange new direction with 4th edition, they took the diseased and horrible corpse of 3rd edition and rifled through its pockets for a good system. Imagine they looked at what they did wrong, and actually thought about ways to make it work the way they pretended it did. Imagine they thought of ways to make it less complex and give more character options, and separated your character's niche from what they do in combat. Imagine feats were good. Pretty neat, right? That's FantasyCraft.

It's not a perfect system by any means- character creation takes a long time, and you can get stuck with analysis paralysis if you're not careful. NPCs can be a little detailed if you want to use the full weight of the system, and the rulebook's organizational choices leave a little to be desired.

But once you learn it, what a system it is! I've never seen a crunchy system that actually enhances the fluff before. I think a large part of it is that it's easy to be broadly good at the sort of things your character ought to be good at, and since the classes and feats work together to flesh out a concept, you're free to do anything you'd like. A Burglar can pick up unarmed combat feats and be a ninja, or take Chance feats and be a Bilbo Baggins "lucky number" or style feats and be a King of Thieves. And so on. Armor isn't essential for character survival anymore, and wizards can wear it if they want. Personal Lieutenant, Followers, and berserker rage are feats that can be taken by anybody. It's seriously cool.

So I've been pretty excited about that.

I can't remember if I've said anything yet, but Dungeon World is on hiatus for the moment- it's a pretty good system and it's a lot of fun to run things and to make things up, and it's awesome that high level characters are about as powerful as lower leveled ones, but characters level up fairly quickly and start doing a lot of damage and being very resilient, so the fluff doesn't quite meet the crunch after a while. I get that you're just supposed to say "no" when characters are trying to things that are impossible, but after a while it's either "no, you can't do that" or "you guys deal 300 total damage per round." It's not fun to stop characters from doing things they're good at, you know?

So we dropped it for now. No plan on checking out V. Baker's own fantasy-styled Apocalypse World; it seems neat enough from what I've read but it's not at all the sort of fantasy that I'm interested in exploring. Sorry guy!

Anyways, I'll write up a summary of what happened last Sunday tomorrow, maybe; this post is long enough as it is.


  1. I've been tempted to pick this up a few times but I never have...

    1. I'm enjoying it so far and my players seem to be positive about the system as a whole, but we're only two sessions in so far. Hopefully it stays entertaining and fun, but you never know...