Another in my continuing series of reviews of products I have bought on RPGNOW and finally got around to reading. Only 600 more to go (I am only exaggerating a little).
Fantasy! (yes they have an exclamation in the official title) is a translation of a Swedish OSR Fantasy roleplaying game. They also have games called “Action!” and “Sci-Fi!”. It comes from a company called Saga Games.
On the first page, the editors put in a disclaimer warning that this is a translation to English done by people who do not speak English as a first language. It is noticeable, but we are reading rules and not a novel so it is not really a problem. If you are someone who gets annoyed by the use of the wrong word on occasion this product is not for you.
There is one funny spot in the main core rules where there is an entire sentence in Swedish. I used Google translate and it turns out it is repeated in English in the next sentence. The sample adventure in the back of the rules does have a lot of instances where the original Swedish was retained in the room titles. It makes the rooms sound grimmer than they actually are, “En mork korridor urthuggen ur urberget” is something like, “Dark Corridor”.
The game uses only 6-sided dice and characters are describes by four attributes (Constitution, Coordination, Intelligence, and Presence) and start with 5 abilities. The system does not have classes but there are optional archetypes that can be chosen, Ranger, Warrior, Assassin, Knight, and Thief. You notice there is no magic using class. The system is geared toward a low fantasy human-centric setting. Mages are assumed to be NPC’s but there are suggestions for including magic wielding characters.
Spells cost different mana points to cast. Non-magicians can use Power Words to do small magical tasks. Characters decide the number of mana points to use for Power Word and then roll that many extra dice in the resolution roll. The limit is 3 mana for a single Power word.
Dwarves and elves as playable races are also presented in the appendix. But the setting assumes dwarves and elves are rare.
The rules use hit points but they are fairly static. There are ways to improve them slightly. You do also have Temporary Hit points which are added hit points removed first and represent your experience at avoiding damage. Temporary hit points can be increased with advancement.
Humans pick 5 abilities to start play, demi-humans pick 4. Since any ability can be chosen customization is open. If this is to much work for you, there are optionally the five sample archetypes to choose from.
In the rules assuming the action is not automatic (simple) or impossible a die roll is made. A Resolution Roll is a roll off as many dice as your level in the Attribute. Extra dice are added for abilities that fit the situation. On a 4-6 it is a success, less than 3 are failures. The number of successes is compared to the difficulty of the task. For every die that comes up a 6, you get to roll 1 more die.
The tasks difficulty is a fairly standard ladder of 1-easy, 2-normal, 3-difficult, 4-insane, 5-heroic, 6-Legendary, 7-Forget about it.
There is an added element of risk of spectacular failure if at least half the die rolls are 1’s.
The suggestion is that after each game session the characters each receive 1 experience die. The next time they play the character can add 1 experience die to any roll. The maximum experience dice you can hold is 10. After 10 you need to spend the dice. For me, the rules were not clear on this point. The Experience die is also needed to improve your character. So is it either or? The note in the rules states, “When you spent your ED to improve die rolls you of course get them back the next game session”. So if you spend them on improvements you cannot get them back? Logically that is the way I would rule it.
Combat includes attack and defense rolls. You have a number of combat dice based on your attribute used to attack (CON or COR). You have to split these between attack and defense with at least 1 die always being held back for defense. If your number of successes is greater than the defender's number of successes the attack succeeds. You could also find yourself splitting your defense dice between multiple attackers. This is an interesting system and reminds me of one of the versions of RuneQuest I have used (RQ 3 I believe).
On defense, you also add dice from any armor or shield.
There are special rules for being caught unaware (you get only 1 defense die) or for having flanking protection from allies (1 extra die to defense per protected flank).
Armor gives defense dice and absorbs the Armor modification amount of damage.
As befits a low fantasy setting the healing of hit points is quite grim. HP heals at a rate of 1HP per day in the care of a healer or 1HP per week if just resting.
The entire core rules section is only 23 pages. It covers everything an experienced role-player needs to play the game. Not every situation is covered by the rules and for an OSR game, it should not be. The gamemaster section has more information on running games, campaigns and handling magic (since the base assumption is that mages are NPCs). No example spells are provided. Instead, players should tell the gamemaster what they want to attempt with a spell and the gamemaster sets the difficulty. There is also a fairly standard section of the rules listing monsters.
The rules close up with a simple setting called the “Distant Dales”. There is enough information here for at least a half-dozen adventures. There is also a 3 dungeon level adventure called “The God in the Mountain”. It has the feel of something that has been done before but any reasonably experienced gamemaster can take the bare bones of the idea and expand upon it.
These are simple but complete OSR style fantasy rules. Perfect for someone who wants to run a magic light setting and enjoys customizable characters and no levels. Given that class and level is one of my least favorite parts of D&D I can see running some adventures using these rules.
|Four adventurers prepare to enter the dungeon of The God in the Mountain.|