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Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/22/2012 21:54:06

WHAT WORKS: I feel pretty confident that someone could go into this not knowing a thing about the Mistborn series and come out of it with a pretty strong impression of the setting. A lot of care went into explaining things to the non-gamers who may pick this up, I thought, and I certainly liked the extra time put into cross referencing rules sections in the GMing chapter. The entirety of Book 2 is freaking cool, with the metals and their uses in the powers sets. For a book that's closer to 600 pages than 500 pages, not only is it very reasonably priced, but there is NOT a lot of wasted space at ALL. I also rather enjoyed the intertwining of Secrets, Destinies and Tragedies, complete with mechanical benefits.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I fear that the system has a bit of a "whiff" factor, although I may be underestimating the number of "matches" one can get with a d6 dice pool. I also question how newbie friendly this RPG would be, given that it's so close to 600 pages. The emphasis on "scripting" and "storytelling" is bound to turn off a segment of the RPG population that prefer a more "traditional" approach to gaming. That said, there is also a free primer you can download to check it out first.

CONCLUSION: Mistborn certainly isn't Just Another D&D. A great price on a massive volume grounded in a game system that has a lot of cool features to it. I'm probably going to look the Mistborn novels up on the Nook, and pick them up if they're available, because this game has convinced me this is a setting that interests me. If you're a fan of the novels and nervous about it being too much for you, don't worry...the authors offer you several hands along the way (including some insightful sidebars). Just a fair warning: If you haven't read the books and think you might want to, there are spoilers all over the place (though they do a pretty good job of warning you first). Great product, especially for the price.

For the full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/02/tommys-take-on-mistborn-adventure-game.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
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Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2012 07:01:39

This mighty tome, over 500 pages long, contains everything that you need to start adventuring in the world conjoured up by author Brandon Sanderson... who has not only allowed the use of his setting, he's written fiction especially for the game, has added comments throughout, and was even involved in the playtesting!

First up, the treat of an original short story set in the Mistborn world called The Elventh Metal. It tells of a small group of malcontents, seeking revenge, seeking change, and introduces a world rich and strange - metals that burn within and confer power, swirling mists, ash that falls from the sky, twisted exotic buildings. And so the strangeness, the richness of this setting is revealed: allomancy. Familiar if you know the novels on which this game is based yet brought magnificently into prominence whether or not you have read them - by utilising mystic powers different metals can be used to bring about a range of spell-like effects. Learn the tricks of their use, or perish miserably!

Appetites whetted, on to the Introduction. This describes a world like ours, yet gone horribly astray. An Industrial Revolution where progress is lost amid the smoke and the rise of fascist governance, where the options are stark: conform, die... or rebel. Will your crew, your colleagues in the struggle to make this world one worth living in, succeed or fail?

So, to Book 1: Mistborn Adventure Game, which contains all that a player needs to create a character ready to inhabit this world of Scarial, to become a Hero fighting the Final Empire. It begins with the usual 'Getting Started' explaining what this role-playing thing is all about, interestingly written with the assumption that the non-role-playing reader knows what a computer game is, and contrasting an RPG with a computer game; and then goes on to tell experienced role-players how this is a rules-light game that focusses on plotline and narrative storytelling... and there's a note from Brandon Sanderson about what sort of game system he wanted for playing in his world! Good to see the author of the original inspiration so involved. On to the terminology, the GM is the Narrator, players play Heroes (after all, we're always the hero of our own adventures!) who band together to form a Crew... and the game mechanic is based on a handfull of D6s.

For people who want to dive straight in, there are directions on how to make a quick start with the critical bits the Narrator ought to read and sample characters and even a downloadable free adventure (in the Primer)... or the bits to read to create characters and adventures of your own. More terminology (a glossary of terms used in the game), and thence to Chapter 3: Building Heroes. The imaginative narrative part and the game mechanics part are designed to work hand-in-hand so you don't end up scrabbling for a rule that lets you do what you want or twisting your concept to fit the mechanics. We begin with an explanation of what the stuff on the character sheet means, then an outline of the narrative process the group should use to create their Crew of Heroes, and only then do we get to the mechanical bits. Don't come to the game having read the rules and created a character, do it together. Standings, Powers, Traits and more are used to describe how each member of the Crew operates, what he can contribute to the group and how he affects the world around him. The starting point, though, is the Crew itself. No place for loners, the Crew needs a reason to band together - a target for their schemes. It is a distinct slant inherent in the game system, defining the broad role everyone will play on Scarial: that of opposition to the ruling powers. Just how you go about providing that opposition (and why, and with what objectives) is what will make each Crew and Hero distinct and unique. Good examples and commentary abound. The core concept is that the Crew is not the average bunch of fantasy adventurers who meet in a bar and go off to bash monsters and steal their stuff, but a group with a reason to be together. Structured questions about Crew and Heroes alike aid the group in building the group in a sustainable way... and providing plenty for the wiley Narrator to weave into future plots as well!

As you work through the character creation process, one thing that impresses is how balance is maintained. Now, someone coming to this game with a good knowledge of the novels might think that the 'best' character to play might be a Mistborn... but the mechanics of character creation are so designed that character strengths and weaknesses are balanced out so that if you are powerful in one aspect, you won't be as powerful elsewhere. This is done by allocating 'weak' or 'average' or 'strong' to Powers, Attributes and Standings... each must be different. So if you are a normal person with weak (indeed, maybe absent) Powers, you might be strong in either your Attributes (physical characteristics) or your Standings (resources, luck, etc.). These are then developed further within those restraints. Neat! Yet although this may seem mechanical, the majority of character creation is driven by narrative, by answering questions, rather than mere selections and point-allocation. It's not a quick process but will reward the amount of thought and inventiveness involved by empowering the whole group to create well-rounded and motivated characters complete with a lot of background already developed, embedded into the setting. Next, Chapter 4 explains how to improve your character over time, it's put next to character creation as that's logical, but the suggestion is to skip ahead to the rules of play or jump straight into a game and come back when you need it. However, this section can also be used when you want to start a game with more experienced characters.

Characters ready for play, Chapter 5: Game Basics explains the underlying mechanics to make them come to life. It starts off with information appropriate to someone new to role-playing, a clear explanation of what goes on around a game table. It's a bit basic for the experienced role-player, and at times more artificial than many will be accustomed to, but it gives a framework that everyone can agree upon. It can get long-winded in places, taking several paragraphs, for instance, to explain that you get the dice out when the outcome of what you are doing can affect you or the plotline... but with increased explanation there is no room for doubt. Success or failure is determined by rolling a handfull of D6s, the number of dice in your 'dice pool' depends on what you are attempting, and which characteristics - be they Powers, Attributes, Standings, etc. - you can bring to bear. Apposite items can help too, while adverse circumstances may reduce the number of dice. Once you have worked out how many dice to roll, the Narrator declares a difficulty of 1-5, this is the target against which you roll. That's where it gets a bit complicated, as your result is the number shown by two or more dice (if you get two different doubles, choose the result). If your result equals or beats the difficulty, you succeed. There's more complex stuff as well, to enable you to see how well you did (or how badly you failed). It sounds hard, but it is the kind of mechanic that comes with practice and familiarity, rather than one that is intuitive from the outset. The key, though, is in the narrative created by player and Narrator to describe in vivid detail the outcome of the attempted action.

Chapter 6: Contests expands on this, explaining what happens when an attempted action is opposed. Contests are separated out from Conflicts (dealt with in Chapter 7), where the intention of the opponents is to actually do harm to each other - a Contest can be as obvious as a foot race or an attempt to pick a pocket or sneak around without being noticed, while a Conflict is an out-and-out brawl, or at least a opposition which has the potential to damage - as there are opportunities (and rules) for social and mental conficts as well as for actual fights. The mechanics are very structured, with a process that is the same whatever sort of conflict is taking place - it is just the end result, the 'damage' suffered by the loser, that differs. At first it seems complex, but the uniformity of structure means that once you and your players have grasped it, play will be slick - and there are plenty of examples provided to enable you to get your heads around it all. Whilst like in many game systems, Conflicts proceed on a round-by-round basis, this mechanic includes more detailed formal setting-up beforehand, framing the scene, which gives scope for players and Narrator alike to influence the overall conflict as a whole. Once into the round-by-round action, what you are doing determines how many dice you get to roll. There is still scope however to influnce the course of action by well-chosen narrative description of both actions and results - for example, describing the wound you intend to inflict - during the round-by-round element of conflict resolution. The style you wish to adopt, and whether you prefer to mix it in with the mechanistic elements, is up to the group to decide. Overall, it's a flexible and powerful system that enables the group to focus on whatever they think is important yet providing a mechanical basis for glossing over the rest.

Next, Chapter 11: Changing the World discusses the use of Standing as a means of influencing not just the people you deal with but the community as a whole. It provides a systematic way of modelling how characters can rise from humble origins to become influential and important members of society. It's more than that, though, it also is a mechanism for enabling each character to use what advantages they have to gain resources, nurture allies and benefactors... the sort of things most games leave to GM fiat alone, here is presented a system whereby players can roll dice to determine if they manage to gain that favour as well as playing out the request through conversation. For some overkill, but an elegant concept none-the-less. As the system distinguishes between 'extras' and more important characters in the game world, it's a useful mechanic for example when you want to bribe someone - a simple die roll challenge will suffice for bribing an extra, while you will need to role-play cutting a deal with a more significant NPC. There is some interesting equipment to acquire as well, should your Resources run to it. Actual money has been abstracted out on the grounds that most of the fictional characters are not the sort of folk who count every coin (unless intending to hurl them at someone!) and so such accountancy is not necessary for game characters either.

The final chapter in this section, Chapter 12: Children of the Contract, looks at the particular challenges of playing a kandra character. Little known outside their own society, these shapeshifters have a unique culture and outlook which can make them fascinating to play. Disciplined, adhering to a Contract or code of behaviour that governs their dealings with everyone else, their natural form is a heap of gloop: to take on human (or indeed any other) form they need to provide themselves with bones... yet are not allowed to kill to obtain them.

Book 2: The Treatise Metallurgic follows, describing in exquisite detail the operation of the unique metal-based magic system of the setting. There are three strands: Allomancy (whose practicioners consume and 'burn' metals to create their effects), Feruchemy (where the effect you want is pre-loaded into metal, and released when required) and Hemalurgy (where metal spikes transfer the effect into a recipient by sticking the spike into them!). The first chapter, Magic of the Final Empire, explains not just this but also how magic pervades the whole world. Allomany and Feruchemy are inherited gifts: your bloodline either has the potential to develop the ability or it does not. Hemalurgy may be learned. In all cases, the metal used determines the sort of effects that you can bring about.

Each strand of metal magic is examined in the following chapters. The detail is comprehensive, yet well worth a delve even if you do not intend to practice that particular form of metallurgic art yourself. You may find yourself fascinated by this logical system that operates according to a set of consistent in-game laws, never mind a coherent set of game mechanics, and it is integral to what makes this game unique, rather than yet another fantasy ruleset. Next come chapters devoted to the different metals and the effects that skilled users can create with them. Incredible detail that enables interested players to not only have their characters create these effects, but discuss them in a scholarly academic manner should they so wish. Interestingly, the metals and powers go beyond those described in the source novels... as readers know, new metals were discovered during the course of the stories, so it is likely that others are out there waiting to be discovered. It is open to the Narrator to determine what metals have been found at the time in which his game is set, of course, which may or may not be linked to events in the books.

Book 3: Always Another Secret is intended for the Narrator as the first chapter, Behind the Curtain, suggests. Scadrial is a world in which there always is another secret around the corner, and this is the key to making it an exciting adventure setting. Material herein is designed to equip the Narrator to run the game effectively, whether he is an experienced GM or new to refereeing. It does, however, contain material that gives away some of the plot of the novels... and which could be 'spoilers' for a game as well. A group which has already selected its Narrator should let him decide whether or not the other players may read this section. It begins by explaining the role of the Narrator, highlighting the collaborative nature of role-playing games and how the idea is for everyone to have fun in the shared alternate reality they create together.

Next, Chapter 2: Narrating Stories, begins a series of chapters looking at all aspects of running this game. This one is about crafting that shared story that Narrator and players are creating together, and includes tricks to help make the world come alive for everyone through descriptions. Remember, also, that just as the heroes in the novels are larger-than-life characters whose actions have the potential to be world-changing, so should the characters in your game... and the challenges that they face need to be appropriate too. There's also useful advice on the particular challenges, pitfalls and opportunities inherent in running a game based on published novels, ones which all participants may have read. You can weave your action around things that happen in the novels - or choose a part of Scadrial that the stories have never reached, letting events in the novels fade into the background. There are as many questions as answers, questions designed to spawn your ideas and help you bring them alive. Step-by-step adventure building sequences show you how to use those ideas to create vivid and memorable adventures that involve the players because they are constructed around their characters.

One of the unique things about this game is the way in which it is designed to encourage true collaboration, shared planning of plot as well as shared telling of the story. This is exemplified in the methodology presented for formalising and expediting the creation of a scheme and a plan of action for accomplishing that scheme, involving characters and Narrator in a structured process that leaves everyone clear about what's going on... and yet gives the Narrator plenty of scope for more 'classical' adventure construction based on what the characters want to do.

The next chapter looks at actually running the game: blending storyline and mechanics and collaboration into a seamless whole. Much will be of value whatever you are running, but vital if it's the Mistborn Adventure Game of course. Secrets being so important in this game, this setting, the next chapter is devoted to them and how to use them to effect. Much of this is of general application, well worth a read whatever system you prefer to run. Other powerful plot-drivers can be destiny and tragedy, the topics of the following chapter. A structured process for planning and manipulating all of these is provided: some may find it mechanical but it makes for a good framework and ensures nothing gets forgotten, as well as linking such pivotal influences directly into the game mechanics.

Next, the main characters of the novels are presented as game characters - at several stages in their careers, and with notes on how you might involve them. These are followed by copious material to aid you in developing your 'supporting cast' - from a Rogues' Gallery of common encounters to notes on how to create your own memorable NPCs from scratch.

Thus equipped you are ready for all that Scadrial has to offer. It's a fascinating game system, at times overly artificial and mechanical, but based around the powerful concept of advancing the shared story by means of conversation both in and out of character, with game mechanics honed to support the process to good effect. A challenge to get to grips with, but well worth the effort!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mistborn Adventure Game Novel Characters: Vin and Sazed
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/28/2012 12:12:52

Continuing the series of free 'tasters' for the Mistborn Adventure Game, here are two major characters from the novels on which the game is based, completely written up with game statistics and background details. Risky, as lovers of the stories likely have their own ideas - but for the enterprising GM who would like some of the characters from the novels featuring in their game, very useful. Anyone who has not read the novels yet should avoid this, thought, there are major plot 'spoilers' in the background text.

The first character portrayed is Vin. Her powers are at their height, with many of her defining exploits now in her past. After a full-page portrait, the first part of the write-up details her past up to the point chosen for the exemplar character. Next come her full game statistics, then a section on 'Playing Vin' which will help any GM to make her come to life as a powerful, potentially deadly, NPC - even as an ally, characters are advised to be careful, and she could make a formidable foe if they were to get on her wrong side... and rather helpfully, there are sections on how she'd behave as ally or enemy to make things easy for you. And there's more... this is followed by notes and stats if you'd prefer to use her earlier in the story, as a young and inexperienced member of a crew, with little to hint of what she will become... could be interesting, and a route for drawing your own characters into pivotal events later on, when that unassuming Skaa girl they knew on the streets blossoms into her power!

The other character featured here is Sazed. Again, the main write-up is at the same time in the plotline as Vin's, when he was an advisor and friend to her. The background explains how he got to that stage, while the notes on playing him bring out his tendency to be a voice of reason, a source of quiet and thoughtful advice. It's quite hard to make an enemy of him. The second build depicts him earlier in life, when he was going through an interesting time.

If you intend on weaving the novels' plotline through your game, rather than just using the setting to tell your own stories, these could be useful NPCs. Even if not, characters who become themselves pivotal figures might meet them, or they can serve for ideas about how really powerful characters might develop. Plenty of scope here!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mistborn Adventure Game Novel Characters: Vin and Sazed
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Mistborn Adventure Game Sample Heroes
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/25/2012 10:41:26

Whether you are looking for inspiration, want a few well-detailed NPCs to act as associates or rivals, or need a character (or whole party) in a hurry, this product will fill your purposes admirably.

Herein are eight fully-developed characters, set up as an integrated crew. Each one gets a couple of pages - one a filled-out character sheets with all the necessary game stats, and the other a write-up of the character's background, including a brief history, notes on personality and motivations and even what he thinks about the other members of the group. There is also a sketch of the character to enable you to visualise him.

A fairly shady group they are, too. The leader is one Beck, a fixer - the sort of fellow who can get you whatever you want, no questions asked, provided you are willing to pay his price. The others are the crew who procure the whatever it is... a crew called Nine Eyes. Most people will find a character they'd like to play, if you are using them as your ready-made party. A wandering scholar, an urbane steward (or is he?), a kandra longing to return to her Homeland but honour-bound by her contract, a fugitive Mistborn noble lass, a Skaa con-woman who insinuates herself into noble society, a thief who is rarely as drunk as he appears to be, and a watchful bodyguard who burns with barely-controlled rage.

Between them, they form a group that is more than its individual members. They'd certainly make a good starting group (especially if you want to dive straight in to the game), else they may be exemplars of how you might create your own crew, or a rival crew to pit against your own players...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mistborn Adventure Game Sample Heroes
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Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/18/2011 00:50:26

The Mistborn Adventure Game is by no means a simple game, but the rules themselves aren’t exactly “Crunchy” by definition. Crafty-Games has done an excellent job in making something that’s different from their usual niche yet without losing the same rooted foundations in sensible mechanics that I’ve come to expect from them.

The art is still in the excellent Black and White style of the Fantasy Craft books. There’s not a lot of it though, and some readers who have gotten used to seeing a lot of illustrations may find the book a little bare.

There are a few minor errors in the digital edition such “page XX” references but I believe that these will be corrected shortly.

Overall, the Mistborn Adventure Game is a genuinely pleasant surprise. Crafty Games has proven that they can put together a rules-medium game that remains faithful to its source. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn setting is a refreshingly unique vision with exotic magics and a unique look and feel that doesn’t come off as trying too hard to be different. I highly recommend this game and I’m looking forward to running a campaign in this setting.

This is an excerpt of my full review from my blog. If you'd like to see the rest, kindly visit: http://philgamer.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/review-mistborn-adventure-game-digital-edition/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the great review! We appreciate the kind words and attention to detail. :) Those missing page pointers and a few other foibles will be corrected before the book goes to press, and all editions of the game will be updated at the same time. (We had an unfortunate late-game version control issue, and didn’t have the time to go back and pour over every missing tweak before this early edition went out. Our apologies, but we’ll get ‘em fixed.) Thanks again! __ Alex and Pat Crafty Games http://www.crafty-games.com
Mistborn Adventure Game Primer
by Nate K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2011 20:51:07

Good system in a setting that, personally, seems more fun to play in than to read about. I had trouble getting into the book series, but the RPG looks like it will be lots of fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mistborn Adventure Game Primer
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Mistborn Adventure Game Primer
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/24/2011 08:52:06

With any 'based on the novels of...' game, I always wonder if it is better to know and love the novels before diving into the game, or if you are risking disappointment should the game designers' view of the alternate reality you already are familiar with differs from yours. Should you not be familiar with Brandon Sanderson's work, this Primer opens with an overview of the setting and what is going on there. It doesn't sound, on the face of it, somewhere you'd want to visit - but picture postcard destinations don't generally make for the best adventure games, and this setting boasts plenty of opposition that's just crying out for a band of heroes to stand up and say, "No more!"

A new game mechanic has been devised for this game, and the next section provides an overview of how characters are generated and described within the game system. It's all based around the D6 - often, handfulls of them - with rolls to resolve actions being based on your character's abilities with the addition of extra dice for favourable circumstances or equipment (or the loss of some if things are really stacked against you), resulting in a roll of 2 to 10 D6s. The GM assigns the difficulty of the task you are trying to accomplish (between 1 and 5), and you compare your die rolls... set any 6s aside and look for any matches between the rest to get the result of your roll. The 6s can be used to modify this. It sounds a bit more complex than it is once you get the dice out and have a practice...

And practice you can, because as soon as the concise yet clear explanation is done, there's a mini-scenario to play through, along with four sample characters. Neatly, it's a prelude to the first adventure planned for the game proper, so if you enjoy it you'll be able to carry the story on once it comes out. The set up is straightforward, the characters are rogues - but with, we hope, their hearts in the right place, and are offered a chance to right a wrong or two, and earn themselves some cash in the process. Plenty of background and detail is packed in, so that those unfamiliar with the setting should have a chance to come to grips with those features that make the Mistborn setting unique and an exciting place in which to adventure; the GM should find what he needs here to make it all come alive.

As an introduction to a new game, it certainly grabs you and sweeps you up... I for one shall be looking forwards to the release of the full game (and to find out what happens next in an adventure that's already got me intrigued!)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
by Scott S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 12:33:54

I must say after reading and playing it, it turned out to be a great system. The character creation options are so awesome that you could play 10 fighters and none of them would be the same. I loved the way treasure is handled it is very cool and makes for a much more satisfying game from a player's perspective. I have not played a mage yet but it is intriguing the way it is set up and I am very excited to try a cleric. I love the way knowledge checks are done. It makes perfect sense. Action dice a great too. NPC creation is easy and everything scales nicely. My most recent game my 4th level party was able to face off with a Lich, the cool thing is that the Lich will be back in a few levels and he will scale perfectly for the adventure he will reappear in.

All said, this is another great game system by Crafty games. Keep up the good work.

Scott



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
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Adventure Companion
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/06/2011 07:14:38

The Fantasy Craft Adventure Companion is one of those rpg supplements that really does have something for everyone. The three Campaign Settings included in the book are all interesting and evocative, and cover a wide range of interests, whether or not your group prefers Sword & Sorcery, backstabbing politics or high adventure. Even if you don’t particularly like any of the three options, the fact that the book goes one step further and pops open the hood to let you see how all three of them tick using the Fantasy Craft system is still worth having. Furthermore, fans of the Fantasy Craft system will enjoy the plethora of options offered, improving the flexibility inherent in the corebook. Players and GMs alike will likely find something that they can use.

If I do have any sort of criticism towards this product, I’d say that I wish they could have expanded the settings a little further. Maybe there’s a future for all three of these settings as their own stand-alone products, but as they are, they feel like they’ve been cut down to fit the pagecount. There’s a lot of potential to these settings, and I hope that Crafty-Games decides to spin any of these off to their own setting books.

Another point would be the fact that there were no rules on making your own Specialties or Human Talents. While I believe there are guidelines for these on the wiki of Crafty-Games, having an “official” DIY would have been great.

Overall, I believe that the Fantasy Craft Adventure Companion is a must-have. It expands the Fantasy Craft core rules, gives three distinct and well-done Campaign settings that can serve as examples or be used for play, and contains nearly all the new classes from Call to Arms. If you were to buy only one supplement for Fantasy Craft, then I would strongly encourage you pick the Adventure Companion up.

This is an excerpt from the last part of my detailed review. To see a breakdown of each of the chapters, please visit:

Chapter 1 http://philgamer.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/fantasy-craft-adventure-companion-review-part-1-cloak-dagger/

Chapter 2 http://philgamer.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/fantasy-craft-adventure-companion-review-part-2-epoch/

Chapter 3 http://philgamer.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/fantasy-craft-adventure-companion-review-part-3-sunchaser/

Chapter 4 http://philgamer.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/fantasy-craft-adventure-companion-review-part-4-a-heros-journey/

Conclusion http://philgamer.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/fantasy-craft-adventure-companion-review-part-5-conclusion/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Companion
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Fragile Minds
by Joshua K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/04/2011 02:19:17

Fragile Minds is a great addition to Spycraft. If I had to mark it down in some way, my issue would be that this mostly stuff that should've been in the main book; it's that cool.

Fragile Minds adds rules on madness to Spycraft. There's the Table Of Sproing (psychological complement to the Table Of Ouch in Spycraft), plots involving madness,campaign qualities and even creatures with an unnatural, maddening look to them.

Even if you don't plan on your spies meeting Arcane Horrors From Beyond, the usefulness for a campaign with surreal or psychological overtones is hard to overstate.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fragile Minds
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Adventure Companion
by Nicolas F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/27/2011 07:35:19

The Adventure Companion is a great book, with a lot of new interesting settings and even a dense chapter of new rules for crunch addicts. The only remark I could make is that the book could definitely benefit for a few more pages! But hey, the quality/price ratio is still very, very high. Let's make a quick overview.

Cloak & Dagger, as expected, is a blast. The authors have put all the experience and knowledge they had from modern tradecraft (from Spycraft) into a Rome-like fantasy setting. The era, the geopolitical situation (the brink of the collapse of the empire actually), the conflicting nations very "7th Sea" in the spirit, the threats all over the place, the real-world similarities, all this contribute to make it a very convincing setting with a immense potential. Just reading it, you have tons of adventure seeds that come instantly to your mind. Plus it's a real pleasure to play a fantasy game with only humans, for a change! As a side note, this is the setting that would benefit the most from a few dedicated adventures.

Epoch, I wasn't expecting all that much. Sword & sorcery, dinosaurs, mad sorcerers, that's just something Conan does very well, dinosaurs aside. Well, Epoch is just completely different and it was THE good surprise - no sorry, EXCELLENT surprise - of this book. Take a few aspects of Conan, the most barbaric ones (Picts, Stygia, etc.), mix this with an Apocalypto feel, add a little northern Amerindian folklore on top of it and you have a better idea. The ancient tribes (humans and a few fantasy races) are on the brink of extinction since the invasion of eastern conquerors who wield magic and make pacts with demons. These conquerors are just too much like our "civilized" ancestors who wiped entire civilizations out. This time, you're on the other side. What would you do to protect your life, your family, your entire nation from extinction? Coming back to Conan, it would be a little like if you were playing a Pict, and Conan and his troops where marching toward the last Pict village still alive ...

Sunchaser is a little bit more classic in its form, but still quite entertaining. This high fantasy settings is all about playing glorious adventurers wandering four kingdoms the free races have created after they escaped the dominating grasp of The Crone (and evil subterranean race ruled by an even more evil queen). Starting small, your deeds will soon lead you to accomplish epic quests and maybe even protect the four kingdoms from the long feared return of The Crone. This setting is well written and simple enough not to suffer from the lack of more pages. It is perfect for a simple, one-shot adventure.

The final chapter is dedicated to game mechanics. There are two excellent new base classes: the Martial Artist which is of course all about combat; and the Emissary which is the investigator/spy of Fantasy Craft. The expert classes coming after that are quite interesting as well, as are the first master classes finally published. Special note for the Regent, a wonderful way to become a true power player, in the political sense. There are also a lot of new, excellent feats, and a frightening host of Species feats particularly. Don't be afraid like I was at first! These feats are there to let you emulate nearly any fantasy specie ever devised: With Bear Nation, you can make Nyss elves, with Desert Clutch and Dragon-Tailed, you can make nagas, with Orc Blood, you can make half-orcs! The options are almost limitless. After that, a little bit too much new Advanced Actions, a few nice Campaign Qualities, and you're done.

All in all, it is an excellent book. I repeat, while it could have benefited from a few more pages, particularly for Cloak & Dagger and Epoch, it is still an excellent work for the price. All settings are well written, nicely described, and probably fun to play. The rules chapter is worthy, balanced, and completes well the existing Fantasy Craft mechanics. A must have.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Companion
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Fantasy Craft Second Printing
by Nicolas F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/17/2010 08:15:14

Fantasy Craft is basically what was missing from the d20 system for each and every player or GM who wanted a little bit more ... crunch, fun, dynamism, or even storytelling options. It's a package of all that and a little bit more on the top of it. The rules are brilliantly well written, making this 400-pages generic fantasy rulebook something even more huge than it appears. This is a system for any fantasy game, whether you like combat a lot and want to use minis in order to play full tactic battles, or whether you prefer investigation-centered intrigues where social assets and clever use of one's resources is the key, or anything in-between. There are rules for many things, though not to the point that it slows the pace of the game down. However, since the writing is clever and concise, reading the rules more than once before play might be necessary. It's worth it, though, because you can really use this system to play anything, once you're familiar with it. And I really mean ANYTHING, without much things to adjust, thanks to the very modular nature of most options, particularly campaign qualities. Just remember this is a game for people who like well-oiled mechanics. It does not mean it is just for combat freaks. There are rules for smart storytelling as well and some aspects of the game focus solely on social play and intrigue. It's just that there ARE rules indeed, for all those things. It's not left up to the GM every two pages. Of course the GM has the final word, but he is thoroughly guided through the whole book. Similarly, creating a PC for Fantasy Craft may take you at least one hour, but that's only because you have so many opportunities to build JUST the character you had in mind ... well, you want to explore them all! It's thorough, and it requires a little bit dedication at first. But the pleasure during game is only better. All in all, Fantasy Craft is honestly the best fantasy RPG I have ever read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
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Adventure Companion
by David R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/26/2010 14:08:06

The book itself is well written and lives up to what i have come to except from Crafty Games. My biggest issue is that they reprinted all of the previously released classes. I don't mind making that avaliable for people who didn't buy them, but a heads up would be nice, maybe even a small price break for those of us who bought them all.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Companion
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Adventure Companion
by Critical H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/13/2010 20:46:50

The Fantasy Craft Adventure Companion presents three unique and well-conceived settings with a scattering of crunchy rules. The settings each expertly evoke a different genre, but herein lies the problem: at best only slight more than 1/3 of the book will be useful to most GMs. The crunch chapter is short and sweet, but only the most ardent gamers will make use of all three settings within one book.

Good

Cloak & Dagger: This setting imagines an empire modeled after an alliance of some of the greatest classical Western civilizations complete with decadence, ancient threats, and corruption. PCs tend to take roles as the brave souls that travel between the different camps of the fractured empire currying information and doing grisly work. For me, this is the setting that I loved.

Rules: Includes new classes, feats, master classes, and interesting tidbits. These can be incorporated whole-hog into an existing game or cherry picked for a supported setting, or your own custom setting. I thought they had a lot of interesting ideas and cool concepts.

Fight Against the Fantasy Rut: The system purposefully distances itself from the D&D model. Say what you will, but D&D feels like a tactical combat game that has non-combat adjudications available. FantasyCraft actively encourages characters to take a rich set of abilities aimed at overcoming obstacles and conflicts.

Bad

Multiple Settings: I struggled about how to cope with this issue in my review. I felt “bad” for not being terribly interested in the well thought out other settings: Sunchaser, a high adventure campaign focused on good/evil and Epoch which is a more primal (no D&D power source baggage intended) and savage setting. The more I think about it though, the more I think this is an inherent flaw in the book. With the depth and history presented its inevitable each reader will gravitate towards one offering and away from another. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the other work, it’s just that I could not get drawn in after I realized that Cloak & Dagger held the most interest.

Ugly

Master Classes: When the system debuted, I griped about the existence of master classes but their noticeable lack of inclusion in the basic game. People more knowledgeable than me have argued that breaking a game up between tiers can be a good way to refine game play and conceptualize a product. However, having only a few master classes to choose from without truly focusing on it seems like a disappointing half-measure.

Final Verdict: B. FantasyCraft is still an amazing system. For anyone currently running the game this purchase is a no-brainer. However, the fact that the book, as a whole, is hard to find a use for keeps it from being an A.

(originally published at http://roll.critical-hits.com/2010/11/13/fantasy-craft-adventure-companion-review/)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Companion
by Michael W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/09/2010 23:39:42

Please note that this review first appeared at my blog Stargazer's World (http://www.stargazersworld.com).

When you have read my blog for quite a while you probably noticed that I have a soft spot for Crafty Games‘ Fantasy Craft. But Fantasy Craft is a more complex game than the other games I usually recommend. I have to admit that Fantasy Craft’s rules complexity is sometimes just a bit outside of my usual comfort zone.

But that said I am also convinced that it’s the best game that evolved from the d20 system. The Fantasy Craft core rules open a lot of options for interesting campaigns that don’t follow the classic high fantasy model. And a lot of the concepts in Fantasy Craft is meant to make the GMs job much easier than in D&D for example.

With their latest supplement, the Adventure Companion, the good folks at Fantasy Craft show how versatile their rules system can be used. The 145-paged book which has been released a couple of days ago in PDF format, contains not just one but three unique fantasy campaigns, and a plethora of new options for your Fantasy Craft game, like new expert and master classes.

With the first campaign in the book, Cloak & Dagger, Fantasy Craft comes full circle. You probably know that the Master Craft system first appeared in Crafty Games’ spy game, Spy Craft. Now Cloak & Dagger is a fantasy campaign where the player characters are secret agents for various warring houses in an empire inspired by the classical era, basically it’s Spy Craft in ancient Rome.

If you ever wanted to play in a game freely based on ancient Rome, Cloak & Dagger will be for you. It’s also very refreshing that the book’s author, Alex Flagg, opted to make C&D a human-centric setting. I sometimes get pretty tired of standard fantasy with elves and dwarves, and the lack of non-human player races makes it easier for GMs to use the material in the book for a historical campaign set into classical Rome. The second included setting, Epoch, reminds me more of sword & sorcery settings but with a twist. The most intriguing fact is that the setting is partly inspired by Aztec mythology instead of European one. The premise of the world of Epoch is that the free tribes of the Children of the Dawn fight the invasion of the Keepers of the Gate, who are in league with the ghula. The Keepers of the Gate bring with them civilization and magic which both taint the savage lands. The champions of the last free people stand up to fight the demonic ghula and their followers. Epoch is another great example for a non-standard fantasy setting.

The third setting included in Adventure Companion is called Sunchaser which Alex once described as Lord of the Rings on the Mississippi river. And that’s actually a pretty good description. Humans are the newcomers in the Thousand-Rivers Valley, a place thrive with adventure and home to almost all the races described in the Fantasy Craft rulebook. Among the three campaigns in the book it’s the most “classical”. If you’re looking for a high fantasy setting for Fantasy Craft with elves, dwarves, drakes, magic, feudal lords and ancient ruins to explore, then Sunchaser is definitely worth a look. Each of the three settings contains several pages of background information, new talents, feats and other setting-specific rules, new monsters and an extensive rogue’s gallery. There are even tips for what kind of adventures you could run in these settings. It’s actually astounding to see how many content they managed to squeeze into a 145-paged book. While the three settings are not as detailed as if they released a book for each, they give GMs enough information to make the campaign world their own. I actually prefer this approach to overly-detailed settings like the Forgotten Realms, where every small hamlet had it’s own sourcebook at some point.

The last section of the book contains options for the three campaigns or basically every Fantasy Craft campaign. There are over 150 Specialities, feats, 12 new classes (including Base, Master and Expert Classes), as well as new tricks and Paths. I have to admit the number of new stuff in the last part of the book can be a bit overwhelming but if you’re a veteran Fantasy Craft player or GM you should feel quite at home.

All in all I think Crafty Games’ Adventure Companion is a great product for a reasonable price. The PDF version sets you back $14.99. The printed version will be available for only ten bucks more later this month. Even if you’re not playing Fantasy Craft right now you could probably make good use of the three campaign settings. The rules options in the back of the book can probably be used in your home brew Fantasy Craft games as well, even if you’re not that interested in the campaigns. Please note that this review is based on a read through of the PDF version of Adventure Companion which has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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