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.
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.
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.
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/)