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Ebon Fantasy Essence

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What is Ebon Fantasy Essence?

This is a basic set/preview for the forthcoming Ebon Fantasy. It provides a full set of rules for levels 1-10 (of 1-20), with a limited selection of class specializations, kindreds ("races" in other games), and backgrounds. It still gives plenty of room to play, with 18 specializations in 6 classes, 5 kindreds, and 17 backgrounds!

Ebon Fantasy applies modern RPG concepts to a classic class-and-level system, creating a game that's new and familiar at the same time. Characters have the traditional attributes, along with "kindreds" (races), classes, levels, and familiar mechanics. To these, however, we've added modern mechanics:

  • Traits: represent specific abilities within the games. Classes and Kindreds give characters bundles of traits, and then can gain advancements allowing them to gain additional traits as they level up.
  • Backgrounds: in addition to Kindred, which represents their species, characters have backgrounds that represent things they learned as they grew up. Backgrounds can be specific to cultures, allowing greater customization of the game world.
  • Specialties: instead of subclasses or additional classes, Ebon Fantasy has specialties which grant additional traits extending your class. You can gain traits from other specialties as you advance - you're never locked into a particular path.
  • Effects: outcomes of actions are represented in the game as effects, with a strength and a description. 
  • Mental and Social Combat: characters have Mental Defense and Mental Resilience, allowing the general combat rules to be applied to debates, arguments, persuasion attempts, and so forth.
Expansions will be released with more kindreds, backgrounds, and specializations! We are hoping to be successful enough to do a full version; when that happens, purchasers of Essence will get a steep discount on it!

In the meantime though, Essence itself can support a full campaign! Give it a try - we think you'll like it! 

Why Ebon Fantasy?

Why create yet another fantasy role-playing system? Aren’t there enough already?

We love the concept of D&D, but the implementation has always left a lot to be desired. D&D often leaves GMs and players “in the lurch”, asking questions like: “Can I use magic missile to push a lever from a distance?” or “How much can control winds speed up a sailboat?”

Go to any Internet forum about D&D, and you’ll find many such questions, with the same answer repeated over and over: “It’s up to the DM.” That’s not a problem itself—the benefit of a human gamemaster in tabletop RPGs is that they can be flexible in ways pre-written rules can’t—but D&D offers no real support for this. 

These are the important elements Ebon Fantasy adds:

  • Successful checks generate effect points, which are used to create effects. These come in ranks, and can be used to represent things in the game world.
  • Failed checks can generate effect points for the target to use, sometimes called consequence points.
  • A negative effect is a consequence. In combat, attacks generate consequences, which can be injuries, status effects such as being knocked down, or status changes such as moving your opponent back.
  • Instead of hit points and hit dice, characters have limited consequence slots, and Resilience they use to resist attacks or enhance their own checks.
  • The concept of tiers of play is extended as scale, with qualitative differences in play as characters advance.

These mechanics "give weight" to GM and player improvisation, making it easier to answer questions like the ones above!

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Reviews (0)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
David B August 30, 2023 6:08 am UTC
This seems like the Monsters and Magic system but without hit points?
Customer avatar
Andrew M July 13, 2021 11:05 pm UTC
The point that you don't make is that you want $12 for 102 pages of a part of the rules. Come on.
Customer avatar
Travis C July 14, 2021 9:38 pm UTC
We do say that. To quote from the above text:

Essence gives you a complete set of rules for characters of levels 1 to 10, with a sampling of kindreds, backgrounds, and class specializations.

This is intended to act as a "basic set". Do you know of a game that has a basic set that gives you everything you'd get in the full game? In this case, you get enough to run a complete campaign. Yes, there will be more class specializations, kindreds, and so forth later... but that's true of any game that ever gets any supplements.

It's as complete, rules-wise, as what you'd get in the Pathfinder or D&D basic sets -- more complete, I'd say. We just don't have the established sales flow to create this as a "loss leader", as Paizo and WotC can.
Customer avatar
Travis C July 15, 2021 3:03 pm UTC
We've rewritten the description to make it more evident that the set of kindreds, specializations, and backgrounds is limited. As this is partly intended to be a preview, when we publish a more complete version, those who have purchased this version will get a steep discount on it!
Customer avatar
Andrew M July 15, 2021 7:43 pm UTC
Good move! This makes a huge difference in the perception (mine anyway) of what the whole journey is.
Customer avatar
Travis C July 16, 2021 7:23 pm UTC
Thanks! We're not perfect, but we're learning from our mistakes!
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File Last Updated:
August 13, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on July 13, 2021.
Ebon Gryphon Games
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