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Crimson Exodus 2nd Edition $15.99
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Crimson Exodus 2nd Edition
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Crimson Exodus 2nd Edition
Publisher: Radical Approach
by Kary &. M. K. W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/18/2017 23:20:11

Crimson Exodus and the Fantasy Dice System is quite simply; exactly what I have been looking for to take my RPG gaming to the next level. I have been playing Fantasy RPGs for over 30 years, and I have played a tremendous number of different systems. Of them all, the only one that really takes me into the story with just the right amount of crunch is Fantasy Dice. For the last 15 years I have been running an Epic Fantasy Campaign using the Rolemaster system, and while I loved the variety and detail, I came to loathe the plethora of books and tables that the system requires. But I could not find a system to switch to that gave me what I needed. Until I found Fantasy Dice. With one very simple mechanic, any skill can be chosen and used by any player simply, quickly, and easily. But what if you want to use two skills in conjunction, say Acrobatics and your spear. Claus Bornich has created a simple system for doing that as well. And it won't require you to look up a bunch of stuff in a rulebook. The base mechanic behind Fantasy Dice/Crimson Exodus is simple and elegant. Your attributes determine how many dice you will be able to roll. Your skills are based on which dice you will roll. When you increase your ability with a skill, you move up a die size. So you start out with d4, and can upgrade to d6, d8, d10, or all the way up to d12. You will spend your experience points to upgrade your skills. Again, simple, and easy. So if you have a skill of d8 and the associated attribute is 3, your base roll is 3d8. If you have the needed specialty of the skill you are using, you gain a bonus die, so in this example your base roll would be 4d8. That brings me to the next elegant mechanic of Fantasy Dice/Crimson Exodus, scaling. You are allowed to scale your roll to move up to a higher sided die, or down to a lower sided die. How it is done is again, simple and elegant. Want to move up to d10s? Simply drop one die and roll d10s instead of d8s. Maybe you are using a skill in which the associated attribute is very low, like 1 or 2. So you might have a roll of 2d8 even with a specialty. Want to roll more dice? OK, you can scale down to d6s and roll an extra, so now that 2d8 becomes a 3d6. But why would you want to scale down your roll? Every roll (skill use) has a target number of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 etc. If you need a 4 for example and are only rolling 1 or 2 dice, there is a chance that you won't get it. But if you scale your roll down and roll more lower dice, the chance of all of them coming up low is much reduced. This translates into your character being more careful, while scaling up, is your character trying as hard as he or she can to do a great job at his task. Simple, Easy. But what if you really need a really high roll and failure is not an option? Let me introduce you to Trigger Points. With the Fantasy Dice system, every character has three aspirations: An Immediate Aspiration, A Grand Aspiration, and a Counter Aspiration. These are chosen by the Players and can be anything at all. Since these Aspirations are part of the core of the character they can be used as inspiration in Roleplaying the character. And when you really need to do something extraordinary you can invoke one of your aspirations (but it must really tie into your aspiration). This is what Trigger Points are for. Each character has a certain number of Trigger Points, and at a Trigger Point reload they receive one less than their maximum. So what happens to all of those left over Trigger Points? They are given to the Gamemaster, heh, heh, heh. So the Gamemaster starts the game with one point for each of the players in his game. I can best explain how these work by a couple of examples from my own game. One of the characters who is a former Captain of a slave army allowed himself to be captured in order to start a slave revolt from the inside. While talking to his equal in the castle, he chose to use the skill Dominate, specifically the specialties Intimidate, and Command. He invoked his Grand Aspiration of freeing his people from bondage, and used two Trigger Points to take the maximum result of a scaled roll, and came out with a 12. It was an opposed roll, and I rolled 10 for the rival Captain. Pretty good roll, but his 12 gave him a normal success. He laid his cards on the table, and said "Do you realize what is about to happen? There is going to be a revolution, and you need to decide which side you are on." With his success, the Captain chose to join the rebels and his first duty in the revolution was completed. Awesome use of Trigger Points and led to spectacular roleplaying. What about the Gamemaster? Well, after a long drawn out wrestling match in the canopy of a forest, one of my players used his Acrobatics to jump onto his opponent and yank my NPC scout off his perch in the treetops, causing them both to fall to the forest floor. Again, using his Acrobatics and the required Trigger Points, the player maneuvered himself to break his fall by landing on top of my scout, breaking his pelvis. I invoked his Aspiration of completing his scouting mission by any means possible, and spent a Trigger Point so that became "Not as Bad as it looks" Still a Nasty wound, but not the debilitating injury that it could have been by the dice results. The spent Trigger Point went back to the players. There are many other awesome things about the Fantasy Dice system, such as Life Paths that your characters walk which gives them special abilities that only they have. Characters can choose multiple paths if they want to, or can specialize on one Path that they want to master. Choose Way of the Beast, and your character will be at one with animals and the wilderness. As your character progresses, he can choose more aspects of his path by spending Hero Points that he earns as he roleplays his character. I have completely converted my campaign to Fantasy Dice, and my players are enjoying it tremendously. We haven't lost any of the crunch that we loved from Rolemaster, but we have done away with all of those tables and Rulebooks. That brings me to another thing that I absolutely love about the Fantasy Dice/Crimson Exodus system. It is so easy to adapt to whatever your Fantasy World requires. I was able to adapt it to work with all of our existing Rolemaster characters relatively easily, and that was a task I was dreading. Fantasy Dice made it easy. And that was quite a nice surprise. Because the mechanics are so simple, making adaptations is simple as well, and does not break the game, which is always a concern with most RPG Systems. I could go on all day, and wax fantastic about how great Fantasy Dice is. But instead I encourage you to grab your own copy. and while you are at it, check out the new 2nd Edition of Crimson Exodus which is Claus Bornich's setting for the Fantasy Dice system. It is an awesome setting, and it comes with the latest version of the Fantasy Dice system including some new optional mechanics.

By the way, Claus Bornich the creator of this product is an awesome guy. I have spoken to him directly, and even made some suggestions. Imagine my surprise when I saw some of my suggestions show up in the 2nd Edition of Crimson Exodus. Not only is Claus a great person, he really listens to his customers and that is something that is really, really cool.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crimson Exodus 2nd Edition
Publisher: Radical Approach
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2013 15:45:34

One of the best ever. --- I've been playing since the early 80s; the systems I know well are D&D/ Pathfinder, Traveller/ T 2300, RuneQuest/ CoC/ BRP, HarnMaster, GURPS, BESM/ dX, FUDGE and Dungeon World. I've also bought and read others such as Savage Worlds, Cortex and Numenera.

Here are a few of the reasons why I think Crimson Exodus is one of the best of the lot:

The System -- just the right crunch for those of us who like mechanics that inform and help drive the story. This game really does sit at around the midpoint of rules-light to rules-heavy. A group will have to be willing to contribute their thinking power as well as their creativity with Crimson Exodus, but Claus Bornich, the writer, has a very good sense for what to detail and what to handwave -- even both at the same time. He has crafted excellent rules for many situations, but every rule is there to be used or set aside depending on the wishes of the group and the needs of the moment.

Skills testing in the Fantasy Dice system is such that greater aptitude is represented by an attribute number, and greater training by a "bigger" type of die. So a rough example, leaving out the nuances of the rules, might be:

"I have an Agility of 2 (average) and a Melee skill of d8 (pretty good), so my Melee roll is 2d8. It's a high-die mechanic, so all I'm looking for is the highest result to compare against either (a) a set difficulty or (b) a contested roll by my enemy -- how much I beat him by determines how thoroughly I kill his stupid face."

My favourite part is this -- I can also "scale" my dice pool in number or type of die. For example, if I have 2d8 as a pool, I can scale my roll up to 1d10 (increasing my absolute results ceiling), or down to 3d6 or 4d4 (decreasing my likely results floor). Especially with the new critical failure and success rules in this 2nd Ed, this scaling is important, and it very simply puts a powerful, informative and dynamic dice mechanic at my disposal. And this isi only the most limited example.

NO. My real favourite part springs from being the GM: I can write up an important NPC in two minutes, using two short lines, and that write-up will perform well in terms of both mechanics and narrative. There's nothing to it, once you get a handle on what, for instance, "3d10 Crazy Lady In Waiting" can mean.

The Setting -- just about as good as the system. If you only ever use your own setting, CX might not be for you -- in that case just buy Fantasy Dice: Same rules, no setting! But man, this is a well-planned and well-executed milieu.

Bornich has written a straight-no-chaser low fantasy, but one that doesn't bog down in self-important detail. With a hint (in the geography and names, mostly) of the Norse sagas, the Finnish Kalevala epic, and Baltic legend, the setting is one where the Elves are, for reasons unknown, abandoning their empire, and other races are rushing into the vacuum of power.

Magic is possible in the forms of Sorcery, Black Magic and Witchcraft, but the usefulness of each is very nicely "spiked" by the difficulties, practicalities, and dangers of them. Meanwhile, we have a plague that causes the afflicted to rise after death in search of the blood of all living things.

Bornich takes (almost, it seems, as a challenge) elves, dwarves, orcs and halflings and ends up with a pretty astounding, conflicted, DYNAMIC world. Stuff is happening everywhere, and the stakes are high. You certainly could just ignore it, really. But DON'T! Give this world a spin; it's really great.

As far as the new edition goes, I've found nothing but improvements on the first edition. There are still quirks of layout and language here, but nothing that should discourage anyone for a moment. Crimson Exodus is THE game for those of us who love to use and abuse a great set of mechanics in a dangerous world.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crimson Exodus 2nd Edition
Publisher: Radical Approach
by Chris P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2013 12:52:31

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the second edition of Crimson Exodus; currently the only pre-written setting for Radical Approach's Fantasy DICE system. And what a setting it is. This book includes all of the rules from the stand alone Fantasy DICE book, and may be bought and played as a standalone product. Those of you who already have the first edition need to know no more than that post trauma has been simplified, the layout makes far more sense and the editing is vastly improved. Everything you loved about this system is intact; most of it is improved on in some way. For everybody else, here is the remainder of the review.

The book begins with the standard "What is a role playing game" chapter, in which it explains the core concepts of the game. This includes the idea that the player characters are protagonists in this world, and as such are all special in some way, the idea that deciding whether or not the party stands a chance at an encounter - and whether the reward is worth the risk - is the party's job, not the GM's and the idea that the party's allies should be controlled by the players during combat. It also includes a list of assumed responsibilities for players and GMs that should be self explanatory, but is there just in case.

Next up, we have the known world. This comprises of an area the size of Europe, though not the entire continent from the Western coast to the wastelands and great savannah of the East; from the frozen North to the vast jungles of the South. I quite like that this is the extent of the setting; there are quite a few different peoples within the known world, and there is plenty of room for creative GMs to expand. This portion of the book describes the places and their histories, as well as how the law tends to work and the wilderness surrounding them.

After this, we have our races, or Peoples as this system calls them. This is because culture is just as important as racial heritage in terms of your statistics and what skills and equipment are available to you at the start of the game. Each People is described in terms of its culture, its history, its laws and finally how it affects you in terms of starting statistics. It's similar to the races section in some other fantasy books, but with more setting detail to go with the numbers. Certain things, such as prices for starting equipment, may be a little confusing at first, since the wealth system hasn't been described yet, but there are tables of available starting equipment and their costs.

The fourth section of the book is character creation. Character creation is pretty in depth, and uses a semi-classless system. I say semi-classless, because almost everything you do is based off of a skill, and the only starting limits on these skills are down to whether your character could have learned that skill, generally based off of your character's People. On the other hand, you have a Heroic Path, which grants additional abilities based off of an archetype such as that of the archer, or the warrior. Multiple Paths may be taken, and none are mutually exclusive. Your attributes are based off of your People, but are arranged in pairs. You may improve some, but for each that you improve, you must reduce the one it is paired with by the same amount, to a minimum of 1. You also pick a talent, which describes something that you're good at without needing to roll for it - singing, or cooking for example. This should be described in a short sentence rather than as a single word. Also, we have Aspirations and Characteristics. These are very similar to Aspects in FATE, in that they are descriptive and they allow you to spend from a pool of points to affect the plot - and allow the GM to give you points in exchange for affecting your character in similar ways. After that, you name an ally and a friend within the world, choose your equipment and start play.

Next, we have Skills. The skills have quite broad reaches, but more specialised areas within each one. Specialisations are treated as one skill level higher than the actual skill level. More specialisations must be bought as you reach certain skill levels, though you may buy as many specialisations as you wish.

Chapter six details the Heroic Paths. Heroic Paths are improved by spending Hero Points; a method of advancement separate from standard XP. There are several Paths; some magic using, some combat oriented, some fitting other niches such as that of the rogue, or the hermit, or the leader. Each provides different perks, but doesn't restrict your ability to do other things - each is an archetype within which you can customise things, rather than a straitjacket to enforce a particular type of play.

After that, we have the Barter chapter, which explains the wealth system, and has price lists for almost anything you could want to buy. Wealth works quite simply; you have a wealth level. If a thing you want costs your wealth level or lower, you can afford it easily. If a thing costs one wealth level higher, you can buy it, but you go down one wealth level. If it's more than one higher, you can't afford it at all. It also explains how much money, in rough terms, is needed to go up or down a wealth level, and that if you would go up by two or more wealth levels at once, you go up by one fewer, as you treat yourself with all that newly acquired cash. This is followed by equipment lists for weapons and armour, with the appropriate stats. Everything here is self explanatory, pretty much, aside from the damage listings for some of the weapons - this makes more sense later once the damage system is explained in the combat chapter.

After this, the mechanics of the system are finally explained. All of the standard things, such as social conflict, fatigue, crafting and so on are explained here. The one thing that really stands out is the die rolling mechanic. All skills are listed as a die type. Your attribute tells you how many dice to roll, your skill tells you the die type, the highest die is your result. So far, so simple. However, you may also choose to scale your roll - rolling fewer dice in order to roll bigger ones and potentially get a better result on harder tasks, or rolling smaller dice in order to roll more of them and get a more reliable result on easier tasks. This is done on a one for one scale - one extra die for one smaller die type, or vice versa. It works rather well in practice, and adds a level of control for the players that many other systems don't have. This is followed by character development; spending XP and the like, but also advice for the GM on developing important NPCs in the background.

Next, we get to one of two reasons why I love this system so much - the combat. In combat, each turn lasts about three seconds, and you get two actions. Defending against an attack requires the use of an action. More often than not, a player will use one action to attack, one to defend. On a particularly successful defence, the defender may choose to attack their attacker immediately instead of waiting for their turn to come around, in what is known as the riposte. This, naturally, means that they have no actions when their turn comes around, and so their turn is skipped. Hit location is chosen randomly, unless the attacker chooses to aim for a specific target; in this case, the attack requires both actions. The attacker may choose to take a penalty to hit in order to deal more damage on a successful attack, though the opposite is not true, and the level of success affects the damage dealt. There are many other tactics listed, and the GM is encouraged to make up rules on the fly for anything not covered.

The second reason I love this system is the Trauma system. This gets a separate chapter from combat, simply because it is so much more in depth than the standard hit point based systems. Simply put, damage is taken in the form of discrete wounds. There are five levels of wound severity - Superficial, which is rarely more than painful and will rarely even leave a scar; Nasty, which will generally hurt a lot and leave a scar, but is rarely fatal; Grievous, which can potentially be fatal if the right treatment isn't give; Grim, which is definitely fatal without the right treatment, and finally Mortal, which is almost certainly fatal. Bleeding can be very serious if not treated quickly, potentially leading to Shock (the medical condition generally caused by severe bloodloss - fatal if left untreated). Bones can be broken, and can lead to permanent disfigurement if bad enough, or left untreated. Internal Trauma again can be fatal when left untreated. All three of these are potential issues from a wound, and the GM gets to describe what happened.

But that's only if you use the Trauma system provided here, which honestly I wouldn't do. Why? Because there's a nice big book of wounds called Trauma, by the same publishers, which provides a far more in depth system of wounds than could ever have been provided here. In that book, you have damage tables for each part of the body and each wound severity, where you roll a die and that's the wound. Also, while you could just use those tables to determine the damage done, the book also provides medically accurate details of just how bad each wound is, from sucking chest wounds through amputations to severe burns and brain damage. In my opinion, the two books go incredibly well together, even if only for the extra flavour to damage that the Trauma book provides. Also, because the Trauma system is only used once the fight is over, and often only on the PCs, it does surprisingly little to slow down play.

Once this is done, an example combat scenario is given for one player and a GM to run through. It's a fairly simple example of how combat runs in the game, and is designed to teach newcomers how to kill things and not be killed in the meantime. After that, comes a standard how to run the game chapter, which comes with very good advice that can be found in almost any role playing book you care to mention.

Next, comes magic. Magic is interesting in this system, for the simple reason that the powerful stuff comes at a price. There are three kinds of magic in Crimson Exodus - Elven Witchcraft, Dwarven Sorcery and the Black Arts of the Toth. Witchcraft is the magic of nature, and is powered by blood. It can cure or it can kill, and it can even create outbreaks of Plague - the setting's equivalent of the zombie virus. Sorcery is mastery of the elements, and while it cannot directly cause damage, nor cure, causing a campfire to leap at an enemy, or a tunnel to collapse on their heads will leave some questioning the difference. Finally, the Dark Arts involve feeding that part of yourself that would do absolutely anything to survive, at the cost of all others. It can also heal or harm, though healing from this form of magic comes with a price, and it can cause an affliction just as nasty as the Plague; the Rot, which creates the setting's equivalent of ring-wraiths.

After that, we have a list of artefacts; some magical, others merely thought so. Then comes herbology and alchemy. These work pretty much as expected, although healing through alchemy requires blood from still living beings. The dark secrets of the setting are discussed next, and provide many possible adventure or even campaign hooks, followed by a rather good introductory adventure that I won't spoil here, and finally a list of NPCs.

In conclusion, this is among my favourite games ever, and I'm very, very glad I kickstarted it. I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to play a good fantasy RPG without D&D's baggage.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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