There a a lot of reviews of this book online so I'll try to put my own spin on this. Fantasy Craft combines the best of older games with the latest in game design. Don't get me wrong this is not an 'old school' game. Fantasy craft is state of the art. What I mean is that the core book gives you everything you need to play and takes the cuffs off allowing you to create a world and tweak the rules to suit your style of play. This is your game to make of it what you will, gone are the restrictions of rules ro suit one and only one provided setting, instead you get a toolbox. For those who want a world look at the Adventurer's Companion book or check out Wrymstone online. Cover: the illustration focuses on combat and dungeons with no real hint of the world building and potential for social events and other kinds of play. Its good though.
Chapter 1 Hero: I never liked describing characters as heroes, what if you want to play someone like Bilbo? That niggle aside the options here will allow you to create almost any fantasy character in the modern-post tolkien era. All the core fantasy folk are here: Elves, dwarves, golems, giants, dragons...(rewind) wait giants? Dragons? Well yes. These odd species are balanced by thoughtful changes to the d20 rules elsewhere in the rules. Encumbrance and oversized weapons for example are altered so you no longer have to worry about balancing the super-strength of giants.
Chapter 2 Lore: this is all your skills feats etc. All of this has been really reworked. There are less skills covering more ground each and carefully divided to ensure the skills will see use in play.
Chapter 3 Grimoire: spellcasting as a skill and spells from spellpoints.Read more ›
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I've been digging into the book for a few days, and I've gotta say this is probably the best iteration of the d20 ruleset I've found yet, even beating out True20 (which was holding the title 'til now). It's basically a reskinning of the core of the Spycraft rules for fantasy. It's wicked crunchy, but the rules hold together really well, and it addresses a lot of the stuff that ended up driving me away from core d20 a few years back. The mix of class and origin gives a lot more character flexibility than core d20 ever did. Now you can play dragons, giants, and "rootwalkers" (offbrand ents) from 1st level, without the ECL nonsense, or any of the other pseudo-balancing hacks that got developed to keep the craziness in check.
There's a bunch of character customization feats that let you build pretty much any of the stock Gygaxian fantasy races, or most of their derivatives. It's got the default stock Gygaxian fantasy setting assumptions, but it looks flexible enough to cover a lot of ground. Especially with the campaign qualities that let the GM adjust the rules for different setting assumptions like PC mortality, how permanent damage is, magic levels, all that kind of stuff.
The magic system looks like a pretty good spell point version, and clerical magic looks totally different (haven't gotten into that bit yet). The combat's a fairly standard d20 hack, with vitality/wound points and a defense trait with armor as Damage Reduction, and some supplementary damage tracks for subdual and stress damage. There's action points for player narrative control, activating crits and enemy fumbles, boosting rolls, and all that.
Much of Fantasy Craft will be familiar to a D&D player, while a number of subsysystems are unique to Fantasy Craft. If you like the core d20 mechanics, and are a fan of adventure fantasy, I definitely recommend this book. It is ideal for those who like to tinker with world design and customizing a game system to fit that world. The only caution I make is that this is a big, thick book for big, thick play.
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