Thoughts on Fantasy AGE
I recently took a look at the Dragon Age RPG from Green Ronin, along with the more generic Fantasy AGE RPG, and I want to give a few thoughts on those.
First off, I really like the task resolution mechanic. Two d6, with modifiers determined by relevant skills and attributes, with an additional separately colored d6, the stunt die, which you roll to put some english on the result by generating Stunt points – which can be spent to do, well, stunts, which affect the results. The books give some tables with possible results, but the GM and player can work to put together their own stunts.
However, things fall apart with the variety of characters you can create in the game. Specifically, the game effectively has only 3 classes – Fighter, Rogue, or Mage, and each class has a very petite powerset, and in turn a petite degree of character customization options. They’re enough that with a 4-5 character campaign you shouldn’t have two characters built the same way, but things get trickier with 6 characters, and if you have a second campaign, then things will definitely become an issue.
This is especially an issue with spellcasters. In Dungeons & Dragons, while spellcasters can become defacto gods at later levels, even at early to mid levels there is the fun of finding various possible spells and finding new uses and combinations for them. Fantasy AGE doesn’t provide that same option.
I feel like Fantasy AGE, mechanically, would have worked better as an Effects-based system, like Green Ronin’s own Mutants & Masterminds, while using the existing resolution mechanic. It would have provided a wider range of customization for characters in the game, and avoided potential monotony when it comes to character types – and would have set up a good framework for people who want to adapt the AGE rules (in advance of any later iterations of the rules) for other types of settings.
The other remaining issue I had – scarcity of monsters in the rules, is alleviated by the Fantasy AGE Bestiary, which came out last year and which is nominated for an Ennie.
Ultimately, the current iteration of the Fantasy AGE rules are not my cup of tea. However, I really like the resolution mechanic, and I hope a later iteration of the rules allow for building characters that would let me, as a player and GM, do something neat with them.