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Fantasy Craft Second Printing
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Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Fantasy Craft Second Printing
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Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Sam R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/24/2013 17:50:43

A fresh and inspiring take on the d20 system with many practical new mechanics (as well as a few which could be dispensed with). The introduction of drama dice as both a reward system and a multifunctional means of boosting rolls is especially appealing. I was also pleased to find the openness of the system allows for much customisation to suit particular sub-genres and settings. My only criticism is that I feel some of the low-level class features are a bit gratuitous although I have not experienced all of them in play yet and so they might be more balanced then first seem.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Ward M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/02/2013 09:23:28

Fantasy Craft, Second Printing (Crafty Games)
402 page PDF

The good:
I really enjoyed the point-buy system for creating NPC/Monster challenges for the party to face. I've never seen anything like it before.

The bad:
Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good. Organizationally, this book is a hot mess. I read the character creation chapter twice, and I am still not sure I understand it. (I have been gaming for 30 years) Most of the book just seems needlessly complex to me.

After reading the dozen-plus glowing reviews on this website, I was expecting this to be the best book in the history of gaming. (I guess disappointment was inevitable)

The bottom line:
If you are looking for a ready-made campaign, this isn't your game. It's more of a toolbox that lets you create the fantasy of your choosing. Be prepared to do a LOT of work preparing and planning the campaign before play begins.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Bill L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2012 14:35:17

While there are certainly some rough edges, and the lack of a consistent release schedule is nothing short of infuriating, this is still the best thing to happen to RPGs in the last 20 years.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Scott S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/26/2011 12:33:54

I must say after reading and playing it, it turned out to be a great system. The character creation options are so awesome that you could play 10 fighters and none of them would be the same. I loved the way treasure is handled it is very cool and makes for a much more satisfying game from a player's perspective. I have not played a mage yet but it is intriguing the way it is set up and I am very excited to try a cleric.
I love the way knowledge checks are done. It makes perfect sense. Action dice a great too. NPC creation is easy and everything scales nicely. My most recent game my 4th level party was able to face off with a Lich, the cool thing is that the Lich will be back in a few levels and he will scale perfectly for the adventure he will reappear in.

All said, this is another great game system by Crafty games. Keep up the good work.


[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Nicolas F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/17/2010 08:15:14

Fantasy Craft is basically what was missing from the d20 system for each and every player or GM who wanted a little bit more ... crunch, fun, dynamism, or even storytelling options. It's a package of all that and a little bit more on the top of it. The rules are brilliantly well written, making this 400-pages generic fantasy rulebook something even more huge than it appears. This is a system for any fantasy game, whether you like combat a lot and want to use minis in order to play full tactic battles, or whether you prefer investigation-centered intrigues where social assets and clever use of one's resources is the key, or anything in-between. There are rules for many things, though not to the point that it slows the pace of the game down. However, since the writing is clever and concise, reading the rules more than once before play might be necessary. It's worth it, though, because you can really use this system to play anything, once you're familiar with it. And I really mean ANYTHING, without much things to adjust, thanks to the very modular nature of most options, particularly campaign qualities. Just remember this is a game for people who like well-oiled mechanics. It does not mean it is just for combat freaks. There are rules for smart storytelling as well and some aspects of the game focus solely on social play and intrigue. It's just that there ARE rules indeed, for all those things. It's not left up to the GM every two pages. Of course the GM has the final word, but he is thoroughly guided through the whole book. Similarly, creating a PC for Fantasy Craft may take you at least one hour, but that's only because you have so many opportunities to build JUST the character you had in mind ... well, you want to explore them all! It's thorough, and it requires a little bit dedication at first. But the pleasure during game is only better. All in all, Fantasy Craft is honestly the best fantasy RPG I have ever read.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/13/2010 14:59:31

Book is well laid out and easy to find what you are looking for. Rules are base upon Crafty Games MasterCraft ruleset, which uses the D20 OGL. Saying that FantasyCraft is yet another D20 fantasy game does not do the MasterCraft ruleset justice. Crafty has taken D20 to a new level.
Character classes and races offer a rich environment for players to enjoy. Gameplay is straight forward and easy for new players to understand.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Ronald B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/11/2010 10:06:54

This is d20 at its most flexible best.

Fantasy Craft solves my biggest problem with its parent fantasy game. With the use of a simple table, GMs can now put their PC's up against any creature, any time, at any level.

In addition, NPCs are a breeze to make by simply going over a section in the book.

The toolkit concepts begun in Spycraft suit high fantasy well. There is simply no better way to run a home brewed fantasy campaign using d20!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2009 09:43:19

Honed by years of experience with the D20 ruleset, Fantasy Craft opens with the clear premise: this is YOUR game, and the rules are but the toolset to enable you to run it how you like. That said, the Introduction continues with the usual information about what role-playing is, definitions of players, characters, the game master and the like... but throughout the point is continually stressed that you will be choosing the precise nature of the world in which your game will run, from a range of time periods to the relative levels of technology and magic.

Chapter 1: Hero deals with character creation and again stresses that this is the mere mechanics of generating the numbers necessary to operate the rules, and that it is the choices that you make about what motivates your character, how he behaves and what interests him that is the true core of the charcter that you will play. Following the process is simple and clear, with the emphasis on choosing a concept and even your character's physical description before putting numbers to the attributes. There's a neat 2-word 'Origin' system which not only lets you encapsulate something of what your character brings to the game but also provides small benefits, edges that help personalise your character. Remembering that you are not creating a character in isolation, there are reminders to check with the GM and other players so that characters mould into a coherent party and fit in with the world presented by the GM. Continuing the theme of characters by design, a point-buy system is used for attributes (Strength, Dexterity, etc) before you settle down to choose Species, Class and everything else you need.

There are twelve Species to choose from, with some optional subspecies as well. Most are familiar, although there are also Drakes (dragon-kin with scales and wings), Rootwalkers (animate trees) and Saurians (reptilian humanoids) for variety; as well as the Unborn, who are constructed by either magic or technology and have somehow developed self-awareness and free will. Your Origin is a combination of your Species and a Speciality - human characters also have a Talent which confers extra benefits. Next you pick a Career Level - most games begin at the first level, but something else may be preferred - and a Class. There are three types of class - a general Base Class available at the first career level, more specialised Expert Classes which become available for 5th-level characters and a Master Class (available from 10th-level) which represents a high but narrow level of expertise. Of course, you can remain a generalist within your Base Class if preferred.

The Classes cover a range of areas of expertise, and each comes with some suggestions as to the different character concepts that they might suit and the sort of role they might fulfil within a party of adventurers. This last is much looser and less prescriptive than the equivalent in Dungeons & Dragons 4e. There are some quite distinctive classes here, so if you fancy being a Captain (seafarer, that is) or an Assassin, a Courtier or an Explorer instead of the common fantasy fare of fighter, cleric and wizard, here's your chance. Several Expert Classes are given as well. Next, you select Interests for your character. These come in three types: Alignment, Languages and Studies. Alignment can be anything from belief in a specific deity to a moral stance or philosophical outlook. Language enables you to speak different tongues, and Studies are wide-ranging, enabling you to have knowledge about something not covered elsewhere in the rules. So you might know a lot of folk tales, or recognise the heraldic bearings of local lords... You start with your native language, one Study based on the area you come from and two additional Interests of your choice; with the chance to gain extra ones as you rise in level.

Chapter 2: Lore discusses action dice, skills and feats. Action dice are used to tip the scales of fate in your character's favour in various mechanical ways, while skills and feats follow the pattern familiar to an experienced D20 player: enabling your character to do or know things better than those lacking the skill or feat in question. From the role-playing point of view they serve to individualise the character, defining him in terms of the areas in which he is knowlegeable or talented, and specific tricks he is able to pull off in combat or general endevour. The skills are well-presented with a wealth of examples, and there is an interesting concept of 'downtime' (non-adventuring time, basically what your characters are doing when you are not playing them) in which characters can learn new skills, improve the ones they already have, or earn a living by plying their skills for pay. If you fancy playing one of the sub-species mentioned earlier, you will have to use a feat to do so... but will get some benefits due to the sub-species you've chosen. These, naturally, have to be taken at 1st level.

Next, Chapter 3: Grimoire looks at that all-important element of a fantasy world, magic. Arcane and divine spellcasters are powerful yet fragile, able to wield great power and capable of spectacular failures as well. Spells are learned by the arcane casters as he gains appropriate levels, and are cast by the expenditure of spell points, the success (or otherwise) being determined by die roll. Divine spellcasters do not use points, but are more limited in what they can do within a single scene. True to the ultra-customisable vision of this game, you can choose to allow only arcane spellcasting, just divine casting, or both, depending on the campaign qualities you select (of which more later). To allow for the development of unique individual spell casters, arcane magic comes in Schools and Disciplines. The School represents the mage's philosophical approach to his art, while the Disciplines within each School collect together spells of a particular nature and effect. Once you have chosen your specialty, you can either choose a number of spells appropriate to your caster level or roll randomly. You can (particularly if you use the random method) know a spell that you are not yet capable of casting. The rest of the chapter is filled with a vast array of spells to get you started. (Minor niggle: the page heading shows incorrectly as 'Chapter 2: Lore' throughout the pages of Chapter 3 - don't get confused!)

Once a character is created, and - if he will use them - his spells selected, we come to Chapter 4: Forge, which contains all the information needed to equip, clothe and arm him. But there's a whole lot more than a mere shopping list here. Characters can save their cash or live a flamboyant lifestyle, build (or lose) a reputation, and generally create the legacy that any true hero can expect to leave behind him. The core of this is Coin and Lifestyle - rules to govern what money the character has and how he makes use of it. Coin's fairly straightforward, but Lifestyle covers both the way in which you choose to live and how good you are at looking after your wealth. If it is equipment you are after, comprehensive lists of just about everything the well-equipped adventurer might want. As well as how much it costs and any relevant game statistics, there's information on which eras it occurs in, how easy it is to obtain... and how easily it gets damaged. Magic items and those which, like potions, mimic spell effects are also to be found here. Services - even such vital ones for the average adventurer as taking a bath! - are also listed, so whatever your needs are, they can be met. An interesting feature is that each brings some small benefit quantified within the rules, so that much needed bath not only cleans our hero (and reduces the smell) but gives him a +1 Appearance bonus for the next scene.

Next comes some interesting rules to cover a character's reputation, a mechanistic way of measuring his Renown as his adventuring career progresses. It's not just social standing and status - or even how often bards sing about your exploits - there are titles and prizes and all manner of goodies to be acquired. Possibly the most useful things are Favours, one-time benefits which can be called upon at need by spending Reputation points when you ask for something to be done that's to your advantage. A lot of examples and their cost in Reputation points are provided, anything from getting a rival locked up without benefit of trial to being invited to a coronation! (Oddly, it's harder to watch the coronation...) From the role-playing angle, the character ought to know who can provide the Favour he's after, and actually play out the going and asking. This leads naturally on to the concept of Contacts, NPCs known to one or more of the characters, who tend to be well-disposed towards them and inclined to help them out as necessary. They help you more as you devote more Reputation points to building their Trust... but you can only spend points on a given contact after an episode in which you have had contact with him. Likewise, systems are provided to cover Holdings (the property that the characters might acquire, from a shack or room at an inn to a whole palace), assorted retainers and even magic items. A bit mechanical, perhaps, but good for preserving balance particularly if you find it difficult to resist being generous with rewards or are particularly stingy in what you hand out. You can be both fair and be seen to be fair by your players if you base rewards on these systems. There is a lot of detail on magic items - not just their acquisition and use, but manufacture and more. There are also 'artifacts' - one-off items with specific and often plot-driving powers. By using lists of powers, a very comprehensive and robust design system is provided, along with sample items to use or suggest ideas for your own designs.

Chapter 5: Combat deals with every aspect of brawling within the game mechanics. It's designed with an eye to the cinematic, epic combat that will be talked about long afterwards, yet streamlined to make it an enjoyable experience rather than one long die-rolling and rule-consulting exercise. Explanations are clear and logical, starting with the need to know where all participants are when a brawl begins, as well as knowing what they are holding and whether they know there's someone looking for a fight nearby. Thereafter action is fast and furious, operating in rounds with participants taking their turn according to their initiative and with a comprehensive list of standard options plus whatever comes from skills, feats, etc., that they have to choose from for the one 'full action' or two 'half actions' that they can take per round. After a review of how damage works and the various adverse conditions that can affect a character as a result, the discussion moves on to healing.

Next comes Chapter 6: Foes, which discusses the opposition both sentient and otherwise that characters will face in the course of their adventures. Here the emphasis is on how they are created, as well as conversion rules to enable any person or creature from another D20 or OGL book can be fine-tuned to work with Fantasy Craft. Sample ones are provided in a Rogues Gallery and a Bestiary later in the book. The construction sequence is very clear, and leads to the design of balanced and robust foes of all sorts to meet the needs of the adventure. There are further notes about making your foes come to life in your alternate reality, devising an ecology for each monster and knowing what the NPCs get up to when not interacting with the characters. The chapter ends with the promised Rogues Gallery, some 'Rogue' templates to aid in the creation of your own NPCs, a random name generation system for them, and finally the Bestiary, monster templates and OGL conversion notes.

Chapter 7: Worlds looks at the creation of the alternate reality in which your game will be set. Experienced groups may be capable of creating a fantasy setting almost as they go along, starting with the immediate area in which the action takes place and intuiting the rest, adding detail as necessary... but for those who prefer a more disciplined approach, there's a beautiful Socratic approach to world design based on a series of questions about what you want the place to be like. There are fascinating analyses of matters such as eras - determining the state of advancement your world is at - and beliefs to help you decide the broad strokes of the background. You also need to decide whither magic works in your world, and if so, who can have it and how common it is. Likewise, you can decide just which sentient races and monsters exist... and even if they are as presented in these pages, or subtly different. Then there are the more mundane details, fascinating in developing the richness and diversity of your world: governments, social and trade organisations, religious hierarchies, laws, festivals, common outlooks, rivalries based on species or belief... all in all this chapter is well worth reading whatever fantasy game you play if you want to understand world construction. For those who like to nail things down, you can apply 'Campaign Qualities' to your world to establish what is there and how it functions.

That's not all, once the world exists (even if only in your imagination or - if you're organised - in a notebook), there is the important matter of creating some adventures for your characters to have while exploring the alternate reality you have created for them. There is plenty of good advice about structuring adventures and making them fit the world - always helpful in reinforcing the 'reality' of the alternate reality, making it feel like a real place with which the characters can interact, not merely a backdrop for their exploits. The advice about adventure structure, what needs to be provided, points to consider and ways to improve are masterly and should be of benefit whatever you want to write within any game system, never mind this one.

The other part of the GM's role is actually running the game, and the next part of the chapter goes into detail about a myriad of aspects that need to be considered - from style, presentation and pacing to ensuring that the players are enjoying the game. Again material of benefit to any games master, irrespective of the game he runs. There are also copious notes on how to apply the rules of this game, especially those unique to it and those which specifically fall into the GM's perview. It's all provided to empower the GM to run the game as effectively as possible, taking care of details so that he can concentrate on presenting an enjoyable experience for the players.

Overall, this is a thorough interpretation of the core D20 ruleset, clearly presented and well-balanced throughout with well considered options to enable you to customise your game so that it is precisely the way you want it. The final chapter, considering all aspects of the GM's art from world design to the minutae of effective handling of events at the table is masterly and recommended to anyone wanting to become or improve as a GM.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Dean P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/03/2009 08:30:43

The folks over at Crafty Games have created an excellent game in Fantasy Craft. It is obvious that the people who designed this game have years of experience in gaming. They have gone from their orginal product of the SpyCraft series and produced what 4th Ed SHOULD'VE been. As someone who has always been an advocate of 3.5, I think Craft Games have made something that is a completely fresh look at the game and keeps at the core system that I know and love. I have only read through this book and have yet to have a chance to play, but everything I've read is just amazing. Definitely a great buy!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/28/2009 16:25:44

The end of the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 era is a great deal reminiscent of the death of superman comic storyline from a while back. After the great superpower is declared dead, several individuals emerged to declare themselves the new holder of the title. Some of them were just as potent as the predecessor while several failed to live up to the expectations.

Created by the innovative thinkers behind Spycraft, Fantasycraft makes a strong argument for controlling the true title as the next version of Dungeons and Dungeons with a creatively enhanced OGL system that takes D&D in a new direction. Several changes places this system on the same high quality level of other leading 3.5 successors like Pathfinder.

Fantasycraft is a 402 page tome with everything you need to run the system within its pages. It contains player creation rules, dungeon master guidelines and monster templates. Fantasycraft is innovative in a way that does not feel too evasive to the D&D experience. There are many places that feel as if it is overcompensating, however, not so much that it changes the balance of the game.

Instead of inundating the reader with a dozen or so chapters, Fantasycraft takes an unintimidating approach by presenting seven chapters that encompass one concept. The Hero chapter goes over character creation. Even to the veteran D&D player, this process will feel unfamiliar. Fantasycraft takes a different approach to character building, starting with a concept and allowing the concept to influence in the game play of the character. Even the traditional feels diverse Attributes are distributed in a point system, and though a bit too overpowered for most DMS, its easily scalable. Origin involves selecting a species (race), talent (special ability) and specialty (extra feat). There are 11 classes then introduced. Some of which, like the mage, allow for a broad interpretation of the class while some, like the assassin, constrict a more rigid view of the class. Finally players select their interests (alignment, language and miscellaneous endeavors).

The next chapter Lore begins by explaining action points, normally something that repeats from edition to edition, but the idea of having action points confirm criticals is refreshing and eliminates the idiotic confirm critical check that has haunted D&D for decades. It also allows the player to activate critical errors on opponents and heal your character. Rounding out this chapter are skills and feats. Skills have been greatly consolidated and each contains an error and critical success text. Feats are split into a dozen categories for easy reference and to simply various class bonus spells.

The Grimoire Chapter introduces spellcasting which adds more interaction for the spellcaster. Spellpoints have always been a simpler way to handle spells than the current Victorian system. Fantasycrafts spells require that you spend the cost of the spell and roll a spellcraft check to see if you succeed. Many of the spells sound familiar and endure only a slight change from their 3.5 counterparts. The system tries to simplifies matters by having one skill beneficial for the caster check and one check beneficial for the spell DC. Most DMs will want to change this to add flavor to the classes. Though it does make since for simplicities sake.

The Forge Chapter presents all items that can be purchased in the system. The entire purchase system is translated into silver and is pretty normal affair. The slight difference is that players can earn coin and purchase special items based off of the reputation.
The Combat Chapter sticks earlier chapters together like glue. There is a lot here to love. So much so, that most of the review would be filled with the things introduced to make the combat great. Here’s a quick run down: Armor as damage reduction, area effect spells that spread out of the spell radius, vitality and wounds done simply, a heal like skill that actually allows players to heal, damage types that add additional flavor and mechanics, a long-term injury chart, simplified mounted combat rules, advanced actions that allow for called shot and parrying etc. The removal of two-weapon fighting and multiple attacks are dealt with by allowing foes to be dealt with easier.

The Foes chapters does more than just display a series of creatures, but shoes how to easily build them based off a point system. Even better, it has a simple conversion chart for converting 3.5 creatures and NPCs.

The last chapter, the World Chapter, should be a throw away chapter, a repeat of things you have previously read in other Dungeon Master Books. However, concepts about how and when to DM fiat and organizing player votes raises it up a notch.

For The Player and The Dungeon Master
Rarely is it hard to pick out just one thing that stands out in the book. In every chapter I found something that induced a “wow” or an “ah”. Even if you are not switching to another system, you can take parts of this and it would greatly add to the flavor of a campaign.

The Iron Word
Fantasycraft may just be the most fun you will have role playing this year. And being a big fan and supporter of a couple of the newer systems, that is hard to say. It is very much Dungeons and Dragons with enough changes to justify switching to a new system. If there is a negative it is that this book is for fans of Role Playing games. Though combat feels simpler, initially it can be daunting, as your options are increased a great deal. Players new to the concept of role playing games or hate the math of role playing games will probably want to limit their options. Still, it is well mixed blend of the good of both 2nd edition and 3rd edition with the foreknowledge of the problems in both. Though it does not have the production value of other systems, it more than makes up for it by reinventing the fantasy genre. It contains the new "it" that 4th edition fans like while maintaining the traditional fantasy feel that pathfinder fans enjoy.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/23/2009 01:31:10

When I first cracked open Fantasy Craft, I expected to find a rehash of Dungeons and Dragons in some form or another. I was able to keep up this illusion throughout the opening chapter by telling myself that while the classes were different and there were a few unusual races in the lineup, this was still basically the game that I was already familiar with. The further I read, the more I knew that what Crafty Games had put together was actually something very different than ye ole D&D.

Nestled within its four hundred pages, you will find everything that you need to play the game, including eleven playable races (with a boatload of splinter races), twelve base classes, six expert (prestige) classes, a gallery of NPCs, a bestiary, and all of the rules you will need to start playing the game. Since Fantasy Craft is built on top of the d20 Open Gaming License, the core engine of Fantasy Craft won't be anything new to anyone who has ever played an OGL game. Where Fantasy Craft noticeably departs from the usual mold, though, is the way that it merges concepts that are seen more typically in modern genre games, such as a system for reputation, contacts and allies, looser management of character wealth, and an all around more cinematic approach.

  • Races of Fantasy Craft *
    Fantasy Craft has a respectable list of playable races, including ones typically only thought of as monsters, such as ogres, orcs and giants, along with some that are alien enough to provide an interesting roleplaying challenge to the hardened fantasy roleplayer, such as rootwalkers (treants), drakes (smaller, less powerful kin of the dragons), and unborn (living constructs such as golems). Each of the races have has its own unique list of advantages and disadvantages to playing them that goes beyond the simple plus two to this attribute, minus two to that. Even humans got a lot more attention with a generous list of "talents" to choose from, making them a lot more attractive to play than I have seen in other d20 based games.

In an era of RPGs where other systems encourage GMs to find a way to say "yes," to their players, banned actions seem a little harsh. This rule makes it difficult or impossible to play a character that goes against its racial stereotypes. For instance, ogres can never attempt to take a diplomatic approach and make influence checks, and dwarves can never learn to swim. I would have preferred to have seen a system that gave them a penalty to skill checks instead of banning the race from making an attempt outright. The player experience could also be improved by giving the player options to effectively buy off the penalties with feats.

  • Classes of Fantasy Craft *
    Core classes include the assassin, burglar, courtier, captain, explorer, keeper, lancer, mage, priest, sage, scout and soldier. Right away, it is evident that these aren't simply reprints of the d20 SRD classes. In fact, the only classes that strongly resemble a 3.5 SRD counterpart are the mage and burglar. Each class also features a "core ability." For instance, the assassin's core ability, "Heartseeker," improves the assassin's base attack bonus when he is attacking what is known as a special character -- basically, this is anything that actually has hit points and isn't part of the masses. These core abilities are only gained from your first level in your first class. This is an effective mechanic that allows Fantasy Craft to provide a nice boon in a class right from level one, without opening it to being abused by acquiring multiple "core abilities," via multi-classing.

  • Artwork *
    Other than the cover art, the rest of the book is completely illustrated in black and white. Nonetheless, the artwork is high quality and compelling with lots of little subtleties to hunt for. (Get a preview of some of the art in this P&PG review: [...]) The bestiary section, however, could have used more art and would have ideally had a visual representation for every monster listed.

  • The MasterCraft Engine *
    Fantasy Craft is the first game to feature Crafty Game's new adaption on the d20 engine called MasterCraft. MasterCraft is described as a lighter, faster, and sleeker version of the Spycraft 2.0 mechanics. Having never looked over the Spycraft game in any detail, I can't really comment on how complicated Spycraft was. What I can say is that the system in Fantasy Craft brings a lot of great innovations to the gaming table by doing away with things that complicated or slowed down play in d20, and simplifying other things that were always confusing to players and GMs alike.

  • Armor Works Like It Should *
    Although this is a subtlety of the system that few might consider to be all that important, one of my gripes with d20 has long been the way the system handles armor. It doesn't make sense that wearing a heavy suit of armor somehow makes a character more difficult to hit. In Fantasy Craft, armor works more like I would expect by providing its wearer with resistance to certain types of damage instead of helping the character avoid damage outright. Instead, the game gives every class a new "defense" score right alongside of the typical saving throws that represents the character's skill at avoiding physical attacks. Perfect!

  • Quicker Recovery and Less Dependence on Healers *
    Fantasy Craft features two hit point pools -- vitality and wounds. Vitality is explained to be a "mixture of endurance, luck and the will to fight." This is what your character gains every level as he becomes a more experienced combatant, whereas wounds represent actual physical damage. Although the system provides a couple of sneaky tricks that can bypass vitality and immediately do wound damage, most of the time the character is going to lose all of his vitality first before taking any real damage. This gives the game a more cinematic feel where the character narrowly avoids hit after hit until his defenses are worn down and he finally suffers a serious injury.

Vitality recovers very quickly -- pretty much one night's rest will recover all vitality. The game also provides a means for players to heal themselves in and out of combat using action dice. All of this means less down time and less reliance on having a healer in the party.

  • Streamlined Skills *
    The skill list of Fantasy Craft is noticeably slimmed by combining like skills with each other. Each of the skills then has multiple uses. For example, the skill Acrobatics merges three skills found in D&D 3.5 into one for balancing checks, jump, and tumble. By combining them, it is much easier to have a more diverse selection of skills, especially given that Fantasy Craft is very generous with skill points to all classes. The game also completely does away with knowledge skills in favor of a single unified knowledge check.

  • Abundant Feats *
    Fantasy Craft features a long list of feats that players are sure to enjoy. My favorites among these are the weapon feats, which finally give players a reason to choose a weapon for something other than just whatever does the most damage, but these aren't just a bunch of combat feats, either. True to its theme of supporting everything from a very tactically-oriented game to a heavy roleplaying and social game, Fantasy Craft delivers an expansive array of feats for whatever type of character you are trying to build.

  • Modular NPC Design *
    Fantasy Craft features a wide array of prebuilt NPCs and monsters to challenge your party, and the game takes a unique approach by making all of the stat blocks modular. In other words, any monster you'll find in this book can be used at all levels of play. They simply plug in at whatever level your group is currently at and are ready to go. You'll need to do a little math and cross-referencing of charts to determine the NPC's actual scores first, but fortunately, this process is easy and quick enough that you should be able to do it on the fly at the gaming table with only minimal downtime. This also comes with the huge advantage of being able to use modules more easily regardless of what level of play they were designed for.

While you're perusing the NPC section, you'll also find a rather exceptional NPC Generator for stating out your own cast of NPCs and critters. This system goes way beyond the scant advice typically given in other games and provides a very precise way for building a creature's attributes, special abilities, attacks, defenses, et cetera, and determining exactly what the experience reward for such a creature should be.

  • Campaign Qualities *
    Although this section is a mere five pages or so, it packs a lot of punch. Essentially, campaign qualities are a list of optional rules that the GM can apply to his game depending on the feel he wants for his game. For instance, the "Doomed Heroes" quality makes it far more likely that critical hits will be confirmed against the player characters, whereas the "Iron Heroes" quality makes it much more difficult for characters to die from massive damage. Campaign qualities are one of the things the authors have already mentioned that plan to expand on, so I expect we'll probably see a lot more of these as new products in the Fantasy Craft line are released.

  • "Your Dungeon, Your Dragon, Your Way" *
    This is the slogan emblazoned on the back of the book, and it is one of the key goals of Fantasy Craft. It is obvious throughout the book that the designers put a lot of time and thought into providing a framework that could support whatever type of game the game master imagines. With options like campaign qualities, a comprehensive NPC builder, and a book chock full of options for tactical and roleplaying heavy games alike, Fantasy Craft delivers on that promise.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2009 23:56:19

I played Spycraft back when it was in version 1.0 and D&D was at 3.0, so when I heard about 3.5 coming out, I thought I knew what it was going to be like. I expected the sort of adjustments to the rules that I saw in Spycraft, but I was wrong. They decided to make minor adjustments and call it 3.5. Well, Fantasy Craft is exactly what they should have done. The rules, while detailed, are easy to understand. The options for character creation and in development are expansive. My only issue with it so far, is I can't decide what to make first!

If Fantasy Craft were a video game, I'd say there is tons of replay available. You have so many different ways to build a character, and different places you can branch out after creation, and none (or almost none) of them are wrong (or gimped). They all give you different options during play that are useful in different ways. The best way I can describe it to someone who has never played Spycraft would be if you took the ideas of Feats and applied it to everything. You have things that are sort of like feats in character creation, called Talents (human only) and Specialties (all species, including humans), that come from your background (Are you a Strong Human Barbarian, or a Wise Human Cleric?) and these are important aspects, even before you get to your class (So the Wise Human Cleric might be a Priest, or a Keeper, for example, since Cleric isn't a class, it's a Specialty in Fantasy Craft).

If you are on the fence about buying it and you like systems with crunchy bits, then it is a must have. If you liked D&D 3 (or 3.5) then it is a must have. If you liked Spycraft and like fantasy games, then it is a must have. If you prefer really rules lite games, then this probably isn't the game for you. But even then I'd suggest giving it a try, because it really is that awesome.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Kyle H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2009 15:06:35

FantasyCraft is a true epic fantasy game, with streamlined, yet detailed and flexible, combat rules.

At nearly 16,000 possible character combinations, FantasyCraft provides 100x the options for starting characters than D&D 3.5 or 4th edition, due to its Origin system.

FantasyCraft lists 12 distinct non-human species, which is double what D&D 3.5 offered. There is no half-this or half-that, which I find refreshing, as it opens up species which I have not seen readily available to play, such as Drakes.

Humans have 25 talents to choose from, which are one-word adjectives that define who your character is. These really help distinguish starting characters from one another, along with specialties.

In addition, all characters get to choose a specialty for their character. These define your character’s role, as much as the class you pick. Each provides an assortment of abilities tailored for that role. Among the lists are each of the D&D 3.5 base classes, as they are so weaksauce that they’re only a specialty, and you should go pick a real class.

The classes have a wider variety than D&D 3.5 or 4th edition offers, with each one unique and distinct.

Mages have access to all spells, including healing, which follows almost all fantasy settings not based on D&D. Priests gain abilities based on their path (faith), which can include spells, but not always. A priest can be used to emulate a “witch doctor” quite easily.

The only issue I have with the system is that it encourages most of the non-human Species to follow the iconic roles their species does best.

It is a wonderful book from cover to cover. With being a player’s guide, gm’s reference, and bestiary all in one, it is well worth having.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by max l. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2009 11:49:33

FC is the most extensive toolbox for d20 fantasy gaming I know of. There is enough material within these 400 pages to fill 2 player’s guides, a dm guide and a monster manual. It also includes a npc generation system that beats everything I have ever seen. I really can’t imagine a monster type you can’t build with this system. The system is flexible enough to play any fantasy setting I know of, from all the classic D&D settings to 7hsea or Warhammer, just pick what you like.
Classes: 12 of them+Expert and Master classes! This chapter gives you classes that can build nearly any fantasy char you want.
It’s more versatile than other systems and classes offer more options.
Origins=Race: 24 different human species talents!! 12 other fantasy races!! Races in FC are stronger than other d20 races. That means a dwarven warrior is something completely different than a human warrior throughout all lvls.
Specialty: resembles the background your char comes from (barbarian, aristocrat, artist, archer…). Among other things it gives you an additional starting feat.
Lots of them! FC feats are all about giving your char tricks and stances. There is no boring feat like “you get a plus 1 bonus”. Every feat gives you something special and crunchy. If you’d like to play a classic d20 setting like the Realms or Eberron, these feats will enable you to do so (in my opinion better than the 3.5 system)
The best d20 skill system, I have used so far. Fast and streamlined but also detailed enough to make building weapons and other stuff an interesting part of the game instead of a boring single dice roll
Every skill is mechanically useful; a Halfling cook can buff his teammates with a nice breakfast.
Magic: Spellcasting requires a Spellcasting skill check. Spells cost Spellpoints which are gained by several sources. 0 lvl spells cost no Spellpoints, so casters have an endless pool of cantrips. Saving throws against spells are DC 10 + the caster’s charisma
modifier + the caster’s number of Spellcasting feats.
My favorite chapter, lots of weapons! While most d20 weapons simply do dmg, different weapon qualities ensure that every weapon has different effects. That means weapons differ al lot more than only by means of dmg and crit range. The damage reduction of armor in combination with different armor piercing values makes weapons and armor much more fun and interesting.
Reputation and Prizes:
In short: players need to spend reputation they earn through completing adventures to be able to buy and create magic weapons. This works also for holdings and contacts (-_ could be a source that sells potions).
Renown is also bought with reputation, and resembles your social status. This is important to call in Favors (combat training, blessings, hirelings…)
Keep in mind that these rules can also be excluded from the game.
If you are familiar with d20 combat, you will easily find your way in this chapter. It focuses more on playability than realism, it’s fast and tactical. You can plan ambushes with tactics checks (skill) and teamwork can be improved with feats.
This is a DM chapter, it gives you everything you’d expect from a DM guide, but due to the Mastercraft system, I think the game is better manageable for the dm. (Action Dice, giving Reputation…)

To summarize: I don’t think I’ll ever play another d20 fantasy system than FantasyCraft!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Rodrigo J. R. T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/20/2009 01:39:03

I really think this book is great!!

As mentioned by others:
An excelent system to create NPCs
FEATs again are escencial.
NOT a hack an slash system (but can be if u want)
3 new very interesting things: Reputation, Lifestyle and action dices!!!

The only thing Im not very "happy" or maybe dont find the correct form is the magic for the mage.

I didnt find any restriction to know spells then a mage healer is posible and with divine assistance...
but I think the rules are so flexible that I can say (as a DM or GM lol) what kind of magic any one can use!!!

Excellent work 5 stars is correct!!!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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