This is a very early opinion on this product I longed so much for. I'll take the time to write something more detailed after reading the whole book. Let's start saying I already went through Crimson Exodus cover-to-cover and I think FD is the most modern, clever and versatile RPG System I've put my hands on.
The system itself offers a lot to storytellers and method actors, but due to its cleverly light, highly descriptive mechanics I bet it will entice more than a butt-kicker. Tacticians have a lot to chew also while cinematic action is guaranteed by trigger ammos (tokens that players could spend to gain positive contextual twists and gain performing good role-playing).
From a structural point of view, FD is a sum of the best of breed ideas I ever stumbled upon: ever read Greg Stolze's essay for GMs? In love with Robin Law's handbook on good game mastering? Tired of d20 oddities and fond of the novelties in system like Cortex or Savage Worlds? Well, FD has it all, but more streamlined, more lightweight, more cinematic and more tactic!
Even more candies: While the system is designed for a grim&gritty fantasy style, where wounds don't heal overnight and combats require skills and tactics more than high numbers on the character sheet, bending the system to one's own need is so simple that porting your favorite gaming style, campaing and setting to FD can be done with a bunch of notes on post-its in the right handbook. :)
I didn't test the system with non-fantasy settings yet but I bet it outperforms many sci-fi, horror, action and pulp dedicated systems.
So where the 4 star rating comes from? Mainly from two minor annoyances, legacy of Crimson Exodus setting.
The layout and lettering is taken from CE 'as is'... It's not that much of a masterpiece of beautiful layouting and the release of FD was a good occasion for RA crew to put some more love on it.
- As in CE, FD suffers from a silly (sorry for the frankness) ordering of information. I extendedly poited this out in my previous CE review... Putting stats before descriptions or people before geography forces the reader to jump back and forth across the book or (worst) to keep on reading in the hope it will all become clear soon or late.
I can't find any good reason for such information structure and I hope RA will take the time to fix this thing in a future revision of the document.
I'll gladly change my rating to 5 stars then. In the meantime, if you're an experienced player or gm in search for a system to run your next campaign, take this as a five star product and swipe you CC at light speed! You won't be disappointed! :)
[4 of 5 Stars!]