Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana

Product– Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana

System– AGE System

Producer– Green Ronin

Price– $13.99 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/153950/Titansgrave-The-Ashes-of-Valkana?src=hottest_filtered

TL; DR– I only wish this had more. 88%

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Basics-Cyberpunk, fantasy, and Wheaton-oh my! Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is the much hyped book using the AGE System and a setting designed by several RPG powerhouses and Wil Wheaton himself.  On the Tabletop YouTube page, Wheaton played several adventures of this game with his celebrity friends, and now you can play this game at home with your friends.  What will happen when you disturbed the ashes of a long dead war?

Mechanics or Crunch-Titansgrave demonstrates some amazing uses for the AGE system, but doesn’t quite hit the mark I was expected.  The book has some phenomenal new additions to the system like a completely new chart to spend stunt points for one creature type in combat.  Those kind of add-ons to a system show how robust and buildable the AGE system can be.  The book doesn’t quite keep up that new energy throughout however.  The basic Fantasy Age book introduces the system quite well, but Titansgrave doesn’t do enough to expand the system for this universe.  I wanted several new additions, spells, and mechanics, however, I really only got a new race, some new items, and a few character options in the first chapter.  They all work well, but it doesn’t do enough to really drastically enhance the system.  AGE is great itself, but I want more to really make the AGE system Titansgrave own thing. 4/5

Theme or Fluff- Titansgrave tells an interesting story, but sadly one you’ve kind of “heard” before.  The Titansgrave story is the fun romp from TableTop.  Which if you saw TableTop is awesome.  But, if you saw TableTop, then you have a general idea of what’s going to happen.  I was hoping for a bit more original stuff like added adventures, side quests, and a continuing adventure in the world, but there is some things here to keep your players guessing.  Also, the story is a bit linear.  You can’t go too far off rails on this as the story is written ahead of time.  4.75/5

Execution-If you like the layout from Fantasy AGE, you will do fine here.  This book is basically a giant version of the adventure at the back of the Fantasy AGE book with some serious additions.  I’d like a bit more here as the art is good, but I need a few more maps to throw to my players and some more breaks in the text to help me better read the story.  Overall, its well done and something that you can get through with general ease.  4.5/5

Summary-Titansgrave is the first big launch of the AGE system after it got its own push post-Dragon Age.  This book isn’t my favorite RPG book of all time, but I think it does a good job of introducing the system and setting in a big way.  The book provides a completely new world to play in.  I’d like a bit more mechanics specific to the world, but what’s here is well done.  The story is good, but depending on how much your players watch Titansgrave, they may have seen some of the high points.  The book is well executed, and overall a fun read.  After reading this book, I’m hungry for more in the Titansgrave setting.  88%

Daily Punch 8-7-15 Good, Great, and Excellent Position combat stunt for Fantasy AGE RPE

Let’s add to the current combat chart for the AGE system.  I think a bit more will help with things.

SP Cost Stunt
1 Good Position: You move to an advantageous position and gain a +1 to your next attack roll against the target.
3 Great Position: You gained a bit more of an advantage and gain a +1 to your next attack roll against the target.
5 Excellent Position: You move to the best position you can find and gain a +3 to your next attack roll against the target.

Daily Punch 8-6-15 Friendly talent for Fantasy AGE RPG

How about being friendly?  I don’t want to tell people off, I don’t want to command, I just want to make a nice introduction and make some friends quickly.

Friendly

Classes: Mage, Rogue, and Warrior

You know how to make an entrence.

Novice: When you make a Communication(Persuasion) test and dislike the result, you can reroll the check.  You must keep the second result.

Journeyman:  Reduce the stunt point cost of the And Another Thing and Flirt roleplaying stunts by 1.  Only reduce the cost for the first use of each in a single roll.

Master:Increase your bonus for Communication(Persuasion) by 1, and you also gain 1 additional stunt point when you gain stunt point normally for a Communication roll.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook

Product– Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook

System– Adventure Game Engine

Producer– Green Ronin Publishing

Price– $16 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/153066/Fantasy-AGE-Basic-Rulebook

TL; DR-A strong successor to Dragon AGE. 92%

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Basics-The Dragon AGE has ended, but that doesn’t mean all the stories you wanted to tell in the AGE system have.  Fantasy AGE is the basic rule book for the previous Adventure Gaming System(AGE) system that came out with Dragon Age RPG providing all the basics any generic Fantasy RPG could need.  Let’s break this down piece by piece and see what I think of them individually.

Mechanics or Crunch

Game Basics- Fantasy AGE uses the same basic mechanics that Dragon AGE did; each player will roll 3d6 for an action, find the sum of the dice with some modifiers, and that will determine the outcome.  Contested rolls work exactly the same with the higher sum winning the roll.  This is a quick and easy way to have numeric diversity and an average in your dice rolls.

Stunts-One of the more interesting things with this system is stunts.  When you roll your dice, two of the dice are one color and the third is a different color.  If two of the dice have the same result, you get stunt points equal to the result on the differently colored die.  These stunts have point values and will allow you to add extra flare and effects beyond hit a guy, cast the spell, or bluff the guard. Each type of action has it’s own stunt point chart that you can select icons to spend your points on with the more points spent, the stronger the effects.  When I first read about this system, I was a bit put off, but then my math geek showed through.  It’s easy to think that you won’t roll doubles often, but out of three six-sided dice, you roll doubles a little less than half of the time! Again, this is a fun addition to the standard “roll dice, hit guy, next person in initiative” we’re all used to.

Character Generation-Fantasy age characters make a few important choices and have to let some dice fall. When you make a character, you get to choose your race, background, class, and then you let the dice fall where they may!  Lots of this system involves you randomly rolling for effects on your character.  This results in your average character of a race having some average abilities and likely traits, but overall, I don’t like that part of character generation.  While I’ve played older RPG editions, I prefer to let choice occur when you build your person.  This system does downplay the negative aspects of low ability rolls, but I still prefer point buy.  It’s an option, but most of the book tends to focus on rolling for your character.

Statistics:This game doesn’t have a ton of bonuses to your basic dice roll and that is great thing.  Each person has a number of statistics being: accuracy ( weapon accuracy), communication (talking to people), constitution (body toughness), dexterity (agility and coordination), fighting (heavy weapon accuracy), intelligence (what you know), perception (situation awareness), strength (physical ability), willpower (mental resolve).  You can generate these via point buy or just rolling 3d6 and hoping for the best, so your number will be between 3 and 18 white the modifier for your dice rolls roughly equal the modifiers most role players have from D&D.  You can further focus in these abilities by  getting ability focuses like Accuracy(Blades) where you add 2 to your dice results for all blades attacks.  Thus, you will really only add two numbers to the three six-sided dice rolls.  I do love any system that squashes power gaming at the start and builds in a mean and standard deviation for its die results!

Classes and Advancement-Much like the Dragon AGE RPG, there are only three core classes: mage, rogue, and warrior. These classes are much like you would expect.  Mages cast spells, rogues are nimble and skillful, and warriors are heavy people-at-arms.  Each level a character will get new options such as ability focus, talents (abilities in sequence like feat trees in DnD/Pathfinder), or class specific bonuses.  The talents provide the bulk of the customization in the game.  Every warrior has the same basic class abilities, but the warrior focusing on close combat and social interaction will be like that because of the talents he or she choose.  You don’t get that many choices, but you do get a method to differentiate yourself from the press of other individuals out there.

Magic-Magic in this system is a point based system where players have a mana pool that is spent to cast a spell.  Spells themselves come from the talents that players choose with each level of the talent providing more spells.  It’s a simple system that reminds me of Final Fantasy and the Dragon Age video games.  Not bad company to be in, but since you don’t get tons of different talents, you won’t have the abundance of spells you’re used to in different RPGs like Pathfinder.

Combat and Damage-Just like this games D20 cousins, combat flows in a turn based manner following every player rolling initiative. On your turn, you can do either two minor actions like moving or a minor and a major like attacking.  Players and monsters have a defense rating that you attack just like any other skill in this game.  If your attack roll equals the defense, you hit the enemy.  Damage is done in this game based on the type of weapon you’re wielding with armor reduces the damage that a character takes instead of providing a bonus to your chance to dodge the attack.  This doesn’t reinvent wheel, but why fix what isn’t broken?

Summary-You can see the Dragon AGE in the Fantasy AGE.  That’s not a bad thing as I liked the  Dragon AGE RPG and the Dragon Age video games for speed and elegance of the systems.  However, my major problem is that the character and players don’t have many options.  Sure, it’s fun, but I’d like a bit more crunch to my characters.  That said, it is a good, quick, and simple system that you can easily use in any fantasy setting.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- It’s always hard to judge generic RPGs for their fluff content.  By their nature, there can’t be a significant amount of fluff in this book since any fantasy setting should be able to be played with in this system.  But, the book does have nice art, good general fantasy additions, and all the standard fantasy pieces you will need for your toy box.  Just don’t go in here expecting Tolkien as this book can’t have that level of detail and still be general enough for everybody.  4.5/5

Execution-This book reads relatively quickly and has a decent layout. I can quickly get through the book, find what I need and make a character in under 10 minutes.  I’d like more pictures, and some extra tables to make scanning the book easier like in the talents section.  I prefer to see something similar to how Pathfinder does summaries of feats before the full descriptions.  The book even has a small bestiary with some monsters to throw at your players.  It’s not large, but for the $15 I paid for the book, I’m pretty happy to see a complete system, game mastering guide, and monsters in one book.  This book even comes with a small adventure, so you can jump into playing after you buy only this book.  Overall, good book with a few minor problems keeping it from perfect. 4.75/5

Summary-Fantasy AGE is going to be an awesome RPG if Green Ronin can bring more out for it. Titansgrave is coming out, and that will provide an awesome series of adventures and a setting for this game.  That is what this book really misses-the fluff.  The crunch is good.  It might not be my all time favorite gaming system, but it’s well-designed, thought-out, and easy to use-all the things a quality RPG needs to be viable long term.  I’d like more options, but that’s my old D&D 3.5 gamer heritage showing through.  As for the book itself, it might not be my favorite layout, but it is a great way to present a games information.  If you joined the Fantasy AGE for Titansgrave, you will not be disappointed! 92%