11 September 2018
Is this the ideal partner for the fantasy roleplaying system?
Just as the base game had almost exactly what you would expect from a sword-and-sorcery RPG – for better and for worse – the Fantasy AGE Companion is stuffed with new options and rules that are a little predictable but no less welcome for it.
Much of the focus is on adding characters and ideas that aren’t embedded in the heart of the fantasy genre quite as firmly as elves and wizards, but nevertheless crop up often enough to be recognisable tropes.
For example, the new races on offer all fall into the slightly contradictory category of typical non-typical heroes. This means there are rules for playing as humanoid dragons, the clockwork- or steam-powered constructs known as Oreans, and a whole array of bestial humanoids based on everything from bears to frogs.
The new talents and specialisations are also designed to allow characters to branch out of the typical Tolkien-esque mould with rogues that specialise in breaking heads with nunchaku and kicks that would put Bruce Lee to shame, and warriors that ditched their longswords in favour of a couple of revolvers. There are also some more unusual options, such as dedicated diplomats that may be able to solve problems without resorting to their weapons.
While the first half of the book is focused on options for players, the rest is firmly aimed towards GMs. These range from guidelines for creating new NPCs to rules for chase scenes and mass battles. Again, nothing in there is going to be particularly surprising, but nonetheless it rounds out the ruleset and provides more options without becoming overwhelming.
If there’s a criticism to the book it’s that it doesn’t really bring much to the table that you can’t find in a dozen other games. There are a few neat ideas here and there – such as the arcane tattoos of the ‘Marked’ specialisation – but it can still feel a little flavourless, even for a generic system. Also, if you’ve been buying all of the AGE books released so far then you probably already own a decent chunk of the content of offer in the Companion.
Still, the book is densely packed with ways to expand your campaign and is well worth picking up if your group is already interested in Fantasy AGE.
Designer: Jack Norris, Chris Pramas, Steve Kenson, Jon Leitheusser, Malcolm Sheppard
This review originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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