Review: Adventure Companion .pdf for Fantasy Craft

I haven’t made it a secret that Fantasy Craft by Crafty Games is perhaps my current favorite d20 fantasy based game.  Especially if you’re on GooglePlus, you’ve seen me sing the virtues of this flexible system and you might be aware that after our Pathfinder campaign is over, we’re switching to Fantasy Craft.

As good as the Fantasy Craft system is, the core rulebook has left me wanting more.  More tricks, more classes, any Master Class, more spells and options for magic users.  Spells and options for magic users are going to be presented in the upcoming book Spellbound, but the rest of that stuff?  Yeah, it’s here in Adventure Companion and it…is…glorious.

The book opens up with three sample campaign settings; Cloak & Dagger, Epoch and and Sunchaser.  These three settings are all nicely detailed and give a good example of just how flexible the Fantasy Craft rules can be.  Included in each of the three settings are new pieces of equipment, new creatures, setting-specific Renown titles and feats.

Cloak & Dagger is a setting that reminds me of a mixture of Greco-Roman and espionage.  If you prefer courtly intrigue and spy games to dungeon crawling and hacking apart hordes of goblins, then this is the sort of setting you would be interested in.

Epoch is set in an ancient dying world, with definite inspiration from sources such as Aztec and Mayan legends.  The land is savage, the technology primitive and civilization is seen as some sort of great evil.  It’s definitely not your average pseudo-Feudal land.

Sunchaser reminds me very much of a not-as-wuxia Exalted, including a “thousand-river valley” that plays an important role in the setting, powerful magic items and a few other thematic similarities.

The three settings, which take up the first 101 pages of the book, are all nice and are definitely full of fun stuff you can mine for your own campaign worlds.  Additionally, they provide very good examples of how you can use Fantasy Craft to make not-as-traditional fantasy settings work.

Chapter 4 contains the real fun stuff, however.  There are 8 new Specialties here for your character to use; Beggar, Cultist, Highwayman, Jester, Mercenary, Peasant, Scholar and Slave.  All of them look to be fun and good additions to the game.

There are two new Base Classes.  The Emissary is a spy-type class that would, of course, fit right in with the Cloak & Dagger setting but could definitely be useful in other settings where espionage would be important.  The second new Base Class is a bit more straightforward; the Martial Artist.  This isn’t just a monk type class, you could easily build a weapon master style character with this class as well.

Next up are several Expert Classes; Bloodsworn, Deadeye, Force of Nature, Gallant, Monk and Monster Slayer.  All of them are excellent classes with lots of fun abilities.  You might recognize several of those names, which brings me to my main complaint about this book.  Those Expert Classes were all previously released in the Call to Arms series of downloadable .pdfs.  If you have previously purchased these .pdfs, this will definitely diminish the value of the Adventure Companion for you.  If you haven’t, these are excellent additions to the game!

Now we turn our attention to the handful of Master Classes in the book; Dragon Lord, Regent, Spirit Singer and Wind Knight.  These provide you with some high-level options.  Dragon Lord gains dragon or drake like abilities, the Regent could become the leader of a nation…all fun ways to express the ultimate destiny of your character.

After the classes, we get a bunch of new feats.  11 Basic Combat Feats, 8 Melee Combat Feats, 9 Ranged Combat Feats, 11 Unarmed Combat Feats, 3 Chance Feats, 5 Covert Feats, 5 Skill Feats, nearly 70 Species Feats, 4 Spellcasting Feats and 4 Style Feats.  Of particular interest to some might be the Blood feats in the Species Feats section.  In the core Fantasy Craft rulebook there’s no way to make a half elf or half orc (without the GM creating such creatures).  This is where the Blood feats come in, letting you create that half giant/half ogre through the use of Species Feats.  A handy sidebar gives a long list of “sub species” that you can create using these feats to make more races and sub-races than you might think the game has at first.

One of my favorite things about Fantasy Craft are the advanced actions and tricks for combat characters.  There’s a good selection in the core rulebook, but of course, I wanted MORE.  And Adventure Companion did not disappoint with nearly 50 fun tricks to spice up combats.  Some of the names are awesome, like “Get Over Here!” and “You Dropped Something.”  If you ever wanted to make Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, Get Over Here is necessary.  All of these tricks and advanced combat maneuvers are win and awesome.  I’d love a book just full of these things.

Lastly, we have four new Campaign Qualities; Dangerous Monsters, Fear and Loathing, Legendary Monsters and Resilient Heroes.  Legendary Monsters is just brutal (increase the Threat Level of standard monsters by +2, Specials by +4!).  Good times…good times…

Overall, I love this book a lot, but there is quite a bit of repeated material.  I’ve already mentioned the Expert Classes that were reprinted here, but much of the artwork is also recycled from the core Fantasy Craft book.  While the art doesn’t have much of an impact, the Expert Classes and associated material might diminish the value of the book if you already own the Call To Arms classes.  Because of the recycled material, I’d say this book is a 5 out of 5 if you don’t own the Call to Arms series of products, but maybe a 3 out of 5 if you do.

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