The Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook is, almost literally, the rules from the Dragon Age RPG, scrubbed of its setting, and presented for use in any fantasy campaign of your choosing or design. What few changes there are amount to little more than a re-organization of mechanics from Dragon Age to better accommodate a range of fantasy settings. For example, races are no longer baked into backgrounds; in Fantasy Age, a player chooses a race, then chooses a background. The backgrounds are organized by social status, so some of the political strife from Dragon Age makes its way into the main system. The magic system has been expanded to include a wider range of abilities, but it still works roughly the same way it did in Dragon Age, minus all the setting material about corruption, the Fade, etc.
While the Dragon Age RPG Core Rulebook was a massive, self-contained tome promising years of adventure, the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook gives you just enough to get started. Weighing in at only 144 pages, Green Ronin may have taken the “basic rules” idea a little too far. Without being constrained by the world of Thedas, why are there still only three classes? Why only six races? Why not add more talents and focuses? Why only one magic system? Why stop so short of even 200 pages? The answer, of course, is “these are the basic rules only; there will be sourcebooks!” With the relative dearth of content in the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook, it is painfully obvious that Green Ronin is pushing aggressively for fans to pick up Titansgrave, Fantasy AGE’s first non-Thedas setting, when it drops later this summer.
Still, though, the opening commitment is a relatively-cheap $15 for the pdf, so it’s not like the game is asking for too much up front. As was the case with Dragon Age, Fantasy AGE is quite possibly the best alternative to D&D on the market today. If you’re already in deep with Dragon Age, there’s little in Fantasy AGE that’s worth the investment, but RPG enthusiasts looking for a light, fun, setting-less system for their fantasy games will have an absolute blast with the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook.
My copy of the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook was provided for review and you can read my Dragon Age RPG review here.