[Let's Read] Fantasy Craft

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
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#31
Spoiler: Show

Notice that all propriety has finally broken down. $#!+ is going down. From left to right: saurian, pech, rootwalker, unborn. Yeah, it starts to get weird.

Pech
Or as Gollum would call them: "hobbits-es".

Yeah, I'm skipping the usual opening quote because it's long and probably only needs to exist if you have no idea what a hobbit is. Which is fair. But I still can't find much to comment about in the descriptive part of the entry.

Note, FC won't be giving us a separate entry for any more short races: after goblins and hobbits any other variants are going to be covered by the Species Feats we'll see later.

Mechanic-wise, again, hobbits, right down to an ability to benefit from more food buffs per day (yeah, buffs from food are a thing in this game). Also instead of a straight-up bonus vs fear we get a cap raise on a skill for keeping your cool. You don't get much in order to pay for a +3 Dex.


Rootwalker
"You’re a rootwalker, a massive living tree with 4 or more twisted branch-limbs, tough bark for skin, and thick foliage that changes with the seasons."

Again, the description is something that leans heavily on Tolkien. Except for the mention at the end that civilization deserves as much protection as nature. It's nice to see an acknowledgement that you shouldn't be Lawful Stupid Captain Planet, if for no other reason than ease of adventuring. I've also got to give a shout-out to one of the example names: "Wandlimb". That's some next-level character concepting right there.

Unfortunately despite all the evidence that they should have a race trait to give them 4 limbs rootwalkers don't have anything in that regard. Sure, you're a towering plant (which does grant some immunities and traits on its own) with some natural armor and a "Blend" bonus in tree terrain, and vulnerability to fire. Also despite the picture you're immune to bleeding. I guess bleeding is going to be an important mechanic. But you don't have a mechanical representation of extra limbs unless you take a feat (which will give you six).


Saurian
"You’re a saurian, a cold-blooded reptilian humanoid hailing from the warmest or wettest parts of your world."

I wonder why more fantasy d20 games don't rely on lizardmen for their "savage" pick: it would save having to say where half-orcs come from, while allowing orcs to be left as an enemy. Even D&D doesn't seem to give its lizardfolk any special cruelty that would disqualify them from being a core PC race. It's just really odd they're not more-used feature.

Rep-rise saurians don't start off that great: apparently they're absentee parents. Fortunately this seems to lead to a kind of self-made adulthood, with adaptation and willingness to pick up new things. That's a contrast to the usual hidebound "primitives" lizardpeople get saddled as.

And these are not you hulking lizardpeople: they get Dex. As well as something kind of unusual: a choice of one attribute bonus and a penalty. After that.....not sure I need to focus on any other traits. Cold-blooded, darkvision, teeth and tail attacks. After attributes they don't got in any wild directions.

But I can't leave saurians without mention Species Feats, because that's where a lot of their magic is: by choosing a single feat you can end up with a wild variety of types. Dragon-men. Chameleons. Frogs. Snakes. Crocs. Basilisks. Pteranadons. Saurians have become one of my favorite FC species simply because for one pick of a setting's races you can have a dizzying variety.


Unborn
"You’re unborn, a being constructed from inanimate materials and given the spark of life by magic or technology."

Constructs: lots of immunities, no natural healing (at least of Wounds). A lot of the racial traits end up being penalties to pay for the hefty construct type: slow, don't dodge as well, easily flanked, fewer weapon profs/combat tricks. You do get some choosable stuff, but if you didn't pay attention to the redirect to the creature types page you might think unborn get squat. Esepcially the lowest attribute penalty of them all: -4 Cha.

And I started with that because is the usual, albeit nicely-done, "robot gained sapience" story. Mostly I think the player's going to have to write their own background: the variety of golems suggested makes it clear this is probably the most "Your Way" of the species. I mean I'll point to the picture I linked to earlier and say "Yes, you can make a floating, multi-armed ball with built-in weapons." That's how much you can get out of this. (And just the sheer fact that Fantasy Craft was willing to figure out how to stick a full construct race in the core is.....simply amazing.)


And that's the end of Species! Except for all the Species Feats we have yet to get to. But next time we're going to have to cover Specialties: a slightly weird yet useful form of mini-class.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
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#32
You wouldn't have to do any new design, just apply the existing rules and then get some art and do a nice layout, and then maybe do something similar for NPCs. It would still make a good fan project, but I don't know who has that kind of time and interest.
Someone would still have to pick what levels they want each monster to be at. Also should each be stated as a special character? Or do you want some standards?

I'm not saying that as a "reason it shouldn't be done", I'm saying it as a "don't forget this step exists".

To everyone else: yeah, FC NPC design is complicated. And, for the record, I agree it's not a wide selling-point.
 

Pedantic

Idealist
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#33
Someone would still have to pick what levels they want each monster to be at. Also should each be stated as a special character? Or do you want some standards?

I'm not saying that as a "reason it shouldn't be done", I'm saying it as a "don't forget this step exists".

To everyone else: yeah, FC NPC design is complicated. And, for the record, I agree it's not a wide selling-point.
That's actually the least interesting part though. You could pretty easily just represent each monster at 4 different ranges, because that's just numbers shifting around. Same thing for the special/standard divide, because that only affects how you track damage. The important thing is the explication of abilities, maybe some notes on tactics.
 

Matt Sheridan

Minus 10 horse points.
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#34
I love FC, but I don't think that would have borne out either way, simply because of the monster paradigm. FC monsters are a lot of work to create and to use, with all the transformations required to turn a stat block into final numbers, and the offhand way the book expects you to memorize 4 pages of traits, every class abilities and all feats. An explicated bestiary book and/or some more realized rogues galleries would have made the game significantly more usable.
Yeah, I think FantasyCraft couldn't possibly have had a shot at Pathfinder's place in history unless D&D 3e material was largely compatible with it, and it's sounding like that's not the case. After all, a huge component of Pathfinder's initial audience was that whole "I don't want all these books I've bought to be useless!" crowd that always forms when a new D&D edition looms on the horizon.

I wonder why more fantasy d20 games don't rely on lizardmen for their "savage" pick: it would save having to say where half-orcs come from, while allowing orcs to be left as an enemy. Even D&D doesn't seem to give its lizardfolk any special cruelty that would disqualify them from being a core PC race. It's just really odd they're not more-used feature.
Yeah, I am extremely with you on this. (Also, those species feats sound like an intensely cool idea!)

In a slightly related area, it's been interesting to watch how Eberron and 4e have added robots, dragon-people, and demon-hybrids to the canon of standard playable races that subsequent D&D-adjacent fantasy RPGs include in their core material. In that light, FantasyCraft's move to say "Dragonborn? No, let's have actual fucking dragons, instead. And also lizard people if you want a scaly humanoid." was a pretty epic one-up. It makes me wonder where FC's tiefling-equivalent is, and I have to wonder if their horned ogre was intended to sorta fill that role.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
#35
(Also, those species feats sound like an intensely cool idea!)
They are cool. I wouldn't try to argue with anyone who prefers swapping existing racial traits so as not to spend a feat, but species feats are a simpler concept and work really well for those times when it's clear the new race would simply be more powerful than the base.

I was originally going to mention all the official ones in each species entry, but I decided it was kind of an information-overload.
It makes me wonder where FC's tiefling-equivalent is, and I have to wonder if their horned ogre was intended to sorta fill that role.
Oh no, there's a separate species feat for that. A lot of the "half-X" things from D&D are now species feats.
 

Felix

Member
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#36
One little detail I like about Saurians is that they have no external sexual characteristics, because reptiles. I know when D&D4e came out one of the minor controversies was that Dragonborn women had breasts, but that's not the case in FC. I didn't know their iconic Burglar, a Saurian, was a woman until reading the character sheet, for example.

Apparently, flying animals who breath lightning and break the square-cube laws don't trip my sense of verisimilitude, but snakes with mammary glands do.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
#37
One little detail I like about Saurians is that they have no external sexual characteristics, because reptiles.
Though some people feel like if you can't tell an individual is female they don't really count for representation. So "lizard boobs" may be better than nothing (though the best is probably to make obvious sexual dimorphism that doesn't rely on them).
 

prototype00

Registered User
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#38
I was the biggest fan of Spycraft and Fantasycraft back in the day, so much fresh and new and you could build literally whatever fantasy trope you’d like.

But I often wonder if what strangled the FC line in the cradle was not the proliferation of other d20 lines but the Mistborn dolla dolla that seems to dictate the publishing decisions of Crafty Games.

*shakes imaginary old man Fist at Brandon Sanderson and all his works*
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
#39
But I often wonder if what strangled the FC line in the cradle was not the proliferation of other d20 lines but the Mistborn dolla dolla that seems to dictate the publishing decisions of Crafty Games.
Given that, as I said in the OP, Crafty Games is like two part-timers and various freelancers it's probably more "Can we continue to even have a business if we don't produce this popular stuff?"
 

Victim

Registered User
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#40
Crafty planned a giant game line for Spycraft 2 as well, which mostly didn't materialize either. I don't think Mistborn had anything to do with it (which a system that seems to attract little praise or discussion); I just think the early followup products for those games didn't do well enough to justify making all the other stuff they at one point hoped to produce.
 
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