One click. That’s all it took. I can’t actually remember how I got there, I think some Facebook Kickstarter group linked it. Next think I know, I’m elbow deep in alien races exploring eldritch ruins... Exactly where I like to be, to be honest.
Now, I have a rule. My love for streamlined RPG systems is so great, that I judge a system by the complexity of its character sheet.
The Fragged Empire character sheet is 4 pages long.
I hesitated for more than a few moments. And then, 5 minutes into the background and the dice rolls, I was hooked. And this is why I think you’ll like it too.
1) Great Setting
It is 10,000 years into the future. Humanity is long gone. We reached the technological singularity, relaxed, stagnated and fizzed out. Just before the end, we created another race, the Archeons, to take over the human empire.
That didn’t really work. Instead of taking over, the Archeons started anew, creating hundreds of races, always striving towards biological and sociological perfection. Amongst the most important, they created the Vargarti (human-like humanoids, cunning and charming), who they immediately abandoned, and then the X’ian.
This was, in simple terms ‘a REALLY bad idea’.
The X’ian promptly rebelled, killing any Archeon on sight. The Archeons created the Legion (orc-sized super soldiers) and the Kaltorans (elfin-like humanoids, intelligent, flexible and with genetic memories) and the X’ian came back with the Nephilim, bear-sized genetic abominations (and their escorts, the dreaded bio-ships).
It was a genocide. Every Archeon was destroyed, and when it was done, the X’ian left, leaving everything and everyone behind.
It is 100 years after the war. The Archeons are all dead, the X’ian have disappeared. The Haven System has a presence from all the other 4 races. Tensions run high. Some long-lived individuals still remember fighting in the war. But ultimately, everyone just wants to make a living.
2) Dice System
When an action is desired, roll 3D6. Then, add bonuses. Add further bonus for tools (if applicable). And then, the role play comes into…. Well, play. The GM has the discretion to give a -2 to a +2 bonus, depending on the quality of the description of the action. If you roll any 6’s, that will give you bonuses. A success is usually from a 12 to a 14, but this can obviously be adjusted by the GM
3) Character Creation
CC is non-linear, I won’t lie. However, at every stage of complexity, the Core Rule Book has a full page of a sort of flow chart, making sure they break it down into chewable bits. Also, they have a few pretty funny Youtube videos, helping newbs along.
Again, (see item 3), combat is not linear, however, have no fear! There are at least 3 types of combat, each of differing depths and complexity. Normal mode will be comparable to normal skill rolls (see item 2), but adding weapons bonus, range, cover, etc.
5) Just The Beginning
The Fragged Empire rules have now been expanded to three new settings: Fragged Seas (Pirates and buccaneers, trying to survive in the last remaining archipelagos, after a world-destroying invasion of monsters from beyond), Fragged Aeternum (a gothic setting, set in an impossibly huge city, that seems to span the world, besieged by monsters from the deepest nightmares), and Fragged Kingdom (a fantasy setting, set many years after a magical conflict has destroyed most of the world). All of these new backgrounds need the original Fragged Empire corebook, as they are simply expansions.
Possibly one of the aspects that I found the most attractive is that the rules make it absolutely clear that, albeit the background is there to be used and adapted, players are positively encouraged to make their own races, weapons, ships, locations, and so on. This flexibility and adaptability have sold this system to me.
Yes, Fragged Empires is more complex than the systems I usually play. Still, it is adaptable and streamlined enough that I’m pretty sure I’m going to go to town on it.
Rui is a Portuguese scientist that, after ten years doing strange things in labs, decided to become a teacher. Then, three years ago, like he was bit by a radioactive D20, RPG’s came into his life, and he’s now juggling teaching, playing and GMing quite happily. He lives in the UK with his partner Joana, an ungodly number of potted plants, 4 to 5 RPG’s at various stages of completion (and across as many rule systems), and maps, cursed idols, evil necklaces, and any other props he can get his hands on. He’s been writing for HLG for a few months, and is one of the resident vloggers. He can be reached at @Atomic_RPG.
Picture Reference: http://fraggedempire.com/
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.