Fragged Empire Expanded

I love Fragged Empire. My partner and I jumped onto it immediately when we first met Wade at PAX in 2015. I bought the core rule book and Wade signed it for me. A year later, at the next PAX, we also bought the Protagonist Archive and had Wade sign it, too. Of all the Tabletop RPG systems we own, this is far and away my favourite. So, naturally, when I heard that there were new sourcebooks being released for the game, and we were asked to review them, my hand couldn’t hit the air fast enough.

Core Rulebook and Protagonists Archive

My Core Rulebook and Protagonists Archive

There are three new sourcebooks being released:

– Fragged Kingdom, a fantasy setting,
– Fragged Aetermun, a gothic horror setting, and
– Fragged Seas, for adverturin’ pirates!

Fragged Kingdom and Fragged Aeternum are the two main books this time around, with Fragged Seas being unlocked as a stretch goal on the kickstarter, which has already happened; meaning we have the option of getting our hands on all three!

What is important to know is that, yes, these are new settings. This isn’t really an expansion on the original setting. There are also some pretty interesting rules changes that were made to the core system in order to make these possible, so you will need the core rule book as well if you intend on diving into these. It’s also important to note that Wade himself has said that the Fragged Aeternum rules likely won’t be backwards compatible with Fragged Empire, but that Fragged Kingdom rules and ideas will likely fit with a little bit of home brewing – so keep that in mind if you’re looking to grab these to bolster your Fragged Empire games.

Right! With that out of the way, let’s have a closer look at the rules changes and new ideas which come with these books!

Fragged Empire Expanded!

Fragged Kingdom

Fragged Kingdom

What’s Different?

Personal Combat
– The Combat Grid scale is 1 square metre.
– Weapon Ranges, Shields, Zones of Control and adjacent allies all play an important part in combat.

Trade Goods
– Are split up into 3 Types: Monetary (primarily used for increasing your Resources), Rare (primarily used for Crafting) and Production (primarily used for improving Holdings and constructing Buildings).

Crafting
– You can construct your own Weapons, Armour and Buildings using Rare Trade Goods that you will find out in the wild.
– Many items are only available through crafting.

Holdings
– Tame the wilds to found new town, cities and outposts.
– Holdings are used to produce Trade Goods, provide a location to construct Buildings, Workshops and allow PCs to raise armies.

Rules Changes

The miniature rules set has a large number of rules changes:

  • All PCs have a Race and a Background.
  • Reworked Attributes.
  • No Rate of Fire (RoF) Rules.
  • Influence = Renown (Renown is used to obtain Perks and for maintaining a Holding. ie: lands and dwelling.)
  • Max Resources and Renown = Level +3 (not Level +2).
  • Starting Resources and Renown = Level +2.
  • Research = Study.
  • Secret Knowledge = Knowledge (and is gained far more frequently).
  • Different Skills.
  • Strong Hit: Effort can be used for any Skill or Attack Roll.
  • New Defence Stats.
  • All Items have a Spare Time Acquisition Cost.
  • All new Actions.
  • New combat scale Space = 1m (not 2m). Length of melee weapons has a significant effect on combat.
  • New Death & Healing System (Death is more flexible but results in permanent injury).
  • New NPC types.

Theatre of the Mind combat also got a nice little upgrade as well:

  • Mass Combat (PCs and GM roll additional die to reflect the involvement of additional combatants)
  • Strong Hit: Mass Damage
  • Combat Dice Types (Skilled, unskilled, etc – suggestion to use different coloured die in mass combat rolls)

Fragged Kingdom also introduces a new race – Tolatl. There’s also a large update for incorporating magic into the Fragged system!

 

Fragged Aeternum

Fragged Aeternum

What’s Different?

Simplified Rules
– No Ammo, reloading, RoF, Influence, Trade Goods, Utility Items or ships.
– Fewer Actions and Weapons.
– Fewer Resources.

Personal Combat
– Greater emphasis on timing your Attacks (knowing when and how to spend your Momentum Points) and managing your powers.
– Most Healing is done during combat.
– Combats can be more difficult.

Death
– You will often die, TPKs will happen.
– When you die you will turn into a Spectre. As a Spectre you can keep fighting for a short time before you fade, only to be reborn.

Your Level
– Your character Level plays a more significant role as your Resources, Perks and Complications are all based off your Level.

Rules Changes

The miniature rules set has a large number of rules changes:

  • Race = Nature.
  • Different Attributes (Might, Agility, Speed, Conviction, Empathy, Articulation).
  • There is no Fate.
  • Limited Resources. (You always have Max Resources. Resources = 4 [+1 per 5 Levels].)
  • Research = Study
  • Secret Knowledge = Knowledge (and is gained far more frequently)
  • Different Skills
  • You Don’t Become Trained in Combat Skills.
  • Outfit = Stance. (Defence Stats are completely defined by your Stance.)
  • Articulation Determines your Defence Bonus from Cover.
  • All characters have 6 Slots.
  • All Items have a Spare Time Acquisition Cost.
  • No Rate of Fire (RoF) Rules. (All Weapons have a pre-defined number of To Hit Dice.)
  • All new Actions.
  • Strong Hit: Critical Boost has been changed to Momentum (Momentum Points are used to increase your Damage.)
  • Some Healing may be performed mid-Combat.
  • New NPC types
  • NPCs die when any Attribute is reduced to -2, not -0.

Theatre of the Mind combat also got a nice little upgrade as well:

  • Healing allies.
  • NPCs can use Massive Strike against PCs.

There’s also a large update for incorporating magic into the Fragged system!

 

Fragged Seas

 

Fragged Seas

What’s Different?

Loot and Treasure
– After every fight you will make a Plunder Spare Time Roll to determine what you have looted or learned from your enemies.
– Wealth is no longer a Skill, but a separate stat.
– Resources are never gained from missions, but is only gained by selling Trade Goods.

Personal Combat
– Emphasis on group combat, movement, multiple Weapon use, and Momentum management.

Ships
– Manage your food, water, wood, cloth, metal and treasure!
– Work as a team to blast away or capture enemy ships.
– Navigate the wind and your surrounding environment.

Monsters
– A new enemy type, more powerful than a Nemesis. These powerful foes will require your entire crew to take down, but they offer unique loot that cannot be purchased.

Rules Changes

The miniature rules set has a large number of rules changes:

  • Race = Background.
  • Reworked Attributes. (Fate = Luck. Luck is a standard attribute.)
  • No Influence. (Resources are used to simultaneously maintain both your personal gear and your ship.)
  • Max Resources = Level +3 (not Level +2). (Starting Resources are still equal to your Level +2.)
  • Research = Study
  • Secret Knowledge = Knowledge (and is gained far more frequently)
  • Different Skills
  • You Don’t Become Trained in Ship Skills. (Bonus to these rolls are calculated off other skills you’re Trained in.)
  • Strong Hit: Effort can be used for any Skill or Attack Roll.
  • Wealth is no longer a Skill, but a separate stat. (Increased by gaining Treasure Trade Goods. Decreased by making Wealth Spare Time Rolls for items or services of 14w or more.)
  • New Defence Stats.
  • Intelligence Determines your Defence Bonus from Cover.
  • Shields = Morale.
  • All Items have a Spare Time Acquisition cost.
  • No Rate of Fire (RoF) Rules. (Momentum system adds dice to all of your attack rolls.)
  • All new Actions.
  • All new Ship Skill Rolls.
  • New NPC types.

Theatre of the Mind combat also got a nice little upgrade as well:

  • Plunder Spare Time rolls.
  • Crew and Ship Support Weapons.

 

My Own Thoughts

Sci-fi worlds have always been my absolute favourite setting, and it’s for that reason that I latched on to the system. That said, these books look cool, but they’re not what I’m looking for. I’m not sure if these kinds of settings were heavily requested for the system or not, but to me they feel kind of like D&D lite with a simpler dice system. Magic feels shoehorned in, and the rules changes are vast. Even still, these settings do look cool, and if fantasy, gothic horror, or pirate adventures is more your jam but you like the Fragged Empire system, I highly recommend you give one of these a go. I’ll still pick up the lot, because even though it’s not my favourite, I do like fantasy and gothic horror – and my playgroup tends to favour fantasy more than sci-fi (and let’s be honest – who doesn’t like pirates?)

Personally, I’d love to see some additions to Theatre of the Mind in the core book. While it’s argued that you can play both with miniatures or Theatre of the Mind, the entirety of the book and its rules are absolutely geared towards miniature play. I’ve endured, and made some changes myself to fit my playgroup, but I’d love to see more support from Wade (even though I know he personally favours miniatures).

All in all, this is a pretty cool release. But please – More sci-fi content next time!

 

The Fragged Empire Expanded! kickstarter is live until 5th July 2017. Support it here.

Also, check out our previous review of the Core Fragged Empire system here and the Protagonist Archive here.

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