Fragged’s Protagonist Archive is getting Kicked

Back in November last year I reviewed Fragged Empire, a table top role playing game from Wade Dyer. I got together with some friends and we played through a pre-constructed adventure. Go here if you want to have a look. But now, at the time of writing, a new book is on the horizon, currently in Kickstarter with 14 days to go, and the project has already surpassed the goal. I was supplied with a draft PDF of the new book, Protagonist Archive, some pre-generated characters, a new pre-contructed adventure and a physical model, so I assembled the same group of friends from last time (minus one), and we sat down to give it a go.

 

But first, lets look at the book, Protagonist Archive.

paThe book is fairly typical of what you would expect for an expansion book. It contains a variety of new material for the PCs, such as new races, rules and equipment. It also includes a selection of new information for the setting; locations, NPCs and factions. Because the setting of Fragged Empire is such an inherent part of the system, it is expressed in a variety of different ways throughout the core rulebook. This theme is continued in the Protagonist Archive, with several short stories and extensive descriptions of the new races, similar to what appeared in the core. The same level of astounding artwork re-appears, except for the some of the race art. That which is depicting the three varieties of style one could make for each race, I feel the level of detail or sharpness in design did not match up to the rest of the artwork. That is to say, it isn’t bad, just not quite as good as the rest. The copy of the PDF I have is also a draft copy, and it is likely that some of the information contained within will be changed before release, so I need not comment on any mistakes I might have found (though I didn’t find any, only missing material, which is to be expected).

The new races, which, in Fragged Empire are synonymous with classes in other role playing games, are quite interesting and fit in with the setting well. They include:

Palantor – Intelligent minds, once human, are contained within an expansive computer network. On occasion, some of those minds break free and take over whatever body they can immediately find, generally maintenance robots.

The Remnant – A race of cat-like humaniods who were completely wiped out in the war, but resurrected by a god-like being. They now devote their life to worshiping and understanding that being.

Twi-far – An unusual race wherein two sentient consciousnesses are contained within a single physical being, but are disconnected, being unable to communicate with each other.

Zhou – By far the most interesting looking of the four, the Zhou are a created race, made generally from plant material, who were initially designed as biological weapons, but have since broken free from those shackles.

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The rules are either clarifications of existing rules needed for the new races, or completely new rules, needed because of features of the new races and how those interact with the existing content, such as what skills to use to heal a mechanized humanoid. There is also a section for new spacecraft, with all relevant accompaniments, and much much more, but I don’t want to give it all away. There has to be some reason for you to buy the book.

Protagonist Archive

So now onto the adventure…

The adventure was called ‘The Ghost Ship Carthage’, designed as an introductory piece for new players, fitting for us because we had only played the once before. I was also given a bunch of pre-made characters, 8 in total, 4 of the original races, written specially for that adventure, and 4 from the Protagonist Archive, 1 each of those mentioned above. I gave the players the option of choosing which group of characters they wanted to use. They chose the new races.

After a short while of reading through the characters, understanding the back stories and figuring out what all the new rules were (and refreshing ourselves on the old ones), we were ready to play. Compared to the previous adventure, this one flowed a lot easier, ran smoother and supplied a lot more information which helped me, as the GM, to guide the players through. The maps were well designed and labeled, room descriptions were good, and the GM guidance information was succinct and let me know what I needed to do, but left enough leeway to do it in my own style. The main point was the story itself, easy to follow, easy to run. While not linear, the available space the PCs could move around in was a lot smaller than of the previous adventure, which simplified things and allowed a shortened adventure, which we finished in about 4 hours.

The players all liked the adventure significantly more than the previous one, and the new races too. There were a couple of concerns with some of the elements that appeared in the adventure, considering them perhaps too high powered or significant within the setting to appear in such a low leveled adventure, but I won’t give any details on what those elements were specifically because I don’t want to ruin it for others who might want to play the same adventure. For us, as we were just running a single adventure, it made no difference, but if it was being run as the intro to or part of a campaign, certain things within that adventure could have a monstrous impact of the rest of that campaign. I found that the adventure was perhaps a little too difficult for the players. I didn’t hold back anything within the fights they did have, though I may have misinterpreted the rules in some points, to the benefits of the players. Had they not run in the final fight, because of the condition they were left in from the previous, and a time constraint, they surely would have been massacred. But, in saying that, there were only three PCs, where the adventure was clearly written for four, and the new PCs were probably not used to their full potential.

What mattered at the end of it was that the players, and myself, all enjoyed it. One player, Chris, whose experience with the previous game led him to buy the core rule book, is very much looking forward to this new book, and is planning to run a campaign of his own soon. My partner, Jemma, is also looking to run a campaign, and is in the process of writing it up at the moment. She wants to contribute to the Kickstarter, but cannot afford to right now. Most likely we will invest in the book at a later date.

 

Finally, the model.

Having a look at the Kickstarter shows that they have several models either in production, or on their way. The one given to me is the Rachel Swagger model, the representative of the Kaltoran race from the main book. The miniature is of the 32mm scale, equivalent in size to that of Warhammer or Warmachine. It is made of resin, and comes with a premium quality signed and numbered art card. Of course, they come un-assembled and un-painted, but that’s the best part of it.

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As you can see from the gallery above, I’ve included some pictures of an assembled and painted Rachel Swagger, done by Arcane Paintworks. A very impressive paintjob indeed. My partner Jemma will likely kill me in my sleep if I deny her the opportunity to paint this model.

 

So now you know all about this new book and so on, I expect you want to go out and place your order for everything. I wouldn’t find this surprising, so;

Fragged Empire Protagonist Archive via Kickstarter

and

Fragged Empire website – with store and various other information

All the places you need to get everything you need.

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