Review: Fragged Empire
It is over 10,000 years into the future.
Earth is forgotten.
Humanity is dead.
Genetic erosion, brought on by thousands of years of apathy.
You are one of many genetically engineered descendants.
Created by the eugenicist Archons (humanity’s heirs),
or the vengeful monster X’ion.
A genocidal war has ravaged the known galaxy.
X’ion won, killing the Archons, destroying their empire, and then abandoning his army to vanish without a trace.
This event threw the galaxy into 100 years of brutal tribalism.
After 100 years, your people have just re-entered space.
No one knows what’s out there.
Four surviving races have banded together.
Not out of a common direction, but out of necessity.
No one knows where this new society is headed.
Each race is struggling for survival.
They need each other.
Earlier this year Wade Dyer launched a Kickstarter seeking $15,000 to bring this project to life. He had a vision and teamed up with some of the guys behind Achtung! Cthulhu’s Modiphius to bring his vision to life. Well, the fans spoke up loud and clear and the support was staggering as the project funded at just shy of $114,000!!!
The money was well used, as Fragged Empire has a beautiful web page presence, the communication that I have seen with the creators to their fan base has been excellent, and the book is massive.
Fragged Empire is a Emergent Post Apocalyptic setting where the surviving races are just beginning to return to the stars where that were once their homes. The human race is long dead and gone. Their legacy was a race they created called Archons. The Archons sought to advance themselves and create the perfect race. After many attempts, they finally came as close as they felt they could get with their creation called the X’ion.
Shortly after this, they tried to destroy their creation. The Archons attempted to wipe them out but one managed to get away. The sole survivor of the perfect race fled into space. Years later it returned to wipe out their creators and left the remaining races in ruin. Casting off their own creations the Nephilim when the job was done. Returning back to deep space where they had emerged from. The survivors of the war would be planet bound for nearly a century. Now one by one they are beginning to reach to the stars. This time working together because one can not exist without the others.
In Fragged Empire you play one of 4 genetically created races. These races are the Corporation or now know as the Corp. They excel in all forms of business as well as politics. The Corp are the key holders and the check writers of the new world. But without the other races, nothing would get done because Corps do not like to get their hands dirty with labor.
Kaltoran are Born with the genetic memories of their ancestors, Kaltoran are an innately gifted and flexible race.
The Legion are a physically imposing race, hastily created by the Archons (The Creator Race) to fight their losing war against X’ion. The Legion now struggle to create a stable society and to find meaning in a society with no war to fight.
Lastly, the fourth race are the cast off race of Nephilim. They are the descendants of X’ion’s genetically engineered army. Created to wage war on the Archons and their creations, before being abandoned by their creator, X’ion. When the war was won, they were discarded and left to their own devices.
Fragged Empire is a level based classless system. Giving players much in the way of flexibility to build their character any way they wish. Depending on the race you chose you gain benefits to some skills that your Race was genetically engineered to be better at than others. When you wish to make a skill check you roll the skill bonus you have + any tool, workshop or GM bonuses or penalties. The higher result the better your success at the task. One interesting feature of Fragged Empire is that the player decides the skill involved that they desire to use in an effort to complete the task. One player may choose an athletics roll to jump across a gap. Another player may opt to cover the distance with brute strength by ripping a door from the hinges and making a bridge to walk across the same gap. Other systems allow for this as well but Fragged Empires not only allows for this, it encourages it.
In Fragged Empire your players are crawling back from the edge oblivion and everything is of value. One interesting feature of Fragged Empire is the method of resource management. Fragged Empire does not offer just one form of wealth. Instead, it breaks up a character’s resources into a few categories.
These categories are Resources, Influence, Spare Time, Trade Goods and Research. This gives the option for some players to get rich in Trade goods or physical commodities yet others to have plenty of spare time and influence at their disposal.
As your resources grow your character begins to acquire perks and complications. These can come in a variety of types from bounties being placed on your head to simply gaining reputation. I find this refreshing as it gives a better feel of a living breathing world that interacts on more than just a base level with the players.
The system runs on a 3D6 system where 6’s are “Strong Hits”. Strong Hits can be spent on one of a number of Strong Hit Options. Strong Hits can have several different effects in-game. Making this much more appealing than just your standard of your criticals do double damage systems.
It is obvious early on the book that Wade Dryer’s graphic design background translates into a beautiful book. First off this book delivers a huge amount of bang for your buck on many different levels right out the gate.
This book is HUGE, weighing in at close to 400 pages is impressive. (Note: my review copy is not the final copy. So its likely that the 400-page mark will be reached.) Add in some simply beautiful artwork and the setting quickly pull’s you in.
Thankfully the book when it is finished will also be hyperlinked to make your spin around the main book fast and smooth. I can tell you that this is a tremendous PRO as my version for review was not yet hyperlinked. Often with books this size, a simple oversight like this can make all the difference with a RPG product. The ability to quickly move from link to link is a joy when compared to the trudging along looking up sections of the product in a page by page slog.
Resources play a huge factor in Fragged Empire. Everything is of value in this setting. Every aspect from the weapons and equipment or the contacts that your players have in the world. Right down to your spare time is of value in Fragged Empire. This mechanic can be used in several ways but it is a factor in a large part of the game and unlike many other systems where Resources take a back seat to the over all game. In Fragged Empire it is very much constantly front and center.
One of the great things about this system is the freedom of creation this setting gives you. You can take a ship from the book as is in the game and fly it around space. Or build it from the ground up.
This holds true as well as weapons and armor in the game. You pick your weapon and then chose what variations you wish to add to it. From there you can use additional Spare Time and add further modifications to your equipment as well. This gives your players a tremendous amount of creative freedom.
If you are not a fan of Resource management systems then Fragged Empire is going to be a hard sell for you. Simply put it is such a core feature to what makes up Fragged Empire that it is nearly impossible to over look this part of the game. And to over look it would be an injustice to the hard work that has gone into the many uses of the system that are in place in Fragged Empire. Also this can also make portions of the game feel very crunchy. The largest issue that I had trouble with in Fragged Empire falls to one portion of the rules regarding resource allotment.
At the end of each Session, add up the total Resources cost of all
your items. If it exceeds your Current Resources, you must pick items
to keep with a total Resources cost equal to or less than your Current
Resources. In this way, your character may temporarily use salvaged
items, but then they must decide which items to keep and maintain
and which to discard or turn into Trade Goods
I think that this may be the same for many other players as well. This is one of the reasons why I am usually not a fan of Resource Management systems. But it does have its place in keeping the feel of a Post Apoc setting. As resources are always prime demand. If it’s not an immediate need your player will move that item to other more useful areas that they can better utilize and profit from in other ways.
As I said before this is simply a massive book. It was one of nicer layouts that I have had the pleasure to flip through in some time. Good layout makes a product pop and it makes the reading so much easier than being faced with daunting walls of text. The Tables are easy on the eyes and overall it’s a smooth easy read. Wade Dyers experience as a Graphic Designer is very evident as you flip through this product.
The artwork is wonderful and pulls you into the setting of the game very well. As well as the Tables and Charts Wade designed. They make the book an overall joy to look at as well as simplifying the understand of several portions of the rules. These were a great addition to the book.
The setting is fresh and I found that I enjoyed the idea of rediscovery of society lost. Each of these races were at one time space faring and there is literally so much out there that they can reclaim. That puts my creative mind into overdrive. Add to the fact of the massive amounts of available customization that is offered. Not only your own equipment but your very own ship can be modified. There is so much possibility only imagination is the limit. Well that and your Resources.
In nearly all cases I am not a fan of Resource management systems for your equipment and players gear. But after taking a long hard look at this system. I can say this is one of the few games that I would give it a Grade of A+. There are so many different ways you can use your Resources and time that it becomes a more positive portion of the game’s experience then a hindrance then it is in many other games.
I will give this game a solid
16 out of 20. It is a well above average product and for many that enjoy gritty space settings you will likely think this is a must buy. Most anyone that picks this product up is going to be very happy with the product in hand. It is visually a page turner for the artwork alone.
Since this review has been posted I have seen the final cut of this project as well as the pure thing of beauty that is the Antagonist Archive 1 I have to revise my Ranking from the 16 that I had given it to an 17. As a system Fragged empires is solid well done and would be a pleasure for anyone to own. With the upcoming products I would raise my ranking of the system as a whole to an 18.
FRAGGED EMPIRE SYSTEM:
With the awesome content that keeps coming from this this developer. An amazing web footprint and just over all look and feel of professionalism I have to say this young developer is well on his way to making RPG’s for us for years to come.
I had said that this book is absolutely gorgeous. Here is a test print that wade had received recently. Don’t just take my word for it let the video speak for itself.
Where can I pick it up ?
Well It is not up on DTRPG yet so unless you are part of the KS you will have to wait just a little bit longer to get your hands on a copy. As of the posting of this Blog I know it is just a few days away from showing up on DTRPG. When it does I will update the blog to reflect where you can go with links and such to get your copy.
You can now pick up Fragged Empire Here