A Look at True 20 Fantasy

Since I have not heard any suggestions about what order to go into more detail about the specific genres covered in True 20, I have decided on the following: Fantasy, Modern, Space, Horror. This seemed like a logical progression to me; for the most part this is moving through time from less advanced to more advanced. Horror is being covered last as elements of this can be applied to any other genre.

If you have not yet read my overview on True 20 as a whole, you may want to start there for a general description of the overall system.

The first thing that this section deals with is helping the game master to figure out what level of fantasy and what kind of setting the campaign will be set in. For instance how much of a role do magic and supernatural powers play? Also, is this based on historical events (such as Medieval Europe), or an entirely fabricated locale? Deciding on the answers to these questions up front will help the world to feel cohesive and make the game easier to run consistently.

Next, the manual gives a list of vague potential hooks to bring characters into the game. Many of these are the typical tropes that can be found in any fantasy setting such as an evil force arising that must be dealt with (think Dragonlance) or a quest to locate a missing figure of importance (as in Ultima V). Since these devices are easily recognizable, it will be easy for most players to grasp what their characters need to do in order to save the world – or gain riches if that is their nature.

True 20 then covers personality archetypes, races, and classes suitable for many fantasy campaigns. Much of this information could be useful for a variety of role-playing systems, not just True 20. I have know many players who have had trouble ironing out details of their character’s nature and backgrounds; this book provides a wealth of generic information on these topics.

The feats and items information in the next sections is also fairly detailed. And, like the background information, could be applied to other systems with little work (although many of the items already exist in other systems).

The optional rules help to flesh out newly created fantasy settings. For instance, what types of money appear in the world; I would actually prefer if this section were a bit more detailed such as using items other than typical metals such as gold and silver as money. However, it doesn’t take much imagination to just switch silver in references to pearls, lapis, or even beetle shells. There is an optional rule for corruption (similar to how it plays out in Ravenloft). The manual refers the reader to the chapter on Horror for the details but, as I mentioned at the beginning, horrific elements can be applied to any setting. There are also rules for honor and examples of what might cause a character to gain or lose it.

With the topics covered in the Fantasy section, it should be easy to create a custom world to suit the interests of any group. Also, if like me, you try to incorporate information ideas from other role-playing systems into your current game, you should find this chapter extremely useful. It makes deciding on the nature of the world simple and aids in fleshing it out further once the basics are laid out.

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