Tales of Awesome
I thought I would talk briefly about the FAL Tales of Awesome.
Tales of Awesome is the fourth book in the core set. It is 5.5x8.5 inches, full color and right now, around 50 pages.
Tales of Awesome details the world and history of FAL. It contains stories and setting information from the past and present. It details conflicts, heroes and villains, and major world events.
Hopefully, through the Kickstarter campaign, Tales of Awesome will be expanded to include the following... additional artwork, Heroes and Villains (expanded to inlcude donor heroes and villains), Religions and Cults, Maps of Far Away Land, Pantheon of Gods, FAL Timeline, and more...
So, what makes FAL unique?
When I started the actual process of creating FAL, my goal was to make a fantasy heartbreaker type game. I didn't want something overly serious, but at the same time I wanted an old school kind of feel. I also wanted rules that emulated the way I played games when I was younger, where we used some rules and added some rules of our own and changed some rules and whatever, where only a core set of rules were really set in stone and the rest was up to us to make and use according to how we imagined or interpreted what was written. While I think the FAL has some fantasy heartbreaker elements, I think it also has some fairly interesting aspects that set it apart from other fantasy rpgs. So, I'm going to talk about some of these things...
The game is quirky in its setting characters, and humor. PCs are rewarded for being awesome or funny. I think this separates FAL from a lot of more serious fantasy rpgs. It provides another choice of a more lighthearted, non-serious game with a bit more complexity than games like Risus (which I love). The medium range complexity of FAL deviates from lengthy rulebooks so as to provide a game that falls somewhere in the middle of the crunch spectrum.
FAL also uses both micro and macro levels of game play. I already talked about this when I cover the Companion Rules in a few days. But here is some more...
A lot of the narrative based mini-games allow for players to work together to create their own worlds, settings, histories, and versions of FAL. These mini games are not as competitive as they are acts of creativity, where players don roles and try and add to the world in which they will adventure. So, instead of the GM creating everything, players have an active role, or at least the option to have an active role, in the creation of the game setting. The guidelines provided for these mini-games are fairly open and present the overall nature of the game and the way it can be used along with the core elements and other mini-games.
On top of that, while the setting or history or whatever is being created, players have the option, and are encouraged, to take on more micro level roles as single individuals interacting in the story being created, thus allowing the story to have a more freeform and less of a predestined finality. In less abstract terms, say the players are using Historians of Far Away Land and have come to a point in history where a battle takes place, where heroes and villains are squaring off against one another. The players may wish to take on the roles of the lead characters in this setting and participate in a huge battle (utilizing the FAL Mass Combat rules of course :)). The game play then changes from a world creating exercise into more of an individual, micro level of play. The outcome however is a part of the history of the world created by the players as a whole. This also allows for nonlinear types of play as players can create histories, ancestral lines with reoccurring families, etc..
I think FAL has a unique game history, the way the world of FAL has come about, the devices that led to the world being so full of monsters and creatures. While there is a lot of standard fantasy stuff, there is also a lot of non-standard fantasy themes, elements, and characters. Pop culture easter eggs have been infused in the setting to provide some familiarity and some subtle jokes as well. A design goal of mine was to create a setting that felt unique while also creating something that paid homage to other games, cartoons, pop culture, history, and things that have influenced me as a writer/game designer.
Also, I like to think there are some nuances in the game, such as Battle Scars, Training Montages, and the use of various game play styles to add different levels of play to the game. When I say game play styles I am referring to the levels of crunch that players and GMs would be interested in initiating.
I think the artwork also sets it apart from most fantasy rpgs. I know there are non-serious rpgs or comedic/lighthearted games, and I think FAL adds nicely to that sparse category.
Anyway. As the Kickstarter approaches (not sure the exact launch date yet - hopefully around Feb 1st), I will be showing some of the donor rewards as well as spotlighting unique FAL monsters and maybe even some specific rules. As always, thanks for taking the time to read this.
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