I was super excited when I saw this pop up on DriveThruRPG. I’ve been waiting for awhile to see what Green Ronin was brining to the table with Modern AGE as, next to Fate, AGE is one of my favorite generic systems on the go at the moment. The quickstart is free to pick up, and at 35 pages it’s a meaty, but quick, read.
Pressed for time? No problem, I got you covered.
What is Modern AGE?
AGE is an acronym for Adventure Game Engine, Green Ronin’s generic roleplaying game system which powers Dragon Age RPG (based on the Bioware video game franchise), an update of their own Blue Rose setting, Titansgrave: Ashes of Valkana (Will Wheaton’s brain child), and the generic Fantasy AGE. It is a tabletop roleplaying game based around three six-sided dice (with one of the dice being a different color to the others) and a test system for resolution, with a mechanic called Stunts to spice things up. You’ll need 2-6 folks, one who will be Game Master and the rest players. It’s quick, easy to use, and robust enough to keep things interesting.
Modern AGE, which will also be what’s under the hood of Green Ronin’s The World of Lazarus (based on the Lazarus comics), brings the AGE system into the Modern Era. It is billed, in the quickstart, as being capable of covering the last couple of few hundred years, from the 18th century straight on through to today. Want some sorcery thrown in with your guns? This will be the game for you.
What’s in the Quickstarter?
The quickstart provides a quick overview of the rules, an adventure in a setting named Gates of Vigrith called Burning Bright, and five pre-generated player characters.
The rules provided are very condensed, just the core mechanics. No character creation, and only a smattering of new content. But if you’ve never played AGE before and want to understand it very quickly, this isn’t a bad thing. At roughly 11 pages, the rules section is tightly packed and presented in such a succinct that it makes an excellent primer for the core rules of AGE or as a refresher to those of us already familiar with the system.
Speaking of adventures, Burning Bright takes places in the urban fantasy-esque setting of Gates of Vigrith. Basically, Vigrith is an alternate world connected to our own by portals, and there’s magical shenanigans. Serviceable.
The adventure itself is centered around a refugee crisis and a magical plague, the roots of which the player characters are sent to investigate. Player characters, which are pre-generated, are apart of an Earth organization known as Sodality – mystics and clued-in folks protecting the multi-verse. Not going to say much more than that, but at 15 pages this adventure will provide enough twists and turns for a lively one-shot or even as the opener to greater conspiracies.
The remaining page count is devoted to the pre-generated characters and a Quick Reference Sheet at the end. Kudos to Green Ronin for including one of those, for they are always welcome.
But What’s New?
All that is great for new AGE players, but what about experienced folks looking for something new to sink their teeth into. Is there anything in the Quickstart for them?
This is where the Quickstart dangles the tantalizing fruit before our eyes, only to pull it away when we reach out to take it. It makes allusions to new and interesting ideas, such as modes of play or showing us what abilities and focuses will look like. But details on what will really set Modern AGE apart from earlier versions of AGE are a bit thin here.
I was intrigued, however, to discover that for Modern AGE the class system from Fantasy AGE has been dropped. In lieu of that, I can only assume there will be a more freeform process of creating characters based around concept, allocation of abilities, and what talents we take. Being a big fan of Fate, this form of customization is quite appealing.
Green Ronin also gave fans a small taste of what they’re calling Extraordinary Powers with Magic (Val, one of the pregens, is an arcanist which uses magic). If you’re familiar with how magic works in Fantasy AGE – aranca, spells, Mana (or Power points in Modern AGE) – then this won’t be new, but it’s nice to see that it’ll be included. The Quickstart also drops that Psychic powers will also be covered in Moder AGE’s core book.
It’s Worth Picking Up for the Cost of Free
As a fan excited to see the finished product, I would have loved if this quickstart had a bit more new material in it. But it’s well put together and accessible, easy to pick up and start running a game with on the fly. Exactly what is on the tin when they call it a quickstart, and that ain’t a bad thing.
I will continue to wait patiently for the full core book, and I’ll make sure to come back right here to talk all about it when I get my hands on it. Until then, check out Modern AGE if you haven’t already!