Monday, June 3, 2024

Classic Fantasy Imperative

Classic Fantasy Imperative (CFI), a one-book game with readable print, makes all the difference in the world. To play the original, you needed to sift through an original Mythras book (with small print) and a Classic Fantasy (CF) book to work out the differences between the games and constantly flip back and forth between them to learn the game.

The third printing of the original Mythras book has made significant strides in addressing the print issue. While it may not be flawless, it's a marked improvement over the original version and worth considering for a more comfortable reading experience.

But playing the original Classic Fantasy Mythras-based game was a massive pain, as you had to learn the core system and the add-on game. The new Classic Fantasy Imperative book puts everything in one, so you don't need other books to play.


Since the Imperative book is mostly core rules, you will likely want the original CF book since it contains many more spells, classes, magic, treasure, and monsters - all compatible with the new game, but this will become your sourcebook. Until they develop an updated Classic Fantasy sourcebook, Imperative will be your rulebook, while the older Classic Fantasy book will be your expansion.

Nothing else is needed to play and have the entire experience.

Note that Imperative introduces Hit Point and Action Point bonuses for rank-ups! Since these are the same for every Imperative class, you must let them use these rank bonuses if you want to use an original book class (Bard, Cavalier, Paladin, Ranger, etc.). The CFI book only has the base four classes (fighter, mage, cleric, and rogue). Still, the original CF classes add many more (bard, berserker, cavalier, druid, monk, paladin, ranger, and multi-class characters).

The nice part about this setup is that you do not need to touch the original Mythras book or learn that game to play it. Though Mythras is a great game, it has a similar setup with the updated core of the Mythras Imperative and the original book used as the expansion. The MI book is more of a BRP-style generic game book with too many genres jammed in the short page count. Still, it establishes the new ORC-based baseline and lets 3rd party publishers continue to support the game under a much better license.

Also, Classic Fantasy tends to be more pulp and over-the-top than the core Mythras rules. Specifically, those Action Point, Luck Point, and Hit Point bonuses as you rank up are substantial game changers since action points are used as "actions during a combat turn," and Pathfinder 2E copied this mechanic for its action economy. Moving is an action while attacking is also an action, and you can spend all actions on attacks. So a character that begins with 3 Action Points can get two more in rank-ups and potentially have 5 at the highest rank.

Classic Fantasy characters are amped and heroic to the level of a Gray Mouser or Conan, compared to their more grounded Mythras counterparts. Imagine 5 actions a turn in Pathfinder 2! Also, they are far more potent than Runequest, Basic Roleplaying, or Open Quest characters.

CFI and the original CF book make for a solid, heroic, high fantasy d100 game with a realistic feel and solid core system.

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