What is Fray?
Fray is an action-oriented classless fantasy tabletop RPG that also handles out of combat storytelling well through our Challenge system and Aces mechanic. It is something of a mix of modern Dungeons & Dragons style combat and World of Darkness character creation, which were obvious influences on us. Players have a lot of flexibility when designing characters and GMs have a powerful tool with the core mechanic to assist their storytelling. The main goal is to allow players to build competent characters that match their concept from the very first session.
Combat is tactical, taking place on a hex grid although a square grid works just as well. Player characters begin the game competent, though this starting level is adjustable and a campaign can range from gritty to heroic.
The initial release is set in a fantasy-setting called the Restless Sea, although this rulebook intentionally does not include setting information beyond basic backgrounds on the races of the Restless Sea. We have put together some Playtest Adventures as well to make jumping into playtesting easier, but we hope any GMs running Fray can fill in a lot of blanks in regards to the setting during playtesting. The final book will include a fully fleshed-out sandbox setting, though.
What is the Core Mechanic?
Players roll d12 dice pools, count Successes, add a flat bonus onto the result and then compare this versus a target number set by the GM. They roll a number of dice equal to their relevant Stat (between 1 and 5). On a 6-11, they get 1 Success. On a 12, they get 2 Successes. They then add their Skill rating to this total (ranked from 0 to 3) as a flat bonus, then compare to a Challenge Rating (ranked from 1 to 6).
A quick example: A character with 4 Brawn and 2 Athletics wants to bash in a door, which is Challenge Rating 4. They roll 4 dice getting a 2, 4, 8, and 12. The 8 gives 1 Success and the 12 gives 2 Successes. They then add an additional 2 Successes from the Skill for a total of 4 Successes. This meets or exceeds the Challenge Rating of 4, so they bash in the door. Had they gotten an Ace, they would have bashed in the door and knocked the guard over, giving a Surprise Round during the ensuing combat.
What Do I Need to Play?
You’re going to need at least 5 12-sided dice for the dice pool and a set of polyhedrals (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12). You can grab a set of 10 12-sided dice on Amazon for USD $3.00. You will also need a hex grid, though a square grid can be used as well without any major effect on the game. You can play online as well and Fray works very well with Roll20. We have written a guide to getting things set up there.
You’re also going to need some friends who want to play. Fray is best with 3 to 5 people, but smaller amounts work as well. You can hop onto our Discord to find a group to play with online, too!
We intend to spend the next few months playtesting Fray and getting feedback from a wider audience while we write most of the Restless Sea setting. We are refining the system, then will start work on a properly laid out, full-color 300-page book. As we near completion of that, we will launch a Kickstarter to help fulfill all of our art requirements.