Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Breath of The F.A.R.M.

It's time to take a good, hard look at the system I want to use for my Anime/Manga themed Medieval Fantasy game. 

Here goes nothing...

While doing this deep dive into my efforts to run an Anime/Manga themed, Dungeons & Dragons inspired, Medieval Fantasy RPG, I came across the art of Misosile Busher (aka 'HIZIKI'), who did the illustrations for an interesting little game called F.A.R.M. Champions.

Cover Art By Misosile Bushner ( HIZIKI )

F.A.R.M. Champions is a Pay-What-You-Want, Rules-Lite, Indie game created and written by Matthew and Tim Bannock. Currently in its BETA stage, this game has the right feel and mechanics (generally speaking...but I'll get to that later) for the kind of game I'm going for.

There is a lot to like in F.A.R.M. Champions. It's a simple, 2D6 (Yay!) based game with a very easy Stat + Skill + Roll and beat a Difficulty Number action resolution. When going against a Difficulty Number set by the Gamemaster it is called a Test. When going against another character or condition actively trying to thwart you it is called a Contest. A Test would be unlocking a locked chest, swimming across a creek, or trying to recall some vital fact about a Monster. A Contest would be if the chest turned out to be a Mimic and tried to attack your PC and they tried to dodge.

It has a little extra crunch, specifically in the area of Settlements. 

In addition to Character Creation the players and the Gamemaster work together to establish the village from which the characters all hail. It is a conceit of the game that the PCs grew up together in the same town and that they continue to live and work in this town. The Settlement has its own Attributes which determine its nature, size, and that sort of thing. Stats cover things like:

Safety - how well protected it is from threats.
Resources - the availability of natural resources such as farms, metals, water, and wood. 
Solidarity - how civic minded are the citizens, It measures their ability to work together.

There are additional areas but you get the idea. Deciding what the Campaign Setting is and therefore where the Settlement is located effects the stats of a Settlement so for example: A Wilderness Settlement has a Safety of -1 but a Resources of +1. There is ample access to hunting, trees for timber and fruit, but there are also a large number of dangerous animals and strange beasts lurking in the forest. In some ways this reminds me of building your kingdom in the Japanese TRPG Meikyuu Kingdom.

When you go on Adventures you are generally doing so to aid the Settlement and its Community and the game provides random charts and ideas for generating Events and Threats that might force a brave and hardy band of locals to team up and go on a Quest to aid the village. There are mechanics for this and yet it's not at all complex.

A high stat in one of the Settlements attributes means it is likely to attract new denizens and allow local families to grow thanks to prosperity in whatever area has done so well. Likewise a low or zero score in one of the attributes is likely to require a journey to find something or someone who can improve the Settlements situation.

If Safety is at 0 perhaps a band of Goblins has moved into the area causing all sorts of mayhem and Adventurers must root them, chase them off, or slay them if they have to. If Resources are at 0 we might need to find out why the crops have all gone foul. Maybe we can find the legendary treasure from the nearby Dungeon and give in to the King in hopes he will reward the town or lend extra support.

Art By Misosile Bushner ( HIZIKI )

All in all, I am leaning heavily towards using this game for my Anime/Manga Medieval Fantasy campaign idea. With some minor adjustments...

OK, there are a few things I would need to expand and change.

The way they do Occupations is neat, giving each PC a job in the town in addition to an Adventuring Class. The Occupations contribute to the Settlements stats but don't seem to give the characters themselves any kind of ability or skill. I would add that in so your choice of Occupation directly effects play. I might have to look at Ryuutama again to see if anything there might be worth porting over. 

I think I'll expand Classes a bit as well. F.A.R.M. standards for Fighter - Acolyte (basically Cleric) - Rogue - Mage. Nice but I would put in a few additional Classes that are especially popular in Anime/Manga Western Fantasy such as the Ranger and Paladin.

Finally, I didn't go into it but another great feature of the game is the concept of a Health and Wellness system separate from Hit Points. It is some I am eager to use, inspired by Delicious in Dungeon's emphasis on eating well and resting as the keys to Dungeon survival. 

F.A.R.M. Champions does use Hit Points however and that is a major thing I wanted to do away with. I don't like the traditional Combat Systems of most Fantasy RPGs, with Hit Points, Damage, and Armor being my chief pet peeves. I think I can adapt the Combat System I planned on using for my Mecha game in with little difficulty. 

Well, that's all for now. I am very excited and curious to see where this goes next...

More to come...

Barking Alien


  1. That reminds me of Ryutama. A Japanese TRPG where the characters are travelers.
    This game has been translated in english, there might be a few usable bits although the system is very diffreent (and use all dices from D4 to D20).

  2. I'm so pleased to see mention of Ryuutama, the most beautiful RPG that I physically own. Have you not thought of simply using that for your game, Adam?

  3. The FARM system looks nice. Paladins and Rangers could perhaps start as Fighters or Rogues respectively, but with the option to learn magic (as Adepts) from experience points?

  4. What a fascinating little gem of a game. I think my kids will love it and now I have to test it out with them.

    I am curious to see what updates or additions you make. Perhaps Occupations give the players a resource they can leverage in play?

  5. Thanks for commenting everyone!

    @Alqualonde and @Tim Knight - I am quite familiar with Ryuutama and a search on this blog will reveal it mentioned quite a few times. I did consider using it for this project but it defocuses Combat a little more than I wanted. Also, I found F.A.R.M. and quite simply find it a better fit.

    @Anzon and @Monkapotomus I want to give the game the additional Classes of Paladin and Ranger because these seem to pop-up in Anime/Manga and Japanese RPGs a lot these days and in very specific forms. I'd like to see them reflected in a game that shares a feel and atmosphere with those mediums.

    As for Occupations, this is where Ryuutama and Meikyuu Kingdom can perhaps add some of there magic to the mix. We'll see.