Yesterday I finally had the chance to play-test Arrowflight 2E. This game is one of the finest fantasy role-playing games I’ve had the opportunity to game-master. Arrowflight offers just the right amount of game-world fluff. It’s there, but its kept to a minimum so as not to infringe on any game-master ideas. Arrowflight offers a world, or perhaps a foundation, but demands that the game-master sharpen the edges to fit personal tastes. This is perhaps what most impressed me about Arrowflight from the start. Forums have deemed Arrowflight an “alternate fantasy” game, but without knowing exactly what that means, I will say that this game is freshly imaginative across the board; player races, magic system, monsters, etc. If you don’t mind something a bit unusual, and can appreciate a tinge of anime-influence you’ll probably really dig the setting. Arrowflight claims that it is a game of “cinematic grittiness,” which I think attests to the game’s surprisingly dark undercurrent. One of the undead creatures is particularly horrendous, I can’t remember the last time I was legitimately disturbed participating in a fantasy RPG (which I intend purely as a compliment by the way). The system is solid and thankfully simple with an impressive amount of depth if one wants to get into it. But usually 2d6 is the standard roll over the course of play.

 [Artist: Gustave Dore depicting S. Coleridge’s, Rime of the Ancient Mariner] The game allows for a tremendous amount of creativity and inspiration. I’m particularly fond of Arrowflight’s focus on a breadth of martial arts styles, something I will miss in other combat centric games I play. If you are looking to play a particularly inventive and fast-paced fantasy game with excellent character building options you’ll be missing out if you overlook Arrowflight. Even if you are someone who demands a lot of specifics and detail at the game-table, this is a game that will probably appeal to you also. This game practically begs to be played in a sandbox style.

Arrowflight offers plenty of tables, including an especially impressive adventure generating one. In our game thus far, a pirate’s ghost has united the PC’s to find an ancient treasure that their blood claims inheritance to. And yet, the character’s are not sure they fully trust their damned patron. It didn’t take  long before our session took on the form of a “sandbox,” with the characters steadily moving towards their overarching goal of finding the treasure, but with no shortage of “side-quests.” But if the heroes continue to push their luck in the “Dark Lands” they’ll soon have to decide between siding with a band of war-worn savage elves, a nefarious goblin necromancer, or the islands ruthless colonial presence. Regardless of the choice, enemies will be made… I hope to turn this game into an ongoing campaign. I’ve always wanted to run a fantasy-pirate game. Play of the Session goes to the character Vinny, who always managed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat just when the group needed it most, and yet with such unexpected mobster-gusto.