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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Content>Campaign Guidelines>Campaign Paradigms>High Fantasy
High Fantasy
This paradigm represents a generic High Fantasy implementation with all the basic tropes of the subgenre. While at its most basic this paradigm should be very familiar to players and GM's alike, it can be expanded in a variety of directions making it a powerful starting point for a campaign.
The primary distinguishing factor of High Fantasy is the prevalence of Magic not only for Spellcasters, but for non Spellcasters in the form of plentiful Magic Items. Further, Magic is very reliable, and is generally at least as useful in a combat situation as a weapon would be. Spellcasters are often dangerously powerful, and a non magic user frequently has to put on their best game to counteract the advantages of the Spellcaster, particularly at higher power levels.
High Fantasy is most often found in role-playing; the most prevalent example is most of the various D&D settings such as Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Planescape, Ebberon, and so forth. Competing or derivative products such as World of Warcraft, Everquest, Earthdawn, Lodoss, and Battlechasers can fall into this category as well with some minor modification. A few recent literary forays into the realms of High Fantasy include the Wheel of Time series by Jordan, and the Rune Lords series by Farland.
In most High Fantasy campaigns Magic is a steady, reliable, pervasive force. It can be counted on, and almost always works. Using Magic is not usually unduly difficult or straining on a Spellcaster, though their ability to cast Magic over a particular period of time is usually finite.
In some campaigns this is even more clear cut, with Magic taking the place of Science, with very well structured and understood behavior. In that sort of setting Magic Users are the equivalent of mystic scientists; conducting research and experimentation into the forces of Magic and expanding the capabilities of magical application much as as physicists probe the boundaries of the universe and engineers push the boundaries of technology in the real world. This isn't a prerequisite of the subgenre, but it is a logical extension expressed in some forms of it.
Despite the prevalence of Magic in this paradigm, characters that don't use Magic are still generally very capable and powerful. While Spellcasters have open ended capabilities via their Magic System, non Spellcasters usually have abilities that are conceptually "skills" or other forms of learned or trained ability, but which are expressed as either Power Constructs or expensive implementations of Skills and Talents beyond the norm.
So for example a "Rogue" style character might be so skilled at Stealth that they are effectively invisible to a degree that violates common sense, while a "Fighter" style character might be so skilled and durable that he is able to take on entire armies in a fashion that is clearly not realistic, but which is entirely appropriate to the subgenre.
The following options are assumed to be in effect for this paradigm.
Option Selected Option
No Formal Race Package or NCM   X Formal Race Package with NCM
END Cost = Active Points / 10 X   END Cost = Active Points / 5
Knockback X   Knockdown
Generalized Damage X   Hit Location Damage
No Long Term Damage X   Injury & Impairment Damage
Literacy Standard   X Literacy Not Standard
Super Skills Available X   No Super Skills Available
Combat Luck Allowed X   No Combat Luck Allowed
No Deadly Blow Allowed   X Deadly Blow Allowed
No Armor Proficiency   X Armor Proficiency
No Skill Maxima X   Skill Maxima
No STR Minima   X STR Minima
Equipment Costs Points   X Equipment Doesn't Cost Points
Bases & Vehicles Cost Points   X Bases & Vehicles Don't Cost Points
Followers Cost Points   X Follower Don't Cost Points
Superheroic CSL Conversion X   Heroic CSL Conversion
No Encumbrance   X Encumbrance
No Long Term Endurance   X Long Term Endurance
Normal Damage Default   X Killing Damage Default
High Fantasy characters get hurt with some frequency at the lower power levels, less so at higher power levels. Regardless, Magical Healing is usually fairly accessible, and characters often have the Rapid Healing Talent. 
It is assumed that new characters in this paradigm start with 75 Base Points and up to 50 points from Disadvantages. This value can be altered by the GM at will.
This paradigm is expected to explode on the higher end of the point scale. A GM can easily kick start the campaign to a higher level of play by granting large chunks of Experience to characters to represent their status as veteran adventurers when the campaign starts. Similarly the GM could downscale the characters to represent that they are somewhat green when the campaign starts
The following chart vaguely indicates relative status levels by adjusted character points. The status titles are not intended to have any literal meaning; they are just intended to give an idea of the status of a character with that many character points.
Relative Status Base Max Disadvantage Points Starting Experience Max Starting Total Points
Sheltered Neophyte 50 25 0 75
Neophyte 50 50 0 100
*Youngblood 75 50 0 125
Seasoned Youngblood 75 50 25 150
Veteran 75 50 50 175
Seasoned Veteran 75 50 75 200
Hero 75 50 125 250
Champion 75 75 150 300
Famous 75 75 200 350
Legend 75 100 225+ 400+
* Assumed Default
Many different Races are appropriate to High Fantasy, but for purposes of convenience it is assumed that the following classic fantasy Races exit in this paradigm. Note that individual GM's might add or remove Races, branch Races in to multiple subtypes, and that they might keep some or all of the listed Races but with a different Race Package Deal.
Default Assumptions
Human Elf Dwarf
Common Options
Gnome Halfling Half Elf
Human (Physical)    
Numerous Magic Systems are appropriate to High Fantasy; also many Magic Systems can be mixed and matched to good effect as well. However for purposes of convenience the following "Vancian", fire and forget oriented Magic System is assumed to be the default for this paradigm.
The Vancian System described on this site has custom rules for the concepts of "Spell Resistance", "Spellcraft", and "Anti-Magic". These concepts are described in the relevant Magic System descriptions.
Default Assumptions
Wizardry Dominine  
Common Options
Arcanis Magnicus Sorcery Elementalism
Artificer Sortilege  
A very broad variety of Profession are appropriate to High Fantasy. In general High Fantasy Professions tend to be very powerful, with individual characters being quite competent. While all manner of Professions are likely to fit well in a High Fantasy campaign, the following classic and familiar Professions are assumed to exist in this Paradigm.
Default Assumptions
Warriors Rogues Wizards Priests
Common Options
Bards Druids Monks Elementalist
Sorcerers Magni Sortiligist Psionicists