Well.... hmm where to begin. I am still somewhat learning the systems crunch, so it is going to be hard for me to put it in the right words, but....
It is modular. There are plug and play rules sets so you can customize your heroes how ever you want. You want to play iron heroes, you can turn off miracles and magic. Don't want to worry about keeping track of munitions for your cross bow, slings, and bows.... there is a rule set you can plug in.
Some of these things make games more difficult, you get awarded more XP from battles. If it is something that makes it easier, you get less Also. Some of these can take place for certain scenes. Or it can be permanent for a campaign, or what ever. Example:
Kevin is running a Fantasy Craft
game and reaches the final climactic encounter: Wanting it to be a little more dangerous, he spends 3 action dice to add the Deadly Combat
quality. The critical threat range of attacks increase by 2 for the rest of the scene. The party won't soon forget this encounter.
Which leads me to Action Dice are different in this game. Yes Eberron basicly started AD, so it is hard to fault them for thier use of it. But the limited number just makes it .... limiting. I have eight AD to last me till my level.... well.... gee. I am certainly not going to use them unless I am in a life or death situation, and it will clog up the game with OOC discussion on if it is worth it or not. Fantasy Craft, you get them well, how most DM / GMs I know do it. You do something awesome, you get one as a reward. At the same time though.... it is more than just a tool of the player now. Every time the DM gives you one, as a reward for your awesome, he gets one too. Thing like criticals and the such are much much more deadly in FC, and you use action dice to activate them. Your roll a crit threat, you spend an action point to get the crit. Thing rarely survive a crit. At the same time.... your DM rolls a crit agains you. He spends the action die to make it kill you. You can spend two of your own to stop him.
They have kind of brought back spheres of magic for a priest again. A priest is not so much what we are used to though, I like someone made the comparisson that if LotR were FC, Gandalf would have been a cleric not a wizard. He did not not do much magic, but when he did.... it was earth shattering miricles. The spheres kind of work off of alignments. Alignments can be things like a belief in a god, a philosphy (animalism), a moral out look (Chaotic , Good, )or even a kinship with a powerful force (born under an auspicious star).
You have a solid magic point system, and casters use all of their personality stats. Inteligence ... or one of them gets you your spell points, your wisdom might get you the number of spells you can cast, and your charaisma your difficulty. This is one of those things I am still working on though, and I know Delrin knows better than I do.
I love the races in FC.
There is no EL..... no every race every class BS....
You just get a solid selection of races.
Drake: Yes. You can play a dragon, and you can spend feats to go into splitner races: Elemental Heritage (rire/ice/wind/etc.) Truescale (Cloud/ Mountain/ swamp dragons)
Dwarves: Good old dwarves. Splinter races: Hill Born, Lava Born.
Elf: You know. That thing Points is. Splinter races : Wood Elf / gRAY eLF / Dark Elf (only need a feat to be a drow! No two levels lower!)
Giant!: If were talking about Eberron, playing a giant makes sense. Splinter Races: Elemental Heritiage (Fire, Frost, Stone etc Giant)
Goblin: Play a game in Dargun! Splinter Races (Different tribes.... not really sure the differances yet.)
Human: Ooh, the boring human. Gets what? two paragraphs in the PHB? Pft. Splinter Races: Angelic Heritage , Devilish Heritage, Draconic Heritage, Elemnetal Heritiage, Faerie Heritage. Oh, and they get their pick of quality sets from like three pages of them, to make them different. You can be a nimble.
Ogre: Play as Shrek? Splinter Races: Oni / Scrag / Troll /
Orc: You know the ones. Again their splinter classes are tribes.
Pech: Play as Willow! Splinter Races: Halfling and Gnome! Gnomes are Monsters. Rawr!
Root Walker: Come on. You know you want to play a hasty ent!
Surians: Lizard Men, who can turn down playing a lizard man.
The Unborn: Are pretty much your WF. Though I am trying to make an actual splinter race called WF.
Classes: Your classes are mostly variations on the old standards, but rather deversified. One of the greatest things about them though, is you get to pick your origin too. So your a cleric. Good for you. But you want to play a battle cleric. Well.... you can always have your orogin being barbarian to give you some extra fighting abilities. You get your choice of 37 origins to flesh your character out, everything from bard, to dragoon, to lord, to warden. Basicly, you can throw in a splash of the 1 - 3.5 ed classes to flavor you up.
The classes with out having the patiants any more to write them all up are...
So yeah. That is 444 combinations of classes and origins at your desposal with out even multiclassing. 4.0 too cookie cutter for you? I have the solution.