Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Legend in the making...

When I set out all those years ago to create this game system, the only thing I knew was that it had to be a perfect fit for an existing world. Khaelavar had been born a few years before the system, and I had previously run games there using other sets of rules. The world was more or less fully fleshed out, but something was always missing.

One day when I was still stationed overseas in Japan, I decided to run a new campaign in the realms of Khaelavar. I told my players to roll up their characters by Friday and that we'd begin Saturday afternoon when we were all off duty. When Saturday came, they sat eagerly at my table, dice in hand, shiny new character sheets at the ready. Pizza was on the way, a case of Dew was sitting nearby, and we were all looking forward to unwinding for the weekend.

Though it did not yet have a name, FORGED as a concept had already more or less formed in my mind. I had experimented with a very rudimentary version of it in my spare time, rolling out combat scenarios on my own (and yes, I am geeky enough that I ~might~ have given my imaginary combatants names and voices) and writing down the results. I had about a dozen little tables and charts for combat maneuvers, skills, and opposed rolls floating around my desk, most of them illegible to all but me. I hadn't yet decided whether I liked this strange little experiment or not, and to be honest I was actually starting to lean away from it. It was too new, too different from what I was used to. What the hell did I know about making my own rules?

I tossed back a drink, looked into the impatient eyes of my players, and sighed. Why not give it a go? I thought. It's a new campaign, after all. If it goes bust it won't really matter. No one at the table is yet invested in their characters or the campaign. I leaned forward, took in a deep breath, and smiled sarcastically.

Your character sheets are all done, right?

*Heads nod.*

I have.... a thought.
*Less enthusiastic nodding.*

You're going to need new ones.

*Grumbling and rumors of insurrection. A can of Dew crunches in someone's fist.*

After a couple hours of description, stat rolling and basic familiarity scenarios, the game began. No one around that table, myself included, had any clue as to whether this was going to work. The first game was set in Thrandor, and by the session's end (a harrowing flight from a pack of Moorhounds that ended with an ugly melee) everyone around the table was happy with the system. It fit the game world in feel and scope, combat wasn't too bad (we were all a bit new to it still), and we'd all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. A system was born.

FORGED was born.

It would be many years and a dozen-odd rules editions down the road before it would bear that name, but the core of what it is now had been established. Judgment calls made on the fly in that session are what we now call Heroic Attributes. A boneheaded math flub made by yours truly during the game now forms the basis of Weapon Mastery. Finally, an answer to one of my players' questions became a mantra that I've stood by for more than a dozen years.

Nothing's impossible here. Roll it, brother.

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