I thought I'd talk about the game mechanics that run FORGED. We are in the middle of finalizing the beta draft, a laborious process but an enlightening one, so some things discussed here may not end up in the 1.0 release.
Firstly, FORGED doesn't have any character classes. You read that right - NO classes whatsoever. This is a skills-based game, where your stats, derived stats and known trades make your character. If you want to know the art of swordsmanship, put Hero Points (HP) into it. If you want to be a master trader, a sailor, a con-man, a thief, a cattleman, an archer, a priest, a war-chief or even a wizard, you put points into it. Its as simple as that.
Secondly, there are no levels in this system. Your advancement is also entirely skills-based. You earn experience throughout the campaign, and that experience is applied to your pool of HP during the Advancement Phase, which occurs at the end of the campaign year (generally in Winter). You can also earn HP in specific skills and even bonuses to stats and derived stats throughout the campaign year by rolling critical successes. More on that later.
Finally, FORGED possesses an entirely opposed combat resolution system, meaning you are never going to be standing around taking turns in a fight. Your enemy is trying to kill you at the same time you are trying to kill it. You oppose your weapon skill against that of your opponent(s), with the highest successful rolls winning. You tailor your offensive and defensive skill rolls and Combat Maneuvers against yours opponent(s), factoring in the Fighting Styles, weapon choices, certain stats, shields and bonuses of both combatants.
Fights in this system are brutal, and very often short - especially among extremely skilled warriors. Only fights between relatively green or untested fighters last more than a few combat rounds, and even that is no guarantee. Wounds generally put the fight out of a soldier long before his Health score reaches zero. As healing magic is almost unheard of in Khaelavar, this keeps the Mortal Hero consistently aware of his or her own... well... mortality.
I will follow this post up with more tidbits of the game system over the coming weeks, and I'll happily answer any questions you might have.