So, I’m working on a high-fantasy Forged in the Dark game, and I figured I’d share details about it here, to try and solicit feedback, questions, and advice.
The project started when my efforts to build a D&D world of my own liking led to becoming more and more dissatisfied with 5th edition D&D- ultimately I decided I needed a different framework to build on, something where I could put all the bendy bits where I wanted them.
Part of that ended up being revising the fluff of the world further away from D&D’s standards- so while there’s humans, dwarves, elves, and other familiar race names, the actual races themselves are rather different.
The elves have airships, alchemagical firearms, and gothic architecture; their aesthetics of beauty favor extremely pale skin, while most sport symbols on their foreheads that declare allegiance to one of numerous religious Orders; they are what I think as ‘medieval noir.’
The dwarves are more Riders of Rohan than Mines of Moria, being a nomadic people who follow their herds from one grazing ground to another as the seasons change. While they are skilled with metal, their lifestyle means that they are better known for their work with wood and leather. One of the more notable quirks of dwarves is that upon death they turn to stone, becoming a boulder of roughly the same size as the dwarf in question.
There’s more than that, of course- ten racial packages to start. These are just samples.
And by packages I mean that I’m breaking apart playbooks into multiple packages that can be assembled- heritage packages represent your race and cultural inheritance. Career packages are closer to the traditional playbooks. Backgrounds will likely be the same. Everything will provide options to choose from, along with suggested picks as the most commonplace. Meeting an Orc who isn’t Tough As Nails is memorable, although not impossible. Choosing not to take it will have had a profound impact on your character’s life- you get to decide what that means.
I’m using complex social rules in the form of Strings, Entanglements, and Circles- an Entanglement is roughly equivalent to a Contact, in that they’re someone you continually run into. Strings are similar to in Monsterhearts, but less complex and can become knotted Strings which are hard to get rid of. Circles are organizations that function rather like Entanglements, but allegiance to them and drawing on their resources can result in owing quite a few favors.
Magic is complex, in that there’s both spellcasting and ritual magic. The Spellbinder package is the career package that’s focused on magic, and with the initial Special Ability, you pick a kind of magic to know, such as necromancy. Additional kinds can be learned, but these function closer to advanced abilities, with each having its own requirements to learn and master. Ritual magic, meanwhile, is easier to come by, but is less portable, and less immediate. It can be quite useful, but there’s times when it’s simply not the right tool for the task.
And as for the purpose of the game- entertainment. I want the rules and the world to be almost a theme park of options, to be enjoyed as you see fit. You could go with a pure urban noir theme amongst the elves, or something closer to Celtic myth with the Kordh. You can emphasize social, or something more brute force against monsters inhabiting the wilder places, or whatever else you feel like. I want this to be a toolbox you can use to play the game you want, in a world of my devising. Nothing more, nothing less.
For some reason, I’m doing layout on it as I write it, though, so it may take a while.