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Retro open-world fantasy RPG by the grand masters of Nordic roleplaying, based on the award-winning Mutant: Year Zero game system.
Retro open-world fantasy RPG by the grand masters of Nordic roleplaying, based on the award-winning Mutant: Year Zero game system.
3,399 backers pledged SEK 2,828,267 to help bring this project to life.

Your character in the Forbidden Lands

Posted by Fria Ligan (Creator)

Hi all! 

After Erik’s post on the game world, we thought it was time to give you some more information on the rules of the game. There will be several posts on this, and first we will cover character generation!

First, we should mention that Forbidden Lands uses the same core rules engine as Mutant: Year Zero and Coriolis - The Third Horizon. These games are available in our webstore and there are even free PDF quickstart sets of both, which you might find useful and that will give you a good basis for where Forbidden Lands is coming from.

Still, Forbidden Lands will be its own game and things will differ from previous titles in several ways. Here’s a rundown on how character generation works in the current rules draft. Your feedback can still lead to changes, so make your voice heard, here in the comments or on own forum!

  • Choose you kin. In Forbidden Lands, you can play human, elf, dwarf, halfling or wargfolk, and probably orc too (we have some differing opinions on this internally!). Each kin will come with its own special talent, somewhat similar to icon talents in Coriolis but powered by Willpower Points that are a acquired by pushing dice rolls in a similar fashion to Mutation Points in Mutant: Year Zero.
  • Choose your class. In this game, you can be a Raider (fighter), Rogue (thief), Ranger, Spellbinder (wizard), Scoundrel (trader/trixter), Minstrel or Druid. Some classes will be restricted to certain kin. Just like your kin, your class will give you a special talent powered by Willpower.
  • Choose your age - young, adult or old. This will determine how many points you get to spend on attributes and skills.
  • Assign points to your four attributes: Strength, Agility, Wits, Charisma. 1-5 in each.
  • Assign points to 16 skills (four skills connected to each of the four attributes). The skill names are subject for an intense separate discussion right now so we won’t go into that here. :)
  • Pick a starting talent (a third one, beyond your kin and class talents).
  • Choose a personal problem/dark secret. Your class description will give you examples, but you’re free to make up your own.
  • Determine relationhips to the other PCs. Again, your class description will give you suggestions, but you’re free to make up your own.
  • Decide your big dream in life.
  • Choose your starting gear. Your class will give you options to choose from.
  • Decide name and appearance. Again, your class description will give you suggestions, but you’re free to make up your own.

That’s it! As in all of our games, character generation will be fast and effective, in order to get started playing very quickly.

However, if we reach the Character & Legend Generator Booklet stretchgoal, we will add an extended character generation option! Using a combination of random dice rolls and decisions, this booklet will let you recreate your character’s life in chronological stages, gaining skill points along the way. This system fleshes out the character’s backstory and lets your learn the setting of the Forbidden Lands while you’re at it! This way to create characters will take a little more time, but can be rewarding if you want to go more in-depth.

That’s it for this update! Next time, we’ll talk about skills and combat.

/Free League



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    1. Netobvious

      Honestly, if people are offended by "race" then "class" is just as offensive. We might as well call it your "trade" or "profession" instead.

    2. Robert McKavanagh

      Just my .02 coppers, for what they are worth... I think half-orcs would be a better player option than full orcs. I love orcs, personally, but the halfs would just work out better, socially speaking.

    3. Finnen Cerises on

      ORCS! �Orcs �love �orcs �let �us �play as orcs!

    4. Missing avatar

      Niklas Fällman on

      Sjukt nyfiken på hur en Druid eller liknande "naturmagiker" kommer se ut i en post apocalyptisk värld förpestad av demoner och mörker. Håller tummarna på nån intresant twist

    5. William Buxton on

      Kin-Restricted Classes seems unneeded, and would possibly take away from any replay value of the game.

      Playable Orcs I see why not, pending what they bring over the Wargfolk, and any other interesting races in the game. I would also like the idea of "unlocking" races, by finding new people to interact with, that newly made characters can play these races (Mushroom-men, Gnomes, etc).

      As for Age: Is it basically the Coriolis Analog, where one gives more skills but lets stats, etc? Will we be able to level up our Stats in this game? If not, then you encourage people to be whatever age gives the most Stats, as those are permanent & locked in. If you do allow level-up of stats, then it's an interesting tight-rope as stats will do more, and help you survive better overall. So I think you should avoid Age affecting your starting pool of Stats/Skills because of this problem. If nothing else however, you should allow Stats to be leveled up like in Mutant: Year Zero, and possibly past max of 5, so there is some more advancement there.

      @Trent Peterson
      I don't think we should ignore modern advancements in RPG Design, and how Fantasy has evolved as well. Giving everyone phlebtonium is good, it lets people do cool stuff to better tell stories in a medium of cooperative storytelling, this is good, and helps the medium grow over time.

    6. Matthew Tyler-Jones on

      Thoughts on half-orcs, half-elves etc.:

      Generally, I'm not a fan. For a start these are always represented as half-human, which makes games systems with such "half-races" too human-centric in their outlook. Secondly it's only ever orcs and elves that seem to "mix" with humans, I've never seen anybody play a half-halfling for example.

      But... I have a possible solution.

      What about offering mixed race abilities as the third talent a player chooses? So you could have a whole list of "(other race) heritage" or "(other race) blood" talents. You could choose to play an elf with "halfling heritage", a dwarf with "orc heritage" or indeed an orc with "dwarf heritage"!

      With tiered Talents you could even differentiate between characters with a parent of the other kin and more distant relations - a (other race) heritage talent could open up the opportunity to spend xo on that other kin’s racial talent. So you might get the “halfling heritage” talent of (say) +1 wits on character creation, say you have a halfling grandparent and leave it at that. Or you could declare that your Dad was a halfling and plan to spend xp on the halfling talent (of expert thief or whatever this system decides halflings are good at) later in the game.

      Do you get what I mean?

    7. Missing avatar

      Trent Peterson on

      Reading through the character creation, I can see how this is rooted in the classic retro style gaming, but maintains the excellent mutant style system (Big Dream coming from GenLab Alpha). It could go the route of "pride" as a driver for characters, similar to Tales from the Loop.

      Pride and Problem.

      As for races, I agree with most here, I do not feel Halflings add anything to the setting. If Orcs are more of a beastly controlled race, villainous I do not see a benefit of those being playable.

      Being a hat tip to Retro games, I definitely think Kin based and single classes are the way to go. Makes each character in a group unique and have a role like original RPGs. I find the ship in 'D&D' style games is to make every single class have 'powers' 'magic' and ability to basically do any role now. This is a modern concept, not retro and playing in many games it really take away from the feeling of being THE WARRIOR or being THE MAGIC USER of the group, where you and only you are ideal for certain situations. Makes to rely and bond with your party.

    8. Peter Larsson on

      I'm pretty confident that Erik could make halflings really stand out. But having said that, what about nixing playable Orcs, nixing [playable] halflings and making the Svartalfer playable?

    9. Missing avatar

      Box Corners Diety on

      Please consider nix-ing the Halfling. They aren't mentioned in the initial campaign at all. I haven't read the art book yet, but are Halflings actually in it? Would much prefer you to concentrate on developing the other races than adding Halflings in 'just because' we like them.

      Personally I love playing halflings in other games. In Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classics where the Halfling acts as a 'luck battery' they are super fun. I also love the psychic cannibal halflings from Dark Sun. I just don't think they are worth the time if you are just going to copy them from Tolkien.

    10. Erzaad on

      Surprised to see no divine warrior/caster classes. Also not a fan of kin-restricted classes. Curious to know the difference between the rogue and scoundrel.

    11. Missing avatar

      Rolunde on

      +1 for Orcs as a playable race
      +1 for replacing "big dream" with "Goal" or "Motivation"
      -1 for half-orcs

      IF orcs are a playable race and not simply setting antagonists then half-orc would be ok, but otherwise, they go way over the "rapey" line for me to include if I run this as a campaign that could include the kids, wives, and girlfriends.
      *(and that's not to say that the guys are ok with it either!)

      One of my favorite versions of non-standard Orcs is the Jaghut from Steven Erickson's Malazan novels.
      They're very much a people unto themselves, not some kind of sub-human, and there are "half-blooded Jaghut" so there'd still be room for that too.

      I'm also a pretty big fan of Warcraft orcs too, heh.

      Please not "orcs = pig-men" though!

    12. Missing avatar

      Box Corners Diety on

      I would like to see Orcs as a playable race, but make them unique! They should be more than just green skinned, pig nosed thugs. Maybe they have an excellent sense of smell and musk glands that let them leave chemical messages to each other when riding the outlands.
      Or they have excellent hearing above 20,000Hz and can 'sing' to each other in a way that the other races can't hear. Or maybe they see in UV but lack normal color vision.

      I will also put in a strong vote *against* half-elves and half-orcs. This Tolkien-esque trope really serves to make the races more similar to each other. These should be separate species (though maybe a half-race could be created through some vile sorcery).

    13. Missing avatar

      Box Corners Diety on

      I really hope to see non-Tolkien dwarves, elves, and orcs. This really helps to break away from the stereotypes that have come from the (wonderful) Tolkien books and movies and evokes a sense of strangeness and uniqueness. Some specific ideas.

      Earthdawn (First Edition) is the game which has the best fantasy Elves, Dwarves, and Orks which are definitely not based on Tolkien.

      The original Dark Sun setting did this as well.

      One great piece of recent fiction that has amazing non-Tolkien elves is The Incorruptibles by John Horner Jacobs.

      I think these works and others should inspire the authors.

    14. Joshua Kubli on

      Yeah, I like the idea of Orcs as a playable race. And if my group is going to convert our home game to this system (hope so!), we'll need half-elves and half-orcs also, in some manner.

    15. Stefan "The Moth" Ristic

      The idea about Wargfolk made me love this game so much more. Brilliant!

    16. Matt Kay

      Great post, looking what I see. Looking forward to the extended chargen - randomly rolling your starting PC through various stages is actually how my own fantasy hack recommends building a PC. Glad to see it here.

    17. Missing avatar

      Steve Shearer on

      I’d like Orcs to be a player character race.

      I don’t love “Spellbinder”as the name of the magician class. In English, the word means someone who is charismatic or gives a great performance (“Her amazing singing left the audience spellbound”). It derives from someone so fascinating it is as though they used magic, but in any event it doesn’t really work as the word for a general magic practitioner. I’d expect a class called a spellbinder to be an empath or a mind controller, given the connotation in English.

      Magician, mage, wizard, sorcerer, witch/warlock, something like that would be better.

      In any event, I’m loving the previews. The game looks amazing and I can’t wait to have it!


    18. João Talassa on

      About extended character creation, it reminds me of Beyond the Wall and I hope you guys take a cue from that. It really helps create a playable situation grounded on character and setting. It's one of the best things in OSR, together with scenario creation, in my opinion.

    19. Missing avatar

      Robert Carreras on

      I like the idea of Orcs as a playable race.

      The extended character creation sounds really cool. It reminds me of Traveller character creation.

    20. Roger C. Jones

      I like the idea of Wargfolk and even Orcs, although I was never a big fan of playing orcs. Maybe you could include options for building custom classes and races.
      I don't like the "Big Dream" description. It sounds too much like your PC has aspirations of playing pro ball or singing in a Broadway show. "Goal", "Quest", "Motivation" or something similar would be a better title.
      I like the additional character background option. It reminds me of the Lifepath system in some games, the old Central Casting background generators or uses, Traveller. Although in Traveller and Pendragon, you could actually buy the farm before getting to play the character.
      Are there any tips on party goals? I'm thinking if you have one character in a group who wants to save the world and another that wants to rob, kill and steal to get ahead, that never works out well. This game seems like you can be righteous do-gooders or swagswiping murderhobos.

    21. Peter Larsson on

      Very cool to see the system taking shape. I'm intrigued by some of the classes. What will a Minstrel be doing in Raveland? Is there musical magic (harmonism - or Dwarven Stone Singers that Erik mentioned). Also interested to understand what the background is to picking 'spellbinder' over say wizard, mage or sorcerer.

      Have you considered having a Tomb Raider style class? You could rename the Fighter 'Fighter' or 'Reaver' and reserve 'Raider' for something more Indiana Jones or Lara Croft.

    22. Missing avatar

      Kelly McLaren on

      Thanks, sounds so awesome...

    23. Fria Ligan 18-time creator on

      Great comments here, thanks!

    24. Boulderdash on

      Fria Ligan - just like with Mutant: Year Zero, will there be an official BRP ruleset, too?

    25. Missing avatar

      Nicolas Francart on

      Thanks for the preview! I hope you don't add unnecessary restrictions on character creation. If your argument for excluding orcs is that they are supposed to be the "bad guys", let the players be the judge of it! Similarly, why do you want to restrict classes to certain kins? That seems unnecessary and encourages playing cliché characters. Let me play an orc wizard if I want to :)

    26. Drevin Williamson on

      @John I believe they said Wargfolk are something like werewolves or wolf-people.

    27. Matthew Tyler-Jones on

      The wargfolk are Wolflike. Vargyr, for any old Trav grognards out there.

    28. Missing avatar

      John "johnkzin" Rudd

      1) yes, please include orcs as pc race. I dunno what wargfolk are though.

      2) please include rules for multi-race and multi-class :-} (That would cover things like half-orcs for example: just a human/orc multi-race).

      3) I see wizard (spellbinder) and Druid. I don’t see Cleric. Is that spellcaster role bound up in spellbinder, or is the Druid the only healer/divine caster? Or .... ?

    29. Stefan Rotmark on

      I also love the idea of the Orc as a playable Kin! It would be awesome to make a band of Orcs wanting to show the World (and themselfs) that the Or Kin is a Force to count on! If the GM and/the group doesn't like that idea they can houserule the Orcs away, as I suspect my group to do with the elvs...

    30. Robert McKavanagh

      I would think Half-Orcs might be better. And talk about tragic implications in back story...

      Orcs(blood) are my favorites, so I've given this a bit of thought.

      A furry type race wouldn't be the worst idea either, like a thundercats type of race, but in addition to the orcs. You could even do this as an Easter egg for modiphius and use the squirrel from M:GLA, as a rocket racoon/jawa type race.

    31. Matthew Tyler-Jones on

      HATES! Hates all humans etc. Not "has"

    32. Drevin Williamson on

      I really hope this reaches that Booklet stretch goal! The extended character creation sounds like it could be a really fun way to get players more into the game before it even starts, and make the characters feel more personal.

    33. Matthew Tyler-Jones on

      Let me bid for Orc as playable character. Given their history I this game as a slave-race to the older kin, there is real emotive role play opportunity in not making them simply "the enemy" who has all humans, dwarves and elves.