A Touch of Magic

By | September 6, 2014

     Garom finished packing his pipe and lit it with a firm pressure from his thumb, calling up just enough of the Fire to get the tobacco smoldering and smoky.  Tonight had been a good night; he’d won nearly a crown playing Three-Ante Pete down at the pub, and the weight of the silver had a pleasant pull on his belt.

     “Hey!  Cheater!”

     Garom sighed and turned.  One of the particularly bad – and particularly muscular – players he had won against tonight was Jack Trollkiller.  Sure enough, there Jack was with his buddy Hale.  They’d made a name for themselves mucking through the local swamps murdering unsuspecting trolls in their homes, but the townsfolk didn’t see it that way.

     “Jack, go home, you’re drunk.”

     “Not till’s I get my money back,” Jack replied, pulling out the dagger he always wore at his hip.  And of course this was the middle of the night, with no constables out and about.  Nevertheless, a charred corpse in the street would lead directly back to Garom. “Now you’re gonna give it to me.”

     “It’s my money now, Jack, won fair and square.”  Garom flicked one hand out, waving away the flames of Hale’s torch.  Hale swore under his breath.  “It’s dark out, go home before you hurt yourself.”

     Jack came in close, swinging that sharp little blade of his. Garom stepped aside and threw out his arm in front of him, letting the Fire go.  A burst of flame nearly a foot across exploded in front of Jack’s face, startling him and setting his shoulders ablaze.  He made a little inarticulate cry and fell to the ground, patting himself to try and put himself out.  Hale ran over to help.

     Garom broke and ran straight into a nearby tight alley.  Once he got in the alley he began tapping his fingers in an intricate pattern on his right hand, imagining the points of an Elementary and drawing the Fire in the pattern he wanted.  He doubted that had been enough to scare Jack off.  Sure enough, Jack’s bellow of rage a few heartbeats later proved him right.

     As soon as Jack and Hale rounded the corner, Garom threw the Fire, causing a wall of flames to spring up across the mouth of the alley.  He focused on the flame, stoking it and making it burn, while letting his body do the work of unlocking the hidden door he knew he’d find here.

     Jack and Hale stopped and tested the flames, putting their hands up to it to see if it was hot and discovering that it was, indeed, no illusion.  “You little stain!”  Jack bellowed, “I’ma get you!”

     The flames dissipated as if responding to Jack’s command, leaving Jack and Hale looking at an empty dead-end alley.


This little piece of fiction helps illustrate the versatility of the Forthright Open Roleplay magic system.  Garom, a wizard, uses only one Arcanum throughout the piece but casts several spells with it:  he lights his pipe, he gutters a torch, he performs a maneuver that knocks down his opponent, and he raises a wall of fire.

Garom didn’t need to know multiple spells in order to do these things; he used one Arcanum (Fire) creatively to manipulate his environment and the people he was in conflict with, all without needing to deal damage.

In Forthright this would be considered an instance of successfully overcoming a challenge.  The characters were all in a civilized society, so killing was not a good option.  Garom instead chose escape, which he successfully achieved.

In game terms, this would have looked something like this:

  • Round one, Jack and Hale arrive.  They exchange words, each exchange is a Major Action because they are trying to Influence each other.  Both fail their Speech Rolls.
  • Round two, Garom gutters the torch as a Martial Action.  Jack moves in close to Garom and attacks, but fails his Strike Roll.
  • Round three, Garom casts a Knockdown spell at Jack as a Martial Action, Jack fails his Resist.  Garom then runs as a Minor Action, Straining to get extra distance.  Hale splits his Major Action into two Minor Actions, one to move over to Jack and the other to put Jack out.
  • Round four, Garom Readies an action to raise a wall of fire at the mouth of the alley when Jack and Hale approach.  Jack and Hale approach, Garom casts the spell.  He Strains to Persist the spell.
  • Round five, Garom uses a Minor Action to unlock a secret door, then steps in and closes it behind himself while Jack and Hale try to decide what to do.
  • Round six, Garom stops Persisting the spell, leaving Jack and Hale alone in the alley.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the adventures of Garom, and I hope this fiction helps put the rules of Forthright into context.  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments!  Next week, we’ll be releasing Chapter Fourteen: Adventuring.  See you next time!