2018: A Forthright Year In Review

By | December 29, 2018

2018 was a good year for Forthright Open Roleplay. We were nominated for an ENnie for Best Free Game, we published Home of Lost Hope, our first adventure, and just recently released some errata for the game that tweak some issues we’ve encountered post-launch.

But it also wasn’t a stellar year. Back in April, we’d announced plans for two more books, Antagonists and Allies I: Demihumanity and Guidebook I: Battlefield of the Mind. Those books were going to be smaller texts, maybe 32-96 pages, at a fairly low price point. But we discovered with Home that the cost of producing such a small book, compared to the amount we’d want to charge for it, would keep us in the red.

It’s just not affordable for us to create small books, because our costs don’t scale down well. But they scale up very well.

Additionally, we discovered that adventures don’t sell well to our core audience. Which makes sense when you think about it, Forthright is all about the idea of ease of creating content, and adventures tend to be more popular for more complex systems where it’s harder to create content. But we had to lose money to figure that out, so…ouch.

I also discovered that, personally, I’m not really engaged by writing “monster manual”-style content. And I was creating sub-par work as a result.

So we’re cancelling Demihumanity and Battlefield of the Mind. Instead, we’re going to be producing the Toolkit.

The Forthright Toolkit is going to contain the following:

  • New Boosts
  • Rules for creating your own Boosts
  • A new Boost Type, Monstrous: appropriate for Antagonists, maybe not so much for Protagonists
    • For example, Vampiric Attack: When Grappling a Target, you may drain 1d6 Luck from the Target and heal for the amount drained.
  • New Rules Options
    • A new Injury system that requires less effort in the moment
    • An expanded Vehicle system
    • Horror Rules Options
    • Inventory-Management Rules Options
    • Magic Rules Options
    • Psionics Rules Options
  • Civilization Rules
    • How to operate in a “civilized” gamescape where the Protagonists aren’t able to do just whatever they want
    • How to change and transform civilizations over time
    • How to form your own coalitions, and more detail on Faction creation
  • Burden Rules
    • Allows characters to have drawbacks that impact the story
    • Allows the manufacture of items / rituals that cost less because they’re more difficult to produce

A lot of what the Forthright Toolkit will contain is material that was developed for the other two books, along with a whole bunch of new material and content that would have gone into monster manual-style books. But rather than presenting monster abilities attached to the monsters, we’re just going to detail the Boosts that need to be applied, so Guides can mix-and-match abilities as appropriate.

Overall we think this will be a better option for you, our fans, because we never want to give you subpar products. Nothing gives me, personally, more pride than seeing a well-loved copy of Forthright in somebody’s hands that’s been flipped through, folded, marked up, and the like. Because that tells me the book is useful.

We’ll have more announcements and previews in the coming months, and are expecting to publish this book around midsummer.

We’ve also been busy with our first Gamescape, Parliament of Worlds – a science-fiction universe focusing on culture clash and exploration. This setting is going to be huge – I’ve already got about 180,000 words in it, and I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. We’re looking at publishing that in 2020.

Additionally, since Google+ is shutting down, we’ve moved the Google+ Community to a Facebook Group that you can access here.

See you in 2019!