Forged of Blood
Dive into a deep Turn-based Tactical RPG as you fight to reclaim your throne in this morally grey fantasy world.
About this project
Forged of Blood is a fantasy turn-based tactical RPG that focuses on creating a deep tactical gameplay experience centered around meaningful choice in a morally ambiguous world. With this game, we are merging a deep turn-based tactical game with an elaborate RPG experience that takes players on a journey to reclaim a lost kingdom.
At it’s core, Forged of Blood is a 3D isometric tactical game that will force players to think critically and creatively both in and out of the tactical combat phase. Positioning, build efficiency, and tactics can mean the difference between victory and defeat in battle, while managing your characters outside of combat poses new and interesting opportunities.
Developing Forged of Blood has, and continues to be a labor of love that turned this passion project into the sort of game we’ve always dreamed about making. From tabletop to the classic RPGs of old, our’s is a project in which we plan on merging the elements of classic RPGS and tactical games into a contemporary take on the genre.
The vision for Forged of Blood has always been to create a deep tactical experience currently in development for the PC. That means character building customization that will have tactical consequences in as many ways as possible and setting it all against a brand new fantasy backdrop. So far, we’ve created an experience for our game that, while focused on the tactical experience, will develop interesting choices on and off the battlefield.
A Fantasy World Afire: Our game introduces a morally grey hard fantasy world on the cusp of a predestined upheaval. Forged of Blood will throw you into a beautiful new world filled with both monsters and men across multiple environments in 3D; in a world that has a richly developed history.
Meaningful Choices Throughout the Game: This is a design philosophy that we’ve truly hammered into every facet of the game. Whether it be the branching narratives, the tactical combat, or the minutia of character building, every choice will have meaningful consequence.
Build Your Characters Your Way: With 9 weapons and weapon ability trees, 6 general ability trees, a vast magic crafting system, the characters under your command are yours to build from the ground up to fit any tactical need.
A True Spellcrafting System: This is the spellcrafting system of our dreams, with a staggering 3822 unique effect combinations and an incalculable number of permutations when you account for effect and global modifiers.
All Things (Tactically) Considered: Once on the battlefield, players will have to take into consideration a plethora of tactical factors. Will you have the right composition of characters to take on a particular challenge? Is the high ground worth taking or would the costs be too high? Build efficiency, positioning, and turn order all matter – will you be able to take advantage of it?
Forged of Blood is a decidedly ambitious project for a studio for our size, but we have lived up to our wildest expectations in each build we push out. We’ve committed our own money to not only start the studio, but to finish the game, but we’ve taken the project to Kickstarter to make the game even better with your help.
If we’ve piqued your interest so far, keep going and check out the full breakdown of our game below.
3D Fantasy World:
Specific to our game is a brand new hard fantasy world with rich histories, horrors, and mysteries for you to explore. Central to this world will be the unique creatures and races you will face. Monsters and men come to life in Unreal Engine 4 as Forged of Blood takes you across the beautifully imagined continent of Attiras.
Face tribal giants, strange creatures, and quell the fires of a world that is slowly tearing itself apart. Forged of Blood will take you from ancient ruins and castles to deserts and snowy mountains, we are excited to take you on an adventure that spans the varied biomes of our world.
In the case of some of our larger creatures that cover multiple tiles, each creature will feature a unique set of strengths and weakness. These multi-tiled creature will also involve unique strategies to deal with as attacks on specific tiles (or body parts) will have different outcomes. We won’t go into too much detail here as we really do want players to experience the surprises for themselves, but we’ve really focused our efforts into making each monster tier a unique experience in and of itself.
Nine Unique Weapon Trees:
Each of our nine weapons not only come in different materials, tiers, and special quality modifiers, but also feature their own ability trees – both passive and active. Our focus on player freedom means: no classes, just weapons and their ability trees – and every weapon tree can be leveled up and built to fit the character build you want. With 9 different types of weapons to chose as primary and then 8 weapon options for secondary, the players can effectively make 72 different weapon combinations, not counting the variations that come from dual wielding, shield options, and magic.
On the battlefield, the primary and secondary weapon sets can prove vital in taking on a fluid tactical situation, as players can switch from between their equipped weapons to fit their needs.
Meanwhile, crafted and enchanted armor and weapons can further refine your character builds or open up new possibilities.
In addition to the various weapon combinations and weapon ability progressions, weapons can be crafted from 5 different materials, have up to 4 distinct quality modifiers selected from 13 possible quality modifiers, and imbued with 6 distinct possible enchantments from level 1 to 5. To give a sense of the variations possible, each weapon can be created 169,415 distinct ways, allowing for further refinement of your playstyle.
For those who want to understand how I got that, you can have between 0 and 4 quality modifiers chosen from 13 different quality modifiers, 5 different materials, and 6 different enchantments as well as unenchanted. So each character will have 1,524,735 primary weapon options to start, but when you consider the variations in primary and secondary weapon choices, you have 2,066,503,840,200 distinct weapon combinations (excluding dual wielding & shields).
Six General Ability Trees:
Every character and build can be further customized through the six General Ability trees designed to allow the players to hone in the build they want to make. Each tree will offer players a range of unique passive abilities that add (or potentially detract from) the efficiency of a character’s build.
Comprehensive Magic and Spell-crafting:
No fantasy game would be complete without some awesome magic spells to cast – and we may have gone a little overboard. Even as we tried to constrain ourselves to fit within the lore of our world, we knew we wanted to create a spell crafting system that would let players truly craft their own spells.
In Forged of Blood, spells are cast by using stones called Magurite. Each can be attuned to one of three elemental energies, known as Primordials. If you like, you can think of Magurite as charged batteries. You cast spells by either drawing energy from the surrounding area into the stone (Drain) or releasing stored energy (expel). Combining these two will gives us the 6 Primordial energies: Thermal Expel, Thermal Drain, Arcane Expel, Arcane Drain, Spirit Expel, and Spirit Drain.
Still with us? Great! This is where it gets a little more interesting. There are ten unique effects that vary by these 6 primordial energies. Let’s take one effect as an example, Entropy. A Thermal Expel Entropy will be different from Thermal Drain Entropy.
That means that we have a total of 60 options for effects (3 Primordials x 2 Charged States x 10 Effects). Players can add up to five Effects for any spell (provided they meet their control requirements) and can then further customize each Effect through eighteen Effect Modifiers that can alter the trajectory, power, or even targeting of the Effect. With the Effects and Effect Modifiers in place, they can then add a further eighteen Global Modifiers that will shape and customize the entire spell.
Now, we could say something along the lines of there being 216,600 distinct spell effect combinations, (ignoring that the order of the effects often makes spells effects distinct) making 80,243,201,286,758,000 distinct permutations for 5 distinct global and 5 distinct effect modifiers, spread among all active Effects – and remember that you can have more than 5 of each – the reality is that the majority of those would be trivially distinct. As there is no realistic means for us to give a reliable value of the number of meaningfully unique spells, we’ll simply leave it as “a lot.”
Meaningful Choices, on and of the Battlefield:
We harp on about “meaningful choices” pretty much throughout this wall of text and it is absolutely something we’ve pinned on the forefront of every decision. While character builds and tactical decisions have been explained above, we have yet to properly show you how this will affect the narrative.
As with any good RPG our’s is a story that will be reactive to player input and, to that end, we’ve incorporated narrative choices that will directly affect the tactical battles as well as the overarching story. This means that the order in which you complete objectives in a single quest can determine the number of enemies or allies you will have on a tactical map. While on the larger scale, your decisions in completing a particular quest could potentially open up or close of other quests down the line. This is of course just a small example of the ways in which the game can react to player decisions both on and off the battlefield.
When not in combat, players will see the world through the Strategic Layer – large map on on an ancient table in which objective markers, party pawns, and faction held territories are held. Here they will command up to three parties that will roam the world, take on quests in their efforts to reclaim the kingdom. Each territory will provide the player’s faction with gold and other unique resources that can be used for crafting our array of unique weapons and armor. While we are still a tactically focused game, our strategic layer gives players the bigger picture at stake, and offers them an additional gameplay layer.
Additionally, our Castle Layer will provide players with a reprieve from the combat while offering more gameplay mechanics to tinker with. Whether it be crafting weapons and armor, researching the mysteries of our magic system, or even casting judgments on past foes and fallen allies, Genevan Castle will serve as the player’s base of operations. Players will find that choosing the right upgrades that suite their play style will integral to their progress in the game – potentially giving players access to new missions, unique quests, and the ability to recruit more soldiers to their parties.
Morality beyond Good and Evil:
In keeping with our aim to push a grey world with meaningful choices, we’ve really tried to implement a morality system that goes beyond our anachronistic notions of good and evil. There will not be a single bar with good on one end and evil on the other, light versus dark, or any sort of coy delineations of those concepts (here’s looking at you Paragon vs. Renegade). Instead we’ve created a system in which player actions will be plotted on a Personality Index comprised of Empathy, Hedonism, and Wisdom.
Most actions taken by the player will have a corresponding movement along the three axes that will effectively move the player’s Personality Plot. This plot will also have an area around it that will be the player’s Personality Distance Threshold, which will affect the relationships with other characters in the game.
This system allows us to create actions and events within the story that will not necessarily be either good or bad. We can explore the motivations of each action and have them be perceived on a scale that isn’t binary – and ultimately create an experience that will be new in the RPG genre. Our personality system is ultimately a more realistic expression of perceived personality and morality than what we’ve often seen in previous games in our genre.
Forged of Blood is currently being developed of PC, though we will not rule out additional platforms as we progress.
For Forged of Blood, we wanted to introduce a Hard Fantasy world that has specific rules and lore elements to adhere to. Heavily inspired by great fantasy stories with detailed and, perhaps more importantly, rational worlds, we set out to build the world of Attiras into a fully fledged world, complete with a rich history and a unique magic system.
Attiras is a harsh world filled with strange and powerful creatures, that vary in sentience and behavior. The primitive tribal giants called Sataures, the thick skinned and tempermental Gurrahog, and the ore ingesting Sacer are just some of the creatures players will face – each with their own unique combat characteristics and behaviors.
Beasts aside, perhaps the true monsters in this world are the sentient denizens who call the world of Attiras home. At the onset of the game, Attiras is a world ruled by a hybrid race of humanoids who have supplanted the former dominant race through sheer brutal conquest. The world we’ve imagined for the game is one that doesn’t pull any punches; genocide, murder, and backstabbing are all par for the political course of this world – as in our own.
The story of Forged of Blood takes place a few thousand years after the genesis of the current world order and centers on the actions and relationships of two brothers as they work to reclaim the world. Key to our philosophy is that we create situations that should not be judged by our modern sensibilities and morals.
In keeping with our tactical focus on the game, we wanted to keep the story centered around combat but driven by actions. Our biggest challenge is keeping the scope and reactivity of our story within manageable bounds so that we can deliver a consistent narrative throughout; so, we’ve really narrowed our focus on the relationship of the two brothers: the heir, and the player character.
Without giving too much away, the story will start with great upheaval that forces the brothers to flee and take refuge in old family estate. From here comes the challenge of reclaiming the world for themselves, while dealing with the differences in opinion that they might have.
Critical Forge was born from gamers – tabletop, PC, console, mobile, you name it… we’ve devoted thousands of hours into each platform. The genesis of our studio really started with a few offhand remarks over various meals about a side project Joe wanted to do: making a tactical game using Unreal Engine 4. As the conversations became a little more detailed and more friends became involved, it quickly blossomed into a project that we all wanted to devote more time into.
When we finally decided to put it all on the line and make this game we know that the adventure will not come easily but decided that the risks are well worth it to pursue this dream of making our own game. We got a small space above a dusty warehouse, begged and borrowed furniture, and finally put together a studio to call our own.
With so many things at stake, we decided to take a more cautious and pragmatic route with our production: starting very small both in team size and scope to prototype and worldbuild before expanding into full production. We had tested our base mechanics and ideas tirelessly in the early days and by mid-2016 grown to our full team of ten, who have since pushed Forged of Blood to the game you see today.
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So, you’ve gotten a glimpse of what we’ve done and what’s to come – why should you believe that we can do it?
Each and every one of us here at the Forge are gamers and we’ve all had the pleasure of working together on larger scale project before striking out on our own. We have a combined three decade’s worth of experience in the industry and the team is so committed to bringing this game to life that we have devoted both our time and money to bringing Forged of Blood to the pre-alpha state it is in now (with a vertical slice and large number of assets completed) to showcase the project to the world.
We formed the studio in February 2016 to prototype and begin production on Forged of Blood and we’ve already committed almost $400,000 to see the project through completion. That means, we will see this project through to the end and risk it all because we believe in this project – but that’s where you come in.
We want to make this game shine:
With your help, we can make this game even better than what we’ve envisioned and scrounged for. That means giving us the breathing room to make more maps to do battle on, a more reactive storyline and world for you to explore, and more unique models to really bring to life this world we’ve made for you. Additional funds will also help us expand the limited budget on VO work and music, and allow us to explore even more possibilities to make Forged of Blood a vision of dreams.
As of March 2017, we’ve taken the game from a fleeting idea in our heads to a pre-alpha state with our core game loops implemented in the first year. We’ve put our hearts and souls – and our savings – to bring this project to this stage in development and we need your help to push us over the final hump and see us through to 2018 – and hopefully into other platforms with time.
We cannot fully express in these pages just how grateful we are for your time in reading through our hopes and dreams for Forged of Blood. Everything we are and everything we’ve developed so far has been at the largess of our friends, families, and fans who have supported us through this process. Getting this chance to share this project with you and the rest of world is something we do not take lightly. So thank you for reading, thank you for your time, and please never hesitate to reach out to us!
– The Critical Forge Team
Risks and challenges
Indie game development is, without a doubt, a risky endeavor, and we know that there will be plenty of unforeseen challenges ahead of us as we continue to develop our game. We’ve aimed high and we’re shooting for the stars with Forged of Blood, that much is clear, but we believe that we have the talent and passion needed to see this project through. To that end, we have committed to fully fulfilling our budget that will see the game to completion – veritably putting the majority of the risk on us as the developers.
The biggest risk we face will be in delaying the release date. As often goes in software and game development, it is difficult to predict how everything will go and often times our gantt charts and reality don’t quite match.
Our second biggest risk will be the implementation of features that may be different from what we’ve described; this is due to the iterative design method we have adopted to ensure the best gameplay. That means that while we may have an idea in our heads as to how a particular mechanic should work, the mechanic itself might not work as intended, be less fun than expected, or something better just comes along. When these things happen, we will adjust to make sure that the mechanics work for the betterment of the game. Things will undoubtedly change as we testplay our features rigorously, and when we open up our game to our fans in Beta, their (and your) inputs will be crucial to the final output.
That said, barring a devastating force of nature, Forged of Blood will indeed see completion.
So what does this Kickstarter campaign actually do for us? First and foremost, it will give us the breathing room to make the game the way we want it to be. We are near our personal financial limits in making sure we have budgeted for the game fully while providing the team a livable wage. The funds we raise here will allow us to expand our team and outsource work to exceed some of the limitations we’ve placed on ourselves. Whether it be expanding our music and VO work, making more unique assets and features, or making the game’s stories and quests even more reactive than we currently have planned, the funds we raise will allow us to truly enhance the game experience. Furthermore, with all the depth and complexities of our game, time is our biggest enemy that can only be alleviated by a larger budget, which just might relieve some of the immense pressures placed on the team.
At the end of the day, we have been truly blessed to be able to work on Forged of Blood – this is a dream come true for us as a studio and we are humbled by the process. Ultimately, our commitment is to the game and the gamers out there. With our original financial commitment to the game, we believe we have a game worthy of any Tactical RPG fan, but we know that with your help, we can make this the game that Tactical RPG fans must have.Thank you for your support.