• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

16 Questions about the new Flint & Steel RPG

Are you looking for a new RPG with no levels and no classes to constrain your creativity? If so, your quest may have just ended! The new Flint & Steel RPG is just that.

This week I’ve put together a bit of a Q&A with game designer Bora Mitricevic regarding his new game system entitled: Flint&Steel. Currently, there is a Kickstarter running for this project which you can find here. He’s told me that if the Kickstarter doesn’t make the funding goal, he’s still going ahead with the project. I always love to hear about great dedication like that.

Since this column is about game design, I think it’s only fitting to feature a few up and coming games. It fits in with the theme, after all. I’m not personally part of the design team, so if you have any further questions about the game, I’d suggest asking the designers directly on their kickstarter page.

Here follows a short interview to give you a feel for the game. Enjoy!

Q. What inspired you to write Flint and Steel?


A. In all honesty, a lot of things! Movies like Black Death, 13th Warrior and Sauna. Writers like George Martin, Andrzej Sapkowski and Robert Howard. Adventure and roleplaying video games and music, too.

I early found out that my favorite stories and themes were those of low fantasy or simply medieval and I was already working on such a setting. We knew that we needed rules to support the low fantasy unforgiving attitude and so Flint&Steel was born.

Q. Who are the people most crucial to the project, and what can you tell us about them? Favorite foods, characters, design strategies?

A. People most crucial to the project are my players, folk I've had luck meeting 10 years ago and we were gaming since. And as luck would have it, all of them are doing creative work for a living.

A playwright Nina, Bachelor of dramaturgy, is my co-writer on Flint&Steel. She loves to roleplay and is the reason why bards exist in RPGs. She is all about the fluff and her favorite food is cream chicken.

Dimitry is a graphic designer and a really good one at that. He loves all kinds of characters and often starts the game as honorable as he can, but as soon he has a taste of power, he goes all-round chaotic. He is a power player and as such he was vital in creating a good and balanced game. Oh, and he eats anything he gets his hands on. He is surprisingly skinny, too!

Dejan is a traditional artist. He is more of a video gamer, but he loves fantasy and horror themes and he's been drawing since he was a kid. Dejan is extremely stubborn and hates digital art, which can be a nightmare for Dimitry and me when it comes to book's layout and design.

My other players aren't directly involved, but it would be wrong to say they didn't contribute to the making of Flint&Steel.

Q. Flint and Steel has ‘No Classes’ and ‘No Levels’, what can you tell us about this innovative approach? Is the game point-buy? What's the problem with levels? What do players get for playing well?

A. The reason behind a no class, no level approach is to support and encourage creativity. After 10 years of gaming, we felt the need to be liberated from all molds. Classes determine what bonuses or abilities your character gets even if you don't want or need them. Levels determine when you get those abilities. We wanted to be free of that and have a system where you can upgrade whatever ability, skill or power you want and whenever you want it. For that we use experience points that are rewarded after battles, quests, role-playing, beating traps and puzzles. It makes it more life-like. No one is born into a profession and they are what they do, thus every character should be its own class.

Q. How does Magic in Flint and Steel work?

A. See below.

Q. How does Crafting in Flint and Steel work?


A. I'll answer both questions because it will better explain the system. We wanted F&S to be easy to learn, so we use the same mechanics for magic, skills and crafting. In each case you roll d20, add your bonuses and determine the success of a spell, skill or crafting attempt. Each of these elements also have specialization ranks that develop your magic, skills and crafting further and give you new in-game options. The magic system is of course more detailed.

We have 10 schools of magic and each of them has a source. A proper source is crucial for spellcasting of any kind. It determines whether you can cast a spell at all and what effect you will produce. For example, if you want to strike your enemy with flame, you need a burning fire somewhere near your character. You can use the flame of a candle or a flame from a campfire and with your d20 roll you create a desired effect, hit or miss your target and so on. Obviously, the greater the source, the greater the outcome.
In the school of sacrifice, the source is your own body and you can use it to heal others. Cure diseases by taking them on yourself or create a protective ward with your own blood. You pay for all of these actions with hit points.

Q. What makes Combat awesome in Flint and Steel?

A. Combat in F&S is dangerous and fast. Our rules regarding health will make your character and enemies rather vulnerable. After any d20 roll, someone could die. These rules also allow actions like breaking limbs, knockouts and choking to be a part of the game. We have a wide range of special combat abilities that further excite the combat, mix that with our magic system and you have an awesome cocktail!

Q. Why is the game called Flint and Steel?


A. There are two reasons behind the name. We wanted to describe our campaign setting and also have a name that is closely related to adventuring. "Flint" stands for the industrial era of our world and "Steel" for the era that takes place after the war against magic. Flint and Steel is also an item that every adventurer wants to have, once he finds himself inside a deep and dark dungeon.

Q. What's your background in game design? Is this your first project? Have you been at it for years?


A. The first day I started gaming, I created new and custom rules and worlds. F&S is a culmination of ideas and experiments, something I no longer recognize as a set of house rules but as a stand alone game that we've been polishing for years.

Q. Are there planned follow up and expansion books for Flint and Steel? What can we expect from the company if everything goes well?


A. In both cases, success or failure, our plan will remain the same. We will launch our website that will support F&S. We have already purchased the domain name, and in time it will house our products. You can find it here http://www.adventurersinn.net/

In case of a successful Kickstarter funding, it will all happen much sooner and with better production value but even if we fail, we will slowly finish the books. It's our dream and we won't give up on it easily. The future is bright however we look on it and we will develop Flint&Steel further. We will write adventures, expand our campaign setting, work on rules and keep on adding new ideas.

Q. Flint and Steel is d20 core. How similar or dissimilar is it from other d20 game systems?

A. The only similarity is in the mechanics, roll a d20, add modifiers and match it against a needed result. We kept the d20 base because of its strong foundation and compatibility with other popular d20 systems. Every other part of the game is altered and we find only skills closely related to other games, but even there we have our own approach.

Q. How long does it take a complete noob to pick up the game system?

A. I actually tried this with completely new players. It took us an hour, maybe an hour and a half for them to make characters and to get a hold of the mechanics. Like I mentioned before, we use the same principle in every element of the game, so it's rather easy to follow and to learn.

Q. If you could choose the one best thing about Flint and Steel, what would it be?

A. The magic system. After seeing it in action, I was happy with what we created. It was a first time I, as a DM, didn't have any problems with spellcasters and their magic.

Q. The core rulebook is 150 pages, what are the major chapters/sections?


A. We will have a major chapter for every element of the game. They will include character creation, combat, magic, skills and talents, crafting and enchanting, player's guide and dungeon master's corner.

Q. How much do we have to pledge to get a hard copy of the core books?

A. The pledge WANDERER is at 60£ and next to all of the digital awards, you will receive both books as a hard copy in soft cover, the Rule book and the Campaign setting. The shipping cost is already included in this price. Next pledge ADVENTURER delivers the books in hard cover and a map print as well.

Q. What are the things Flint and Steel does better than other RPGs?


A. I wouldn't say we do things better (that's individual for every player and DM), we do them differently. Flint&Steel's combat is more lethal and action packed. Our magic system is unique and requires casters to be creative and clever. Our skill, crafting and enchanting system is as vital to the game as combat and magic, as well as fun to use and invest in. Last but not least, our character creation and development is without levels and classes which is rare amongst RPGs.

Our campaign setting comes in two eras, and each era offers different stories, characters and experience. Every country in our world is written with a rich background and offers many quest ideas.

I find this better, but it's up to others to decide for themselves. Hopefully, we'll find someone who shares our enthusiasm!

Q. What was it like designing Flint and Steel? A lot of work? A lot of fun? A lot of time? Any key moments or dark days?

A. It was all of it. Frustration and joy in a ball of time consuming awesomeness. Key moments were those when each game element reached its peak and was balanced and working properly. I find these Kickstarter days a dark period, somewhat metaphorical, really. As the people of our campaign setting managed to prevail in their darkest times, so will we and Flint&Steel will see the light of day, one way or the other!

Thanks Bora!

I’ll be heading on vacation into the bush for the next three weeks, so my column may disappear for a while. You can look for it again in August if vacations are legal for columnists. Otherwise, it’s been a great run, and I’ve enjoyed reading all the awesome feedback!

If you have any comments about Flint and Steel, feel free to post them below.



 

Comments

Crothian

Villager
You lost me at " new RPG with no levels and no classes to constrain your creativity?" As a general rule for advertising it is best to not start with insulting what your potential customers might already like. I see this so many times at Gen Con when someone is selling a new game and the only way they can do that is by saying how vastly superior it is to D&D, or Pathfinder, or Vampire, or whatever. I talk to a lot of vendors at Gen Con and I'm there to spend money but when they do this I walk away.
 

Johnny3D3D

Adventurer
In contrast to Crothian, I find myself highly intrigued by the premise of the game, and the language used to describe the game is something I feel positive toward.
 

Ahnehnois

Villager
I fall on the "sounds interesting" side. I don't miss classes and levels when they're gone and I'm curious to see how their magic works.
You lost me at " new RPG with no levels and no classes to constrain your creativity?" As a general rule for advertising it is best to not start with insulting what your potential customers might already like. I see this so many times at Gen Con when someone is selling a new game and the only way they can do that is by saying how vastly superior it is to D&D, or Pathfinder, or Vampire, or whatever. I talk to a lot of vendors at Gen Con and I'm there to spend money but when they do this I walk away.
If you'd read the whole thing, you'd see the question which he answers that F&S is "not better, but different". I don't like sales pitches that write checks that the game itself can't cash, but I don't see this as such an egregious example.
 

Challenger RPG

Villager
@Crothian : I certainly understand your point of view. I'd just like to point out that I'm in no way affiliated with Flint and Steel and that I was the sole creator of that 'pitch' line. It wasn't my intention to use it as advertising. I was merely following the new column rules and format. The creators of the game itself had nothing to do with such a blatant statement (which was all me) and in fact he's quite a modest fellow who said his game isn't 'better' but merely 'different.'

I'm sorry if my opening line seemed like advertising. I was just following the new article posting guidelines.

@Johnny3D3D : Thanks! I'm sure Bora would appreciate that. :)

@Ahnehnois : I agree with your second statement, Ahnehnois. If anything, Mr. Mitricevic is one of the most modest game designers I've seen in a long time. Most game designers automatically tote their game as 'the best ever' right off the bat.

As for the no levels and classes, I also find that interesting. It's an idea I've been tossing around for a while in my own game designs. However, in practice I always find that the customers/players seem to prefer getting levels and classes. I'd still really like to see a game pull this off, but I now know it's a feat.

About the Magic System: I really loved the line "It was the only game where I felt spell-casters weren't horribly unbalanced." I've had loads of problems with overpowered magic users over the years. I've also seen a game or two which use similar magic systems (as far as I can tell). I like the idea of source magic. In one game I ran, the resident power gamer immediately made himself a coal bag so he would always have fire with him. It was pretty funny.

Thanks for the great comments, everyone!
 

Johnny3D3D

Adventurer
I think one of the tricks to enjoying a game without levels and classes is to explore what "power" means. Does it mean numbers on your character sheet getting larger? In many games it does, but why does it have to be limited to that definition? Power can also mean in-game world advancement. You might gain allies; become general of an army; research a spell that hasn't been cast since before mythical times, and a variety of other things. Likewise, being a hero need not be tied to numbers and encounter powers; being a hero can be something illustrated by your actions and having the world you play in respond to those actions. In short, you have an opportunity for more breadth of play.

I cannot say that F&S is like that. Obviously, I have no played it, but I do enjoy other games which do not have levels and classes. You certain can play the numbers advancement game with them if you really want to, but there's so much more that (I feel) you can do when you're not so heavily tied to vertical advancement.


One question I have about F&S: Does it have passive defense (such as D&D's AC) or active defense (such as GURPS in which you can parry, dodge, or block)?
 

Smoss

Villager
Actually this sounds similar to the system I created for my gaming world. It is d20 based - you spend the experience you gain to get better. No classes, no levels. The one thing I learned about this was how much some people LOVE the structure of classes. So I stole an idea from ANOTHER similar system (Shadowrun) and made example characters as templates people could edit.

Examples are also good so people can see how the system works. Nice to see someone else inspired by the more gritty settings (My system is also quite deadly. Severe wounds like limb removal are built right into the system in a fast and easy way). Most of my inspiration came from RE Howard's pulp fiction (Conan) but Andrzej Sapkowski (Witcher) did have its effects.

So, yeah... F&S designers... GET OUT OF MY HEAD! :p

Smoss
 

Gundark

Villager
You lost me at " new RPG with no levels and no classes to constrain your creativity?" As a general rule for advertising it is best to not start with insulting what your potential customers might already like. I see this so many times at Gen Con when someone is selling a new game and the only way they can do that is by saying how vastly superior it is to D&D, or Pathfinder, or Vampire, or whatever. I talk to a lot of vendors at Gen Con and I'm there to spend money but when they do this I walk away.
Slightly different critique, but I see ads for new fantasy rpgs and they don't really do a good job and telling me why I should be interested. This game could be the best things ever, but the opening blurb made me go "meh"

Also the ads for it I saw on enworld was of some undead creature eating what looked like hair. Didn't make me scream "I wanna play!!"
 

Fetfreak

Villager
One question I have about F&S: Does it have passive defense (such as D&D's AC) or active defense (such as GURPS in which you can parry, dodge, or block)? [MENTION=58416]Johnny3D3D[/MENTION]

We went with passive defense. Your defense is gained from your character's agility, armor coverage (the type of armor give SOAK bonus), dodge (you can upgrade with experience points) and shield bonus.
[MENTION=82115]Smoss[/MENTION]
I know what you mean! I often find my ideas floating around, and I never told anyone about them. I blame aliens.
[MENTION=6148]Gundark[/MENTION]
We didn't have much art to use for ads, so we did what we could. As for our undead, he ate all the flesh and is still hungry!

Bora.
 

Advertisement

Latest threads

Advertisement

Top