A Game Per Year: Hero’s Banner (bonus 2006)

I started to feel that I didn’t know roleplaying games well enough so I came up with the plan to read a roleplaying game corebook for every year they have been published. Selection criteria is whatever I find interesting.

The cover of Hero’s Banner: The Fury of Free Will

Tim C. Koppang’s Hero’s Banner: The Fury of Free Will is part of the Forge movement of game design, a fantasy roleplaying game where the action builds towards dramatic choices that will define the legacy of each character.

At the core of the game there’s a simple mechanic involving three influences, Hero, Conscience and Blood. The game proceeds as a series of fairly freestyle scenes that peak in climaxes that test a character’s priorities.

For example, if a character’s Hero is a selfless saint, the character can test that influence to see if they’re successful in a selfless act.

As the game progresses, the Influence values change until one has reached the maximum and the others have receded to zero. At that point, the character makes the final dramatic choice and is then retired.

The characters are nobility with responsibility weighing down on them so the choices they make are appropriately consequential.

As a published game book, Hero’s Banner is dedicated to going through the ramifications and nuances of its basic mechanic. There’s a quick sketch of a fantasy setting but basically the game engine is the thing.

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