How did Pelicar come into existance?
Why Pelicar?by Dj Hackney
So you ask yourself, "With all the other established fantasy RPGs out there, why play Pelicar?" My response is "I'm glad you asked..." Now fear overtakes you as you brace yourself for the sales-pitch...
Relax...this is not a sales-pitch. It's an informative article, explaining how Pelicar was created and what it has to offer for you, the gamer.
Roughly ten years ago, a group of college students met in the resident halls (dorms). Seeking entertainment, but having little money, this group decided to play one of the more popular Fantasy RPGs of the day. Rather than enjoying an ongoing campaign with character development and perplexing challenges, instead what we soon found was the game, more often than not, broke down to arguments over how things worked. The rules were so loose that fair interpretation was impossible.
"My character is a thief; shouldn't I gain bonuses on my AGILITY check? Why should I have the same chance as everyone else? After all, this is the kinda stuff I do!"
"No, no, no...This magic item blocks out ALL energy. Your spell is energy; therefore, it can't hurt me!"
"If he is that big, I should be able to automatically just touch him. So what if I can't get through his armor; it's just a touch-based spell!"
Sound familiar? Yeah, it wasn't fun for us either. We needed a system that allowed us creative freedom but with enough comprehension that we wouldn't always be arguing.
So we switched to another system. This was a purely skills-based system rather than level-based. After a short bit of play, we found that although the characters could do more things, he wasn't really any better of a character. He was just some guy learning new things, not really any tougher. And some monsters in the system, simply could never be beaten because the character never really got tougher!
So, we switch again. And again. Until we finally realized that there were some basic premises that had not been established. We decided that in order for the game, any game, to work, the philosophy and reasons for the rules must be established first. Thus, we set out to create the fantasy world known as Pelicar.
We started from scratch. Defining the universe and physics. We gave reason to gods and man, and why they are dependent upon one another. We outlined magic; how it works; why it works; how it combines. We created an ontological interdependence among the various planes of existence. There became rhyme and reason to rules; not just a set of commands to control the players. Rulings became consistent. What the bad guys did last week, we could do ourselves this week. (And vice versa). It worked; it really worked.
So, after nearly a decade of development, we had our own little happy world called Pelicar. We were quite content with our homemade project and it met our own needs. We quipped about sharing the ideas with others, but we were never really too serious about it. However, as more people would "cameo" in our campaign, the more we were asked to share our pastime with other gamers. At first we resisted, thinking that we had our own little cliquish way of thinking; however, numerous people encouraged us to market Pelicar.
So around June of '95, we had a meeting rather than a game session. After some discussion, we decided to make a go of it. We contacted Ivory & Steel, who informed us to write it up into a usable format and they would look at it. After the first very rough copy was sent to them, I&S agreed to publish our work. Although the clean up, art and other various things were still left to be done.
Once completed as a final product, Pharaoh Games, LLC, and Ivory & Steel, jointly released Pelicar on July 31, 1996. This last year has been hellish, beautiful, scary and exciting. I can't wait to see what next year holds.