Well.  Another Christmas down, and I hope Santa came to visit you with lots of nice presents, as he sprinted in his own private, global race to visit everyone in 24 hours.

Speaking of red running things, or rather, things running red, I've been able to catch up with a favourite game of my past - albeit in digital - Blood Bowl.

The game itself is a fairly faithful reproduction of the board game, although some teams didn't make the cut - like my beloved Undead, and the Dark Elves (which have since been included in a free patch).

There are two basic modes of play: a real-time version which I've yet to try my hand at; and the classic turn-based version, reminiscent of the tabletop game.

For the uninitiated, Blood Bowl is one part American Football, one part RPG, and one part gladiatorial arena.  The more you score, pass, or injure, the more experienced your players can become, picking up skills along the way.

You can create your own team from the races available, each with strengths and weaknesses.  Generally the players start off fairly basic and standard.  And you then (ideally) play against other people.

As a social event, the tabletop version at least, was great fun.  My friends naturally rotated towards separate races.  One friend like speed over substance, and so played the Skaven (rat-men), another liked strength and determination, and so played the Dwarves.

My brother-in-law liked the agile, sneaky, and treacherous Dark Elves.  The best man at my wedding liked throwing his opponents about with wild abandon, and chose Chaos.  Mind you, when his team wasn't winning, he threw his dice instead and they were often sacrificed to the Blood Bowl gods, who apparently lived a down the street.

I simply enjoyed perseverance - outlasting my opponents.  Couple that with some reasonably strong offence, and you have the indomitable Undead.

During one competition, I innocently gave one of my skeletons (one of the weakest players in the league) an ability called Dirty Player, which is available to most players.  This ability simply aids you a little when you strike other players who are already on the ground (i.e. fouling).  No big deal.

One stomp on a prone player lead to another, and his activities met with some success.

Word of his deeds quickly spread to the other people in our little competition.  I was asked more and more to point out which character he was in matches.  People targeted this poor little skeleton, which quickly became infamous.

Players put bounties on his head.  Stories of his exploits circulated, some real, some fictional.  Artwork even began to crop up of this one skeleton from some of the other players - and I had nothing to do with it!

So what made this character, this one lowly skeleton, so special?  Nothing really - he was a generic character who was given a generic skill, and as such he wasn't exceptional in any way.

What made him seem special was that someone started to believe in him, just a little.  When that happened, the word-of-mouth began, and people started taking notice of this unremarkable little character.  And the legend was born, at least among my small circle of friends.

I hadn't really thought about that lowly skeleton for a long time, and I didn't notice what was happening with him at the time - it was just a laugh for me, thinking that other people took the skeleton so seriously.

Now that I think more seriously about stories and their creation, this little character has highlighted for me just how important word-of-mouth is in building a legend (regardless of the size of the audience).  It just takes someone to believe.