I feel like I should make a quick post; I thought I had posted more recently than I had, and I’ve let things go on a little too long without an update. There’s a certain point at which I wait to get some stuff done before I post, but if I let it go too long we wind up with the “Kyle posts every couple months when he gets the whim” thing going on, and that’s not great.
Anyway, I’m still working on The Legacy of Eight, with some news to be spread about it.
The Legacy of Eight is not going to come to the Open Legend ecosystem yet. I was in talks with Bryan about it, and we mutually came to the conclusion that the time was not right. I wanted to have the setting be more heavily reflected by the mechanics of the system; Bryan has agreed to allow such a version of Open Legend to be created, but that the changes that would need to be made would require its exclusion from the core lineup of products.
So with that said, if you were holding out for an Open Legend/The Legacy of Eight experience, you’ll likely be holding out for a while more, especially since I haven’t had time to really keep on top of the most recent developments in Open Legend.
Instead, I can talk about what’s been happening since then in Loreshaper Games news.
The Legacy of Eight is being rebuilt on the Empire System, which is a derivative of the system that would have become the Street Rats beta, had I wound up with the time and resources to finish it. My design philosophy is that you should work with a foundation and go up to the specifics, and the Empire System is designed to allow very streamlined play with granular variables; there is a central 3d10 mechanic (with the introduction of Advantage and Disadvantage), which is used for everything. Any “randomization” of damage and other events occurs via margin of success, cutting down on the rate at which players need to roll dice.
A major lesson I learned from Street Rats was that going too heavily into things that don’t really build your game’s storytelling is bad, at least if you want a game that amounts to more than a dressed-up milsim (which is not something I’m necessarily opposed to, though Street Rats did not do this well). With that experience in mind, my plan as I go into The Legacy of Eight is to focus more heavily on storytelling, much as I am doing with the Othenar project (which is taking second seat to The Legacy of Eight‘ I think about it often, but thinking about things is not the same as writing about things and my plan for Othenar is to put it on the backburner until The Legacy of Eight is ready).
As a result, I’ve already started to plan out The Legacy of Eight. I’m going for a balance-lite lifepath character creation system. This has some obvious drawbacks, but I think it pays off in the fact that it allows players to really mix and match archetypes. As the game has free allocation of attribute points and skills advanced regardless of background, there is some chance for unwanted overlap, but unlike Street Rats, The Legacy of Eight promises to have more fields of opportunity: magic, combat, social skills, super-tech, and stealth all come into play, where Street Rats had clunky hacking and combat as its two main elements.
The second thing I’m doing with The Legacy of Eight that would really have helped Street Rats is dropping tables almost entirely. Gear lists, spell lists, and the like might need them, but I want to move away from hyper-granular focus. It made Street Rats hit an arbitrary length requirement, but that arbitrary length requirement was not really matched by the depth or quality of the content so much as my 22-year-old innate desire to create a “big” game that could boast as much content as the AAA market without really considering the sacrifices I was making along the way in terms of actual fun.
The majority of the content of The Legacy of Eight should tell a story about the world. I tried that in Street Rats, but in doing so I didn’t really focus on the things that mattered. There was a lot of content in Street Rats that even I never really used, and there was also very little that told the story of the world and gave images to the reader and player. I had enough time to put over eighty weapons into the game, but there was a definite misdirection of priorities when those eighty weapons came before a full setting and really hitting release readiness.
So, what is the plan for The Legacy of Eight? The first step is to create the basics; a combat system, rudimentary magic (and setting the foundation for spellmaking, a task too complex for early playtesting), the outline of character creation with about 70% of the options available, and a robust system to handle the core skill-based gameplay.
Once that is done, it’s time to go further and codify the setting. There are a few disparate sources; the still-unfinished novella (I want to go back and change the tone, as well as link it further into the setting in ways that weren’t possible when I first was working on it), the planning document for the same, the original Open Legend designed The Legacy of Eight book, the Oskan’s Ark Open Legend quick-start/TLoE introduction, and a handful of short stories are all canon material that needs to get woven together.
In all, the plan is to have about ten thousand words of setting content when I begin hardcore playtesting (ETA unknown; could be around May or so?), with the goal of getting feedback and making quick changes. I hope to keep the core game light enough to be changed if needed, though I feel that with the Empire System in its current state we won’t see any issues: it’s not prone to some of the bloat issues that killed the original Street Rats system.
The end goal of this is to put a Kickstarter up around June or July. If everything goes wonderfully swell, we could maybe see that date move forward, but my goals tend to push backward, not forward.