The Legacy of Eight: Action Economy, Resource Management, and Magic

Today I’d like to give the world the first glimpse of the behind-the scenes detail of non-core mechanics in The Legacy of Eight. Some of these things are related to the Empire System that powers the game, some of these are specific to The Legacy of Eight itself. Nothing here is final, but I don’t see huge alterations being made from these basic principles between now and when serious playtesting begins.

The Legacy of Eight handles action economy and resource management somewhat differently than most games. Characters track health on a long-term basis, but there is a short-term resource called Flux (temporarily; I will probably rename this) that serves as a way to improve actions and evoke special effects.

The standard Flux pool is 5 points, and with long-term development a character can reach a maximum of 8 points of Flux. Flux is used for certain actions, and outside of combat special abilities are automatically fueled with the maximum amount of Flux (e.g. a healing spell always casts at the most strength its caster can cast at).

Flux is used in three ways: boosting combat actions, speeding up non-combat actions, and powering special abilities. Flux gives a flat +1 bonus to any combat action (e.g. defending, attacking, trying to extend movement). This allows every character in the game to use it to help them slightly. Since damage is based on margins of success, Flux not only makes attacks hit more often, it makes an accurate attacker do more damage (it also helps a defender with no practical chance of getting out of the way take less damage). There is a cap on how much Flux can be spent at a time, which can be increased with special abilities.

Non-combat abilities typically take a number of turns to use in combat, if they can be used at all. One point of Flux can reduce the number of actions required by one (to a minimum of one); a turn long hacking action completes in a single action, a three turn long hacking action could be completed in one action with the expenditure of 5 Flux. This would require special abilities, however, as there is a cap to this as well. This ability can also be used with spells to shorten their spellcasting time.

Finally, special abilities can be powered with Flux. This is most commonly seen with spellcasting, though psi abilities, augmentations, and special trait-granted actions can all have special effects when boosted with Flux or require Flux to activate.

Flux can be regained by taking an action to do so, and refreshes automatically at the end of combat (or when no foes are around but combat has ended).

The action economy gives each character a chance to take two actions each turn. Characters may use their actions at any time, as soon as their Priority comes up.

In place of traditional initiative, The Legacy of Eight uses a Priority system. When a turn begins, the character (or characters) with the highest Priority have the first ability to declare an action, or save actions for later. They may take both actions at the same time, or save an action to react to events or simply delay it for a more advantageous situation.

Priority comes into play again with the lowest Priority character. When their turn begins, all characters are forced to declare any unused actions or else they are lost.

Magic in The Legacy of Eight is designed to feel liberating without allowing magicians to become extremely overpowered. The system for learning spells is keywords (as with Flux, the name for this mechanic is subject to change). Compared to psi implants, magic is a slow process, but as magicians learn more keywords they are able to access all spells associated with that keyword.

Keywords may be related to a spell’s action (e.g. Energy), represent its heritage (e.g. Eris School), or its form (e.g. Direct). Spells with more keywords are cheaper to activate or have greater effects, while spells with fewer keywords become available to magicians much earlier in their training.

Spells are then broken into schools: Alteration, Conjuration, and Evocation are three of the schools. Each school of magic is handled as an individual school, though magicians may also learn magic as a general skill if they want to be more flexible in their casting options. Each school has a particular casting attribute; to use the examples from above, Evocation is associated with Resilience, Conjuration is associated Intellect, and Alteration is associated with Awareness (these associations are subject to change).

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