28 July 2009

Lejendary Adventures

So the Gygax day one-shot was my first chance to actually play Lejendary Adventures. I’ve had Essentials (sort of a LA Basic Set) for a while, but a couple of weeks ago I scored a bundle of the full rules on eBay.

I needed more pre-gen characters than the four that came with the Quick Start adventure, so I typed up the three from the examples of character creation from the Lejendary Rules for All Players. I really feel that character creation has a lot of fiddly bits that don’t really add much to the game.

I really like the “skill bundle” Abilities as a middle ground between classes and skills.

I found the full rules just as poorly edited and imprecise as Essentials was. You have to be willing to just make your best guess at what things mean and roll with it. Essentials did actually clarify a couple of things versus the full rules, though.

Of course, I’ve only had the full rules for about a week now, so this is an early impression. There’s a lot of pages there. Gary may have considered it “rules light”, but I’d say more “rules medium”.

The abundance of non-standard jargon was annoying in play. “Ilf” and “wylf” also seemed kind of pointless, especially as wylfs are also called “elves”. It also seemed weird that elves were renamed but dwarves weren’t.

Combat seemed to go smooth enough. As usual with a “damage resistance” armor mechanic, I had a tendency to forget it.

It annoyed me to see the mage have a roughly 1 in 3 chance of failing to cast a spell. Having it resisted or something is one thing, but it just doesn’t feel right for professional magic wielders to have that high of a chance of failing to even cast a spell.

I really like that there are six different magic systems. The downside, though, is that I ended up having to try to quickly grasp four of them. The descriptions of how each works I found very opaque too.

I don’t know. So far, there’s some stuff I really like about it, but I really feel like there’s a lot of fiddly bits and complications that I’ll end up ignoring in the long run.


Matthew James Stanham said...

I am none too familiar with Lejendary Adventures, so your insights into the system are very interesting to me. I have the Quick Start Rules, but that is about it, though I have considered buying a full blown version a few times.

Robert Fisher said...

It’s always been interesting to me that Gary managed—starting from zero—to build TSR and D&D; yet LA never really achieved much success.

As much as I hate to say it, as I look at the full version, I get this feeling that there are good reasons this game hasn’t taken off. All the non-standard (and in some cases just awkward) jargon. The opaque text. The lack of good editing. The odd complications. There’s a lot to like about the system, but this stuff gets between me and it.

I think all those things are fixable, but I wonder whether Gygax Games recognizes them.

If we ever get to finish up the adventure, I’ll be sure to post more about it. I’d like to get the opinions of the others in the group too.