The relationship between your family and your character is Legacy’s big unique thing, but it’s distinct enough from the standard mode of RPGs that it could do with more support than 1e provided.
One of my priorities with the 2nd edition is to provide you with more tools to describe that relationship – how your family impacts your character, and how your character affects the broader family. To this end, each character in Legacy 2e has a family role: Leader, Agent, Rebel or Outsider.
Welcome to the Family
The first thing this does – and maybe the most useful – is that it locates your character in the family’s organisation.
Leaders are those that guide the family. They might be…
- An Elder bringing every opponent on board with their plans.
- A Hunter leads the family’s troops to take down a target.
- A Scavenger making sure every need for food or water is met.
Agents are those sent out from the family on a mission. They could be…
- A Survivor acting as someone’s bodyguard.
- A Firebrand infiltrating a group to bring them down.
- An Envoy sent to negotiate a truce with a faction.
Rebels work against the Family’s orthodoxy. They could be…
- A Sentinel fighting a threat that doesn’t endanger their own family.
- A Firebrand trying to make amends for the unintended suffering their actions have caused.
- An Elder seeking answers when they learn something that overturns their dogma.
Outsiders are only nominally a member of the family. Something’s set them apart – exile, strange beliefs, mutation, or something else. They could be…
- A Remnant who’s rejected baseline humanity to pursue their own evolution.
- A Hunter banished after they killed the wrong person, fighting to clear their name.
- A Survivor who’s decided it’s time to move on.
The second effect of your role is that your character applies a particular modifier to family moves. To get this effect, the character has to be one of the family members who participated in the action. This gives you a concrete idea of the impact your character has on the family’s
This (hopefully) gives you a concrete idea of the impact your character has on the family’s efforts and if players have incentives to place their characters in the midst of the family-scale story you can easily zoom into their actions when you want to move to the character scale.
- Leaders put the family before themselves. If a move tells you to gain a need or to erase a surplus, the Leader can instead take 3-harm (ignores armour).
- Agents are experts at navigating the wasteland. Your family’s agents can either make a journey twice as fast or travel unseen through a faction’s territory.
- Rebels have many allies outside the family. They can call on a contact to improve the outcome of a move by one step, but the contact’s faction gets 1-Treaty on you.
- Outsiders have strange tools or skills. If they help with the move get +1 to the roll as if you’d spent Tech, but their strange practices will colour the move’s results.
You can accept the help of characters from other families if they offer it, but their family automatically gains 1 point of Treaty on yours.
Your role isn’t set in stone, either. When you hit particular triggers in the fiction, you move into a new position. In general:
- When you begin directing, guiding, or bearing responsibility for a group of Family members, you become a Leader.
- When you accept a particular task that’ll take you out of the Family’s holdings, you become an Agent.
- When you realise you and the Family have different priorities or values and start pursuing yours, you become a Rebel.
- When you reject the Family or do something that pushes them away from you, you become an Outsider.
I’m also testing out playbook-specific triggers. For example, here’s the Firebrand’s:
- When you lead your Family against a greater oppressor, mark Leader.
- When you infiltrate a group to bring it down, mark Agent.
- When your actions cause unintended harm, mark Rebel.
- When your family betrays your creed, mark Outsider.
I’d be interested to know if people think these are too limiting.
These roles have taken the place of Advancement in 1e; when you switch to a particular role, you mark its box, get +1 to its associated stat, and reveal something about the fiction. For example, when the Firebrand marks Agent (by infiltrating a group to bring it down) they get +1 Steel and say one person who trusts them already, while the GM says one person who suspects.
Another thing I’m testing is unlocking new moves: each new role a character takes on marks a box. Once all are marked, you get a new move and clear out marks. You can switch back and forth between two moves, but that won’t mark more boxes. I think this should give players an incentive to give their characters narrative arcs, but it may mean players pinball between roles very unsatisfyingly. Let’s see what playtesting says.
Thanks for reading – in thanks, here’s an example of our new character playbooks!