Welcome to Mysthea: RPG Players!

Welcome! Today we’ll be talking about what RPG fans who haven’t played Legacy before can expect from Mysthea: the RPG.

If you enjoy traditional RPGs…

If you are a veteran of more tactical games, you will be pleased to know that you won’t start the game with an inept Character. That your initial quests will matter and be relevant to your world. That your daring plans are not only encouraged, but required. That you can roleplay deep Characters over the course of a meaningful story arc. That they are free to be and do whatever you want, and that they will still be deeply unique.

But let us give a fair warning: you might want to take a moment to regain your footing. This is not your wargame-inspired grid-based extravaganza. This game draws from the latest trends in narrative games, streamlined and given support to speed up play and simplify the transition. Make no mistake, though, there is still plenty of depth and variety to keep action tense and fluid – just subordinated to the fiction instead of pieces on a board.

If you are an experienced storyteller you will be surely surprised by how we blur the lines with board games, taking from them visual cues and clear, concise rules. Don’t worry, for the fiction is king here, and Mysthea tells deep tales of self-discovery and sacrifice.

You may be surprised by a few vital differences:

You control your Character… and a Guild!

Sure, you can play with the traditional approach and focus on the adventures of one hero per player, but then you would lose half the fun of the game. We focus on the organisation you control and how it changes the world over a long time span – you’re making History here!

You are all shaping the scenario and story together.

There is a GM, but they are not solely responsible for describing every place, person and event. There is also a setting with solid foundations and rich lore, but you will often have the chance to dictate events and flesh out details – not just to advance your Character or Guild’s agenda, but sharing narrative duties and responsibilities with the GM.  After all, you all want the same thing: a memorable campaign!

The rules stem from the fiction.

This is not a system to mirror reality or calculate probabilities. It doesn’t curb creativity with a numerical straight jacket. It aims to push the fiction forward by adding consequences and ramifications. It listens to every word you say, and gives them weight in the story… with or without dice rolls.

If you’re a Powered by the Apocalypse veteran…

Like Legacy before it, Mysthea runs on the Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) engine. Here’s a breakdown of what we’re doing differently from other PbtA games:

Each player has two playbooks: Guild and Character.

Most of the time you’ll be zoomed out (using Guild moves) or zoomed in (using Character moves). In a break from Legacy, your Character will belong to another player’s Guild – until they ascend to the Champion role and become a free agent!

Broader scale.

The actions Guilds take can change regions of the world, move armies, and bring entire factions to their knees. Even at the character level, moves focus more on the outcome of your actions than the moment-to-moment back-and-forth.

Disposable characters

When the story is focused on a particular Family, other players can build Quick Characters from that family to act as support for that player’s main character. But they never lack relevance or tools to leave their mark on the world, and in your story!

Advantage, not +1.

Where other PbtA games give situational modifiers in the form of ±1 to the roll modifier, Legacy uses Advantage/Disadvantage – roll 3 dice and take the highest 2/lowest 2. This makes bonus tracking less fiddly, and keeps dice modifiers within the -1 to +3 sweet spot where the system shines.

Episodic Play.

The game is divided into specific periods of history called Seasons. Once you’ve dealt with the current Season’s drama you skip forward a significant chunk of time, with moves giving you a glimpse of what happened in the intervening time. We’ll also provide Season themes, with further challenges and changes, in order to tell the story of the reconstruction of your Borderlands, the war with the Empire, and the rise and fall of Champions and Guilds.

More player resources

Faction sheets, Mission cards, Treaty boards, Battle Mat… the game will provide many visual aids to help players and the GM manage game systems and fictional abstractions. Nothing will be mandatory! But we want to deliver a luxurious game table experience if you feel inclined.

Welcome to Mysthea: Legacy Veterans

Douglas Santana Mota is hard at work making Mysthea: The Roleplaying Game a reality. In this section, he breaks down what’s new for gamers who are already familiar with Legacy.

Welcome back, my dearest friends! You will recognise a lot of Legacy here and feel right at home in Mysthea’s war-torn borderlands. Novelties are there mostly to help those new to the tabletop RPG experience, or to Powered by the Apocalypse, transition smoothly to our style of roleplaying.

What’s new?

We are constantly building upon and testing Legacy’s robust frame, and here we’re incorporating lessons learned from Free From the Yoke, Godsend and Rhapsody of Blood. A few core moves have changed slightly to better suit a fantasy game of intrigue, war, and arcane horror.

Instead of Homeland creation, you build your City together. As the war between the Kingdom and the Empire rumbles on, you have been sent to claim a city a scant few days from the war’s front. But is it intact and simmering with discontent, or an empty ruin? That’s up to you.

Guild Phases and Guild Moves make the transition between Zoom In and Zoom Out more structured and easier for the group to control and track. This will help manage the weight of rules complexity that Legacy players have sometimes reported.


Treaty has been replaced with Influence, Dominion, Conflict, and Alliance. These four mechanics are there to reduce bookkeeping and make Guild creation more intuitive, while enmeshing you in a web of loyalties. Your Guilds are minor branches of the powerful entities that rule the Kingdom’s heart. From these headquarters they receive objectives and orders, but also support. As your city grows and you find fortune on the frontier, can your power and reputation grow to rival theirs? What if you confront their authority?

Characters and Champions. Your character is built to make a big impact on the world. They are conflicted, deep and versatile. To evolve, they must follow a story arc intimately connected to their Guild – which is controlled by another player. And as Seasons have a much shorter duration than Legacy’s Ages, a Character might come back again and again… until they fulfil four Roles and become Champions, bound to no one.

2018 in Review

The great wheel turns, champagne corks are popped, fireworks explode, and we lay 2018 to rest.

Welcome to 2019!

I’m very happy with what we got up to in 2018. Here are the highlights:

Legacy Arrives

2018 was the year we fulfilled the Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2nd Edition Kickstarter. After the crowdfunding campaign was a runaway success beyond our wildest predictions, we found ourselves with a lot to do – 6 books to complete, a bunch of accessories to make including card decks, acrylic tokens and posters, and a huge backer base to keep happy!

We ran into a few issues on the way: American shipping was a lot more of a headache than expected, we over-promised on free add-ons like posters and postcards, and a few of our authors had to duck out or drop back thanks to health or other commitments. I’m happy to say that the game and all stretch goals are now done, and we’ve already sold out of the first printing of 2000 books. The second printing, with a few fixed typos, should be arriving at the warehouse in a week.

We also released six other books for Legacy: the Wasteland Almanac, and the five Worlds of Legacy. I’m really excited with the opportunity these five books gave us to broaden the voice of the line, and give new authors their chance to get their work published.

New Ventures

2018 was also the year I started working for UFO Press full-time. As such, we stepped up the rate of our releases. The UFO Press Patreon produced 9 one-page RPGs, ranging from forgotten gods and the one child who can still hear them to OAPs revealing the occult secrets of their past.

One of the games written for this Patreon went far beyond one page, and was kickstarted as Harder They Fall – a 20-page game of world-shaking battles, played using dominoes. This campaign was in part a test of the limits of kickstarter – could I successfully kickstart a small game, in a limited time frame, with a low financial goal? The answer to that was a definite yes, but I still managed to stumble in fulfilment. Isn’t that always the way?

In particular, the decision to provide dominoes and playing cards as addons was rather foolish, and presented major logistical headaches. Indeed, the game is yet to go out to backers, which I view as a major failure for a campaign that was sold as quick and simple. If you were a backer, my apologies – and I hope it’s some comfort that I’ve learned many lessons from this in the future.

Near the end of the year, we also kickstarted Legacy: The Next World. This campaign funded three hardback books, including two expansions for Legacy – End Game and The Engine of Life – and Free From the Yoke, a standalone hack of Legacy to convert it to Game of Thrones-style political fantasy. This campaign was also remarkably successful, and the games are very close to completion – I expect Kickstarter fulfilment to be finished by May, and the games should go on sale at that time.

The Failed Guardians

It’s been particularly pleasing to see how these books have grown as backers at the higher tiers have contributed their own ideas. Thanks to the ingenuity of our backers, the playbook selection has been rounded out with:

  • The Foundling, raised among monsters.
  • The Martyr, who draws power from injury.
  • The Aerie, which attracts a legendary beast to live among you.
  • The Failed Guardians, security forces who failed to prevent the apocalypse, now waging a shadow war against the force that brought the Fall).
  • And many more!

A League of our Own

Just over a year ago I founded the UK Indie RPG League alongside Rowan Rook and Decard, Certain Death and Black Armada. Our goal was to help UK indie game publishers get a collective presence at conventions and to help us network and form useful connections. This was remarkably successful: at the UK Games Expo and Dragonmeet we had record sales, and had a booth presence comparable with industry giants like Chaosium and Cubicle 7!

Going into the next year we’re considering going international and bringing a UKIRPGL presence to non-UK cons like Essen and GenCon – keep your eyes open for news!

New Projects

Finally, looking out at 2019, what’s exciting for UFO Press?

We’re launching a kickstarter for the Mysthea RPG in March. This game draws on the wonderful world created by Tabula Games – a world of singing crystals, telekinetic magic, and strange, mutated monsters. Douglas Santana Mota is taking the lead on this project, and is rewriting the core Legacy system to fit the demands of this setting and premise. Look out over the next few weeks for more about why Mysthea should excite you!

Embrace darkness with Voidheart Symphony. For me, Rhapsody of Blood was an incredibly enjoyable game to design, and I’ve been looking for opportunities to return to that system. While that game was mainly inspired by Castlevania, eagle-eyed readers can probably guess I drew a lot of inspiration for the game’s look from Atlus’ Persona 5. That game – a story of modern-day students moonlighting as psychonaut thieves and butting heads against the forces corrupting their city – was one of my favourite games of the past decade, and was a natural fit for a modernn-day sequel to Rhapsody. I’ve already put together a draft of its core mechanics and a few playbooks; check out its page to take a look, and join our mailing list to be the first to hear more news!

That’ll do for me. What were you happy about in 2018? What are you looking forward to in the year to come?

Eras of Play

From Douglas Santana Mota

Let’s talk about running Legacy campaigns.

In two years on intense playtesting, Vitoria’s Cutthroats have played at least 8 campaigns with more than 5 sessions (of average 4 hours), with a total roster of 10 players and two GMs. Of course, the core group is much smaller, 4 players who played only 3 campaigns that exceeded 10 sessions. Our current one has been the longest so far with 16 sessions, 5 Wonder and 7 Ages altogether.

Obviously, some patterns became clear in the development and flow of these campaigns. And I would like to share them with you and contrast them with your own experiences. I hope this discussion helps novice players to find their rhythm and GMs to at least know a bit what to expect. So, just going an extra mile to keep it clear: this is NOT an instruction or a how-to-play article, just a collection of OUR observations on OUR campaigns.

The first Era is obvious and very cemented in our perception: The Era of Troubles, where everyone must deal with Threats generated by History and Backstory. It may take more than one Age and see a couple of Character generations go by until things fall into place. And not every Threat will be neutralized – some will simply be integrated into the Homeland, becoming Factions, environmental conditions and the like. Cooperation tends to be intense in this period as Families simply must struggle to survive, but small betrayals or hard deals might pop up and set the mood for the coming ages. Families must work hard either to win more Surpluses or erase their Needs.

The next step tends to be The Era of Wonders, where Families apply their Surpluses either to solve the remaining Threats once and for all, improve the Homeland as a whole, or simply impose their view on the Fiction. If a GM focuses heavily on Character development, this Era might happen further down the road. It may also be delayed if players are Resource starved – be it because they lacked the drive to search for them or because the GM might have not rewarded them enough with Finding a Surplus. GMs beware! You also don’t want to drown them in Surpluses or else you will suffer a Wonder rush, which will accelerate Fiction too much. In any case, by now players most likely will take the reins of the Fiction and the GM will have plenty of story seeds from the Turn of Ages and Wonders to deal with, which takes us to…

The Era of Heroes. It is ushered by a combination of Families exhausting their Surpluses on their Wonder building efforts and plot hooks generated by the Turns of Ages and Wonders demanding extra attention. In any case, fiction slows down and focuses on Character development as they deal with powerful Factions and new Threats over a much changed and colourful Homeland. Also, with the tools provided by the Wonders and evolved Families, they can now affect change on a deeper level, to the point that the impact of Role fulfilment elevates them to historical (almost mythical, in fact) relevance. Families perform their duties toward the Homeland, deal with their allies and vie for influence at all levels. Wonders are still built, sure, but the Fiction’s focus clearly changes to the Characters’ level.

But what happens when the Homeland matures to the point where the regular person in the Homeland’s streets is not any longer under the direct and obvious strain of the Fall? Surely, your chronicles might never reach this point as your players devastate the Homeland and everything everyone tries to rebuild. But odds are in favour of civic Wonders, such as The Capital or Energy Revolution (and the upcoming Engine of Life’s Transportation Hub and Green Defiance) changing the scenario forever… and for the better! At some point, your group might end up turning the Homeland into a nation, with its own particular shared culture, economy and heroes.

Then what? Is it even within Legacy’s scope?

Definitely! This is The Age of Nations. The Homeland is not enough anymore and it’s time to open up the map and find what now lies beyond the Wastelands. The Age of Discovery is tailor-made to jumpstart this Era, but it just scratches the surface. There is much more out there than just savages and Hostile Grounds! What other civilizations managed to crawl their way up from the Fall? How did they organize themselves? How will you all deal with the shock of finding out these answers? They may seem monolithic in their alien ways, but be sure they are probably a patchwork of different factions glued together by necessity, pretty much like your own Families. From the tension of first contact diplomacy to the despair of all-out wars, every Character can and should play a vital role, counting with their Families’ full support.

(Coming to think of it The Walking Dead TV series has been following along very similar lines, don’t you think?)

The GM now should shape the Fiction to remind the group of the harsh realities and elements of a post-apocalyptic scenario and its threats. But everything should be bigger and the stakes should be much higher: more people, more weapons, more resources, more pollution… graver consequences. And it is still very much Legacy: Life Among the Ruins!

From here on we honestly don’t know, but we suppose the setting should march towards an Endgame. At some point, the Families might have balanced their world towards civilization. Or it is time to face off the utmost reasons behind the Fall on a final showdown where everything hangs on the scales – as our newest supplement, End Game, evokes and implies. A third option is The Race to the Stars, a Wonder from the upcoming book End Game. It’s a great tool to extend the chronicle’s length, by repeating the cycle from Age of Wonders on to a grander scale.

I tend to end chronicles with a strong focus on closing Characters’ arcs, mirroring the developments of the Homeland and their Families – but that is just my personal style. A new and harsher Fall, the surpassing of the glories of Before,  the challenges to achieve and maintain the Next World – it all should be felt by a closer look and focus on the Characters. Let them witness and feel they embody the best and worst of their people and times. But go ahead and give them closure. Take responsibility like never before as the Narrator, find out the meaning and an underlying theme from all your stories and conclude it all focusing on these fundamental dilemmas or challenges.

But now, it’s hard not to remember my favourite quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune:

“Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife – chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: ‘Now, it’s complete because it’s ended here’”.

Have fun and tells us about your group’s experiences!

Preorder Legacy: The Next World today!

How would you react if your world changed overnight? Would you look for causes of optimism, and hope for a better future? Would you try to find safety, certain that the worst is yet to come? Or would you celebrate the death of the old order, and try to forge a new path for yourself in the next world?

Following a successful Kickstarter, we’re in the process of making three new books for Legacy:

  • The Engine of Life. A book about hope, art, culture and the prospect of bringing new growth to the wasteland.
  • End Game. A book of dire monsters, horrific powers, and stories of desperate survivors fighting back against a final end.
  • Free From the Yoke. An adaptation of Legacy to political fantasy in the vein of Game of Thrones, REIGN or Birthright, with a Slavic-inspired twist. Check out kickstarter updates for details on magic, politics, rules to keep things medieval and playbook options.

We’ve now opened up preorders on BackerKit – if you’d like to get your own copy of any of these books in PDF or hardback, get all three in a full-art slipcase, or pick up some of the goodies from the Legacy 2e kickstarter, go check it out!

Topple titans and fight for the fate of the world in HARDER THEY FALL

A game of epic battles and world-shaking blows played with dominoes:

Now live on Kickstarter!

When I got an email from Kickstarter about their Quickstarter initiative, it sparked my imagination – I’d really like there to be a room in the ecosystem for short-form, simple campaigns, in addition to the labours of love years in the making.

Over the past few weeks I’ve put Harder They Fall together in a flurry of design, playtested it, constructed an initial layout and I’m pretty proud of it. It fuses together my love of epic battles between titanic foes – kaiju and titans and mecha and gods – and my love of no-prep storytelling games, borrowing heavily from the works of Epidiah Ravachol and Vincent Baker, as well as from Subset Game’s Into the Breach.

If you’d like a light game about titanic combat, want to see how I’ve incorporated the physicality of dominoes as well as their numeric value into a resolution system, or just want to watch an actual play video of combat between a kaiju, a god and a ragtag band of heroes, check out the Kickstarter page!

The Butler at the Threshold: public beta!

I’ve been working on this for a while, but I think The Butler at the Threshold is ready for feedback!

It’s a card-based storytelling game about the inhabitants of a strange, provincial 1930s town trying to find success and happiness while cosmic horror uncoils around them. It’s meant to be played over the course of a few hours (from character creation to final doom), with 2-5 players.

It’s based on our previous Hijink system games (What Ho World and Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen) but pretty comprehensively refined and simplified, with a bit of Archipelego III thrown in. We’re hoping to kickstart it sometime this year (pretty soon if we get a lot of feedback), to try and raise money to have it printed in a small board game format with multiple card decks.

Here’s the files:

Character Cards
Location Cards
Asset Cards
The Core Rules
Goal Cards
Doom Cards

If you played the game and have feedback, questions or reactions, please get in touch!

Rhapsody of Blood in depth

Day 5 of our journey through the Worlds of Legacy takes us to our final destination – the monster-filled castle of Rhapsody of Blood, written by me and illustrated by Adrian Stone.
Rhapsody of Blood came from a simple idea: that the generational action/adventure stories of Castlevania and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure could be a great fit for the multi-generation stories we were telling with the Worlds of Legacy. From there, I had my goal for the game: cinematic action in a supernatural gothic horror setting, mixing in the awesome boss fights and battle against corruption you see in FROM Software games like Bloodborne and Dark Souls.

So, here’s the pitch: once a generation, the blood moon rises and an evil castle from outside the universe breaches our reality. It uplifts the most prideful or monstrous villain in the area as its Regent, and reshapes itself to their whims as it begins blighting the world.
You are members of mystical bloodlines, able to sense the castle’s taint and fight it back. Maybe you’re Legendary Heroes, drawing on a legacy of honour and sacrifice; Magi, transmuting the castle’s corruption into safer power; or the Hidden Hand, profiting from fighting evil.

Each generation, your bloodline will have particular cause to raid the castle. Maybe their relics have been pillaged, or a group of mortals they protect is under attack, or a beloved outsider has been kidnapped, or they see a chance to right an ancient wrong. Each player uses these options to define this era’s castle, and their entry points. Maybe your breach method is sneaking into the castle’s servants quarters, or teleporting into a pocket realm within it, or kicking down its front door.

You send your explorers into the castle depths, each with their own specialities. Maybe the ever-prepared Packrat, or the ferocious Slayer, or the Bonded – aided by a strange spirit that stands and fights beside them.

They need to work together to survive: to help with that you track your Covenants with the other explorers. Maybe you’re rivals, or lovers? Maybe one of you is helping the other with a sickness? Maybe you’re both religious? Whatever form it takes, your covenant will tell you what you can do to strengthen it, and how you can betray it for power. When you have a covenant with someone, you’re better able to help them and can summon them to fight at your side even if they’re far away – or dead.

Together, you’ll travel through the nightmare corridors of the castle, face down its minions and traps, draw on places of power, and learn more about the Regent. At the apex of each ward of the castle lurks one of the Regent’s Acolytes, playing some role in their dark plan.

When you enter battle with an Apostle, the system brings in a set of Confrontation Moves. You see, Apostles don’t work like normal enemies. Each is defined by three Qualities – packages of thematically-linked abilities.

And you can’t just attack the Apostle and deal damage – they’re far too powerful for that. Instead, you must search for openings, whether through baiting your foe out of position, pushing them onto the back foot, or spotting a weakness in their fighting style.

Once an opening has been identified you strike at the foe. If successful, you strip away one of their Qualities. If they’re still alive, they may counterattack, activate new Qualities, or fall back and fight more defensively. If it was their last Quality, they’re dead.

With each Acolyte that falls, you get closer to taking down the Regent. But you also grow in power yourself, absorbing the contamination of the castle. As your Blood rating grows, you unlock new abilities and advance your stats, but you also get closer to losing control.

And when you’ve faced down the Regent and they’re dead at your feet, all the power the castle was gathering for them is still waiting there, an unholy grail. The explorer most contaminated with the castle’s blood can take the grail and change the world. But there’s a cost: if you take the power, you’re the next regent of the castle. Maybe the GM takes control of your character? Maybe you’re the GM for the next generation? Up to your group. But this ensures that each castle follows on from those before, as you confront past sins. Meanwhile, your Bloodline is growing in fortune or suffering terrible trials. They’re there to give you respite as you explore and help you protect the mortal realm, and also create continuity between generation.

So – that’s Rhapsody of Blood, a fully standalone game of castle-raiding and reality-twisting contamination. You can pick it up now in PDF from DriveThruRPG, or very soon in softback from Modiphius. Go check it out – I’m particularly pleased with the layout I put together. Or if you need a bit more convincing, why not listen to our Actual Play podcast?

An example two-page spread.

Looking to the Horizon

That ends this tour through the Worlds of Legacy, but we may travel again. If you have an idea that brings Legacy’s multi-generation, wide-scale gameplay to a new setting, get in touch and we can talk. Especially if you don’t fit the standard RPG writer cis/het/white/male mould!

Godsend in depth

Over the last few days, we’ve survived the space trip from hell, founded a new colony, and watched new species grow from sentience’s first glimmers to reality-manipulating powerhouses.

Today we find absolute power facing its doom in Godsend, written by Khelren, and illustrated by Jess Taylor and Tithi Luadthong.

It’s the end of days. The signs are everywhere, even if fearful mortals ignore them. The desperate, the lost, the downtrodden call out for aid. And you are the Divinities who will save – or damn – them.

You decide what domain your god represents. Maybe the gentle peace of Death, the balanced scales of Justice, the deep lore of Knowledge?

You describe how your god chooses to appear; the rites and laws and worshippers of their cult; the wonders, shrines and threats that mark the landscape; and the epithet and sub-domain that add nuance to your god.

You also decide your place in the pantheon. Maybe one deity killed you, and that’s something you hold over them. Maybe another deity is your spouse and so that you’re equal in the pantheon. The leaders of the pantheon can command their lessers but must also heed their calls for aid.

You now have a world of wonders and perils, and a pantheon of deities ruling over it. But the power of a deity is subtle and ephemeral: they can see the strands of destiny and whisper into the minds of their followers, but the oncoming apocalypse needs a more overt intervention.

That’s where Avatars come in. Each player also creates a mortal who somehow caught the attention of another player’s deity – or stole power from them. Avatars are defined by their Calling: the glorious and destroying Angel, the compassionate Martyr, the rebellious Prometheus, or one of the 5 others.

Alongside the powers granted you by your Calling, you pick a role in your Divinity’s faith – Zealot, Heretic, Lost, Hierophant, Sybarite, and so on. Whatever you pick it says something about the faith, your place in it, and what you’re hoping to achieve.

Finally, you pick your stats. Avatars have four: Charisma, Valour, Will and Wisdom. But here’s where Godsend differs from standard PbtA games: you never roll dice with these stats. Those who wield divine power are not bound by the whims of fate.

Instead, when you trigger a Move, you make your mark on the world. Then pick a number of extra benefits up to your rating in one stat, and a number of calamities to avoid up to another stat’s rating. The calamities you didn’t pick are left to the GM to use as they desire.

An example move.

What this means is that as an Avatar you’re constantly making world-changing decisions, and telling grand stories of deities and demigods. As you protect cities and drown armies, as you steal the sun and seduce the moon, as you die and are reborn, your Deity must try to guide you

Even gods struggle to oppose the tides of destiny. By the efforts of their Avatar, they can shift their fate towards the world’s Salvation – or its Ruin. And when a god’s cult becomes strong enough, they can move the world to its next age – one step closer to the apocalypse.

Each time the age turns gods reshape the map, adding cities and monsters and plagues and wonders according to their current fate and their Domain. Maybe their avatars survived the turning of ages and return to the god’s service, or maybe the god must choose a new representative?

And avatars can fall, make no mistake. You’ll face scheming factions, giant monsters, even Titans that a group of Avatars may struggle to bring down. Or if the story needs a mortal perspective, you can see what it’s like to play a god’s Apostle fighting in the Avatar’s shadow.
Godsend has a firmer division between layers of play than Legacy, as you don’t control your god’s avatar. That distance adds more negotiation to play, and serves the game’s theme: do you trust your god to bend fate in your favour? Will their blessings be cherished or spurned?

And as ages pass and the world comes closer to the End of Days, will you make the sacrifices your god demands? Will you help them damn the world if they so desire? Or will you reject divine authority and make your own decisions about the world’s fate?

So that’s Godsend: a diceless, philosophical, standalone rpg about devotion, faith and power. Please do check it out, if only for the fantastic art!

Tomorrow, I’ll take you from the high-level, cosmic-scale stories of Godsend to its opposite: the life-and-death struggles of a handful of mortal heroes, fighting back a corrosive supernatural force from outside reality. The blood moon is rising and the castle is calling…

Legacy 2e Handout Sheets spreads

Primal Pathways in depth

Today’s World of Legacy is Primal Pathways, written by Laurence Phillips and illustrated by Juan Ochoa.

Primal Dawn

Primal Pathways begins at the dawn of life. As alien creatures make their first trembling steps onto land, they find ethereal spirits waiting for them: denizens of the Primal Plane, Guardians formed of the raw energy and power of life. Each spirit, focused on one aspect of life, picks a species to uplift, granting them sentience. So your first choice as a player is twofold: what sort of creatures are you, and who was the Guardian who uplifted you?

So, maybe you’re a herd of armoured elephantine creatures, empowered by the Devourer – the Guardian that favours creatures who consume without pity or remorse. Or perhaps you’re a hive of flying, stinging insects, chosen by the Hunter – the Guardian of those that seek out greater and greater challenges for their skills. Or maybe you’re a nimble race of tunnel-dwelling scuttling rodents, who draw on the genetic memory of their ancestors as they follow the edicts of the Otherworldly – Guardian of those that seek to understand the metaphysics of the world.

As you begin your game, your species barely know what it means to be people rather than animals. To guide them, you have a viewpoint character – maybe a Chosen, particularly empowered by the Guardian, or a Magus able to channel the Primal Plane. As you form new bonds with the other characters and explore this new world, you’ll improve your tribe’s lot – pushing back the threats that menace them, getting the resources they need to grow and prosper. Or maybe you run into problems, and things go badly for the tribe. How you’re tribe’s doing has its greatest impact when the Evolution move is triggered and generations rise and fall. If your mood is high, you can choose between experiencing fortunes or evolving new traits. If mood is low, you can only evolve if you also experience calamities.

Each Guardian has its own tree of evolutions, split into three pathways. Here’s the Builder‘s. Each evolution is another choice from the next tier, giving your creatures new traits, making your people more effective when working together, or giving them entirely new moves.
When you pass thresholds in the tree your People reach new stages of development, from Tribe to Realm to State. Making each jump brings new powers and new tags for your gear, but also its own problems. How will your people deal with a new need for Alliances, Mass Media, Energy?

And as your People become more and more advanced, maybe they start toying with the fabric of reality with Primal Pathway‘s new Wonders – The Grand Temple, The Primal Gate, even repeating the uplifiting process on another species with A New Awakening.

So that’s Primal Pathways – telling the story of how your People evolve, and how their way of life shifts and mutates as the scope of their society exponentially grows.

But maybe you don’t want to be the servants of intangible spirits. Maybe you want to play the gods themselves – or their servants. If so, tune in tomorrow, when I’ll be talking about Godsend.