Every age comes with its own challenges, and your Family will have needs that must be addressed if they’re to continue to survive and grow. That’s where characters come in.
Your character is an exceptional member of the Family, tasked with braving the wild and fractured world to find the things the Family needs. If they also find allies and opportunities to improve the Family’s standing, that’s all good. Characters have four stats:
Force is your might and vigour. You roll +Force to Fiercely Assault your enemies and monsters.
Sway is your ability to forge lasting connections with others. You roll +Sway to Find Common Ground with those you meet.
Steel is your wits and survival instinct. You roll +Steel to call on your skills of Wasteland Survival.
Lore is your knowledge and intuition. You roll +Lore to Unleash Power from old world tech.
Making a Character
To make a Character, start by choosing a playbook. As with Families, try and make sure each player uses a different one. Each playbook describes a particular kind of post-apocalyptic protagonist that you further customise by picking from a number of options.
Stats: What are your strengths versus the challenges of the wasteland? Pick an array, and get +1 to one of two stats according to your Family.
Looks: These define how you present yourself, and how others perceive you – your face, your eyes, your body, your gender presentation.
Backstory: You’ve had past adventures and rivalries with the other characters. These experiences explain why you’re working together now.
Gear: Your Family will have stocks of gear you can draw on. Pick gear from this stockpile when you make your character, getting extra benefits from your character playbook and Surpluses.
Role: Pick a starting role (Leader, Agent, Rebel or Outsider) and work through its effects. Unlike when you mark roles in play, do not add 1 to the associated stat.
Playbook moves: Each playbook lets you choose two moves to customise your character’s particular specialties.
You have a free choice of names, but here are some ideas: Ada, Anders, Angel, Brigit, Buffalo, Cant, Cato, Cloud, Elijah, Erwin, Eva, Firestone, Flame, Gil, Hive, Isis, It, Leo, Lin, Longshot, Louis, Lux, Makoto, Masud, Max, Moon, Nemo, Nora, Rebar, Silver, Sky, Smoke, Tadpole, Taliha, Wither, Xu
Core Character Moves
The Wasteland demands a certain set of skills from those that brave it. These actions are available to all characters, though a character’s stats will determine how well it’s likely to go when they try to do them. When you activate a move’s fiction trigger, work through its mechanics and then return to the fiction, showing how it’s been altered by the move.
Remember: to benefit from the move, you must meet its fiction trigger. Conversely, if you meet a move’s fiction trigger, you must carry out the rest of it.
When you de-escalate a dangerous situation with…
Intimidation or physical exertion, roll +Force.
Fast talking or misdirection, roll +Sway.
Endurance or quick action, roll +Steel.
Improvised technology or remembered information, roll +Lore.
On a 7-9, you’ve bought some time, but choose one:
The GM will demand a sacrifice to secure your safety.
It’s only a temporary reprieve, and the danger will soon return.
The danger’s still present but threatening someone or something else.
On a 10+ the situation is safe unless changed significantly.
The world’s a dangerous place, but there’s often something you can do to make it safer. You trigger this move by taking some dramatic action to de-claw the threats assaulting you, get opponents to back down, escape the danger or reframe a conflict so that everyone can get what they want.
When a character does something that obviously needs a roll, it’ll most often trigger this move; check here before checking the other basic moves.
A 10+ result takes the threat out of the picture until someone takes action to re-introduce it. If the player asks for a cost on a 7-9, the GM can demand that they sacrifice of some of their gear, they suffer harm, they make a binding promise to get someone to back down, or whatever else makes sense in the fiction. If a player’s rolling this, then the situation’s already charged, so you should have plenty of things to pick from to demand of them!
When you find a marvel of the World Before or a strange remnant of the Fall, the GM gives you a few clues to what this Device can do.
When you use the Device, say a thing you want it to do based on the clues and roll +Lore.
On a 7-9 pick two; on a 10+ pick three:
The device does exactly what you wanted.
The device can be used again.
You don’t rouse other devices in your environment.
You avoid the device’s side effects.
When you return it to your Family, lose the Device and give them +1 Tech.
The scope of this move is set by the kind of Tech scattered through your setting. If the World Before was defined by cybernetics and computers, you might use these moves to hack into networks and control someone’s robot arm. If it was defined by arcane glyphs and hovering crystals, you’d use this to coax a fireball from a metal rod or shut down a protective ward. This is why it’s important to have some solid background on the World Before in the group imagination.
A Device could be a towering monolith, a small clicking sphere, or even a set of command words that trigger hard-wired responses in listeners. A more portable device that’s easy to take back to your family may be less potent, but there’s no hard and fast rule – Devices should always be unpredictable.
Adding to that unpredictability, only the options you pick when you use the Device definitely happen. The options you didn’t pick may happen, or may not it’s up to the GM.
GM note: even when a device doesn’t do what a player wants, rolling a 7+ should still improve their current situation. The clues a GM gives aren’t absolute. A group has the ability to veto a player’s suggested function for a device, as they can for any suggestion, but it’s fine for a player to propose a function that’s different from what the GM had in mind.
When you use an appropriate weapon to hurt, capture or drive off your enemies, roll +Force. On a hit, you’ve achieved your goal: they’re wounded, bound or fleeing.
On a 7-9, you choose one and the GM chooses two; on a 10+, you choose two and the GM chooses one.
Your avenue of escape is clear.
You inflict savage, terrifying harm, frightening and dismaying your foes.
You scavenge something valuable gain a Device.
You get information from your foes – get 1 Data.
Something or someone important to you is harmed.
Others will come after you.
You take Harm appropriate to the enemy.
The situation is destabilised and chaos will follow.
Combat in Legacy is about getting yourself into the right position to make full use of your weapon, and then rolling Fiercely Assault as you strike. A weapon’s tags make all the difference – a dagger (melee, hidden) needs a lot more finesse to threaten an army of mutants than an orbital laser cannon (ranged, area, brutal).
Combat’s also risky – notice that even if you roll as well as possible the GM can add their own consequences. The only safe way to hurt someone is if they’re already at your mercy.
The Armoury section in Gear Rules goes into detail on the tags available, and how you build your weapons.
When you navigate through the wasteland outside of settled lands, roll +Steel. On a hit, pick one: the GM will give you further details.
You lose something along the way.
A member of your group is hurt or sick.
An obstacle or threat is blocking your way back.
On a 10+, also pick one:
You discover a hidden treasure in the wasteland, worth a lot if you can secure it.
You discover a secret path you can use to take this route without triggering this move.
You discover a secret: details on a threat, signs of other peoples, the origin of the Fall.
You can safely make your way between the settlements of the Homeland, but any trip through the wasteland triggers this move.
Find Common Ground
When you ask someone to work with you, roll +Sway. On a hit they’ll do it if you meet their terms. On 7-9 their player picks two and both must be met, on a 10+ they pick one:
They’ll only do it if…
…a third party vouches for you.
…they can add or remove specific things to the task.
…they can back out as soon as the task costs them anything.
…you reduce the threat you pose to them.
…you can give them something now that’s worth it.
…you reveal your full agenda here.
…their faction/family gets 1 Treaty on your Family.
It’s possible to pick options that have already been established explicitly or implicitly in the fiction. That’s absolutely fine: this move’s here to establish what it’ll take for you to work together, not to place barriers in the way of cooperation. Once terms have been set out, it’s perfectly fine for the instigator to back out. If they do so, though, they can’t use Find Common Ground again to try and get a better deal until they’re asking for help on a significantly different venture.
Call For Aid
After failing to roll as well as you’d like, say what another character nearby can do to boost your efforts. If the group agrees, the helper says how they do it and rolls an appropriate stat.
If they get a hit, you increase your result by one category: 6- becomes 7-9, 7-9 becomes 10+.
On a 7-9, they also share in your move’s consequences.
If they fail, your result drops to a 6and they share in the consequences.
If the helping character has relevant Backstory with you, they take advantage while helping you.
Fear the group that has each other’s back! But make sure that the task you ask of your allies is both possible and plausibly helpful. The table has the right to veto any suggestion that doesn’t ring true.
Information is Power
When your character draws on your family’s research and spends a point of Data, reveal a secret they discovered about your target and get fleeting advantage exploiting it.
This is a catch-all bonus – it can boost any action that your family could conceivably have prepared you for. As you activate this, briefly say what detail of the situation your character is exploiting to get the bonus. Remember – advantage doesn’t stack. If you already have one source of it, this move won’t provide additional help.
What About Investigation?
Legacy assumes that your character’s attempts to investigate a situation will be handled by the conversation between the GM and the players, and maybe GM reactions. Remember that the GM gets to make reactions every time the players are looking to them to say what happens, and asking what happens when your character looks into a scene definitely counts! If you’re describing your character trying to find things out – lifting wreckage and searching for hidden treasure, for example – expect the GM to respond with one of the following:
Show an unwelcome truth. Example: The thing you’re looking for is here, but it’s busted or broken.
Offer an opportunity, with cost. Example: Yeah, you spot a way out, though it’ll take you past the guard’s line of sight.
Offer an opportunity, without cost. Example: As you glance around, you see a glowing screen poking out of the rubble – a piece of tech!
Show a remnant of the past, used in new ways. Example: As you get closer you see that the battlemech has been hollowed out, and a tarp stretches out from the central cavity to provide shelter. Someone’s living here.
These moves are available to all characters but are more situational or more optional, usable according to taste.
When you look for old friends in a new settlement, roll +Sway. On a hit, you find someone; on a 7-9 pick two, on a 10+ pick 3:
You don’t owe them.
They’re influential in the settlement.
They’re not tied up in their own crisis.
They’re already interested in your current predicament.
It doesn’t need to be a completely new settlement – just one that we haven’t seen this character in ‘on-screen’ during the game.
Forge a Path
When you find a way across precarious or dangerous terrain, roll +Force. On a hit you make it to your destination, but on a 7-9 pick two, on a 10+ pick one:
You’re exposed to danger as you travel.
The route you took is lost.
You can’t take gear/other characters with you.
You take a lot longer than you expected.
Unearth Forgotten Lore
When you uncover a landmark or custom from the past, roll +Lore. On a 7+, gain 1 Data. On 7-9 ask 1; on a 10+, ask 3:
Is that a wonder or a horror?
Where is it drawing power from?
What dangers is it hiding?
How can I turn it to my advantage?
Your Character has a particular Role in their Family: Leader, Agent, Rebel or Outsider. When they work with their Family, their Role will colour the effect that has.
The goal with Roles is to provide you with more tools to describe the relationship between character and family. These set out what situations in the fiction might lead your character to take on new roles, and help you describe the consequences.
Each playbook has their own triggers to move between the different roles when specific events occur in the fiction. These work in both directions: if you want to become a leader you have to work through its consequences in the fiction, and if the events in the fiction put your character in a position of responsibility you have to mark leader.
When you mark an unmarked role, get a new move or add 1 to a stat.
If you mark each role, your character retires to safety. Narrate an epilogue for them, using any element you like from their Death move, and then create a new character to carry on their legacy.
Versatility is strength! The more life experience a character has, the more tools they’ll have at their disposal – and the better they’ll be at using them. And if you can work your way through each role, you’ll have the opportunity to work great changes to the world on your own terms before your character fades into the background and lets new heroes step forward.
Hostile Grounds and Harm
The wasteland’s a tough place to survive in. As you face down its dangers you can get sliced up, infected with plagues, sent into despair or face stranger wounds besides. These threats can affect you in a few different ways.
First, there’s Hostile Grounds. The World Before was much larger than the Homeland. Keeping you in the Homeland are regions hostile to human life: the depths of the ocean, the vacuum of space, or radiation-blasted wastelands where only mutants can survive.
When in a hostile environment, you roll with disadvantage. To overcome this disadvantage, find specific gear or use strange Devices.
If you’re adapted to your environment and acting against someone who would roll with disadvantage, roll with advantage.
There’s no hard and fast rule for when disadvantage comes into play, but remember it’s the environment itself you should be considering. If you wouldn’t expect to be able to survive there without special equipment or training, it’s definitely Hostile. If the only reason you’d be imperilled is because of monsters or raiders, probably not.
Disadvantage is a good way of expressing how a dangerous environment makes everything more risky, but active threats to life and limb need a more lasting impact. For these we use Harm – physical, mental, emotional or spiritual trauma dealt on a scale from 1 to 5:
1-2: Unarmed blows and animal attacks.
2-4: High-quality weapons or the Fall’s monsters.
4-5: Natural disasters and pre-Fall weapons.
Characters have 5 Harm boxes; minor boxes with fictional consequences, and major boxes that also penalise a stat. When you take Harm you subtract your Armour from it and mark off that many slots, with each slot enforcing its own consequences until it’s healed.
Minor boxes are temporary, easily overcome with a bit of rest. Examples: Angry, Bruised, Glitching Aura, Sprained, Stressed, Winded.
Major boxes stick around longer, taking resources and time to heal. Examples: Bleeding, Blinded, Broken Bones, Feverish, Hallucinating, Mind-Scrambled.
Tougher characters will have more minor boxes to check off before they start taking stat penalties, but even those have implications in the fiction; a Winded Seeker won’t be able to sprint up a hill, and a Bleeding Survivor will have to bind their wound or suffer further harm.
These are the moves you’ll mainly use to clear out your harm boxes:
Shake it Off
When you take cover or put space between you and a threat, heal any minor harm box. The GM says how the situation changes while you’re distracted.
When you have a few hours of peace, heal all minor harm boxes.
When you rest a few days in safety with access to a relevant Surplus, heal all harm. The GM says how the local area changes while you’re being treated.
Sometimes the dangers of the end of the world are too much to overcome.
When you check the “Dead” harm slot, trigger your playbook’s Death Move. Once that’s resolved, your character is no longer playable.
Choose one of your character’s moves and link it to one of your possessions as a relic. Any member of your Family holding that relic is able to use that move, for the rest of history.
Make a new character from a different playbook. The GM will work to bring you into the story as soon as it makes sense.
When you die, what will the world know of your life? Who will tell your legends?
When you bring a character’s relic back to their family, you may spend time with them telling and being told stories of the deceased character’s life and final moments. If you do, the family’s player picks one:
Their family gives your family 2-Treaty.
Your character counts as a member of their family – mark a role representing this new relationship.
Their next Character swears to perform a task of your choosing.
Your family has a stockpile of gear characters can draw on based on the family’s resources, with each character playbook giving that character better quality gear from a particular category. Gear is divided into six broad categories:
Armoury: Blades and bows, guns and grenades.
Outfit: Armour, finery, and environmental protection.
Vehicles: Planes, cars, mounts and other forms of transportation.
Followers: Assistants, bodyguards and scouts.
Intel: Briefings prepared on the places and people of the wasteland.
Devices: The advanced tech of the Before and weird scraps of the Fall, finding new use in your hands.
Your family starts with three gear options chosen from their playbook’s list, and as your mood rises and falls you can gain or lose options. When your character takes things from the stockpile, they can augment them according to your Family’s surpluses and their character playbook using Tool Up.
When you Zoom In on a character, they can be equipped with any of their Family’s assets, customised to suit their circumstances. For each of your Surpluses, pick a relevant benefit:
Add a tag to a piece of gear for this mission.
Get as many copies of a weapon, outfit or vehicle as needed to outfit the whole party.
Add 1 to the quality of a set of Followers for this mission, or get a new set with 1 quality and an appropriate specialty.
Get scout’s reports worth 1 Data.
Weapons from your family stockpile have 1 to 3 tags. As described in Fiercely Assault, these tags act as permissions they tell you what circumstances your weapon is effective in, and what the consequences for using it may be.
All families can take weapons with one of these tags:
Melee: Useful against targets within arm’s reach.
Ranged: Useful against targets outside arm’s reach and out to a few hundred metres.
Potential tags for the weapons you pick up:
Area: Affects a wide area when used, enabling you to take on groups that outnumber you.
Aberrant: Uses something other than kinetic force to hurt your enemies – sound waves, radiation, psionics etc.
Brutal: Devastates its targets and leaves collateral damage.
Elegant: It’s flashy in use and can bypass simple defences.
Far: Useful against targets hundreds of metres away but still within line of sight.
Hidden: You can carry this weapon without being seen as a danger.
Many: If you lose or use up the weapon, you have others to hand. Weapons breaking or running out of ammo will generally happen as a result of a GM reaction.
Non-lethal: It incapacitates and won’t deal lasting harm.
Silent: The weapon doesn’t draw attention to you when used.
Unreliable: Sometimes it gets spectacular results, sometimes it fails spectacularly.
You can add tags to taste; a space-based game might use a Subsonic tag for weapons that don’t risk de-pressurising spaceships, while a cyberpunk game could add a Keyed tag for weapons that only work for a specific person.
The wise explorer makes sure to find protection from the elements.
All families can take outfits with one of these tags:
Camo: You blend in with the natural environment; if you stay still you’ll be overlooked.
Regal: The outfit’s impressive and flashy. Everyone who sees it knows you and your family.
Utility: The outfit is unremarkable and simple, but can be easily repaired.
Potential tags for the outfits you pick up:
Comms: Integrated comms let you send and receive audio, and limited digital data.
Hardened: Negates disadvantage stemming from radiation, hacking, psionics and stranger forces besides. Get +1 Armour when these deal harm to you.
Implanted: The outfit is hooked into your biology and can perform immediate diagnostics. Erase this to heal a single harm level.
Mantle: High-tech defences provide 1 Armour to you and anyone within arm’s reach when activated.
Mobile: Grapples, jump-jets, boosted muscles or similar make it much easier to get around wearing this gear.
Powered: Motors in joints remove any encumbrance from the outfit, and let you carry heavy loads indefinitely.
Sealed: Negates disadvantage stemming from a lack of air, ambient infection, poison or corrosion. Get +1 Armour when these deal harm to you.
Thermo: Negates disadvantage stemming from freezing and/or scorching temperatures. Get +1 Armour when these deal harm to you.
Tough: Negates disadvantage stemming from physical impacts – hail, landslide, suppressing fire, etc. Get +1 Armour when these deal harm to you.
Between a family acting in concert and a character acting alone there’s a middle ground: sometimes a character gets help from a few family members or another small band. In these situations, you can treat the helpers as followers.
Followers have two important traits:
Quality: How effective they are when working independently from you. Ranges from +1 for decent help to +3 for prodigious skill.
Specialty: A phrase outlining their talents.
When your character is directly assisted by their followers, they increase the action’s breadth or scope. Friendly scholars can help you research more quickly and comprehensively, but won’t help you come to the right conclusions.
When combat-capable followers fight with you, add the area tag to your weapons as they help you to take on a large group.
When followers act unsupervised outside their specialty, the GM should decide how well they do given the established fiction.
When followers act unsupervised within their specialty, use this:
When you send a group of followers to perform a task within their specialty, roll +Quality. On a 10+ they do it, no problem. On a 7-9, it’s done but choose one:
They fell short in one particular aspect.
There’ll be unfortunate consequences.
It cost them: their Quality drops by 1.
When a group hits Quality 0 they’re no longer useful – they may be wounded, exhausted, or no longer interested in helping you.
To restore Quality, give a group of Followers Professional Care.
The wasteland is filled with hazards, monsters, and raiders: safe settlements are few and far between. Vehicles can tip the scales of survival, protecting you from the worst excesses of the environment or becoming a fearsome weapon.
Vehicles have three harm boxes:
Twisted (-1 to all stats)
Busted (cannot move).
When a vehicle takes damage the driver and passengers may also suffer harm at the GM’s discretion, though no more than the vehicle took. A damaged vehicle’s environmental protection may be impaired, depending on the fiction. To repair, use the same rules as character healing.
All vehicles have one of these tags:
Land/Water/Air/Space: The vehicle can travel freely in the indicated environment.
Potential tags for the vehicles you pick up:
Canopy: The vehicle protects passengers from the outside environment. Without this, passengers must rely on their own Outfits.
Durable: The vehicle gets another Dinged box.
Land/Water/Air/Space: Get another environment of operation.
Med bay: Characters resting in the vehicle don’t need a surplus to get Professional Care.
Mighty: Get advantage when you Forge a Path or Fiercely Assault with the vehicle (melee, brutal).
Mount: It’s alive and can follow simple commands.
Swift: Get advantage when you Defuse by manoeuvring out of danger.
Transport: The vehicle can hold up to 10 passengers.
Turret: A ranged weapon mounted on the vehicle gains the area tag and can be controlled by the pilot.
The wasteland’s full of strange things remnants of the World Before, and things given eerie new powers by the Fall. As you encounter them, the GM will give you clues to their function, but it’s only when you use them that you know what they’re truly capable of.
When you use a Device, you trigger the Unleash Power move. The results of this in the fiction will be specific to the device in question, but as a rule of thumb they can sub in for one of the other basic moves: a death ray wielded with Unleash Power might hurt a foe as effectively as a rifle wielded with Fiercely Assault, while a teleporter or Wasteland
Survival can both get you home. By using a Device, you’re effectively trading one set of consequences for another, swapping in the possibility of uncontrolled effects and warping of yourself and the environment.
If you’re just making use of the device’s ambient effects, you don’t need to roll Unleash Power. For example, if the GM has described a piece of tech as a strange red stone that ignites organic matter on contact, you don’t need to roll to use it to start campfires: it’s been established that that’s something it’ll do of its own accord. An attempt to use it to kill a beast or blow a hole in a wall has a lot more risk, and triggers Unleash Power.
You’ll most often come across Devices in the field, but you can spend 1 point of your Family’s Tech stock to outfit a character with a device when they Tool Up. When you do this, describe the device and give one clue to its function; the GM will give you one more clue.
Characters use Unleash Power to activate devices; families Power Up to boost their efforts.
If you really want to build an atmosphere of scarcity, you can bring in consequences for having no gear options in an asset category:
Armoury: The weapons you use must have the unreliable tag, along with melee or ranged.
Outfit: Your gear has the rags tag – they’re tattered and can’t protect against extreme temperatures, airborne hazards or attack. On the upside, people are likely to dismiss you out of hand.
Example Character Playbook: The Firebrand
People thought the World Before would last forever. They thought its excesses were inevitable and that they were safe in their palaces. The Fall taught us different. Be careful as you build up your walls and raise yourself high – fire is coming.
____ has grown fat on the backs of other’s labour.
____ can teach me to understand this new world.
Add 1 Quality to a group of followers when you Tool Up.
Trigger one at character creation:
Mark when your Family rises up against an oppressor. Say where your forces are waiting in ambush.
Mark when you infiltrate a group to bring it down. Say someone who trusts you; GM says one who suspects.
Mark when your actions cause suffering to a group you have no quarrel with. Say one group you need to make amends with.
Mark when your family betrays your creed. Name a principle; those who break it this age risk ruin.
With a few hours and access to volatile chemicals, you can make 1-stock of explosives. 1-stock is sufficient to:
Spread fire over a city block-sized area.
Bring down a structure as big as a house.
Be used as a weapon with tags ranged, area, brutal.
To do more, ask the GM how much stock it’ll take.
When you find a dark secret of an authority figure and reveal it to the world, roll +Sway. On a 7-9 choose 1, on a 10+ choose 2:
Their allies stop providing them support.
Their followers plot revolution.
Their enemies offer you aid.
When you blend in with a crowd of a dozen or more, you won’t be recognised and will look unremarkable.
Words of Revolution
When you seek out the troubles of the oppressed and disenfranchised, roll +Sway. On a hit, you learn one:
A secret weakness of the authorities.
How to move through the area quickly and unseen.
The method the authorities use to maintain their control.
On a 10+ you are given access to a safe house you can use while you’re in this area.
The Secret Army
When you spend a few days training rebels in an area you don’t have any followers, gain followers of 1 Quality with one specialty: Spying, Rioting, Sabotage or Carrying Messages.
You can spend Tech to boost the follower’s Quality, 1-for-1. They won’t leave the area, and will go back to their lives once the local authorities have been overthrown.
Get one of your Family’s inheritance moves.
Feverish (-1 Sway)
Bleeding (-1 Force)
Even when you mark your Dead box, your death becomes a rallying point for those who see you as a martyr. Say who they are, and what your death inspires them to do.
Playing the Firebrand
If you need to take down a single creature, pick a Hunter; if you want to face down an army, pick a Sentinel. But if you want to kill a society, pick a Firebrand.
Think about where your skills come from. Are you an ideologue filled with revolutionary fervour, or a skilled manipulator latching on to existing causes and twisting them to your Family’s cause? Either way, you should still have some creed, some ideology.
Your moves break down into two strands: Anarchist’s Cookbook and The Secret Army let you kick off an armed insurrection with only a few day’s preparation, while Iconoclast and Words of Revolution let you win the hearts and minds of a region’s population and cut the ruler’s support out from under them. Social Stealth assists with either route, letting you avoid personal reprisals as you wage your war from the shadows.
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