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Author Topic: Lejendary Adventures Q&A  (Read 8193 times)

mAcular Chaotic

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Lejendary Adventures Q&A
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2019, 11:48:08 PM »
How does this game compared to OD&D and other similar games? Or OSR games?

Is it something special because Gygax made it as his final creation?
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2019, 10:26:00 AM »
Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;1076367
How does this game compared to OD&D and other similar games? Or OSR games?


Simple answer: this isn't D&D.  Other than being an FRPG, characters don't look like D&D characters.  A lot of the components are there: saving throws (avoidance rolls), segments/rounds/turns (AB/ABC), classes (Orders), even group initiative and GM procedural rolls (very OD&D).  Its closer to OD&D than AD&D in that a lot of situational rules are left purely to the GM's discretion.  I've heard at least one person say that it's big secret is that it is OD&D with a classless character system.  I wouldn't disagree.  I mean, it is tooled for old-school Gygaxian fantasy.  If you took OD&D, ditched classes and levels as a factor to play, and replaced Vancian spell casting with something different (again, no levels means that tying spells to level requirements is unnecessary), you get LA.  And I would argue that this makes non-dungeon focused play (that is, when the focus of the game is not "deeper levels equals stronger threats") much easier.

But anyone who goes in expecting it to be a retro clone is going to be disappointed.

Quote
Is it something special because Gygax made it as his final creation?


Nope.  I like the game in its own right.  It has its flaws (I'm really glad the whole "Jary Jyjax" thing on TBP has final run its course), but the foundation is solid.  To be brutally honest, if anyone other than Gygax had turned this out, it probably would have been ignored as another fantasy heartbreaker (not unlike quite a few OSR products, IMNSHO – or D&D 4e, for that matter).  Would it have gotten a better reception if it hadn't been released right on the doorstep of 3e and the OGL?  The world will never know.  But atop a pile of OSR D&D clones, there is something fresh about LA.  And I think that makes it worth checking out.  Right now, there is nothing like it on the market (the d100 system is close, but still far from the mark) which is a crying shame for those of us that like D&D-esque fantasy, but don't want to be tied to the class/level stick.

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Lunamancer

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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2019, 11:08:37 PM »
Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;1076367
How does this game compared to OD&D and other similar games? Or OSR games?

Is it something special because Gygax made it as his final creation?

Can you be more specific?

Are you asking if it's only noteworthy as Gary's final creation? The answer to that is an unquestioned "No." Personally, I got hooked I think it was 1997 while the game was still in beta testing. But this isn't even a subjective thing because as far as I know, Gary's death didn't bring in a wave of new players flocking to LA. Near as I can tell, it was only ever downhill after his death. There was no re-discovery. If it ever attracted anyone's attention, it isn't due to some exalted status as his final creation, that's for sure. And even if there were a new wave of interest, the materials are almost impossible to get for a reasonable amount of money.

mAcular Chaotic

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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2019, 11:21:47 PM »
Quote from: Lunamancer;1076432
Can you be more specific?

Are you asking if it's only noteworthy as Gary's final creation? The answer to that is an unquestioned "No." Personally, I got hooked I think it was 1997 while the game was still in beta testing. But this isn't even a subjective thing because as far as I know, Gary's death didn't bring in a wave of new players flocking to LA. Near as I can tell, it was only ever downhill after his death. There was no re-discovery. If it ever attracted anyone's attention, it isn't due to some exalted status as his final creation, that's for sure. And even if there were a new wave of interest, the materials are almost impossible to get for a reasonable amount of money.

I mean more that, he made it years after making D&D, so he had time to grow as a designer and learn from mistakes, etc. So is this growth evident in the design of the game? Can you look at it and tell it's a marked improvement over OD&D? Or is it just a totally incomparable thing?

And yeah, also curious how it is just as a game on its own.
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Lunamancer

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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2019, 09:55:17 PM »
Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;1076433
I mean more that, he made it years after making D&D, so he had time to grow as a designer and learn from mistakes, etc. So is this growth evident in the design of the game? Can you look at it and tell it's a marked improvement over OD&D? Or is it just a totally incomparable thing?

I guess a lot of that depends on your point of view. Some things changed. Some things stayed the same. Some things regressed. Boldly so.

For instance, there's a whole big history of how illusion magic "evolved" from AD&D 1st Ed to what it ended up in AD&D 2nd Ed. A lot of ink was spilled in dragon magazine over it. A lot of the ideas were thoroughly hashed out. They got rid of illusions that could actually hurt you. It became something that could do illusory damage because the victim believes he's being hurt. And it might ultimately cause unconsciousness or heart-attack or some such, so that the damage done could be explained without illusions crossing the line to causing physical harm.

Gary didn't just dial this back. The effects of 1E Phantasmal Force on a believing creature goes "even to the extent of suffering damage." It doesn't come right out and say physical damage. And given how hit points are to be interpreted in AD&D, this can be interpreted to support the 2E way. But in Lejendary Adventure, there is an illusion power that, if believed, will cause wounds to appear "as stigmata do" he specifies. It seems to state the original way wasn't uninformed. Or poorly edited. Or not well thought out. Or just carelessly slapped together amidst the total state of chaos in TSR the mythology of that era tells of. It's like, no, this is exactly what I intended, and exactly what it should be.

If anything, LA could benefit from an infusion with some of the more arcane material in the 1E DMG.

Gary knew his shit. Even when his opinion flew contrary to trend. I look at it, I see that yes, some things were wisely updated while other things wisely resisted short-sighted trends. So if you're not prepared to make a value judgment that some new ideas are good and some are absolutely terrible no matter how popular or ubiquitous, if you're not prepared to entertain the possibility Gary understood a lot more than you do about RPGs, then you're going to find Lejendary Adventure a mixed bag.

Quote
And yeah, also curious how it is just as a game on its own.

I was willing to accept the game on its own terms, even wrestle with why things are they way they are at times, and I found the game to be a breath of fresh air. It definitely changed my mindset and approach to all RPGs. I could go back to playing 1E with a whole different appreciation for things. Even when I'm not playing 1E, the DMG comes with me because it's such a useful resource. Even when I'm not playing LA, the spirit of that game guides me.

mAcular Chaotic

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« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2019, 02:04:08 AM »
Well that's what I mean, I would get this game because Gary made it and I'd assume it has a lot of wisdom in it that I could benefit from absorbing.

What would the new appreciation be for 1E?
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Lunamancer

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« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2019, 09:20:24 PM »
Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;1076597
Well that's what I mean, I would get this game because Gary made it and I'd assume it has a lot of wisdom in it that I could benefit from absorbing.

What would the new appreciation be for 1E?

I could go on for a long time about this, but I'll go with just one example with a lot of layers.

So LA is a skill-based game but it does have class-like archetypes called Orders. Right off the bat, they work very differently from classes of most other RPGs. Usually you choose your class and that in turn sets the parameters for the character's skills and abilities. And your level determines how good you are at those things. And some skills or abilities may advance more quickly than others.

In LA it's the complete opposite. You choose your abilities. Your abilities then qualify you for membership. How high your scores are determine your rank (which is kind of like level). Something about this rings more true than how other RPGs do it. There are also some interesting implications to this.

It suggests these aren't just abstract categories put in place for game purposes. They're partly that but they also represent in-game organizations. Orders do not get tangled up in any one particular organization. They are more general than that. For instance, being a captain in the soldier order doesn't mean you can go over to the enemy's army and start ordering their men-at-arms around. But there still is some recognition of rank. Like you're not going to negotiate a cease-fire with a mere corporal.

So what if that's what classes are supposed to be like in D&D? What if that's why they were given titles? The titles in D&D don't make a lot of sense, sure. Here's an area where LA not just boldly stepped backwards to the old idea of class titles, but they also stepped forward in improving them. But all of a sudden explains things like why three rangers can't operate together. Because somewhere in the woods there's an actual lodge where they hang out, drink hot cider, and exchange information and stories. And there's actually something like union rules. And those can be as arbitrary as anything.

Here's another thing about the LA approach to classes. Think about demi-human class/level restrictions in D&D. In LA, there is no upper limit on ratings for any abilities for any race. There are some abilities some races can never learn, but they are few, and it's mainly Orcs and Oafs who face that restriction. Ilfs may learn any ability at all. Dwarfs are only excluded from learning Chivalry. So for the most part, you have unfettered access to building the non-human Avatars any way you choose. However, most of them have a hard time fitting into the Orders. There's no limit on the capacity of non-humans, but they are hindered and even limited within Orders, which, again, are not merely abstract game elements. They represent in-game social orders. And in a humanocentric world, that makes them mainly human social orders.

So what if that's how it's supposed to be in D&D? All of a sudden any arbitrary class and level restriction makes all the sense in the world. Cuz humans don't accept you to go any further than that is all the explanation that's required. It gets even more interesting, though. There's an exception to the rule. All but half-orcs may advance without limit as thieves. Turns out the one class that represents those who operate outside of the established social order allows limitless demi-human advancement. How's that for a coincidence?

Dig a little deeper. Imagine an elf thief who's had the opportunity to gain XP for a thousand years. Reaching who knows what level. Thief THAC0 in 1E may be capped at 10, but they keep gaining 2 hp for level. At some point, that keeps the thief alive long enough to outfight any human fighter. The thief class can also use magic. When read from scrolls. How many scrolls could an elf thief accumulate over a thousand years? At some point he has more magical fire power than any human mage. Dwarves, for that matter, also get to use magic via the thief class even though they are barred from the magic-user class entirely. Like LA, there is no upper limit at all in BtB D&D to the actual capacities of demi-humans. Only to their recognition in the social structures of a humanocentric world. Everything is possible. There are only different paths to achieve things.

EOTB

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« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2019, 11:16:28 PM »
Great post
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Rithuan

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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2019, 11:44:48 AM »
I just wanted to add that is so good to see this thread alive again. Not enough time to individual replies right now, but a lot of great nuggets of wisdom here. Thanks everyone, and especially Lunamancer for hearing the Lejendary Call.

mAcular Chaotic

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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2019, 01:22:27 PM »
Quote from: Lunamancer;1076958
I could go on for a long time about this, but I'll go with just one example with a lot of layers.

So LA is a skill-based game but it does have class-like archetypes called Orders. Right off the bat, they work very differently from classes of most other RPGs. Usually you choose your class and that in turn sets the parameters for the character's skills and abilities. And your level determines how good you are at those things. And some skills or abilities may advance more quickly than others.

In LA it's the complete opposite. You choose your abilities. Your abilities then qualify you for membership. How high your scores are determine your rank (which is kind of like level). Something about this rings more true than how other RPGs do it. There are also some interesting implications to this.

It suggests these aren't just abstract categories put in place for game purposes. They're partly that but they also represent in-game organizations. Orders do not get tangled up in any one particular organization. They are more general than that. For instance, being a captain in the soldier order doesn't mean you can go over to the enemy's army and start ordering their men-at-arms around. But there still is some recognition of rank. Like you're not going to negotiate a cease-fire with a mere corporal.

So what if that's what classes are supposed to be like in D&D? What if that's why they were given titles? The titles in D&D don't make a lot of sense, sure. Here's an area where LA not just boldly stepped backwards to the old idea of class titles, but they also stepped forward in improving them. But all of a sudden explains things like why three rangers can't operate together. Because somewhere in the woods there's an actual lodge where they hang out, drink hot cider, and exchange information and stories. And there's actually something like union rules. And those can be as arbitrary as anything.

Here's another thing about the LA approach to classes. Think about demi-human class/level restrictions in D&D. In LA, there is no upper limit on ratings for any abilities for any race. There are some abilities some races can never learn, but they are few, and it's mainly Orcs and Oafs who face that restriction. Ilfs may learn any ability at all. Dwarfs are only excluded from learning Chivalry. So for the most part, you have unfettered access to building the non-human Avatars any way you choose. However, most of them have a hard time fitting into the Orders. There's no limit on the capacity of non-humans, but they are hindered and even limited within Orders, which, again, are not merely abstract game elements. They represent in-game social orders. And in a humanocentric world, that makes them mainly human social orders.

So what if that's how it's supposed to be in D&D? All of a sudden any arbitrary class and level restriction makes all the sense in the world. Cuz humans don't accept you to go any further than that is all the explanation that's required. It gets even more interesting, though. There's an exception to the rule. All but half-orcs may advance without limit as thieves. Turns out the one class that represents those who operate outside of the established social order allows limitless demi-human advancement. How's that for a coincidence?

Dig a little deeper. Imagine an elf thief who's had the opportunity to gain XP for a thousand years. Reaching who knows what level. Thief THAC0 in 1E may be capped at 10, but they keep gaining 2 hp for level. At some point, that keeps the thief alive long enough to outfight any human fighter. The thief class can also use magic. When read from scrolls. How many scrolls could an elf thief accumulate over a thousand years? At some point he has more magical fire power than any human mage. Dwarves, for that matter, also get to use magic via the thief class even though they are barred from the magic-user class entirely. Like LA, there is no upper limit at all in BtB D&D to the actual capacities of demi-humans. Only to their recognition in the social structures of a humanocentric world. Everything is possible. There are only different paths to achieve things.

I don't quite understand what you're getting at. Are you saying it makes a lot of the D&D tropes/rules take place organically, so they feel like they make sense?
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

Lunamancer

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« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2019, 07:42:46 PM »
Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;1077218
I don't quite understand what you're getting at. Are you saying it makes a lot of the D&D tropes/rules take place organically, so they feel like they make sense?

I wasn't really getting at anything. LA gave me a new appreciation for AD&D. You asked what the new appreciation was. I gave one example. And note, it's just that. One example. It's not representative, doesn't establish a pattern, says nothing. It's just a concrete example of how after playing LA I began thinking about things in AD&D I hadn't considered before.

mAcular Chaotic

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« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2019, 10:44:35 PM »
I can respect that.
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

Rithuan

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« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2019, 12:19:47 PM »
Now that obscure necrourgic powers woke up this thread, I have one question for the experts :)

Plaques:
For the casual readers, let's remember that a Plaque is the LA version of a Scroll, and the Memory Tablet is the Spellbook of the caster.

Use: According to the text the Plaques can be activated by any character, even if he doesn't possess the Ability. Does it use the Speed (2x) of the Avatar?

Edited: 2X a racial extraordinary abilities.

How can you Inscribe a Plaque to a Memory Tablet?
In the LML (or DMG for LA) p76 states that "The inscribed information can be retained on the plaque for transcription to a tablet." However, the process is not explained.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 03:12:07 PM by Rithuan »

Lunamancer

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« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2019, 08:32:24 PM »
Quote from: Rithuan;1077598
Now that obscure necrourgic powers woke up this thread, I have one question for the experts :)

Plaques:
For the casual readers, let's remember that a Plaque is the LA version of a Scroll, and the Memory Tablet is the Spellbook of the caster.

Use: According to the text the Plaques can be activated by any character, even if he doesn't possess the Ability. Does it use the Speed (2x) of the Avatar?

It actually specifies by any character able to use Extraordinary Abilities. So a Mage could use a plaque containing a power of Necrourgy or vice versa. Presumably the probability would be based on the highest Extraordinary Ability possessed.

Quote
Edited: 2X a racial extraordinary abilities.

I would put this in the realm of up to the individual Lejend Master. But, sure. I'd be game. So a Wylf, for example, with innate Psychogenic powers but who does not possess the Psychogenics Ability will activate those powers at Speed x2. If that Wylf finds a plaque with, say, a Geourgy power, the same Speed x2 would apply to the use of the plaque. This assumes that the LM does rule that use of specific innate racial extraordinary powers meets the qualification of Extraordinary Ability in general. And further assumes that the LM does not rule Psychogenics Ability does not grant memory plaque usage. After all, there don't seem to be psychogenics plaques, so it's a good bet that the LM will disqualify psychogenics even though it's technically an Extraordinary Ability.

Quote
How can you Inscribe a Plaque to a Memory Tablet?
In the LML (or DMG for LA) p76 states that "The inscribed information can be retained on the plaque for transcription to a tablet." However, the process is not explained.

We assume that it happens just as quickly and easily as activating a power from the plaque. That would seem to imply that an Ability check is also required or else the power of the plaque is squandered and lost forever without the power being transferred to a tablet. Generally this will be done "between adventures" where the Avatar can do so under utmost optimal conditions. Per LR4AP, there is a bonus of 30 to 50 for activating under optimal conditions. If the extraordinary ability is the Avatar's first Ability, this pretty much raises chance for success to 100%.

I don't think we've ever had an Avatar whose first ability wasn't an extraordinary one try to record a power from a plaque to a memory tablet. Nor have we ever had someone try it in the middle of an adventure. As such, we've never required an Ability check for it. Reasonable players, reasonable GMs.

Rithuan

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« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2019, 11:37:25 PM »
Quote from: Lunamancer;1077934
It actually specifies by any character able to use Extraordinary Abilities. So a Mage could use a plaque containing a power of Necrourgy or vice versa. Presumably the probability would be based on the highest Extraordinary Ability possessed.

You're absolutely right. For future reference, p76 of the LML. :)

Quote from: Lunamancer;1077934

I would put this in the realm of up to the individual Lejend Master. But, sure. I'd be game. So a Wylf, for example, with innate Psychogenic powers but who does not possess the Psychogenics Ability will activate those powers at Speed x2. If that Wylf finds a plaque with, say, a Geourgy power, the same Speed x2 would apply to the use of the plaque. This assumes that the LM does rule that use of specific innate racial extraordinary powers meets the qualification of Extraordinary Ability in general. And further assumes that the LM does not rule Psychogenics Ability does not grant memory plaque usage. After all, there don't seem to be psychogenics plaques, so it's a good bet that the LM will disqualify psychogenics even though it's technically an Extraordinary Ability.

Awesome way to solve it. I didn't even consider this scenario but it is a great way to solve it. Thank you!