Killing My Darlings: Legacy

Knaight

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#1
Legacy is a game about playing a series of masters and apprentices across generations, about the marks left behind by the past and left on the future. Intended for campaign play for two players and a GM, Legacy neatly fits in a nearly unoccupied niche.

It's also probably full of rough edges that I'm just too close to it to see, so I'm looking for people a little further from it to sandblast it a bit. The current version is found at this link. Have fun sandblasting.
 

1of3

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#2
I'm not sure, if that is a problem, but there is a game called: Legacy: Life Among The Ruins, usually called Legacy.
 
#3
So browsing through it, my first criticism would be that the skill definitions are too narrow. To be fair, I have the same criticism toward most RPG's, including my own.
Right now, you have separate skills for Charioteering, Wagoneering, Animal Handling, and Riding. I feel like these would all be better served being rolled into a single "Horse" skill. Same with Sailing, Navigation, and Boating.
There also seems to be a whole in the the character creation where a Charisma stat would be. You've otherwise stuck to the DND layout of stats with a few name changes, and have the skills that would normally be associated with the social stat as just "other skills."
 

Knaight

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#4
So browsing through it, my first criticism would be that the skill definitions are too narrow. To be fair, I have the same criticism toward most RPG's, including my own.
Right now, you have separate skills for Charioteering, Wagoneering, Animal Handling, and Riding. I feel like these would all be better served being rolled into a single "Horse" skill. Same with Sailing, Navigation, and Boating.
There also seems to be a whole in the the character creation where a Charisma stat would be. You've otherwise stuck to the DND layout of stats with a few name changes, and have the skills that would normally be associated with the social stat as just "other skills."
I've considering consolidating the skills. The stats less so, mostly because the core importance of the attributes is how aging works and you really don't get less charismatic with age.
 

Greg 1

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#5
Looks interesting!

Why did you decide to produce a new system for the setting. Why were more common systems insufficient?

Why limit the game to a GM and two players? Couldn't a master have several apprentices?
 

Knaight

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#6
Looks interesting!

Why did you decide to produce a new system for the setting. Why were more common systems insufficient?
The short version is that I liked the general curve produced by dice pools, but wanted to produce a clean auto-success method and a clean no-auto-failure method. Flipping the pool came from that, and a lot of the rest grew out from there.

This actually brings up something else though, when you say "the setting". Did it come across as having a specific setting? I was trying pretty hard to prevent that (technology examples all over the place, art that's distinctly not just depicting Europe, things like ostriches being on the mount table), but this sounds like I might need to go do a second pass and add more emphasis there.

Why limit the game to a GM and two players? Couldn't a master have several apprentices?
Yes, but you'd basically have to drop all of them but one once that master was retired and an apprentice became a master. Still, I might add that as another option for more than two players in the more-than-two-players section. It definitely feels a bit cleaner than the three generation option, or even the two masters each with an apprentice option.
 

Greg 1

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#7
This actually brings up something else though, when you say "the setting". Did it come across as having a specific setting?
No,, that was the wrong word I may part. I was trying to refer to the ideas that the rules are there to support, as opposed to the rules themselves. You've got an idea of how Legacy stories should unfold, and then you've written rules to support those stories. Let's call the stuff that isn't rules the "concept" of the game.

If you want to sell this, then your own rules are necessary. If not, you may find it easier to interest people in your "concept" if it isn't tied to unfamiliar rules. Personally, the "concept" sounds interesting.

Yes, but you'd basically have to drop all of them but one once that master was retired and an apprentice became a master. Still, I might add that as another option for more than two players in the more-than-two-players section. It definitely feels a bit cleaner than the three generation option, or even the two masters each with an apprentice option.
I think it will make the game more interesting to others if it can be played with more than three people.

If masters and apprentices often get killed, it could explain why one master has several apprentices, while the grand number of masters doesn't increase over the years.
 

Knaight

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#8
I think it will make the game more interesting to others if it can be played with more than three people.
I do have a section for that, but this really suggests it could use more emphasis, and that it's not standing out much. Fixing that bit of presentation is going to be a thing to change in the next version.
 

catty_big

Miao wow!!
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#9
Narrow abilities
Narrowness of abilities is something that seems to be very common with games in development, including my own. With the first playtests I ran of my current WIP, set in a pseudo-Mediaeval gameworld, that was the main criticism, forex I had stealth as a separate stat, and had three travel skills - horseriding, mountaineering and swimming - all of which now default to DEX (with a +1 or +2 to some of them, so that they're now specialisms rather than abilities). I think the reason we do this is that we're thinking about them initially as things that the PCs do in the game and imagine them very visually; thus, we picture in our minds somebody swimming across a river, or climbing a mountain or hunting an opponent on horseback etc. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing; in fact, I see the consolidation of skills as something that's very much a part of a playtester's job: they see your game and system dispassionately, and are in some ways better equipped to rationalise it than you are.

Stages of development
I agree very strongly with people that are saying not to think about commissioning artwork and layout yet. The time for all that will come, and when it does, trust me, you'll have a full plate, so don't even think about crossing any of those bridges just yet. That said, there's no harm in playing about with layout for your own amusement - indeed you'll have to have a basic layout in place so you can put together playtest packets and show people your draft doc - just don't let it distract you from the meat of game design (yes, guilty!), and don't think in terms of finalities.

Setting
Have some idea of what kind of setting it is, whether Mediaeval historical, Mediaeval fantastical (with magic and spells and whatnot), and recognisably or otherwise tied (however loosely) to a specific existing culture (whether Northern European, Japanese, Aztec or whatever), simply in order to ground it and encourage player buy-in. Recognition is obviously a two-edged sword (your setting will put some people off while enticing others), but on balance is more of a help than a hindrance IMO.

Dice mechanic
On building your own system: Yep, I'm all for it. It's not as hard as you might think, and means the game is more likely to be thought of as yours rather than just another FATE game or D&D clone. However, you need to work out exactly what you want from the dice mechanic before you start building it: is the game play gritty or heroic? Is failure to be avoided as much as possible, and if so how? If not, can it be mitigated, and how (are you going to have some offset mechanic like FATE points etc.)? Do you want an equal distribution of outcomes (1dX), bunching in the middle (2dX), a lot of bunching in the middle and virtually no crits (3dX), a simple success or fail roll and a very limited graduation of degrees of success (DX pool)? Etc. Use anydice.com for comparing probabilities, and spend some time actually rolling dice to get the feel of the system as a player.

More generally:

Kill your darlings
Extremely hard this, but be prepared to ditch mechanics if they're not working. But let playtesters tell you that.

Consultation
Get advice from anywhere and everywhere, but don't be afraid to reject it if it doesn't jibe with your vision of the game.

Finally: I'm going through this process myself, so don't hesitate to PM me if you want to bounce ideas off someone.

Good luck!

EDIT: I see you've actually called your post Killing my darlings, so you obviously don't need any advice on that score. My bad.
 
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