Different New "of Legend" Settings

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alex_greene
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Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby alex_greene » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:04 pm

I have had some thought about this, and I reckon that among the possible new Legend sourcebook titles there ought to be room for:-

- a Steampunk / Victorian sourcebook (which could include the Civil War / Old West, as they are contemporary)
- a Regency sourcebook (Dandies of Legend?)
- a book on courtly intrigue, power plays, daring dalliances and dashing deeds of derring - do, for when the whispered word can do far more damage than the mightiest sword;
- a book based on the Arabian Nights, aka the Thousand and One Nights and A Night of Scheherazade (all wicked viziers, magic carpets, phantom palaces in the sky, winged horses, magic rings, magic lamps, magic bottles and Djinni and Ifrit everywhere)
- a book based on Ancient Greece (Alexander and Athens, Sparta, the Peloponnesian Wars, Troy etc)
- a book based on Mythic Ancient Greece (Olympus, the Gods, Gorgons, pegasi, Icarus, Minotaurs, the Labyrinth of Knossos etc)
- A book based on the Roman Empire
- A book based of Iron Age Britain before AD 43 (after AD 43 it segues into the Roman book)
- A book based on the Stone Age, perhaps the late Neolithic, as it merges with the Bronze Age)
- Atlanteans of Legend (entirely made up and original)
- A book based on the peoples who lived around the Pacific Ocean and became the Maori, the Aborigines and other early PacRim cultures - or if you wish, separate Maori of Legend and Dreamtime of Legend books)
- Legend Modern
- Post-Apocalypse Legend (Another original setting - the year is 20XX, or whatever the current year, and while the dating system and history remain the same, the turning point where our reality and this one differs is on July 23rd, 1999. The year the old world ended in the [insert global tragedy here]).
Anyone here like to pitch in with ideas for their want lists?
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Asyme » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:38 pm

All sound very very cool!

Although truthfully I think the best thing would be a 'classic fantasy' book. About as standard a realm as possible which is designed to lure people who grew up on the forgotten realm, greyhawk, earthdawn etc. Runequest has a lot of off base fantasy but not so much central ones.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby mwsasser » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:43 pm

Asyme wrote: Although truthfully I think the best thing would be a 'classic fantasy' book. About as standard a realm as possible which is designed to lure people who grew up on the forgotten realm, greyhawk, earthdawn etc. Runequest has a lot of off base fantasy but not so much central ones.
Agreed. In fact I think you hit the nail on the head. A good solid fantasy world that would be easily added onto by anybody.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby alex_greene » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:54 pm

In other words, Mongoose's own Legend setting. :)
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Asyme » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:02 pm

Bingo.

Much as I love the runequest/legend settings out there, most of them tend to be either moorcockian, historical or sword n sandal.

I'd like to see Mongoose offer a classic high fantasy, elves n dwarves sort of setting - a kind of legendary fantasy world that acts as a gateway to the more interesting stuff (and has a good base of monsters etc to steal from).
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby alex_greene » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:15 pm

Asyme wrote:I'd like to see Mongoose offer a classic high fantasy, elves n dwarves sort of setting - a kind of legendary fantasy world that acts as a gateway to the more interesting stuff (and has a good base of monsters etc to steal from).
Funny you should say that. I have an outline for just such a world. Its own cosmology, mythologies and everything.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Dan True » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:43 pm

alex_greene wrote:
Asyme wrote:I'd like to see Mongoose offer a classic high fantasy, elves n dwarves sort of setting - a kind of legendary fantasy world that acts as a gateway to the more interesting stuff (and has a good base of monsters etc to steal from).
Funny you should say that. I have an outline for just such a world. Its own cosmology, mythologies and everything.
Actually, I could see such a world be created as a community project, and then have a Mongoose writer collect the bits and pieces.

I think it's a great idea and support it wholeheartedly. However, I think a world would work best if it had some kind of a twist, or more.. sooh, a setting with a fairly generic elves, dwarves, taverns etc. core, with some more original and rather distant twists (by distant I mean that they do not define the overall feel of the setting, but could be used to do such if the GM likes that particular twist).

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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby mwsasser » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:15 am

Let them develop a game world and there could be a community project as well, more than one.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby alex_greene » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:35 am

Actually, it'd be good if the people who develop the world actually do their research into the origins of the usual mythic tropes such as where elves and dwarves come from, who came up with the idea of four elements, what the alchemists' Philosopher's Stone really is - hint: it is as far from a stone as it is possible to get - and either subvert those tropes or create new ones.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby daddystabz » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:20 am

How about gothic horror? Post apocalyptic too.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:20 am

alex_greene wrote:Actually, it'd be good if the people who develop the world actually do their research into the origins of the usual mythic tropes such as where elves and dwarves come from, who came up with the idea of four elements, what the alchemists' Philosopher's Stone really is - hint: it is as far from a stone as it is possible to get - and either subvert those tropes or create new ones.
As an aside, it's interesting to contrast the depiction of Elves in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings with those of Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword. These two books were both published in the same year. Both authors had a strong knowledge of Germanic mythology and both read the Old Norse primary sources in the original language, yet they produced very different interpretations of the same mythological themes. Whereas Tolkien depicted the elves as graceful immortals with a strong artistic sensibility, Anderson depicted them as beutiful but amoral supernatural beings who manipulate mortal affairs for their own ends. Both interpretations draw upon the same original sources, but the two authors used these sources in different ways. Each of them is valid within its own frame of reference and each of them is true to the primary sources in its own way.

It's always fascinated me how the a single mythological source can give rise to such divergent artistic visions- it is as though the multivalence of the mythological concepts is a large part of their power. The strongest mythological symbols are able to support multiple interpretations simultaneously, transcending mere allegory or symbolism.

Of course, the commercial success of Tolkien's work has had the unfortunate effect of drowning out rival interpretations in recent years. Indeed, even the widespread use of "elves" and "dwarves" as the plural form of "elf" and "dwarf" is a legacy of Tolkien. The formal English plural usage is "Elfs" and "Dwarfs", but Tolkien (correctly) updated the spelling to follow the pattern of other Old English nouns such as wharf/wharves, knife/knives, hoof/hooves, wolf/wolves, life/lives, et al. And Tolkien's interpretation has largely eclipsed the older spelling - so that people now speak of "elven" and "dwarvish" rather than "elfin" or "dwarfish" - just as his vision of the elves has largely extinguished the late Victorian notion of the diminuative elfin folk who dwelt at the bottom of the garden. But healthy mythic tropes are always evolving and should be reinterpreted afresh by each new generation.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby AKAmra » Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:38 am

Dan True wrote:
alex_greene wrote:
Asyme wrote:I'd like to see Mongoose offer a classic high fantasy, elves n dwarves sort of setting - a kind of legendary fantasy world that acts as a gateway to the more interesting stuff (and has a good base of monsters etc to steal from).
Funny you should say that. I have an outline for just such a world. Its own cosmology, mythologies and everything.
Actually, I could see such a world be created as a community project, and then have a Mongoose writer collect the bits and pieces.

I think it's a great idea and support it wholeheartedly. However, I think a world would work best if it had some kind of a twist, or more.. sooh, a setting with a fairly generic elves, dwarves, taverns etc. core, with some more original and rather distant twists (by distant I mean that they do not define the overall feel of the setting, but could be used to do such if the GM likes that particular twist).

- Dan
Hmm, I'm going to disagree with you here. I think that if they do a classic high-fantasy setting they shouldn't do "twists"; because that would be counter to the the draw of a classic high-fantasy setting and just as likely to push people away as draw them in; the "twists" would work against the basic idea of offering such a setting. Instead; put the effort into a well developed setting with great background, art and maps. Like a Legend alternative to Pathfinder.

I'm saying this even though I'm not really drawn to this kind of setting. I'm more interested in low magic, gritty stuff.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:59 am

Personally I still want to see a Legend adaptation of the Conan RPG - the game is perfect for traditional swords & sorcery action. Indeed, I think that it probably does pulp fantasy better than high fantasy...
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Vile » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:20 am

Dan True wrote:
Asyme wrote:I'd like to see Mongoose offer a classic high fantasy, elves n dwarves sort of setting - a kind of legendary fantasy world that acts as a gateway to the more interesting stuff (and has a good base of monsters etc to steal from).
I think it's a great idea and support it wholeheartedly. However, I think a world would work best if it had some kind of a twist ...
In this case generic should really be generic, because that's what maximises the appeal of such sand boxes. Any twists should be left to the individual referees. There is, by the way, an AD&Dish BRP supplement called Classic Fantasy, which would largely fit the bill (inasmuch as AD&D can be considered generic fantasy).
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby DamonJynx » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:45 am

Vile wrote:There is, by the way, an AD&Dish BRP supplement called Classic Fantasy, which would largely fit the bill (in as much as AD&D can be considered generic fantasy).
It is an excellent adaptation of 1st ed D&D to BRP rules and could be readily converted to Legend with some work. However, I don't think the revised 'class system' (tight professions with benefits) would appeal to a lot of people. For a generic fantasy world, what's wrong with using the Wraith Recon setting? It ticks most of the boxes from the little I've read (I only got it a week or so ago and haven't had the chance to read through it properly yet). There is no reason I can think of why players have to be WR teams. They could easily, as mentioned in the book, be sellswords, ordinary folk cast into the role of adventurers, enemies of Dardarrik or whatever. Also, couldn't Simulcrim's AoT setting be used (I haven't read that yet)? Or is the general consensus that there should be a 'default' Lands of Legend similar to Golarion for Pathfinder, Greyhawk for D&D (v3.5 and earlier) and Glorantha for Runequest?
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Mankcam » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:46 am

Prime_Evil wrote:Personally I still want to see a Legend adaptation of the Conan RPG - the game is perfect for traditional swords & sorcery action. Indeed, I think that it probably does pulp fantasy better than high fantasy...
Yes, the CONAN idea has certainly arisen before, and it is a good one. Mongoose did an excellent job with the CONAN setting using D20, and converting much of that to LEGEND should be a breeze. I would be happy if they re-released much of their previous Hyborian supplements but with LEGEND stats - if they still have the CONAN licence then it would be child's play to convert it.

Perhaps purchasing another well-known author's setting and bringing it to an rpg is the way to get more interest in the game. The Game of Thrones setting would have been ideal, but it's already been snaffled up. Not exactly 'high fantasy' or 'classic fantasy' though.

Perhaps getting the rights to publish the Raymond E. Feist settings of Midkemia and Kelewan could satisfy a 'generic fantasy' setting, although I'm not sure if Feist's setting is as well known as it was in the 80s and 90s.

I just finished Acrombie's 'First Law' series, and the setting has the feel of a LEGEND game to me, although low-magic and certainly not 'classic fantasy'. The melee scenes tended to be gritty and grimy, much like RQ/LEGEND combat.

I hear that The Malazan Books by Steven Erikson is a complex fantasy setting which would be great if brought to life as a rpg - probably my next fantasy series to read. It sounds like a mature high-magic setting, but I think it's probably a long way from 'classic/generic fantasy' as I hear no mention of fair elves and such by his readers. Anyway I've been told it should be a rpg...

A steampunk setting would be great, either a classic Victorian era one, or an atomic pulp era one. Perhaps even a steampunk-fantasy-noir setting like China-Mieville's setting of Bas-Lag as portrayed in the Perido Street Station novel - the Savage Worlds setting 'Runepunk' was an attempt at this genre, although it didn't received the widespread appeal. I suspect using Bas-Lag itself as a setting may gather a few new faces to the game.

Anyway, just throwing some ideas out there...
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Mankcam » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:58 am

DamonJynx wrote: For a generic fantasy world, what's wrong with using the Wraith Recon setting? It ticks most of the boxes from the little I've read (I only got it a week or so ago and haven't had the chance to read through it properly yet). There is no reason I can think of why players have to be WR teams. They could easily, as mentioned in the book, be sellswords, ordinary folk cast into the role of adventurers, enemies of Dardarrik or whatever. Also, couldn't Simulcrim's AoT setting be used (I haven't read that yet)?
I'm all for using a current Mongoose setting and putting a different twist on it. 'Age of Treason' reads much more 'sword n sorcery' than 'classic fantasy' though, so I don't think it could be used to portray stout dwarves and fair elves etc. I suspect the author is more influenced by The Young Kingdoms than by Middle Earth.

'Wraith Recon' could do it though. The setting appears high fantasy, but the current sourcebooks appear to focus on a small role within that (the WR teams), so perhaps ballooning it out could be workable.

The only problem is that if Mongoose has too many LEGEND settings then it will be unable to give each the attention they deserve...
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:34 am

Mankcam wrote:The only problem is that if Mongoose has too many LEGEND settings then it will be unable to give each the attention they deserve...
I agree with this. Historical supplements are one thing as they tend to be standalone sourcebooks. But original fantasy settings are something else - it is definitely possible to fragment the fan base into numerous competing segments that are unable to sustain a publishing schedule. Unfortunately, both Deus Vult and Wraith Recon lack the kind of mass market appeal needed to grab a substantial chunk of the RPG market. Although I wouldn't suggest trying to copy generic D&D style fantasy, the game definitely needs a flagship campaign setting in order to thrive.

Here are a couple of options that could be used to develop a Legend setting that appeals to the masses but doesn't simply copy D&D / Pathfinder:
  • License the setting of a series of fantasy novels and develop it for the Legend game system. The problem here is that most of the big names have already been snapped up. Mongoose already has Elric. Cubicle 7 has Middle Earth. Green Ronin has A Game of Thrones. Steve Jackson games has Discworld. Conan is the obvious license that is still available, but the current holders of the licensehave already walked away from Mongoose once and are locked in a legal dispute over whether their acquisition of the licence was legal in the first place.
  • License a successful campaign setting from another publisher that is currently out of print and convert it to Legend. One suggestion might be the Midnight campaign setting from Fantasy Flight Games if a high fantasy setting is desirable. The Dawnforge setting would also be a good choice, although it isn't as well-known. The problem with this approach is that it leaves Mongoose at the mercy of the owner of the intellectual property rights.
  • License a popular video game setting. For example, how about an Elder Scrolls RPG powered by the Legend system? The problem is that video game publishers can be difficult to work with and may object to the notion that the core rules are published under the OGL.
  • Expand the implied setting of the Spider God's Bride to present a new Swords & Sorcery setting that embodies traditional pulp fantasy tropes. Much as this option appeals to me personally, it is a risky choice from a commercial perspective. However, there is definitely a market for this style of fantasy, as evidenced by the success of some of the Savage Worlds settings.
  • Throw some weight behind the Age of Treason setting and make it into the default campaign setting for Legend. The advantages of this approach are that the campaign setting is already out there and is getting good reviews. The main disadvantageis that it may be difficult to sell to a skeptical market.
  • Develop a new Dark Fantasy setting in the spirit of the old Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (possibly even capturing some of those players alienated by the third edition from Fantasy Flight Games). One approach might be to develop a setting that mixes this style of dark fantasy with Gothic Horror influences in the tradition of Raveloft, Solomon Kane, et al.
  • Expand Legend into a multi-genre system in the style of GURPS or the Hero System. Both of these venerable games seem to be losing traction in the market at the moment, so there may be an opportunity for a new player to step up to the plate. The problem is that Chaosium has already partially filled this niche with the Basic Roleplaying rulebook, although it still hasn't achieved the market penetration that it deserves.
  • Do something completely unexpected with the system! For example, release a modern supernatural game that captures the niche abandoned by White Wolf. :wink:
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Mixster » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:00 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:
Mankcam wrote:
  • License the setting of a series of fantasy novels and develop it for the Legend game system. The problem here is that most of the big names have already been snapped up. Mongoose already has Elric. Cubicle 7 has Middle Earth. Green Ronin has A Game of Thrones. Steve Jackson games has Discworld. Conan is the obvious license that is still available, but the current holders of the licensehave already walked away from Mongoose once and are locked in a legal dispute over whether their acquisition of the licence was legal in the first place.
Patrick Rothfuss's Name of the Wind series still hasn't got an RPG based on it, and the setting is pretty cool, albeit somewhat low-magic for everyone but the main character Kvothe.
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Re: Different New "of Legend" Settings

Postby Dan True » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:17 pm

AKAmra wrote: Hmm, I'm going to disagree with you here. I think that if they do a classic high-fantasy setting they shouldn't do "twists"; because that would be counter to the the draw of a classic high-fantasy setting and just as likely to push people away as draw them in; the "twists" would work against the basic idea of offering such a setting. Instead; put the effort into a well developed setting with great background, art and maps. Like a Legend alternative to Pathfinder.
Vile wrote: In this case generic should really be generic, because that's what maximises the appeal of such sand boxes.
But my point is that the twists should not be too defining, but simply be there to add taste and possibilities. My point is that if Mongoose simply releases a classical setting with dwarves, elves etc. and no differences whatsoever other than names and maps, from the myriad of those worlds - then why on earth would people buy it? They might as well use the fluff material they have from their d&d books (because, lets be fair, making a generic world is trying to get d&d/pathfinder players over), or simple make their own loosely-based classical world.

I think that before people will buy a book like that, there needs to be something new in it - because selling a truly generic setting is selling people something they already have in their heads. Almost anyone can rattle out a typical generic setting in a few hours... It's the twists, the subtle differences or the amazing artwork that captures people.. and I'm not sure Mongoose can or will compete on the artwork.

But I might be wrong of course. At least I myself would never have been interested in Eberron, if it were not because of the take on magic/technology - but Eberron is still broad enough that it can contain a generic campaign. So I am basing much of my post on my experiences here.

I do think there are some valid points about setting spread and focus. Hm, perhaps instead Mongoose could do a world-building supplement? It could include various resources, tables etc for easily throwing together a campaign world and giving inspiration for campaign themes and twists - and then the last 10-20 pages could loosely describe a generic fantasy world and perhaps a starting quest/dungeon/tavern. Coupling this supplement to Cities of legend by references of near release times could be a good idea.

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