State of Legend

Discover the Legend RPG, Mongoose's fantasy game.
warlock1971
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State of Legend

Postby warlock1971 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:55 pm

I am curious as to whether or not the Open GL has lead to an increase in Third Parties signing up to write books for the Legend system? I am aware of the Age of Treason books, obviously, but was wondering about any others.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Prime_Evil » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:59 am

warlock1971 wrote:I am curious as to whether or not the Open GL has lead to an increase in Third Parties signing up to write books for the Legend system? I am aware of the Age of Treason books, obviously, but was wondering about any others.
There have only been a couple so far. It's difficult to know whether there will be more. However, there are a number of reasons why other publishers haven't produced Legend-compatible products. Firstly, the strong sales of Legend took everybody by surprise and the product line is still in its infancy, so it is possible that publishers are waiting to see whether the system continues to gain traction. Secondly, there is undoubtably concern about the fragmentation of the D100 fan base - this concern is misplaced in my opinion because all of the variants have some degree of cross-compatibility, but it's definitely out there. Thirdly there is strong competition from RQ6, which seems to have a fairly friendly licensing agreement. And finally, the roleplaying industry as a whole is in a poor state of health at the moment - sales are dropping and there are few significant new releases from the major publishers on the immediate horizon (with the obvious exception of Paizo). At the moment, the economics of the industry are against investing time and energy in developing material for a new system unless it has has proven itself and has built up a viable ecosystem of existing publishers.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby warlock1971 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:00 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:
warlock1971 wrote:I am curious as to whether or not the Open GL has lead to an increase in Third Parties signing up to write books for the Legend system? I am aware of the Age of Treason books, obviously, but was wondering about any others.
There have only been a couple so far. It's difficult to know whether there will be more. However, there are a number of reasons why other publishers haven't produced Legend-compatible products. Firstly, the strong sales of Legend took everybody by surprise and the product line is still in its infancy, so it is possible that publishers are waiting to see whether the system continues to gain traction. Secondly, there is undoubtably concern about the fragmentation of the D100 fan base - this concern is misplaced in my opinion because all of the variants have some degree of cross-compatibility, but it's definitely out there. Thirdly there is strong competition from RQ6, which seems to have a fairly friendly licensing agreement. And finally, the roleplaying industry as a whole is in a poor state of health at the moment - sales are dropping and there are few significant new releases from the major publishers on the immediate horizon (with the obvious exception of Paizo). At the moment, the economics of the industry are against investing time and energy in developing material for a new system unless it has has proven itself and has built up a viable ecosystem of existing publishers.
That was a great response, thanks for the feedback!

I read, over at the Design Mechanism, that there will soon be an announcement about a "Super Secret" licensed game and I started to wonder about Legend.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby warlock1971 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:16 pm

How well did Legend sell? At $1, I can only imagine very well ...
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Re: State of Legend

Postby msprange » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:40 pm

warlock1971 wrote:How well did Legend sell? At $1, I can only imagine very well ...
It went Platinum on Drivethru - not many books have done that...
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Prime_Evil » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:49 pm

msprange wrote:
warlock1971 wrote:How well did Legend sell? At $1, I can only imagine very well ...
It went Platinum on Drivethru - not many books have done that...
I think it sold very well indeed - reaching platinum sales on Drivethru is an impressive feat as only 48 products in the entire history of the site have achieved this. That means that it is in the top 0.19% of all products by sales volume. To place this in perspective, this means that the Legend core rulebook sold better than most of the popular d20 products at the very height of the d20 boom.

The real question is how many people who bought the core rulebook are actually playing the game. I suspect that a lot of people picked it up as an impulse buy, but its difficult to know what they thought of it and whether they decided to try it out with their friends. Online reviews have been universally positive - and there seem to be a lot of them compared to reviews of MRQII. This is a positive sign as it means that gamers actually cared enough about the cheap PDF to write and post a review.

However, it would be very interesting to know whether the strong sales of the core rulebook in PDF format have driven sales of the physical book and whether sales of supporting sourcebooks (Blood Magic, Pirates of Legend et al) have been strong too.

I suspect that Legend was a bit of a gamble for Mongoose - before they lost the Runequest license they were scratching their head about why sales of the product line weren't as strong as anticipated. They knew that MRQII was a great system and had faith in the game itself, but didn't know why it wasn't selling. I get the feeling that after they lost the RQ license, the decision to repackage the rules as Legend was a last-ditch attempt to get the game out there. Matt deserves credit for keeping the faith because he personally believed in the system where a lot of publishers would have cut their losses and walked away. After Legend came out, I get the feeling that Mongoose were as just surprised by the public response as everyone else. Since then, they have been scrambling to keep up with new material for the game. The good news is that I expect that we will see the product line continue for the forseeable future as strong sales make it profitable for Mongoose to keep pumping out new content. But it remains to be seen whether third-party developers will join in with additional material... :)
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Re: State of Legend

Postby GamerDude » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:06 am

I bought *ALL* the PDFs when they hit DTRPG, and nothing was on sale.

At Gencon I got all the books (but one, getting a duplicate of another by accident).

I've gone through the system, explained it to friends and such at local game store, got some nice comments but there is one problem: People are either very happy with what they do now (especially Pathfinder RPGA thing, D&D 4th, scattered others). and do not want to get into a new system...

Even though I said *I* would buy them the PDF (what, six bucks for the average group? wow break the bank).


Note (and purely my personal opinion), Pathfinder took WotC's model of tons of expensive books and stuff being shoved down the market's throat to an entirely new level and the market bought into it. The game is a significant shift as an increase in power - Paizo points this out in their conversion guidelines - and with each book it gets worse, the level of 'worse' is significantly more than WotC ever managed. RPGA died here like 2002 but the Pathfinder society just keeps growing.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Bifford » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:13 am

Well I'm ensuring that where possible I keep rpggeek up to date with all things Legend.

I've also ran a ncie game of this with my group, and am doing a PBF game too (so there's at least 6 people who have bought the PDF because of that...) and everyone seems to love the system.

I spread the word as much as possible :)
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Prime_Evil » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:54 am

GamerDude wrote:I've gone through the system, explained it to friends and such at local game store, got some nice comments but there is one problem: People are either very happy with what they do now (especially Pathfinder RPGA thing, D&D 4th, scattered others). and do not want to get into a new system...
This is an example of what economists term network externalities - the value of a given game system is tightly bound to the number of people who play it. If you like a game that doesn't have an active community of participants, it can be difficult to find other players who share your interest. As a consequence, people can be reluctant to try a new game because they don't have easy access to other people who already know how to play it. Conversely, as a breakout game becomes popular people tend to jump on the bandwagon, creating a positive feedback loop - as demonstrated by the meteoric rise of Pathfinder.

Unfortunately the RPG industry as a whole is in the doldrums at the moment. And as the roleplaying community has shrunk, people have been sticking closer and closer to those games that have a community with a strong sense of identity - and this means that a smaller number of games have come to dominate the industry. Because the number of brick-and-mortar stores carrying roleplaying products has declined, it has become harder to locate other gamers in the real world. It is easier to meet gamers in your area online than in the real world, and this means that you will mostly find existing groups dominated by the most popular gaming systems.

The mid-range publishers have suffered the most from the contraction of the industry as there is a flight towards those gaming communities that still seem to be thriving online. (Paizo has definitely benefited from this trend, but it helps that they have also made the right business decisions at the right points along the way. By contrast, WoTC have seriously damaged the D&D brand by mishandling the release of 4E and it remains to be seen whether their new strategy will help them to recover...)

Many of the second-tier publishers (White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games, etc) have either stopped producing RPGs entirely or have moved towards electronic publishing. Alternatively, companies such as Mongoose and Fantasy Flight Games have diversified into non-RPG areas such as miniatures and boardgames, but are experimenting with new formats for their RPG product lines in order to keep the flame alive. Smaller publishers can weather the storm easier than their larger cousins because they don't have the same overheads and their fanbase tends to be small but enthusiastic - this means that companies such as Chaosium and Design Mechanism will still be around when the dust settles.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Bifford » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:52 pm

Prime_Evil wrote: Unfortunately the RPG industry as a whole is in the doldrums at the moment. And as the roleplaying community has shrunk, people have been sticking closer and closer to those games that have a community with a strong sense of identity - and this means that a smaller number of games have come to dominate the industry. Because the number of brick-and-mortar stores carrying roleplaying products has declined, it has become harder to locate other gamers in the real world. It is easier to meet gamers in your area online than in the real world, and this means that you will mostly find existing groups dominated by the most popular gaming systems.
The funny thing is, looking at places like http://www.rpggeek.com ; Google+ ; www.RPOL.net ; and the other large online rpg communities, you really would not think it is in decline!

It makes me wonder what things were like in the "boom time" of RPGs when D&D first hit the ground running...it must have been manic!

I do agree that a lot of the gaming groups out there "stick to what they know". Personally I'm aiming for that NEVER to happen. I have a number of free pdf's downloaded, ready to bring to the table when the chance arrives. I also know we will continue Legend at some point as it's great (and I have to try to get my head around Historia Rodentia at some point to GM that).

The biggest group I know is Seaxe and Sorcery, over in Essex, which is where I started with RPGs. They have a regular set of 4 GMs who tend to rotate between games they own but you are spot on - one of them is mainly D&D/Pathfinder ilk, another does the genre that fits SLA Industries/Mutants&Masterminds and other such games into it and a third likes his Sci-Fi.

So the question has to be: "How do we open these old hands up to New and Exciting game possibilities?" Well, from what I can make out, the game designers need to TARGET the new and emerging RPG players.

In the grand scheme of things I am still a fledgling to the joys of GM/DMing rpg's. I'm still looking around for the games and systems I can learn to love (Legend fits in to that remit!) and that enthusiasm is, I think, what needs to be harnessed. Young adults these days are more often than not all about computer/consol games. Some way to make them think "I love computer games, and from what I've been told RPGs are just like them but give me totally free reign and control over what happens! I think I'll try that!!!"

The question is HOW to do that. But that's a job for you lot, not me :D
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Prime_Evil » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:34 pm

There are still plenty of active groups out there and the internet has made it a LOT easier for them to find each other. In addition, there changes in the publishing industry have made it easier than ever for small-press indie publishers to produce high-quality material - which has led to an awesome rennaissance of cool stuff at one end of the market. Also, my position isn't one of pure doom and gloom - I suspect that the industry may simply be going through one of the periodic boom-and-bust cycles that has plagued it since the early days.

I agree with the importance of attracting new players and I think that Paizo deserve some kudos for their recent Beginner Box - the first product in several years to effectively target new players. Fantasy Flight Games also deserve recognition for the work that they are doing with the Warhammer Fantasy line - although I prefer the older editions of the game, at least they are trying to use the Warhammer brand to lure fresh blood into the RPG hobby. I'd love to see a D100 publisher produce an introductory game targeted at newcomers, but I don't know that it's very likely at the moment.

I also agree that it is important to run what you love - an enthusiastic GM can make up for the shortcomings of any rule system! In the past, I've made the mistake of trying to run games using systes that didn't really interest me due to pressure from a few players, and the resulting games were insipid and uninspiring. If you love Legend, you owe it to yourself to get out there and run it in the real world!
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Re: State of Legend

Postby GamerDude » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:50 pm

Well, SJGames did GURPS 4th which looked flashy all shiny color and that, but outside of cleaning up the mess of 3rd ed rules never got major traction... then again for how many years has GURPS been the perennial "end of our priority list" in the "State of the company" address. Munchkin has been a hit from the moment it came out and it's like printing cash for him.

PDF's are helping kill B&N stores especially with POD... and discounters like Amazon further murder sales of physical books for retailers. All this is great for gamers but just kills retail and eliminates the reason to stock books that are going to sit.

And IMO Legend suffers from what way too many games suffer from - lack of brand recognition, lack of advertising. When Mongoose brought "Wayefarer" or whatever it was on board their generic RQII system got renamed to Legend... A look at RPGGeek shows too many games with "Legend" predominantly in the title.

Unfortunately Legends is a great system lost in a sea of mediocraty built by too many people who think "oh my 10 year SF campaign is a block buster setting" and can't write worth crap.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby warlock1971 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:09 pm

I can see the elegance of the system. Combined with the realism, it is certainly a viable alternative to the, seemingly, endless D20 varieties. I recently ran a "play test" for some friends and there was a fair amount of interest. Any issues at the table were of my own doing.

I am looking forward to many new products to help develop the brand.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Vile » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:39 am

I think it has also been relatively recently that Legend arrived for publishers to begin to fit it into their schedule. I know I have a few ideas for it, but it will be a while before I get around to them. Remember that most third party publishers are very small outfits and that it takes then some time to gear up to an entirely new line.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Dan True » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:45 am

Personally I've gone over to RQ6 at this point, running it parallel to my Legend Pirates campaign. I will however keep buying Legend products as they are highly compatible, and I wish to support Mongoose in trying to make this line worthwhile. But I must admit that I have also been disappointed by the Legend line to some extent - I was especially disappointed by seeing Pirates of Legend was essentially the MRQI book with new layout - still being rules leftover from MRQI and lacking introduction of say available combat manoeuvres on the weapons.

I realise why this is so - Legend is not particularly profitable for Mongoose, and of course they don't wish to use a lot of money on rewriting the game. But this does not mean I am not disappointed.

One must also remember that the Legend pdf cost 1/25 of what the RQ6 pdf costs, and the physical book 1/6. So, it is much more accessible for new players - and more well-known.

Still, I will likely keep buying interesting Legend products, simply to use with RQ6.

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Re: State of Legend

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:15 am

Dan True wrote:Personally I've gone over to RQ6 at this point, running it parallel to my Legend Pirates campaign. I will however keep buying Legend products as they are highly compatible, and I wish to support Mongoose in trying to make this line worthwhile.
I'm on the fence about this one. RQ 6 is a fantastic game, but I think that I will freely combine elements from it and Legend interchangably. The Open Game Licence is one feature of Legend that RQ 6 doesn't have and I tend to favour open games on ideological grounds, but each to their own - the sheer quality of RQ 6 justifies the price difference for many folks. However, I'm still interested in whether Legend can act as the "gateway game" that lures gamers away from d20 derivatives...
Dan True wrote:I must admit that I have also been disappointed by the Legend line to some extent - I was especially disappointed by seeing Pirates of Legend was essentially the MRQI book with new layout - still being rules leftover from MRQI and lacking introduction of say available combat manoeuvres on the weapons.
I suspect that when Legend was published, Mongoose approached it as a straightforward reporint of MRQII with the serial numbers filed off. It was essentially intended to keep the product line in print, along with a couple of the most popular sourcebooks. Mongoose deserves some credit for this decision because the people in the company still believed in the system in the face of struggling sales. Once the rulebook was out there and started selling strongly, Mongoose adjusted their plans accordingly. However, because of the lead time required to write and edit new material, we may be stuck with reprints for a while yet. However, I suspect that we may see a wave of new Legend products in 2013 - I think its likely that we will see an announcement about upcoming products around the time that Matt's annual State of the Mongoose address for 2012 is published. My is guess that 2013 will see a couple of additional reprints under the Legend branding plus 4-6 new products.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby warlock1971 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:46 am

I'm hoping to see the line grow, as I am one of those people attracted to the D100 Family of games by the Legend "Gateway" RPG.
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:18 am

warlock1971 wrote:I'm hoping to see the line grow, as I am one of those people attracted to the D100 Family of games by the Legend "Gateway" RPG.
The D100 family are still able to offer a streamlined experience to people burned out by the complexity of D&D and Pathfinder. Many people have forgotten just how popular these games once were - especially in the British market. And the nostalgia factor might be used to lure some older gamers back into the fold...
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Re: State of Legend

Postby Dan True » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:15 pm

Prime_Evil wrote: I suspect that when Legend was published, Mongoose approached it as a straightforward reporint of MRQII with the serial numbers filed off. It was essentially intended to keep the product line in print, along with a couple of the most popular sourcebooks. Mongoose deserves some credit for this decision because the people in the company still believed in the system in the face of struggling sales. Once the rulebook was out there and started selling strongly, Mongoose adjusted their plans accordingly. However, because of the lead time required to write and edit new material, we may be stuck with reprints for a while yet. However, I suspect that we may see a wave of new Legend products in 2013 - I think its likely that we will see an announcement about upcoming products around the time that Matt's annual State of the Mongoose address for 2012 is published. My is guess that 2013 will see a couple of additional reprints under the Legend branding plus 4-6 new products.
My problem wasn't that it was a MRQII reprint. But that it was a MRQI reprint - complete with different combat rules, notions of skill penalties for armour which don't figure anywhere else etc.

Mind you, I know why it is so and can work around it. But people coming from outside might look at the book and be scared away by the weirdness and lack of editing. I'm just disappointed that I bought a book I already have, where essentially nothing was changed - where I thought I would recieve an updated book ready to be used with Legend.

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Re: State of Legend

Postby DamonJynx » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:21 pm

I concur with Dan here. Products that were specifically written for MRQ1 that are re-released for Legend, need to be properly updated and edited. IMO this is inexcusable; confusion among those new to the game will be the biggest deterrent to its longevity and popularity, not to mention the effect on Mongoose's (according to some) already tarnished rep. I sincerely hope this is the case with Samurai's of Legend.

I would also like to see at some point the Lankhmar books re-tooled for Legend.

All in all though, I think Legend and D100 games in general will continue to grow as more and more people become disenfranchised with the D&D3.x and 4E. I'm certainly looking forward to some 3rd PP coming on board!
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