There are 20 legends, and 7 less common ones. What are they?
Legends are a way to know at a glance who a character is, what kind of skills they have and what kind of life they have lead.
Legends as Background
The Legend table shows which Legends you can roll. Each has a short description of what kind of activity they cover. Characters have from 2-6 legends, and they’ll often be different.
Each legend is different from others of the same name – you might define it slightly different, and each has different events, occurs in a dfferent place, and have a different outcome (all for these are dice rolls).
While the legends can be different, they each suggest a similarity. Two sellswords have both sold their combat skill. They have been swords for hire.
Some legends are general and would fit any game setting. Others are specific to this setting (see Abomination and Dispossessed, for example).
So Legends give you a place in the world, and a history. They tell us something about your character- are they a skilled no-nonsense worrior? have their dabbled in magic? Are they more of a bard? And so on. There are no classes, but Legends can still tell us a lot about your character.
Each Legend grants eight skills (from a total list of 30). Every skill is intended to be useful to adventurers – there are no duds here (though some are undoubtedly more important than others – in my games, having some sneaky, social, and fighting skills would be advised!).
The choices of archetypes are arranged to guarantee that characters have a nice spread of skills. Everyone should able to contribute something useful to adventures. Again, there are no duds here.
Also, you have the opportunity to vary your skill selections. If there’s one skill you really want, you can get it and be really good at it (assigning all of your last 6 advances to one skill ensures a score over 20).
You are skilled at something useful.
Finally, the GM has instructions on building their scenarios to ensure each player character’s backstory is relevant (the so-called Interventions).
Every adventurer has 2-6 Legends (average 3.5), and the GM rolls a d6 for each adventuer. If they roll qual or under the number of Legends, something related to that character’s history (and the specific Legend rolled) must be introduced into the scenario. The GM has guidance for how to do this.
So the legends you roll at start of play are not just about history and skills. They have an ongoing effect in the campaign too. This is really important, and helps make sure that a campaign is shaped by the characters who play in it.
This rule is inspired by my idiosyncratic history with the HERO system. In that game, players can have some points in disadvantages and might be hunted by an enemy. I used those Hunted ratings all the time, and applied them even when they didn’t match ther adventure. That meant that the hunters of several different player characters could turn up and easdily derail a planned adventure. I loved the surprise that created, but also the depth it added to the campaign.
So there you have it. A quick look behind the scenes.
Read Legends Never Die!