Dr. No

Many of you will have seen this announcement already via Kickstarter or on the forums. For those of you who are not already aware, we apologize for the delay in putting this on the front page:

Jake Kurzer, aka Mr. K or DocRoc, is no longer affiliated with Rule of Cool Games or participating in continued work on the Legend game system. Mr. Kurzer left the team after securing new employment that included a noncompete contract which prohibits him from contributing further to the project. He is still on the radar of some team members through social channels, and his current situation is positive save that it leaves him unable to develop Legend further.

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Worlds’ End: Fair Trial

by Mr. A and Mr. G

“Your honor,” declared the jury foreman, “we are unable to reach a verdict at this time.”
“Very well,” the judge replied. “We shall resolve this dispute by hunting competition.”
The prosecutor stood. “What will we be hunting?”
“The jury.”

The Six Courts of Faerie govern and rule the fey races, to the extent that the eclectic and capricious fey can be said to be “ruled” or “governed.” The Six Courts also function as the arena of legal battles between fey, which are presided over by the nobility or other appointed magistrates. Modeled as a formal procedure including cross-examination, depositions, rulings from the bench and a jury, a fey court of law might appear at a glance to be perfectly calm, rational and completely comprehensible.

Until a ravening beast bursts through the ground and devours the plaintiff, the prosecution and defense begin dueling in the aisle, and the judge rules, “Case dismissed.”

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The Stuff of Legend: Negative Design

Design and development for games can be a lot of fun. We get to throw new ideas against the wall and see how they stick, then mix them in with what’s already there and see what comes of it. Nobody at Rule of Cool Games does this more than me; my unofficial job is to barge into meetings with half-baked concepts and throw them at people until someone takes up the challenge. Positive design (“You can do this now!”) is the impetus that gets a lot of us going on a new project. After all, more often than not, delineating what you can do and opening the door for people to explore through means constructing the appeal of the game.

For the first Monday of August, I’ve decided to turn the column toward a trickier subject: negative design. The Legend system in particular dwells on negative design to maintain a state of balance. Fury and Precision don’t get along. Nonlethal conditions that might completely sideline a character are hard to inflict and are never permanent. Internal development limits exist for how and when things scale, and design is restricted in certain areas based on what’s already in place. Negative design is the work of saying “no,” and while it doesn’t always take such a solid and intractable form, it’s hard to fight the sense that negative design tells you to take that bright, colorful new toy and don’t play with it in the house.

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Worlds’ End: Cathexis

by Mr. A and Mr. G

The days are every color.

In this City of Restless Dreams, where the nights run black and silver, it’s best to enjoy the prismatic vistas of the glass landscape while you can. Here, the towers shine with the light of the distant sun, while beyond the borders of the city, the world is dead and sterile. As the light of the day fades, the people of Cathexis retreat to their beds, but only some are going to sleep. For the rest, the real work of the day is only just beginning.

As the streets of Cathexis become cold and still, youths fly up the starry stair of slumber, saunter along tower tops, and race through the phantom plazas of an echoing dreamscape. Gangs align in the astral realm, banding together around raw ideas for the future of humanity. In the waking world, these young men and women are but flesh and blood, attended by silent servants and spending their hours deep in books and philosophy. Here in the dream, they are soldiers in the war of concepts, pieces on the astral chessboard playing out the game of the Herculean entity that oversees all. These maniacal firebrands fight for honor, for purpose, and for the strength of the beliefs they hold, beliefs they want to impress on the world at large.

In the astral realm, the world explodes with light, energy and force. Psychic powers in the forms of beasts, gods, disasters and armies clash under the direction of philosophical gangsters. The brazen youth play a high-stakes game where the price of defeat is the death of your astral self – your will, ideology and reasoning are crushed out of you, leaving only a zombie to serve the next generation of dueling ideologues.

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The Stuff of Legend: Inaugural Column

Welcome to the inaugural post of The Stuff of Legend! Every Monday in this column, I will be discussing elements of Legend’s design, development and creative processes, giving you the behind-the-scenes look at decisionmaking and the work that goes into constantly improving the game.

Today’s column kicks off by looking at the rationale underpinning what I’d call the very heart of Legend, the singular innovation that characterizes the game and gives it life:

The track system.

Tracks are without a doubt the major highlight of Legend. The ability to assemble any character you like and not worry about a gameplay cost for doing so inspires some really great game and character concepts, many of which can be seen on the Rule of Cool forums. Tracks are consistently our most popular content, a factor that’s weighing on the forthcoming Legend Monster Guide and, beyond that, the Magic Book. In the Homebrew section of the forums, tracks are miles beyond any other form of Legend content being generated.

In brief, for those readers who are unfamiliar with the game and its signature innovation: the track system allows you to select three tracks, combinations of abilities staggered across level gaps, and arrange them in progressions to create your character. By setting your tracks into fast, medium and slow progressions, you determine how abilities of a similar tier are allocated to you, and you never have a dead level. The abilities of tracks are not specifically linked to level, but rather progress in circles, which are linked to character level according to the progression the track is on, rather than the track itself.

So why tracks? Why break things up into packages that are arguably a third of a character? Why not go more granular still and split circles out into freeform selections?

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Legend is here!

It’s been a long time coming, but we are very pleased to announce that all the blood, sweat and tears have come to fruition. At long last, Legend is officially released to version 1.0, and is available through the Get The Game link available in the header above.

There are far too many people to thank for getting us this far; an intense amount of dedication and effort by fans and volunteers has helped us push through radical changes in staff and an escalating workload of balancing, errata, proofreading and rule redesign. The names you see in the credits are listed under titles that massively undervalue their individual contributions, and it’s a real pleasure to be able to announce that their work has at last brought us the completed version of Legend.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome all Legend fans to come join us on the official Rule of Cool forums, where a small community has already drawn together to set up a great hub for this game. We hope to welcome many new members to the boards in the coming weeks as word of the Legend release spreads.

Lastly, this release represents the first step in a long road ahead of the Rule of Cool team. Our volunteers have hit the ground running on modules and the upcoming Legend Monster Guide, and we remain committed to delivering a high-quality tabletop experience to you and your group.

Thank you for all your patience and support, and enjoy Legend!

Mr. A

We’ll Do The Monster Mash

Work on the Legend Monster Guide is proceeding apace, but in our drafts for content, it seems that a few beasts have been displaced. We’ve flayed our minds for a solution to the empty slots we’ve been faced with, but as we all know, the value of any creation lies in the eye of the beholder.

So why should we trust our own judgment? You, the audience, have an interest in getting the Monster Guide you want most, and we have an interest in giving it to you. Legend has always involved its players in its design process. So here’s what we’re going to do:

On Monday, November 26th beginning at 4:00 PM Eastern time (9:00 PM GMT), we’re holding the Battle Royale on Legend’s IRC channel! You, our audience, will be able to vote for your favorite new monster designs from a bracket of sixteen freshly-formed fiends and the winners will be included in the Legend Monster Guide. Hope to see you there!