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Legend offers cinematic combat and versatility. All proceeds go to Child's Play.
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State of the Game

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 06:15

Hi folks,

Some people have been asking about the overall progress on Legend, particularly regarding the special leather-bound printing for some of our Kickstarter donors. The short version is that right now, we are focused on finishing a set of updates to the current release version of Legend, including a series of typographical errors and a couple of strange cases where a line or two was accidentally deleted from the 1.0 version. At this point, we are in the process of typesetting a new release candidate including the fixes that Legend needs to be a game we feel comfortable setting down in hard copies. Once the release candidate has been proofed and finalized, we will arrange to have leather-bound copies printed and sent to the Kickstarter donors we promised them to.

We are continuing to work on the Legend Monster Guide, and will continue to update all of you on our progress over the next few months.

-Mr. C (posted via Mr. W)

Categories: Company News

Dr. No

Tue, 08/20/2013 - 03:51

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.

Now for the good news: While the creative lead has stepped down (and he’s been gone for quite a while), Legend’s design and testing lead, Mr. C, remains in place and serves as the head of Rule of Cool Games. Furthermore, the current Legend team is exceptionally strong, with highly  talented volunteers working to develop the game who have had a lot of time to settle into their roles. This team has been responsible for the realization of version 1.0, and they’re hard at work on improving the game and adding new content to enrich your play experience. Many familiar faces from the original development period of Legend and its early alpha and beta phases remain with the game as occasional or frequent contributors, and a dedicated core team of developers has been assembled to keep us on a positive course.

I’d like to properly introduce myself at this time: I am Legend’s new creative lead. On the forums and IRC, you can find me as afroakuma, your administrator and moderator. Here on the front page, I post as Mr. A, and contribute to the Worlds’ End column as well as writing The Stuff of Legend. I’ve been affiliated with Legend for nearly two years now as a direct contributor and my casual association with the game extends back far longer. Since prior to attaining my new position, I have been a behind-the-scenes element of Legend’s development. Each member of the current development team has been handpicked by me with the approval of Mr. K or Mr. C, as are all up-and-coming contributors. In short: I’ve been working through the creative transition and handling the 1.0 versioning process without any major incident (except perhaps the strange case of the disappearing [Distant]) and things should continue to be quite stable.

As the creative lead, it is my role to take the overall blueprint set forth by the design lead and give it shape, focus and direction. In other words, my job is to make Legend more interesting. Worlds’ End shows off some of the spare creative work that my team and I generate on a near-daily basis. I outline creative priorities, which move forward to the design and development teams, who look for ways to execute my vision and make sure it fits with the game. This means that I outline and approve new tracks, oversee work on settings and modules, and listen closely to input from fans as well as people who aren’t sold on Legend to determine what works and what doesn’t. As primary oversight of anything Legend, if something’s wrong, it’s rather likely to be my fault in some way or other.

I look forward to discussing upcoming projects and shedding light on the work the team is doing presently. In the meantime, if you need me for anything or have some great idea to propose, you can find me on the forums or the IRC channel.

Mr. A

Categories: Company News

Worlds’ End: Fair Trial

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 11:37

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.”

Court Is Now In Session

To be a fey lawyer requires skill, finesse, wit and a surprising amount of running. Your clients are dodgy, mad and riddled with alien notions of right and wrong. Your legal system makes procedural decisions at whim that can end in death, dismemberment or extreme rechromatization. Your superiors might cut you loose for too much competence, and to reach the top of your field you have to face off against impossible odds that may or may not actually have a thing to do with law. It takes a full team of elite fey to run a single case, and as soon as you accept a client you’re throwing your hat in the ring of a surreal gladiatorial campaign that begins with biting repartee and razor-sharp procedure and can end atop dragons jousting in the skies or in a race across basilisk-riddled caverns.

Why would anyone choose to participate in this madness instead of – well, okay, all of life in Faerie is madness of a kind, but why choose to set aside one’s own hedonistic plans for the eternal twilight to get involved in the perilous nonsense of the Six Courts? For almost any fey lawyer, the answer is the same: Regnamundi.

Laying across the laws of nature, which mortals must obey, and the laws of the spirit, which constrain the immortals of Heaven and Hell, are the laws of magic. These laws, like those that human courts operate by, can be changed by ruling and precedent. Unlike any other law, however, the laws of magic govern things that lie well beyond the jurisdiction of any Court. The very act of speaking to the law and its applications has small, incremental and tangible effects that spread to influence the world entire. This is Regnamundi: the deep magic that rules everything. And lawyers have the quill with which to write in that great book.

Order In The Court

Cases brought to the Six Courts follow many of the same patterns as those of human courts; murder, divorce, custody, contract law, honor binding, loophole edging, marital validity, spiritual trespass, property crime, unsuccessful theft, unsanitary aging, rightful death… alright, so many cases brought to the courts have near-zero context to humanity. The laws of Faerie are confusing at best, and the strangest of acts can result in arrest and trial. Even disputes that we might recognize as having no criminal basis result in arrest – of both parties – for the duration of trial. All this is to say nothing of the possibility that a case might fall under the jurisdiction of Heaven or Hell, of another Court, or (shudder) of humans. Yes, the most esoteric parts of Regnamundi provide on rare occasions for human laws to hold jurisdiction over a fey.

Mind you, a human court might be better than the alternatives. Court in Faerie is the Court of the ruler, complete with nobles, advisors, entertainers and the indolent debauched caprice of those most excellent and terribly mad Fair Folk. As well, the verdicts available in a fey court include a sentence of Irony, and the most common cause of a mistrial is “Plaintiff or Defendant Eaten.” Yes, eaten. To be a voluntary party to a fey trial and survive the ordeal is an exceptional thing. Measures that can be taken in court extend to almost anything one can conceive of – juror #5 might demand to taste the plaintiff’s shadow; the jury foreman might request that a game of chess between the attorneys decide the outcome of a trial, and the prosecution might well double down and ask that the members of the audience be used as the chess pieces. Outlandishness is a winning strategy and all the lawyers know it. The only things forbidden in the Court (at least in the Flower Court, see below) are fire, iron and implements of music. Those would be distracting.

In Faerie, where all inhabitants are by nature supernatural, the only way to enforce the law is to ensure that those who are to be subject to it are barred from exercising their magical capacity for escape, subterfuge and subversion of the legal process. Enter the Knights of Ivy, fey bondsmen and bounty hunters who hunt down and bind parties to a Court dispute with enchanted ivy that diminishes a fey’s contact with the inherent rhythm and magic of Faerie, a condition known as being “still.” Unfortunately, a still creature in a fast-moving river causes wakes, ripples and splashes in the fabric of Faerie itself, and this turbulence attracts the attentions of a beast known as the Gloom. Immense and of changing form (though always with prodigious teeth), a Gloom is a predator that prizes the taste of fey but can never catch them while their powers provide them eternal safety. A still fey is like a beacon to a Gloom, and the creature will “swim” through Faerie in search of its prey, emerging from ripples in the ground and air to devour its prey. Naturally, it is part of the lawyer’s job to keep the client alive and uneaten until the case can be resolved.

Law School

The successful lawyer is but one member of a team that includes investigators, negotiators, couriers and bodyguards. A lawyer cannot be everywhere at once, and although another fey can accept part of the ivy bond and share in the stilling to reduce the client’s personal risk, the distributed danger only increases the value of keeping close allies that can contend with the Gloom. As well, the procedures the judge (who is also in most cases the ruler of the Court or a member of the ruling house) can impose range from oral arguments to hunts to races to duels of honor, and the jury and court nobility are not far behind when it comes to absurd requests. While the lawyer works the jury and the front of the room, skilled negotiators and masters of blackmail work the back, playing advisors and counselors to keep the trial within the team’s comfort zone. Many a failed lawyer has lost a case because the day’s hearing was rescheduled to the heart of a lake filled with basilisk’s tears or because it was Blue Feathered Hat Day and the unhaberdashed advocate arrived wanting for cerulean-plumed head coverings.

Lawyers work for firms, of a sort, in the world of Faerie. The most prestigious are known as Groves, partnership firms directly linked to a noble house (most nobles believe that changes in Regnamundi can advance them to become rulers themselves). These large consortiums have tremendous resources on which to draw, and tend to have experts in unconventional law even by fey standards. Most fey lawyers work instead for Trees, smaller organizations headed up by a single lord, typically a Highborn. Advancement in a Tree is limited by nature, but many Trees specialize collectively in a particular field and prestige won from a specialty can serve an ambitious lawyer well when seeking to join a Grove. Lastly, there are independent and eccentric lawyers, whose practices are referred to with derision as Stumps. Those who work for Stumps can expect little outside help and an uphill battle every time, but Stumps are autonomous from the nobility and are thus not influenced by the pressures the ruler tries to exert regarding Regnamundi or the petty politics of the Highborn.

Advancement comes with new titles for the successful lawyer; everyone starts as an Advocate (also the collective term for fey lawyers), and proceeds through Attorney (empowered to bring cases against nobility), Proctor (empowered to challenge and bring cases against Knights), Solicitor (empowered to make open bids for clients instead of waiting for business to arrive), and finally Counselor, a role in which one literally counsels the ruler and can directly address him or her without trying to work through the jury. Outside of this ranking, but considered above any other title, are Barristers, consultants and specialists who do not deal directly with clients but are brought onto a case by special request of another lawyer. Barristers earn their title in one of two ways: slaying a Gloom in single combat, or prevailing in a case against a sitting ruler in his or her own Court. They are few and far between, and exceptionally rare – no Grove has anything more than friendly ties with one or two at a time.

Who, What, Where

The most well-known Court is the Flower Court, cognate to the northern temperate historical locus of humanity. If you were to ask a human how they imagine Faerie, the Realm of Flowers would be a close fit — this is a landscape of shimmering pastels, full of dark forests, sunlit meadows, high towers, and grand castles. Ruled by King Oberon and Queen Titania, the fey and Highborn of this realm call themselves Fair Folk, though plenty of advocates would question that claim. The Court has the benefit that neither of the two have patience for the most impish of games. Unfortunately, having two rulers means two prospective judges, and sometimes having to contend with both at once. Oberon and Titania are at loggerheads as often as not, and navigating the hazardous waters of their relationship is a perilous factor in the already sensitive nature of a trial. The Flower Court is the third-closest to humanity, and humans are involved in a disproportionate number of suits in this realm. The Flower Court is also sensitive to the seasons, so moods and attitudes tend to change on the winds. Hunting is a prevalent theme, and true to the passions of the rulers, divorce cases are frequent.

Heaven and Hell each work through particular arbiters – Faerie Bailiffs – to dispute jurisdiction with a Court; these arbiters are also called upon on occasion to serve their respective realms as attorneys against Faerie. In the Flower Court, Heaven’s Faerie Bailiff is Armisael, and Hell’s Faerie Bailiff is Decarabia. The two are rarely encountered together, but that just makes it all the worse on the rare occasions where their interests coincide. Humanity’s representative at the Flower Court is the bewildered and besotted Friar Matthias Woolaver, who was “elected” via some pixies, a floating wine jug and a widdershins stumble around his own abbey.

In addition to one’s fellow advocates, the rulers, the Highborn nobles and the representatives of other realms, frequent participants in the trial process are the three Orders of the Hedge, officers of the Flower Court who perform tasks of enforcement. Most eminent are the Knights of Mistletoe, who grow, prune and trim the deadly plant to use in executions of the worst fey criminals and hunt down inter-Court trespassers and fugitives. Next are the Knights of Applerose, who claim involvement in affairs of the heart but are officially responsible for property enforcement, evidence-gathering and supervision of legal mandates. The Applerose Order is also responsible for arranging and supervising safe passage between realms for lawyers and their clients, though their definition of “safe” could use some updating. Lastly, the Knights of Ivy, arresting officers whose magical bindings still their prey, an effect that most brethren of the Order take a sadistic pleasure in. It is said of these last that a Knight of Ivy considers it a miscarriage of justice whenever a defendant isn’t eaten by the Gloom. From their sinister means, their stealthy pursuit of their quarry and the distressing pleasure they take in the misery of others, the Ivy Order have earned their common epithet: “Creepers.”

Of the other Courts there is less well known, at least in this region. Closest to Humanity is one of the oldest of Courts, the Court of Leaves. The Leaf Court is also seasonal, and reigns in the green and tempestuous East, where the sun’s rays first adorn the earth and the shadows cast by the shrines and gates to the Other Side run long across the ground. Their ruler is rumored to be of human descent, and the fey of the Leaf Court are quite strange even by fey standards. Next comes the Glass Court, reigning in the hot and arid Southern reaches, where civilization was won by charming the fey lords. Their ruler is a being of smoke and gold, and the short reigns of the last several rulers have resulted in erratic changes to the Regnamundi arising from the Glass Court.

Beyond these three lies the Iron Court of the frigid North, where undead creatures are equal in status under the law of the bitterly divided King and Queen; the Stone Court, an alien realm that hides in the highest mountains and the deepest caverns, and the Night Court of the distant West, the realm of the Last Darkness where humans live in fear of fey that remain withdrawn and phantasmal and violence stains the histories of all. By and large, though, the most understood and represented of Courts is the Flower Court, and so it is this Court that has been focused on in this presentation.

Come defend dragons accused of improper human-snatching and pixies failing to fill their youth-stealing quotas. Assemble a team to defend an innocent redcap, both in a Court of law and against the predatory Gloom. Get out your legal pad and your mitre of oak, prepare your arguments and your dueling reflexes, and join the most absurd version of a justice system ever created. Threaten jurors, request that the defense be forced to defang a wyvern, object to evidence on the grounds that it was obtained under the light of a gibbous moon. Rub shoulders with Highborn, Creepers and Barristers and make your mark on the Regnamundi. Do you have what it takes to win a Fair Trial?

Worlds’ End is an article series that presents setting and adventure concepts that can be used as the basis for a game. Check back on Fridays for more Worlds’ End columns, and leave your feedback on today’s column on the forums.

Categories: Company News

The Stuff of Legend: Negative Design

Mon, 08/05/2013 - 22:46

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.

Today, therefore, I’m going to address what many have commented on as being unusual exceptions to Legend’s largely free-for-all multiclassing model, detailing the negative design decisions that have gone into this state of exception and whether such decisions will be made in the future. I’d like to use the following to provide answers to the question: When should negative design be employed?

For emphasis: Legend has a small number of tracks that are locked to the class that features them. This lock both prevents multiclassing into them and multiclassing out of them. You either have the track and the class it comes with, or you are of a different class and cannot get the track. As negative design goes, this is a hard limit: there is no way around it within the rules, and as such there is no way these tracks can coincide on a player’s sheet. Esoterica Radica, Judgment and Shaman’s Path all stand apart among the 50+ tracks that comprise the core of Legend for being expressly incompatible, not by dimidiation or resource conflicts, but by requiring you to spend a non-track resource (your class) to get them.

The reason for this exclusivity is twofold, and begins far in Legend’s past. The first classes to transform into track structures were the Paladin and the Rogue, and at the time the design goal called for each of those classes to have an essential skeleton of “paladin-ness” or “rogue-ness” and choices to play off of that skeleton (note that these classes have the highest number of selectable tracks). That these tracks were basic foundations for a Paladin or Rogue meant that the core features of someone playing either class could be moved there to remain independent of your other track choices. You could construct your particular flavor of Rogue or Paladin without worrying about loss of vital functionality and balance, and the skeletons could reference involvement in certain abilities (Bastion and Once More!). Had Legend design not shifted toward vertical multiclassing and away from encouraging single-class play, the other classes would most likely each have a similar track today; however, as priorities changed to promote more flexibility, other classes were set up with less directly interrelated abilities.

When the new development team came in to work on 1.0, the question of these exclusive tracks was raised. Ultimately, given their history, design, balance and appearance in play, two overriding factors pushed the developers to retain the exclusivity. Firstly, each of these tracks represents, in some way, power a bit over the curve. That is not to say that they are imbalanced; rather, they meet the power level expected in the game coming down the stairs, so to speak. The value of establishing a precedent for the upper curve paired with the difficulty and general unpopularity of rebalancing something that was not in and of itself problematic, leading us to conclude that the game was better served by keeping “great-but-not-too-great” discretely available. Secondly, each represents a great flavor structure – not an explicit fantasy flavor that we expect people to conform to, but the broader strokes of the tropes that Judgment and Esoterica Radica each represent. Shaman’s Path gets this a bit less so; it’s intended to represent a Shaman’s chosen devotion, whether to the ideals of a deity (compare D&D’s cleric domains) or perhaps a manifestation of spiritual power in the physical realm (go on, use it for Vigilante. Drive a car spawned from the star-dreams of Xibalba).

By making these sorts of choices and offering mechanical reinforcement, we can create alternate, more experimental kinds of chassis on which you can build your character. Will hard restrictions be a common negative design choice in the future? Absolutely not, but establishing a precedent justifies future experimentation. Emphasizing certain characteristics of a chassis, a track or a class creates a new way of thinking about character-building. We won’t do it often, but when we do, it’s because a conclusion has been reached that it’s worth doing.

To partition, streamline and guide: Some things just go very well together. People tell me peanut butter and chocolate make for a lovely unison, though for the life of me I’ve never understood why. Some things just don’t. Peanut butter and chocolate oh fine. Tuna fish. Peanut butter and tuna fish. And licorice. I’m pretty sure that would be awful.

In a game like Legend, where character creation consists of a vast amount of choice, it’s important for us to work against trap choices to prevent new players from feeling like choice is just an illusion. The skill gate in Legend exists where people step away from playing a class straight with a full buy-in or with the free multiclass and move toward planning out complementary actions, checking math on comparative offense vs. defense requirements for a given level and sketching every character as though a “class” was some boring thing you had to attend earlier in the day before getting in to play some Legend.

What is the skill gate? It’s the partition between play and play, between casual and expert, between pick-up and pro. Simply put, we look at the skill gate as the margin between sitting down at the table to join your friends for their game and sitting down at the table ready to make the game yours. It’s so named because the transition requires picking up skills in character-building, math and creativity to work on your own ideas without a guide or someone else handing you a build. It’s an important concept to recognize in a game where mastery is possible and beginner’s luck isn’t a practical factor. Working on only one side of the skill gate results in either a higher upfront time investment required to participate or zero reward for getting deeper into the game and its rules. We try to cater to both groups: the new players who want to learn and the experienced players who want to rewrite expectations of how the game plays.

For the first group, the people learning the system and those who just want to pick up and go, peanut butter and chocolate is where it’s at. Things that inherently complement each other right out of the gate let you feel powerful and relevant, providing the opportunity to learn the ropes of playing the game without demanding mastery of character-building beforehand. For the second, you’ve got your Heston Blumenthals who will take peanut butter, tuna fish and licorice, laugh at the notion that they can’t possibly go together, and whip up something preposterously creative that shatters your notions of what tuna could be. The skill gate exists, and is the reason behind tracks that call on a specific ability score.

For most tracks in Legend, we’re quite pleased to key abilities off of KOM or KDM (and occasionally other special ability modifiers). For several tracks (particularly Barbarian and Paladin tracks), however, a specific ability score is called out: Constitution for Rage, for example, or Charisma for Smiting. These represent a soft limitation; while you can still build a character using both Celestial and Smiting, you have to understand that they don’t lean on the same ability score. You have to plan out a way to ensure that both Wisdom and Charisma are relevant to your character. You get the opportunity to be Heston Blumenthal, putting together odd combinations to wondrous effect (for instance, Shaman’s Path to take Smiting and toggle it to your Wisdom modifier). The skill gate will always exist; as long as it’s going to be a necessary weasel, it may as well reward you for being invested rather than penalize you for impatience and unfamiliarity.

Tracks that directly reference ability scores are a great tool to emphasize a number of things in the game; the inherent compatibility of a track and your class or racial chassis, for instance, or the utility of using two tracks in tandem. Some unusual choices are there to demonstrate that the roles an ability score might play in a different game (perhaps one with prisons and pyrolisks) do not limit its use to your character in Legend. Others are selected to contribute to their desired playstyle in ways both direct (CON will give you DR to help you out in melee, Ragers and Dervishes!) and indirect (the more terrifying your Terrifying Presence is, the harder you are to personally intimidate and the better your Will save is likely to be). These soft limitations can be danced around with Shaman’s Path, Multiclass Flexibility and other clever planning, but serve an important function as guideposts to carry newer players through the skill gate.

To mitigate trap choices: While it’s awesome to be an Army of One, it can be debilitating to have to split resources between two different major competencies. Plenty of players of some other game (likely involving warrens and wyverns) have discovered to their chagrin that uniting the awesome powers of the divine with epic sorcerous power leaves them little better than the poor second cousin of either cleric or wizard. The warrior tired of being kited at a distance may find himself incapable of effective combat either in melee or at range as he swings with a bow and shoots with a sword.

Different playstyles that fit well under the same general banner may work terribly with one another. Apples and caramel? Good. Chocolate and caramel? GOOOOOOD. Apples and chocolate? It’s not awful, but when’s the last time you had anything featuring both together? When we look at the ranger, with Professional Soldier and Battle’s Tempering, we have two skillsets that are effective and useful both for a melee combatant and a ranged expert. However, with Reign of Arrows and Iron Magi coupled into one track, there exists a hard limitation preventing them from coexisting. Dimidiated tracks like this are uncommon, but serve to divide out two options that are at odds with each other, typically because of a serious standard action conflict. Can you still find ways to screw yourself with conflicting standard actions? Absolutely, but we’re not going to pack them together and say “here, this is smart, you should try it out.” It’s a fundamental lesson of action conflicts being taught via forced choice.

Never: When all that is said and done, our priority with future content is going to almost always be maximum flexibility with maximum compatibility. Multiclassing is fun. Builds are fun. If we didn’t believe that, if we didn’t have daily confirmation of that from fans, we wouldn’t be pushing tracks. You haven’t seen a new class out of us yet (repeat: yet) because the basic unit of character-building is simply so popular. Hard and soft limitations born of negative design will appear on occasion, but we don’t stand by legacy come rain or come shine.

Case in point: Guild Initiation. For those of you with us prior to 1.0, you may remember that at one time, Guild Initiation was a prerequisite for taking either Mechanist Savant or Knight as a track. That’s right – tracks with external prerequisites. You’ll note as well that this put them in conflict, as they competed for a resource they could not share. At the time this design was still current, the thinking was that certain tracks requiring GI as a prerequisite would allow them to be more powerful as a tradeoff, since players couldn’t have more than one and there would be an associated cost offsetting the extra strength.

Unlike the situation with ER and Judgment, which had distinct advantages to development, we came to see the concept of tracks powerful enough to require not just exclusivity but a feat tax on top as a poor choice for both balance and play purposes. It wasn’t fun to sacrifice a feat slot simply to play with an interesting track, and it set a precedent that we would either have to continue using (making it less and less fun each time) or abandon (leaving a bizarre and unpopular legacy tumor in the core rules.)

This is where development stepped back and looked at negative design values: what was it emphasizing, was it serving the interests of new players, and did it fence off trap choices? We determined that it emphasized imbalance and exclusion; that it told new players “cool stuff doesn’t come without a cost;” and that the two tracks didn’t feel like they were setting up a trap at any level that any other two given tracks weren’t. From a positive design standpoint, we wanted to remove the prerequisite. From a negative design standpoint, there was nothing the prerequisite was doing that hadn’t already been accomplished by making the tracks optional instead of class-based. So we threw it out.

Negative design has a role to play and gives character to choices and options, but it’s always going to be a secondary tool in the Legend developer’s kit. The fact that exceptions are questioned is a good thing to us, as it means they’re exceptional enough that our positive design vastly outweighs the negative elements that help give the game its underpinning. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on the forums.

Mr. A


Categories: Company News

Worlds’ End: Cathexis

Fri, 08/02/2013 - 17:13

by Mr. A and Mr. K

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.

Cathexis is the city where humanity (of a sort) has reemerged following a global transcendence into the Collective Reexistence, the unified psychic ocean of all human identity. The city and its phantom rulers are the forerunners of the Collective Reexistence’s desire to return to physical form, to grow, to build and to create. Cathexis is the point of origin from which the New Realizing will spread: a testbed of ideas which will shape the rest of the world when the Collective Reexistence rejoins the material realm. The work of philosophers shaping the new template for human existence has manifested itself through these astral psychic street fights. The astral dead become living corpses that are the property of the city – the Decathex, who serve and raise the young, leaving these bright young minds free to learn and dream, but horribly traumatized from lack of emotional connection and all the more aggressive for it.

Before the city — exactly how long “before” may have been seems impossible to say — existed an era, a world, referred to as Maya: the great illusion of the past. What is known of Maya comes from the Grand Archive of Cathexis, a haphazard catalog of knowledge distilled from the most tangential and ephemeral rememberings of the Collective Reexistence. This library of assembled memory is the only evidence of Maya’s existence and nature in the glass city. Maya was a cage for the mind limited by the corporeal world, and its only laws were those of nations and necessities. The past, it is thought, was a place of gods and towers, fire and water, thinking machines and racing metal. Whatever it was, it has vanished into the great cold oceans of the wasteland, ruins and twisted skeletons of stone and steel its last physical testament.

Some believe Maya disappeared in the same instant that humanity ascended, while others say it must lie buried under the wasteland after millions of years of time, and still others claim it was scoured from the world’s surface by machines or gods (or possibly, machine-gods). Explanations for the city are just as varied, and just as uncertain. The majority of narratives claim that the first humans to awaken found Cathexis fully or partially formed, as if waiting for new masters. But if anyone living remembers the return, they’re as silent on the matter as they are well-hidden, so the true condition of the city and humanity when they stumbled upon each other remains unknown.

Today, humans are born in the city, and mostly they die in the city or die in the astral realm, becoming Decathex and often vanishing into the work of the city’s maintenance. Rarely, they go missing and are rumored to join with the Shadows, the faceless governing force that rules and manipulates Cathexis and its people, striving through the rule of law to keep it ageless and unchanging. Within these codes, history is measured not in years or generations as it was in ancient Maya, but in the astral struggles and victories that force change upon the city, its people, and its living concepts.

The Decathex are the psychically dead, a mix of mindless sleeper-clones created without will and those whose astral selves have been destroyed — either in psychic combat, or as the Shadow’s punishment for crimes in the physical world. Decathex have no wills or thoughts of their own, and are somewhere between philosophical zombies and vegetables. They are largely (if not completely) subject to the will of the most powerful psychic around, blindly accepting the input of other astral beings in the absence of their own.

In practice, this means they obey the Shadows, which declare any and all Decathex as property of the city from the moment they hollow. It uses them as slave labor, both skilled and unskilled; Decathex are without personality, but they are still human. What makes them true individuals has been eliminated, but a human being is more than just a soul. Decathex can be taught, and while they have no originality or intuition, they can perform tasks by rote with instruction, even very complex tasks like glassmaking and peacekeeping and child rearing. Decathex can sense need at a psychic level and are prompted to act on it like living tools. They can even communicate verbally, though they do so in a dull monotone.

Cathexis is the hub of all things, the future birthplace of humanity’s new existence. The forces manipulating the increasingly amoral, passionate and overconfident elites who dream of shaping the world are not to be taken lightly, however. The Shadows may have a plan for the New Realizing that they have refused to share, or they may have betrayed the Collective Reexistence, actively preventing the emergence of a consensus within the city that might prompt the remainder of humanity to awaken. Within the city, individuals have already defected from the role they were born to play. Some seek to rescue or revive the Decathex that was once a loved one; others believe there is truth in the wasteland among the bones of Maya’s civilizations or in the bizarre streams of orange that crisscross the wastes like blood vessels. One has heard the laughter of children on the astral winds and believes humans exist beyond Cathexis. And in the vast stellar void, the psychic beacon that is the Collective Reexistence has drawn the interest of other vast and inhuman intellects, which have begun to turn their minds toward the small and lonely planet and its city of theorist gangs.

Welcome to Cathexis, where the days are every color and the nights run black and silver. Join the cause. Make your mark. Bring forth the new world.

Worlds’ End is an article series that presents setting and adventure concepts that can be used as the basis for a game. Check back on Fridays for more Worlds’ End columns, and leave your feedback on today’s column on the forums.

Categories: Company News

Local Flavor: The Animal Companion

Wed, 07/31/2013 - 03:06

by Mystify, edited by Mr. W

Local Flavor is an article series exploring how to apply Legend to your game by taking various game mechanics and looking at them through a different lens. Our writers explore how existing Legend material can be repurposed and given a flavor that would fit into a different genre or playstyle.

The Path of Destruction is normally about cutting through multiple enemies with each swing of your axe. But have you thought about how the track can represent a ferocious animal companion by your side? Let’s look at how the various circles can reflect this.

“Beastial Strike” is our new 1st circle and represents your animal companion attacking another opponent while you deal with the one in front of you. For now, it requires you to spend a swift action to command them to attack. You don’t want to be tripping over your companion when attacking your opponent, so you use them to deal with other nearby opponents- but you don’t want them running off where you can’t protect them, so they stay in your [Melee] range. It deals the same damage as you because you train together; the stronger you are, the stronger your companion becomes.

“Double Team”, the renamed second circle, is a more coordinated ability you and your animal companion can unleash on surrounding enemies. There are several ways you can think of this. One is that you are attacking your opponent, and your companion is tearing through the other opponents nearby. Or you could be working in collaboration with them, splitting the attacks between the two of you. In either case, between the two of you all opponents in range are getting hurt.

“Arterial Lunge” is the new name for the third circle. The fast reflexes of your companion allows them to strike at opponents who are momentarily distracted by the effort of using magical abilities.

Terrifying Presence works just fine with its current name. It is the result of having a terrifying animal fighting alongside you, which can easily unnerve the less stalwart of your foes.

“Path of Fangs”, the renamed 5th circle, lets you charge forward and distract foes while your companion darts to the side and attacks them.

With the advent of “Greater Bestial Strike” at 6th circle, your companion no longer needs your swift actions to command it, and it will strike at your foes as often as possible.

“Clawed Guardian” is the 7th circle. At your command, your animal companion maintains a constant frenzy, tearing into any opponent unfortunate enough to get close to you.

As you can see, re-flavoring tracks can go beyond simple surface details and really overhaul the basic premise entirely, leaving you with an entirely new concept to build your characters with. With these changes, we have transformed the track entirely from a demonstration of martial skill to the effects of a horrid beast at your side.

Categories: Company News

The Stuff of Legend: Inaugural Column

Mon, 07/29/2013 - 20:30

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?

Let’s look at what tracks offer, first. While the Monk and Tactician classes have three tracks each, all other classes have some open-endedness when it comes to their preset track arrangement. Barbarians can choose between raging might and razor speed. Rogues can be swashbuckling ninjas or acrobatic demolitionists. Paladins can be fonts of healing virtue or bringers of the wrathful smite of Samuel L. Jackson himself. Through tracks, character concepts can be validated on a top-level basis. Trying to build an Airbender out of a Monk doesn’t require you to make subpar choices or accept the shoehorning of unfitting baggage abilities from a class – if Discipline of the Dragon doesn’t make sense for your character, you can swap it out for Air Elemental and be done.

This detached structure also means you don’t need to calculate swaps against one another for power to the same extent. Legend is built on a foundation of tracks and track-swapping, and tracks all strive to the same level of balance. What you trade out to make your character should be equivalent in almost all cases to what you  trade in. You won’t be behind for doing what you want to do with your character.

The smaller package that a track represents is not only easier to build and play with; it’s easier to analyze, balance and test. There are basic standards of comparison that can tell us and the fanbase if a track is on par or if it’s off the curve. Track design lets us take an individual concept and realize it to a thorough extent without beating it into the ground. Most any idea for a character component can be covered in seven circles – we don’t need to push it to 20 levels and worry about trivial, filler and unfitting abilities. Tracks also ensure no dead levels – space is at a premium in a track, so at each circle you will gain something from having it.

In my role with Rule of Cool Games, I’ve been asked on many occasions why we’ve remained with tracks in Legend instead of moving to a more progressive system of individually-selectable circles. The concept of freeform ability selection has obvious appeal, but the pitfalls it presents are persuasive enough to keep us with tracks.

Firstly, free selection carries with it the concern of trap options. This is a problem that even Legend experiences on one level; casual track selection will never leave you useless or weak, but unplanned action conflicts between tracks could result in less choices for you in a given [Round] than for your allies. With free selection, that problem becomes immensely more difficult, because there’s no flow or prepared compatibility between abilities. Players who excel at system mastery will stand head and shoulders above those who are enjoying the supposed promise of free selection.

The second issue is balance. Balancing tracks against one another is comparatively easy. Not every 1st circle is equal, but each track promises eventual equality with each other track, and for most it comes sooner rather than later. We can balance circles within a track by looking at what the package offers. Freeform circles would need both horizontal and vertical balance – equality across all options in the same tier, and proportionality to all options in all upper tiers. Tracks reduce this to a one-dimensional problem.

The third concern is synergy. Within a track, we can construct self-referential and complementary abilities to give players progressive defined synergy. In a free selection pool, each ability is expected to stand alone. Forced synergy can be introduced to the pool, but feels like what it is: artificial and counter to the design goal. Legend lets you make a choice, with its track system, on a package deal. That we have the design space to arrange such packages and work with internal synergy as our default enriches the game and provides deeper and better options to players. Each track remains self-contained and covers only one part of your character concept, all upfront and with full disclosure. You don’t have to worry about making choices now that conflict with upcoming decisions – they simply don’t draw from the same resources in Legend.

With that, I conclude my long-winded introductory ramble on Legend’s signature innovation. I hope to see you all next Monday, and I look forward to comments, critique and follow-ups on the forums.

Mr. A

Categories: Company News

Local Flavor: Garden Guerilla

Mon, 07/15/2013 - 19:54

by Kajhera, edited by Mr. W

Local Flavor is an article series exploring how to apply Legend to your game by taking various game mechanics and looking at them through a different lens. Our writers explore how existing Legend material can be repurposed and given a flavor that would fit into a different genre or playstyle.

The other day, I found myself searching for ways to play a character with a certain druidic bent – namely, a means to control plants. After investigating various tracks I noticed that the Professional Soldier track from the Ranger class could easily be re-flavored to my needs. How, may you ask, can you too re-flavor the Professional Soldier track for a druid, a half-plant abomination, or someone with far too green a thumb? Let me count the ways:

For the 1st Circle, Reap the Whirlwind, your enterprising plant master can grow or simply locate plants of the relevant type in preparation. Tanglefoot Paste and Tripwire shift into opportunistic grabbing vines or branches, and Fumigator works by the release of spores or scents. As you gain better mastery over the vines in the 2nd Circle, you are able to grasp with them from a distance.

Continuing onto the 3rd Circle, your “cloaking scatter of smoke, dust, and silvered shards” become a protective scattering of windblown leaves, or rapid overgrowth that catches and foils attacks. As you reach the 4th Circle you can control your plants instinctively, freeing up your thoughts for other tasks. In your 5th Circle the swirling leaves you summoned for protection can now turn razor-sharp, or ignite in a sudden firestorm.

With your final circles you unlock a deep link with the plants around you and learn to ‘listen’ in on their chemical communications. This alerts you to possible danger from a good stretch of forest away, and allows you to react swiftly when that danger arrives. The landscape itself is linked to your thoughts, and you gain an echoing link with your allies. You can shift the land so what was true for you is true for another.

In summary, if you wish to capture the mystique of the plant-manipulating druid, play a plant-based creature, or take your interest in horticulture to a new level, the Professional Soldier track may be the right choice for you.

Categories: Company News

Local Flavor: Livers Need Not Apply

Sun, 07/07/2013 - 22:04

by Fako, edited by Mr. W

Local Flavor is an article series exploring how to apply Legend to your game by taking various game mechanics and looking at them through a different lens. Our writers explore how existing Legend material can be repurposed and given a flavor that would fit into a different genre or playstyle.

Healing effects are nice.  This is true regardless of the character you play, because it isn’t much fun when your character dies an avoidable death.  However, you cannot guarantee that the party’s healer (if any) will be able to reach you in your time of need, especially in high-danger scenarios.  Because of this, Livers Need Not Apply is an amazing option for any character wanting that little extra security, providing on-demand healing when you need it most.  Sadly, some will balk at the image it provides – not everyone drinks their pain away.  As such, here are a few “alternate flavors” for the feat:

Symbiont – You have acquired a magical symbiont. Though normally dormant, you know how to call upon it for aid, either through a thought or a gesture.  Doing so consumes one “feeding” of the symbiont.

Nanotech – Your body has been augmented with healing nanites.  They swarm through your blood, providing healing in lethal situations.  However, their power isn’t limitless, and you need to recharge them to keep them from going inert.  Each use burns one “charge” from the nanites.

Mutation – You can will your body to heal at an alarming rate.  The effect is potent but stressful, and your body can only handle so much.  Healing yourself uses one charge from your mutation pool.

Selective Thinking – You can force your body to ignore the injuries it has sustained, to the point where they almost didn’t happen at all.  This is mentally taxing, consuming one “drive” as you push yourself to fight on.

Contract – You’ve signed a demonic agreement to keep yourself alive, being able to call upon it whenever you choose, assuming you pay your end in advance.  Collecting on your end of the bargain uses a point of “favor” that you have accrued with the demon(s).

As you can see, it’s a pretty simple formula for re-flavoring the feat: you have a limited pool of resources with which you can use to heal yourself.  You’ll note that I didn’t include how to “recharge” the pool – the exact specifics will be between you and your GM, but it should be a move action to expend a unit of that resource. You can also extend this to the rest of the feats in the chain – Your Mutation could grow to allow you to temporarily become stronger (Spirited Strength), or you sign an expanded version of the Contract to be able to heal your allies as well (Seven Drunken Immortals).

Categories: Company News

Local Flavor: The Space Marine

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:35

by Anzyr, edited by Mr. W

Local Flavor is an article series exploring how to apply Legend to your game by taking various game mechanics and looking at them through a different lens. Our writers explore how existing Legend material can be repurposed and given a flavor that would fit into a different genre or playstyle.

Today, we’re going to talk about how to have the Legend Game System tailored to your unique character ideas.

Before we get that, we need to address what “flavor” and “crunch” are. Flavor is the description of a rule and crunch is the mechanics of the rule.

For example, the flavor of “Livers Need Not Apply” is that “Prolonged drinking has inexplicably altered your body to gain strength from alcohol.” The crunch for “Livers Need Not Apply” is that it has a prerequisite of Constitution 14 and provides the following benefit:

“You no longer suffer any negative effects from drinking alcohol, and can consume one drink as a move action. In fact, you can store two drinks inside you for future use, and one additional drink for each point of Constitution modifier you possess. You may, at any time, expend one of these stored drinks as a move action. Doing so allows you to recover 1d4 HP per character level.”

So let’s take a moment to break down the flavor elements of this feat. We need some sort of resource that can be replenished and is related in some way to the hardiness of the character. Perhaps the character is a Chronomancer, who can siphon extra time from the timestream, storing it within their body and using it to reverse the effects of their wounds (or accelerate the healing of the wounds, whichever flavor you prefer). Just like that, we suddenly have new spin on “Livers Need Not Apply” which we could call “Time: Rewound”.

With that in mind, let’s try a larger example. I’m going to take you on a tour of “SPACE LEGEND” in the first of my articles. You may not think after reading through Legend that we have a Space Marine class, but rest assured we do…

It’s time to re-flavor the barbarian.

Space Marine:

10 HP/Level – You are a space marine, and in your grimdark future you’ll need these to survive.

5 Skills – As a space marine, you are not just a loose cannon, you are an elite, highly-trained loose cannon.

KOM: STR – It really just makes sense.

KDM: CON – It better be if you want to survive your first suicide mission. (Which is all of your missions.)

Today, we’ll re-flavor the Rage track (other tracks to come in subsequent articles) to fit our Space Marine. Let’s start by examining some of the 1st Circle’s flavor text: “…a state where you gain heightened morale and physical prowess”. Sounds an awful lot like adrenaline! Our 1st circle for the Space Marine shall be “Adrenaline”; whether it comes from physical conditioning or injected stimulants is all up to you, and it probably comes down to how important a fancy combat spacesuit is to your character concept.

Instead of Powerful Rage, the name of the Rage track’s 2nd circle, the Space Marine’s 2nd circle can be named “Stand Tall”. You are a Space Marine after all. A giant rampaging alien wishes it could be taller than you.

“Terrifying Battlelust” works just fine as the renamed 3rd circle of Rage for our Space Marine. After all. while hyped up on Adrenaline, you’ll fight for any reason and look damn terrifying doing it.

“Adrenaline Surge” seems well-suited as the renamed 4th Circle to represent cranking the dial on your Adrenaline and benefiting even further from it. The actual abilities, “Hurling Charge” and “Momentum Charge”, work just as well for a chainsaw wielding Space Marine as they did for ancient savages.

“Mental Conditioning” is our Space Marine version of “Stubborn Rage”. You’ve been through hell, but you have the iron will to soldier on anyway. Pretty straightforward! While a screaming lunatic may just be stubborn, military training can get you similar results.

“Adrenaline Overload”, our renamed 6th Circle, is what it takes to fight on a barren wasteland of a planet. After all, it’s gotten you this far, and little things like “side effects” are a reward for not ending up dead.

“War Hero”, our renamed 7th Circle, may just be a fancy title with a shiny medal, but if you made it this far it means you were able to survive long enough to get it. Being a Space Marine is just who you are now, and that means your skills are just plain better than all the green recruits that are replacing the rest of your squad.

Categories: Company News

New Character Sheets

Thu, 06/20/2013 - 16:48

A new Legend edition means new character sheets! In addition to the regular printable sheet we also have an interactive sheet that autocompletes dependent sections when you make changes.

Categories: Company News

Legend is here!

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 23:53

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

Categories: Company News

The number is prime, the hour is-OH WAIT THE NUMBER IS ANNOUNCED!

Thu, 06/06/2013 - 17:31

June 17th, 2013. The wait has been long, and will be longer yet, but the end is finally in sight. Thank you for your patience and understanding, folks.

June 17th, 2013. We can’t wait to finally show you the sweet fruits of our blood, sweat, and tears. Our bug fixes, our balance tweaking…so very delicious.

June 17th, 2013. Our 1.0 release of Legend shall arrive on that day.

The number is prime, the hour is near.

Categories: Company News


Mon, 04/01/2013 - 03:23

So along our journey to bringing out Legend 1.0, we found a scrappy young fan who really, really wanted to join our development team. We were hesitant at first, but we soon learned the error of our ways. We were awestruck at his first and only track. With his kind permission, we decided to release it right now, for you fine folks to enjoy while we get 1.0 ready. We will surely consider modeling all future content after this prodigy’s extreme design sense.

We proudly present our latest track:


Abandon all hope, all ye who enter.

Unless otherwise stated, these abilities are extraordinary.

1st Circle – The Inverse Principle: You are [Unstoppable] as long as you work alone. Even if you partner up with someone, that’s probably okay. However, if you decide to gain two or more allies with the I am One Ninjas track, then you gain a -500 penalty to your AC and d20 rolls. This penalty lasts until you all split up from the party and punish yourself for your stupid decision.

2nd Circle – No One Can Catch You: Whether by choice or by fate (oh, who are we kidding, you totally decided to do this), you are permanently, irrevocably and incurably [Burning]. However, you gain [Immunity] to [Binding] effects and being [Grappled].

3rd Circle – Only Another Ninja…: Your ninjas senses are freakin’ [Keen]. You can establish line of sight to any creature in [Extreme] range, at all times, unless one of those creatures also has the I am One Ninja track. Don’t team up with them, though.

4th Circle – Ninja Power!: Ninjas are silent and deadly…who cares about their looks? It’s not like anyone’ll ever see them or anything. Your skin becomes slightly green, like the shade of a deadly reptile, and you grow a hard carapace, perfect for protection as well as camouflage. You are permanently [Full concealed], and you gain [Great resistance] against, like…everything, ever. Whenever you eat a greasy [Meal] with [Cheese] and [Tomatoes], you heal 10 HP per character level.

5th Circle – Shadow Clones: You have a myriad of clones in tacky orange jumpsuits who blindly obey your orders. The clones, not the jumpsuits. If your myriad dies, it returns at the end of the [Encounter]. Believe [It]!

6th Circle – One True Ninja: There are many who claim to walk the path of the ninja, but yours is the only true path. All those other incompetent posers can bite it. Whenever you gain line of sight to another creature with the I am One Ninja track, that creature loses that track permanently. There can only be one true ninja!

7th Circle – The Jutsu of Obligatory Reference: Once per [Encounter], as a standard action, you may flip out and kill everything. This is not a [Death] effect, it is a [Kindness].

Categories: Company News


Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:41

After 16 months of often-vocal feedback, we’ve assembled dozens of pages of bugfixes and balance changes for the final 1.0 release. Now we need to shift our focus from taking in new feedback to typesetting and merging 1.0 balance changes. Since this part of the process doesn’t really involve me, I’m here to announce that the Legend System’s first open beta is officially over. Keep playing Legend, keep enjoying yourselves, but at this time we’re locking down all content changes to release a game that we’re truly proud of.

Along with the rest of the Rule of Cool team, I’m extremely grateful for the insights and criticism the community has provided to make Legend a much, much better game than the original beta release 16 months ago. We hope that all of you will be back to download and play the 1.0 release.

Make of the cryptic title what you will.

Categories: Company News

So Close, Yet So… Close, Actually

Sat, 02/02/2013 - 04:10

Welp, with 1.0 ever in our sights, we realized that it was high time for a very, very, very close-to-version-1.0 update. This just might be the very last release before we reach our full version. You can nab it at the usual place. A rough changelog awaits you below the fold.


  • The Flurry maneuver has been removed from the book entirely due to balance issues.
  • pg 37 Discipline of the Serpent has been entirely rewritten from the ground up in light of the removal of flurry.
  • pg 122 Precise Strike has been introduced to cover a niche that Flurry had missed; gaining a way to pierce [Resistance] and [Damage reduction], and a way to hit high-AC opponents


  • pg 9 Constitution no longer gives HP per level. This role has been taken over by characters’ KDM which gives HP in much the same way.
  • pg 9 Constitution now gives [Damage reduction] equal to half your Constitution modifier (if positive).
  • pg 91 Constitution  now has a new skill, Vigor.

Classes and Extra Tracks

  • pg 55 Acrobatic Adept has been rewritten from the ground up.
  • pp 54-55 We blew up Demo Man into something clearer and better

Racial Tracks

  • pg 77-78 Demon has been reforged in the fires of the abyss.
  • pg 80 Sentient Construct has gotten an upgrade.
  • pg 81-84 Undead has been killed and re-raised.

Movement Speed per level, and movement modes

  • pg 20 Characters’ movement speed increases by +5 ft at 2nd level and every three levels thereafter. These increases have been added to the table on page 21 as well.
  • pg 38 Discipline of the Crane’s Fast Movement ability has been reduced slightly in light of these changes to +10 ft at 1st circle and +5 ft for every circle afterwards(max +40 ft)
  • pp 119-120 Movement modes have been made to simplify the case of multiple sources of [Flying], [Swimming], etc. Gaining another source of a movement mode you possess instead grants a +10 bonus to movement speed.
  • pg 120 The Burrow movement mode and its associated [Burrowing] condition has been created

Elf revision

  • pg 25 Elves are no longer hilariously weak punching bags

Feat Re-balancing

  • Many of our feats have been clarified in their phrasing and re-balanced.

The [Arcane] property

  • pg 178 A new weapon property has been made to help magic-users catch up on damage

Skill updates

  • pp 89-90 Examples for breaking and escaping bonds have been added to Athletics and Larceny respectively
  • pg 90 The scaling passive bonuses of Athletics has been changed in light of the new movement speed scaling
  • pg 91 Stealth has been revised and (hopefully) simplified in its application

SIze categories

  • pg 23 Clarification has been added as to what being [Tiny] or [Huge] entails

Vision Updates

  • pp 122-123 Line of Sight has been clarified. Vision modes have been edited slightly for the change
  • pg 125 [Blinded] has been revised in light of the Line of Sight fix
  • pg 128 [Invisible] now has a passive, Stealth-like function to help those who have not trained Stealth

Condition Updates

  • pp 128-129 [Paralyzed] and [Petrified] are still nasty, but now allow a save every [Round]


  • pp 141-144 Mooks have been overhauled, and are just a wee bit less like fodder than before. Operatives are now a template on certain mooks that allows them to attune to magic items.
Categories: Company News

Happy Holidays from Rule of Cool

Tue, 12/25/2012 - 05:14

Well, it sure has been a year since Legend‘s previous Christmas, when it was only a month old and still wobbly on its feet. Things have quieted down a bit with the team hunkering down for the last stretch towards 1.0, but we’d like to reward you with a little something for bearing with us. We can’t tell whether you’ve been good little boys and girls or not, because Legend lacks an alignment system, so to cover all the bases, we’ve thrown some coal into your presents.

Categories: Company News

Aunty Paladin Plays Legend!

Thu, 12/20/2012 - 01:17

Want to see Legend in action? Watch Aunty Paladin, the annual RPGs and Kid-Helping Extravaganza play the Osaka Street Stories adventure module! Watch their livestream and lend your support as they raise donations for Child’s Play, which benefits sick children in hospitals. For more information about Aunty Paladin, visit their tumblr.

You can download a version of Osaka Street Stories from the link above and play along in this exhilarating battle against crooked cops, demon snipers, and fearsome exploding ninja yakuza. And stay tuned throughout the week here and at Aunty Paladin for updates!

Categories: Company News

We’ll Do The Monster Mash

Sun, 11/25/2012 - 23:13

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 (8:00 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!


Categories: Company News

Don’t look behind you now…

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 22:37

Legend gives your players a fat stack of powerful, fun abilities that might make them feel invincible. For intrepid heroes like them, clearing out a spooky castle is a daily chore. So what if the locals say it’s haunted? It’s probably just the wind. The chilling howls in the darkness as they approach? It’s just some wolves. The candles in the hallways sputter out one by one? Someone just forgot to replace them. The rogue is missing? He probably just went off to steal some silverware. And then an ear-piercing shriek echoes through the halls, and the fun begins.

Categories: Company News