Over at the Patreon, I’ve been musing about and sharing iterations of my personal hack-and-whack job on Legendary Lives. It took a big jump after the discussion here at Monday Lab: Probable cause, and turned a corner at the dubious moment that I decided all the Imperial characters would have mustaches, yes, all of them. That’s when I went back to the math and derived a new resolution table, which you can find attached.
It’s built on the same principle as the one used in Marvel Super Heroes, in that the chance of basic success is the almost the same – about 30% – throughout the whole range of ability. What differs is how much of the 01-100 range falls on either side of that chunk, and how the chances for very good success expand within the “good” side as you get better. Given a little cursing and erasing, it wasn’t too hard to figure out in principle.
At about the moment I decided to play this thing a little, I also hit upon my unserious title, “Whimsical Ways,” merely as syllabic parallel to the source game’s title and also to highlight my main interest in its virtues. The first video in the playlist is just me introducing some of the features I’ve changed or conceived so that this is its own thing. I don’t plan to publish it in any meaningful form, certainly no commercial form, and will probably eventually make it available as a free homage to the source game. And, I hope, as an example of what numeracy and playful imagination can do as the solid foundations for design as such.
Watching me work through the design steps and play-driven ideas is a big part of being a patron, by the way, for this and for four or five other simultaneous projects. There’s a button about that at the top right.
So, Helma and Noah are the willing participants, and we’ve started play, as also discussed in the first video. They play, respectively, Thirteen, a bedraggled scullion robot who happens to be a Killer, and Theoxxa Agg, a four-footed human-faced carnivore who wields a mean fantasy sword with a magical bone relic built into the hilt (they can use their front feet as hands). They have found common cause in mystic travels and encounters … but the trouble is really spiking right when Theoxxa Agg thinks the discovery-journey is over and has arrived safely back home.
First, there’s what the source game provides with its character creation system, yielding a crazy quilt of events, conflicts, questions, dangers, opportunities, and obsessions for each character. We’ve got that, and although it’s using my completely different array of Races, Types, Abilities, and concepts for things like tech and magic, the same dynamic “WTF … oh!!” process is operating.
Second, there’s what I’ve been thinking about and also discussing somewhere here across several posts and outright brutally at the higher levels of the Patreon – the interactions among Backdrop, Situation, and Setting, as well as the procedural options or methods we have to arrive at “where are we, what’s going on, what do we know, what do we see, what do we want, and OMG what is that?“
In a word, preparation. But that’s a terrible word – it’s not preparation of something Ilike a meal or a movie, but rather preparation of stuff to do. And it’s not done just once; it’s an ongoing activity from thing to thing to thing, as we continue to play.
Anyway, among the plain fun of inspiration and the pleasure of giving homage to Legendary Lives, I hope this game will be a very strong object lesson in this critical aspect of role-playing as such.