I admit I have a soft spot for slightly arcane games with weird rules sets such as most FGU games, Powers & Perils and Dangerous Journeys to name just a few. So I was naturally curious about Lejendary Adventure and eventually got a copy of the Essentials boxed set.
Let me just tell you about the first impressions:
· It's in a box, clearly. I like boxes and this reminds me of those old BECMI D&D sets. Good times.
· It contains two books, one bound, one stapled: Essentials and Essential Bestiary.
· It also contains two thin, stapled booklets that look as if they were printed on a regular office printer: Bestiary Tables and Treasures
· It comes with a set of polyhedral dice. Nice.
· The Essentials book (which is
where all the rules are) mysteriously doesn't contain a character
sheet nor an index. These omissions can't have been for reasons of
space since the book ends with five blank pages. That seems a bit
amateurish to say the least.
· On page 3 of the treasures booklet, the columns are misaligned so the second column starts above the top-margin. Again, amateurish. Did nobody take a quick glance at the pdf before printing it out? The page headings also unhelpfully claim that this is the Essential Bestiary - I wonder of these pages were supposed to have gone in that book, were accidentally left out and hurriedly printed out on a regular printer and thrown into the box?
· The quality of the artwork is roughly on par with what I'd expect to see in an RPG from 30 years ago. Perversely, this gives me a sort of nostalgic joy.
OK, on with my character:
Since this is a post-D&D Gary Gygax game, nearly every common term is renamed, so I'm not really creating a character: I'm creating an avatar. Anyway, step one in creating an avatar is selecting a race. It gives me the following choices:
Ilf (a dyslexic elf, apparently)
Kobold (not entirely dissimilar to halflings but less goofy)
Oaf, typical (large, brutish humanoids)
Oaf, major (like typical oafs but more so - why would anyone want to play a ”typical oaf”?)
I settle on Kobold.
As a kobold, my character can become invisible at will, make two attacks per ABC (combat round) with a +1d4+1 bonus (I get a 4) to Physique (sweet!), has an innate energy field giving 2 points of armor, has better nightvision and sense of touch than a human, has a natural enchantment power and a bunch of other stuff.
Step two is to distribute 100 points over the three base abilities: Health, Precision and Speed. Speed is on a very different, more compact scale from the other two and is multiplied by four when making checks against it. You'd be a fool not to max it out by the RAW as that will make almost no difference in the number of points you have left for the other two. I'm going to mod the rules a bit here and give myself 130 points instead of 100 but I'll change the cost of Speed to 4:1 since that's what I'd do if I were asking someone else to create a character for this game.
As a kobold, I have the following restrictions on how to use my points:
Health: 40-70, Precision: 20-50, Speed: 10-14
I'm going to choose a good Speed of 13 leaving me with 78 points for Health and Precision. If I put the minimum of 40 points in Health, that leaves me with a Precision score of 38 - not terribly impressive but at least he's fast.
However, I'm not done with my attributes (which the system calls Base Ratings) yet: I also get random increases to them based on my race.
As kobold I get:
+2d6+2 to Health (I roll a 6 and a 2 so that's +10)
+1d12+2 to Precision (I roll a 7 so that's +9)
+1d4 half-points +2 points to Speed (I roll a 2 so that's +3)
So my Base Ratings are now: Health 50, Precision 47, Speed 16
Step 3 is to jot down the required ability selections for my race. You get to select 4-5 abilities from 1st to nth in order of priority, but non-human races are required to select certain abilities at certain priorities.
For a kobold, this means:
Evaluation 4th (this deals with evaluating the feelings and intents of people and creatures - it's not appraisal of objects which is part of Commerce)
That means all I get to choose are my 1st and 5th abilities. All avatars also get a sixth ability which must be Weapons unless Weapons has already been chosen as one of the first five in which case you're free to choose whicehever ability you like.
I'll take Swashbuckling 1st and Weapons 5th. For 6th, I'll take Physique.
Each Ability is rated as a percentage of one of my Base Ratings, however, selecting the Abilities also gives bonuses to Base Ratings so I have to first check what bonuses I get.
Swashbuckling gives me +1 to Health and Precision and +0.25 to Speed
Stealth gives +2 to Precision
Commerce gives +2 to Health
Evaluation gives +2 to Health
Weapons gives +2 to Precision
I don't think you get anything from the 6th Ability
This results in the following new Base Ratings:
Health 55, Precision 52, Speed 16.25
This gives the following Ability Scores:
Swashbuckling (100% of (Health+Precision+Speed X 4)/3): 57%
Stealth (90% of Precision): 47%
Commerce (80% of Health): 44%
Evaluation (70% of Health): 39%
Weapons (60% of Precision): 31%
Physique at 10%
I need to determine equipment too. This is done by selecting picks from lists based on your abilities. There are two methods given for determining initial equipment for non-human characters. Without going into detail on the two methods, let me just say that I choose Method 1.
This means I get 5 picks for each of my selected Abilities, 3 for each of my racially mandated Abilities and 1 roll on the Special Table.
I'll start with the roll on the Special Table. I roll a d1o and get an 8 which means I get to pick something from a list of my choice.
I'm at a loss, frankly, for what to take, so I just choose 25,000$ in coin of the realm from the High List.
I get to make another 5 items from each of the Middle and Military lists for my Swashbuckling and Weaponry abilities respectively and pick:
dagger, long with sheath
dagger, short with sheath
salve, wound healing (-50% Health recovery time), 7-application jar
clothing, good suit, dark, with hat
cloak, colorful, with hood
sword, cutting, curved, with scabbard
backpack, pouch, belt, pair, and shoulder pouch with sling, all leather
bow case, quiver and 12 arrows
Aaaand as if all that crap wasn't enough, Stealth, Commerce and Evaluation let me select 3 items each from the Low, High and Middle lists respectively. I pick:
armor, cloth, half garment
canteen, water gourd one quart, with
bread and cheese for one person for four days
poison antidote, 1-dose bottle
knife, concealed (why does concealing the dagger make it a ”High” item?)
clothing, fine suit, colorful, with boots, low, soft-soled and hat
flute and mandolin (my character can't play them but I'm running out of stuff to select...)
Another 1,000$ in coin of the realm
arrows, sheaf of 24
I need to name my Kobold too. I think I'll name him Kroysos. His background is that he got bored with sedentary life and decided to go adventuring bringing with him a large selection of stuff so that any bandits that might rob him would feel it was worth the effort.