By Deren Ozturk
“By the end of any great quest the heroes will be exhausted, surviving off their strength, wit, and the grace of their now battered and broken equipment. But they will nonetheless be triumphant with many a thrilling tale to tell!” —Dearbhla Dye, Pen Draig Bard
In this blog post we’ll outline the Legends of Avallen core rule system and how it does away with HP to draw focus on what is actually happening to your character.
Designed to be quick to pick up by anyone, the Legends of Avallen game rules are introduced gradually as your character advances, later opening up new lines of strategy and deeper interactions for RPG veterans to master.
Legends of Avallen uses just a deck of regular ol’ playing cards. When taking a risky action, players flip a card from the top of the deck hoping it will match the colour—or better, the suit!—of their character’s attribute. Flipping a court card, ace, or joker will help you get a critical success, or a critical failure if it doesn’t match.
Players that make the most of their surroundings, narrative elements, and set up team plays gain advantages (more cards to flip!) while failure leads to interesting decisions instead of the end of play. The Legends of Avallen system was designed to push gameplay away from the rules and into the players’ imagination, emphasising creativity, teamwork, and resourcefulness.
Pushing to the Limit
Often when faced with failure, you’ll accept it and take an Edge. An Edge is a face down card representing progress despite failure that you can cash in for an advantage later. However, in dire circumstances you can refuse to fail, push yourself or your equipment to the limit, and force a success. When you Exert your equipment this way, it becomes broken and cannot be used until repaired. Whereas if you Exert yourself you cannot do so again until you take a short rest and consume a supply. Supply is a limited, catch-all resource in Legends of Avallen needed for journeys, resting, and crafting.
The Exertion mechanic is used defensively too—dodge a lethal attack at the last moment or break your shield against it. This is how Legends of Avallen does away with HP and instead ties your character’s survivability to what is actually happening to them.
Imagine you and your allies made a steep climb to a draig’s layer. You exerted yourself when a handhold suddenly came loose. At the top you met the fearsome beast and chose to fracture your magical focus to bend a powerful spell to your will. In response, the draig ripped a gash through your chainmail. If struck again, you’ll surely be wounded, sending you dangerously close to death’s doorstep.
This emphasis on player decision and narrative-focussed play is borne out with the draig’s key attack as well—it will give a tell before it wreathes flames from its gaping mouth. When it does, what do you do? Seek cover? Hunker down behind your ally’s shield? Or draw daggers to grapple onto the draig’s back, risking your life?
Picking Foes Apart
The same defensive rule applies to foes as well. Each meaningful hit you land will take something away from them until they have no options left. Know though that extraordinary creatures, like the draig, can have exceptionally tough defenses. Rather than everyone individually chipping away at it in futility, it is better to work together to set up advantages for one critical strike, tearing through the beast's wing to stop it flying, or through it’s gullet to prevent its terrible flaming breath.
After you’ve barely survived its onslaught and used your teamwork to pick apart its defenses, don’t forget to take trophies. Collect its scales, teeth, and alchemical sacs so you can craft potions, cloaks, weapons, and armours imbued with its fiery nature.
How will you forge your legend? Order Legends of Avallen today!