“She, low-born waif, named after an empress
She, fled, but found, in new lands by old laws
She, sentenced to die—but, instead, impressed
In battle, her stage, inspiring awe.
Zoe, Circo’s Victress, unfelled by man
She seeks stranger foes enthroned in veiled lands.”
In this blog post we’ll introduce what kinds of characters you play in Legends of Avallen, and how they evolve through their character arc.
Legends of Avallen begins from the very start of your character’s story: You're an ordinary townsperson looking for an excuse to adventure. From those humble origins, you will quest out into Avallen, growing both in character and in power as you choose your Legendary Path.
Following this pattern of growth, many of the most important decisions you make for your character come later in the game. But that’s not to say character creation isn’t important either. Creating a character has three major parts. First select your starting Profession school, the job by which your humble townsperson makes a living. Then determine your score in four attributes—Vigour, Agility, Wit, and Spirit. Finally, choose personal aspects—your character’s motivation, virtue, and flaw. That’s it! You’re ready to play.
Your character will start with very little: the basic skill their Profession grants them and a pouch of coppers to their name. But as they venture across Avallen and have a hand in solving local problems, they’ll come to learn new talents. From their Profession school, a character will go on to select one of four base Classes, with each granting five magic or martial schools of abilities to learn from.
With your adventure rising to more epic heights, so will your character’s abilities. As they begin to make a name for themselves across the island, you choose to walk one of the ten Legendary Paths, such as the Druid or Gladiator. These Paths offer even more powerful, specialised talents that will change how you approach the game both in and out of conflict.
In fact, if you wish to begin a heroic campaign about a roaming band of Vallic nobles (called a fianna) or a darker one about an elite unit of imperial agents tasked to root out cults within this newly acquired province of the empire, then you can do just that by creating characters who start at a higher tier of play.
Through the tales they weave, your character will grow and change following a character arc with periods of Resolve, Descent, Transformation, and Recognition. This system is very much inspired by Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” and is intertwined with your character’s personal aspects chosen during character creation.
Your personal aspects aren’t just guides for roleplaying in Legends of Avallen but are integral to the game as well. During social encounters, if you play your cards right, your personality can help you get on swimmingly with a like-minded NPC; or if you have a poor read, rub one the wrong way. But once you commit to the life of an adventurer, your aspects also fuel a powerful resource called your Resolve, which can be spent to turn fate in a crucial moment. Your Resolve is not restored through rest or repairs; instead, it must be earnt by using your virtue or motivation for good to overcome a Burden, which is gained while enacting your flaw. In this way your character constantly wrestles between their flaw and virtue.
As you first come to grips with your legendary powers, your character enters the period of Descent, where overcoming a Burden will grant you less Resolve, encouraging you to flirt with your flaw more frequently. Once you reach the other side, you enter Transformation, the Resolve mechanic returns to as it was, and you have the opportunity to re-select one of your personal aspects if you feel your character has been changed by your adventures. Lastly, at the apex of your character’s legend you enter the period of Recognition, where you come to terms with who they really are. You cement them as either a true hero of Virtues or an anti-hero of Flaws, bringing your character arc to its conclusion.