Legacy Tuesdays!

So it’s gonna be all Legacy all the time around here. Unsub now or forever hold your peace.

Tonight is our first full session of Legacy. Pretty stoked! Jonathan Perrine and I spent some of the morning poring over the minutiae of the moves, specifically how you move back and forth between family and character moves.

I’m relieved to find that it’s actually not that hard to use both move sets! I remember this being a question in my thread last week. The short, better answer than what I said then is, looks like you can step “up” to family moves without formally and fully “zooming out.” It can be like… an interstitial kind of scene. I dig that, and I’m glad we didn’t attempt these kinds of narrative gymnastics on our first session.

One thing I’ve been chewing on a lot is finding the right balance of character-level play and family-level play. I feel like staying up at the family level is kind of too strategic — specifically, I worry that my strategy game fans will want to play at that level and forget about their characters.

Last session, we basically had a very small little “so this is what your world is like” session. They saw the three major families, we saw the gothic monster threat (vampires in this case), and discovered there are opportunities to explore lost underground facilities (where the vampires are). That could be a freestanding thing, yeah? Almost a prequel type scene. Or we can stick to what’s going on, maybe pop back up to the family level to figure out what’s going on, and then get back into the action we left last session. It’s an open question and I’m looking forward to hearing what the players want to do with it.

In any case, I really don’t want this first age to last past tonight. I feel like seeing the passage of time is the secret sauce of Legacy. So I think I’m gonna nudge them toward wrapping up whatever they’re doing so we can advance the setting a bit.

Other stuff I discovered on my reread:

* I really dig the “zoom out” move. Basically it’s a consolation prize for everyone who played a quick character: your own family/character gets to advance a bit when they’re off-screen. That’s terrific, I love it. Makes me want to experiment with the quick character rules tonight, in fact. So maybe that’s where I’ll go: let’s focus on one family and really put this game through its paces.

* Some of the move triggers are kind of hinky and not-PbtA-ish, due to the scale at which things are both triggered and resolved. My eyes keep looking for narrow fictional triggers and that isn’t how moves are written in Legacy. It’s fine, just different.

* One move set in particular I’m tripping over is how Role moves are written. They have kind of … two triggers, because they do two things. One is triggered at character creation, to get the ball rolling on character-centered action for your family. So stuff like how the Rebel role on the Scavenger playbook is about how you think your family is hoarding stuff to the detriment of someone else. Get on that, rebel!

But the other thing Roles are there for is advancement. But advancement isn’t, you know, a thing you chase hard in Legacy. Basically when you’ve seen your way through your role’s purpose — the Elder learning something that shakes their view of the world, when they’re a Rebel; the Hunter taking on a mission to hunt down a dangerous target, when they’re an Agent — then you mark it, advance, and move on to a new Role. Actually there are several ways to mark your Role and they’re scattered throughout the book. It’s an editing thing I wish were tighter, so thank goodness for PDF searches.

Oh and while I wrote this I ran into one more: marking roles is descriptive and prescriptive! If you do the Leader thing while you’re an Outsider, you mark Leader! That’s interesting. Lots of load to stay on top of.

I would say a major feature of Legacy is that there are just too damned many moves for a GM to stay on top of. It’s daunting. I wouldn’t play with players who weren’t good at closely watching their own move sets looking for triggers.

More tomorrow, after we’ve played.

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  • Paul Beakley

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