Legend of the Elements: 1/5 Character Creation

Legend of the Elements and Avatar

I recently got my kickstarted copy of Legend of the Elements, a Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) version of the Avatar: the Last Airbender franchise of graphic novels and shows.

Because the daughter and wife got very into that story a year+ back, I was hoping this would serve as a good RPG to test run.

The Wife, The Daughter, and RPGs

The wife has already played in a few sessions of a Savage Worlds fantasy game I ran for some friends a few years back, but that petered out long ago. Also, she wasn't too enthused by the game mechanics and elements of the story, so her RPG experience is currently rated as "meh".

The daughter has played in a few RPGs thus far, which includes my Lego-themed games from the last 2 years, and a few RPGs at the local Startegicon and Girl Gamer Gathering game conventions. Trying to play RPGs with her one-on-one has thus far failed in that she wants pretty much total narrative control. This means it can be fun to play "story", but less so any formalized role-playing game. GM-in-the-making? Maybe.

Anyways, we had a free time slot, and instead of plunging into a board game (the usual endeavor), I pitched this RPG, and we sat down for a little bit of character creation.

A fifth of character creation

First, they had a look at the playbooks, of which this RPG has a great variety of very thematic ones. All four of the traditional "benders" (known as "shapers") from the shows are available: Watershaper, Airshaper, Earthshaper, and Fireshaper. There is also a Spiritshaper, and a set of other cool characters choices: The Warrior, The Monk, The Peasant, and so on.

The daughter chose the Spiritshaper, and the wife chose the Peasant. Although the wife already had that look of impatience in regards to the character creation, she's never really had an experience with the PbtA playbooks. After they chose certain looks (that part of the sheet where you describe your eyes, or clothes), which mechanically are irrelevant, I would ask them questions about it, as is great practice with PbtA. "Strange eyes... what do people find weird about your eyes?" Before long the both of them were enjoying the process. For example, my daughter's character "Willow" (a favorite name of hers, I've noticed) has eyes with swirling purple clouds. 

We spent about 10 minutes just fleshing out these initial details, and they seems to dig it, but that's about where we ended it.

My plan was to run them through one of the sample adventures. The book comes with two: The Red Mountain (a quest about seeking a guru), and Festival of the Four (a quest about tension at a yearly celebration), both of which are just skeletons of quests that comes with leading questions that use the player's answers to frame the scene.

Overall I'm liking how the game is looking, and it definitely appears to emulate the style of the show very well. Up to the fact that there aren't even really mechanics for traditional RPG attrition / damage (such as hit points). Instead there is a use of Tags that can cause a PC to go through Mild to Medium to Severe states, which are increasingly precarious positions. For adversaries, there is no such set of tags, so it's really very narrative driven. Although this won't work well for any min-maxer among you, it's perfect for those interested in the story first and foremost, and especially for creating kid-friendly games. It's the latter that I'd like to experiment with this system.

More another day...