Tempered Legacy is a side-project that my wife and I have been working on for several weeks. While Lauren has always been a huge supporter of my nonsense, this was the first time we collaborated on something.
Here is a peek at some of the ideas behind the creation of Tempered Legacy, and our ongoing plans for it.
I’ve written about Duet Gaming before. As I mentioned in that article we have had mixed success playing Dungeons and Dragons-ish RPGs together. A few obstacles present themselves when you try to run a Duet Game:
Difficulty. We tend to think of combat difficulty, however most adventures are written assuming 3-5 players will be working together. A group of characters sharing supplies, brainstorming ideas, flanking enemies, and bring their unique skills and talents to benefit everyone in the group.
With a single Player Character, I (as the GM) have to be a lot more flexible when she encounters an unexpectedly difficult obstacle.
Torches are the simplest example. If each member of the party carries 5 torches, then you might have DAYS worth of light to explore a dark dungeon. But if a single character tried to carry that many torches they wouldn’t have room for anything else!
It can make that single player feel overwhelmed and frustrated, leading to…
Hurt Feelings. In my earlier post about Duet Games, I stressed that the relationship is more important than the game. But it’s hard to avoid hurting the player’s feelings when the odds are stacked against them.
Consequences are an important part of the game. If Lauren lights the oil pit on fire and is caught in the flames, her character SHOULD die. If things are too easy then there’s no challenge, no risk.
But if things are too punishing than it’s not any fun; not for the player, and not for the GM. What we needed was a way to preserve that challenge while taking away some of the stings of death.
Making Death Fun
Photo by Marius Christensen on Unsplash
With the right group, character death can be fun. A beer and pretzels game where you all tried your best, but your half-dwarf thief didn’t make that final jump. It’s a shame, but the rest of your group is still having fun and you can laugh it off, make a new character, and press on.
But when a duet player character dies, that’s it. The adventure is over. Their new character could start back at the beginning, but that’s no fun.
So we came up with Tempered Legacy as a way to make death fun. It also had the added benefit of making characters a bit stronger than normal and it provides an alternative path for advancement. Even if a character doesn’t live long enough to level up, the player still gets a sense of accomplishment and progress.
And I think we succeeded wildly! With Tempered Legacy death really is fun; an opportunity to refine your weapon with new pieces and build it stronger for your next character.
Of course the framework plays great with a group as well, but initially it was built so she and I could play those old-school dungeons together.
Lauren and I debated about releasing a PDF or a book of some kind. But we decided to package it up with some cool random generators and lean hard into the rogue tradition of digital randomness.
So Tempered Legacy is hosted on my website and will be hosted there forever. I’m extremely curious about how well this will work, in the long run. Does this format have legs?
We’ve all seen how successful blogs have been for developing ideas and engaging with the community. But blogs are TERRIBLE for organizing information in a cohesive way.
“Anyone remember that guy who once wrote that list of coconut-based weapons? Who wrote that, and what blog post was it on which website?”
Likewise, books/PDF are terrible for handling shifting rulesets or connecting to external tools and sources. Ever had to do a bunch of googling to find character sheets for your favorite game? Or seen a dead link in an old print book?
We wanted Tempered Legacy to be closely tied to the generators we wrote for it. Generators we plan to expand and add to over the next few months.
I put in a lot of time and effort to make sure the generators and rules look good on desktop or mobile, to make them as easy and useful as possible.
All of this is to say that I’m curious to see how popular this format will be. Will people bookmark this on their phone an use it to run games? Or will it be treated like another blog post; enjoyed but lost among the detritus online.
A Bright Future
Lauren and I are not done with Tempered Legacy. We have so many ideas:
- more temperaments
- more spells
- more histories
- adventure/modules specifically for the rogue-like format
- Randomly generated dungeons like Ynn?
- What else? (let us know in the comments below!)
Thanks for reading, and let me know if you take Tempered Legacy for a spin!
P.S. Now that Tempered Legacy is complete David is going to focus more on Bone Marshes and the occasional blog post. But Lauren will probably keep brainstorming about Tempered Legacy stuff and do her own thing.