Saturday, October 30, 2010

So What’s Legend Quest

New readers of this blog may be wondering what this Legend Quest thing is we keep talking about. Legend Quest is a high fantasy, pen and paper RPG published in the early 90s. We have been maintaining and updating the system the entire time, not that it needed much tweaking. LQ uses a simple rule: Attribute x 10% + Skill Level x5% = % Chance of Success. While this might sound overly simplistic, it is the consistency of this rule that makes the game hugely dynamic. By applying the base CoS (“chance of success”) rule, the GM can determine what the chances of nearly anything are. In most games, when a player wants to swing from the chandelier, grab the crown off the king’s head, and land on the narrow window ledge, the GM is at a loss for what chance such a thing has. Not in LQ, that’s simply three CoS tasks.
A couple of other points - There is bleeding damage, so if you get knocked around, you want some healing magic or first aid, before you keel over. Armor wearing requires skill, and it blocks damage. More strength does more damage with a weapon, but every weapon has a top end. Magic makes you more tired, so there’s none of this loss of memory stuff. The game is intended to keep the thresholds to a minimum. There isn’t a point at which suddenly some character automatically gets a new power. But there are no classes either. It’s a point based character creation, and you can make any type of character you want! Forget those rules about who can and cannot use healing magic -anyone willing to train in it (by spending experience) can use it.
The bad guys are different too. Each monster is created similarly to the player characters. Our best example has always been three tigers used in a jungle adventure. One was a stealthy stalker who attacked from surprise. Another was an almost berserk attacker who pounced first and attacked violently with its bite. The third (and last) was more of a bluffer. He had an incredibly intimidating roar, but not a whole lot to back it up. Needless to say, after the first two, they avoided the third, risking natural dangers like quicksand and snakes rather than encounter another tiger.
Bottom line: If you want a complicated melee system, with no role-playing, find a different system. Legend Quest is set up to make melee, range, magic, stealth, and social skills all fairly equally important, though clearly not at the same time. It is a true role-playing game, and not just a way to handle magical battles. We hope you’ll check it out!
Legend Quest on e23. Legend Quest on RPG Now.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Merchant War in Forsbury

There is a merchant war brewing in Forsbury. Since most people do not know much about Forsbury or how their merchant wars go, let’s lay out some of the chief players:
The Fist of Forsbury - The top five cartels in the city, allied against all external forces (loosely allied)
The Masterhill Cartel - Second generation cartel dealing mainly in standard goods desired by the largest number of people. Run by Yemour (the bad cop - the manager and tyrant) and his brother Herlol (the good cop - salesman and smoother). One of the largest land based cartels in the world when judged by volume of goods.
The Davvissen Cartel - Founded by the current owner, Caitlin Davvissen. Caitlin has an advantage as she has recently become the Baroness of Forsbury. Caitlin is a former adventurer (termed by some an “assassin”) who set up a major ivory harvesting operation and used it to fund her start-up cartel. She specializes in high end goods for the wealthy.
The Frumpt Cartel - Freddy Frumpt is a slave trader descended from slave traders in Garnock. He relies on his aristocratic manner and his large army to maintain his safety and alliances.
The Polnoska Cartel - The oldest cartel in Forsbury. They focus their efforts on the shipping of foodstuffs, including their own manufactured sausages and other preserved meats.
Travelers’ Cartel - not as much a wholesaler like the others, Travelers focuses on moving people across the continent with carriages and coaches. Run by Seddy Buxxing, Travelers also focuses on entertainment venues in various cities. Travelers is in many ways the outsider among the Fist of Forsbury due both to his different business and his frequently underhanded business dealings.

The Competine Merchant House - This cartel is run mainly from Brinston but has offices in Nanerette and Forsbury. The accusation is that the Competines hired bandits to attack a Masterhill caravan. Zeleid Competine runs the cartel from Brinston, but has placed his only son Zeke (actually Ezekiel) in Forsbury to run things there. Zeke is the one accused of hiring the bandits. Both are known as ruthless business men.

The situation - The Masterhills bid higher than the Competines to buy some porcelain goods from a factory near Parnania. This is a standard Forsbury tactic - overbid to win the business then later on, lower the price paid once the producer feels they have no other alternatives. While carrying its first shipment, the small caravan (only four wagons and about 13 men) was attacked by seven bandits. While seven against thirteen may seem like bad odds, the bandits were overly confident in their leader, a fireball wielding mage. After the first fireball exploded, the Masterhill snipers knew exactly who they needed to kill and fast! Meanwhile the Masterhill wizard (hey! no fair you having a mage too!) opened up with thunderclaps. The Masterhills made short work of the bandits, capturing five (though the crossbow bolt peppered mage was beyond hope). Fortunately, the Masterhill wizard was also able to cast some healing and no Masterhill guards were lost. The surviving bandits swear they were hired by Zeke, at least that’s what the dead mage said. Was Zeke really such a sore loser that he would attempt to arrange this attack? Is he such a bad tactician that he fumbled it so thoroughly? Is he acting alone or is this the opening salvo in a major Brinston vs. Forsbury merchant war?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Emotion of Wishes

We’re usually not emotional while blogging, at least we don’t start that way. This is different. Board Enterprises has been in business for closing on 20 years now, and with the e-publishing of Book of Wishes, it feels like we’re finally “back in business”. Hey, we’ve made really good money with Grain Into Gold and some of the other generic supplements, but having both Legend Quest and Book of Wishes available on line means our system is out there and available again. It’s not just that the core rule book and most popular rules supplement are available - This blog has shown that Legend Quest isn’t a stagnant system, but is living and breathing with rules explanations and options. We’re not resting either. More like basking with pride. OK, that’s done, time to get back to work. more “100s” coming out soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I love ruins. I know; they can be cliché, but I love ‘em. It comes from actually having read Jungle Book and Tarzan and the City of Opar. Whether it’s a ruined temple with a vault of incredible wealth in the basement or a vast deserted city filled with minor clues as to what really happened to the mighty inhabitants. I guess it’s because I think it’s a lot more plausible that people would wander around in a massive ruined city than they would find an underground dungeon stocked with monsters. (Sorry if I’m being a buzz kill.)
How much do I like them? An entire continent on Fletnern is now a ruin filled archipelago. I wasn’t satisfied with a ruined city, I needed a ruined continent. The biggest adventure setting I ever made? The ruined city of Ballogfar - Capital of the Goblin Empire. Ballogfar was actually a fairly well constructed idea. I wanted a big ruined city - but what to fill it with? Avoiding the whole Shangri-La idea of a lost city filled with people, I wanted a true ruin. So the only thing that survives for 1,000 years is undead. Of course, I could have gone for the whole animals moved into it, but that wasn’t the spooky ruin vibe I wanted. So what happened? Well, the ogres, orcs and goblins lived together in a caste system, but then the orcs and goblins rebelled against the ogres. That seems logical. So the ogres pressed on with some goblin slaves and a force of crafted undead slaves. That too seemed reasonable. But having an army of zombies walking around eventually bred a plague within the city, wiping out most of the ogre population and most anyone who wandered into the city. This justifies the massive size of the city (it once housed tens of thousands of goblins, orcs and ogres) as well as the reasons it hadn’t been found (those who found it were dead of the plague before they could return to civilization).
Of course, you don’t need that massive size - a ruined temple works great! Religious folks built a temple and a small village around it. The temple is probably stone or brick, while the homes were wood. When the neighboring cult wipes out this cult, their temple is seen as taboo. One hundred years later, the jungle has swallowed the village and nothing remains, except the temple, now filled with snakes and that one fabulous treasure that served as a embodiment of their god. (Don’t tell the adventurers that the jewel is cursed - they’ll figure that out later!)

Friday, October 1, 2010


I’m working on a book concerning the nobility of one of the core regions of Fletnern. The idea is to present a very large number of nobles and their employees - but present them as personalities, not as game statistics. More - The hope is to present this same group of people as two completely different styles of government, showing that you can take personality driven characters and add them to any game world or game system. A lot of these characters I “know”, because I use them a lot. While writing, it is becoming clear to me that they will be seen as “evil”.
Let’s take the top dog, Edward Highell-Forsbury. He is coming off as a laissez faire, philanderer with little concern for his citizens who see him as a “hanging judge”. So I need to rewrite him. He is in fact a very complex character. He is himself a business man, one of the largest cattle ranchers in the world. He is also one of the most powerful political figures for hundreds of miles in any direction. It is true that his morals would be considered incredibly low by most Americans, but are pretty much on par with Hollywood, except for the fact that he actually likes his wife. He also has a sense of duty, not to any individual subject, but to his subjects as a whole. He has twice risked his own life in wars to defend his allies (truly defending the region as his lands would have eventually been at peril as well). He did this out of his sense of duty, an honor code that he follows begrudgingly. He uses his political connections to advance his business dealings, but typically as a means of defeating rivals and not as a means of bilking his customers. He’s not a nice guy, but is he evil?
Let’s take a different example. Take a business man who has amassed a fortune through intelligent business deals, peppered with insider knowledge and political contacts. So far it seems the same, right? But this guy isn’t a nobleman. He’s not using his contacts, but instead bribing high and low level political figures to change the laws to benefit him. Once he’s really wealthy, he starts to change the game. When his fortunes turn, he uses his amassed fortune to bribe and extort those political figures into raising taxes in order to enable him to recover his losses - losses that had nothing to do with the tax paying subjects. He then goes on to begin what can only be termed a marketing campaign to convince the poor farmers who are paying the higher taxes that their crops are being taken in order to save the kingdom, when in fact they’re only being used to prop up his bad business deals. I think this is evil.
Our first nobleman played by different rules than his subjects. He had every advantage and made use of them. But he was still willing to do what needed to be done to preserve the lives and livelihoods of his subjects. The second guy (who I hope you see represents a few current people, who’s names I will give you if you really want) is really the selfish one. While he too plays by different rules, he has no concern whatsoever for the commoner, and honestly believes that preserving his wealth is the “greater good”. The problem is I don’t know if I’m dealing with an actual difference or just a difference of degree.