Thursday, July 15, 2010

Weapons of Legacy

After an extremely long period of time, I finally finished reading Weapons of Legacy. Honestly, that may be a bit of an exaggeration; I skimmed the last fifty pages kinda quickly.

Weapons of Legacy reads very much like some of the driest, most difficult textbooks I had to wrestle with in college. While the idea is sound, and I actually think I quite like it, it doesn't make for interesting reading at all, and I finally decided that I really didn't need to read all of the menu entries in detail for how to build one from scratch.

The core conceit of the book is that magic items don't need to continually be replaced and updgraded through your career if you can get a "signature" one that grows with your character as he increases in level. In concept, this is a great idea, and one that certainly feels more natural to anyone who's ever read any fantasy fiction.

The bulk of the book was made up of a bunch of sample items, each of which took between two and four pages to describe, including a history, and a sample encounter on where a character might find the item. And, of course, all the rules for powers and abilities that will be unlocked over time.

At first I dove into this happily, but this is where I bogged down. This is probably best seen as a dictionary or encyclopedia; you go to the entry you want to read about, you don't try to read it cover to cover. I quickly found this difficult going and bogged down for months. Don't get me wrong; there are a lot of good ideas here. But maybe too many, almost.

After that there are rules for creating your own weapon of legacy, and this is done in menu fashion. In other words, you pick abilities from a menu and add them as appropriate. There are a number of menus that all are slightly differently balanced, so that you can choose which menu you work off of, but there are different costs and other balance considerations based on which one you use.

Not at all a bad system, but dry, dry, dry.

To be honest with you, I didn't really expect to enjoy this book very much. When I bought it, quite a while ago, I bought it from Amazon with a gift card. I picked two other RPG books, but I had a couple of bucks left, and this was the only book I could find that was priced low enough that I could get it without exceeding my gift card limit. Given the fact that the price had plummetted, and my disdain for magic item catalogs in general, my expectations were very low. I thought the concept (and the execution too) was much better than I expected, and my review of this book and its contents is therefore positive.

However, I don't really recommend just reading it from cover to cover.

I was going to pick up either Stormwrack or Complete Psionic for the next book on my gamebook reading list, but I was browsing at the library last night and on a whim I picked up The Plane Below. Now, this is a Fourth Edition book, and I don't play 4e, nor do I even know very much at all about the rules for 4e. But, I grabbed this book because it looks like it's mostly a fluff book, that explains some of the cosmology and setting associated with the "points of light" game, and I'm interested in it from that perspective. When I review it, I obviously won't be able to comment on the mechanics, and in fact, it's certainly my intention to skip past any mechanical sections of the book entirely and not even look at them.

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