Monday, February 25, 2019

First Thoughts on Tempered Legacy

David Schirduan released a great new game on his website called Tempered Legacy. I thought the concept was really neat and I had enough thoughts about it that I wanted to make a post.

TL:DR it's great and free and you should go check it out!

The Concept

The "framework" that the rules layout are about as straightforward as can be: you are a magic weapon. You are held by a unique wielder. If your wielder dies (which, assuming regular OSR lethality, is to be expected sooner rather than later), then you inherit something from them: Either their History (which work like skill tags and let you do things), their Temperament (which represents their personality but also have some unique mechanical benefit) or their Spell (if they have one). You then get picked up by another wielder and continue the adventure, or switch to a different one entirely depending on how much time has passed and the whims of the player/GM.

Accompanying the game is a set of very neat little random generators which generate Wielders and Weapons. The generators assume a Knave ruleset but are broad enough that they could be tacked onto pretty much any ttrpg with a little tweaking.

Some Thoughts

  • I love the implementation of a "roguelike" framework here. The rules are very light and scream "Hack Me!" I'm also very eager to see how it holds up for "duet" style play since David calls out the game as "working surprisingly well" for that type of game.

  • The advancement mechanic is very interesting; you are always forced to take something from a wielder if they die and only have 5 "slots", so as written the "weapon" seems like it hits a wall pretty quickly. 

  • I would personally add in some sort of ability advancement involving gaining some more traditional weapon abilities. Something that lets you advance in a more traditional method and make use of all those +1 weapons and their equivalents. Maybe the weapons can eat gold or other magic weapons to gain new abilities or something.

  • Something I considered was to make the weapon able to hold 6 things, but then instead of choosing what to give up you just rolled a d6 (still getting to decide which thing to inherit from the dead wielder, just not what slot it goes into). This method would trade out what I imagine might be some interesting roleplaying bits as the weapon agonizes over which wielder part they "forget" but also keeps a weapon from min-maxing 

  • Out of the "Health and Hirelings" section, I think I like the "Health Pool" option the best. It strikes a good balance of resource tracking and staying in the fight. The hirelings option might work for me with some sort of randomizer tool, like a given party has "1d4-1" hirelings generated about the same way as characters. Right now I'd probably run some variation of "Health Pool" with everyone at the table tracking their hit points individually, and taking Emmy Allen's "Horrible Wounds" when they hit zero. That way TPK's are a bit more rare but when they happen, all the weapons are affected equally. Also, lasting consequences of fights means that even if you don't all die, your wielders will likely become less effective over time.

  • While I love the generators and they let you pick up and play a game super quick, I would personally include a light weapon-creation element if I were to run this since you'll keep your weapon forever (unlike your Wielder). Having different tables with broad weapon types might be a good compromise, with options for "ranged", "swords", "knives" etc. I can also picture "themed" games where everyone get's a variety of muskets or exotic weapon types from different areas of the world. I wanna play a tetsubo in a samurai themed game

  • The "passage of time" is a good framework but feels a little out of place without more context. I'd probably run a variant rule of: "When your group of Wielders all perish, roll 1d100. That's how many years have passed before you are picked up again". Alternatively you can just move to a different area/dungeon if the players are through which is pretty neat.

None of these are really meant to be broad suggestions, just more scattered thoughts I had that show how hackable the game is and all the different dials you can tweak.


Also, here's some random "plot hooks" I had for games, since some players of mine might have a harder time coming up with goals for a hunk of sentient metal.

  • The Legendary Shards: You/your fellow weapons are the "descendants" forged from pieces of a legendary weapon such as Excalibur or Blackrazor. You long to make a name for yourself, either earning legends for your own right or claiming the mantle of your "forebear". Many other sentient weapons made from these shards exist, and they will actively seek out and oppose you as they attempt to steal your power for themselves so they may ascend to legendary status.
  • The Guardian Blades: You were pulled from a stone, granted by a Lady of the Lake, or forged by no hand of man or elf. While you are free to pursue your own desires, your purpose is to defend a given land or nation from invaders and evil, from within and without. Should you find yourself in a far-away land or refuse to defend your home, it will inevitably fall to foreign invaders or other dark influences.
  • The Haunted: This one would only work for more dedicated games and I'd only do it with players I know or had played with before. Tell your players to make characters together in a setting of your choice, but dont specify what system you'll be playing. Try and get them to fill out as much detail as you can about their characters background. Then have the game fade in from black and tell each player that they are conscious, but unable to move. They feel cold, and then they feel a hand grasping around their "throat?" ("handle? You don't have a handle? or is it more like a ...hilt??"). They are the characters they made, but after suffering a TPK and possessing the weapons they held. The campaign revolves around them coming to turns with their unlife, possibly seeking resurrection or otherwise trying to finish whatever unfinished business their character had in life. You could also turn it into a "whodunnit?" mystery if they don't remember how they died.
  • Mammon's Collectors:  You work for a greedy demon or otherworldly entity. You are a warlock's blade, granted to agents of your dark master in return for a portion of their treasure ("and of course, their soul, but when has that been of any use?"). You don't remember your past and may decide to attempt to overthrow your boss after amassing enough power. Everyone who inherits or finds you will always be someone who has made a pact with your master. 


  1. This is great! Thanks for taking the time to read TL and post your thoughts. These are great ideas!

  2. That above comment was from me on a library computer, lol. whoops!