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Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game is a tabletop roleplaying game produced by Magpie Games and set in the Avatar world, in which players roleplay as heroes from the four nations. A Kickstarter was launched on August 3, 2021, to serve as a pre-order mechanism, and ran until September 2, 2021, raising over $9.5 million and making it the most successful Kickstarter campaign for a tabletop roleplaying game.[5][6][7] The game is lead designed by Brendan Conway and built on the Powered by the Apocalypse framework.

The Quickstart for the game was released free of charge on July 12, 2021, containing rules for character generation, storytelling systems, and a pre-generated campaign, The Forbidden Scroll.[8] The digital version of the game's Core Book was released in batches beginning on February 24, 2022, with additional content gradually following afterward.[1][2] Physical products started being shipped in December 2022 for Kickstarter backers[3][9] and later released on January 25, 2023 for the public.[4]

Overview[]

Join your friends in a unique opportunity to return to a beloved setting - this time as the heroes of the story! Rising to meet their destiny, players will make characters using playbooks - templates that help players build and play compelling protagonists in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.

In Avatar Legends: The RPG, you and your friends might protect local merchants from the Triple Threat Triad in Republic City, travel through a spirit portal to rescue a child taken into the Spirit World, negotiate peace between feuding communities in the Earth Kingdom, or pursue mysteries (or villains) that arise throughout their adventures![10]

Description[]

In this roleplaying tabletop game, players can create their own characters using playbooks, templates based on different archetypes of life experiences and exemplifying various playstyles. Players can also choose between playing as benders, martial artists, or technological savants, regardless of the playbook they choose. Led by a gamemaster (GM), players roleplay as their characters in one of five eras, fighting to "protect the world from harmful threats" while also trying to "find balance within [themselves]".[8][11] Storytelling in the game is structured like the television shows, with individual play sessions corresponding to episodes that together form overarching seasons.[12]

Books[]

Book Release date Additional notes
Quickstart July 12, 2021 Free, limited rulebook
Core Book February 24, 2022 (digital)[13] Main rulebook
Wan Shi Tong's Adventure Guide March 17, 2022[13][14] Supplement book
Starter Set[15] Q1 2023 Rule booklet and adventure booklet
An Urgent Request May 12, 2023[16] Playable standalone adventure
Republic City July 26, 2023 Supplement book
Rebels & Refugees June 22, 2024[17] Playable standalone adventure
Uncle Iroh's Adventure Guide September 2024[18] Supplement book
The Spirit World TBD; originally planned for February 2023[19] Supplement book

The Eras[]

The cover features a dark room lit by a blazing fire at the far end which is surrounding a large golden throne. In the corner is an image of man wearing elaborate robes, a large golden headpiece affixed within his top-knot.

Instead of focusing on a particular Avatar, Ash & Steel is set during the Hundred Year War.

The RPG is designed to be played in five possible eras, each tied to the span of a particular Avatar's life (besides the Hundred Year War era) and focusing on distinct themes which define the type of game that can be played:

The Core Book includes a setting chapter with over 50 pages of information about the eras, including characters and plot hooks for each. The new lore for the game was created with the help of Avatar Studios, with Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino especially involved in regards to the new material on Roku's lifetime.[20][21]

Playbooks[]

A playbook defines what kind of social role a character fills in a group and how that role relates to conflicts that drive them. A playbook helps to define the character's personality, relationships, and even how they fight, though any playbook can be any type of bender or a nonbender.[8]

Legends[]

Player characters in the game are represented by the playbooks, but during their adventures heroes might also run into other familiar faces. Characters such as Avatar Aang, Uncle Iroh, and General Kuvira are called legends, powerful individuals who can act as beloved mentors or worthy opposition, depending on the situation at hand. Each legend has knowledge and special techniques that they may be willing to teach young heroes. Some legends are included in the Core Book, while others are listed in the Expanded Play Booklet. Confirmed legends are:[13][21][22][23]

Adventures[]

The image is split into two; on the left is a young boy wearing orange robes while on the right is a young woman wearing a blue fur-lined coat. The boy's eyes and arrow tattoos on his hand and head are glowing bright white, as are the woman's eyes and a large pattern on her chest.

The Quickstart for the game comes with a pre-generated campaign, The Forbidden Scroll.

  • The Forbidden Scroll: A pre-made campaign set in the year 95 AG, at the time of Fire Lord Ozai's coronation. It involves a group of heroes trying to steal a historical scroll from the Dragonbone Catacombs in Hari Bulkan and being arrested by Fire Sage Bai. The elderly Fire Sage Niuan frees the heroes and gives them the scroll, promising to help him if they also smuggle him out of the city.[8]
  • The Vanishing Act: A pre-made adventure set in the Aang Era, included in the Core Book. The legendary Flying Koi Carnival has recently set up shop in the Middle Ring of Ba Sing Se, delighting visitors with daring feats of bending and artistry. While attending the festival, Rose, the daughter of a prominent diplomat, goes missing. Her mother Lei is distraught, wondering who could have taken her daughter and why.
  • Adventure Booklet 1: Earth & Root: In this Kyoshi Era adventure, you have been given the task of hunting down a notorious daofei by the renowned Firebender Rangi while she attends to her duties as companion to the Avatar. You must prove yourself by stopping this villain before Rangi returns from her latest travels.
  • Adventure Booklet 2: Fire & Brimstone: This Roku Era adventure features a visit to the Fire Nation Capital in which waterbending master Taqukaq discovers a hidden cache of stolen Earth Kingdom crates filled with meteorite metal. While Taqukaq keeps up appearances during his visit, you must unearth the truth behind this suspicious theft.
  • Adventure Booklet 3: Ash & Steel: In this Hundred Year War Era adventure, you have been asked to offer protection to defectors offering war plans stolen from Fire Lord Ozai's palace in exchange for asylum in Ba Sing Se. As the machinations of Grand Secretariat Long Feng unfold, you must decide who to trust in this web of lies.
  • Adventure Booklet 4: Air & Wind: An archaeological expedition has discovered a cache of lost Air Nomad scrolls, but the corporation that funded the dig intends to seize the artifacts and exploit them. You must help the dig team reach the safety of Toph's Metalbending Academy before it is too late!
  • Adventure Booklet 5: Water & Mist: In this Korra Era adventure, President Zhu Li Moon's husband Varrick has gone missing after attending a pro-bending match. While Zhu Li grapples with politics that keep the Republic City police tied up, you are put on the case!
  • The Library: Though not a pre-made adventure, Wan Shi Tong's Adventure Guide contains a guide and plot hooks for campaigns featuring Wan Shi Tong's Library.
  • An Urgent Request: The renowned Air Nomad Rioshon has uncovered a plot to discredit Princess Zeisan and her Air Nomad teachings! However, the nun and the princess have a past and Rioshon can't just go to Zeisan and tell her about the plot. Instead, she enlists the help of the heroes to warn the princess and foil whatever nefarious plot their enemies have planned.
  • The Pirates of Crimson Sails: Part of the Avatar Legends RPG Starter Set, in this adventure, set in the Aang Era, reparation payments by the Fire Nation government to the Earth Kingdom have been stolen by the powerful Crimson Sails Armada. The adventurers are tasked by Fire Lord Zuko with recovering the payments and finding out why the pirate force has suddenly launched a vicious campaign against the Fire Islands.
  • The Burning Fuse: Included in the Avatar Legends RPG Starter Set, this adventure is set during the Korra Era, featuring the theft of a potential weapon of mass destruction in Republic City. The adventurers have to recover the weapon and uncover the thieves' motives, even as political unrest grows in the streets.
  • Movers & Shakers: Available at 2023 Free RPG Day, in this adventure, set during the Korra Era, the Creeping Crystal Triad tries to interfere with the production of a new mover, Sengo: Lady of the Winds, forcing the intervention of the adventurers.
  • The Quick and the Quarrelsome: Included in the Republic City supplement book, this adventure, set in the Korra Era, features races and a multifaceted scheme that could have ripple effects throughout Republic City’s political scene. It is distinctive from other adventures by being more of a sandbox for the Game Master and less "railroady" than most.
  • Storm Over Linsho: Included in the updated Quickstart, this adventure takes place in the Aang Era. In the aftermath of the Harmony Restortian Movement, the heroes must catch an arsonist who attacked the former Fire Nation Colony, Linsho.
  • Rebels & Refugees: A playable standalone adventure, set during the Hundred Year War Era. The adventure entails a relentless Fire Nation general that hunts a group of Earth Kingdom rebels and refugees across the world.

Crew[]

  • Project manager: Elizabeth Chaipraditkul
  • Lead designer: Brendan Conway
  • Core designers: Brendan Conway, James Mendez Hodes, Marissa Kelly, Mark Díaz Truman
  • Contributing designers: Sharang Biswas, Lee Francis IV, Yeonsoo Julian Kim, Daniel Kwan
  • Additional design: Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, Brendan Conway, Miguel Ánguel Espinoza, Marissa Kelly, Mark Díaz Truman
  • Writing: Sharang Biswas, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, Brendan Conway, James Mendez Hodes, Yeonsoo Julian Kim, Simon Moody, Lysa Penrose, Mark Díaz Truman
  • Copy editing: Monte Lin, Kate Unrau
  • Layout and graphic design: Miguel Ángel Espinoza
  • Art direction: Marissa Kelly
  • Art: Avatar Studios & Viacom International Incorporated, Miguel Ángel Espinoza, Abe Dieckman, Patrick Spaziante, Richard Suh
    • Additional art: Pete Hague, Syd Mills
  • Proofreading: Katherine Fackrell

Production[]

The game is produced by games publishing company Magpie Games, comprising ten full-time staff and several part-time contributors,[24] with Elizabeth Chaipraditkul serving as project manager, Brendan Conway as lead designer, and James Mendez Hodes as core designer.[25] The team worked with Asian game designers, writers, and consultants to portray the game's setting as authentically as possible.[19] The designers intended the game to be accessible to players of all ages, and sought to capture what they saw as the core of the Avatar franchise: balance, heroism, the power of friendship, growing up in wartime, the responsibility of power, the damaging legacy of colonialism, and empathy in relationships.[25]

The game is designed with the Powered by the Apocalypse framework as a base, which Magpie Games had previously used in other games. This framework was chosen as it was considered accessible for those new to roleplaying games, as well as allowing for systems around elemental bending and politics.[7] Appreciation was also given to Powered by the Apocalypse's character playbooks, which they designed to focus on archetypes of different lived experiences rather than an "innate characteristic like race or heritage". The intention was for players to explore life in a world of colonization and systemic oppression, and encouraging them to roleplay characters rather than Asian stereotypes.[25]

In addition to this handling of Asian cultural influences, one of the production team's major concerns was the portrayal of bending. In an interview with Dicebreaker.com, Magpie Games' CEO, Mark Truman, stated that although it would have been easier to define bending through a rules-heavy system, akin to how magic is handled in Dungeons & Dragons, they felt it "betrays the ubiquity of bending's potential" in the setting. Instead, they chose to let characters have varying competency and training in bending, which affects how well they can manipulate their element. Taking cues from characters in the television series, they also allowed players to customize the bending in accordance with their characters' personalities.[25]

In October 2022, Magpie Games partnered with Demiplane to launch Avatar Legends NEXUS, an online platform that offers toolkits, sourcebooks, searchable content, campaign builders, and integrated services to play the game. The Early Access phase began on October 12, 2022, which includes the digital reader, game rules compendium, and group video play space features. The platform was initially only available to backers of the Kickstarter campaign, but on October 26 it was made publicly available. Additional tools, including a character builder, interactive digital playbooks, and campaign worksheets, are scheduled for release in 2023.[26]

Crowdfunding and release[]

The game was first announced in February 2021, Magpie Games having licensed the Avatar franchise from ViacomCBS the year prior,[24][27] and a trailer for the game was released in August 2021, narrated by Greg Baldwin reprising his role as Iroh from the animated series. The game was financed through a campaign on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, running from August 3 to September 2, 2021.[28] The campaign had an initial goal of US$50,000, but this was reached in just 16 minutes,[29] and by the end of the first day, the campaign had surpassed $1 Million, hitting further crowdfunding goals and enabling additional material to be produced on top on the core rulebook, as well as accessories such as a dice bag.[19] By August 5, the campaign has surpassed $2.4 Million, overtaking both the second edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game as the highest earning Kickstarter campaign for a tabletop game system and the Dungeons & Dragons book Strongholds & Followers as the highest earning campaign for tabletop games in general.[7]

By August 16, the campaign had reached all planned crowdfunding goals and Magpie Games worked with ViacomCBS to develop further goals, though noted that it would take some time to get them approved.[24][30] By the end of the campaign, 81,567 supporters had raised a total of $9.53 Million, at the time the tenth highest funded campaign on Kickstarter and the ninth by individual pledges;[31] the publisher continued accepting "late pledges" even after the campaign had ended.[32] Although Magpie Games assumed a certain level of success given the popularity of the Avatar franchise, they were not expecting to raise more than $3 Million, and attributed much of their success to their online advertising, which targeted people outside of the usual roleplaying game community. A large portion of the budget was put toward printing and shipping, as well as the expenses involved in acquiring the license for the series.[24]

An enormous black owl with a white face is standing in a large room, it's massive wings drooping on the floor. The room is ringed with pillars a-topped with carvings of the head of an owl.

The game was expanded with a supplementary book called Wan Shi Tong's Adventure Guide.

The game's core rulebook was released digitally in batches beginning on February 24, 2022, with additional content gradually following afterward.[1][2] The print edition was initially delayed until summer 2022 due to a nationwide cardboard shortage in the United States,[33][34][35] and had to be further postponed later on.[36] A free quickstart e-book with basic rules and a description of the setting was released in July 2021 ahead of the crowdfunding campaign,[11] and the game was later expanded with a supplementary book called Wan Shi Tong's Adventure Guide, released digitally on March 17, 2022.[13][14] Production difficulties meant the public release of the physical materials had to be pushed back to January 2023,[4] and further supplementary books are planned for release that same year.[37]

Reception[]

Since its release, Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game has received positive reception from both reviewers and players. In their preview of the game, Dicebreaker.com felt that it would satisfy both viewers of the television series and players of roleplaying games, considering it a "beginner-friendly" game that makes good use of the source material. They noted that it elevates characters from basic fantasy to the Avatar theme through use of the balance track, and also felt that it was consistent with the storytelling structure of the television shows, appreciating how the setting was split into five eras, enabling a variety of stories to be told. The combat system was considered one of the weakest points in the game, describing it as the game's least well defined aspect.[12] Players of the game appreciated that it was not simply a "reskinned" version of Dungeons & Dragons' fifth edition.[24]

Meeple Mountain also gave a positive review of the game, calling it "a great sandbox in which to play regardless of which era you pick or how you incorporate the bending." They noted that the work to get started might be off-putting for new players, but that it paid off in creating a "richer story" for everyone. They were also complimentary of the Powered by the Apocalypse system used for the game, considering it a "great choice overall" and something that "fits perfectly with the source material". [38]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Core Book PDF Delivery. Kickstarter (February 9, 2022).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Getting Your PDF. Kickstarter (February 21, 2022). Retrieved on February 22, 2022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Shipping Updates and Backerkit Closing. Kickstarter (September 14, 2022).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Physical products' release on January 25, 2023. kkachi95's Twitter (October 7, 2022). Retrieved on October 7, 2022.
  5. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game on Kickstarter Aug 3rd!. MagpieGames.com (July 12, 2021). Retrieved on May 27, 2023.
  6. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game — Kickstarter Trailer. YouTube.com (August 3, 2021).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Avatar Legends becomes the highest funded TRPG on Kickstarter within its first week. Dicebreaker (August 5, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Avatar Legends: The Roleplay Game. Quickstart, Version 1.0, 2021.
  9. Shipping Updates. Magpie Games (December 15, 2022). Retrieved on December 12, 2022.
  10. Avatar RPG. MagpieGames.com. Retrieved on July 12, 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 You can now play the Avatar: The Last Airbender tabletop RPG with free quickstart rules. Dicebreaker (July 12, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Avatar Legends RPG does justice to The Last Airbender and Korra's storytelling, but fumbles combat - preview. Dicebreaker (August 9, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game Kickstarter. MagpieGames.com (September 1, 2021).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Wan Shi Tong PDF and Core Book Updates!. Kickstarter.com (March 9, 2022). Retrieved on March 9, 2022.
  15. Magpie Games Announces 'Avatar Legends RPG' Preorder and Street Dates. ICV2 (October 7, 2022).
  16. All-Star AP Adventure, Free RPG Day, Turtleduck Extension, and Going Forward!. Kickstarter (May 9, 2023).
  17. Free RPG Day is June 22, 2024!. Free RPG Day. Retrieved on June 22, 2024.
  18. 18.0 18.1 With Uncle Iroh's Guide, the Avatar RPG encourages your characters to get old as hell. Polygon (January 30, 2024). Retrieved on January 30, 2024.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 No New Avatar Video Game Yet, But a Tabletop RPG Is on the Way. IGN (February 3, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  20. We are the designers of Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Games. AMA!. MagpieGames.com. Retrieved on August 31, 2021.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game - Kickstarter preview. Kickstarter.com (July 27, 2021). Retrieved on July 28, 2021.
  22. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. An Urgent Request, Version 1.0, 2023, p. 13.
  23. Avatar Legends: Republic City [PREORDER]. DriveThruRPG. Retrieved on May 22, 2023.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Avatar Legends RPG designers were prepared for success, but nearly $10m on Kickstarter changed things. Dicebreaker (September 8, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Avatar: The Last Airbender RPG first details: five playable eras, keeping Balance and how bending will work. Dicebreaker (February 25, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  26. Avatar Legends NEXUS & Preorders. Kickstarter (October 12, 2022). Retrieved on October 12, 2022.
  27. Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra are being adapted into a tabletop RPG. Dicebreaker (February 3, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  28. Nostalgic Avatar Legends trailer teases a tabletop RPG that wants to capture the spirit of the shows. Syfy.com (August 6, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  29. Benders and non-benders unite behind giant Avatar: The Last Airbender RPG Kickstarter (August 5, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  30. Avatar Legends has been so successful it's run out of stretch goals. IGN (August 16, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  31. Avatar Legends RPG Decimates Funding Goal, Sets Kickstarter Record. CBR.com (September 3, 2021). Retrieved on March 22, 2022.
  32. Avatar Legends RPG Kickstarter Campaign Rakes In Over $9.5 Milion. ICv2 (September 8, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  33. Shipping Timeline Update. Kickstarter (December 8, 2021).
  34. Avatar Legends RPG physical release date delayer to summer 2022. Dicebreaker (December 9, 2022). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  35. Avatar: The Last Airbender Game May Face Delays Due To Cardboard Shortage. TheGamer.com (September 5, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.
  36. Actual Play & Printing Updates. Kickstarter (July 13, 2022).
  37. Republic City supplement book. kkachi95's Twitter (October 7, 2022). Retrieved on October 7, 2022.
  38. Avatar Legends: the RPG Review. Bend It Like Bolin. Meeple Mountain (August 3, 2021). Retrieved on March 23, 2022.

See also[]

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