Review – Arms of Legend (Legend RPG)
On Monday Mongoose Publishing digitally released the second supplement for the Legend roleplaying game (check out our review here), Arms of Legend, currently available at DrivethruRPG. It’s contain many vital information about equipments, cohorts, animals, vehicles, magic items and many more topics, which are valuable for every Legend campaign.
The book is coming in the same digest size format as the core rulebook do, and it’s divided into eight chapters, expanding upon the equipment and magic related chapters of the Legend core rulebook.
I have to note, that the book is basically the new edition of the old Runequest II Arms & Equipment guide, very closely mirroring it’s content (even some typos), so if you already own that book then you probably won’t need Arms of Legend, except if you need the Open License content. I will list the differences I noticed in the end of this article for your reference.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the content of the book.
Taking a look, chapter by chapter
The Adventuring Gear and Basics contain an extended list of basic equipment, as well as riding and animal supplies. I think this chapter is very complete and you may find any mundane item your adventurer would need. For players there is also a predefined Essential Adventuring Kit included, which is instantly usable for most characters. Overall nothing especially interesting here, but this chapter is a must in any equipment related book.
The next chapter, Trading and quality introduces several new concepts into the game. In Legend the price and availability of items is based on the settlement’s size, as well as the available trading methods (barter vs currency). We also receive some rules on barter and haggling, which is quite useful.
The same chapter is also dealing with crafting, and item quality. From the low-quality horseshoes to swords rivaling minor magic items you receive every rule you could ask for during a campaign. I really like that the way presented an untalented crafter won’t be able to make an outstanding item (except with extreme luck), no matter how much time he spends with it.
The next two chapters Armour and Weaponry greatly expand upon the armory presented in the pages of Legend core rulebook. We are not only receive new weapon and armor types, but simple but useful rules for modifications (serrated blades, reinforced armor) and alternate materials too. In Legend the base statistics assume an iron or bronze weapon, but now rules for steel, bone, and several other materials are presented as an alternative.
However the Weaponry chapter is not without flaws, as it seems they didn’t spent time to review the old statistics. Therefore the metal weapons presented here have a lower AP, and several of them still have inferior statistics than it should.
In the Transport chapter we receive information about the different land vehicles and ships available in the setting. Rules for handling these vehicles in difficult situations and combat is also presented. I think this is a very nice addition, but I have to note that the ships are very brittle compared to their weapons as presented.
Continuing with the Beasts and Cohorts we get information on two topics : animals and monsters which are usable as food or trained/used for a specific task, and on hire-able people from a blacksmith to armed guards. For animals and monsters there are 4 level of training (untrained, basic-skilled, skilled, and battle-trained) but strangely we don’t receive a cost for battle-trained beasts. For hired companions we receive a short description about each, and a table containing their primary and secondary skill and their wages.
It’s a kind of Magic…
There is two chapter in Arms of Legend which are dealing with new magic options : Enchantments and Alchemy.
Enchantments is dealing with the creation of magic items, as well as the mysterious Power Crystals. As the rules presented, only sorcerers are able to create magical items based on sorcery and common magic spells, or with basic enchantments by permanently sacrificing Magic Points during the proccess. After reading the chapter I’m not entirely sure, if the permanentlos could be avoided by using other sources instead of somebody’s own Magic Points. Regardless, magical items are powerful, so they should not lay in every single bush. On the other hand, Power Crystals cannot be created, only found, and they could provide a Magic Point storage or could bestow the knowledge of a single Common Magic spell with a predefined magnitude.
The Alchemy chapter is about… alchemy. Honestly I feel that this chapter will leave many players uninterested. With alchemy a character is able to create Philosopher’s Stone (to heal himself or to live longer on high levels), create poisons and turn small quantities of metal into gold. For this can recommend the same as the book itself : leave alchemy to the non-player characters.
Changes since Runequest II
There are not many things changes since the Runequest II Arms and Equipment Guide, and most of these changes are limiting this book content compared to it’s predecessor. For a short list, check below :
– Haggling is less effective than before (25% and 50% reduction)
– Wondrous Metal armor now provides +1AP and +1 HP
– the half-chapter about Buildings is removed
– the Gloranthan specific beast were renamed (giant lizard and beetle)
– divine enchantments were removed from the book
– the Alchemy poison’s table is different
– no reference section
The new Arms of Legend book is a great addition the the game, and it’s definitely a must for any self-respecting Game Masters who don’t own it’s predecessor. However while the book is quite useful it’s not perfect, and It’s somewhat frustrating that it’s falls a little bit short compared to it’s elder, so as a final score I give it 4/5 stars.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros