Welcome to the second Lasting Tales designer diary! I’m Mark Latham, lead designer on Lasting Tales.
Calling Out for a Hero
Last time I gave an overview of the way Lasting Tales plays. But you can’t get very far without a party of bold adventurers – so today we’re taking a look at Heroes!
A Hero is the player’s avatar in the game. You might control more than one (and if you’re playing solo this is usually optimal), but when playing co-op, it’s likely that each player will control just one Hero. For this reason, we needed a system that was fairly deep and granular (you don’t have a whole warband to control), a bunch of Heroes that all play differently to each other, and enough customisable options that players feel they’ve got something really representative of their play style and – dare I say it – personality, on the tabletop. A big ask? Well, here’s how we’ve achieved it.
We use the term ‘RPG-lite’ erm… well, lightly. This isn’t a tabletop roleplaying game, but it does borrow a few elements from the traditional pen and paper RPG to give characters more depth. When you create a Hero, you’re essentially choosing some fundamentals that serve as a foundation for that Hero’s development later.
There are five playable races in Lasting Tales:
Then, there are ten playable Classes:
They can be taken in any combination, giving a huge amount of choice to players when forming their adventuring party! And if you don’t see your favourite niche race or class (or even sub-race and sub-class), fear not! We’re already discussing ways to expand this list in the future!
Each race and class not only adjusts a Hero’s starting characteristics, but also gives them a foundation skill – Fighters, for example, are better at fighting (natch), while Rogues can backstab, and Wizards can cast spells. Some Heroes, like Clerics, have options for their starting ability – the classic Cleric archetype is a healer, but in Lasting Tales you can choose a different Divine Path if you wish, specialising your Cleric in different ways.
All of these options get recorded on a character sheet, which becomes your reference sheet during play.
‘But what if I don’t want to create my own Hero?’ I hear you cry. ‘What if I just want to set up and play as quickly as possible?’ Then we’ve got you covered – the book comes complete with six ‘pre-generated’ Level 1 Heroes, which you can take to battle straight away!
Not all models in the party have to be Heroes. You can make up the numbers by hiring Followers – mercenaries, specialists and other henchmen. Followers are limited in the actions they can perform, and don’t have many special skills, but they allow the party to spread out and contest objectives, or simply provide an extra sword-arm when the going gets tough.
Followers are also of especial value to the solo player – many players prefer to adventure with just a single Hero, rather than controlling several. Single-Hero parties can lean on these henchmen to help them take on more challenging scenarios.
Where Heroes and Followers really diverge, however, is with the Fate system. Fate represents a hero’s manifest destiny, a certain special something… that ‘Je ne sais quoi’. It’s what makes some characters spend their careers on guard duty, while others slay dragons and steal their treasure hoard.
In Lasting Tales, Heroes begin the game with a store of Fate Points. During an adventure, these points are expended for two primary reasons: To reroll failed tests, and to cheat death! Followers and Adversaries that are removed from play take no further part in the game. Heroes, on the other hand, are destined for a greater fate than to be slain by a Goblin’s arrow or irksome trap, and thus they’re replaced with a Fallen Hero marker instead. Later in the game, they can spend Fate to return to play, climbing to their feet ready for their second wind. Of course, if you spend all your Fate Points on rerolling those crucial tests, you may literally be out of luck when an Ogre clubs you to death. Ah, c'est la vie.
Earlier I said that Heroes develop. Of course, if you’re playing a one-shot adventure, Heroes stay the same throughout. But if you’re playing a campaign, or ‘Tale’, then Heroes gain experience after each game, which they can spend between games to Level Up!
When a Hero levels, they increase their Health store, and take a roll on the Advance table. This can award anything from increased stats, to new skills. Wizards and Clerics also gain Spells and Miracles respectively. The random aspect is a big part of the replayability of Lasting Tales – you aren’t ever guaranteed the same result twice, so your Halfling Rogue won’t be the same as another player’s Halfling Rogue (assuming you both like Halfling Rogues. Other heroes are available).
Onward, to Adventure!
You’ve rolled up your Heroes, recruited a few Followers, and you’re ready for a quest. You’re going to quickly learn that the world is a dangerous place, and there are many foes out to stop you achieving your goals. So next time, we’ll be looking at everyone’s favourite part of tabletop gaming: Combat!
Until then, remember you can sign up to be notified when Lasting Tales launches on Kickstarter on March 30! Also, make sure to sign up for more Lasting Tales updates and previews!
Oh, and check out our ongoing GIVEAWAY on the Blacklist Games Facebook page!