Modiphius Entertainment is preparing to release a new edition of the post-apocalyptic tabletop role-playing game Legacy: Life Among the Ruins. We had a chat with the games writer, James Iles, about the game's beginings and where it is headed.
Could you describe the basic setting of Legacy?
It's a few generations after an apocalypse that brought low the glittering spires of the World Before and broke reality. You're descended from survivors of that apocalypse who
made it through by becoming something new - worshipers of the Apocalypse, conquering tyrants, hunters of the titans that ruined the world or something else entirely. Now that things have stabilised a little it's time for your families to send agents out into the world, search for valuable resources, deal with its hazards and start rebuilding.Past that, it's very flexible -each player group builds their own ruined world as part of character creation, with the game guiding the group through the process of layering on details and drawing your map.
What is the connection between Legacy and Titanomachy?
Titanomachy is a quickstart for Legacy, letting play groups dive right into the game. It's an example of the sort of setting a group can build in Legacy: the particular options picked in this
one make it a space colony on a verdant planet, ruined when giant beasts emerged from the jungle to destroy the space elevator and the colony around it. The families included each have a few options left for players to pick, drawing the map and determining their relationship with each other.The game starts after one of those giant titans has died after a long, drawn-out struggle. Your families are weaker than ever thanks to the fight, but now you know the titans
can be killed. What will you do to rebuild the colony and find safety for your family?
To what extent did Apocalypse World influence your game?
It's absolutely foundational! Legacy was originally written as an entry in an Apocalypse World game jam. Legacy draws on Apocalypse World more than any other game, but it's got a few other inspirations - Monsterheart's web of social connections inspired Legacy's web of obligations between factions, Mummy: the Curse's cult system was the initial inspiration for Legacy's faction-level game, and Tenra Bansho Zero's character health system inspired me to write a game where characters could pick when it was their time to die.
When did the first edition of Legacy come out?
The first edition of Legacy entered public play-testing in November 2013, was kick-started in November 2014, and the completed version went on sale July 2015.
What is the current status of Legacy and Titanomachy?
Titanomachy's out and ready to play, though I'm adding more guidance for GMs new to Apocalypse World-derived games. Legacy 2e has a playable draft ready that all backers can access. After the kickstarter campaign, it'll go through a few more months of playtesting and then it'll be sent off to my editor, put through layout, and then sent to the printers.
The goal is to have a finished PDF ready by the end of December, and books in people's hands by May.
What in your opinion is the appeal of the apocalyptic genre in general?
I think it's about asking what you would do if all of the support structures and comforts of modern society were stripped away. Some media uses it to explore the things people will do to
survive and the rapid degredation of civilisation (see The Road, or The Walking Dead), but I prefer to look at it as a question of adaptation. The world's getting weirder by the day, and there's the question of how we're going to change to adapt to it. To survive in the apocalypse of Legacy, you need to keep an open mind, work with other survivors no matter how weird and inhuman, and learn the new rules the world now works under. I think that's a pretty interesting saga to play through!