A big part of Late Legends are the battles. The whole class and equipment system is created to give players a wide variety of choices to approach a battle. This means that the battles are important and you need to design them carefully. A good battle will be remembered as that epic fight, while a bad one is just a boring slugfest that never ends. This section will give you the do’s and don’t on battles.

Set a goal for the battle

Late Legends is largely a battle system, but that does not give you a reason to introduce a battle. It is important to place a battle in the story with a purpose. Players shouldn’t be asking you questions like: Why are we fighting Goblins again? My legend would rather join the bandits, why are we fighting them without the option to do something else?

The group of players has a goal in mind for the story, the battle should be there to achieve this goal. There are two things wrong with the mentality of “this is a monster so it is bad and we should kill it”.

However you slice it, make sure the battle at hand will have meaning for the story and is not just mindless grinding, we got plenty of those already in video-games…

Prep the obvious

So you planned a battle. Here are some tips to start it quickly and fluently.

Cater the battle to the legends

As a storyteller, you know full well what legends would like to achieve. Use this information to your advantage to hit home personal plot points. This will give the players an opportunity to let their legends personality come through in battle. For example: if a player made a backstory for a legend that has a trauma of a big fire, you could introduce this in a battle. So by specifically targeting a legend’s weakness in a battle, you give them an opportunity to role-play, which in turn will let other legends react to that, resulting in a battle worth remembering.

Theodore has a tragic backstory. His hometown was destroyed by a black dragon. He can still remember the specific blue flames that the beast produced, burning the village homes. Nowadays, Theodore is a magus sniper with the goal to stop dragons from harming innocent people. In a battle with dragon cultists, Theodore gets hit by the exact same blue fire. Theodore kept up with the group very well up until this point, but this specific attack hurts hurt deeply, as the memories of the past race through Theodore's mind. He needs to come to his senses and correct this wrong in the world. But he would need the help of his comrades. Another legend in the group, Elise the Storm Paladin, has been keeping a close eye on Theodore. For some reason, Theodore is not clicking with Elise very well. Regardless, Elise is still determined to get on to Theodore's good side. With that determination and a strong sense of justice, Elise sees an opportunity to do good by specifically attacking the magician that is producing the wicked magic with her strongest skills. After that, she will bolster the rest of the comrades to do the same. "Together they are the strongest".

Start simple with the monster maker

Making the enemies for the encounter involve lots of calculations. In battle, you’ll need saving rolls and a full stack of battle stats. To simplify the creation process we created the Monster maker. Use this to create the monsters you want. Keep in mind the scope of the battle, if you have six different monsters running around, you might want to give them simple skills. The battle should proceed clearly and fluidly.

Some examples of good starter monsters will be added later.

Hype it up

When preparing for a battle, you should also prepare the players for this battle. This does not mean you tell them exactly what will happen or what strategy they should use. This should include a reason why they will be encountering the specific enemy, how strong the enemy might be and what allies might be there to help. Here are some tips on how to do this:

Prep multiple ends of the battle

When the legends are at the point of winning the battle, it can still take a long time for all the enemies to actually die. Keep in mind that enemies do not have to die to win the battle. Maybe the remainder of the enemies get scared and surrender or just run off. Every living being wants to keep living, so a goblin that is all alone will probably just surrender instead of fighting to the end.

Another battle might leave the legends in a strong disadvantage. Instead of killing everyone one by one (and basically ending the campaign) you could knock out the noisiest legend, and capture the rest. This will end the battle earlier, and give room for a whole other sequence in the story. With the group in captivity, they will need to find a way out, get their stuff, and try again another day.