Every roleplayer wants an epic campaign! It doesn’t matter the genre, everyone from the most experienced veteran to the brand new roleplayer wants grand adventures they can talk about for years to come, larger-than-life stories to share with their loved ones, and the opportunity to create something great together.
This goal can feel impossible, but just like the Avatar, you can use all the elements at your disposal to craft an epic adventure! It’s not only possible, but Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game provides the perfect set of tools for your game.
Foundations for Crafting an Epic Adventure
In short, Avatar Legends is an RPG set on the Four Nations, the same fantasy world that was originally explored in the award-winning TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, and subsequently expanded in comic books, novels, and other media.
Avatar Legends takes this rich and deep setting and runs with it! The rules allow you to create bending and non-bending characters who are capable and, what’s more important, can perform great deeds out of the gate. This is the perfect basis for an epic campaign, as you don’t need to waste time with small or otherwise secondary affairs and can, instead, focus on fighting the villains you want—and developing your characters right away.
Setting the Stage
It’s not accidental that, instead of jumping straight into character creation, the first step in an Avatar Legends game is to set-up the campaign. The main idea here is simple: everybody at the table agrees on a scope for your campaign, a reason why all your characters decided to become heroes together as a group (AKA a group focus), and then discuss a little bit about your first adventure and how you came to be where you are when the campaign starts (an inciting incident).
Doing this ensures that everybody agrees on the story they want to experience together from the get go. Players make characters who have ties to and are interested in pursuing a common goal—to defeat a villain they’ve crafted together. This is a key ingredient for crafting an epic campaign. Strong conflicts and relevant themes are some of the others. Let’s talk about those next.
Central Conflicts and Themes
Another important element in building a larger-than-life story is having a compelling central conflict the audience—in this case, the players—are invested in. Since players in Avatar Legends actively participate in creating a conflict, locations, NPCs and villain(s) that they want to oppose, engagement with the story is already there. You can add an extra layer of narrative coherence and cohesion to that established conflict with a theme. All available eras of play include 5-6 themes specifically tailored to each of them (with GM moves included) that you can use as is or as a jumping off point to create your own with your fellow players.
And with the set up out of the way, let’s jump into character creation!
Crafting Compelling Player Characters
Player characters (PCs) in Avatar Legends begin the game accomplished in their given specialty. And even if you decide that your character is inexperienced, they still have everything they need to leave their mark on the world and make it a better place right from the start. In other words, they are heroes from the first moments of play.
In practice, this means that you take the story you crafted in the inciting incident and follow it with appropriate action. The heroes can interact with world leaders, face worldwide threats, and even know the current Avatar. These epic deeds aren’t far-fetched or out of place in this fantasy world, after all, Avatar Aang saved the world when he was only 12!
Role of Benders and Non-Benders
Although benders can wield one of the four elements, that doesn’t mean that non-benders (those trained in either weapons or technology) play second fiddle. Moving rocks and producing flames is good and all, but have you seen an archer pin a fly to a tree from a hundred yards away without killing it? Or a technologist craft a device which allows them to do something that was thought until then impossible? In every story you tell in Avatar Legends, both bending and non-bending PCs play their part as being the main characters in epic adventures.
A Game Master's Quick Guide to Running Avatar Legends
But what about running Avatar Legends as the Game Master (GM), the one in charge of the rest of the cast, environments, and other aspects of the game? Although the Avatar Legends rules include not one, but three chapters exclusively dedicated to helping GMs run their games, here’s some extra advice specifically focused on epic campaigns.
Leveraging Avatar Legends’ Game Mechanics
As the GM, in Avatar Legends you don’t need to worry about balancing combat encounters or scaling opponents to your PC’s level. Instead, you focus on the one thing that truly matters: the story. Are your PCs hunting down a dangerous bloodbender who threatens to take over an entire city? You just need to know their current goal—their drive—grab an NPC template, add a couple of techniques (there’s two already pre-written bloodbending techniques in the back of the book), and you’re ready to go!
This simplicity and effectiveness when it comes to mechanics frees you to think about the villain’s personality and motivation, to develop their reasons to do so, and craft how you want to roleplay them. Since you don’t need to worry about preparing a lot of mechanical stuff for each session you can concentrate on portraying the Four Nations as an epic, dynamic place where almost anything can happen.
Balancing Game Dynamics
Although one may imagine epic adventures to be filled with only nonstop action, the truth is more balanced. In reality, epic stories have peaks and valleys, going from dramatic, often high-adrenaline situations, to quiet, intimate moments. Maybe, the heroes fight for their lives against the bad guys and afterwards there’s a moment to talk, rest, and see how everyone’s doing. Followed by a montage of them traveling until they find a village they enter to gather supplies and unearth more information about their current situation. Then, the PCs face the dreaded bloodbender, and the villain challenges their heroic determination and beliefs. And so on and so forth.
Avatar Legends has mechanics for every situation mentioned above in the form of moves. The player characters roll the dice and everybody will find out in the move’s description what happens afterwards depending on the result. You don’t have to memorize or even look up complex rules or mechanics to resolve a negotiation, or leave it up to the players whether the villain impresses them with their words or not. The moves are there to help you facilitate that ebb and flow so the game turns into a dynamic, interactive story where no one knows what’ll happen next. Not even the GM.
Shared Tips for a Harmonious Roleplaying Experience
We’ve talked a lot about collaborative storytelling as the basis for crafting epic campaigns together. Here’s some extra advice on how to ensure that cooperative state.
Ensuring Player-GM Synergy
When playing Avatar Legends the GM doesn’t have a greater say on what happens in the story than the rest of the players. Players coming from other RPGs may have some difficulties adapting to this, so GMs should prompt them about story elements, such as asking them to describe what a place or NPC looks like, especially if their character would be familiar with those story aspects.
Additionally, it’s always good to have open communication at the table, so that people feel comfortable and safe sharing their ideas, concerns, and wishes for the game. At the same time, you can remind players that things don’t always go the way one could wish, and that “losing” or otherwise failing are great dramatic opportunities. We may have failed to catch you today, bloodbending villain, but we’ll get you next time!
Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game is the perfect game if you want to create epic campaigns with your fellow players, set in the already legendary world of Avatar. All the tools in place to help you achieve this, from the fictional universe the game’s based upon, to the characters being heroes from the get go. Now it’s time you craft your own epic stories with Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game and a group of friends!