Some concerns about the Avatar: Legends RPG


Now that I've had some sleep, a repost here:


So I got a chance to play the quickstart adventure of Avatar Legends. The GM was great and the players all contributed well, but I have to say that I had some initial concerns with some of the rules that have only heightened after the playthrough.

Number 1 is the balance mechanic. I really like the idea of it and I think it could be a great way to simulate the emotional turmoil characters go through in the show, I really don't like the implementation.

Firstly the range is between two competing ideals. If one is at +1 the other is at -1, if one is at +2, the other is at -2. You can spend a fatigue point to use one of these ideals instead of your normal stat. There is no reason you would ever do this unless the bonus was better than your stat. So the question becomes, why have the negatives and the scale? It feels unnecessary and confusing. It also effectively seems to add busy work where you are not only looking at one set of stats, but now two.

I actually would prefer if there were no stats at all and ONLY the balance track was used. In addition, that track moved further towards that ideal every time you use it for a roll. So for example an Icon has the ideals of their "duty" and their freedom. They could act only using their principle of freedom to get out of trouble, but at some point they will need to act on their duty (now at a considerable minus) or go to the end of their balance track which is kind of a temporary lose control state.

Number 2 is the combat phases. I really wanted to see how this worked, but in my opinion for a PbTA game is that it's not great. You lose the reactivity of npcs reacting to what the PCs are doing because they are locked into their phase of movement. The phases effectively turn it into an initiative system that feels at odds with the rest of the system to me. Some people may indeed prefer this, but it feels like a more traditional mechanic that doesn't sit with the rest of the system.

Lastly number 3 is the 3 separate tracks each character sheet has. A character can have lose fatigue, but they can also spend it for some things (and get it back for some other things). They also have conditions which give penalties to certain kinds of rolls. And lastly their principles can also be challenged in an attempt to take them to one extreme.

This to me seems like it'd be hard as a GM to think about which one each NPC is going to try and challenge in the PCs. furthermore major NPCs have all these items too. So the players have to keep in mind that they are imposing conditions on npc A while trying to fatigue npc B, and the GM has to keep track of it all.

To me that is a mess. I would rather use either fatigue, or conditions, but not both. For this game I feel like conditions are hematic and appropriate, but fatigue feels kind of tacked on.

I feel like if I houseruled the game to only use the balance track instead of stats, got rid of fatigue and just used conditions and got rid of the combat phases (but kept the moves) I'd have a much more streamlined and on point game.

In summary that's my opinion. I'm obviously not a game designer and my tastes may not align with the rest of the player base. What do you think?

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