"Enter a world of magic, folklore and danger. Here, superstition covers people’s lives like autumn mists cover the moors, and terrifying monsters with bizarre powers lurk in the shadows. The king is a weakling, barons scheme against each other, and lordless knights, back from the Crusades without the honour or riches they were promised, roam the countryside in search of adventure, or prey. Ruined castles and burial mounds are the lairs of the supernatural, or newer, more sinister masters. Labyrinthine underworlds lie forgotten below ancient temples and city cellars. The dark places of the world hold riches for those who would search for them, and the keys to great power - or death"My world, but not my words. That's James Wallis's evocative description of Legend, the setting for the Dragon Warriors RPG.Through his Magnum Opus imprint, James reintroduced the dank, gnarled, cobwebby, and generally eldritch landscapes of Legend to tabletops across the world.
Those Magnum Opus books were beautiful volumes and they have pride of place on the shelf beside my desk. Nowadays you can only get the game in PDF form, sadly - but hie yourself over to Lulu and you can print up a hard copy at a very reasonable price.
But I digress. Legend is characterized by its dark and downbeat tone. Adventurers here are more Gangs of New York than The Iliad. There is magic, but it's rare and capricious and nobody quite trusts it - not even the sorcerers. If you've ever seen Robin of Sherwood, you'll know what I'm talking about. So now try this:
"Icy fogs hung over rivers and marshes, serving all too well the ogres that were then still native to this land. The people who lived nearby... might well have feared these creatures, whose panting breaths could be heard long before their deformed figures emerged from the mist."Legend? No, this is the undefined but vaguely Dark Ages environment created by Kazuo Ishiguro for his novel The Buried Giant. I bruised and battered it somewhat in my review on the Mirabilis blog, though no worse a drubbing than it got from Tim Martin in The Telegraph. Nonetheless, if you like your fantasy with a tang of melancholy then you should take a look. And the encounter with the pixies who seem like skinned rabbits and sound "like children playing in the distance" as they attack - now that's as sinister a scene as any I've encountered while role-playing in Legend.