This year, Magpie Games has introduced a new roleplaying game based on the world established in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. For Avatar fans, this was incredibly welcome news. Games hosted by Magpie employees are very popular, and often reach capacity once new sessions are announced. It is an absolute must-try for Avatar fans.
The world established in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra lends itself well to a role playing game. The world is incredibly vast and diverse, and there are an infinite number of stories that can be told. The beloved Nickelodeon TV shows, while clearly mainly for children, contain themes that fans of all ages can explore in more depth. This remains an integral reason why these shows have remained popular long after their conclusions. As fans wait for the live action Avatar show, the role playing game may just bridge the gap to provide a necessary fan experience.
Although the quickstart guide is now available, fans can also choose to participate in one or two shot sessions hosted by Game Masters provided by Magpie Games. This is a wise idea, particularly for those who perhaps like myself had no previous role playing experience. The Game Masters provide an excellent introduction for this new game, and choosing the option of having the game curated at least for a first experience will allow fans to feel more confident hosting their own games and campaigns in the future.
Players are advised not to create their character before session 0, or the initial planning session that takes place. Players have the option to choose to play in one of several eras. The Kyoshi Era takes place in the events of the graphic novel The Shadow of Kyoshi, and focuses on the fight against corruption as a nation establishes itself. The Roku Era is perfect for players wanting a more explicitly political feel to their gameplay, and deals with themes of nationalistic expansion and resistance. The Hundred Year War Era takes place just before the events of The Last Airbender. The Aang Era is played after the events of The Last Airbender and during the events of the graphic novel Imbalance. This era focuses on collective recovery and healing following a traumatic communal event. Finally, the Korra Era follows events detailed in the Ruins of the Empire trilogy and after the events of The Legend of Korra. This era focuses on the consequences of imperialism in a more modern context. The variety of all of these options ensures that all players have options for what they want their game to look like.
Players then create a character from one of the Four Nations outlined in the shows. These are based on a four-element system of Earth, Fire, Water and Air. Players choose a scope which can be quite narrow (for example, confined to a temple or a village), or broad spanning all four nations if a larger multi-session campaign is being planned. A focus, or objective is then chosen to guide the session or campaign. Gameplay generally follows a three-act structure, however there is room for flexibility. The quickstart guide does an impeccable job of outlining possibilities for characters’ backstories and abilities. It is incredibly user friendly and a comprehensive way to kick off the game.
For my first ever role playing experience, I elected to play as an Earth Nation Monastic in the Roku Era, whose power had outgrown their cloistered lifestyle. My character teamed up with a ragtag group of misfits that ended up entangled in the dark cabbage underworld and faced off against members of the unscrupulous city underbelly. Before the session was even run, players were provided with a safety checklist which was then reviewed before we started the game. This was an important addition, as it allowed all players to discuss topics and themes we wanted to avoid to make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone. My only additions I would have liked to see are additional guides on how to avoid racism and cultural appropriation while playing as these characters and stories are heavily inspired by East Asian and Inuit cultures.
Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game is everything fans love about both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. It gives fans an opportunity to enter the world themselves, and add a new dimension of fandom experience. It’s the perfect game to get you into role playing games if you are new, and will also present a new challenge to you if you are an experienced RPGer.
Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game is available now.