Legend of Zelda: the RPG

Seriously, why haven’t I heard more about Nintendo licencing their properties for RPGs? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Anyway. This is sort of a continuation of my previous post, 13th Cortex Accelerated Kids—my son’s almost five, and his social and improv skills are in pretty good shape. (we’re currently at a playground, and his ability to make up stories with other kids is phenomenal) We’ve played a few one-shot sessions of FFG’s Star Wars RPG, with and without other players, and I think he’s ready. Ready for a campaign.

He’s gotten really into the Legend of Zelda. Between trying out and watching me play LttP, OoT, TP, & SS, and watching Let’s Play videos of LBW… well, he’s pretty steeped in the lore and the feel. My wife got me the Hyrule Historia for Christmas, so I brought up the idea of a Zelda RPG at dinner, (which I’ve been thinking about for literally years) and my sister perked right up. “Zelda!? I’d totally try out roleplaying if it’s Zelda.” That pretty much clinched it right there.

So how to play it? My original thought (from the before-time, in the long-long-ago) was to use Iron Heroes, superseded by D&D 4e when it came out—but this would have been for a more experienced group of gamers. For my young son, and my never-RP’d-before sister… something a little simpler would be good. Read the previous article now if you haven’t, since the rest of this builds on that.

I’ve already outlined the system itself. Let’s get into character creation. (or at least how I’m gonna be doing it for my players) First thing I did was refine the Why and the How for the Zelda game. I decided I wanted to iconify both of these game elements, since, well, my son reads very slowly still. After discussing the issue with the Cortex Plus and Fate Google+ communities, I’ve stepped away from the Smallville Values—leaving a very Zelda-centric list: Power, Wisdom, Courage, Discovery, and Duty. Turns out How was actually fine—I just thought the way I was going about iconifying them was problematic. I found a way though. Turned out great.

Check out the Why Cards and the How Cards. I’ll be printing these and round-cornering them at work, for a top-notch experience. This is also the imagery I’m going to use on the character sheets, with specific dice images overlaid on top. How do they get to the sheets? Well, first I make sure to have enough sets of cards that all players can have three of each element. So, for three players, I need two sets of both—ten Values and twelve Approaches.

As we work on the players’ character concepts (which will define the Who aspect), I’ll be asking them to choose Why they do things, show them the available Value cards, and have them keep their cards in order of importance. I’ll do the same with How—by the end of this process, each player will have six cards, with minimal overlap against the other players (thanks to limiting the cards), sorted in order of personal importance. Then I will hand them their dice, one by one, largest to smallest, to assign to each trait. They’ll get a d12, 2d10, 2d8, and a d6.

Then we’ll assign a single Specialty for each character. This is going to be a d6 that the player gets to add to a roll under specific circumstances. It might be “Bows”, “Swords”, “Animals”, or “Spirits”, to name a few examples. So if your character attempts something they’re perfect for, they should get a d8 (from their Who trait), a d12 and d10 (from their best Why and How traits), and a d6 for their Specialty. If something is completely out of their wheelhouse, the pool might only be 2d4 (indicated by traits they don’t even have listed).

Anyway. We’ll see how this goes. I’m pretty excited! And I think this whole thing is actually a really clean symbiosis of Cortex Plus and Fate—it’s gonna be neat to watch it in action.

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