Last night, a friend of mine was back in town for the day and we decided to do a little gaming. I had just picked up the PDF of Legends of Anglerre and opted to try and learn the system in time to run it that evening. LoA uses the FATE (Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment) roleplaying system, which is based on the Fudge roleplaying system. Compared to the Original Game, I can say that LoA is quite a different experience. I'll try to briefly sum up the key points of the system before I get into the actual play report so you have at least a vague idea of what I'm talking about.
Dice: Roll 2D6 of different colour. Designate one as the minus die and subtract it from the other.
The Ladder: Pretty much everything in the game, from tasks to equipment to monsters and skills, is described using the Ladder, which is a chart of adjectives and numbers ranging from -3 (Abysmal) up to +8 (Legendary).
Shifts: The margin of success or failure in relation to the difficulty number you are rolling against. eg. If you roll a 5 on a difficulty 3 task, you succeed by 2 shifts.
Aspects: Short phrases or adjectives describing characters (or sometimes scenes). They can be activated by the players to give a bonus or penalty to a roll.
Stress: How much pain your character can take. There are two types of stress: physical and composure. If you drop to 0 in either, you're "taken out."
Character creation started off with a group brainstorm between the players. The setting was an older one of my creation called the Wild Wood. LoA allows players to be created on the fly so you can get right to playing if you wish. That's what we chose to do. Each of the players chose a name, a good aspect and a bad aspect.
The players were each in the village of Whitehill for some reason or other, which overlooked a dangerous valley known as the Black Pools. There had been reports of ugly, monstrous men coming up in bands from the Black Pools. Alten the Long, the steward of Whitehill, sent a patrol of soldiers down into the valley three days ago. They had not returned. Alten could spare no more soldiers in case these raiding bands assaulted the village, but he was seeking the help of a group of adventurers who could find out what happened to the patrol.
Edgar Wright: a sneaky dandy from Halldale Citadel in the Western Reaches.
Aspects: Moves with the Sounds of Silence, Pompous Ass.
The Dark One: a shrouded figure in black from the Black Pools.
Aspects: Quick Learner of the Mystical Arts, Inner Ear Problem.
Cornelius Asquach: a grey bearded old man from the north.
Aspects: Conjurer of the Dead, They're All Out to Get You!
Seven Reed Whispering Emerald: an athletic martial artist from Whitehill.
Aspects: Leaping Baboon Striking Cobra, The Voices Made Me Do It.
And that was it! All it took to create characters and get started. Obviously there are more complex details to be added, but you really can begin with just this. LoA has a much more detailed character creation option that is separated into phases with all sorts of great stuff, but it's better for those who know the game or who will be playing a long term campaign.
Play began with the characters deciding how they wanted to proceed, either due north and down into the Pools, or along the eastern wall of the valley, overlooking the Pools from above. After a visit to the captain of the guard, an effeminate man with steely eyes, and obtaining a route map of the patrol from him, they discovered that the patrol was meant to head down into the valley and then west along the foot of the western valley wall. The party descended.
On the valley floor, the grey landscape spread out in a haze of fog before them, dotted with small black pools. Travelling through the Pools without a guide would almost certainly lead to getting lost, so the Dark One decided to spend some of her skill points on Survival at this point. With the "Characters on the Fly" method of play, players are able to spend up to 20 points on skills as they go. She bought Average (+1) Survival. Before the Dark One could make a Survival roll, however, Edgar Wright noticed the tracks and attempted to read them himself (Pompous Ass). He received no bonus to his roll since his Survival skill was Mediocre (0) and failed miserably. He ended up obscuring and confusing the tracks that were there. The party decided to follow them anyway, but they were unable to determine the type of tracks or how large a group they were following.
Because they failed their tracking attempt, I had the band of orcs ahead take them by surprise. They came charging out of the haze wielding crude swords and shouting. Edgar Wright quickly decided he needed some combat skills at this point and bought Average (+1) Melee Weapons and Average (+1) Athletics. The Dark One bought Fair (+2) Ranged Weapons, and Seven Reed Whispering Emerald bought Good (+3) Athletics, Fair (+2) Unarmed and Average (+1) Might.
I decided these were Fair (+2) orcs. I had them in two groups (3 in each) of minion quality. This was something I quite like about LoA. The minion groups are treated as a single monster, but they can have more than one actual creature in them.
Now that everyone had their combat skills, the battle ensued!