Posted in Conclusion

Avatar Legends – Conclusion „The Vanishing Act“

We played The Vanishing Act adventure included in the Avatar Legends core rulebook yesterday. No one in the group was previously familiar with the game, with some already having experience playing Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) games. I’m not going to give away what happened in the adventure, I want to share what we experienced about the game itself.


Kyoshiro Kami


  • curosprime as Jao, the Bold
  • purple as Fora, the Idealist
  • Patrick Decker as Tavao, the Successor
  • Ronon as Noka, the Hammer

I would like to say a few words about the adventure, because I really liked it overall. As in the Avatar Legends quickstart and the Root RPG quickstart, you get a small sandbox. The gamemaster has many options to customize the adventure. At the same time, as a GM you have to improvise a bit more, which might overwhelm one or the other. However, we enjoyed it and reached a satisfactory solution in the end.

But now we come to the system. Avatar Legends has quite a lot of elements and they make it much more complex than, say, Apocalypse World or Dungeon World. One of my teammates had first his first contact with PbtA a few days earlier and it was much easier for him to get started in Dungeon World than it is now in Avatar Legends. I got a lot of questions from the whole group about balance, combat techniques and also conditions and statuses.

The game then went much smoother and my group made good use of their skills. The flow of the game was very good and our reluctant heroes progressed well. And then came the first exchange of blows. In Dungeon World, the transition is absolutely fluid and stays in flux. Unfortunately, this is completely different with Avatar Legends. I’m a fan of the learning-by-doing principle and here I had to explain a lot. Choosing the right stance and explaining the options also took time. In the end, it seemed a bit as if the handbrake had been pulled and we stood still for the time being. It took a while for us to sort ourselves out and get into the flow of the game. I think that’s a pity.

I think that only after playing Avatar Legends for a while and mastering the basics of combat and understanding all the elements can you make the combat as fluid as other PbtA. Of course, as a gamemaster, I can also take the reins and let my players continue to talk and then choose the right techniques and stances for them, but that doesn’t teach them the game. And that ends up being a lot more work and improvisation for me. I would rather let that energy flow into the story.

I love PbtA games precisely because you can hand the playbooks to a group and get started without much explanation. Avatar Legend takes time and a little experience from the players. So the combat system is a bit like in more traditional games, where you then look at everything tactically. In Legend of the Elements, another PbtA game clearly inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender, there is no superimposed combat system and we didn’t have that problem there.

As after testing the quickstart, I’m very divided on Avatar Legends. I like the setting and the rules are laid out very nicely. However, the combat system and its techniques bother me. Above all, there is a whole range of other techniques in the rules that you can learn. At the table you can use the deck of cards, but PbtA for me has always been this simple system where I don’t need a lot of help around it and it’s all about the fiction. Unfortunately, this is broken somewhat in Avatar Legends.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s