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The Douchey DM » Reviews » Legend by Mongoose Publishing

Legend by Mongoose Publishing

I love what Mongoose Publishing does for the RPG hobby. They’ve taken some old, oft-forgotten systems and breathed new life into them, modernizing the rules and supporting them.

Legend is in someways the evolution and “genericization” of Mongoose’s revival of the classic (and table-heavy) Runequest, Runequest II.

Legend is a setting-less fantasy RPG using a percentile dice based skill system, much like Call of Cthulhu. The skill system is very flexible and includes rules for taking extra time for bonuses, penalties for rush jobs, applying two skills to a situation.

The character generation system is both detailed and quick. In some ways, they’ve applied some aspects of the Traveller chargen and applied it here (though it isn’t random). Characteristics (Strength, Constitution, Size, Intelligence, Power, Dexterity, Charisma)  can either be rolled randomly or purchased with a point-buy system. Secondary attributes are mostly determined by your seven characteristics.

Where it becomes Traveller-esque, is when you determine your character’s background (Barbarian, Civilized, Nomad, Primitive) and profession (too many to list). These give you bonuses to skills, which are categorized as “common” and “advanced.”

Common skills is the refreshing idea that there are certain things everyone knows how to do. These are common things that are both useful and, well, common. You don’t have to, for example, remember to purchase “Perception.” Your character already has that skill at a default level (Int + Pow). You may receive bonuses depending on your background and chosen profession, and you can also purchase up your skills with skill points later in creation.

The combat system allows for some characters (with sufficient Int and Dex) to have multiple actions per round. Additionally, characters can also gain more actions, depending on their successes (and their opponent’s failures). Mongoose has attempted to come up with a list of maneuvers that one might use in combat, providing rules for each.

In all the combat system seems detailed and complex. Being a fan of GURPS, that doesn’t scare me away. I do wonder, however, how much real-world time a combat might take. After my reading, I doubt it would be quick, though as one progresses up the learning curve it would definitely speed up (naturally), and the hit point levels are such that I think most combats would be over after a couple of good hits.

Legend features three types of magic: common, divine and sorcery. Each has its own discrete spell list and rules for casting. Common spells us a spell point system, with spells having a point cost detailed in the description.

Divine magic uses a modified “Vancian-style” magic system, where the user must mediate or pray to gain access to or learn the spell.  Once the spell is cast, the divine caster must spend a certain amount of time meditating or praying for an amount of time determined by his commitment to his god to regain the spell.

Sorcery works in a similar way, where the sorcerer can have a number of spells equal to his Int “mentally prepared.” The spells are not “forgotten” when they are cast, but if the sorcerer wishes to change up his arsenal of spells, he must take time to “expel” a spell to make room for another. Sorcerers have two skills used to cast spells. Firstly, they have Sorcery (Grimoire). There is a separate sorcery skill for each grimoire to which the sorcerer has access. The second skill is Manipulation, and this is where the power of the sorcerer can show.

The manipulation skill points are applied (it’s an unrolled skill) to a spell to increase the spells range, duration, magnitude, etc. It can also be used to merge two spells together. The cost of sorcery spells depends on how much manipulation the sorcerer chooses to use.

The sorcery system offers a great deal of flexibility, and to me seems to most emulate magic as seen in much fantasy fiction.

Mongoose is going full-bore with its support for Legend. As of this writing, there are several other sourcebooks written specifically for Legend. Additionally, Mongoose says the Legend system is 100% compatible with previous Runequest II titles, giving the system a huge catalog.

Mongoose is taking a lesson from Pinnacle’s Savage Worlds by making the cost of entry incredibly low. You can purchase the core book for Legend for one dollar at Drivethrurpg.



Written by

Stu Venable is the producer of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast and writer and editor of He is founder and director of the Poxy Boggards and a member of Celtic Squall. He holds a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Long Beach. He is a husband and a father. He hates puppies.

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3 Responses to "Legend by Mongoose Publishing"

  1. James HutchingsNo Gravatar says:


    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn’t find a contact email for you.

    A while ago I put out an ebook of my writing, called ‘The New Death and others’. It’s mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard’s King Kull story ‘The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune’ and HP Lovecraft’s ‘Under the Pyramids’.

    I was wondering if you’d be interested in doing a review on your blog (either a normal book review, or a review of its suitability as gaming inspiration).

    If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I’ll send you a free copy. You can email me ( or reply to this thread.

    You can download a sample from Smashwords:

    I’ll also link to your review from my blog.


  2. maliferNo Gravatar says:

    lol. About a week ago I sent an email to Happy Jacks and suggested you check out Legend from Mongoose. In older podcasts Stork kept saying he had the RQII books but everyone seemed scared off because of the old Runequest games. Now when you guys read the email it will be too late.

    There is a really good Vikings book for the system. It’s the same content whether you find the older hardcover RQII print or the newer Vikings of Legend softcover.

    My favorite thing about Legend over RQII is no Glorantha. I know the RQ fans love Glorantha, but it’s fantastical world was just too much for me to swallow. Although I do kind of like the Duck race.

  3. SeanNo Gravatar says:

    Background and professions have been a part of Runequest for as long as I remember. Also, I don’t recall Runequest as ever being that chart-heavy (although Legend has done well by getting rid of the Resistance table).

    Other then feeling the fanboy need to shrilly defend old-school Runequest, I like your review. I’ll be interested to hear if you take Legend out for a test spin.

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