While following the Avatar Legends project, I wondered what made it successful, especially since many participants did not know the role-playing game, thinking that it was a card game or a video game. And yet, they participated, carried by a “license” less popular with us.
Reading the comments, we quickly understood that the series had rocked their childhood, that it was the ultimate Proust madeleine. Because Avatar is also a work of critical success, due to its elaborate scenarios, tackling adult themes under a form adapted to children with a lot of humanism.
Avatar, a game for (old) children?
It is a world where genocide is used as a weapon of hegemony. Where an army general, deeply affected by the death of his son in battle, takes under his wing his idealistic nephew, whose father prefers a war criminal to him. Where, between traditions and industrial progress, the powerful play on beliefs to maintain their privileges. Where an industrialist secretly supports a civil war to obtain arms contracts. Where a gang of terrorists sows terror to defend an anarchist ideology. Where a military junta overthrows a monarchy that only benefited the upper classes, to establish a totalitarian government.
But it is also a world whose heroes are carried by an unwavering optimism, by true bonds of friendship, by a deep desire to do what is good and what is just. Heroes who often doubt, but support each other. This positive spirit is found in the game, where the values of the characters must respect this approach. They don’t kill, they are friendly to each other.
A rich universe: Kyoshi and Korra
Another point is the richness of this universe, inspired by all kinds of traditions and, what differentiates it from many fantastic universes, it spans several periods giving access to very different themes or atmospheres. We can discover the medieval age of Kyoshi, where emerging nations are infiltrated by crime syndicates, up to the period of Korra, a nest of emerging industrial corporations taking over states.
The system is based on the character and motivations, which will disconcert veterans accustomed to precise skills, but results in very descriptive resolutions.
Narration is strongly focused on the character, his inner dilemmas and the relationships he forms with his friends or enemies. As for the scenarios, they generally adopt the format Sandbox, where plot elements are available as building blocks to adjust to the characters and their priorities. This is an extremely coherent, beautiful and modern game, from intentions to execution. And Arkhane Asylum Publishing (the publisher behind the gems Alien, Tales From The Loop and Mutant Year Zero) has just announced that it will translate it.
In English, the supplement on Republic City, which develops the era of Korra, that is to say the second animated series in this universe, will soon be delivered to those who have pre-ordered it.
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