What do Eon Legacy and Dungeons & Dragons have in common?

The Father of Modern Tabletop Role Playing Games (Garry Gygax of Dungeons and Dragons and TSR Founder) and young Author of Eon Legacy (R.A.G. Rankin) once met years ago…

Art Courtesy of Markus Shanks

At a convention in Southern California over two decades ago they met. The conversation was lengthy discussing the late Lord Gygax’s work and a request for critique on the young Mister Rankin’s work in progress. Rankin handed over a 23 page draft of his RPG and the following conversation happened (with some abridgement to keep it brief):

GG: So this is it? For a fan of playing Priests and Monks I’m not seeing any here.
RR: Well, the Guardians can play a role of tank and self-healer while the Life Mages can model themselves after most of the healer classes.
GG: Interesting. The setting- this isn’t just a shadowrun knockoff or RIFTs wannabe something about it is uniquely “Near-Utopian” post apocalypse. These “Star Dragons” you’ve outlined seem uniquely Lawful Good but I’m only seeing 3 Alignments.
RR: Yes, I try to keep the work a battle between the white hats, the black hats, and the one’s in gray just getting by. Players can role play how they are perceived to each other and NPCs while some characters have the ability to see Auras and how their soul reflects on the world around them.
GG: Clever, young man! Mmm, lacking a lot of dicerolls here for character creation but I see a system with flaws and perks as a sort of “Character Focused Flavor Text”. What’s that about?
RR: Well, at level one most characters have finished their basic training and are at a journeyman level just about to come into their own and start perfecting their craft. So fixed stats and standards work. As they level the storyteller can award points to their general stats, HP, and skill/spell capacities.
GG: Fair enough but you’ll have min/maxers really push the limits. You might want to look into limiting that. Also, they get their basic skills back after every fight? Isn’t that a little arcadey?
RR: Yes, it is, I want people to feel like they can keep going like an epic adventure from the start but their big abilities require some rest. I learn from the best.
GG: You’ve got some good ideas, young sir, but without art and more worldbuilding this work won’t go anywhere.
RR: I used to be good with sketches but dysgraphia and nerve damage kind of left me without a way to project what’s on my mind.
GG: Then write! There is nothing preventing you from putting a pen to paper or typing it out at exhausting length! Once you do that, find many different artists and let them have a go at interpreting it then direct them. You’ll find some, eventually, who know what they’re doing! You can’t keep it all in your head or it will be lost and more great idea’s have been lost than I dare to imagine.
RR: I don’t want to be a copy. Dragonmoon is kind of a silly name after all.
GG: Well, you call it that and people will draw the similarities but look here: Your game has a fresh setting. It’s not a fantasy dark-age dungeoncrawler, it’s not a techno-cyberpunk magicy alley brawler, it’s some kind of amalgamation of East and Western High Sci-Fantasy Cosmic Horror Space Opera.
RR: I mean it’s only twenty something pages.
GG: Twenty “something with” basic rules, mechanics, a tiny bit of lore, standards on making weapons and class specific items. I bet with a little work and your imagination you could make dozens of pages, tables, diagrams, examples and a whole cornucopia of content. Then there are the last few pages with just a few factions. Tell me, there are more?
RR: A lot more. There are multiple factions for every race and companies that have their own factions in addition to factions of all three alignments.
GG: See, I have that in most of my games. A faction or two per capital city then unifying factions that fit classes and religious orders. That reminds me of something. No Dwaves and Elves?
RR: Those will come much later. I kind of want to stick with the original classes before I delve into anything in modern fantasy mythologies. The mention of more factions though could really add some stuff for sure.
GG: So your mechanics – you have multiple different resolution options? Dice rolling or Logical turn-style? I prefer the roll on every act myself gives me a chance to win big and a chance to fall hard.
RR: Yes and yes. I wrote this game when I was like 12 and I didn’t have money to buy all your books at thirty dollars each. I also had a lot of friends with Anxiety issues, cognitive disorders, and a few blind folks so making more than one system to “resolve combat” only made sense to best suit those who were playing.
GG: Seems like you thought of everything. What about these concepts you have story-wise? They seem to cover a pretty broad area with just two pages.
RR: I kind of made my own universe based on inspiration from stuff like Power Rangers, Ultraman, Ronin Warriors, Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, and a ton of other anime in addition to Star Wars and Trek with a bit of The 5th Element and all the Dark Horse Alien and Predator with a bit of Terminator inspiration along with Space Odyssey and some Fred Perry’s Gold Digger and Ben Dunn’s Ninja High school. I guess you could call it a “Love Letter for all that is modern mythology”.
GG: Golly kid, weren’t you a little young for some of that stuff? I’ve seen some of Fred’s works and his nods to mine for sure. All those points remind me of reading a “Writer Profile” from a Wizard’s Magazine.
RR: Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’ve read some Dragonlance and Grayhawk.. With lots of Dragon Magazine since then and pretty much ALL of Tolkien before I wrote my own little fiction.
GG: You know this could make a really nifty tabletop wargame, right?
RR: I never even thought of that. I guess you could.
GG: When you get this fleshed out and published promise you’ll bring it to me to make the wargame part? Licenses and royalty arrangements can be drafted pretty quickly.
RR: Wow, really Mister Gygax?
GG: Sure thing, Mister Rankin but once you’re published we should probably be on a first name basis by then.
RR: Thank you, sir, thank you so much!
GG: You’re very welcome. It’s my pleasure to have been such an inspiration.

We talked a lot about him selling TSR and the financial structure of making and releasing “Modules” and how his properties were made into all kinds of games that he couldn’t even keep track of at this point but it was the late 90s and he told me there was a movie in the works that he seemed a little tight lipped about. We also talked about what was the best place to get some good Italian food from and I told him it was Genovese’s in Orange. Looking back now I wish I had asked for his email.

R.A.G. Rankin, on the conversation with Gary Gygax

Since then, Gary Gygax has passed away and Eon Legacy’s author has worked tirelessly to follow the suggestions of the late creator of Dungeons & Dragons. Gary’s wasn’t wrong with his statements. Worldbuilding was essential and so was art for a visual representation of the world. Eon Legacy is finally coming into it’s own and as it’s author has finished this “love letter” he was talking about with a a few follow up one’s to expand on that affliction of affinity! They have Space Dwarves now!

“The Stonehewers- While they could use Energy Cannons they prefer hammers and axes.” -Art from one of Eon Legacy’s recent expansions

In addition to working on expanding the inspired work, Eon Legacy and Dungeons & Dragons will have a platform to play on digitally over at Scene Grinder! Check them out!