Today I am going to talk about the concept and design philosophy behind one of Dead Legends hidden features: Tertiary Lists!
What is a Tertiary List?
Tertiary Lists are secret specializations that are unlocked through at event Roleplay, Advance Requirements and, sometimes, Special Circumstances or Items. Tertiary Training is ultra specialized, XP-investment-heavy paths for a Dead Legends character to unlock through play. They are balanced to be more Mid-Game in strength. Most Tertiary lists are made up of neat Passives that augment normal “lower list” skills in unique ways as well as upgraded versions of Skills.
Many Tertiary Advances are roughly equivalent with a further +1 bonus or an additional Masterwork equipment trait. However each Tertiary List gets a thing or two that they can do and no one else can!
We called them Tertiary Lists/Training because a Dead Legends character is based around their three Primary Training with Secondary Training generally being picked up over the course of play and character growth. The names are all a bit of a call-back to the rules system that we wrote many years ago and I decided to keep the language around as homage to my LARP rule writing roots.
Are Tertiaries Balanced?
Balance is a tricky issue. The abilities on Tertiary lists are unique and often powerful however none of them make you immortal or unstoppable- simply better at doing one sort of thing. Balance at DL is ultimately decided by the low health/high damage/mortality aspect of combat: everyone is 2-10 bullets away from Mortally Wounded. Even a “high level” character needs to be careful if two newbies with revolvers corner them. A character that delves deep into a Tertiary List will have a few tricks up their sleeve but may still be outclassed by a generalist character that focused on overall capability instead of the intense specialization a Tertiary List offers.
What are the Tertiary Lists? What do they do?
We will be releasing the names and a short bit of info about each of the Tertiary Lists over the coming months. The exact Advances of each Tertiary are secrets, you must discover and unlock it before you learn any further details.
How do I get a Tertiary List? What are the Pre-Reqs?
We intentionally decided that the specific Pre-requisites of all Tertiary Lists will be a secret known to only the Senior Staff of the game (i.e. Directors and Game Officers). In other games with established per-requisites we found that there developed a Meta-build to reach minimum requirements as well as a heightened sense of expectation. This limit character builds in their creativity and dynamism, it makes character growth a static a plotted climb towards some higher threshold and that is boring. We wanted to avoid the carrot-on-a-stick aspect that Higher Lists often become, instead rewarding those players that intuitively or unwittingly built their characters into the paragon of a Weird West Archetype.
Tertiary Lists always cost 15xp to open. They must always be taught by a Story Character (NPC). A character must not only meet the Advances required but also demonstrate consistent and impressive roleplay of an archetype. Some are Supernatural, Many are Mundane! Some of the Tertiary lists require specific deeds, actions or artifacts to unlock. A few require certain levels of Madness, Corruption or Debt!
We want Tertiary Training to be special, but not inaccessible or overpowered, parts of the Dead Legends world. They are a discovery as much as a reward! Some are not awarded willingly! Soon we will being releasing Spotlights on the various Tertiary Lists, starting with those that have been discovered or seen by Denizens of Lazarus.
Until next time,
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