Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Magpie Games Inks Deal with ViacomCBS Consumer Products for Roleplaying Game Based On 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' and 'The Legend of Korra'

Magpie Games Inks Deal with ViacomCBS Consumer Products for Roleplaying Game Based On Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra

New RPG Set in World of Avatar: TLA & TLoK

Albuquerque, NM–February 03, 2021–Magpie Games has secured a multi-year licensing agreement with ViacomCBS Consumer Products to produce a tabletop roleplaying game set in the world of Nickelodeon’s animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.

“The stories of Avatar are so moving for us because they are joyous and heartbreaking,” says Mark Diaz Truman, CEO of Magpie Games. “We’re incredibly excited to bring the tales of brave benders and loyal friendships to tabletop roleplaying games; we know so many fans of both series have been waiting years for this moment! We’re also thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Asian designers like James Mendez Hodes to bring the world of Avatar Aang and Avatar Korra to life in a way that’s true to the authentic, diverse spirit of both shows.”

“We believe Magpie Games is the ideal partner to develop a roleplaying game based on Avatar: the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra” says Pam Kaufman, President, Global Consumer Products, ViacomCBS. “Their commitment to supporting diverse content from diverse creators along with their exceptional game product made them the right choice to bring the world of Avatar to tabletop roleplaying games.”

This roleplaying game is a unique opportunity for fans of the show to return to a beloved setting—this time as the heroes of the story! Rising to meet their destiny, players will make characters using playbooks—templates that help players build and play compelling protagonists in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. Together they might protect local merchants from the Triple Threat Triad in Republic City, travel through a spirit portal to rescue a child taken into the Spirit World, negotiate peace between feuding communities within the Earth Kingdom, or pursue mysteries (and villains) that arise throughout their adventures!

Hopefully fans will be able to play as a cabbage merchant!

The roleplaying game’s Core Book is slated for a February 2022 release with two supplements to follow in August 2022 and February 2023 titled Republic City and The Spirit World respectively.

For more information, please visit
Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender
Launched in February 2005, Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender ran for three seasons (61 episodes) and emerged as one of the most beloved animated properties in history, drawing 5.6 million viewers during its series finale. Created and executive produced by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the series is translated in 32 languages. The property has translated into a successful ongoing graphic novel series, which includes 25 volumes and counting. A combination of the titles has spent 70 cumulative weeks on the New York Times Graphic Books Bestseller list since 2012. The DVD and Blu-rays are a successful consumer products business, with the “Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Series” generating nearly $5MM since its 2018 release. The epic story of Avatar: The Last Airbender follows the journey of Aang, a 12-year-old boy torn between fulfilling his fate as the long-awaited Avatar, who can master all four elements and bring balance to the world, and just wanting to be a regular kid. 

Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra
Launched in April 2012, Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra ran for four seasons (52 episodes). Its first season premiered as basic cable’s number one kid’s show and drew 3.8 million viewers per episode, the highest for an animated series that year. Created and executive produced by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the series is translated in more than 25 languages for Nickelodeon branded channels internationally.  The property has translated into a successful ongoing graphic novel series written by TV series co-creator DiMartino. The first graphic novel storyline, Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, has captured various Top 10 sales spots across children’s fiction, YA science fiction, and graphic novel categories since its debut in 2017. The epic story of The Legend of Korra, set in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender 70 years later, follows the journey of Avatar Korra, a 17-year-old girl striving to live up to the legacy of her predecessor Avatar Aang, while using her mastery of all four elements to confront political and spiritual unrest in a modernizing world.

About ViacomCBS Consumer Products
ViacomCBS Consumer Products (VCP) oversees all licensing and merchandising for ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC), a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic consumer brands, VCP’s portfolio includes a diverse slate of brands and content from BET, CBS (including CBS Television Studios and CBS Television Distribution), Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and Showtime. With properties spanning animation, live-action, preschool, youth and adult, VCP is committed to creating the highest quality product for some of the world’s most beloved, iconic franchises. Additionally, VCP oversees the online direct-to-consumer business for CBS and Showtime programming merchandise, as well as standalone branded ecommerce websites for Star Trek, SpongeBob, South Park, and MTV.

©2021 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon Avatar:The Last Airbender and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

Subscribe to the NEW official Avatar: The Last Airbender YouTube channel!:

Check out the Nickelodeon Animation Studio online: Website | Facebook | Tumblr | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Update (7/28) - Magpie Games Curated Play Program are hosting sessions to playtest the newest rules for their upcoming Avatar game, hosted by one of their experienced gamemasters! Yip yip! August 2021 dates include:

Avatar Legends: The RPG: Kyoshi Era (Bright - August 1)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Hundred Year War Era Campaign (Landon Cornell - August 1 Campaign)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Roku Era (Connor Y - August 1)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Hundred Year War Era (Connor Y - August 2)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Aang Era (Bright - August 4)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Kyoshi Era (Lili Sparx – August 4 Two-Shot)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Korra Era (Helena Real – August 4)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Roku Era (Lili Sparx – August 5)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Hundred Year War Era (Bright – August 6)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Aang Era (Helena Real – August 6)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Korra Era (Noir Enigma – August 6)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Kyoshi Era (Landon Cornell – August 7)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Roku Era (Lili Sparx – August 7)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Korra Era (Lili Sparx – August 7)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Hundred Year War Era (Noir Enigma – August 7)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Kyoshi Era (Anders K – August 8 Two-Shot)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Korra Era (Bright – August 8)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Kyoshi Era (Anders K – August 9)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Hundred Year War Era (Helena Real – August 11)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Aang Era (Connor Y – August 11)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Roku Era (Bright – August 11)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Korra Era (Anders K – August 12)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Kyoshi Era (Lili Sparx – August 12 Two-Shot)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Hundred Year War Era (Connor Y – August 12)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Aang Era (Anders K – August 13 Two-Shot)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Roku Era (Bright – August 13)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Kyoshi Era (Helena Real – August 13)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Roku Era (Noir Enigma – August 13)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Aang Era (Noir Enigma – August 14)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Hundred Year War Era (Elsbeth Denman – August 14)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Kyoshi Era (Connor Y – August 15)
Avatar Legends: The RPG: Korra Era (Bright – August 15)

From TechRaptor:

Avatar: The Last Airbender RPG Interview

Everything Changed When The Tired Meme Attacked

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the greatest martial arts fantasy shows in recent memory. Not only was it one of Nickelodeon's greatest success stories that captured the attention of millions of children, it was a sharply written story in an imaginative world full of element-controlling martial arts, political intrigue, and East Asian philosophy. It was so popular it got a polarizing sequel series, The Legend of Korra, as well as a notoriously terrible live-action film adaptation by M. Night Shyamalan.

But the core of Avatar: The Last Airbender is still going strong. In addition to the characters showing up in everything from comic books to Smite DLC, there was an announcement of a brand new animation studio headed by the series' creators made with the express purpose of telling additional stories in the world, including animated films and spin-offs. But this series' reach cannot just stay contained to film and television: it is also getting it's very first official tabletop RPG adaptation courtesy of Magpie Games.

This is a daunting challenge no matter how you look at it. Avatar was highly influential, the very idea of a bender was so popular that Dungeons and Dragons' fifth edition made it a Monk subclass (Way of the Four Elements, look it up) for example, and tabletop RPGs bring their own unique challenges and hurdles when it comes to adaptation. Sometimes adapting an existing intellectual property works out effortlessly like Alien: The RPG, other times a focus on authenticity of the license leads to a mediocre or undercooked core like Dishonored.

Thankfully I was able to ask some of these burning questions at the creators themselves. The creative voices on Avatar: The RPG are Marissa Kelly, who was the lead developer on Bluebeard's Bride, an RPG adaptation of the French folk tale, and Mark Diaz Truman. Both are tried and true developers of tabletop RPGs whose credits stretch as far as consultation on the second edition of 7th Sea, and being founding members of the Indie Game Developer Network.

It is because of this experience that Truman and Kelly understand the importance of a seasoned and experienced team. Kelly stated, “That’s one of the reasons we’re really excited about all our contributing designers for the project. AtLA and TLoK are wonderful settings, and we’re so excited to get Asian-American designers like James Mendez Hodes and Clio Yun-Su Davis involved really early with the game’s design.” It takes a lot of talent to make an RPG work, and it's great to see this group understand the importance of that.

It also helps that both Kelly and Truman are big fans of the show itself. When asked about their favorite characters or stories, they were more than happy to share.

Truman stated, “I think two of my favorite characters from the series are the old men! I love Iroh and Tenzin, both because they are wise and moving characters, but also because they provide such an interesting set of challenges for the younger characters. As a GM, I’m really excited about filling the world my players engage with both intense villains (Azula!) and wise elders like Tenzin and Iroh.”

Kelly's heart meanwhile was elsewhere. “The most important character is, of course, Momo, but Katara’s dedication and determination are an impressive force throughout AtLA. I love that they don’t portray her as a flawless heroine—instead her desires sometimes come into conflict with the mission to save the world. Katara manages to be a grounded character with a head full of hopes and dreams, and I admire that balance.” Considering how much Katara grows as a character in the show and the challenges she overcomes like leading a prison riot, confronting the moral quandries of bloodbending, all while maintaining a compassionate demeanor, it is no surprise that she resonates so profoundly.

But love for the material only goes so far. I asked Kelly and Truman what was the most important thing to get right when it came to making Avatar: The RPG. Do you focus on an in-depth combat system that might overshadow the more empathetic themes of the story? Alternatively, do you focus more on player agency and shortchange the potential for action setpieces? The answer was quite elegant: the game would run on the tabletop RPG engine "Powered by the Apocalypse." Kelly explained that in many respects, both The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are coming-of-age stories. Big and bold adventures full of magic as well as problems that can't just be beaten down with kicks and punches. The focus should be on that sense of scale and the desire for players to make the world a better place despite such daunting situations.

Truman illustrated a prime example of the system in context. “The best part about using the Powered by the Apocalypse engine is that we can design rules around bending that can invoke the show’s sense of wonder and power without needing to rely on long lists of feats and powers. Rather than merely describe ways in which players can attack monsters, we can talk about the costs and consequences of reshaping the environment (Earth), healing other characters (Water), or even channeling primal forces and bending energy!” It's the key difference between complicated and complex, and for new players who may be introduced to the hobby of tabletop RPGs through this game, Truman even states that this is a game parents can easily play with their kids.

As for the potential to tell more intriguing stories in the world of Avatar, Truman mentioned several tantalizing details. The core rulebook will cover the five different eras alluded to in the series, not just the War with the Fire Nation or the industrial boom of Republic City. Fans of the setting's deep lore will have plenty to sink their teeth into here. Truman even mentioned that there were plans for additional sourcebooks focused on exploring Republic City, and making journeys into the mystical Spirit World.

As much as I wanted to press both Kelly and Truman for more details, for multiple reasons they had to remain silent. Avatar: The RPG is still in development and is a high-profile intellectual property after all. But it was during my time exchanging words with the people in charge, I became genuinely excited and interested in how they will help players bring their very own adventures in this world to life. Only time will tell if they hit the mark.


From CBR:

Avatar The Last Airbender: 10 Things We Know About The Tabletop RPG

The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender will be playable in a tabletop RPG set to be released sometime in 2022. Here's what we know so far.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) was a cult classic animated series until Netflix started streaming it, ushering in an entirely new generation of fans. The hype around the show even provided a second wave of fans for The Legend of Korra (LOK), the series that followed ATLA albeit with a much more hesitant Nickelodeon.

While there have been video games in the past, the Avatar franchise has never released a tabletop RPG— until now. The Avatar universe will be blown wide open thanks to the start of Avatar Studios, so expanding the world even further with a tabletop world-building RPG seemed like the logical next step.

10. Powered By The Apocalypse Will Be The Framework

Power by the Apocalypse is a design framework for tabletop RPG games created back in 2010 by Meguey and Vincent Baker for the game Apocalypse World. It has since been used as the basis for over 25 games since its inception.

The games powered by this framework typically revolve around character moves. Characters are given basic moves for typical tasks one might expect to have to do during gameplay, such as a generic fight move in a fighting-heavy game. Sometimes these moves can be specific to certain classes depending on how the game is structured, and it's assumed the Avatar game will have a class system based around element bending and other skillsets.

9. Mark Truman & James Mendez Hodes Are Taking The Time To Do It Right

The CEO of Magpie games, Mark Truman, and the lead designer for the Avatar game, James Mendez Hodes, are being very careful with their approach to creating the game. They are working on combining the aspects of the shows that fans fell in love with initially with the nuances of actual gameplay to make an enjoyable masterpiece.

Both of them love the franchise themselves, and unlike Netflix, want to use the original content as inspiration for their story. They are taking their time to develop the bending styles and are incorporating martial arts and eastern cultural influence with finesse.

8. Structured To Encompass Asian Cultures Without Offensive Stereotypes Or Derivative Concepts

An important part of the game for Truman and Hodes is ensuring players feel comfortable portraying characters meant to be Asian without falling into stereotypes or overused tropes such as villainous dragon lords and every character knowing some form of karate. Hodes has indicated that the question he gets asked most is how to portray an Asian character without being offensive.

Hodes and Truman are making sure that all cultural significance will be included within the gamebook and character guides. Essentially, the intent is for players to just play a character and the game will supply everything else one might need. All players need to do is interface with the game material and the rest will come.

7. The Core Book Is Planned For February 2022

The initial release for the game is less than a year away and fans couldn't be more excited. Not a whole lot has been revealed by the creative team and much of what they want to do is likely changing and evolving as work progresses. Though the team has confirmed a few details released such as the potential to play during multiple eras of different Avatars.

Additionally, while they've decided that players can't play as actual characters from the shows, the creative team understands that those characters are a huge part of the franchise's success. As such, it sounds like the team has decided to integrate canon characters into the game but without allowing players to use them for gameplay.

6. The First Supplemental Book, Republic City, Is Planned For August 2022

In addition to the first book, the creative team already has plans for at least two supplemental books which will probably lead to a handful of others if the game is successful. The first expansion book will be called Republic City and will largely focus on Republic City and interacting with its citizens.

With so many exciting technological advancements and the palpable tensions between benders and non-benders, playing in this city could make for an interesting parallel to the real world. While there are no benders in the real world, technology plays a huge role, and there will always be the "haves" and the "have-nots."

5. The Second Supplemental Book, The Spirit World, Is Planned For February 2023

The second expansion book to be released will be called The Spirit World which will obviously focus heavily on the Spirit World and more than likely interacting with spirits. Perhaps players may be able to play during the time of Harmonic Convergence and must either help Raava or Vaatu, depending on their alignment.

However, considering the Spirit World wasn't really explored all that much in the shows (at least until LOK), the creative team may use the opportunity to blow the Spirit World completely wide open. After all, the Spirit World is assumed to encompass the same space as the mortal world, and fans have only seen glimpses of places and beings from the Spirit World in the shows.

4. Element Bending Will Be More Unique Than Typical Tabletop RPG Moves Or Attacks

The creators have indicated that the moves for characters in the game will be a bit more relaxed than standard D&D gameplay. For example, if one is a firebender they won't have to roll the dice every time they want to firebend. Or characters who are non-benders but tech-savvy wouldn't have to roll dice to successfully turn on a Satomobile.

This will certainly open things up for players and make it more fun than typical "roll for everything" games such as D&D. Allowing characters to utilize their specialties makes a lot more sense than subjecting a master bender to a roll of the dice to complete a menial task.

3. The Game Will Include Five Playable Avatar Eras

One of the more exciting tidbits fans have learned about the series is that there will be five different playable eras. One era will center around Aang's run as the Avatar and another will focus on the era that Korra protects.

Additionally, the eras of Avatars Roku and Kyoshi will be playable. These two are some of the other more popular Avatars among fans— after Aang and Korra, of course. The fifth era is the time during the 100-Year War when Aang was frozen in the ice. Each era has potential for incredible campaigns, though fans are certainly hoping for an Avatar Wan era down the line.

2. Hybrid Animals & Canon Characters Will Be Included

Another exciting part of the game is that the incredibly unique animals will be a part of it as well. There will likely be the option for certain characters to choose animal familiars such as Winged Lemurs (Momo) or Fire Ferrets (Pabu), or maybe even animal steeds such as Flying Bison (Appa), Polar Bear Dogs (Naga), or Dragons (Druk).

Additionally, the team has indicated, despite their reservations, that there will be canon characters from the franchise within the game perhaps as villains, friends, and/or other non-player characters. A party might come across Iroh's spirit when seeking wisdom in the Spirit World, or they may cross paths with Katara should their journey take them to the Southern Water Tribe.

1. The Creative Team Has Suggested That The Avatar Will Not Be Playable, But Energybending May Be Possible

While everything is still very much in development, it appears as though one thing is decided for certain (at least for now), and that is that players will not be able to play as the Avatar. While this may upset many fans, it's likely to avoid one character being too overpowered which would be unfair and likely less fun for everyone else playing.

However, they have also suggested that energybending may be possible, even if the Avatar isn't playable. This may have been an off-the-cuff remark during an interview, or perhaps something more. Allowing players to use energybending to subdue spirits or nullify enemies could be a great way to make one feel like the Avatar.


More Nick: Nickelodeon to Release 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Cookbook in August 2021!

Originally published: Wednesday, February 03, 2021.

H/T: Avatar News; Additional source: Nerdist.

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