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In Legend, the range of a character's attacks increases every 5 levels, which kind of makes sense for ranged attacks, since it represents a increase in skill. This is all fine and dandy, but I have a problem with it, and that is that it also works like that for melee weapons.

Legend Core Rulebook - page 111

Melee

[Melee] range defaults to 5 ft + 5 ft per 5 levels (up to 25 ft at level 20). Weapons with the [Reach] property add 5 ft to the wielder’s melee range, and melee reach increases by 5 ft for every size category above Medium (so a Large-sized giant with 4 levels would have a melee range of 10 ft).

I could not find any reference to the reason why melee ranges increased. Is it merely because combat is abstracted, or have I missed something?

I would greatly appreciate a page reference or a simple quote from the book, if such a section exists.

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Mechanics

OK, on a mechanical/balance level, range is increased because as characters level, they can gain additional movement modes and faster speeds and things: in play-testing, it was found that there was little-to-nothing melee characters could do to keep up with ranged characters, since far too often they were unable to get adjacent.

Legend and Fluff

For fluff, Legend doesn’t like dictating to you why your mechanics are the way they are. All the fluff in Legend is a suggestion at best, and the system heavily encourages refluffing to match your character. So there’s nothing in the book directly that explains why the reach increases; you’re free to call it what you like.

For example, if you wanted a character with Dhalsim-esque stretchy punches or anime-inspired air pressure slashes, you could just say that’s how your melee reach extends. Of course, those are really niche characters that don’t fit everyone.

A High-level Mundane Warrior in Legend

The “suggested” fluff for it, assuming that you’re not super-stretchy and don’t care for dubious applications of meteorology, is that your melee reach represents your “area of control.” It is the area in which you can operate safely, i.e. not triggering attacks of opportunity for your lunges and the like.

Basically, in the same way that every creature occupies a 5-ft square, despite not having a 5 ft2 footprint, your increasing reach represents the idea that you are moving around – even outside of your square, now – but you’re doing so within an area that you control. The control isn’t as strong as your own space (i.e. you cannot keep others out), but it’s enough to prevent attacks of opportunity or other things that might trigger on movement.

A move action, then, becomes less about actual movement, and more about moving this area that you control. You’ve carved out a little breathing room for yourself in the middle of the battle, but if you need to deal with things outside that space you’ve gotta take some risks.

I am not a martial artist, but I have been told that this idea does represent, in a fairly abstract way, how actual combats take place. The increasing reach is important in Legend for mechanical reasons, but that does not mean it has to be swallowed as a “necessary evil” as far as loss of simulation goes (unlike, say, Legend’s flight rules, which are unabashedly “3D flight is a nightmare to run and is way too large an advantage, so we’re going to abstract it heavily to eliminate that even though you do lose some verisimilitude”).

Legend, Power Expectations, and Leveling

The other thing to keep in mind is that Legend has embraced the idea of massive growth as one levels. Legend did not approach “linear warriors, quadratic wizards” by linearizing the mages (though they have, of course, been nerfed compared to 3.5’s insanity). At high levels, all characters must be routinely ignoring the limitations of the human body, and frequently bending, at least, the laws of physics. That includes the martial, “mundane” characters. This is usually represented by various forms of Badass Normal, Super Secret Training, whatever. Stuff you see in Batman comics and various anime.

It’s not that Legend embraces any kind of “anime style” so much as the fact that anime is one of the few mediums where you frequently see mundane characters with powers and abilities on par with what is expected of a high-level Legend character. The melee reach isn’t the only thing: take a look at what you can do with high-ish Acrobatics and Athletics checks (e.g., under things you can climb, there’s a DC for “raindrops. The falling kind.”).

This isn’t for everyone, and that’s why Legend has narrative-based leveling – if you don’t want the characters to reach those kinds of power, simply don’t have them level that high. The game is designed so that levels 1-5, roughly, can represent a fairly gritty medieval fantasy game, 6-10 are more like fantasy heroes and the like, and beyond that gets into ever more over-the-top power, approaching on material frequently associated with gods.

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I'd just like to add that, as a martial artist (although not high-level enough to climb raindrops) - the idea of extending range to reflect the "things you can reach with a strike" makes perfect sense. You don't stand still to fight. –  Ryno Nov 27 '12 at 15:57
    
@Ryno Is does, agreed, but only because the location of your character on the grid is an abstraction. In this game, apparently, your placement on the battle grid signifies the center of your circle of influence, in contrast to regular D&D . In there, your characters position is less abstract, according to the rules. –  Undreren Nov 27 '12 at 17:30
    
@Undreren: I'd argue that's not really all that true: 3.5 characters still move to make their attacks, even when they attack adjacent squares. I'd say it's closer to the truth that 3.5 pretends to be less abstract about it. This is true, I think, of a lot of 3.5. Legend is a bit more explicit about its abstractions, but only actually more abstract in a few areas (like flight). –  KRyan Nov 27 '12 at 18:04

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