Advanced Tests in OL

In Fatasy AGE there is a notion of an advanced test. How would you do something like this in OL?

The test is for something that takes a duration of time or is a level of difficulty that can’t be captured in a single roll. For example, navigating through a dense forest, climbing up a steep rock face, etc.

The way FAGE does this is a 3d6 + attribute modifier (like all tests in FAGE) with a target number and a success number. All rolls of 3d6 in FAGE are done with one dice of a different color - that’s your “stunt die”. So you keep rolling until the total on your stunt die from successful rolls add up to the target number. You can define what happens for each failed roll.

For example, for the rock climbing you’d do a 3d6 + Strength (Climbing) with a target number of 13 and a success number of 10. For each roll 10 minutes pass, and on a failed roll the player takes 1d6 damage from falling (or something like that). Timing could mean something in the scenario (like they’re escaping from a big bad dude whose 1 hour behind).

I really loved this mechanic in FAGE - thoughts on how to recreate something like this in OL?


Navigating a dense forest or climbing a rock face sounds like it would only take a single action roll. Any roll that doesnt meet the CR for the task would result in a “Success with a Twist” since it seems that from your description of FAGE, unless you literally die while trying, you are going to succeed. The variable is simply how much time or damage you incur while doing so.

For the dense forest navigation, a Logic or Prescience roll sounds good to me. Really dense, dark forest? ~CR20. Character rolls and gets a total of 13…it sounds like the travel took a bit of extra time (perfect navigation is 2 hours for example, so this took 3 hours) and maybe tripped on a hidden stump or pricked by a poisonous vine and some lethal damage is incurred.

For the climbing a rock face…I think there is an example in the Open Legend rules or maybe the A Star Once Fallen module. Basically the same idea, but using a rope or climbing gear would reduce the CR by a good amount or just make it an auto success. The OL mindset is that if the roll doesnt matter in the end, don’t make a roll. With proper equipment, climbing is simply a matter of time.

I have no experience with FAGE, but from your description it kinda reminds of skill challenges from 4th edition DnD, which could be translated into a string of attribute challenges and not a single success or fail determines the result of the challenge, but rather the cumulation of results drives the outcome of the narrative.

There are many examples spelled out in Chapter 2 for every attribute score, maybe you’ll find there what you are looking on.

I have some experience with fantasy age (enjoy the system and LOVE the stunt mechanics, wish I could import it into OL) anyway in regards to the advanced test, maybe set the DC in OL to be a bit higher and have the group offer solutions to the problem(s) and they each roll to help and add it all together??

Not to get stuck on the specific examples, the idea is dealing with situations that are more involved than a single test.

So one of the stretch goals from the kickstarter was Advanced mechanics. These will not be in the core rules, but one of them is social intrigue. The intent is for this new set of mechanics to introduce a dynamic similar to combat except for use in non-combat situations, like social intrigue.

We’ve kicked around a few different ideas but not yet found anything that I’m proud enough to share in a public way here. Suffice to say, there will be a series of action rolls and since combat has “extraordinary success” when you beat a defense by 10 or more (a main narrative benefit of exploding dice), social Intrigue would probably have something along the lines of “stunts” when you do the same in a non-combat scenario.

Yeah @targ8practice - I think something like this makes sense. I like the idea of having the players narrate how they’re working together. I’m going to think about how to put together a consistent mechanic for this idea.

Oh @brianfeister, you tease. No but all joking aside - I trust that you guys will come up with a great mechanic for advanced tests and I’m glad to hear that you’re working on it. In the meantime, I’ll think about a mechanic that will work for my group. If I think it’s mildly interesting, I’ll share.

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I agree total tease, I started a fantasy age homebrew campaign just as I discovered OL. what’s keeping my players there is the stunt mechanics, now I may have to start pushing them to OL Hah

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@targ8practice - I’m in a similar place. Been GM’ing a homebrew FAGE campaign for about a year (we’re all dads, so we meet monthly at best).

What drew me to FAGE was the simple, fun mechanics and that it was light on rules, allowing me to focus on story. But I’ve also found FAGE to be limiting in ways - there are sometimes too few options for players (leaving us to have to homebrew a lot of arcana/talents/specializations). OL takes the focus on story to a whole new level, the mechanics are clear and simple, and the possibilities for creativity are endless.

So now I’m converting my entire campaign and world to OL (which is tough). I’ve told my players we’re switching (in June!), and set up sessions to teach them OL and work together to convert their character.

Right now what’s tripping me up the most is (a) building NPCs in OL (just a matter of time before I start getting faster/better at it and also why I made the NPC sheet) and (b) trying to find an advanced test mechanic.

Yeah that’s pretty much what I’m finding as well with FAGE, I’ve had to homebrew a fair bit (which I’m not that good at, this is my first homebrew game ever) and would love to convert them to OL :laughing:. whilst I’m still wrapping my head around OL rules etc. I think what the idea for the NPCS (allies, monsters etc) is just to take the ‘theme’ of the NPC and convert over, it shouldn’t be exact but as long as you get the general idea you should be fine. And good luck with the advanced test! If I can think of another solution I’ll let you know

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Alright, so I’ll go ahead and drop it here, though it’ll probably change. My thoughts on complex challenges:

Complex Challenges

  1. The GM sets a difficultly between 1 and 9. This should not consider relative attributes, only how difficult it is to get their intended outcome. E.g. “Convince the King to kill his infant son who was born into demonic possession and will only grow more powerful and evil every day”. Difficulty = 6. Also, a Complex Challenge can have more than one group participating in the challenge, the GM should assign a difficulty for each participating group, and if one group has a better chance of success, they should have a lower difficulty. For example, in the above example, the King’s evil advisors (who should have an easy time convincing the King not to kill his own son), might have a difficulty of 2, while the Demon Hunters seeking to purge the Kingdom of demonic influence might have a difficulty of 6.
  2. Each side improvises the narrative use of a given attribute, in a way that advances the narrative toward their intended outcome, usually these will be Social & Mental for social intrigue, but the player must present a reasonable argument in a role-playing context for how that attribute advances their side. The GM might simplify things by just taking one of the opposing character’s Defense scores, however, in the “Convince the King to kill his infant son” example, then the GM should take the King’s Resolve defense and adjust it WAY higher.
  3. There is no initiative, both sides just simply present their narrative, justifications, arguments, logic, deceptions, bluffs, intimidations, whatever, for how they’re trying to win the contest
  4. Each character participating makes an action roll according to their narrative goal from #3 above. The GM decides the CR they are rolling against, in many cases it may be on of the adversary’s Defenses, or if the Advanced test is passive (like finding their way through a complex forest), then the number is just a CR based on difficulty chosen by the GM.
  5. The Advanced challenge can either be “opposed” or “unopposed”. E.g. the characters can have active resistance from enemy NPCs (opposed) or they might just be trying to travel through a particularly difficult-to-navigate forest (unopposed). In either case, the challenge ends when the number of failures or successes is met (See “Difficulty / Failures / Successes below)”. If the number of successes is met, the challenge is won, if the number of failures is met, the challenge is lost. If the challenge is opposed it ends with the outcome being decided by the first side to meet either number.
  6. For every 10 points that a roll exceeds the target Defense or CR, it counts as an additional success. So, if the CR is 15 and my action roll is a 35, it counts as 3 successes (1 for meeting a 15, 1 for meeting a 25, and 1 for meeting a 35)
  7. Each participant who rolls hastens the end of the challenge for better or worse, participants with skills that are weaker or less relevant run the risk of producing the very result the group wishes to avoid.
  8. The end result is either Success With a Twist or Failure but the Story Progresses as it relates to the character’s intended outcome for the complex challenge.

Difficulty | Max Failures | Required Successes

1 | 5 | 2
2 | 4 | 2
3 | 4 | 3
4 | 5 | 4
5 | 5 | 5
6 | 4 | 5
7 | 4 | 6
8 | 3 | 6
9 | 3 | 7


This is a very important point @Shashi. Don’t try to capture the complex capabilities of every NPC, one of the best parts of GMing my Open Legend for the past 3 years is that I don’t have to worry about complex and difficult-to-build NPCs. My GM prep time used to be 50% mechanics and 50% story, now it’s often zero prep for mechanics or 5% compared to 95% story / plot / backstory development. I simply decide what they’re most known / remembered for, give them the feats that support that character hook, and pick some attributes. Done. If they grow and become more important later, I’ll add new feats for “previously not revealed” capabilities of the NPC / monster / adversary.


@brianfeister - super good advice - that’s my goal state. For now I’m still learning the banes, books, and feats - not memorizing them or anything, but just passively learning what’s available as I go. That way when I envision an NPC, I can build them more on-the-fly, rather than looking up tons of reference in-game.

And I take personal pride in two things: (1) having you share the original wolf thing picture and more importantly (2) having you share your beta advanced test mechanic!