COMPLETELY New To Being a GM,Advice?

Hi there!
Me and my friends have decided to set up a weekly session. To get them all adjusted to roleplaying and typical Tabletop mechanics and tropes, I’ve chosen this wonderful system!

However, I know very little about running the game, especially one as vast and open ended as this one. so here’s a few questions:

  1. My game uses a very specific world, how do I incorporate pre-made content into my game?

  2. What equipment will I need? What do I need on my screen? What maps can I get?

  3. Can you help simplify some rules (i.e. attribute roles and other core mechanics) for my players?

  4. Any house rules I should use?

Finally, Just tell me your stories! I really want to invest in this, and my players are very eager. Any help, stories or comments would be greatly appreciated.

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From my own experiences, i find the following things aid me in running the game:

  1. if using virtual table top, have a tab open to It has feats,boons,banes in neat and easy to filter lists. Additionally, it has npc/monster generators. Can be pulled up on phone if playing at actual table.

  2. Have players follow the character creation steps as listed in the rules of the site. Break the process into parts and steps to keep them from being overwhelmed by the many options.

  3. Encourage players to only take feats,boons,banes that apply to their concept rather than anything that fits their scores.

  4. Encourage the players to have their main abilities listed out in advance. Saves game time and is more plausible in narrative.

  5. Each XP is valuable and allows growth, so unless you are wanting to run a game where power level grows quickly, be stingy and only hand them out for completed quests, story goals. It allows you to keep better control of how powerful the players are and not require you to keep generating stronger and stronger forms of opposition each session.

  6. Have a session 0 with your players to ensure everyone is on the same page as to what sort of world and characters are expected. You may not want to deal with some players creating powerhouses and others creating characters that should never fight ever. Depends on style of game though.


This is a big help! This is great advice and I’m quite proud of the fact I’ve already followed some of these steps :joy:.
My game is a mixture of near future and fantasy, so obviously battlemaps and resources are hard to come by. Could you suggest some generic resources? i.e. a generic map maker unlike inkarnate, simple enemy and PC figures and so on

Thanks in Advance!

To add to @Novama’s great steps, here are some more things:

  1. Because XP is valuable and should be given fairly rarely and Wealth Level doesn’t change after each fight, it can be difficult to consistently reward players. Now doing so with story elements is the best way, but giving out Legend points for good roleplay and creativity can also greatly increase the investment your players are going to put in.

  2. Have a list of random names at your side, possibly ordered by race. It sounds trivial but it’s super helpful! Your players are sometimes going to speak to strangers or other NPCs you didn’t plan for and in those cases you can just grab a name and continue seamlessly. You can also use a name generator of your choice.

  3. As for simplifying rules, you don’t have to stick to the letter of any rule. If a player wants to do something interesting, just let them roll a fitting attribute against a made up value and use the “Success with a Twist/Fail Forward” mechanic liberally if they don’t make it. Or even let them do it without a roll, especially when it’s minor or just really awesome.

  4. Something the community came up with is the unwritten rule of “Fun > Story > Rules”. This ties in with (3.), the first thing to consider on the table is Fun, then comes the Story. The Rules are just the Baseline, go crazy!

Hope this helps!

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That’s a great philosophy, especially for my new players!
In regards to rewards, does a new perk/feat or unique weapon sound suitable? Or is that perhaps too overpowered?

Those should be very significant rewards as well in my opinion, especially when we’re talking Extraordinary Items.
Open Legend characters usually depend on items far less than in most other RPGs I’ve seen.

When rewarding minor things like a really interesting way to open/end/circumvent combat or making a new ally Legend Points should be your go-to. Don’t be afraid to hand out a lot, 5 per player per session are well within reasonable limits.

Also don’t underestimate the intrinsic story reward the players get from actions like these. Gaining information about the Big Bad, his lair or his allies, gaining an ally themselves and being in an advantagious position for a battle or for social situations are rewards in themselves and far from useless.

Let’s say you got the big Orc bouncers in front of the Club where they want to spy on the boss of a company they suspect of crime. If they just take out the Orcs and charge in make sure it has consequences like the boss escaping and/or the police searching for them afterwards. If they somehow convince/charm the Orcs to let them through without a big fuss or sneak in through the back, that’s great! They can achieve what they wanted without problems. But if they make an elaborate plan using the strengths of some or all party members or just roleplay the situation well, that’s definitely worth a Legend Point for everyone!

Hey, Great example!
So rather than use a Legend point as the big end reward, I should hand them out at key moments to keep players on track? This is clever, but I also want to do a vote at the end of the game to reward a legend point(s). How many should I give at the end of a game?

That’s a great idea! The winner of the vote could get a Legend Point. Maybe just one so that everyone else doesn’t feel underappreciated. They are handed out during the session as well after all.
If the session was particularly fun/successful consider giving a Legend Point to everyone in addition to those given during the game and the vote.

If they’ve completed a quest/story they can all get a XP point. Make sure you do this at the end of the session so everyone has time to update their characters.

When they get an Extraordinary Item as a reward, make sure to have it written out beforehand and consider giving out a paper or write it into chat so they don’t forget a key property.

Some Extraordinary Items can be common, depending on your setting, like healing potions or poisons. Those don’t need to be big rewards, but they can be, especially at the start.

On the topic of Extraordinary Items, how do I make these unique?
My game takes place in the classic D&D setting, but in the near future. So there’s the same races, magic and tropes, but with modern weapons and a more sci fi feel. As these are more modern weapons, how do I give these that “badass, elven blade from a long lost vault” style?

The most simple way is to just describe them that way. Just like that.

A lot of weapons are well supported by the existing weapons system. You might want to take a look at the Tech Tiers in Chapter 6 and make a quick house rule like

“If the target is wearing no Armour or Leather Armour/Plate Mail/medieval style Armour, Guns and other modern weapons have Advantage 1 on attacks. If the target is wearing a Bullet-proof Vest/full Kevlar Armour/other modern Armour, Bows, swords and other medieval style weapons have Disadvantage 1 on attacks”

or just waive it saying the experience everyone has with those weapons makes them even on the battlefield.

A sword with a minor enchantment could just be an Extraordinary Item with the “Deadly” property, giving it Advantage on attacks.

Chapter 9 gives plenty of fun properties to put on weapons like Damage (type), which can give the wielder the possibility to deal fire damage instead of forceful/precise or Baneful (Bane) which can give the wielder the ability to inflict the specific Bane on dealing 5+ damage.

When awarding Extraordinary Items that way, take the Wealth Level into consideration for balancing reasons. If an Item would be WL5, you might not want to award it to players at level 1.

Thanks, you’ve been a great help and have definitely placed Open Legend as a great system with a great community in my heart!

  1. Speaking on Legend Points, and things to reward for it, here’s a document I recently wrote up for a group. Some of the verbage is specifically for them (but only a little), but you can see what I do with Legend Points here.
    Open Legend with Great Moustache.pdf (38.4 KB)

  2. If you are going to reward items, I recommend rewarding consumable items, that way they won’t stick around to affect things but can give a temporary boost in a given situation.

  3. In battles don’t forget about Banes! These can really change up the flow of combat and make the players have to think or work to throw off the banes. Plus when they see you using banes, they’ll start to use them as well.

  4. Don’t be afraid to mess up! If you are unsure on a rule, just say “Ok, for right now, we are going to rule it this way. If we find out later it works differently, we will use it that way going forward” or something similar.

  5. I would always recommend using a system as it is first before adding or using houserules. That way you can understand how the system works and why it does the things it does before working on adding changes to it mechanically.

  6. For homebrew/houserules you see on here, I’d read through and see if the people have done some explaining as to why they are using it or experimenting with it.

  7. The most important rule: HAVE FUN

  8. Fun is greater than Story which is greater than Rules (Fun > Story > Rules), is a favorite saying of @Hassurunous and @ConradCurtis


I’m currently helping my players develop characters and one of them is actually struggling with banes. Can you give a good in game example of their use for him? also great PDF, definitely keeping it hand behind my screen!

You might check out this Quick Player Reference Sheet as well:

For Banes, as with Boons and EVERYTHING you do with Open Legend, it is all about Fluff. It would be easier if you mentioned some of the major attributes or a little info about the character, but to give you an idea of using banes, here’s a few Heromuster sheets with the Fluff/Flavor filled out:

The last 4 listed actions are all Banes (the actually bane listed on the far right)

All but the 1st action are Banes

All but the 1st action are banes

If you Blind a target, then your allies go, the target has 3 less guard, and disadvantage 5 to all their actions.

If you knockdown a target right before the melee guy goes, the melee gets advantage, plus the guy has to spend half their movement to stand up (which means they can’t use their move action to resist other banes if they are on them)

If you Stun an enemy, they are limited to only 1 type of action, meaning less they can do and no focus action

If you Persistent Damage an Enemy, they take extra damage at the start of their turn.

Just read through the effects of the banes and you can start to see their use in combat (and out of combat).