Elemental Archer

Hey guys, I’m going to be running my first game in a fortnight and one of the players wants to be an elemental archer - I’m imagining an archer with the ability to infuse their arrows with fire, ice, lightning etc as it’s loosed from the bow.

Just wanted to get a quick opinion on what you think the best way to implement this would be? I’m thinking of making her primary stat energy instead of agility and then attribute swap so her bow attacks use the energy stat? Would that mean she can shoot elemental arrows with a basic roll, no need for additional boons or banes etc?

Seems simple enough but as I haven’t run a game yet I wanted to double check that this would be the best approach.

All the other players have been variations of the example characters so they were pretty easy to put together.

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I was thinking of a similar thing going with Arcane Archer. I actually did Agility Sub to Energy rather than the other way because I felt Energy doesn’t necessarily mean their guard should be higher or their initiative. If they’re rolling energy it’s probably just an attack roll while an agility roll could be a few things.

Regular arrows unless they Bolster using energy to give advantage and then change damage type.

Edit: This is my personal approach to the issue there are multiple ways to accomplish your goal.

There is no need to use banes or boons for the Energy attribute to begin with, and Agility is already capable of inflicting boons. In a lot of games (D&D for example), anything that is covered by an extraordinary attribute in Open Legend would likely fall under the general heading of “spellcasting,” which is a totally separate game mechanic from physical attacks (such as an arrow). There is very little mechanical difference between extraordinary attributes and other attributes in Open Legend.

Attribute Substitution II will allow the character to use the Energy attribute to make attacks through a bow (normally handled using Agility). It also allows the character to invoke banes and boons that would ordinarily require the Agility attribute.

Note that Attribute Substitution is one of the (many) cases in Open Legend where self-limitation on the part of the player is important. In other words, just because the mechanics allow it doesn’t mean that the story should allow it. If, for example, the player is attempting to dive through some Indiana Jones-style blade trap, the most likely attribute for the roll is Agility. Technically, that qualifies as a “non-attack, non-invocation action roll,” which is allowed to receive Attribute Substitution. However, the reason for this character’s substitution is casting elemental magic in place of arrows. Does it really make sense for the PC to use their Energy score to dodge the blades? It ultimately depends on the character’s story and whether their other elemental magic justifies it.

Thanks for the help, I think this is what I really need to get used to. I’m coming over from Runequest 6/Mythras which has an incredibly in-depth magic system (actually it’s more like 4 magic systems all with their own independent rules) so having spellcasting be mechanically identical to swinging a sword is completely alien to me.

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Ok guys I have an update here - originally I was going to go with Rparker10’s suggestion of using Attribute Substitution to assign the character’s Agility score to their Energy. Thing is I just re-read the feat description and it can’t work that way around, the purpose of it is to empower a stat with a non-physical, so Energy can’t be empowered by Agility.

My issue with this is that the player still wants to be able to do all of the things that fall under the Agility stat (sneaking, acrobatics etc) but I can’t justify those actions being empowered by Energy when the concept for the character is simply that they shoot elemental arrows.

Now I could just house-rule that it works both ways but I would rather see if I can get it to work properly first.

The only solution I can currently see for this is completely foregoing the Attribute Sub feat and giving the character an Agility score of 5 and an Energy score of 4 - the problem with this is what does the character then roll for when attacking with her longbow? Technically the actual use of the longbow is agility based but ‘summoning’ the arrow is Energy based.

I’m perhaps just being a bit too pedantic here and I should just get her to roll either energy or agility based on whether she’s using a normal arrow or an elemental one but I was wondering if anyone else could see a way to get this character concept to work in a more streamlined way.

Are you reading from the website? B/c it sounds like you are looking at an old version of the rules. If you looked at the SRD PDF please don’t, it is so out-of-date it isn’t even funny.

Attribute Sub can be used from ANY attribute to any other attribute. It needs to make sense, and fall under GM approval is all.


“Your prowess in an extraordinary, mental, or social attribute is linked in a way that empowers another attribute of your character”

Since Physical is omitted from that list I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to empower her Energy attribute with her (physical) Agility attribute - am I misunderstanding?

That is the description text, which is just flavoring. Look at the effect is what’s important. I believe that the omission of physical was a mistake already corrected int eh alpha PDF, but here is what you should be reading for how it works mechanically in play:

When you take this feat, you create a permanent link between two attributes: one stronger (the primary attribute) and one weaker (the dependent attribute). You may use your primary attribute in place of the dependent attribute for different purposes depending on which tier of the feat you have:

and then this:

The relationship formed by your two attributes is subject to case-by-case approval and must be approved by the GM first. The link must be logical and consistent with the story you are trying to tell. For example, a brawler who substitutes their Logic for their Might to represent their ability to use leverage in grappling rather than strength would likely not get to use their Logic score for an attempt to bend the bars on a prison cell. Furthermore, the GM should prevent players from creating illogical substitutions that are purely aimed at making their characters unreasonably powerful.

Thanks for clarifying, I can go back to my original plan now then!

I knew the effect was the important bit but I think the description just threw me a little, it seemed too specific that physical had been left out and all the examples given were of non-physical stats empowering physical ones.

Happy to be corrected though : )