Fresh GM with questions

Hi, finally got together a group and ran my first session of open legend with some friends. I ended up running as a mashup of lazy dungeon master and MC. Starting out with “what did Lirium do yesterday?”.

First off, I’m so happy and surprised at how easy open legend flows. I think Character creation could be done quite differently (a topic I might explore later), but all in all there were almost no hiccups due to rules. :heavy_heart_exclamation:

So there’s two things I hope someone here can help me out with. First is how do you deal with rolls to activate banes/boons that surpass by a lot? For a character with presence 5 rolling to heal and getting a 51 - as far as I understand still only gets 2d6 of healing out? I could of course just add a d6 or something, but are there any guidelines for these circumstances?

My second big thing is that I struggle understanding some of the abilities and what use to put where. Is there some sort of ability overview like the one in chapter 1 (p. 6) with more flesh to the bones? I’ve read through chapter 8 running the game but some are still a bit abstract for me. The physical attributes I understand, the extraordinary also. But what is the difference between logic and learning? Is logic analysis and application of what often is called intelligence? is learning knowledge only, or is it also knowledge attainment? And isn’t analysis and attainment of knowledge as good as the same thing? I’m probably over analyzing. :upside_down_face:

I also don’t understand how presence can heal, and what does it mean that presence can “have luck smile upon you”? I’d love to understand how presence accomplishes these two.

:question: I don’t know if this is the right category. :question:


Welcome to the community. I encourage you to also seek out the Discord Server, as there are a multitude of people there happy to help and answer questions (and often with faster responses then here on the forums).

Exceptional Success, for damage this is fairly straightforward b/c it is easy, damage is damage is damage.

With Banes and Boons there is no direct guideline b/c those 2 things vary so much, it would be difficult to have a general guideline, and the other option would end up being pages upon pages. Not to mention the exceptional success can vary for different banes and boons, but it might vary on the specific situation. Basically it is very situational what you might do.

Here is what I usually suggest for exceptional success.


First, it needs to be at least 15+ over the targeted defense. The reason for this being that Banes are far easier to hit and get the maximum effect. You simply have to meet the defense and you get the full effect, whereas for damage it only increases in effect the higher the number is.

Banes help control via Action Economy, which can be particularly huge in OL. So, back to situational for this. Depends a lot on what the actual bane is to what you might do, but a few suggestions.

  1. Have it be potent (disadvantage to resist it)
  2. Have it be so effective it Provokes or Demoralizes another target or targets (depending on how much it exceeded)
  3. Have it also deal min Damage (3)
  4. Have it hit 2 targets instead of just the 1 (as makes sense)
  5. Give Advantage X for the player on the next action (or the next action vs that target)
  6. Inflict the Bane at the next higher PL effect (though I don’t recommend doing this often, and depends heavily on the Bane itself)


For boons, I suggest 20+ over the max PL that they are able to invoke. Boons are even easier than Banes in many cases (though not all) as you roll to find out the PL you get. So Boons with PL 1 just need a roll of 12 to succeed, though 20 would mean a more powerful PL. Also, for players that have chosen Boon Focus, allowing less than a 20 would take away from their build.

Again, it will not only be situational what you might do, but heavily dependent on the Boon itself. I have less general suggestions for this b/c of how much it will vary, but a few things you could consider:

  1. The boon “leaping” to hit another ally
  2. Depending on level of party, maybe allow Bolster PL3 to also effect the target or the invoker
  3. Increased effect (either a higher PL, or just increased effect of what the boon is doing)

You really just play it by ear and what makes sense for the situation and what the player is attempting to achieve. Gets easier over time.

OL is all about flavor/fluff, making the various things yours. Pay less attention to the names of the various Attributes, Banes, Boons, Feats, Perks, etc and more to their effect overall. The names are just there to help you grasp what it is quickly.

The specifics of what is Entropy is less important than what Entropy is FOR the character and HOW their character uses it. Just like OL is also about self-limiting/restrictions as they make sense for the world/game and for the character. Life Drain could be them absorbing the life essence of a target OR it could be that the thrill of fighting helps fuel them and excite them so when they deal damage it helps recharge their stamina and keep them going in the fight.

Attributes are suppose to be abstract.

Logic is more “wisdom” in DnD terms, or the ability to figure out something you might not know directly.

Learning is your knowledge, what you know, what you remember.

Presence. There are some people who just seem luckier than others in the world. How come they have all the luck, where I keep stubbing my toe every other day?

Your question of how can Presence heal has more to do with a misunderstanding of what HP is. HP is NOT Health Points, it is Hit Points. It is the ability to stay in a fight. It is more akin to Stamina than your blood, and if it wasn’t for making it easier for people coming from things like D&D might have been named as much.

HP, even in D&D, was never meant to originally mean actual hits. Your HP going down is you expending energy to just narrowly avoid the blow that would have otherwise damaged you. It is you straining yourself to not get hit. The hit that knocks you down to 0 is the one that usually finally lands.

As HP is your ability to stay in the fight, Presence heals/energizes you in any number of ways that make sense for the player. Encouraging words that help restore a characters mental status to keep pushing through in a fight is an easy one. A calming/reassurring look or hand on the shoulder to allow a character to focus and restore their clam/center in a stressful situation.

I wrote this a long time ago at this point,a nd it could probably use a refresh, as well as just narrowing it down to OL talk instead of branching a bit:

As far as the luck part, I often use Presence as a general luck roll when players want to do something and maybe other things don’t make sense, or have an enemy attack the player with the lowest Presence score (but don’t overly use this).


Wow, thank you. :heart:

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@Great_Moustache gave already some awesome explanations but I’ll add an alternative or additional explanation here or there:

  • If you want a real-world analogy for the difference between Logic and Learning than I would look at the difference between fluid and crystallised intelligence. To keep it simple: The former represents your ability to solve new tasks without previous knowledge and inductive reasoning, while the latter represents the skills and knowledge you’ve already learned and the resulting deductive reasoning.

  • The list of ideas that GM laid out is already a great starting point for how to enhance effects for high rolls on banes and boons but I want to emphasise that figuring out a fitting upgrade is important, so to not break immersion too much. This will become easier the better you know the setting and the character but also the more experience you have with OL.

  • Often I found that if people struggle with the concept of HP and how they interact with the attributes, that you should just replace the word “HP” with “stamina”, to represent your endurance and will to fight. In that case, Presence could just be someone trying to inspire another person to keep up the fight.


Hey! In my game, we deleted logic and learning in favor of a stat just called ‘intelligence’ and we replaced presence, deception and persuasion by ‘charisma’. The reasoning is just that it become very frustrating to have to put points in so many attributes and it is very frustrating to have a character with lets say 2 learning and 5 logic have half of his roll being pissed poor even though the character should be a genius. Any way it’s personnal preference. For high bane and boon roll, our hous rule is boon over 10 the cr you heal 5hp to the target of the boon as well and over 10 on bane roll you do 5 damages as well as the bane, fluid and balanced for us so far. Even if you didn’t ask I’ll pile in the more fun home brew rule we use is when you drop to 0 you take 5 lethal damages and when you are dealt a finishing blow, instead of dying you take half your max hp in lethal damage. If you have all your ho in lethal damage you die. That way it does not feel like after being taken down 3 times in a major boss fight you are perfectly fine after 5 minutes in game. Have fun with the game mate!

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I find the lethal damage at zero HP interesting. Though I do like both my own and other characters dying as well :poop:

After the clarification of learning and logic I think I prefer them to stay as they are. It seems to me some of the discussions could be avoided by naming them differently - seeing as there’s a lot of different views on what those words precisely mean and the connotations connected to them. For me the word learning is what the attribute logic does. And the word knowledge might be better for the learning attribute - but knowledge is not a perfect fit for it either.

I am grateful for all the input you have given me. Now I just need to make a printout of the table of attributes from chapter 1. :smiley:

Oh trust me they will die :stuck_out_tongue: the difference with our home brew is if you get hit once at 0 you are hurt for a while and 2 times you are dead for sure ( 2 x half max hp in lethal is always death) instead of having 2 death save roll that can kinda feel bad (you can either die 1 shot ou survive 2 blows, once again walking away as if nothing from being stump while half dead ;p )

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The name choices are indeed a bit confusing, as Logic, or as in my analogy Fluid Intelligence, represents your ability to learn and pick up new skills.