Impression about my first time GMing

Hi, last week I was trying to host (because I cannot call it “hosting”, it may offend some of actual GM)
This little group of random people sat down with me and I tried to tell a story (it was oneshot). They had 5th lvl. Here is my impression:
First of all, some boons doesn’t need a roll in some situations. We can skip this if, for example, someone plays experienced mage focused of manipulating energy and he want summon a source of little light.
My second issue is about defend action and how does the mechanic works. My players complained horribly that it isn’t intuitive not to defend yourself and this mechanic is irrelevant to combat. Also my “keeper” told me that it would be really unfunny just defend yourself against flurry of attacks and it would ruin the game.
So here is what I came with: home rule or feat that allows to both attacking and defending, but quality of this actions will suffer. Also I would prepare different stances in order to choose between aggresive and defensive style of combat. What do you think?

This is part of the rules and what Open Legend is all about “Every Roll Matters”. If you are out of combat with no serious threats and plenty of time, there’s no reason to need the roll at all, you can just say it happens.

Many GMs allow boons out of combat unless they are particularly powerful, or require multi-targeting, though sometimes even then it is allowed (depends on GM). It is when in combat, or stressful situations where time matters that the roll should happen. But even then, if a bad roll, you can succeed with a twist or fail forward.

Your defense scores ARE you defending yourself. The Defend interrupt action is something you can choose to do after a successful attack that gets past your defenses already. Defend Interrupts can be incredibly powerful, especially with just a few feats. If you allow the defend interrupt to not take the next major action away. This is strongly not suggested.

Perhaps you are not using it correctly, b/c it is a HUGE thing in combat, and can often make a difference in the whole battle going one way or another.

If the defend action was irrelevant to combat why are you wanting to be able to do it and another action? Clearly it is important to combat.

How Defend Interrupts Work

When a character attacks another character and succeeds on the attack roll (rolling higher than the Guard/Toughness/Resolve of the target), the target can choose to defend against the attack by doing a defend interrupt. This as a few advantages b/c you get to see what your roll is you have to beat before you make the choice to roll or not. Your defend interrupt roll replaces your defense vs that attack if it is higher (if it is lower, than you get to keep your normal defense score).

I’m not sure how you were using defend interrupts in your game, but in the games I’ve run, been a part of, and heard about, Defend Interrupts have been a huge part of saving a party member or self, and with the feats that add to it, a way to deal damage right back.


I agree with everything @Great_Moustache has said, especially on your problems with the defend action, which reading from your description was very much misunderstood.

I wanted to leave a piece of advice though: Don’t start games, even if they are only one-shots, at anything else than level one, especially as a new GM with new players.
To use a sports analogy: You don’t start trying to learn basketball by shooting 3-pointers, but rather by trying to shoot around the basket; so stick to the basics when you start out.


And I’ll add that unlike may RPGs, OL is great because Lvl 1 doesn’t mean killing rats in a sewer. You can have dynamic, interesting, powerful characters at level 1.


As for allowing a Defend Interrupt Action and also an Attack, you might want to look at the various Feats that exist around Defending already.
Namely there are Defensive Reflexes, Defensive Mastery, Sentinel, Battlefield Punisher, Attack Redirection and most notably Battlefield Retribution, which allows a character to deal Damage with a Defend Interrupt.
Also note that Shields (or any other Weapon with the Defensive property) give Advantage to Defend Interrupt in addition of granting +1 to Guard, which is also the reason why I included Defensive Mastery.

A more defensive fighting style also exists, it’s the act of making a Defend Interrupt at all.
For a defensively built character this can be the usual path to take upon being hit while still actively contributing via things like Battlefield Retribution, but for an offensively built character this might be the last thing to do before being knocked out because they usually contribute differently.


Thank you guys, it’s very important to me gaining tips and experience, so that I can enjoy watching my player have fun :smiley:
I suppose I will try again with another group of friends: preparing myself as hard as I can, starting on 1lvl and give them easy enemies so that they can get used to the system.


Hi Igotext:

First off, congrazzies on trying out the system.

I agree with everything the folks above, said.

If you have a new group, really, Level 1 is the way to go, for sure. The reason folks often think they want a higher level is so the battles will be interesting because in some TTRPGs you only get a couple of spell/feat slots and then whammo–out of ammo–and then the fight is either a horrid slog of knocking off one hitpoint at a time or else there’s not enough suspense.

It’s not a video game where the players play whackamole and everything goes down according to plan.

OL doesn’t work that way. Your level 1 characters can save the world, if you want.

What you want to do with OL is create a combat story when in a fight (think Jackie Chan)

So Fred is in love with Martha and she’s down to a couple of HP when the Big Bad whacks her upside the head with his spiked shield due to a dice explosion and she’s going down…so Fred, in desperation–throws himself in front of the monster to save his lady love to interrupt the hit–depending on the dice–successfully or not so much.

Martha’s been defending herself all this time with her toughness/guard/resolve. She’s not just standing there in between turns, letting the Big Bad wale on her. Maybe letting players describe what they’re doing during that, or you as the GM doing that–might help players understand this concept. You don’t have to do it every time, but a few times would start making it seem real.

It’s difficult enough for new players to grasp the concept that they are making the story happen with you and that how they describe what happens with their bane/boon/feat isn’t on a sheet somewhere–it’s in their imagination and to make the game fun–they have to explain it, at least some of the time.

That’s why it needs to be Level 1 for new players. There’s plenty of interesting concepts they can do with any bane/boon/feat by flavouring it to suit their character. Asking them to do that with dozens of higher level BBFs when they’re learning a new system is a big ask. For a new GM who has to respond to all of that–well that would be pretty overwhelming, I’d guess :wink:

Keep trying, it’s great to see new people trying it out!