I’m currently playing in a D&D game with a clutch of new players. Our DM is doing a fantastic job of easing them into RPG’s and they’re loving it. Recently the wizard in our group has just been taken under the tutelage of a wizard of great renown and she was overjoyed, to put icing on the cake, he taught her a spell of his own making. I believe it was a niche utility spell that allowed her to create essentially fireworks.
This got me wondering about open legend, because Open Legend sees magic as innate ability to be drawn upon by invoking boons & banes ext, it becomes difficult to offer rewards like that. I imagine that invoking those different banes and boons or dealing damage are different spells that could probably be given a name (if necessary) but learning new different niche spells with different fun abilities is somewhat more difficult to achieve in open legend.
As a side note; My favorite D&D setting is Eberron, a setting for those of you familiar with it, relying on a lot of the fundamentals of spellcasting as presented in D&D, with the magical economy of khorvaire centred around spellcasting, and using cretin spells to accomplish tasks. Hell this is kinda the fundamental conceit of the dragonmarked houses and the magewrights with them offering to cast cretin spells. I would be absolutely gutted to think that one of my favorite RPG systems is incompatible with my favorite D&D setting, so how might you go about preserving this, or is that a fools errand?
TLDR: How can you represent the learning of a new fun spell(s), with how magic functions in open legend.
This isn’t true at all. Open Legend doesn’t see magic as anything, it simply provides a base of rules to help you run a game in any setting you want.
In some settings there is no magic at all, everything is done via technology or exceptional talents. It is the GM or Campaign Developer that establishes these things.
A GM could easily make it so that you start with only a limited access, and you can learn them, fi that makes sense for the world and the campaign they are running. Similarly, Open Legend is all about self-limitation, so a player might choose to limit what they can do until the study it from books, or learn it from a Wizard or other source (typically this would require working with the GM so the player can be sure to find these sources of course).
By establish how magic works in your campaign, b/c Open Legend doesn’t do that at all, and by informing the players.
You could do this by saying you only have X actions you can predetermine beforehand and then have to learn more, but that is certain a different feel than what Open Legend goes for typically.
Unfortunately I am not familiar with the setting you are specifically mentioning HOWEVER, here is always the big thing. There are reason that the setting limits things to be able to tell a story I am sure, and you can certain create narrative that is similar, but b/c the mechanics are different, you have to look at the setting and what the feel the setting is trying to give, rather than the mechanics it is using. Then you see about duplicating that same feel into the campaign.
In the end it is about relating the way the world works to your players and the players having the buy in to make sure that achieve that when they build their characters.
When approaching spells mostly as Banes and Boons, the answer is fairly simple. An Extraordinary Item with a Bane or Boon can be exactly the effect you want, though you should be careful with those from a balance perspective and keep them rare. It doesn’t need to be an actual Item either, it could be text in a spellbook or even just a memory.
When thinking about minor entertainment/utility spells like fireworks, if the character never used it before but reasonably could with the Attributes they possess (like Energy in this case), it can be flavoured as learning a new way to use power they already had and doesn’t require any real mechanical justification.
It’s true that the specifics of spellcasting from systems like DnD don’t translate well into Open Legend, because OL trades away spellslots and more generalist casters for specialists without slot-limits. But it can be interesting to have your players limiting themselves by picking out certain “Spells” and sticking to them, even if there are no daily limits.
As an examle, a player with an Energy wizard decides to get “Fireball” and “Cone of Cold”. In the language of OL that can mean they would self-limit to always using fire Attacks as a Cube and frost Attacks as a Cone. “Ear-Piercing Scream” could mean they would always Single-Target the Deafened Bane, “Web” could be a Hindering Barrier always Multi-Targeted as Line Segments between walls or other things that can support webs.
An example from my campaign to tie into a bit of what @Great_Moustache and @Vrenshrrg are saying: My PCs started off in 1946 USA, and one of them had the ability to shoot lightning through his hands via powered gloves (like an early version of Iron Man gloves). Player used them to blast enemies, and could reasonably Stun, Disarm, Knockdown. It wasn’t until I sent them into a magical world he figured out he could do more with this power.
In this world based on magic, he found a book describing how people that controlled lightning used their power to achieve various effects. The character is a mechanical genius, so it didn’t take long for him to figure out how he could copy some of these. Now he can now sustain what essentially is a bug zapping light (the flavor to the Light boon) and other things.
The Player limited himself, but because he found a certain book while studying other things in this new realm, he was given other options to play with.
I can see a couple of fixes for this:
1.: Treat the extraordinary attributes as a form of currency that can be spent to acquire a set number of spells. The attribute would be translated into a number of spell points that are among known bane/boon effects for uses per day. This would require a lot of system tinkering, but could open some interesting avenues for strategic customization. You could even translate the existing extraordinary attributes into spell schools if you want more of a DnD feel.
2.: Treat them as extraordinary items that exist outside of a players freestyle magic. These items would have a specific extraordinary attribute requirement in order to learn them. These would be more powerful than a standard attack/bane/boon (advantage dice, multiple effects, etc) but would have a limitation on uses per day.
This is a great solution for taught spells; Extraordinary Items don’t have to be physical items and the rules for calculating the wealth level using this construction gives you a decent way of measuring how strong the item is.
This on the other hand would be a lot of work for a rule that would only make things weaker and more limited, and doesn’t make sense for different explanations of the Extraordinary attributes (why can my fire elemental only set things on fire 5 times a day?). It could work for certain games, but it’s kind of a weird thing to add to a system that was designed to remove as many of those restrictions as possible. The analogy I like to use is that you’re showing up at a vegetarian restaurant with a slab of steak; it can be delicious if done right, but there are places that are better equipped to provide that without you having to bring it in yourself
A minor thing I’d like to add, this idea of “X many casts per day” is super weird if you think about it. It was added to D&D for balance reasons, which isn’t necessary in Open Legend, but it doesn’t make any narrative sense at all. When was the last time you saw Gandalf or Harry Potter run out of spell slots?
I love the idea of representing some spells as items. Expendable and not. Spells, charms, etc. Even minor non-magical trinkets could be represented through the Bane system weapons use. Instead of precise and forceful they’d simply use the appropriate extraordinary ability.