Legend Cards (Good or Bad?) - replacement rule to Legend Points

An idea that suddenly popped in my head and immediately wanted to write out.

I was rewatching this D&D video made by the channel XP to Level 3 about 20-ish homebrew rules he uses in his D&D5e games and one of them really captivated me.
It was the rules about turning inspiration into cards.

I thought hey, why not use this for Open Legends?
But then after writing it I immediately said to myself reading it:
“Wow this thing might need some plenty of tweaking and checking…”

So here’s what I wrote:

This rule replaces Legend Points. Following the same rules as Legend Points, whenever a player would perform a noteworthy feat of role playing or roleplaying a flaw to the benefit of the story and the misbenefit of the party and all that other stuff you typically would use Legend Points for – the GM may shuffle a standard deck of playing cards and hand them out 1 card from the deck face down to the player. The player may not see what the card is until they decide they want to use it. If the card is ever revealed whether by intention or accident, that card is used up and applied to the next action roll the player takes.
A player can stock up to 10 of these cards. The entire table should be limited only to the 52 cards that exists in a deck.

The player may declare the use of a Legend Card before a roll, they must state how many cards they plan to use, they can use up to 1 plus their character level per roll. If they decide to declare a Legend Card after a roll, that Legend Card is void, and the bonus applies on the next action roll instead.

The number of the card is what matters most, when a card is used, a bonus is applied to their action roll. The bonus being the number of the card. Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks all equal 11.

For fun you can include Jokers into the mix and do whatever with them. Like for example, a Joker means the roll is automatically considered an extraordinary success.

As another optional side rule:
At the start of each session, you can hand out 1 card to each player for free. If they use it, they use it, however, if by the end of the session they still have not used it, the card is lost.

So what do I think are some of the problems about this? I think most might agree…

Statistics and Probability is my favorite field of mathematics but I hate to admit the type of probability relating things like cards where actions could have future implications on the probability. So I’ve come here hoping better mathematicians could help me maybe???


Firstly, Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks all being an 11 means there’s a slight higher chance the card they recieve gives them a +11 bonus to their rolls.
My reasoning behind making them +11 including the ace is that I don’t want to get a low bonus when using the Legend Cards. So I made the minimum bonus you could get a 2.
But yeah, there’s like a 4/13 chance to get a +11.
While writing this, I came up with the idea that the royal cards would instead give you advantage on the roll and the ace is a +11. Or a +10. Any permutation of the aces and royals with the advantage and the flat bonus.

Next thing is that the cards give out a flat bonus instead of advantage, ranging from 2 to 11 with a favor to 11 but should overall average to a +8ish I think. Would that be a problem? The cards themselves are already pretty random and they’d never know what they’ll get until they use them so…? Is this as much of a problem as I think it is?

So what do y’all think?

Would you change it? How?
Is it okay as is?
Would you use it?
Or is this rule just so bad it shouldn’t even be used?

If I really wanted a physical reminder of Legend Points I guess I can always just turn to using toy Casino Chips for my players.

+11 sounds waaaaay too overpowered. I’d rather give the cards effects depending on either the color or the value.

However, I do like the concept!

The concept has value as a fun house rule, however consider that a Legend Point is worth roughly a +3 to any Roll by default, which follows the diminishing returns concept that Advantage has.

Rather than only give flat bonuses which are not only far more powerful than the current system but also stack, I think “special effects” and lesser, but varied bonuses would make more sense.

Some examples, roughly ordered by power, could be:

  • You get Advantage to the next Roll.
  • You get a flat +2 to the next Roll.
  • You get to negate 2 Disadvantage caused by Multi-Targeting. You gain 1 Advantage if you do not or cannot Multi-Target, or if your Multi-Targeting Disadvantage is already entirely negated.
  • If you have more Disadvantage than Advantage, gain 2 Advantage. Otherwise, gain 1 Advantage.
  • You can reroll one of the Dice, but you must take the second result of it.
  • You get Advantage on the d20.
  • Your dice explode as if you were in a Destructive Trance, that is at their maximum or 1 below their maximum result. If it is an Attack in a Destructive Trance, gain 1 Advantage instead.
  • You treat your Dice as Unfailing for this Roll, that is 1 is equal to that Die’s maximum and explodes. If you’re using an Unfailing Item, gain Advantage 1 instead.

Note that cards still need to be revealed after declaring a Roll but before actually Rolling it.

I’m sure there are more possibilities to fill all the possibilities of a deck, but the distribution needs to be evaluated carefully. You’ll note that my first to possibilities are actually slightly less powerful than the standard, that is on purpose to have a greater random aspect to it. These should probably be more common.
Perhaps a player could use a card without revealing it for it to act as a standard Legend Point.

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This homebrew sounds a lot more reasonable in 5e because of two aspects of the 5e math that does not apply to the OL math:

  1. In 5e, advantage/disadvantage doesn’t stack. In OL it does. Thus, you can stack Legend Points, but you can’t stack hero points (as far as I know), which is a big difference, especially with the values that you are proposing.

  2. Advantage in 5e adds roughly +5 to a roll, while a Legend Point adds around +3 on average. A difference of 2 doesn’t sound like much, but in this context, the difference is massive because of 5e’s bounded accuracy.

Combining these two facts leads to the conclusion that spending Legend Points would render the rolls nighly trivial. For example, spend 3 Legend Points, get on average +24 (using your math). I’d say, this takes most, if not all the drama and entertainment out of rolling dice at all.

So, either you could try to reduce the average value added by each Legend Point spent, for example by using cards with lower values like maybe Scopa, or you could go the route that Vren has proposed with different random options, which you could compile in a table and then roll randomly or determine by card draw.

So, the idea sounds neat but the execution needs to be tweaked and refined heavily in my opinion.

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I agree a lot of VanGo on this, it works much better in 5e, b/c in 5e you are actually solving a problem in that inspiration was never well thought out both in how it is rewarded nor how it is executed.

This problem isn’t prevalent in OL like it is in 5e. It would need heavy modification for the reasons mentioned by Vren and VanGo, and overall I’d lean towards a no on this just b/c it could take away more than it adds overall.

It could be tweaked, and if so I’d recommend using it as another thing besides Legend Points and instead a different system, perhaps handed out more rarely, though right now, I wouldn’t see it as a thing until I saw suggestions I suppose.

Myself, I have adjusted Legend Points in how they work for a few of my games, which has made them give a little more punch.

To be more clear, and b/c typed the above while very tired (still am). the using another thing:

As in another system for OL, like a “Hero Point” or other special token to be used in the game, rather than replacing Legend Points.

This is indeed a more balanced way of using the cards, however my problem with that idea is that it requires the use of a table to know what you’ll get after using the card.
“I’ll use a Legend Card! Oh, I got a 5 and a 7, what does that mean again?”
The idea could work, but for it to work at its best, you’d need custom made cards rather than standard playing cards and who wants to do that? Not me at least…
You’d need an entirely different deck that instead has written descriptions saying the card effect like in most TCG cards I guess is what I’m saying rather than playing cards…

Yeah, I agree heavily and it’s why I made this thread in the first place.
D&D5e inspiration and math aren’t the same as in Open legend Legend Points and math. I knew that from the very moment I made this rule but still decided I’d take a crack at it simply because it was cool.

I thought of multiple other ways I could make the Legend Cards without making them be too complicated or require a table like @ Vrenshrrg suggested.

I think those are the things the Legend Cards should have.
Just like with Legend Points and most similar mechanics from TTRPG’s
They need to be simple and give out immediate results and satisfaction in that sense.
So I think they shouldn’t have drawn out descriptions and should at best only give you a flat bonus still or advantage in some way…

So here are various ideas I came up with and the qualms and benefits I think they’d have,

if this thread goes on too long I’d just scrap the rule as by that point it should just seem like a lost cause…


The suites method.

The 4 different suites are the ones that matter now.
Depending on what suite you recieve, you get a flat bonus from 1 to 4.
I think it should be in order most people would rank the suites in poker to determine tied hands. Alphabetically.
Club +1
Diamond +2
Heart +3
Spade +4

Essentially this means you’re like rolling d4’s and adding them to your roll whenever you use a legend card. It fits the math sort of, as with advantage giving +3, but it doesn’t have diminishing returns the more you use. But Legend Points give out a flat +1 bonus along with advantage too. I think this means Legend Cards should give out at least a tiny bit more than just getting regular advantage.
But a flat bonus of 1 to 4 might still be a little wrong with the math, but the feel of the cards I value more than the balance.
My biggest gripe with this idea is that it only uses suites instead of the ranks which I think feels less fun.
If this were to be used I’d prefer if the ranks were at least used in some way along with the suite value. But so far I don’t know how I’d make that work.


Revalue the ranks.

As it says, the 13 different ranks give out a different value than what I originally proposed.
Royals and Aces will give the player a +1 and advantage (just like the standard Legend Points) on their action roll.
2 through 10 give a flat bonus equal to half their value rounded down.
So you’ll get a +1 to a +5 bonus with them.

It won’t take time to divide and round up and this seems nice but again… It doesn’t take full advantage of all the ranks. Only about half of them… Though I guess it’s not as bad as just the 4 suites. It’s actually acceptable enough for me anyway.


Bounded bonus.

The players may only use one card at a time rather than 1 + their level.
The rank bonus remain the same, maybe they receive 1 advantage or 1 advantage to their d20 when they use it too? Along with the bonus given by the card?

But this time, the bonus they can get is actually limited to their level:
The maximum bonus they can get is equal to 1 + their level.
So for example, at level 3, using a card can give them a +2 to 4 bonus to their roll along with 1 advantage. If they get a 3 of hearts or what have you, then they get a +3 if they get a 9 of diamonds or really anything higher than 4, then they will recieve only their maximum bonus of +4 regardless.

This could work, but it might be a problem to superstitious players who believe that random results are determined by higher beings rather than… Physics… (IT’S A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM.)
It’d feel real bad at level 1 since it literally doesn’t matter what card you get since no matter what you’re stuck at a +2 bonus. It only gets better, but only slightly, as you progress in levels. I don’t like it. But it’s a solution…

perhaps a permutation, combination of these ideas could be the answer to making this Legend Card rule work really nicely…

One last thing I want to mention is that I wrote this rule:

The reason I made this rule is to both discourage hoarding and encourage usage of the cards and most importantly encourage a healthy cooperative roleplay experience. This rule of limiting all players to the 52 cards was intended for larger groups to have fun.

The idea was as the deck diminishes and as players stack up their cards, they can see that they have too many and should probably use them, or maybe if they don’t they’ll decide to take the backseat and encourage to let the other players get the spotlight as they’ve already been in the spotlight for long enough.

For smaller groups like maybe 1 through 4 players, big deal, there’s 52 cards, and 4 of us, we can get the maximum amount of cards and the GM would still have 12 in his deck remaining.

But this rule is important for larger groups like those of 5 through 6 (anymore than that is insane and I cannot fathom!)
As the limited deck size would mean running out could be a problem!
The mechanic lessens the burden on the GM and encourages players to actually play together in a sense.

At least that was my intention with these rules… Maybe I’m an idiot, a RemixTheIdiot who didn’t see that this rule might actually encourage even more toxic behavior at the table?

I guess what I’m trying to say is… I worked real hard on the rules to ensure they’d feel really good to use at the table so goshdarnit I really want this idea to work!

There is quite a lot to unpack here:

  • If you want to discourage hoarding than why not make the limit 1? In that case, the large variance is far less problematic too.

  • If you want to encourage higher usage, the easier fix would be to make it a “use it or lose it” resource, meaning you that don’t get to keep Legend Cards between sessions.

  • I don’t see how any of this encourages “a healthy cooperative roleplay experience” but generally roleplaying is rarely encouraged by mechanics in my experience anyway. Talking to players in character does more for roleplaying than a vast majority of mechanics.

Sometimes ideas just don’t pan out the way you want to and scrapping them is better than trying to force them. That’s the only word of advice I have for that comment, and I’m speaking out of experience. :wink:

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