So here’s the dealio: Open Legend needs a wiki.
I’ll put this slightly differently: if Open Legend wants to have a future in the tabletop world, it needs a wiki, preferably one that is “official”. This isn’t for the rules, those are already freely accessible (though the ones in the SRD can certainly be put on there). It’s for homebrew, and when I say wiki, I mean this:
That’s what the game needs the most right now. It’s finished, everyone agrees on this, but it’s also a skeleton. It’s just got no meat on it. If you’ve ever tried to eat ribs with no meat on them, you will know why this is a problem. For all its infinite versatility to do anything and everything, very little of that “anything and everything” actually exists. It’s nought but the faint promise of something immaterial.
Yes, Amaurea’s Dawn is a thing, but it will not do the trick. It shouldn’t have to do the trick. It’s not its job to do the trick, at least not all of it. With Brian (RNGsus bless him with infinite dice explosions) having gone on an indefinite shore leave for entirely understandable reasons, the ship is in danger of drifting off the dock, rotting, and eventually falling apart on the ocean of irrelevance. Open Legend’s license means everyone can make and sell content for it, which is an absolutely fantastic idea that gives the whole system more potential than anything else I’ve seen. But we can’t just sit back and wait for the magic to happen, because that isn’t how magic works, unfortunately.
Let’s face it, when it comes to “genre agnostic systems” most GMs (and especially most players) are more intimidated by Open Legend than they are by the MC Escher aberration that is GURPS, just for entirely different reasons. Yes, GURPS is a labyrinthine build-your-own-system toolkit, but at least it is tangible. At least the parts to build your own system are present. You have examples for pretty much everything, you have tons and tons and tons of setting-specific content in its repertoire of splatbooks built up over decades if middling popularity. You have examples of how to do things here. You have content you can drag and drop into your campaign, and all of it is readily accessible.
Meanwhile, there is exactly one monster in the Open Legend core rules, and it’s not even an interesting one. It’s not meant to be interesting, and it doesn’t need to be interesting, but it does need to be not the only one. In D&D you can open a book full of interesting creatures that you can just place into your game and get started. It’s not just boring stat blocks, it’s got flavour, it’s got purpose, and it holds inspiration.
Open Legend is easy to learn, that’s absolutely true, but it’s not easy to pick up. You need to build all of the content yourself, from the ground up (unless of course you want to fight swamp snakes exclusively, in which case be my guest I suppose). There are no prompts, no outlines, no features from which to draw anything but the vaguest of inspiration, because, once again, it is not the job of the core rules to do this. Unfortunately this presents players and GMs with a metric fuckton of options, and options are, above all else, exhausting.
There is no official monster manual coming out, at least not for the foreseeable future. For Open Legend, more than any other system, this should not be a problem. Yet, somehow, it is. Despite its simplicity, people are still scared of Open Legend. The only way to remedy this is content, and the only (and frankly best) way to provide content to people in the spirit of Open Legend is homebrew.
There is already quite a bit of great homebrew for Open Legend, but it can only be found on a forum that is a pain in the arse to navigate as an information repository, an arcane collection of disparate personal blogs, and some Reddit posts. There are a few repositories for Open Legend homebrew, but you know what they all have in common?
Don’t get me wrong, I like the OL Community Forum, but it’s just not a good place to do anything but work on, discuss, and fine-tune things. Being a library of content is not what forums are for.
Archetypes, Items, NPCs, Adventures, Campaigns. Hard, tangible Fluff. Custom Boons, Banes, Feats, Perks, Flaws, Mechanics. They all need to be in a single location, with a standardised set of formatting guidelines, easy to access, and easy to navigate. Open Legend and its license are built for handling this with a wiki, and the fact that it isn’t already handled this way makes me weep bloody tears.
Without this simple resource, most preferably stamped in some way as “official”, even if run entirely by volunteers like Dandwiki, Open Legend will never even come close to fulfilling even a fraction of its potential. Right now, every single GM that runs Open Legend is building their own little bestiary, forging their own collection of archetypes, and sometimes sharing them on a place utterly unfit for doing so. Why do we do this? This is OPEN Legend, is it not? So how about we share in a more transparent way?
inb4 muh “why don’t you make your own wiki”:
I have no idea how to run a wiki, I cannot give it the seal of approval, and I do not have the organisational skills required to set it up in the first place. This does not prevent me from seeing what needs to be done. I will gladly become a contributor, and I’d even donate some of the little money that I have to it being operated.
If I were to make some suggestions though, here’s what I would suggest: Just copy Dandwiki. Make categories for all of the aforementioned types of homebrew items, give 'em standard formatting guidelines, and there you go. Maybe put in an attribution thing on the page so anyone can easily share all homebrew to the wiki without fear of being called out as a thief, because the original creator was credited.
I really hope that this happens, because it’s important.
Much love to you all,