Some Rules Questions from a Beginner GM

Hey! I’m new to running Open Legend and new to the forum. I’m currently running a Curse of Strahd game with the system and have had 1 session so far, the next coming up on Thursday. I’m finding the system very fun and flexible, and so are my players, though it’s taking a bit to break out of that DnD mindset (I don’t run DnD anymore, but I play a lot since none of my friends run anything else). I came across a few things when rereading between sessions that I think I need some clarification about, and I’m hoping someone here can help me out!

I’m not using anything homebrew, except for @VanGo’s Wild Magic because I wanted a chaotic element to the magic of my setting. I don’t think anything I’m asking here necessarily would need any homebrew, but I’m trying to find answers within the base rules if I can. Sorry if this gets a little long, I realized there was more to these questions than I thought once I started typing.

  1. My players were fighting 2 Animated Armor and 2 of the PCs were stuck on the spiral staircase behind 2 PCs fighting on the 3rd floor landing. One of them, a ranger type, was shooting the armor from his spot about 15 ft. back on the staircase. We’re using the alternative Action Roll rules for combat, but when the Ranger missed with one of their attacks, I realized that he was too far for the armor to reach and had 2 people in front of him. I chose to have the armor deal 3 damage to the PC that was actually in front of it (a physically weaker mage-type) because it was still a consequence to the party.

    No one had a problem with this, but later I was wondering if this was right. It made sense to me fictionally, as the animated armor isn’t intelligent and is only focused on fighting, and the Mage was the one right in front of it. Does the consequence of a failed roll have to be directly from the NPC, and directly effect the PC that triggered it? Or, say, if I picked to inflict the Knockdown or Forced Move bane in this situation, I could have said the Ranger lost his footing on the stairs, even though it’s not a direct action from the armor?

  2. On that subject, am I correct in thinking that the “inflict a bane” choice on the alternate Action Roll rules just automatically inflicts it at PL 3 or lower? It makes more sense to me that way, so a PC’s not just rolling and possibly failing again, and it incurs an automatic consequence, but I just want to be sure I’m reading it right.

  3. When something does lethal damage, it’s just goes by the regular damage rules, right? There’s no, like, separate amount of damage that could be lethal in an attack (e.g.: “That’s 15 damage, 5 of which is lethal”)?

  4. Can lethal damaged be healed at all in the moment with the extraordinary attributes or extraordinary items? If I give the PCs healing potions, could they heal some lethal damage, but to a lesser extent (like maybe half of whatever it heals for regular HP)?

  5. When players invoke banes or boons outside of combat in situations where there aren’t really any serious consequences, is it fine to just let it happen with no roll? Like a PC using the Light boon for an empty room where I know nothing interesting will happen if the roll fails.

    I had an early roll in the first session where a player wanted to turn some chain into rope so it was easier to take off of a gate. I had her roll for it, but then didn’t know how narrate any kind of twist or consequences when it failed, because there really were none, so I realized I should have just let her do it. I’m just wondering if this goes for most situations.

  6. Similar to the last question, is it fine to have a player roll for something that doesn’t necessarily have consequences in the moment, but might have a continuous narrative consequence, or one that comes into play later?

    One of my players wanted to check the food their host had given them for poison. I knew it wasn’t poisoned, so thought about it for a moment and just told them there was no roll necessary. Later, I thought I should have let her roll, because either she would have succeeded and known that it wasn’t poisoned, or she would fail, and the “story progresses” with some heightened paranoia for the player and/or her PC.

    I also wonder about something like this in the case of, like, hidden doors. If I never have them roll when I know there’s no hidden doors, then when they’re looking for hidden doors and I do have them roll, the players will know for sure that there is one around, so there’s no mystery about it.

  7. EDIT: Forgot one question! Can you use feats/banes/boons for NPCs at a higher level than their attributes to fit something that fictionally makes sense? I wanted to use Boon Focus with the Insubstantial boon for my ghosts and specter henchmen, but they’re like level 4 and level 1 NPCs respectively, and don’t technically have the attribute scores to access these things at the levels I want. I also wanted to use the Dominate bane for possession, but again, don’t technically have the attribute level for Dominate II, and I’m not even sure Dominate necessarily works as a possession mechanic.

I think this is all my questions for now. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more as we keep playing and learning the system together. Thanks in advance!


Hi there and welcome to the community!

I’m taking your questions one by one:

  1. By the rules: Yes, the PC missing the attack is the one that faces the consequences, but those don’t have to originate from the NPC necessarily. The PC could just as well slip or fumble their weapon. But you run your table and if your players are fine with the way you handled it then you supersede the rules.

  2. Yes.

  3. There are instances where you can deal damage and some part of that damage can be lethal damage. Namely, this happens when a character possesses tiers of the Lethal Strike feat, but that’s the only instance by the rules.

  4. Only if a character has the Extraordinary Healing feat. But again, you could easily “overrule” the rules and create more potent (and thus probably more expensive) potions that heal Lethal Damage.

  5. Yes! One of the mantras of OL is “Every roll matters” and if there are no consequences then skipping that roll altogether is encouraged.

  6. Yes. The consequences of a failed roll don’t have to be immediate or even evident to the players. The situation you described could have developed much differently on a failed roll. Maybe the host notices the PC not really eating the food and inquires if something is wrong. Thus, the consequences could have been roleplay-related. Otherwise, having the players roll from time to time to throw off is fine but I wouldn’t overuse it because that quickly loses its mystique.

  7. Yes. Generally, when building NPCs and monsters having them fulfil their purpose has the highest priority, so how they get access to the abilities that you need them to have is not that vital. The stats just provide a general guideline for how powerful they should/could be, but many experienced GMs don’t even worry about feats their creations would need to accomplish that they should do.

P.S. Let me know how your Wild Magic experience goes at your table because I’m always curious to hear from people how it works out in their game!


I’ll probably ended up being a parrot to a lot of what VanGo is saying here.

Like with any TTRPG system, as you are learning it and figuring things out, you might come across things that perhaps you didn’t rule or run quite how it was intended. This is always ok, as you are there playing a game to have fun, and sometimes you just want to keep things flowing.

When you come back to the table after realizing you may have ran something differently, just present it to the players, and say, “What happened happened, even if we change it, this will just apply going forward.”

  1. Like VanGo said, the damage can be from them straining a muscle, the mental anguish of the arrow bouncing off the wall and nearly hitting an ally, or the perceived loss of status from a horrible shot. HP is not Health, but Hit points. It is a measure of staying in the battle and is a combination of bodily health as well as mental prowess and your ability to psyche yourself and others up. HP is better related to stamina, and lethal damage to actual health and serious blows. A “hit” isn’t really actually hitting you, but you having to either strain your muscles to narrowly avoid that potentially deadly blow, or the mental shock of that bullet whizzing by your head. If you take a look at some examples you’ll see it can related to footing or anything else, they can 100% do a bane or even take damage from themsevles.

  2. Yeppers, no roll, just like with exceptional success, the bane is automatically inflicted. It’s a devil’s bargain basically, taking a bit to still do a bit.

  3. Some things done by the GM (such as traps) can deal all their damage as lethal, however in the case of Lethal Strike you seem to be quoting, only a max will be lethal. So if Player A has 20 HP max and the attack deals 15 damage and up to 10 is lethal, the player is now at 5 HP, and only has 10 HP max until the lethal is recovered. The full amount of the “damage” is taken from HP, and then the HP maximum is reduced by the amount of the full damage that was lethal.

  4. what VanGo said

  5. Outside of stressful situations (of which combat is clearly one), I don’t often have my players roll for things, unless their are specific boons/banes (precog/spying) meant to be done outside of combat. If there is some sort of multi-targeting required, or other complication, then I might have them roll, but then usually will allow it to succeed via success with a twist, where the twist might be down the road. When I do this, I will say, “You can succeed, but the consquence will be this, do you accept?”, giving the player the option to just fail and move on without the benefit they were attempting for. That, or the more mysterious, “There will be a complication for you and/or the party later, do you accept?”

  6. Oops, answered this slightly above. To add on to it though, I also often do generic attribute rolls, and have boons and banes function slightly different outside of a stressful situation (namely combat). For example, when a player wants to charm a guard at the entrance to town, usually I will ask, “What are you hoping to achieve by doing this?” Or “what are you hoping will be the outcome” Then I’ll have them roll. In this case it will be a psudo charm, and more a generic roll to achieve what they told me they wanted. So outside of stress (or maybe a little stress but not as serious as combat) I take this approach when a player wants to roll a boon or bane. Players from other systems often want to roll roll roll, so I always remind them, don’t roll unless I ask for it. Tell me what you want to do, and you might not need to roll. In the case of secret doors, I might look at a player’s perks or stats and maybe give them that b/c of what they’ve invested for their character, or I might allow them to roll, and ahve degrees of success. They will still notice something, just might not have been that secret door. Maybe tell the character, “something feels a little funny about the walls.” To prompt them to maybe roll, and if they don’t they don’t, fi they do, they might just notice scratch marks of a passing creature, or some tracks in the dust of the floor, but not the secret door.

  7. Pretty much what VanGo said here.

The discord community is a friendly sort, no pressure to read everything people type or to participate. Can use it to just jump in and ask a quick question, the Discord is one of, if not the, fastest places to get an answer to a question on the rules or just advice. A few times we’ve had a GM pop in with a question whilst in the middle of a session.

Easy to be a lurker there, and be as uninvolved or involved as you want to be!

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