Sustain Persists - to what end?

The Sustain Persist mechanic is a great mechanic.
It’s nice, and simple, not complicated, easy to explain and understand.
It lessens the things you need to commit to memory as when in doubt, it’s usually just Sustain Persists.

But the vagueness and lack of actual ruling and leaving a lot of things up to the GM, means Sustain Persist can get pretty… Crazy… If the GM is really lax.

With rules as written Sustain Persist can be used in weird ways.

Rules as written, the only rule to Sustain Persist type boons is that you must use a minor action to maintain your concentration on them.

That means, rules as written, you can sustain a boon indefinitely.
Sure, maybe you’d have to sleep then in which case, from the very moment you wake up, you can cast that boon and just keep it sustained for the entire day until you have to go back to sleep again!

Rules also don’t give distance limits to how far the original invoker has to be from their targets.

Meaning you can cast say… Bolster to any ‘ol attribute to some guy and then just keep it on him while you go and travel to the other side of the world! Heck, why stop there!? Why not another planet? Nae, another galaxy! NAE, ANOTHER DIMENSION!!!
Your fighter can rest easy knowing his Bolster won’t go away cuz’ his friends hiding inside his pocket dimension while the rest are fighting. Those enemies can’t disrupt concentration! Their only hope is the Nullify bane since Extraordinary success on damaging lets you disrupt concentration on a single boon for the target, not cancel a boon inflicted on a creature.

Just a shower thought of mine that I had. Never seen anyone do this. Ever.
Except maybe the keeping a thing sustained until dawn thing. My player has a character with Superior Concentration and Boon Focus.
The moment his character wakes up, he immediately casts all his boon focus boons on himself and just keeps them until it’s time to go back to bed.

The only reason I’m writing about this is because I have no idea whether this is intended by the game or not.
Because while it does seem overpowered, it kinda feels like it’s expected for someone who has boon focus to do something like this in the rules when I read it.

This is countered by the fact that most boons are pretty situational.
Unless you know what’s gonna happen, there’s no point in giving yourself Resistance to Fire unless you’re expecting a lot of fire baddies coming your way. Otherwise, you sorta wasted your time if you end up fighting like… Ice baddies instead or something.
What isn’t situational though is Bolster and Regeneration.
You can just have Bolster to your main attribute or Regeneration anytime and it’ll always be useful.

I’m seriously considering limits to how many times someone can attempt to invoke a boon per day as well as a limit to how far you are allowed to be from your targets for certain boons, along with a maximum time limit.

Limiting the distance you can be apart from each other and a time limit is obvious, but you may be wondering why I’d limit attempts per day as well.
Well that’s because if I don’t people would just try again and again to cast a boon on themselves when morning arrives before they resume their journeys until they succeed.
That means boon focus would be moot since those without can just do the same thing they do anyway, and even with boon focus, you can attempt multi-target as many times as you like.

I can just rule out the time and distance limit on a case to case basis but what I’m facing a conundrum about is how I’d rule the limit to how many times they can do things per day.

I want it to be a set in stone rule. One we’ll stick with should we use it.
But how much would be too much or too little? How should I go about placing the limits?

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OL is a game about what makes sense, it is about self-limitation as well as world/setting-limitation.

This means the players limiting themselves based on what makes sense for both their character (backstory/background, powers/themes of their character) and what works in the world.


  1. Yes, you DO need a minor action in order to sustain. This is easier done in the heat of combat b/c of adrenaline and survival. However, there are things called focus actions, b/c you need to focus all your attention to accomplish them, and thus don’t have a minor action to sustain it. There is no way through out the day that you won’t have to focus on a single task and lose that minor action. And if a player really sticks hard to that, then that means they will certainly have disadvantage to anything else that is going on, b/c their focus has become sustaining. Normally, if a player is wanting ot sustain something out of combat/stress situation, for a long period, I require Will Attribue rolls. If they fail, I might do a thing of, ok, you can sustain it, but you will suffer (I usually pick one as makes sense to the situation and the boon):
  • A Level of Fatigue
  • Lethal Damage
  • Effects of the slow bane the rest of the day
  • other

Naturally this is going to depend a lot on the type of game, and the epicness of it. However, there is Boon Focus 3 for not needing to focus on sustaining, anything else is going to take some work, so you should 100% be putting something in to limit this.

Also, once they’ve failed (or if they’ve failed), then it will be X hours until they can do it again, or the heat of battle.


  1. Distances. This is fully in the GM court. Like with the above, it will depend on what makes sense for your world/setting. OL is a FOUNDATION to which you build upon. The limitations you set are usually, first, Narrative so that the players can use that to self-limit themselves and be creative (rather than mechanically limiting attributes for example), and second, mechanical, in such that things like fatigue for sustaining, and/or the requiring of Will rolls to maintain.

In the case of Distance, for some boons it makes sense for long distance, others it might not. Maybe it requires more strain with the weave of magic, and thus requires will rolls after so long a distance. The Invoking range might also be the sustain range. Depends on how you want it in your world.

In a few of my worlds there are the Monks of the Bolstering Mother. They offer a service where they invoke boons and then sustain them for 12, 24, 48, 72 hours. They are specially trained (Ascetic perk, Indomintable Endurance Feat) to meditate and hold the boon for the person(s) that are targeted. It isn’t cheap, and usually heads of state, important people, etc, use this service.


  1. Do not limit boons to a number times per day, just isn’t fun, and some days require heavier use than others.

The only set in stone rule that I would use is requiring Will rolls (fortitude could make sense in some situations), and failure will have varying results, one of which is not being able to sustain it any longer. Only way around this is Boon Focus 3.

The CR for these rolls will vary from how many targets, to the boon itself, to maybe the distance, to how long it has already been sustained. 1st roll of the day might be a CR 20, 2 hours later CR 25, 2 more hours later CR 30, etc etc. Nothing set in stone there, just, again, what makes sense for the situation.

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I’ll piggy back off of GM’s post to also add that Sleep and going Unconscious render a boon unsustainable as you aren’t able to take a Minor action when you’ve had your brains knocked around too much or you aren’t awake.

Now, how this then applies with Boon Focus 3 and Sleep and Unconscious is a bit more GM purview as Free Actions are typically able to be taken whenever. However, I would say that it is wise to have the boon cancel when going unconscious and free action restore when getting back up. But for sleep, I tend to be a bit looser and allow it to be maintained (as long as it is a single target invoke) as BF3 is often used to represent an inherent aspect of a character that exists and sleep is not a raddled state of forced unconsciousness. For most people, sleep still allows our brains and minds to work as well.

This can be minorly important for most but majorly important for RP aspects such as a shapeshifted character maintaining a disguise or even a paranoid noble who keeps a Resistance to Precise while they sleep to ward off assassination attempts. It might end up having a mechanical effect, but the chances of it coming up are slim and if you want it to still challenge them, perhaps allowing a Will/Fort roll (maybe with advantage) to see if it’s working. However, this is just how I typically run it.

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Trin and Moustache have covered most aspects quite thoroughly, so I’ll keep my answer short:

I’ve handled this in two different ways in my fantasy games so far: Either I’ve used line of sight as a measurement within reason, or I’ve used the invoking distance as the range limit. The second is one more consistent but also take a bit more tracking.

Overall, these things aren’t defined because Open Legend is a generic system meant to fit any setting, so it’s up to the GM to decide what is appropriate in a Sci-Fi setting vs. a fantasy setting vs. a modern setting, and so on. I haven’t seen this being a problem so far, as long as a GM stuck with their ruling and kept it consistent over the sessions in that given setting.

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Using a Will roll to maintain concentration?

I’m so stupid, why didn’t I think of that!?
I was coming up with all sorts of ways on the limits and such that I forgot you can certainly just decide stuff like that with a roll…

I’m definitely using the idea of a Will roll.
The Fortitude and Will attribute is something my table tend to simply ignore and brush off as they are kinda useless. At least until they realize they’re still only at like 12 Hit Points at Level 5 and all their enemies already have twice as much. And then suddenly me and my party go “Oh yeah… Fortitude and Will are kind of important huh???”

I’ve already come up of plenty of ways to use Fortitude to do skill rolls.
But Will is still for a long time just a way to get defenses and hit points.

I’d say though rather than make a Will roll every certain amount of in game hour though, I’d make them only roll when it actually matters.
It’s kinda lame when you go
“You are going to travel to another town? Okay, that will take 8 hours so I guess you gotta make X amount of Will rolls!!!”
When it’s absolutely certain nothing will happen anyway during that travel time and it won’t matter whether they succeed or not. Every roll matters or something like that.

So instead I’d argue the better way to do it is like this:

Yeah, you can keep concentration all day, but when something that could potentially disrupt concentration (as makes sense in the narrative) is about to happen, THEN you make a Will roll.
The CR is the Boon’s Power Level * 2 + 10 + 5 per repeats beyond the first attempt of the day.
The player can choose to make their skill roll or what have you but with disadvantage or make the Will roll before the skill roll.

Things like needing to do a disruptive skill roll like jumping a gap, climbing, anything that needs some kind of focus.
Or outside forces like when a boat suddenly becomes all wavey wavey, and after combat ends and the adrenaline wears off and you have to actually take effort to concentrate again.
The exceptions for these would be when the boon being sustained is important for the current action at hand.
If you have bolster on persuasion to someone so they can persuade better then no need to make a Will roll.
Or maybe you have invoked Haste so you can chase after something or other, no need to make a Will roll either.

Oh and yeah, if you fail your invocation then you’re unable to retry for some amount of time or until a fight breaks out. In the latter case the boon immediately ends as soon as combat ends as well.

I wish I had players who cared more about narrative rather than the munchkins I tend to get.
If it’s up to the players to limit themselves, they usually don’t and won’t and never will.
Already mentioned on a previous post (I think it was on my homebrew banes/boons thing) but my players usually min max to ensure they can deal the most damage, cast the most boons, and what have you.
They aren’t interested in playing rogues, or wizards, or fighters, or spies, or psychics.
Why can their character invoke Death along with the other banes and boons they can? Is it because they are a master of the art of death and destruction? No, it’s because they have an attribute score of 9 in Entropy. So I can cast all banes and boons on Entropy.
I’d ask for advice but that’s an entirely different topic. The answer would be to talk to the players anyway which I already did, and they refuse because psychology. What do you call it again? Loss aversion. And unlike me, they really are just more interested in the game aspects than they are with story. So it’s up to me to place limits usually. As long as they’re okay with it of course which they usually are thankfully.

This will prevent players from just keeping a boon for unreasonably long amounts of time and for unreasonably large amounts of distances (distance will still just be done in a case by case basis and of course, Will rolls will be made if they go over the distance limit made with increasing disadvantage the further they are to instant failure once they are 4 times away from the distance.)

It will be a reasonable nerf I think.
The nerf doesn’t just make you lose something but instead allows my players to make and do more game decisions. Which I think they’ll like.

If they really want to have a boon at them at all times, they need Heightened Invocation III or Boon Focus III to do that.

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well, min/max’ing doesn’t end up doing nearly as much in OL as it does in other systems, so it really doesn’t matter all that much when a player does it. Actually, in many cases it can hinder the character more so. In that sense, min/max’ing is actually sub-optimal. That will depend a bit on the GM though as well, and if they are making use of other attributes in play. With exploding dice, even a character with lower stats will still be quite effective in and out of battle.

As the GM, I often ask, why can your character do that? If they answer I have X in Attribute, I say, ok, well you can’t do it then, as that’s not a reason. This forces them down a line to actually try and explain it and actually come up with something. Then you have something to use to enrich the game. You can also base it on things they have already done, and be like, “It doesn’t make sense your character would be able to do that.” Saying no is a good thing from time to time. Not all players are the same, and not every gaming group is the same. Some gain more enjoyment with different styles of play, and there are some that are not as into narrative/RP.

Funny thing is, often when you start to encourage, or even get them to reluctantly do it, they realize they do in fact enjoy it. Adults like to pretend they are more grown-up then kids, the reality is they’ve just had more experience at covering things up. With kids they say they don’t want to do something and they hate it or it is dumb, but then once they are actually doing it, oh look, they are having fun.

Anyways, yes, sometimes you have to enforce the character limitations upon the players’ characters more than rely on them, or even remind them. NOW, when you do that, you can reward them with a Legend Point. Wait Whaaaaaaaaaaat? When I self-limit, I get something for it that I can use later? Suddenly they are more interested in self-limitation. (for those types of players)

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“I think that inside every adult is the heart of a child. We just gradually convince ourselves that we have to act more like adults.” - Shigeru Miyamoto

That paragraph reminded me of this quote.

I already did say I already talked with my players though.
This thread is over, thanks for the tips!

I’ve already talked and have asked my player to explain their character more thoroughly and have been slightly encouraging them to RP more and as you said, they are finding it enjoyable.

One character, had her primary attribute be Creation as she was a support/healer type. Somewhere along the line they wanted more offense so they gave themselves Attribute Substitution to Entropy. Which Makes no sense. She has been primary a supporter for the past 5 levels and sessions using her medical expertise to Heal and Bolster her allies, and then with no explanation, just suddenly… Entropy! No character development or growth or any reason to explain it!
It has been partially my fault anyway. Attribute Substitution is a very versatile and powerful feat but does state that it should be encouraged for them to explain how they are connected, but I’ve been lax and just let them use Attribute Substitution for whatevs.
I told them eventually that no! You straight up can’t use your Entropy unless you explain how those 2 attributes are linked with each other! Otherwise, I can allow you to re-spend your 4 feat points somewhere more fitting for this already established character.
A while later the player and me together came up with an explanation.
Something about the healer’s intense knowledge in the medical science, allows her character to not just heal but also injure or something she has spent enough time being in the many battles we’ve fought that her understanding of medicine has reached a new level. Substituting her Creation for Entropy.

My main party which consists of me and my cousin.
Funny thing, as kids the 2 of us loved playing play-pretend together but stopped when we became older. When I came across Dungeons and Dragons I wanted to play it with him because deep down in me I still wanted to do funny voices and wave toy swords around.
He didn’t feel the same but eventually he sort of gave in and ever since we’ve been having fun Role Playing and waving toy swords again. If I remember it’s because a show he was watching or something had D&D show up there once. It was Gravity Falls?

Lastly about Legend Points…
This doesn’t work and actually encourage any of my players to role play.
Open Legend’s Legend Points, D&D and whatever other game system has a similar mechanic which I think is most of them nowadays…
They never role play their flaws, and whatever Legend Points they get when they do get them, they just hoarde them.
I think this is because my cousin has a hoarding mentality as most of us do in RPG’s.
Whenever there’s a consumable we never spend them!
I asked him “Gee, you sure have a lot of Legend Points, you ever gonna spend them?”
and he replied “Once we get to the final boss” and then he arrives at the final boss and then he still doesn’t spend them.

In D&D 5e the Legend Point mechanic was WAY LESS useful because you could only keep one at a time. And all it does is give advantage.
In Open Legend you can keep up to 10 but my players still didn’t like the idea of a cap.

I came up with a way to make Legend Points a little more worth it.
One of the problem’s I thought and the reason he never used LP is because they are proactive, you gotta declare a use before you spend them. So I allowed them to use LP reactively after a roll, but at the cost of 2 legend points per advantage and without the +1 bonus. I also allowed them to spend it to gain information from me the GM along with other things, and finally, as a thought experiment, I allowed them to use 10 Legend Points to automatically succeed on any action roll.
Even with all these benefits, he still didn’t use LP!!! I think the new problem I made when I did that is that, I made LP a more valuable resource, so it still instilled his hoarding mentality.

The way I ended up encouraging Role Play was once again how most problems in TTRPG groups are solved… Talking to them!
And also, I changed the xp system and encouraged Role Playing and other desirable behaviors the same way most DM’s did on D&D 5e. Awarding xp!
Instead of 1 xp granting 3 attribute points and 1 feat point, and every 3 xp granting a level, it was changed to every 100 xp for points and 300 for levels.
I think the reason this works so well is because… Well firstly it’s more game-ey, but also because now instead of a one time coupon that’s consumed on use (LP), it’s a permanent bonus that has an effect over time and makes them feel like they’re progressing. A bit of psychology at play or something.
I really liked Open Legend’s progression system of leaving it up to the GM but when I did the change to xp I realized just how powerful the xp system is in most RPG’s tabletop or otherwise at least in the psychological sense.
It only doesn’t work on me because I understand it’s only a psychological thing but to those who don’t it feels empowering to see numbers go up apparently.

I feel like a lot of these problems could be resolved by a simple reframing of the actual mechanics inherent to Open Legend rather than doing a rewrite of those rule mechanics. :thinking:

The more you move away from a number-crunching perspective, the easier it’ll be for the mechanics to work as intended.

At least, as far as I can tell :sweat_smile:

It feels like you are trying to fix and solve out-of-game problems with in-game solutions, and generally that doesn’t work out too well. My players also forget from time to time to use LP but when an crucial roll comes up, either I remind them about LP or they remind each other. Nothing wrong with that.

If you want your players to RP more, engage them in character. Either they’ll respond in character, or they’ll respond in third person (my character says X, or does Y, and so on), or they don’t respond at all, and that’s fine too. Some players have fun just hanging out and rolling dice, and some need time to ease in and get comfortable. Trying to enforce RP with rewards will often just feel forced. As long as they are having fun, you are doing it right.

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