Understanding the OL Encounter Creation

Although most people will probably lament me trying to convert anything from 5E, but I do like being able to quickly create monsters that are cookie cutter, and not have to re-level something just for the right party level difficulty.

That being said. I have been toiling over the idea of taking old DnD monsters and common tropey types that will most likely be in a source book or source online, and converting them to OL. Now this isnt as easy as it may seem. Dnd already makes it difficult by rating monsters in 2 ways. OL does it easily and simply, but the common monsters in 5e are substanially easier to kill for an OL PC, just on the way the rules are stated.

In DnD, 1 single CR 1 Monster is a medium encounter for 4 players all level 1.
In Open Lenged , if all things equal as far the monster is concerned, you would have to make that same monster level 4, for that same group of level one PC’s a medium encounter at level 1.

I am wondering how the monster guide will be, if technically you could make any monster any level, but I am guessing that DM’s will have certain monsters set at certain levels, for easy duplication.

Do you give the monsters a range of levels?
Do you just give them a max level?
Can you give them just one level, and the try to balance all other known monsters to be increasingly more/less difficult?

Do I make a Giant wolf in Open Legend a level 4 monster, so that 4 level 1 PC’s are at least a little stressed about the Dire Wolf that could kill someone?

Has anyone tried converting monster manual monsters to OL yet?
If I just multiply by 4, its skips the odd levels all together, and makes monsters way higher level for solo encounters.
Please give me your input. I love fantasy campaigns, and I like some of the older ones from DnD. I just want to convert them to OL, becuase I really love this system.

Going from 20 levels to 10, and cramming everything we are used to fighting in that range is really hard.
Does that mean in Open Legend , monsters will be rated 0(minion) to 40 ?
That would mean that anything over 30 is impossible to kill for only 3 players.
Does that mean that Bosses are the only thing that can be rated above Level 10 as a single encounter?

If you totally avoid the whole copying DnD thing, you still have to wonder how you can even make a monster guide book if each monster you put in it is not a static level.

Making character sheets in Roll 20 for every monster is painful, especially if I have to make a new one for every other goblin or humanoid that could be different, just for each encounter you might have.

Right now i have a spreadsheet so compare ratings. Mostly because I wanted to make Random Encounter tables, I love having encounters at inopportune times if the players dilly dally too long.

Well for the sake of balance, I need cookie cutter monsters for that. Not hand made on the fly ones.

Right now for the example above, I have a Dire wolf being Level 2 straight up.
That way the same encounter mentioned is a 4 levels encounter and the 4 level ones dont have to each solo a Giant wolf on their own.

Any input is helpful.



I’m interested in this as well. I am playing through a converted D&D campaign (Sunless Citadel) and am finding it really hard to find a balance converting NPCs and making them challenging and not overpowered, and not repetitive. Open Legend’s flexibility can be a drawback to a less experienced (possibly over-thinking) GM where I am looking at the attributes, powers, AC, and HP of a D&D NPC and trying to figure out which of the 20 ways I could roll it in OL gets closest to the D&D flavor, which feats should it have, etc. Bumping up levels gives them more feats but also can make it more of a grind as they hack away at higher defenses and HP.

I know that a lot of this comes with experience as I’ve gone into the Discord chat with questions and people have given me great ideas in short order, but as a novice GM, the more time I spend with the rules, I often feel more confused by all the ways you can achieve a similar “themed” character.

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Here is an example of a D&D character description and a link to my in-progress OL conversion. This party is four level 2 PCs, and they are supposed to subdue/capture this wyrmling:

White dragon wyrmling
CR1; Tiny dragon (cold); HD 3d12+3; hp 31; Init +0; Spd 60 ft., fly 150 ft. (average), swim 60 ft., burrow 30 ft.; AC 14; Atk +5/+0/+0 melee (1d4, bite; 1d3, 2 claws); Face/Reach 2 1/2 ft. by 2 1/2 ft./0 ft.; SA Breath weapon; SQ Icewalking, cold subtype, immune to sleep and paralysis, 100-ft. darkvision, 30-ft blindsight; AL CE; SV Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +3; Str 11, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 6, Wis 11, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Listen 16, Search +4, Spot +6; Alertness.
Special Attacks: Breath Weapon: 15-ft.-long cone once every 1d4 rounds; damage 1d6, Ref save halves (DC 12).
Special Qualities: Ice walking: As spider climb spell, but the surfaces the dragon climbs must be icy, always active; Cold subtype: Immune to cold, double damage from fire on failed save.

EDIT: Forgot to include my link to my version on HeroMuster:


The way I see it right now:

You would roll out (2-4) of these things against 8 levels of player level.

Level 2 White dragon Wyrmling
Tiny dragon (cold)

Hp (12-24)
Defenses (11-17)
(1-3) 5’s
1 secondary stat of 3
Speed 60, Fly 120, Swim 60
Darkvision 100, Blindsight 30
Immune to Imobile Bane

Favored attacks: Breath Weapon - 15 ft cone is the same as a 3x3 square. (i would treat this similar to a boss action and roll initiative for like every other round).
Energy vs Toughness. (optional slow bane?)

Icewalking seems cool in the right campaign. But if it has flying why would it use this feature?(I would either use fly speed or this as alternate monster, like a flightless dragon).
Perk : Immune to cold dmg.
Flaw : Weak to fire (roll an extra 1d4, explode as normal)

Thats how I would run this monster. I wouldnt try running 4 at level 2 unless you lower the hp’s to minimum. However that is strictly opinion, as I have not run an OL campaign yet.

If your PC’s build effectively they can probably handle 4 of them. Again, this is how you play the monsters too. Anything with fly speed can be annoying. especially with a range of 15 feet they can mitigate melee characters easily, and make them fight at range.

Give me your example for a Goblin. Cr 1/4 in DnD.
And, if 4 level 1 characters face off with 4 goblins with level 1 stats, is the potential for TPK really high?
If only the HP is nerfed to minion status.

If they get to hit first, there is a chance one of the 4 characters will die straight away.

I don’t want to leave all the chance up to how I play the monster as much as making it as fair as possible to save arguments.

Maybe I am over thinking it, but your help and comments are welcomed.

@Soonerbdead Thanks! I edited my post to include my in-progress HeroMuster character. I should have specified there is only one wyrmling in the story, it’s a named NPC the PCs need to return to the owner. I like the boss action suggestion. The ice walking is useful because it is in a large dungeon hall and could hang on walls/ceiling out of reach of melee attacks.

@Soonerbdead To your goblin question - we just fought a boatload of goblins in our last session. My average build specialized in a javelin attack, as many encounters started with the goblns taking cover behind a half wall. Here is the build and some of the problems I felt I had:

The javelin specialty was of course useless at close range (though maybe I should have just said they fought with it as some fighters would a short spear). I melee fights the goblins were pretty useless, doing small amounts of damage. With 14 hit points, the lasted a little too long against average/area attacks. I did make them flee if they could, but one encounter had 6 of them in a barracks with no escape route. That one was a grind for sure.

If it is just an encounter that is meant to be non-lethal for the monster.

The Immunity to Immobilize would be hilarious.

It is hard to argue non-lethal attacks that are ranged.
At least my DM currently does not allow non-lethal for any ranged attack.

Thats a pickle just by itself.

I looked at your goblin sheet and immediately thought 14HP! wow.

Then read your comment and it made sense. lol.

The attributes would follow a level 1/2 monster. 19/40 pts.

So you customized that part and it came out to be 14 hp, because of the way Hp is calculated on the R20 sheet.

I think Moustache is making a monster sheet for simplified stats soon, so maybe this will be an option.

A checkbox for monster. So that you can manually enter, or change how Hp is calculated because of this.

Anything minion or less than level one needs lowered Hp.

With a Guard of 15, did the Pc’s hit these things consistently? I want to say the mean for 2d6 is close to that.

I have a goblin made on paper. But I put down like 10 different weapon options. So that if I have them using varied weapons I dont have to make a new sheet every time for a generic goblin.

Is that overkill?

Sounds like veteran GMing to me… I’m taking notes :slight_smile:

This makes sense, though you just gave me a great idea. One of my PCs is a fire mage. He could melt the ice the dragon is clinging to and try to knock it down so they could grab it. It’s not a huge room (large was a stretch, just has higher than average ceilings) but I doubt it could correct itself and fly away easily without them getting a shot to grab it.

@Soonerbdead By the way, the mean roll of a 2d6 w/o advantage is actually 19.4 - I am actually trying to create a chart of these stats right now :slight_smile: will share when I’m done.

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So, just to note, the actually monster manuals of DnD are meant for REFERENCE. They are actually meant to be ADJUSTED and changed for your settings or encounters. The default listed gives you an idea for a combat, but are meant to be changed and fiddled with.

A lot of people have gotten into the mindset that DnD is very rigid, when it never was actually meant that way to begin with. Once you get used to the system, you change the provided material and modify the monsters. You can see this if you follow Chris Perkins (one of the lead designers/writers for DnD) on his twitter and the way he runs the Modules on Dice, Camera, Action. He, who helped write a fair amount of Curse of Straad, has said how he changed what HE WROTE to do something a little different with the story.

Don’t get too stuck on monsters from a monster manual being the end-all rule for monsters.

THAT being said, please check this out, as hopefully it will grow and more people will submit to it:


If you create something, submit it here, then other people can see it.

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This will be fixed soon. Going to make a tab for selecting if the character sheet is a:

Alternate Form

The NPC/Creature will be a simplified version based on the create a simple NPC section. And you will be able to have more than one entered via repeating_fields. So you can create a couple different versions, both of different level/difficulty or different weapons.

I know this doesn’t address your overall post, but thought I would mention it.


Workaround for HP is by using the two inputs below HP. You can enter in negative numbers there to adjust the total HP

Don’t understand this at all. All ranged attacks are LETHAL… is this what your GM is saying?

I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding of what HP and HITS actually are, which is something widely done wrong by too many GMs.

Think of HP as stamina, and a HIT as your character having to avoid being actually hit. So now you are more exhausted/tired from NOT taking that huge hit. When your HP is gone, that resource of avoiding a blow is gone, and you get hit and are unconscious.

That arrow that was shot and bypassed my Guard by 7:

  • It didn’t hit me at all, I had to dance out of the way, exerting myself more, and causing me to sweat and get tired. That is why my HP is down 7

  • The arrow struck against my leather armor at an odd angle, bouncing off, but causing my muscles to become sore, and tire me out.

The only damage that would actually hit would be Lethal Damage. Such from lethal strike or exploding d20.

As a note, I’m almost finished editing my article about HP and how it is often misunderstood. Goes into much more detail about it.

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There may be confusion between “non-lethal” strikes in D&D and “lethal” damage in OL.

They may be referring to the 5e rule where if you are performing a melee attack, after damage is rolled, you may choose to make the attack “non-lethal” and knock out the opponent, but not kill them outright (as is the norm). Ranged attacks do not have this ability, so if you want to knock out that fleeing goblin for interrogation, you better catch up to him and hit him with melee.

In OL, “lethal” damage is a persistent condition that lowers your max HP until healed.

ok, that would make a little more sense. And at the same time is just silly for DnD to do that. There are marksman for a reason, that could easily shoot the leg or what-not, but anyways.

For OL, you can use the knockdown, immobile, or other banes. And bane attacks generally don’t deal damage at all (some do, but most don’t).

Thanks for all the replies… I was referring to Daranar’s tiny dragon that his PC’s have to capture. Catching a tiny white dragon wyrmling that originally had immunity to similar banes.

That would be hella annoying if he’s flying, or walking on the iced ceiling and all you had was ranged attacks.
To me a Bane attack to immobilize is just flavored as a non-lethal strike that slows them or restrains them from moving.

I suggested making the creature immune to the immobilize bane to just make it harder for them to catch him.
IE, the flame spelll attack to melt the ice and then the creature has to catch itself in flight or fall.

I am looking forward to all your changes Moustache. Sounds awesome!

Interested to see other peoples view on a Random Encounter Rollable table for O.L.
The whole cookie cutter example. instead of every GM using their own custom stuff, but I guess everyone will do that anyways.

Great posts!

@Soonerbdead @Daranar I’m not sure about the question of “non-lethal” damage. In Open Legend, you heal to full HP after 10 minutes of rest post-combat so, in essence all damage in Open Legend is non-lethal. Unless it’s LETHAL in the Open Legend optional rule sense.

Not really. The GM is expected to improvise. We expanded the table to cover 20 levels of monsters to show the progression, but once you get high enough, it really doesn’t make that much difference. A fight between a high-level Boss NPC and a group of 10th level characters is going to be decided more based on things like:

  • A big dice explosion
  • A particularly potent combination of banes and/or boons

Open Legend, in a very intentional sense is much more “flat” than D&D, so it’s important to understand that you should not be striving to capture the same feeling of many-tiered play that comes from D&D.

Instead of thinking like you’re playing a video game, think like you’re writing the script for a movie. In movies, and most non-D&D / non-video game stories, it’s generally true that one character might have an advantage, but even the “underdog” in a given combat can still land a lucky attack that wins them the fight. This is core to how Open Legend is meant to be played. When I build enemy NPCs, monsters, and encounters, I don’t really think about the numbers and stats of the NPC, I just think about the story I want to emphasize and then select banes, boons, and attributes that tell that story. I don’t really care much whether I’m challenging my players or not, that’s a video game / old-school RPG mindset that we don’t really adhere to with Open Legend.

If you really want to know how to challenge your players, just throw them up against a vicious bane or boon that is hard to counter, or simply give the monster a really high attribute with advantage 5. You’ll roll ridiculously high and tear through characters left and right.

So really, the part that matters about a character is actually not so much what you see on the Simple NPC Build chart, it’s actually the feats, banes, boons that you focus on – the part that is NOT on the chart.

So, realistically, if your NPC is level 20, you shouldn’t need stats to go higher than that, you just give them a more challenging array of banes, boons, and feats.

So, this line underneath the table is the key. I realize that might not be obvious, but the hope is that people read those options and begin thinking about the stories that those feats could enable:

"Once you have the basic statistics recorded, choose a few of the following feats to provide your NPC enemy with special attacks and abilities. "


Yes. No. No. – Or whatever is fun for you.

No, if you want to play a Level 20 Open Legend campaign, you just sprinkle in minions for fun, but have the primary adversaries for a group of 4 level 20 characters be a new and unique group of 4 bosses for each fight (this is how all high-level games go if you really think about it).

So, my level 20 players could either face

  • 2 Level 20 Pit Fiends + 2 Level 20 Balors = “Moderate” difficulty
  • 4 Level 20 Pit Fiends + 4 Level 20 Balors = “Hard” difficulty

But this is still very bland and “by the numbers”, I use demons and devils as an example because they just have high stats rather than being particularly complex in defending themselves with Banes and Boons.

On the more nuanced side, I’m planning an encounter for my 7th level characters that involves an “Spirit Boss” that can go Insubstantial (escape most of the PCs attacks) and then invoke “Summon Creature” to summon a bunch of powerful minions. Those minions are not terribly difficult to kill, but the Spirit Boss can keep re-summoning them while the PCs have to figure out a way to force it to become substantial so they can damage it. Long story short, if I give the creature a 22 Resolve + Insubstantial (something that a Level 16 creature can do), the total Party Level of 7 should make this encounter easy (28 character levels VS. 7 NPC levels), but even if the creature is NOT a boss, and has lower HP, it can easily invoke Insubstantial, heal itself while protected, and summon more minions with Summon Creature. If you make it a Level 7 boss (x4 difficulty modifier for being a boss), it should be “Easy” for a group of Level 10 PCs, but the fact is that it’s not.

The Core Rules give you the guidelines for “roughly these attributes, defenses, and HP” for a given level monster, but it’s foolish to think we can tell you how hard a given combination of feats, banes, and boons will be for your party. This is a learning process for the GM.

Even the Monster Manual (after we release that) will be wrong sometimes. If you have a party full of Rogues and none of them have an attribute that can invoke the Heal or Regeneration boon, then you might as well multiply the difficulty of every encounter by X4 because without healing, things get quite dicey. Even the most boring enemy NPC that focuses strictly on attacking will still become terrifying if the HP damage it deals to you has no chance of being healed in combat.

That being said, the Monster Manual will attempt to assign levels based on the combinations of feats, banes, and boons each adversary has and how powerful the synergy is between them.


This is a mindset I need to cultivate more :slight_smile: I can seriously OCD about rules and stats.