Yet another take on the "resist bane" action -- Sticky Banes

Dear Open Legend Community,

I stumbled upon this great game some weeks ago when planning a D&D campaign, and decided to switch to it. Reading the bane resist rules, I thought that they don’t seem to be very appealing, as there is a better than 50% chance to lose any bane, without any variability (except for feats granting advantage/disadvantage). So I googled the bane situation and came across this thread discussing an alternative rule using attribute rolls instead of plain d20. Due to the length of the thread I must confess that I didn’t read through it all, but I noticed that there were some concerns about balancing. However, it inspired me to find another solution, which is as close as possible to the core rules for balance reasons, but still has the possibility for deep and meaningful interactions with banes.

So, let me present the rules I came up with, and then discuss the balance and relation to the core rules afterwards.

Banes function the same way as in the core rules, but the “failures to resist” counter is replaced by up to three “sticky points” marked on the bane.

Resist Banes (move action)
You can use a move action to recover from one or more banes afflicting you. This move action cost is a simplified way of representing any number of different ways you might go about shaking off the wide range of banes you might be afflicted by. Roll 1d20 (with no attribute modifiers). If your roll is lower than 10, you fail in your endeavors and even worsen the situation. Put a sticky point on the bane, unless it already has three. If you roll 10 + 3 * number of sticky counters, you succeed in resisting the bane and remove its effect. If you roll more than 10, but not enough to remove it, your struggle at least eases the burden and you remove one sticky counter from the bane. Note that some banes have different rules for how they can be resisted.

Shake Single Bane (move action)
Instead of resisting all Banes at the same time, you instead focus your efforts on a single bane you want to remove. Choose an attribute which makes sense narratively (GM decides) and make an action roll against a CR of 20 + PL of the bane. (Usual success with a twist, or fail, but plot continues, applies)

Changes to Bane Attack

Exceptional Success

If the bane you inflicted has a duration of ‘Resist ends’, and your attack exceeds the target’s defense by 5 + PL of the bane, you invoke the bane with an additional sticky counter.


You invoke the bane ‘Immobilized’ (lvl. 1) and roll a 25 vs your target’s 20 defense. Since you rolled 5 more than necessary, your bane will be invoked with a single sticky counter.

Salumgar, Worldender hits you with his finger of ‘Death’ (lvl. 9). His attack roll of 44 hits your toughness of 24 with 20 excess points. Therefore, you get the death bane with 2 sticky counters already on it.

Changes in Features:

Potent Bane I - III

Cost: 1 point


  • Tier 1, 2, 3: Ability to invoke chosen bane


Choose one bane that you can invoke that has a duration of “resist ends”. Whenever you invoke the chosen bane (this includes exceptional damaging attacks), it is invoked with an additional sticky counter per tier of this bane. (Note, that no more than three sticky counters can be placed on any bane.)

You may select this feat multiple times. Each time you take it, choose a different bane.

Cost: 2 points


When you roll to resist or shake a bane, ignore up to one sticky point on that bane.


I am a fan of calculating probabilities, so I calculated the expected number of turns one would have to resist a bane dependent on the number of sticky points. For this it is necessary to solve a rank 4 linear equation. The result is:
sticky counters 0 1 2 3
expected duration 1.53 2.40 3.49 4.49

I compared this to the number of turns one suffers a bane in the core rules (3 x fail = 1 min = 10 rounds): 1.56. That’s close enough for the vanilla bane. If we have to resist a potent bane, we will suffer an expected 4.58 rounds from the bane. That is very close to the duration of a bane with 3 sticky points (which is the reason I changed the feat). If you are resilient, you will need only 0.33 rounds to resist. Since I did not want to introduce advantage into this system (mainly because disadvantage prolongs the duration of sticky banes far too much, and where there is advantage, people expect also disadvantage). I couldn’t find an easy solution to reproduce the core rules resilience, so I created my own an reduced the cost, since it is less powerful.

Now for the move “Shake Single Bane”. This move gives you the ability to exchange for example a 10% success probability (3 sticky counters) with 45% probability of reducing the difficulty) for a 4% - 16% probability at attribute level (AL) 1, 7% - 26% at AL3, 12% - 46% at AL5, 24% - 58% at AL7, and 49% - 80% at AL9. So the chances of shaking a bane are higher than resisting it mainly if it has many sticky counters and if you have a high applicable attribute. The drawback is that you can only use it on a single bane. It is thus not strictly superior, but it has its niche.

Concerning the practicality of this approach: The mechanics are not more cumbersome than those in the core rules. You simply make a roll for each of your banes, and have one marker for each (number of fails in core, sticky pointers here). So there is no overhead. Only if you do not succeed four or more times, you still make rolls for banes, while in the core rules, the banes just persist. However, I would argue that it is as cumbersome to track the duration of a bane (usually 10 rounds) on three failed attempts to shake it, and this is avoided with sticky banes.

If you are still reading this, I would humbly thank you for your time and kindly ask to leave a comment. If anything is unclear, or if I have misunderstood a rule, or if there is some edge case that I didn’t consider, I would like to know. I will also appreciate any opinion or thoughts on this idea. Thank you for your time.

Best regards,


P.S.: The critical success of the attack makes all banes with “Resist End” more powerful. To counteract this, it might be prudent to find critical success effects for other combat-focused banes, such as knockdown. Here it would make sense, for example, to inflict extra damage, as in – the knockdown was so hard that it hurt.

There are some interesting ideas here, but also some mechanical problems and balancing issues. Let’s try to go point by point:

  • Resist Banes

Overall I like the idea, but there are a couple of problems: Firstly this action lets you resist multiple banes at a time, but it isn’t clear to me if you only roll once your d20 for all of them or a d20 for each of them. So maybe you could clarify this?

More importantly though, I’d say the failure rate curve is a tad too steep, so I would suggest “10+ 2 * number of sticky counters”. Obviously this would need some testing either way, to confirm or reject my suspicion.

The following sentence confuses me: " Note that some banes have different rules for how they can be resisted." To what does this exactly allude to? That provoked and demoralised can still be resisted as minor actions? How about Fear and similar banes?

(Also, Sticky Points sounds kinda “boardgamey”, I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve got the feeling I’ve seen such a mechanic somewhere before)

  • Shake Single Bane

Interesting idea, but the CR to resist with this action WAY too high, especially since there aren’t many mechanics in the game to boost this roll. Let’s take the Stunned bane as a benchmark, because this bane often takes PCs and NPCs likewise out of combat, as it cripples action economy. By your formula, you would need a 24+ to resist the Stunned bane. This means that only attribute scores higher than 7 have at least a 50/50 percent chance to succeed against this with the shake action. I would propose to start with 15+PL of the bane. That seems still plenty high enough to me.

  • Changes to Bane Attack

I would suggest using the same Exceptional Success rules as with damaging attacks, so 1 sticky point per 10 above the targeted defense.

I don’t know if I misunderstood your formulas on this one, as the examples look like don’t follow the formulas. For the first one, if the defense is 20 and the PL is 1, shouldn’t the result be at least a 26 to apply a sticky point? Also your formula says “exceeds” defense. Did you mean at least meets the CR set by the formula?

Your Death Bane example raises another interesting problem (besides the math that doesn’t fit the formula again). Death is supposed to have a permanent effect once you have failed thrice, but your system eliminates that effect. What solution would you suggest to solve that?

  • Potent Bane

This feat seems underpriced and maybe too strong: The current version gives you a 30% chance per roll to resist the bane. Your version if we assume the current math, gives a 10% chance to resist a bane.

  • Resilient

This Feat tells you to ignore up to X sticky points to resist and shake actions, even sticky points don’t apply to shake actions.

  • Discussion

I would love to see your math for your expected value calculations, because even though I haven’t put that much thought into it, I’d imagine that those calculations aren’t exactly straight forward. Especially the Shake Bane calculations seem strange, as the results don’t seem to dependent on the PL of the bane.

I would disagree with this statement, but I think if you streamline the mechanics, than the added complexity isn’t too overwhelming for it to make a dent into ease of play or the flow of the game.

I don’t know how much you have played the game yet, but this sounds like an argument from someone with little experience in OL, as combat encounters are designed to be short and quick (3 to 5 rounds generally), so 10 rounds means until the end of combat in 90% of cases.

Lastly, I wanted to say to not take my criticism too harshly, because I see quite alot of potential here and plenty of good ideas, but I think the execution needs some polishing.

Some interesting ideas for sure, and I agree with a lot of what @VanGo has already said.

The one thing I want to point out, that I’ve pointed out to other varying ideas for Resist Bane mechanics is about the PL of banes.

The PL of a bane isn’t an entirely accurate way to measure the strength of that bane. Some banes were specifically designed with lower PL to give them more access to a variety of builds, but that doesn’t mean the PL of the bane is actually weak. This is why I ended up using the inflicting attribute score in calculations for the modified resist bane mechanic I came up with as it made more sense as a representation of how strong the bane is: the power of the character inflicting it.

Your “Shake Single Bane” is actually close to how I handled resists, though not the 20 + PL. That, as VanGo mentioned, is extremely high. If you were to keep the way you are doing it, the 15 + PL he suggested is certainly better, but I’m not sure what else I would suggest… as something like 10 + 2 * PL seems off too. Or just not using that CR method at all, and keeping the normal one you have above, since you are already trading off being able to throw off other banes to only do this single bane. Naturally in a situation where you only have 1 bane anyways, it wouldn’t be to much effect.

Thanks for your detailed reply! Indeed, I haven’t yet played a single OL game yet, that’s why I decided to run this idea past the community before implementing it in a game I will run for my family. I don’t take criticism harsh at all, especially if it is as constructive and insightful as yours.

First, regarding the name: I didn’t think a lot about it. Maybe it would be nicer to call it “stickiness” of a bane? Maybe I have to put some more thought into it. I will stick (pun intended) to “sticky points” in this post.

Resist Bane

Yes, the idea is to roll 1d20 for each bane individually.

I also ran the number for 10 + 2 * sticky points and a limit of 5 sticky points in total, and found that the numbers are far away from the expected duration derived from the core rules. However, I didn’t take into account, that encounters last only 3 - 5 rounds (due to my lack of experience). I will definitely think again about it.

The sentence “Note that …” was copied from the original rules. It was supposed to mean the exact same thing as there. So, you can take a minor action to resist demoralized, and you have a free resist roll at the end of your turn for fear, charmed etc.

Shake Single Bane

I agree that it is an interesting idea, however, it wasn’t mine. I read it in the thread I linked in my original post. I thought of it as a last way out if a bane should accumulate too many sticky points, and that it should be better than resisting bane only in this circumstance. Also, since this is an action roll, the GM can opt for “success with a twist”, which means that you don’t necessarily need to beat the CR if you are ready to suffer the consequences. But I will defer to your experience and change the way the action works.

Changes to Bane Attack

You are right, I should have kept the usual exceptional success rule. Especially since the power levels are somewhat meaningless wrt the actual power of a bane, as Great_Moustache mentioned.

You didn’t misunderstand the formula, because I changed it when I almost reached the end of the post. I just forgot to adjust the examples. So, my current idea is that exceptional attack can add one sticky point at most.

About the Death bane: I would adjust it to “if you fail (i.e. less than 10) a resist roll, if this bane has 3 sticky points, you die.” This means, as long as you roll higher than 9, your situation improves. I am going through all the banes now to see if there are more banes requiring special attention. Also, banes with 3 fail = 24h or similar should get such a rule.

Potent Bane

Yes, the chances to directly resist on the first try are only 10%. But the chances that this percentage increase for the next resist roll are 45%. So you always have a better than 50/50 chance to improve your situation. Each sticky point increases the expected duration of a bane by about one round. I arrived at this feature price by comparing it to the expected duration in the original rules, and there it is 4.5 rounds (however, this again assumes that combat lasts longer than 10 rounds, so maybe not representative). Again, I will defer to your experience and increase the price of the feature (it does not seem likely that any of my players will build a bane-based character, anyways).


Oh my, what a blunder :man_facepalming: Now I wonder how to solve this in a balanced and not too complicated way… So this and the shake bane action are still major construction sites.


Regarding the maths: consider the expected duration of a bane without sticky points. If you take a resist banes action, there is a probability 45% that you fail and add a sticky point. Then your duration would be 1 + the expected duration of a bane with one sticky point, or in formulas:
T0 = 0.45 * ( 1 + T1 )

a similar reasoning gives you

T1 = 0.45 * ( 1 + T2 ) + 0.15 * ( 1 + T0 )
T2 = 0.45 * ( 1 + T3 ) + 0.3 * ( 1 + T1 )
T3 = 0.45 * ( 1 + T3 ) + 0.45 * ( 1 + T2 )

These equations define a linear system of equations. There are several algorithms implemented to solve this system and give you the values for T0 to T3. It is also possible to calculate by hand, but it is somewhat cumbersome.

For the shake bane probability calculations, I always gave a low number for PL9 banes and a high number for PL1 banes. So, an AL3 leads to success probability of 12% for PL9 (i.e. higher than 29) and 46% for PL1 (i.e. higher than 21). However, I will likely change the way the action works.

I posted this on the discord, and felt it was somewhat relevant to this discussion, so I’ll repost it here.

Note, not a direct response to your above post, just general comment on Banes in Open Legend.

part of how effective banes are is also in synergy.

For example, a ranged Magic user, or even archer, etc, causing knockdown on a target that is in melee with an ally. Then it is the ally’s turn before the target has a chance to standup, the ally gets the benefit of attacking a prone target while in melee.

Same can be said of any of the banes and before the target gets to resist them, like incapacitated and others. Hitting them with it before everyone else’s turn. So some people, who synergize well and even shift their turn around so things line up nicely, have no problem with resist banes as they are, b/c it isn’t much of an issue.

A lot of people look at it mostly from, I hit them with the bane, now I want to benefit myself from doing that.

I took your ideas to heart and modified my house rule. The current version has only one action to get rid of banes: breaking banes.

Break Bane
Each bane has CR = 12 + attribute score with which it was inflicted.
Describe your actions as to how you want to break the bane and choose an appropriate attribute. Make an action roll with that attribute.

If the result is greater than or equal to the CR + 3 times the burden of the bane, it is broken.
Otherwise, if it is greater than or equal to the CR, reduce the bane’s burden by one.
If it is less than the bane’s challenge rating, increase the bane’s burden by one to a maximum of three.
You can choose to break multiple banes with one action. If you do, choose a separate attribute for each bane, and roll for each bane individually. However, because your attention is spread thin, you gain disadvantage equal to the number of banes you are targeting on each of the rolls.

If you break a bane this way, you figure out how to counteract it, and any time the same character inflicts the same bane on you, you get advantage 1 on rolls aimed at breaking it.

So, I changed the name from sticky counter to “burden” and tried to address some of the comments. It is now basically a version of this suggestion, with the addition of burden, multi-targeting malus and a kind of resistance once you finally break a bane.

Contrary to the linked post, I chose the formula 12+attribute, because I think, that getting rid of a bane inflicted by peers should not change the probability of success.

Take a look at the probabilities to beat CR 10+AL (P10) and 12+AL(P12) with an attribute of AL:

AL  P10  P12
 0  55%  45%
 1  66%  56%
 2  65%  56%
 3  65%  55%
 4  64%  55%
 5  70%  61%
 6  73%  64%
 7  75%  67%
 8  82%  75%
 9  86%  80%

So, for AL 1-4, the 12+AL formula gives you about 55% percent success probability if you can match that attribute level.

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