What advice might you give to a player who is interested in playing OL but has no firsthand experience playing any system?
the best tip is to find a good DM
The best way to introduce completely new players is to compare it to something they know - like books, films or videogames - but make the differences clear. I usually say something like this to my players:
You get to be a character living out a story, making decisions and fighting the bad guys. I’m going to be running the rest of the world around you, including your enemies, but I’m only making bad things happen to you because stories are boring if the main character never has to struggle for what they want.
You have a responsibility to play your character like a real person; cool, flawed, and interesting, but real. In return, I will also treat your character like they’re real and they live in a real world. Together, we can tell an amazing story about them and make them look like a badass.
Have fun and enjoy yourself!
As far for practical advice: Have your character concept prepared before the session, familiarise yourself with what your character is supposed to do (signature moves) and have it written down on your character sheet.
Come prepared, but also be patient. Don’t argue about rules, if you have differences in how the rules work with your DM or other players, make a note and check the rules after the game. If you interpret rules differently from your DM/Player, check out the Discord, the admins are always happy to clarify how a rule is to be interpreted. Do NOT start arguing mid-session. It leads nowhere and sours everyone’s mood. Even if you know you are right. Respect the DM’s ruling and discuss it afterward.
For your first game, I would recommend making a simple character. I only started OL recently myself with no knowledge of other systems as well and tried to do A LOT with my first character. Even if you keep it simple you do want your character to have something that sets them apart from your average NPC. Communicate those intricacies well with your DM. You have your character in your head or on your character sheet, but the DM might not fully understand what you are going for. I’ve had this issue a few times where I wanted my character to do something so I flavor the action appropriately only for my DM to awkwardly ask me what I was doing or telling that, by how they understand my character, I wouldn’t be able to do that.
Which brings me to my next point: Flavor.
OL doesn’t have abilities you can activate like in other systems. You have Feats, Boons and Banes. That’s all. So there isn’t all that much you can do in a fight beside rolling Attribute X to attack/heal and roll a Bane in case you roll high enough on your attack, unless you have an objective, like a mini-game, you have to complete during combat. What you want to do is describe exactly what it is you are doing. For example, and this goes back to what @VanGo said about signature moves, my first character is a movement based battle mage with a Boon Focus (Teleport). His thing is that he teleports around the battlefield, blindsiding the enemies. I checked this with the DM first, so, coupled with the Boon Focus, my characters MO in combat is his signature hit-and-run teleportation attack. This gives me a lot of freedom to describe how exactly my character attacks besides trying to swing a sword down on a poor guys head. It’s quite boring to listen to five other players doing this:
“I attack with my Entropy Magic. I rolled XX. Does that hit?” “Yes” “Ok, can I apply a bane?” “No” “Ok, my turn is over.”
When instead you can go in depth about exactly WHAT your character does. Half the fun of combat is describing how exactly your character is badass to everyone else. For example, last session my character was pitted against a demi-god general in a friendly sparring match. He wanted to size up our group and randomly picked my character for the match. He was essentially playing with my character throughout the entire fight, not even drawing his blade. My character got a few smaller hits in here and there, but nothing that would even phase this monster, until I got some delicious explosions allowing me to invoke a bane. So, to maximize flavor, I decided to uselessly invoke “Force Move” and described how, after teleport, my character turns in mid-air, roundhouse kicking the Demi-God and knocking him back a few feet by sheer force, in an obvious showing of strength. Needless to say, the onlookers were stunned by their General getting knocked around and the general seemed pleased as well. It’s all about making the experience as cinematic as possible while acting out your character. I could have also invoked “Persistent Damage”, but seeing as how this was a sparring match, my character would definitely want to avoid the person he wants to work for bleed.
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