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Open Legend

First Edition


Publisher Description

What is Open Legend?

Open Legend is a tabletop roleplaying game (or RPG) in which the players play the part of mighty heroes and wicked villains in order to tell stories of epic proportion. In each game of Open Legend, the intrepid characters will fight mythic beasts, break ancient curses, unravel mysterious enigmas, discover treasures untold, and more.

Open Legend is a streamlined system designed to let you tell big stories using small rules. The rules get complex when they need to, but never cumbersome, and wherever they could be cut out or simplified, they have been.


A Generic RPG Built to be Extended [ edit ]

When Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition came out, the company behind it (Wizards of the Coast) did something revolutionary: they "open sourced" the core of the Dungeons and Dragons rules.  This allowed anyone who wanted to make a supplement or adventure for that edition of D&D to quote parts of the core rules (eg. the stats for a goblin in an adventure), without fear of the D&D lawyers coming after them.

Wizards of the Coast ultimately decided to abandon their experiment in "open sourcing", but before they did it resulted in a large number of games and products, including the Pathfinder RPG.  It also led other gaming publishers to consider the model.  For instance, Fate (mentioned earlier) has also adopted an open gaming license.

Like it's predecessors, Open Legends is not truly "open" in the same sense as open source software.  Instead, like D&D and Fate, its core rules are open, and freely available ... but all other Open Legend material released by its publisher (Seventh Sphere Entertainment) is not.  Still, this level of open-ness makes it much easier to share characters and rules snippets online, or to write your own supplements or adventures for Open Legend (which you can even publish and sell), 

Open Legend was created by a lesser known game developer, Brian Feister, who wrote the core rules along with Ish Stabosz.  However, the two soon brought on Ed Greenwood to help write the system's core setting ... a name Dungeons and Dragons fans will better know as the creator of the Forgotten Realms setting (and author of numerous novels set there).  The team also brought on Matthew Mercer, an anime voice actor better known in gaming circles as the DM of the popular Critical Role web series.

As such, fans might expect Open Legend to be very D&D like ... and in many regards it is.  Initiative, feats, combat actions, hit points, etc. all work very similarly to D&D.  However, the game has plenty of differences too: races have no built-in powers, instead of six attributes Open Legend has ten (plus eight more "extraordinary" ones), and while attack rolls work similarly, there are no damage rolls, as damage is determined from how well the attack roll succeeded.

Open Legend, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]


You begin character creation in Open Legend by describing your character. You decide their name, two defining social and physical traits, a secret they have, and their size/race.  Races have no inherent powers in the game (if you want your race to have powers you buy them separately later on), so as the rules put it: "as long as it is approved by your GM, you can play anything you would like, whether that's a psionic humanoid tiger, a 3-inch tall pixie, or anything in between."


Next you select your attributes.  Open Legend has ten different regular attributes, plus eight other "extraodinary" ones for characters with special powers.You are given 40 points to spend on you attributes, with higher scores costing increasingly more points (from 1 point for a score of 1 to 15 points for a score of 5, the max).

Attributes are then converted to "attribute dice" via a table: a score of 1 becomes a d4, 3 a d8, 5 2d6, etc.  Next you calculate stats derived from your attributes: your three defensive scores (toughness, guard, and react) and your hit points.


Next you select the character's feats.  Feats are similar to D&D feats: each one provides some unique ability or benefit (eg. you can deflect enemy attacks, or get a bonus to two of your defensive scores).  However, in Open Legend diferent feats have different point costs, allowing for more and less powerful feats.  New characters get six points to spend on their feats.

One particularly key feat is "Boon Access" (3 points), which grants characters access to special abilities such as the ability of a Daredevil-like character to fight blind, a priest to heal, or a winged character to fly.

Equipment, Perks, and Flaws

Next the character selects their starting equipment, which of course will vary by setting.  After that, in the final step of creation, you select up to two Perks, and two Flaws.

Perks offer various advantages, similar to Feats, but while feats tend to be benefits from training, perks focus more on the characters background.  For instance, there are Perks for being Attractive or Lucky, or having a particular Profession.

Flaws are instead negative aspects of the character's background, such as being Illiterate, or having an addiction, or phobia.  Whenever the character makes a bad choice as a result of their Flaw, the GM awards them a Legend point, so even Flaws are "good" in a way.

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

The core success mechanic in Open Legend uses a d20 roll plus the result of rolling all appropriate attribute dice.  For example, a character with an Agility of 3 trying to pick a lock would roll d20 + 1d8 (as a d8 is the die for an attribute of 3).  All dice rolled can potentially "explode", which means that if they roll their maximum value they are then re-rolled, and their new result is also added to the toal.

Advantage and Disadvantage

Various factors can give you "advantage" or "disadvantage" to an action. For instance, if you are attacking an opponent from behind you would gain advantage, but if climbing a greased rope you would have disadvantage.

A given effect can give multiple ranks of advantage or disadvantage (eg. "disadvantage 3"), and the two cancel each other out.  For instance, if you had advantage 2 and disadvantage 3, they would becom disadvantage 1.

For each rank of advantage or disadvantage, the player re-rolls the dice, ultimately keeping the highest (for advantage) or lowest (for disadvantage) roll.  These re-rolls happen before any exploding dice rolls occur.

Legend Points

Characters can also gain "legend points" by having their flaws impact play.  These points can then be spent to buy advantage 1 for a single roll.  In addition, each legend point spent adds an extra +1 to the final result.

Combat [ edit ]


Assuming neither side surprises the other, combat begins with each participant rolling initiative, which is done as an Agility check (GMs can make a single Agility check for a group of enemies with the same Agility).  Combatants then act in descending order, with ties being resolved randomly.

If one side is surprised, they automatically act last, they can't take "immediate" actions, and their ambushers gain advantage 1 against them.  Combatants can opt to wait to take their turn until later as an "intterupt action", similar to readying an action in Dungeons and Dragons.


On their turn a player can make one major, one move, and any number of minor actions.  A move action is self-explanatory, and a major action is typically an attack or use of a boon, though it could be used to assist or take another move.  Minor actions include things like opening doors, drawing/sheathing weapons, etc., and while you can take any number of them you can only take each particular one once per turn.

Alternatively, instead of taking all of those actions, a character can spend their entire turn taking a single focus action.  This allows you to make a charge action, or to make a single regular action with advantage 1.


To make an attack the attacker makes an atribute roll, using the appropriate attribute (either Might or Agility for physical attacks, or the appropriate extraodinary ability for Bane attacks).  If the resulting roll exceeds the defender's appropriate defense score (Guard, Toughness, or Resolve), the attack succeeds.

Each attack deals damage equal to the amount that it exceeded the defense score by, with every attack dealing a minimum of three damage.  Thus, if a character rolled an attack of 15 and the defender had a score of 10, the attack would deal five damage, but if the defender had a score of 14 it would deal three instead.

A Newer Game That's Still Proving Itself [ edit ]

Aa relatively newer and independent game, Open Legend doesn't yet have a ton of online reviews.  On RPG Geek the game currently has only 2 ratings, which average to a score of 7.0 / 10.

Amazon similarly only has 16 ratings for the core rulebook, which give it an average score of 4.4/5.  It's hard to know what fans didn't like out of the book: all reviewers who left a comment gave the game five stars, except for a single 4 star review (who liked the game but felt the layout was confusing).

In short, Open Legend is a game with free core rules comparable to those of games like Dungones and Dragons, and yet at the same time designed to work with any setting posible.  However, while those rules have received fairly positive reviews, there just aren't enough people playing and reviewing it to say for sure how comparable it is.

Whether you're checking out Open Legends because of their commitment to open gaming, or because of their