Open Legend Character Creation

This is an expanded version of a post I made on the Ars Technica Open Forum.

I had an interesting conversation with one of my players tonight regarding his character in my upcoming Open Legend campaign. I have a feeling that character creation will be tricky for us.

My player wants to make a character who fights with telekinetic swords, using them to attack his enemies and defend himself and his allies. Think Nashetania from Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers. For his first attempt, he tried to take Movement for access to the telekinesis boon, but that doesn’t work like he thought it did. Telekinsis just lets you move things around. It’s not intended for fighting. If you want to fight telekinetically, you have to use Movement to fling objects. His second attempt used Energy for access to the summon creature boon. That doesn’t really work the way he wanted either. His swords aren’t creatures, nor are they made of energy.

At this point, we digressed into a discussion of the setting I’m putting together for my campaign. I haven’t gone into a lot of detail yet, but I’ve hinted to my group a few things I’d like to do. I want to veer away a bit from the traditional D&D setting and go with something a little more anime and/or JRPG inspired. That will be reflected in the way elements are related to each other. I don’t anticipate having something like “force” as a damage type, which is how my player was trying to argue that his non-elemental swords would use Energy (i.e., “energy type k” as my old gaming group used to call it). I think that’s a bit of a stretch.

We want back to his concept and discussed what he wanted to do. He envisions his character summoning swords and flinging them. Creating swords is Creation, but that attribute is not intended to be used to make attack (or defend) rolls. It would be absurd to invest all the way into Movement just to make attack rolls with summoned weapons. The answer was to use Attribute Substitution II to allow him to use Creation in place of Movement for attack and defend rolls. This does force him to actively defend and make choices about how and when he defends, but I think it captures the character concept well. It also allows him to shape the battlefield by summoning swords to invoke the barrier boon.

Reflecting on the conversation, I’m glad we had it now rather during character creation. Character creation is mostly dissociated in Open Legend. It doesn’t mean anything to have Energy 5. Your character needs to have or do something that requires an action roll involving Energy to resolve. Everything is gated by narrative permission. I’m used to building characters from a concept, but the players in my group tend to pick options that allow them to say something about their characters. It’ll be a different way of approaching character creation for them, and I’ll need to be mindful of that when they make their first characters, so I can help them realize their concepts.