Seeking the Form

June 22, 2017

So, we’ve already explored why magic in D&D, traditionally, is basically madness given form. The big reason for this is there’s no design format or structure for where spells go, what they do, and how powerful they are for each spell slot. In order to fix this, make my job easier as a designer, and empower players to make their own spells I’m giving each school Spell Forms rather than just spells directly, then building spells out of those rules. It’s like a video game designer first creating level creating tools or something similar then using those to build the elements of the game.

We’re going to start with the Universal school, things all Arcanists have access to intuitively. These are raw forms, things that are born out of feeling rather than direction, and are unrefined. When an Arcanist moves into their specialty, they start learning more structured forms that are informed by their schooling; Warlocks learn to shape their spells using the Forms granted by their patrons, Wizards learn to refine these basic forms into highly technical and specific forms, and even more esoteric spell casters learn even stranger systems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Back to School

June 7, 2017

So, the hard part. The real hard part. Schools.

Why are schools important? Well, look at literally all of D&D’s history – schools of magic have influenced what any magician can do as well as what they do well or poorly. This goes even to those that echew schools, like Mages, Warlocks, and Sorcerers. So schools must be addressed in any rewrite.

The problem is schools are so slapdash as a design element that they are nearly impossible to do without just adopting the bad system that already exists.

So I’m gonna have to change them a lot.

Read the rest of this entry »

A samurai plucks arrows from her quiver and looses them toward an enemy before her, peppering the vicious ogre before dropping from her horse, drawing her sword, and moving in for the kill.

Fighting for his life, the gladiator bashes the first swarming goblin with his shield then throws the shield at the next. His sword cleaves a third goblin as he picks up one of their crude spears and uses it to old the mass back as he figures out his next move.

Plumes of smoke erupt from the guns of the small band of musketeers, picking off the flanks of the advancing force of armored knights. They keep in formation, shooting and falling back, until finally the knights number less than they and their swords leap into their hands for the final struggle.

All of these are fighters. Each and every one of them. They all stem from a single, pure ideal. A fantasy of the warrior who is an expert in all forms of warfare and combat. In Dungeons and Dragons, we call that warrior The Fighter.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m curious how many people out there that run into this blog are RPG players. Not console or computer RPGs (which I enjoy, mind you, and I’d love to discuss them with anyone at some point) but I’m talking about table top RPGs. Dungeons and Dragons, Tunnels and Trolls, Vampire the Masquerade (or any of the Creature the Verb White Wolf games, the two Mage games being my favorites), Burning Wheel, Legend of the Five Rings, Cyberpunk/2020, Shadowrun, Rifts/Palladium etc…any of these things.

I’m asking because I’m considering doing an OGL product, a rulebook, that jokes about one of the earliest problematic and racist books from D&D history. Just about everyone I know that has played since at least AD&D remembers just how, well, racist Oriental Adventures felt. It’s a classic example of exoticism and racial worship at the most common target for these things – Asia.

I, too, will admit I once idolized Japanese culture. No longer, though I do have a deep love for it in general from that period in my life.

As a bit of a backhanded homage to that, and a way of having fun with D&D, the d20 system, and privilege in general, I want to write an RPG manual for adventures in the savage and inesecapable West called “Occidental Adventures.” It’d include all the rules for playing as well as notes where it’s different from its (nonexistent) parent system. I’m considering naming the parent system after two things that are alliterative and part of classic fantasy and mythical discussions of somewhere in Asia. I’m not sure where yet, but it’d have to be deserving of being the “Imperial power” in this little cultural in-joke.

I’m sure this is offensive to someone and, if so, I’m sorry. But I’d love to write a description of the exotic and noble Knight. 

So, let’s chat about it.

%d bloggers like this: