Magic is weird. I’ve already gone over how disorienting it is in the entire history of D&D, how it doesn’t make much sense, how the spells are traditionally rooted in some kind of random assortment of what “feels” right and trying to adjust how powerful a wizard is compared to their compatriots – usually hazarding on making the wizard extremely powerful after a few levels. So first I had to deconstruct that mess before I could get around to Arcanist job descriptions.

But get around to it I am!

So, we know that each Arcanist type will have access to new spell-pieces for making new spells. There’ll also be a list of example spells that show what that kind of Arcanist can do with the pieces they have. Arcanists will be, most likely, the most complex classes to play and have the most flexibility to them. This basically means that the Arcanist player is one who likes to do homework for their hobby. Everyone else will be more about an order of opperations question; when do I do things to get the thing done that I want done. How they do those things is different but it’s the same general idea. Arcanists, though, need to come to the table with these little proofs using weird logic gates that, when finished, we call spells.

So who weaves spells?

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QUEST – Rogue Angles

September 11, 2017

Rogue is such a…broad term. It’s a whole variety of ideas about those who opperate on the edges of law and civilization, whether we’re talking about the thieves who break into secure places or we’re talking about fencers who duck around blows to exploit their opponents’ weaknesses. Not every Rogue is a lawbreaker, but they’re all rule breakers.

Conveniently, while there are huge swaths of archetypes that can be found in the Rogue, they’re pretty simple to to sort into three major archetypes.

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Recently, my spouse helped me fix a problem I’ve had staring me in the face for a long time – the Charisma base class. The place where the Bard springs forth, but also the place where other flexible tropes live. Some games have called them Adventurers, Heroes, or occasionally – almost derisively – the Skilled Character (or Monkey or Stick or…well, any type of carrying idea). These characters have the ability to weild magic, fence, reason through a social problem, delve into dungeons, speak to and for the gods, and sometimes even pick locks or sneak through the shadows.

The problem I’ve had is I didn’t have a good name for this class when it’s representing someone just starting out. I was calling the class the Factotum, but it’s a word that is both little-known and gives the class a far too wide-ranging set of abilities in implication since the Factotum is good at everything. However, thinking through this with my spouse I kept using the same word over and over again that has been used for class names – and even as job descriptors or occupations in certain historical contexts – Talent.

So there we go, Factotums? They’re called Talents now, and Talents always have a Knack for something

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So Fighters fight. We know that. It’s such a generic term that the generic verb is right there in their name. Over time, though, Fighters start to specialize. They settle on a style, a weapon, or even just a philosophy. When they do start down that path in this system, their class changes. They become known by their specialty, a reflection of the kind of Fighter they now are.

Today I’m gonna introduce you to the Initiate levels of Fighter specialization as it sits right now.

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Systems in Systems

June 6, 2017

Tyr’s Hand, everyone, D&D’s magic is obnoxiously complex. There’s, like, nine systems in here and none of them are talking to each other.

We’re gonna have to break this down; first system is the spells themselves and how they’re designed, the second system is how they’re allocated between levels based on their power, the third is how they scale, and the fourth is how they interact with other systems (like damage resistance, AC, HP, saves, etc).

Today we’re gonna start at the bottom – what a spell level is and what it’s worth.

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While this is primarily aimed at Dungeons and Dragons, especially my focuses on my rewrite, a lot of what I’m going to say here applies to other games as well. Well, board and card games. Balance is a much more complex issue when you get into anything with visuals and dexterity-based mechanics. The principles are basically the same in video games and dexterity games (like those weird games that came out in the 90s that involve catching butterfly toys or tapping out fake ice cubes from a plastic frame) but there are far more variables and more assumptions that have to be made during design.

So, anyway, what is balance? And why does it matter?

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Tactical Goal Strategy

March 17, 2017

This isn’t a new anime, I promise. It’s our design philosophy for combat mechanics. We’ve got one more important concept to talk about, and it’s the goal of well designed combat mechanics; Flow. Flow is the pace of combat and how fast a turn can be completed so the next person in line can go. When it takes a long time to make the decisions that go into a turn, the whole combat gets bogged down. This is also true for anything that requires hard steps (like 3.x’s Move then Act priority system). When you have people waiting to go, it’s best to have a system that’s flexible, easy to work with, and keeps everyone engaged.

Flow, by far, is the thing that suffers the most from having an unbalanced combat system, as well. It’s always a tragedy when one player just sits around not engaged during part of the game. This goes double for a segment so important to the design, like combat in D&D’s many incarnations and variants.

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