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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What’s in a Resolution?

January 30, 2017

So, last week we talked about Resolution Mechanics and it struck me I made a whole lot of statements using a whole lot of assumptions that I didn’t make clear. This post is about that.

So, first off, why do we need Resolution Mechanics? The short answer is to resolve disputes at the table in a way that’s fair to everyone, but that can be done any number of ways and doesn’t have to involve dice, or even game themeing at all. What Resolution Mechanics are really for is carrying the narrative forward in a way that is both within the game’s narrative style and allows the players a sense of chance and danger without actually upending their momentum.

In short, Resolution Mechanics provide the players the illusion that they lack control in just the right ways to provide an even stronger illusion that they might lose. Ideally, the players aren’t capable of losing due to sheer luck (partially because of dice statistics, partially because of rules) but they’re under constant fear that they could, in theory, lose to sheer luck.

So, what’s our narrative theme, etc, for Dungeons and Dragons?

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Man, it’s taking me a week to get to this. Arcane is such a mess, thematically and mechanically, in D&D and I’ve been really unsure about how to go about this. What I’m looking for, though, is player agency. Player choice. This is what I’ve come up with.

We’re ditching spells for Arcane. Spells are clunky, weird, and poorly costed. There are some spells that are just obnoxiously powerful for their level, other spells that are totally worthless until you have extra caster levels to cast them with, and yet others that should never be used at all. This is exacerbated in tabletop where “creative” uses of spells have gone on to break the game. The comments here can help explain why the so-called Quadratic Wizard is a problem. On top of that, many Wizard players may come away with a feeling that they’re kind of pidgenholed into a certain kind of play style – even if they’re not playing 4th Edition. The spells are poorly written, which is the biggest problem for me.

So we’ve got to replace the most archaic and traditional D&Dism ever. With something that gives players more agency, which D&D players famously hate. Yay!

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