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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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.

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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.

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He’s a Magic Man

May 15, 2017

Oof, magic. The biggest elephant in any Dungeons and Dragons shaped 10×10 room with an orc in it.

The problems with D&D’s traditional magic system are both numerous and arcane (hah!) and there’s no silver bullet to them. The answer, I think, is both complicated and difficult but it starts very simply – we need to make each style of magic mechanically different. The two biggest ones, the ones I’m going to talk about here, are Divine and Arcane magic – the focus of the Accolyte and Arcanist classes and all the classes that spawn from them – clerics, wizards, warlocks, paladins, etc.

The first change, I think, goes into how the spells manifest. Arcane spells in this system are going to be mutable, modifiable, and customizable – a reflection of the experimentation and examination that goes into making Arcane magic work. Divine magic, though, is more rooted in the powers they come from. There is no changing the prayers that summon them, and there is no adjusting the expression of that power.

So, details wise, what does this mean?

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