On How We Have FAILED!

What is the singular most important lesson fantasy fiction teaches us?

Warriors are 'fskin METAL!

Wizards are degenerate reprobates. [Tweet this]





And what, exactly, does nearly every iteration of fantasy role playing teach you?


That wizards are the source of ultimate power.

And warriors cease to be relevant soon after creation.



Here's 10 ways to fix the problem!
  1. Give wizards mutations for using spells!
  2. Force wizards to roll to successfully cast spells!
  3. Awesome up your fighter! (.pdf courtesy of Jeremy Deram)
  4. Allow wizards to learn only one spell a level!
  5. Strictly enforce time and money constraints associated with spellcasting!
  6. Spell failure, and 10,000 interesting consequences thereof! (x2)!!!
  7. Magic dead zones, ley lines, and w-w-w-wild SURGES!!!
  8. Make sure your fighter gets his army at level 9. 
  9. Metal burrrrns the magic-user! It burrns him!
  10. Finally, everybody really hates you, because although magic is awesome, you keep kidnapping townspeople to fuel your dark magics!

Still not to late to vote on what I'm going to devote my time to next!  Suggest more ways to awesome up magic in the comments below.

18 comments:

  1. Fighters are not lame. Magic-users are not gawds.

    Between magic items and the situation both have their day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is ignoring 30 years of gameplay and history going for you "unknown"?

      Delete
    2. Unknown is correct, I have slain many high level mages with a high level fighter. The mage is a frequent villain, especially at high levels, in campaigns. The fighter is just fine. But if you really want to boost him, just give him more attacks like the old computer game the Bards Tale did, and let his hitpoints continue to grow past level 9. In that game, 5 attacks per round at level 18 meant about 100 -120 damage and that was awesome. Back in the table top realm though, there's not much to be done really. As you said, just give him his army at level 9 and have fun!

      Delete
    3. Wow. The degree of misunderstanding of the essence of what I am saying in the post above is pretty severe. Let me try again.

      I would say, that I prefer my games to be focused on the dungeon -- that is to say, I prefer them to be about particular strategic difficulties in a limited space. After 4th level spells hit (level 7) the game then becomes about 'what does the cleric or wizard have memorized'. or 'what spells can we get the cleric or wizard.'

      I could care less if the wizard could kill the fighter or whatnot. We usually don't spend more than 20 or 30 minutes fighting anything in a 4 hour period or thereabouts.

      Delete
    4. That's actually _nothing_ like what your post above says, go check!

      Delete
  2. You're preaching to the choir, -c, but there aren't that many of us here. I've always wanted to use something like the 'Perils of the Warp' test in WHFRP or Dark Heresy, but I'm told it "penalizes the caster too much, and they won't want to cast spells" when it's brought up as a house rule.
    Too often it seems players with magic-user types cast spells with impunity, even in a game where magic is supposed to be proscribed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like the LotFP route: drop most of the direct damages spells. Kind of a lateral nerf. Although I don't mind adding weird side-effects to spells or awesoming up fighters either.

    BTW, what is that fighter doc from?

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you really wanted to honor pulp fantasy, wizards shouldn't be PC's at all - at best, a pulp hero is a fighter or rogue type with some magic knowledge (Elric, Grey Mouser).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Word. The classic pulp adventurer is a roguish ass-kicker.

      Big magic should be for NPCs, monsters, and out-of-the-way locations. Little magic should be the sort of thing usable by anyone (good luck charm, book that wakes the mummy when read, love potion, alchemist's fire).

      Everyone should be a fighter. Differentiation should be accomplished through ability scores, gear, and backgrounds leading to situational bonuses that might apply to particular environments, favored gear, or circumstance.

      Delete
  5. Crypts & Things does a good job of breaking magic down into three shades (white, grey and black - with grey costing health to cast and black challenging your sanity). And I've already introduced "magical mishaps" to my home game - http://www.heropress.net/2011/08/magical-mishaps-redux.html

    C&T, the best swords & sorcery adaptation of Swords & Wizardry, also boosts fighters by giving them "fighting styles"

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very inspiring post. I totally agree with you -C

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love pulp fiction (also Pulp Fiction, but that's another story).

    There, now that that's out of the way, I have no problem with playing in that style. Brawny and brooding warriors defeating degenerate and insane wizards is awesome. AWESOME, I say.

    I do, however, have some difficulty internalizing the idea that these brawny and handsome brutes, blessed by genetics, get to be the heroes, while those of us who are less than chiseled demigods of swordplay and have to apply our minds and our cunning are disgusting evils fit only for burning. That's a simplification, I know, but it has always felt to me like a 'jocks vs. nerds' attitude; and as a proud nerd, I'm not all that okay with it. The fact that these authors, erudite intellectuals all, were possibly engaged in some kind of wish fulfillment by writing about muscled hoplites who were good with the ladies has never failed to amuse me. So yeah, I'm totally down with Conan, and pulp fantasy style play.

    I'm also totally cool with wizards sending the useless warriors home while the adults are doing work. I like to see education and learning rewarded, even in my fantasies. Indeed, I have no problems with the idea that wizards will eventually dominate the game (in theory, in practice, it can be less fun). That's how society advances from primitive hunter gatherer tribes into city-states into true nation-states; we learn, and pass that learning along, and become something better that barbarian societies fighting over scraps.
    The whole subject is really more than I can encapsulate properly in a blog post. I think I'll put something down on paper. I hope that I haven't been too unclear; I think there's room for everything, depending on my mood.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice Warduke pic in the Awesome up your Fighter document

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A lot of these have been on my mind recently and I'd like to hear some point-by-point discussion on them.

    1, 7, and 9

    If they fit the setting well, no complaints here.

    2. Force wizards to roll to successfully cast spells!

    I've been intrigued with this idea ever since reading Jeff's post.
    Item creation (scrolls and such) could still supply reliable-to-cast magic, but at a higher monetary cost or unpredictable availability.

    3. Awesome up your fighter! (.pdf courtesy of Jeremy Deram)

    How to best do this is something I've been thinking about for months. Although the .pdf is not bad, I like the idea of keeping fighters relatively simple and not bolting on too many different things to bolster the awesome.

    Along these lines, part of Penny Arcade's recent interview about D&D Next actually caught my interest. Mearls mentions giving fighters a daily pool of dice which can be spent to improve combat rolls.

    At least at first glance something like this strikes me as a straightforward way to awesome up the fighter without tacking on too many new special rules and mechanics.

    4. Allow wizards to learn only one spell a level!

    Instead why not go further:

    Only let wizards memorize/prepare a number of levels worth of spells at a time equal to their MU level (+Int. mod. if you're generous).

    5. Strictly enforce time and money constraints associated with spellcasting!

    Although I like this idea, personal experience with PC record-keeping has taught me that tracking of anything beyond hit points after initial character creation turns the character sheet into a confusing mess.

    Maybe with a elegantly specialized spell-component sorting sheet?

    6. Spell failure, and 10,000 interesting consequences thereof! (x2)!!!

    Nice, thanks for pointing out these .pdfs. I like how this could pair up with #2 above.

    8. Make sure your fighter gets his army at level 9.

    As you mention, doesn't necessarily play into dungeon exploration constraints well. Still, there has to be some way to make an interesting concept of "The War Below".

    10. Finally, everybody really hates you, because although magic is awesome, you keep kidnapping townspeople to fuel your dark magics!

    In some book of celtic myths and legends it's written that brain-balls (brains soaked awhile in lye) were used as sling-stones, and that the brains of a king made the best brain-balls.

    Along these lines: magic users who traffic in magic components. The good stuff comes from bizarre subterran monsters. The best, most universal, spell component is the brains of another magic user, the higher level the better. Don't let anyone know you can cast spells!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ok... I couldn't resist this post and attempted to apply your ideas to Pathfinder at my blog: http://lonelygm.blogspot.com.br/2012/09/hack-slashs-s-manifesto-part-i.html
    (first part is short and is about Warriors and maybe Rogues; second part is Wizards and third part is Clerics).

    ReplyDelete
  12. So, Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, then?

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...