December 6th, 2008

Voodoo Dolly
  • tashiro

Some Stuff

Okay, let's see how to explain this. D&D Setting.
The PCs are not allowed past level 15 without an incredible reason. Magic items are rare, and low powered, regardless of level. They're currently going up against the mage's guild in the kingdom, which is focussed on taking over the kingdom now that they've been deliberately opposed. The higher ends on the guild are level 20-21.

So, big fight tonight. PC party goes up against a level 21 mage. The PCs are overpowered by the minions of the mage, and the mage even toys with them a bit. Fair enough, most of the PCs are level 10 or so. I got to hear about this, and I was pretty impressed. Wow, they're actually allowing people to drop. Until this point, the war's been pretty one sided, the heroes only 'getting captured' if they die in battle, and being rescued, rather than being defeated and actually killed by the bad guys, or 'was knocked out and left on the battlefield'. So, this impressed me. An actual war with a few casualties... finally.

Suddenly... I hear a bit later, 'oh, we got a do-over, so we beat the guy'.




In other news, on the MUCK I run, we're discussing the magic system I designed, and some tweaks to it for the players. First of all was the discussion on lasting effects after a spell is cast. Specifically, 'if you do X with a spell, should the effect remain after the duration?' My general statement had originally been 'no', with a few exceptions. We finally codified that.

1) If the effect could have been done through mundane means, the effect remains at the end of the duration, with no price on the caster. If you heal a person's wounds, the wound remains healed. If you shape earth into a wall, the wall remains.
2) If the process is unnatural and could not be done through mundane means, but the end-effect is natural, the end process is reverted at the end of the duration. If you turn a person to stone, they change back. You can spend a little extra, however, to make this process become the 'natural state'. So, you could make the person remain a statue for a little expenditure of resources.
3) Anything else requires a 'Feat', increases the casting time, and requires a greater expenditure of resources to make permanent. (Like, say, a wall of fire to be ever-burning)

Anyway, #1 didn't exist until our discussion tonight, but after thinking about it, it made sense. However, something else came to mind: What if you had a spell where the process actually faded when it shouldn't? Say, you cast a healing spell, but the wounds come back later because you didn't put enough oomph into it? So, a spell which would normally be permanent, but isn't. The idea then came to me that such a negative effect would be cheaper to cast, since it isn't as good as the full spell.

Then I figured... err, some people would do Bad Things with this. "Okay, I healed your wound. If you don't pay me 500 gold by next week, your wounds will all return."

So, I figured that in some cases, the spell's costs would increase. Then came the discussion... if it is the same spell, but the intent is different, should the cost reflect the intent? I talked with my roomie, since he's an Asatru, and then with my wife, and there was a general consensus... yes, intent matters. Magic is 'organic' in a way, fuelled by outside forces for the PCs to use in the setting, so the intent behind the spell would be important.

This provoked a discussion -- where does magic come from? One player advocated that magic is an energy you draw in and shape, while I was of the view that magic is external, being given by outside forces. Considering there's a goddess of magic, and most forms of magic require pacts with demons, or friendship with the spirits, or agreements with elementals, I'd say there was an outside force 'giving' magic in the setting. The player insisted those are miracles, which I countered saying no divine agencies are giving power here.

Apparently, the player didn't like the idea of magic having texture, such as a source of power, a background, and so forth. Ah well. :)


In the good news department, the programmer for Amber MUCK is finally working on it. I'm looking forward to the completed product and opening the game up to the public. :)

  • Current Mood

Two Questions for the Community

One: As part of the recent discussion on Armor Class in D&D 3rd edition, I was lead to run some numbers on Dexterity vs. Constitution and whether it's better to trade off one for the other. Some quick-and-dirty calculations suggest that up until about 5th level, having a higher DEX (and thus AC) is more important than having a higher CON (and thus more hit points) in terms of the number of rounds one expects to survive. But around fifth level, there seems to be a changeover, and higher hp becomes more important.

As part of my semi-annual Twiddlin' Of the Thumbs Whilst Administering Exams rituals next week, I plan to amuse myself by doing some more in-depth calculations to test this theory. My question: are any of you aware of such a phenomenon (or the debunking of), be it in D&D or otherwise?

Two: For various reasons, I'm looking for a system that uses backwards narration (though I'm sure there's an actual technical term for it): start by describing the present situation, describe the events that immediately led to the present situation, lather, rinse, repeat as needed. IIRC, somebody here had mentioned The Puddle many many moons ago, but I've been unsuccessful in tracking it down. Keeping in mind that I'm a try-before-you-buy kind of guy and a cheapass to boot, any suggestions?