Friday, August 8, 2014

Late D&D 5e impression, schools of magic and play experiences in other countries

So this post is coming in really really late.

D&D 5e Impressions
So, sure, I've seen the Basic rules like a long while ago - about a month. Before I went to London, anyway. So I'm late to the impressions party. But still.
My biggest impression is thus, seeing as I didn't _really_ play before 3.x: this new edition is a fabulous thing. It's back to roleplaying goodness after how 4e had been more of a miniatures tactical simulation with RPG elements, rather than an RPG with major combat elements.
Now to be more precise - I like how...
  • ...classes are less boring, compared to 3.x, most notably spellcasters, which stopped having just the one schtick of spellcasting.
  • ...character sheets are less packed and offer better visibility to different aspects of a character. Also that they aren't the one that won that one contest.
  • ...that they removed a lot of modifiers, making things simpler and DCs adhere to a stricter scale.
  • wizards have been given a middle ground that feels fair about spell prep.
I'm sure there are more things I have to say about the game, but this is the gist of it. I was excited by virtue of reentering the roleplaying hobby to play D&D 3.x, but 5e has me genuinely excited about the game.

Schools of Magic
So I'm still working on my RPG, Stuff of Legend, and recently really looked into how I want magic to work in my game and setting. After one iteration which didn't prove solid enough, I've stolen the magic schools of D&D 3.x and mixed them up a bit to get a better spread.
There are a total of 8 magic schools, divided into 3 tiers:
  • At the lowest tier are the essentially standard magic: illusion, conjuration, abjuration and evocation. These are scary in their own right, but they are predictable and direct.
  • Above them are more versatile and potentially dangerous schools: divination and transmutation. One can supply information about many things, the chief of which being the Enumeration spell. They are scary because the supply power that's harder to fight against.
  • At the top are the most dangerous ones, capable of the most harm: vitamancy and cerebremancy. The prior has the power to snuff out life indiscriminately with a flick of the wrist. The latter allows the wizard to read minds and cause massive brain damage with as much effort as vitamancer expend into killing. These are so considerably hard to defend against that they are the most scary and most regulated.
Players may choose the lowest or middle tiers when they create spellcasting characters. The schools are intended to speak for themselves, in regards to expected effects and I think I've done a good job.

Gaming in other countries
About a month ago I've been to London, for my sister's graduation from City University London (house of Gryffindor). Before I flew in, I sought out activities with people from the internet that I'm familiar with. James Young answered that call with an invite to their weekly game night he was GMing. The experience was fab.
To start with, it was my first time playing outside of my physical comfort zone - somewhere public that isn't directly tied to RPGs. Cons don't count, for that matter, is what I mean.
I had a beer sometime in the middle, which also counts for points.
My character, which started with the name Arlen but ended up with the name Frog*, lived through the session (well, there was no combat, although other characters had nearly died) and even contributed a bunch by defeating a ghost at Jenga.
We gamed for 3.5 hours, but they were a total blast. All players got as much spotlight as they were seeking and everyone was pretty much really grand.

Sorry that the posts aren't coming in very often, but I'm struggling to leave my social comfort zone of being a lurker. So here, have a late post about things.

*There are two good reasons for this switch in names: 1) the only remaining miniature to represent a character was a plastic frog, and 2) Frog had 4 charisma, which makes the name, at least as a nickname, sound pretty fair I think.