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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:02 pm 
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Of course, if everybody playing would just have the simple courtesy to buy a copy of the book, no photocopies will be needed. :mrgreen:


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General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:13 pm 
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May I refer you to Oedipussy Rex's comment on the MM example, over on the Dragonsfoot forums;

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... 20&t=48460

I think he has a good point. Perhaps it's just a matter of raising the minimum results as the magic roll improves. Thus, in his example, the result of 14 gives 1 missile for 1d4 damage whereas the result of 32 give, say, 2d5 missiles for 3d4 damage each. I understand that's not a complete fix because multiple dice will give a bell curve, but it does cover increasing minimum results.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:02 pm 
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Stainless wrote:
May I refer you to Oedipussy Rex's comment on the MM example, over on the Dragonsfoot forums;

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... 20&t=48460

I think he has a good point. Perhaps it's just a matter of raising the minimum results as the magic roll improves. Thus, in his example, the result of 14 gives 1 missile for 1d4 damage whereas the result of 32 give, say, 2d5 missiles for 3d4 damage each. I understand that's not a complete fix because multiple dice will give a bell curve, but it does cover increasing minimum results.


I don't see that as an issue. The point is that different spell rolls will give different effects. That two *could* be identically low doesn't mean that their averages will be the same.

Here's how I read that complaint: a warrior with 18str using a Great Axe (1d12+str) or using a dagger (1d4+str) could both roll only 1s on their damage dice. In that instance, the GM would say "you narrowly scrape the hobgoblin". You wouldn't, however, presume that over the course of a combat a Dagger and a Greataxe are effectively the same weapon.
The front-loading of damage for the Greataxe is covered by the Greatsword's 2d6+str; it's bell-curvy rather than being equally dispersed between the opportunity to roll any given result. Sure, there's that option.

However, a Greatsword could just roll two 1s, and be only 1dmg off a Dagger.

The point is that minimal results are just that; minimal. And there's a precident in other mechanics. As well, sometimes people just roll badly. It's not the end of the world.

The explaination for the poor result is chalked up to the target's luck: dodging the magic missile's blast, or withstanding it through their fortitude and/or luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:04 pm 
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I've got nothing to add to this thread beyond saying this is a very interesting concept you've got going on Joseph!

I've been reading everything under the DCC RPG with great interest.


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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:04 pm 
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JRR wrote:
Why not?

Something like:

Natural 1: Spell takes effect on random creature or area.
1-11: Lost. Failure.
12-13: Spell Does minimum possible damage.
14-17: Spell has standard effect.
18-19: Increase damage dice by one step.
20-23: Increase aoe or targets affected by 50%
24-27: Increase range by 50%.
28-29: Increase damage dice by one step.
30-31: Increase aoe or targets affected by 50%
32+: Spell has maximum possible effect.

Each step is cumulative.


If nothing else, this could be a great outline of spell design :)


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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:08 pm 
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JRR wrote:

Yeah, Mr Goodman's original table has a lot more flavor, I don't deny that. But pair that with say, 10 spells per level x 9 spell levels, and the spell section of the core book will be HUGE. Besides, I'm sure GG can come up with tables a hell of a lot better than the crib notes I posted. I was just making an example. I just want to see spell casting simple, fast, and fun. I'm afraid spellcasting will be an exercise in consulting the book of armaments if every spell has a table like the mm one.


Something to consider, a great deal of D&D's spells are merely advanced versions of themselves. DCC's spell system doesn't require this. I think the game can cover all the major D&D spells but on far fewer "spell lists".


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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:02 am 
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Another discussion of this thread on another forum;

http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.ph ... post445473

I think, as one would expect, there's going to be a lot of criticism based on very incomplete and draft rules. Can't wait for the playtest document to be released.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:48 am 
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mntnjeff wrote:
goodmangames wrote:
We’ve got it formatted such that spellcasting is “flip-free.” In play I pass out the “spell pages” to the wizard for his spells – each spell is on one 8.5x11 page, and the wizard PCs usually have 4-6 of these depending on level. It’s easy to reference. In the final printed book the spell tables will be formatted so they’re easy to find (and “permission granted to photocopy for personal use, etc.”).
I've mentioned this previously, but this is another excellent candidate for a supplemental pdf that's available on the goodman site to all those who've purchased the rules. This might include tables for spells, what have you. Anything that might fit into a DMG screen would be something I'd look to purchase. Or any type of "look up" that a player might take during the course of play.
How about a deck of spell cards? Maybe they could each be roughly the size of a 3x5" notecard with spell notes on one side and the "effects" chart on the other.

Each deck could have two copies of each spell -- one for the GM and one for the players.

I'd buy a deck if it would keep the rulebook size small! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:57 am 
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JRR wrote:
Yeah, Mr Goodman's original table has a lot more flavor, I don't deny that. But pair that with say, 10 spells per level x 9 spell levels, and the spell section of the core book will be HUGE. Besides, I'm sure GG can come up with tables a hell of a lot better than the crib notes I posted. I was just making an example. I just want to see spell casting simple, fast, and fun. I'm afraid spellcasting will be an exercise in consulting the book of armaments if every spell has a table like the mm one.
I happen to like JRR's table.

What it does, however, is raise the fundamental question of flavor (bulky) versus function (streamlined). Joseph's table has more flavor, but has the potential that there could be hundreds of these in the rules and every time a GM created a new spell he would have to also create a balanced "effects" chart to go along with it. JRR's table is a lot more terse and lacks some of the visual effects, but comes with the benefit that one table more-or-less can handle any spell. Ultimately, this will factor into the design of the RPG as Goodman Games has to figure out how to pack all of those spells into a thin rulebook.

As this game is still in the playtest stage, I imagine that Joseph has this 3-ring binder full of pages and isn't really worried about page count. Somewhere along the line, as the shakedown occurs and pages get exchanged for one another, Joseph will have to put some thought into the trade-off of "wouldn't this be great" versus "what can I fit in" and we'll have to see at that time what we end up with.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:00 am 
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Stainless wrote:
Another discussion of this thread on another forum;

http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.ph ... post445473

I think, as one would expect, there's going to be a lot of criticism based on very incomplete and draft rules. Can't wait for the playtest document to be released.

I made a short post there. It's funny that folks have such a strong opinion for a game they have never even seen. Don't they realize that more than half of the posts here are made by folks who haven't even seen the playtest rules? How do they know if they like it or hate it? We don't even know and we live here. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:11 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
It's funny that folks have such a strong opinion for a game they have never even seen.


Keep in mind theRPGsite, run by RPGPundit is a haven for people banned from other forums and its policy is to allow swearing, invective, etc. There's some great people there, some great stuff posted, but also a lot of rant that many other forums would not allow. Thus, strong opinion and hyperbole is part of that forum's culture.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:40 am 
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Stainless wrote:
Keep in mind theRPGsite, run by RPGPundit is a haven for people banned from other forums and its policy is to allow swearing, invective, etc. There's some great people there, some great stuff posted, but also a lot of rant that many other forums would not allow. Thus, strong opinion and hyperbole is part of that forum's culture.
Agreed. It's a bit of a bizarre site in that regard, and often a visit there is a real experience.

I just find it amusing that so many folks rush to judgement about new RPGs without really knowing the real story. Not just for DCC, but for lots of other games as well. Folks hear a partial story, fill in the gaps themselves, and decide they don't like it. Heck, we're still months away from a public playtest of DCC and double that before the estimated release date. So much can change between now and then, although their opinions probably won't.

Just an observation.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:28 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
Stainless wrote:
Keep in mind theRPGsite, run by RPGPundit is a haven for people banned from other forums and its policy is to allow swearing, invective, etc. There's some great people there, some great stuff posted, but also a lot of rant that many other forums would not allow. Thus, strong opinion and hyperbole is part of that forum's culture.
Agreed. It's a bit of a bizarre site in that regard, and often a visit there is a real experience.



So theRPGsite is the Mos Eisley space port of forums? "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy"


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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:11 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
mntnjeff wrote:
goodmangames wrote:
We’ve got it formatted such that spellcasting is “flip-free.” In play I pass out the “spell pages” to the wizard for his spells – each spell is on one 8.5x11 page, and the wizard PCs usually have 4-6 of these depending on level. It’s easy to reference. In the final printed book the spell tables will be formatted so they’re easy to find (and “permission granted to photocopy for personal use, etc.”).
I've mentioned this previously, but this is another excellent candidate for a supplemental pdf that's available on the goodman site to all those who've purchased the rules. This might include tables for spells, what have you. Anything that might fit into a DMG screen would be something I'd look to purchase. Or any type of "look up" that a player might take during the course of play.
How about a deck of spell cards? Maybe they could each be roughly the size of a 3x5" notecard with spell notes on one side and the "effects" chart on the other.

Each deck could have two copies of each spell -- one for the GM and one for the players.

I'd buy a deck if it would keep the rulebook size small! 8)


I would also purchase such a product, especially if it had two copies. There could even be one for arcane spells and one for divine spells.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:14 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
Stainless wrote:
Keep in mind theRPGsite, run by RPGPundit is a haven for people banned from other forums and its policy is to allow swearing, invective, etc. There's some great people there, some great stuff posted, but also a lot of rant that many other forums would not allow. Thus, strong opinion and hyperbole is part of that forum's culture.
Agreed. It's a bit of a bizarre site in that regard, and often a visit there is a real experience.

I just find it amusing that so many folks rush to judgement about new RPGs without really knowing the real story. Not just for DCC, but for lots of other games as well. Folks hear a partial story, fill in the gaps themselves, and decide they don't like it. Heck, we're still months away from a public playtest of DCC and double that before the estimated release date. So much can change between now and then, although their opinions probably won't.

Just an observation.


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Everyone needs to play! Then they too will be assimilated. 8)
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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:56 am 
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fireinthedust wrote:
So theRPGsite is the Mos Eisley space port of forums? "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy"

I'm glad you said it and not me. Especially since I hang out there sometimes! :P

They do have their own way of doing things, however, and don't seem to care who likes it or not. Funny that they would have such a feud with the Forge (indie RPG site) because they both are strongly biased toward their own flavor of gaming and against each other's style.

Personally, I'm more of a "live and let live" guy and think that what you do at your table doesn't affect what I do at my table.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:00 pm 
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Interesting point from ENW: http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rp ... ost5494512

Quote:
Right. Good to know that level 10 casters rule the world. Seriously, that jump in power once they hit the possibility of an ability check of 30 is huge. It turns a combat spell into a utility assassination spell the wizard doesn't have to leave his tower to cast. And because he doesn't have to leave his tower, he can keep casting and scrying until he gets it right. Therefore just one caster of level 10 means that no one dares let themself be scryed on or give up a lock of hair or toenail clippings or they could easily end up dead, whatever precautions they took; the things are even shield piercing.

That and Joseph Goodman's claim that greater variability inhibits min-maxing are two things putting me right off.


I wonder what the thoughts are on that?

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:03 pm 
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Machpants wrote:
Interesting point from ENW: http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rp ... ost5494512

Quote:
Right. Good to know that level 10 casters rule the world. Seriously, that jump in power once they hit the possibility of an ability check of 30 is huge. It turns a combat spell into a utility assassination spell the wizard doesn't have to leave his tower to cast. And because he doesn't have to leave his tower, he can keep casting and scrying until he gets it right. Therefore just one caster of level 10 means that no one dares let themself be scryed on or give up a lock of hair or toenail clippings or they could easily end up dead, whatever precautions they took; the things are even shield piercing.

That and Joseph Goodman's claim that greater variability inhibits min-maxing are two things putting me right off.


I wonder what the thoughts are on that?


Well, Level 10 appears to be the upper limits of character progression so those characters could/should be pretty impressive in ability. And it fits in the genre to not want to be scryed & to not be willing to give up hair, nails, true names, etc. Finally, I've spent over a decade dealing with games that deeply try to be "balanced" and are not. So, I'd rather them emulate the genre in interesting/fun ways. As a postscript I'll point out that we haven't seen the rules yet, so perhaps assuming the game is poorly designed is incredibly presumptive.

I've playtested Level 0, personally. It was a blast. I'd play Level 0 characters for a whole campaign & I'd never experienced that "power level" before. So, I'm pretty positive about adding a class & seeing what Level 1 brings to the table.


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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:05 pm 
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I know that each RPG is different, but I can give thoughts on levels based on my years of OD&D. My personal scale is to set 4th level as Hero and 8th level as Super Hero (as per Men & Magic with an absolute cap on levels in the 10-12 range.

Basically, a party of characters gets to spend most of their time around 4th and 1-2 characters gets to work up to around 8th. Then they retire. Anyone in the 9-12 range is typically an NPC either hired by the party for wisdom or aid (such as a sage or healer) or fought by the party as the Big Bad Dude.

If the Big Bad Dude can just sit in his tower and blast everyone with spells, that's okay. In fact, that's kind of his role in the campaign. This forces the PCs into action, since if they do nothing the BBD gets to do what he wants and the only way to stop him is to go kick his butt.

So, I don't have any problem with this interpretation of the 10th level spellcaster.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:01 pm 
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^ Which is why d20 E6 is such a great idea IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:29 pm 
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I'm curious to see if what I think the game looks like is how it really looks. I've read most of the info on these boards, and am somewhat confident I've got an idea of the final product/playtest. Some surprises I haven't guessed, but mages and warriors, ability scores, and spellcasting I think we've got some idea about.


Machpants wrote:
Interesting point from ENW: http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rp ... ost5494512

Quote:
Right. Good to know that level 10 casters rule the world. Seriously, that jump in power once they hit the possibility of an ability check of 30 is huge. It turns a combat spell into a utility assassination spell the wizard doesn't have to leave his tower to cast. And because he doesn't have to leave his tower, he can keep casting and scrying until he gets it right. Therefore just one caster of level 10 means that no one dares let themself be scryed on or give up a lock of hair or toenail clippings or they could easily end up dead, whatever precautions they took; the things are even shield piercing.

That and Joseph Goodman's claim that greater variability inhibits min-maxing are two things putting me right off.


I wonder what the thoughts are on that?



A Big Bad Evil Guy who sits in his tower and auto-zaps people who piss him off? Sounds like the DM!


I agree with the fixation on balance being an issue. Keep in mind that most BBEGs sit around with *wish* spells at higher levels. They could, in theory, wish characters into their clutches, then fry them. Heck, the most powerful predators in any setting I've seen tend to be Player Characters.

I think it'll fall into the group-wisdom of carrying a 10ft pole; a mule; sticking a bag of holding into a portable hole; hirelings wearing red shirts, and other D&D-isms. That and the sort of thing a DM has to just say "no!" to. This is a game where most warriors will be making up "moovs" every attack, and thinking up cinematic (and dirty-fighting) MDAs every round. There will be a lot of GM fiat needed.


My question: if 10th level is max, will Genies (et al) be the only source of wishes?

Also: If certain spells are simply more difficult to cast (ie: lowest successful spellcheck DC is +2 higher), even if we can learn them at lower levels, can we have "spell levels" so that some spells are "10th level spells" ? Probably not an overly useful point, but it can (a) separate the easy/apprentice level spells from "thee greate majickes", and (b) we get to say they're "10th level spells" as a benchmark for design. Not the be-all/end-all for the game for me, just wondering if it's possible or useful to the overall design scheme.


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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:39 pm 
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Joseph replied so I thought I would cross post it here... just hurry up and release the thing! LOL

Quote:
Hi everyone,

A couple quick answers to some of the questions raised in this thread:

Spellcasting and page flipping: Legitimate point based on reading the description of the game, but not an issue in play. I guess I should point out again that this game has been in "stealth playtest mode" for well over a year; all the issues being brought up here have been hashed through in actual play, not just some "design document." Wizards typically have 4-6 spells, maybe a couple more if they have high ability scores, and slightly more as they advance in level. Each "spell table" fits on one 8.5x11 page (and that's only because they're in MS Word format; they'll probably be smaller in final published form). I hand out those pages before the game (in the final book they will "permission granted to photocopy for personal use," etc.). There's no "page flipping"...the wizard just rolls a d20 on the page in front of him. After a couple combat rounds the wizard is usually on top of it. (That's not to say the tables are perfect; I still need to improve a couple things, but it's not a game-slower.)

Actually, to give a point of comparison...DCC RPG runs about 2x-3x as fast as any 3.5 game I ever played in, and is an order of magnitude faster than 4E. In a four-hour session we'll usually complete multiple combats involving many opponents, as well as solve a puzzle or two, complete some simple NPC interaction, etc. Modules that would take 3-4 sessions under 3.5 rules typically take 2 sessions under DCC RPG rules. This is one of the things I am striving for; my best memories of D&D are fast-moving sessions where everybody is constantly engaged, not the modern games of "I'll go get a beer while you figure out the exact combination of tactical moves that maximizes your next action." I'm also a big fan of board games, and I particularly like designs that keep every player constantly engaged (Puerto Rico is brilliant!) - in my opinion, D&D needs to get back to that.

It's definitely not for everyone, and there will be some of you who walk away unsatisfied. But I think there will also be many of you who find you really enjoy it.

High powered casters / tactical strikes with magic missile: I'm still debating maximum level in this game but I'll probably end up at 10th being the highest. I am striving for a style of play comparable to what I recall from the early 1980's. In your OD&D and AD&D games from the 1980's, how many of you had a PC that legitimately made it past 6th level? Anybody? It was incredibly rare. 10th level characters were unheard of. Even getting to 6th level was a big deal. Keep this power scale in mind as we discuss spells...a caster with a modifier of +10 is extraordinary. Even getting an unmodified +6 on the table (e.g., without spellburn) is extraordinary.

And, with that noted, recall that (a) every spell is cast with a d20 roll, so even if a wizard spellburns 10 points of ability scores to end up with, say, a +16 on the table (+6 base and +10 from the spellburn), he can still roll a 4...or even a natural 1... and (b) arcane spellcasting is dangerous! Wizards tend to become corrupted over time, and may have to, ahem, negotiate their way to power with supernatural creatures that have their own agendas. A 10th level wizard in DCC RPG is like the wizards in any REH Conan novel or the heroes of Moorcock, Merritt, Lovecraft, and Vance: the wizards have power, but at a cost...

So, to cast the "tactical strike" magical missile with a 30+ result is not something any wizard can do consistently -- or even predictably on a one-time basis.

Lots of RPGs on the market: Can you find me one written by someone who has read almost everything in Appendix N? DCC RPG is attempting something I have yet to see in any published work: it is NOT a retro-clone, but an attempt to re-imagine what D&D could have been, if the original inspirations were expressed in a modern rules set. Even the OSR retro-clones do not reach as far back into the origins of the game as I am attempting to do. DCC RPG may or may not succeed in its task -- time will tell -- but the attempt at "pre-D&D swords & sorcery" is not something I have seen any other published product attempt. Dragons At Dawn is probably as close as they come, and that's an attempt to look at only one half of the origin point. DCC RPG explicitly attempts to build a game that captures the ability to play adventures corresponding to the original inspirations of Gygax and Arneson, portrayed with a modern rules set. There's more on the subject in my design diaries on my forums: Designer's Blog #2: Pre-D&D Swords & Sorcery

Hope that helps.

From here: http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rp ... ost5496707

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:37 am 
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Machpants wrote:
Joseph replied so I thought I would cross post it here... just hurry up and release the thing! LOL

Quote:
I should point out again that this game has been in "stealth playtest mode" for well over a year

Each "spell table" fits on one 8.5x11 page (and that's only because they're in MS Word format; they'll probably be smaller in final published form). I hand out those pages before the game (in the final book they will "permission granted to photocopy for personal use," etc.).

1. I'd call it "semi-stealth mode"; I know that I e-mailed Joseph about it at least a year ago and he denied that such a playtest was underway. I'm generally clueless, so if I heard about it then it can't be too secret. :P

2. If not a pack of spell cards, perhaps there could be a loose collection of spell pages (sold with the book or as a PDF download) which could be xeroxed for player use. Maybe a half page per spell. I'd also want the information in the main rulebook, but I find that actually xeroxing pages from a book is sort of awkward.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:18 am 
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This is what every spell caster should be using in game-

http://strangemagic.robertsongames.com/ ... lbook.html

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Tell me that wouldn't be an awesome way to consult your spell tables. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Designer's Blog #3: What Do You Mean, "Vancian"?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:44 am 
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mshensley wrote:
Tell me that wouldn't be an awesome way to consult your spell tables. :D


That would be extremely awesome.


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