Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sorcery and Magic Difficulties

I left my flash drive at home again today.  So, in lieu of working on the story due Friday, I have been looking at dormant projects that I have on my hard-drive.  One of which is Life of Rage.  After some consideration, I have decided to forgo the idea of rewriting the whole thing in first person.  I put a lot of work into its previous incarnation (called Being Green), and it seems a waste to just toss all of that text.  However, some of the elements created for LoR will be finding their way into the new BG.

Anyways, in reading through it today, I noticed something.  I don't like magic.  Perhaps it is because I read too much Conan as a teen, or because I almost always play a warrior of some kind when I game.  Whatever the reason, magic just does not come naturally to me.  Especially when writing about the mechanics of it.  In both Age of the Sword and Life of Rage the sections on player-used magic is devoid of detail (in AotS it hasn't even been started yet).

This is largely due to the genres these games fall into.  AotS is a Sword & Sorcery game in the vein of Conan and his ilk.  Magic is evil, mysterious, and often entails sacrifices and other diabolical actions.  Life of Rage is about Orcs.  The characters are Orcs.  Orcs generally distrust magic at best, and usually avoid it all together.  In both games, it makes sense (to me) to restrict magic to NPC's.  But I know that there will always be players who ask "Why can't I (go outside your rules)?", and wish to make magic using characters.  My first instinct is to tell them to just play D&D and leave my game alone.  Which is what I am leaning towards doing anyways.

Of course, another reason may be because magic in an RPG tends to be the most complex section of a rulebook.  Look at the D&D Player's Handbook.  Literally half of the book is dedicated to magic and spell lists.  And that goes for every edition of that game.  Frankly, I just don't want to put that much effort into it.  Maybe if I was working on these games with a team of writers and creators.  But I'm not.  It's just me.

So, there you go.  No magic using characters in my games.  Anyone think that will detract from the playability?  Will I lose a significant number of players (you know, maybe 25 out of the 100 people who might like the games)?


Ken said...

There are lots of games out there for players and DMs to choose from. It's better, I think, to develop an RPG that stands alone than to create something that's already out there.

Besides, if a player wants the spells then maybe in the setting narrative you explain something about "taint" that casting magic is unnatural and unlike alignment which is fluid, the casting of magic, the scrying into dark worlds untouched by the foot of man/orc, the act of communing through pentagrams and all that stuff corrupts the player.

Unlike Star Wars where a Jedi can become a Sith, in your game that's not an option.

Raise your sword. Cleave the beast!

Okay, got a little carried away on those last few comments...

Tabletop is about having fun with a group of friends. Leave the spellcasting to the DM.

Ken said...

I admit I haven't finished ready the rules, and without a gaming group to test it out on--Oh, wait, one of my followers has a group. I'll pass it on!