Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Comic - It's a Trick

Magic Missile always hits its target. That's what makes it magic missile opposed to the lesser known variants mundane missile and pretty good missile.

When I played a wizard, I always liked to imagine my missile would take the most round about route to the target. It'd whip between legs, dodge through a brawl, and home in on the bad guy like the arrow in Gamers.

The show presented above might be a little boring. You know it's never going to miss. When you watch a knife thrower you're also pretty sure they're not going to miss but there's always that secret dark hope that this time, this once, there might be an accident. That's where the thrill comes from.
Of course... that presumes the wizard isn't aiming for the assistant.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Comic - Light Reading

***An understated part of levelling-up in most editions of D&D is training. There have been a few optional rules that suggest a character needs to practice their skills and be taught new tricks from a master or trainer. But, for the most part, those rules are unused. Instead, the Player Characters just venture into a dank and foreboding dungeon for a few weeks and emerge with five times the talent, gaining mastery of new abilities from the aether. Even if the optional training rules are used, what kind of training would there be? What would a master barbarian teach his angry pupils? What lessons would there be at Berserker Academy? "Class, today we're learning how to roar. NO TALKING! I WILL SMASH! To begin, everyone needs to take a deep breath."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Comic - BFS

***A symptom of the influence anime games and cartoons has had on D&D can really be seen in the art of the game, specifically weapons and armour. Stylistic weaponry and armour have become much more common and realistic medieval gear has become dismissed or downplayed. Some of this is to better enable each of the races to have a distinct visual style, but other times it's just seen as "cool". All I can ever think of is "man, that sword would be heavy to lift and impossible to wield" or "that armour would just direct blows to vital spots on the torso." It's one thing to depict fantastic weapons and armour that would be slightly impractical, it's another to present armour and weapons that are detrimental to the wielder. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Comic - Let the dice fall...

Every gamer who has ever played D&D has likely had some encounter with the weird hybrid monsters of the game, typically blamed as the result of wizard experiments. What the heck kind of experiment results in a wolf-duck? I suppose "wizard experiments" is a more likely justification than the other option: a mama owl and papa bear who love each other very much, and likely get really drunk.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Comic - First Base

***I dig me some Fairy Tales. Or Faerie Tales as the cool kids say. These were always a little tricky to pull off in D&D. The heroes are seldom pre-pubescent children who rely on their wits to survive, and cunning plans usually get dismissed in favour of sudden violence. There's just less wonder in D&D and fantasy in general.The monsters also tend to be a little less subtle and a little more overt threats. If a dire wolf wants to kill Little Redshirt Riding Hood it won't dash over to grandma's house first and engage in a little non-judgemental cross-dressing. Instead, B.B. Wolf will eat the little nameless NPC then pop over to grandmas for a dessert. Then kill the woodsman because he's just a minion with Expert levels. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Comic - Racist

***D&D has always had sub-races. They went away for a short time during 4th Edition but seem to be making a comeback. Many people don't like subraces as they clutter the game with multiple confusing different types of elves and dwarves. I ran a group through the original Dragonlance modules once and after a year of play no one at the table could keep the Qualinesti and Kagonesti straight or remember what was different about the Silvanesti. Personally, as I was introduced to D&D through the Dragonlance novels and Lord of the Rings, I have a fondness for different types of elves. Legolas is just a different type of elf from Elrond. They do very different things.That said... in editions with subraces there tended to be a heck of a lot of them. Just because the game has design space for different types of elves doesn't mean we need winged elves or snow elves or freshwater  & saltwater sea elves or desert elves or jungle elves. Let's just stick with the basics: high and grey. Oh, and wood. And maybe drow.And sea elves. Did I already say grey elves?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Comic - Rogue Skills

***I think everyone accepts the D&D skill system is a little funky. You go into a dungeon and live off of bag lunches and cave slime and inexplicably manage to get better at cooking. The entire dungeon might be some foul natural cavern crawling with mundane rats but somehow your knowledge of arcane lore increases. Practice, somewhere to train, and natural talent is irrelevant as long as you keep stabbing things. "I need to brush up on my algebra. Better go beat something to death."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Comic - Trust

One of the interesting things about 1st Edition and 2nd Edition was running around with someone in your party whose entire job description was "thief". It didn't engender trust. Not that "rogue" is all that much better. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Comic - A Beneficial Relationship

As a world builder at heart I wonder about adventuring some times. If there's any money in it from a business standpoint. If supporting an adventurer is a good investment. After all, if your town is threatened by orcs its nice to have paid a group of adventurers way while they learned the ropes and hunted goblins and kobolds. The party that TPKs was a bad investment but that group that makes it to epic levels really pays dividends. It's an interesting idea for a campaign hook: trying to win sponsorship and get that starting gold needed to buy that expensive armour and that masterwork sword.