Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blowing the Top Off Spells

It is a damn sad fact of life that swilling caffeine can lead to a vicious cycle. Here I am, 12:13 in the morning, boiling milk bottles while the wife rumbles around upstairs (why isn't SHE gettting some sleep?) because I've been drinking coffee all day, having got precious little sleep LAST night...and I have to get up for work at 5:30am.


This one goes out to all you late night bloggers and blog readers. I just want to let you know, I'm Blowing the Top Off Spells. F--k it. I don't care anymore. Y'all can crucify me if you want.

Here's what I mean...I wrote before that I think I missed an opportunity with my B/X Companion spell lists. I played it too safe. After all, who says Magic-User spells have to go to 9th level and Clerics have to go to 7th? Why not have both go to 8th? Or 12th for that matter? I mean, if I was writing "the-supplement-that-never-was," doesn't that kind of leave things wide open?

Well, I was mostly satisfied with how things shook out anyway. After all, magic-users get nothing besides their spells and clerics are just paladins with the edges filed off (i.e. they don't need spells to go beyond 7th...or even 6th or 5th probably).

But I ain't missing the opportunity with the new supplement. There are three spell-casting classes that will be in it (that is, MAJOR spell-casting classes, like clerics and magic-users), and I am going to SHAKE IT UP, baby. No more of this same-old-same-old. No more of this "memorize spells in the morning" B.S. and "our spell lists all go to 7th level" crap.

No more, says I! Why? Why must everything follow the same goddamn formula? Clerics work different from magic-users...why must druids follow their pattern? Why must illusionists follow the pattern of wizards? Why?!

Laziness. Pure and simple. I mean, it IS already knows how clerics work. Kick aside their "turning ability," throw in some shapechange and weapon restrictions, re-vamp the spell-list a bit and voila! A "new" class is born. The damn illusionist is even more of a dud...just a cheaper magic-user with fewer spells.

LA-Z-NESS, says I...and I'm not standing for it. I'm BETTER than that. My supplement will be compatible with B/X AND the B/X Companion AND Labyrinth Lord (for the most part). It does not include ANY classes that are in the Advanced Edition Companion. If you want to re-tread Gary's World in B/X style, you're welcome to do so. This supplement will give you stuff to use IN ADDITION to that particular book.

Though not in the same way. Sorry...I only do Race As Class.

But you will get 14 new character classes (including one new "demi-human;" no, not gnomes, orcs, or dragon-people). Three of the human classes are spell-casters, each with a different "style" of magic. Three of the other human classes have some (fairly limited and specific) spell ability. None of them step on the toes of the archetypal classes: fighters still fight, thieves still steal, etc. There's no particular attention paid to "game balance."

All of 'em are completed in their write-ups, apart from the spells.

But the spell LISTS are two-thirds complete, and the final one should be fairly easy since I now know how I intend to do it. THAT one was tough, let me tell you...but I wanted to make sure it had some balance. You know, I LIKE spell lists that can select spells with a random toss of the dice; for example the B/X magic-user's 12 spells per spell level (D12) or the B/X cleric's 8 spells per spell level (D8).

This last list has 20 spells per spell level (D20), and it has 10 spell levels. As I said, I'm blowing the top off this f***er.

Don't worry, the wizard is still going to shine in the spell-slinging arena...none of these classes are particularly "slingy." But they ARE least reading over 'em and thinking of the possibilities, I like what I see. I am doing my rigid best not to include any class that I wouldn't want to play myself.

But so many cool classes, and so little time...

Ah, well. This is what a game like D&D can do that a video game (like a certain MMORPG) canNOT do. I can write-up in hours a dozen classes that will provide months or years of entertainment...vids take years of programming to provide a dozen classes that provide hours of entertainment. And that entertainment doesn't generally consist of much more than fetching and killing.

Screw that noise.

So yeah...276 spells all told going in the new book. Many, of course, are re-treads of existing B/X spells (Dispel Evil, for example), some are repeats of B/X Companion spells (Call Down Bane Lord) or variations. And some are just completely Summon Elemental Ruler and Enlightenment.

And those latter two spells are from the SHORT spell lists.

All right, the coffee's (finally) starting to wear off. Time to get some sleep before I wake up and start quaffing it again. Cheers!


  1. 5 AM and I'm taking a study break. I really like this post. This is some of the cool innovation stuff that I think is really exciting. I don't have your companion but this supplement sounds like it is going to be really good.

  2. Bring it on JB. Drink more coffee and get it all written up by tomorrow night!

  3. yes, do. Everyone got eaten by ninja ghouls in shadowrun anyway, didn't they? Just so long as I don't have to play another damn elf!

  4. Given my recent ponderings on illusion, I'm all ears.

  5. @ IG: You aren't playing an elf now!

    OH, mean in the D&D game. Hmmm...

    @ Badger: Sorry, nope. I don't do pre-orders.