Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Simple, not boring OR Matt rambles before bed....

I am merely passing along words of wisdom here. My friend +James Spahn wrote up something yesterday that eloquently says something I have felt and tried to express in the past, only he does it much better than I. Go ahead and read it, I'll wait.

The bit that hits it out of the ballpark is this little gem:

The thing that bothers me the most about this guy is the fact that he feels like he needs rules to make a unique character. A heavy armored knight and a light-footed swashbuckler can both be fighters. An arcane scholar from a magic college and a tribal witch doctor can both be wizards. The lack of rules can be a huge strength in making a unique character - but this guy just seems to see the classes as cookie cutter.
This is why I love the OSR and especially games like S&W:WhiteBox and Pits & Perils. You can say you are a fighter but then play the character as a ranger, a pirate, a barbarian, a paladin, a knight, a lord....hell, the options are limited by one tiny thing. Your IMAGINATION

Why do you feel you need a rule that allows you to do some special feat? You want to track that goblin tribe that raided the quaint little town? Ask the GM. A good GM will say "Give me a check" or "Explain to me what you are doing" or even "Sure, you can follow them, are you going alone?" A bad GM (we have all seen them right?) will say NO, you do not have that ability, you are a fighter, not a ranger. Fuck him, go find another game.

Not convinced? 

I was chatting with James, he's a likable guy and right now the *Godfather of WhiteBox* right now, so that makes him my-favorite-guy at the moment. He says this:

I cast "Mount" in the middle of a bar brawl, which summoned a donkey for an hour. An angry Donkey in the middle of a bar brawl is a great equalizer.
Ever think of doing that? Taking a completely non-combat spell and turning it into likely the most powerful tool his party had at the moment. It might have turned the table for his group. I would certainly give him an Awesome Point for that. You see, the rules might have simply said "Summons a domestic animal for x number of hours" but James did something here, something the rules cannot teach you, and something that makes role-playing far better than video games in my book - he used his brain. His simple little wizard, helpless with his measly mount spell, was able to become a major force in this encounter because he used his brain. He did not rely on a feat or power to turn the tide of the situation. Or tell him what he could and could not do.

I can see you are still thinking about that feat you get at 3rd level, try this little bit of inspired role-playing:

Cast light on some rube warrior's sword, "I have enchanted your blade. Should you draw blood from my friends or I with that blade, the light shall flicker and burn you until your eyes burst from your skull in a tiny shower of sparks."
Where in the rules does it even suggest this? Where in the rules does it tell a GM how to handle this? It does not. Not one bit of ounce of the rules explain how to handle this. This is called CREATIVITY.

Try it. You just mind find that simple character you wrote down is a doorway to possibilities unhindered by a set of feats that tell you exactly what you can do.


  1. This is why I play illusionists. On the rare occasions that I play, I warn DMs that I have a short attention span, a strong desire to be active, and a fundamental need to see them cry.

    Distraction? Nothing says look over there like a lizard in a tutu doing a hula dance.