Arcane Art Discussion Part 1 – Observations on the trigger
When you weave a performance into a basic spell, choose an ally and an effect:
Heal 1d8 damage
+1d4 forward to damage
Their mind is shaken clear of one enchantment
The next time someone successfully assists the target with aid, they get +2 instead of +1
Then roll+Cha. ✴On a 10+, the ally gets the selected effect. ✴On a 7-9, your spell still works, but you draw unwanted attention or your magic reverberates to other targets affecting them as well, GM’s choice.
If we look carefully at the trigger then a few things become clear.
1. The performance does not have to be music. A performance can be a lot of different things. Of course the choice of an instrument in the gear section wants to lead you into this direction but there is no reason to be bound to that. You could easily use this move by dancing (think maybe 1001 nights dance of the 7 veils or whirling dervishes) or painting (drawing little things in ink that come to live and effect the world). You could do for longer time perfomances like knitting but you would kind of limit yourself in the utility of the move. Keep those things in mind if you pick up the Ritual Move. Weaving fates is a common trope in multiple mythologies.
2. The performances don’t all have to be the same thing. If you define the effects you can choose as specific songs or actions you enrich the game play and have more interesting choices. For example my Elf Bard uses elven song magic. When gives out extra damage he binds his voice to the allies weapon, giving it extra sound force when it hits. That he can do pretty fast. Healing someone takes a longer time since he has to sing the whole song of healing. Its not really possible for him to do that during combat. Clearing an enchantement can be done either quite fast (when the effect is limited or weak) or takes quite a long time if the magic is strong (think Cinderella sleep). By doing this you have a clear trigger and clear action that the effect is related to. So don’t only describe your bard starting to play her lute but say what kind of song it is and how the magic is created from it. This leads me to
3. You turn your performance into a spell. It is a magical effect. You don’t only inspire people by your actions, you are creating MAGIC. When you have a bard in the game then Music 8or other performances) literally ARE magic. So as a GM ask questions about this. Is this true for everyone in the Dungeon World or a specific bardic ability. Where did the bard learn her craft? Is she the only one that can create magical effects like this?
As a player it also allows you to create extra visual effects or magical undertones to your character. In one game Christopher Weeks played a Bard that used throatsinging to vibrate reality and change some part of it. It was not really healing but changing the events so that the spear didn’t hit as deep.
This might answer the question of why the bard starts playing her lute while everyone else gets ready for combat. Its not only silly froliking around. Its magic with a tangible effect. This is baked into the bard class.
Am i wrong in these observations? What are your feelings on the trigger conditions? Anything i missed?