I like how the Mage generalizes magic. But perhaps it is too abstract?

I like how the Mage generalizes magic. But perhaps it is too abstract?

I like how the Mage generalizes magic. But perhaps it is too abstract?

Green Magic

When you use magic to enhance an ally, roll +INT. *On a 10+, they gain+2 forward or deal +4 damage with their next attack. *On a 7-9, they gain +1 forward or deal +2 damage. Additionally, choose one of the options below…

a) Your spell has unwanted side effects

b) Your spell draws unwanted attention to you

c) The casting saps your energy. Take -1 ongoing to INT until you have had time to clear your head.

Gray Magic

When you stand in defense of a person, item, or location under attack by using magic, roll +INT. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7–9, hold 2. So long as you stand in defense, when you or the thing you defend is attacked you may spend hold, 1 for 1, to choose an option:

a) Halve the attack’s effect or damage

b) Open up the attacker, giving any ally +1 forward against that attacker

c) Deal 3 damage that ignores armor to the attacker

Unlike the normal defend move, you don’t necessarily need to be near the item you are defending when using gray magic.

Both of these basically augment how basic moves work while stipulating that the user need not be anywhere near his target. I’m not sure if these are strong enough to be starter moves. That said, I’m thinking gray magic needs another option… … …

19 thoughts on “I like how the Mage generalizes magic. But perhaps it is too abstract?”

  1. Yes.

    I really like the thematic aspects of the mage but I also miss the ‘blank slate’ style of the wizard. Now that Jacob Randolph is making playbooks specifically for each foci, I thought I might try my hand at a blank slate mage.

    My baseline right now is three starter moves; Arcane Learning then choose two colors (spheres, schools, dominions) of magic from black white, blue, green, gray and red. The rest can be acquired via advancement.

  2. Burk, your issue also applies to the mage which is something folks have argued about before, if I am not mistaken.

    The trade offs for making INT a god stat; the stunned debility is quite effective, mage moves tend to draw unwanted attention or have other bad effects and HP/class damage/load is low.

    Honestly, I’m trying break down the mage’s Cast a Spell move into smaller parts that have mechanical relevance.

    As for how the magic manifests… I was under the impression that, “How exactly does your magic work?” was a standard question to stick to wizards/mages. Am I wrong?

  3. Green Magic is actually just the Aid move with a few enhancements, the two main ones being better bonuses and that the fictional positioning required is easier to obtain. The same is true for Gray Magic only with Defend. Which means, in a round about fashion, you are bashing DW’s basic moves.

    I wanted to give the mage unique access to basic moves in ways that other classes cannot. That may be boring to some (most?) people but this is my blank slate styled magic-user. So yeah, the generic is expected. Sorry. 🙁

  4. Matt Miller you are missing the point that basic moves are generic and have less specific fiction because they’re fiction generic and available to all classes. They are not meant to have a specific flavour.

    If you write class moves, they are supposed to make the class feel unique. Check the bard Arcane Art basic move for support magic that is not a just a list of mechanical bonuses.

    PS: I am not in any round about fashion bashing anything. Please avoid attributing people statement they didn’t make just because they don’t agree with you.

  5. Tim Franzke You are right. I think the features of using INT and easier fictional positioning make Green Magic a fine move.

    Paride Papadia I’m not missing the point, actually. I’m doing my best to avoid antagonistic behavior but it can’t be helped if some vehemence slips through.

    Take a look at Merciless/Bloodthirsty, Improved Weapon, Seeing Red, Scent/Taste of Blood, Iron/Steel Hide… And that is just from the fighter’s list of advanced moves. That is 8 out of 19 advanced moves dedicated specifically to just a mechanical bonus. Those have the same or less fictional goodies than Green or Gray Magic. It is my honest believe that giving the mage moves that allow him to use the basic moves in ways that other classes can’t is unique. If you don’t agree then I’m sorry you feel that way.

    It is my hope that you will eventually come to understand that some moves need not be wholly focused on the fiction to be considered useful or fun. Sure, the way DW makes the fiction important is one of the things I love the most about the game… but I also like things that are mechanically neat. I accept that this may not be a popular view but the cool thing about the world is that we have the ability to co-exist with those different from ourselves.

  6. Even when the effect is reduced to +1 forward/+2 damage for a hit…? That makes it pretty similar to Aid only with the option for boosting damage, using INT and giving more opportunities for fictional positioning.

    Can you explain to me why Green Magic is overpowered?

  7. I agreed with you on removing the +2 forward. I reduced it to “+1 forward or +2 damage forward”.

    Technically, the move is weak compared to arcane art because the bard gets a lot more options to choose from and a few of them are stronger than +2 damage.

  8. Matt Miller yes, your examples are advanced moves. The advanced moves are supposed to improve the class, not to give it the main flavour. Your moves as written give the class just mechanical bonuses, activated by a vague “use magic”. It can be used all the time, and has an effect that’s good in basically any occasion.

    This is overpowered and doesn’t create fictional effects. That makes the move a bad one.

    Just to make it more in line with the bard’s power and give flavour (my on the fly take on green, yours could be completely different).

    When you use green magic to help an ally, you can:

    grow vegetation to entangle one enemy. the enemy is held on the spot until manages to get free.

    call upon a swarm of insects to confuse and blind the enemy. your ally gets + 1 forward until the swarm is dispersed.

    call upon the fey to help transport your ally magically trough the battlefield. Your ally can blink around the battlefield until the fey are sent away with iron, magic, or anything appropriate.

    call upon the spirit of the wolf to make your ally stronger. the ally gets +1d4 to damage until the spirit of the wolf stays.

    Then, roll+INT…. etc.

    There is a theme, fiction, is quite useful in many occasions, can be expanded upon with other moves, it’s not always a + something to rolls and damage. And it helps define what green magic is about in fiction.

  9. I understand what you are saying. And what you are saying is good in many ways… but it doesn’t fit what I’m trying to do here.

    This should highlight what I am talking about…

    Mage: “My friend is about to clash with that brute? I want to help him deal some damage with magic!”

    GM: “So, you are using green magic to enhance, right? What does that mean, exactly?”

    Mage: “Oh, well… these shining thorns entangle the bad guy and when my friend’s sword cuts them in twain, they explode with a silvery light.”

    Thus the mage is a blank slate upon which the player has free reign to create his personal magical style.

    Also, you guys are right that the bard fulfills the support role pretty well. I may just use arcane art as a starting point and alter it a bit.

  10. In that case, you could just make a list of effects for each colour of magic, without a description. One of the thing I always did when playing AD&D, was that all Wizard had their own signature Magic Missile (colour, shape, sound effects), fireball, etc.

  11. Matt Miller I’m not trying to be cruel but have you considered that what you’re trying to do here may not actually be a good idea? These moves are just the basic moves but unambiguously better. You pretty much have to include fictional effects with moves because fictional effects are more significant than mechanical effects in this system. The fiction and the mechanics are perfectly intertwined – you can’t have one without the other.

    A magic missile of fire is completely different to a magic missile of ice. Even if they both do 2d4 damage, fire and ice do completely different things to the world. If you remove all limits from what you can narrate for your fiction, one of two things will happen – either you’ll be able to do far too much because you can narrate anything or the fiction will have to stop mattering because you’re too powerful otherwise. Blank slates just don’t work in a game so reliant on the fiction. I think the best you could do is offer Mages a toolbox with which they can construct their spells, like the Channeller  from Grim World.

  12. Tim: I wish I would have backed both Grim World and Inverse World. 🙁 People keep saying cool things about them.

    Paride: Yeah, that would be cool. Have the player write next to the effect how it manifests are his character.

    Burk Diggler I don’t think so. I already have the playbook nearly completed and it looks fine to me. That said, I’m still interested in feedback.

    Check it out…


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