When I first got into Dungeon World, I was really excited to check out what cool magic slingin’ classes were…

When I first got into Dungeon World, I was really excited to check out what cool magic slingin’ classes were…

When I first got into Dungeon World, I was really excited to check out what cool magic slingin’ classes were available – but honestly, the Wizard never appealed to me, and the Mage (as Jacob Randolph himself has noted) is too open-ended. This lead me to create my own magic-user playbook – the Spellcaster! My goal was to capture all the most archetypal aspects of wizards and mages in one simple playbook.

I’d appreciate any and all comments and criticism that you guys can offer. Thanks!

31 thoughts on “When I first got into Dungeon World, I was really excited to check out what cool magic slingin’ classes were…”

  1. Just for trivia, here’s the notes I took on what I wanted to see from the class:

    Schools of magic (Black, Gray, White)

    Detect Magic (Elf, Dwarf racial move)

    Arrogance (human racial move, Irreverent, Forever Lasting)

    ‘Gandalf’ing – assembling questers (first bond)

    Mentoring (last bond, Know-It-All)

    Blood magic (First option for White Magic, Blood Magic, Always a Cost, Massacre Magic)

    Smart (Know-It-All, Logical, Highly Logical)

    Equivalent exchange (Ritual, Sacrifice, Draw from Within)

    Enchanting items (Ritual)

    “Wish” spell (Ritual)

    “Wizard’s Tower” (Imbue with Power)

    Supercharged spell (Phenomenal Cosmic Power)

    Sympathetic magic (Sympathetic Link)

  2. I like it, but I feel that the starting moves are very…. weak compared to every other class. Heal and harm should really be d8s (see: paladin healing, mage black magic), rather than d6s, and only being able to do one magic style, while flavourful, and great for having the acquisition of a new style later, doesn’t offer many options to a starting character. 

  3. I like that there’s no spell list, but i think the consequences for action should be weighty, stylized and less concrete. Compare Druid’s (<3) Elemental Mastery. 

    I also think style should be ‘where does this power come from’. These changes would provide more story opportunities.

  4. Second the motion that the starting moves are a bit underpowered. I would probably bump them to d8 and remove the extra die add from the first tier advance. I would probably also give ritual as a starting move. And instead of having true colors listed as an advance, you could just stipulate in the starting move that you can choose another school as an advance. But overall it looks really good. 

  5. Rodney, Joachim: Thank you!

    Jarrah James: I was going for flexibility over power level, but on second glance, 1d8 is probably fine. I’d love to hear some other opinions that people have, that’d be super appreciated.

    Limiting people to one magical style and color was intentional – even within something seemingly narrow (like “the Dragon”) there’s a lot of flexibility in terms of concept and of application. The Dragon can be rage; flight; fire; destruction; endurance; claws; instinct; wealth – and so on…

    By limiting people to one magical school and color, I wanted to encourage them to think of how to solve problems with what they chose. For instance, Gray Magic is super great for utility, but you’ll find yourself having to take advantage of environmental factors, and constructing clever solutions, rather than just being able to attack your opponent outright. Meanwhile, Black Magic is great in combat, but not so good for building a bridge, or powering up your allies.

    I originally had a third 6-10 advanced move that allowed you to take the third color of magic, and acquire a third style. If other people share your concerns about limitations, I’d be glad to put it back in.

    Mike Pureka: Exactly so. I personally really dislike spell lists, since it makes magic feel so formulaic.The Spellcaster was inspired by the more freeform and conceptual kinds of magic-users you see in a lot of fiction.

    Tony Scinta: I agree, those are indeed way cooler and more open-ended drawbacks, and are pretty inspiring. I’ll see what I can do.

    “Where does this power come from” is your Focus, the metaphysical concept you derive power from. However, if you meant like, your superpower origin? I’m not sure where I’d fit that in…

    Thank you all so much, for every compliment and criticism. I have a good feeling that the Spellcaster 2.0 is going to be infinitely better thanks to you guys. (:

  6. Marshall: You posted while I was posting the other one, sorry about that!

    Alright, I’ll bump them up to 1d8 then. I  indeed originally just had the note “You may take another color of magic as an Advance when you level up”, but I wanted the Advance to also be able to give you another Style, so I felt it best to place that in its own separate move to make it clear. Also, the wording was ambiguous as to whether you could end up with a max of 2, or all three. Making it its own separate move fixed that.

    Making Ritual a starting move would indeed be very cool, but I just don’t have the space on the first page for any more starting moves. 😛

    What “extra die add” are you talking about? I don’t see any first tier Advance that gives more die.

  7. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx04XXNOi9Y_SXVaSHVWWERPUDg

    This version has a few changes, but they are mostly slight.

    1.) Some options for all of the spells have been a bit altered, on suggestion of Tony Scinta. I tried to make a few of them more open-ended for interpretation. I’m trying to keep the same ideas, while making them more flexible. If anyone has any suggestions for more flexible versions of these options, I’d love to hear them.

    2.) I’ve fiddled with dice. White Magic now heals 1d8, and gives +1d4 forward, just like Bard’s “Arcane Art”. Black Magic now deals 1d8 damage.

  8. Could you tell us a bit more about why you consider Jacob Randolph’s Mage was too open-ended? Gray Magic is a pretty open-ended move. How were you trying to differentiate yourself?

  9. Peter: “Cast a Spell” can be used to solve anything as long as it doesn’t inflict pain. That’s what it says – “When you cast a spell to solve a problem”. Literally, any kind of problem (unless it qualifies as Black Magic).

    By splitting Cast a Spell into three ‘schools’ – enhancing, changing, and destroying – I was hoping to encourage the Spellcaster to see problems within the narrow scope of their color of magic. Fighting a Troll is interesting when you can only enhance or restore; crossing a chasm is a puzzle when you can only destroy or harm; and so on.

    My intent with “Gray Magic” was for it to be used for enchantment, disenchantment, transmutation, and transformation. However, as worded currently, I can totally see how it is open-ended – “reshape the world” is kinda ambiguous. I’ll see what I can do about that. (:

  10. It sounds like you should tweak Gray Magic for those specific purposes. “Reshape reality” is very ambiguous, and so open-ended that it can dip into White and Black territory too easily. What stops Gray Magic from enchanting a person to make them super strong (bonus damage), or by dealing damage by dropping a roof over their enemies heads, or by summoning a demon to do anything they want?

  11. Well, “enhancing, restoring, or making whole” is White Magic – and “destroying or inflicting harm” is Black Magic. If your intent is to do either of those things, it isn’t Gray Magic anymore. I was hoping that’d be enough of a limitation, but you’re right, it’s very open-ended as is even with those ‘limitations’.

    How does this look:

    “Whenever you cast a spell to enchant, transform, or manipulate…”

    Still kinda open-ended, but much less so.

    I have also replaced the “You leave obvious traces of your involvement” with “The effect you desire does not wholly come to pass”. The former one didn’t scale well to bigger and more powerful spells – the latter seems like it will make for more interesting and dramatic moments. Now, each option is a lot more flexible of a value for the GM to balance with – if you try to play god, the GM can punish you severely for it.

  12. Here’s another question for all: Inspired by the Channeler in Grim World (which someone advised me to check out), I’ve thought of adjusting Black Magic so that, instead of stating “If you are dealing damage, deal 1d8 damage”, it instead has the two tags that the Channeler has – Projectile (1d6 damage if Near) and Blast (1d8 damage if Close).

    This seem like a good idea? 

  13. It still feels too broad to me.  While, yes, literary spellcasters tend to be fairly spontaneous, the more interesting ones are more limited as well. 

  14. Yeah, I agree. It’s very difficult to find a good balance between spell-list restrictiveness (IMO) and freeform ‘do-anything-you-want!’. 

    If you have any suggestions on how to make better limitations while still remaining simple and freeform, I’d really like to hear them. It’s something I’ve been puzzling with myself.

  15. Well, you could shamelessly poach from Ars Magica and give the player a choice of… 4? 3? Things that he can either do or affect with magic.  The Ars Magica list is a little long but definition comprehensive.  The different things you can ‘do’ are Create/Destroy/Change/Control/Learn About and the things you can affect are Animals/People/Plants/Earth/Air/Wind/Fire/Images/The Mind/Power.  You can probably strip that down a bit, and you should shed the idea that you need BOTH the thing you are doing and the thing you are affecting, but having a list like:

    Create/Destroy/Enhance or Heal/Plants and Animals/People/”Monsters”/Earth/Air/Fire/Water and letting people choose… I dunno, one “action” and two “areas” and let them do anything that is either their action or in one of their areas. So if I picked “Creating”, “Fire” and “Monsters” I could… create whatever I wanted (I could summon a bridge, but not make the bridge disappear) and do whatever I want with Fire or Monsters (Put out fires, control monsters, whatever).

    Or something.  This should probably have some sort of POWER restriction/limiter something on it, but it’s one way to ‘segment’ magic.

  16. Hey everyone, I have an open question – after some incredible changes to the sheet (that I will share with you all shortly!), I have made room for TWO more starting moves for the Spellcaster. One of them is the Ritual, but the other is up in the air! If you have any suggestions for a new starting move, I’d love to hear them!

  17. I like this better, but the layout comes out sortof weird, since there are a bunch of advanced moves that are magic-color specific, but you ALSO list one “specific” advanced move per magic color, and I don’t know why, say Destroyer is different from Blood Magic except for the fact that it is WAY BETTER.

    Actually, I think that’s a problem. Destroyer/Innovator/Rescuer aren’t CHOICES.  They’re WAY better than any other move you might pick at level 2, and I think that’s a problem.

  18. Any suggestions on how to balance them out, then? Should I automatically grant them at certain levels, or just weaken them a bit?

    I listed those in their own sections because they add tags to the tag list, and keeping all the tags on one page made sense. That’s all.

  19. Since you were so kind to help me with my class, I decided I’d return the favor!

    First off, I really like your flavor, especially for Elf. I really enjoy your Styles section. I might steal something similar in the future.

    At first I disliked having to select only one magic type, but I saw there was an advanced move to get another. That might workout: I might play test this one. Maybe Grey magic should also include something about changing creatures and people, too? Full on transmutation/alteration?

    I feel as though regret might be a strong word choice for missing. If I really regret what happens on a miss I might start to resent the ability.

    Love the flavor in Black Magic, All are One, Irreverent.

    Forever Lasting seems a little op, imo. Can’t ever be changed ever again? Does that mean someone can’t shovel there?

    Very interesting and styled playbook! Thanks.

  20. Trevor Cashmore I agree that the damage dice and healing dice for spells should be d8s. In addition, making Ritual a starting move would make a lot of sense.

    That would be a fun start, but still exclusive for a while.

  21. Billy Barnes You should check out the latest version, a lot has changed! Including having damage be d8s, and Ritual as a starting move. (: It’s the comment by me two comments above yours (“I got a suggestion…”)

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