V1.2, Updated 12/9/2014

V1.2, Updated 12/9/2014

V1.2, Updated 12/9/2014

1.2 Changelog:

~Added a version number.

~Changed Weave Magic to be based on CHA rather than INT.

~Added a note saying that you can Weave Magic into moves that don’t require a roll, by rolling +CHA. 

~Branched the offensive uses of Weave Magic into their own move, Fightomancy (name change pending; I just didn’t want to call it Black Magic because… well, just because, really).

~As part of that branching, changed the wording of Fightomancy to let it apply to offensive moves other than Hack and Slash and Volley (because heck yes, I want to encourage magical Backstabbing and Called Shots)

~Moved Counterspell to the 6-10 list; turning magic back on itself seemed too strong for 2-5.

~Merged the “extra tag” moves into Battle Mage and War Mage. Not sure if those effects all together are too much or not; mostly I’m concerned that the increase in damage will push it over the line. Would appreciate feedback on this point.

~Added a new move to the 2-5 list: Familiar, a slightly-modified version of Animal Companion.

~Added races and alignments.

~Went over the document and removed instances of “Taboo” and other no-longer-used vocabulary. Hopefully I got everything.

~Added a short guide at the end to address some potential stumbling points about how the class works.


At this point, do we maybe need a new category for Class Warfare specialties? Anyway, this is my attempt at taking a lot of inspiration from the Mage and rewriting it to (hopefully) remove the problems I have with the class. And I did so as a Class Warfare specialty instead of a new class because, well, it’s a new thing that I’m in love with and frankly it was a lot less work that way. Might or might not beef it out into a full playbook at some point, we’ll see.

Would be keen to receive some feedback, as this is a first draft and there are a few things I’m not entirely sure about–exact choices for Weave Magic and Counterspell in particular. I could see the argument for it being CHA-based rather than INT-based as well, given the obvious roots in the DnD Sorcerer. I’m also kind of split on whether the choices for Weave Magic should be minimum one as I wrote, or minimum none as with the other moves of this style; it kind of makes sense that sometimes you just want to use magic to allow you to do something without making the fact that it’s magic super meaningful, but I dunno. I still need race and alignment choices, too, but I wrote this all at once and I’m kinda running out of steam.

Anyway, my specific design goals were to:

a) Take the idea of the Mage’s Focus and make it a little more flexible. I worry that this specific implementation might be a little too open-ended to the point of diffusing the theme a bit, but I’m keen to hear what you guys think.

b) Maintain the idea of spontaneous spellcasting, but do away with the “one move all the time” problem. When I played the Mage, it always bugged me that I would be, say, rolling Cast a Spell to make myself run faster, when what was really important was that I was Defying Danger by acting fast; the magic seemed like it should be more of a narrative tag on the character rather than a catch-all move, if that makes sense.

I was thinking on ways of adding magical effects into the basic moves, but was struggling to figure out how to make the casting stat stay relevant. When I got Class Warfare and saw Like a Shadow and Blessed, with their “Add +STAT choices as a risk-reward modification” thing, boom, there was the answer. So thanks, Johnstone Metzger! 🙂

14 thoughts on “V1.2, Updated 12/9/2014”

  1. I haven’t tried out the “when you roll for a move, say what is true” type of moves but that was exactly the idea I had too for such a class. The restrictions you put on it are also a good limiting factor. 

    Need to think about the rest some more. 

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Tim. Will be interested to hear your further thoughts on it, if you come back to it; you seem to think things through pretty thoroughly.

  3. I really want to see how this style of move works in actual play. That said, I have two concerns.

    The first is how this move would work in relation to other specialties. I can’t quite see how it compliments or enhances the other specialities.

    The second is, as written, it seems to me that this move only enhances existing moves, it doesn’t allow the mage to do things beyond the scope of normal moves. How do you use it to, say… throw a fireball?

  4. James Etheridge, initial impressions:

     – I really like the core of this; I think it would be fun and creatively challenging to play.

     – Agree with Peter Johansen’s concern about how it would interact with the other specialties. I’d be inclined to make it a core class.

     – I like what you’re trying to do with Laws of Magic, but…

         1) it’s confusing, both in wording and formatting

         2) you’re misusing the word “taboo.” (A taboo is a behavior that is forbidden, but the nature of taboos is to be broken. You’re using it as a immutable limitation.) 

    I’d recommend dropping the “tag” associated with your theme (the theme works well enough on its own as a tag).

    I’d move the discussion of H&S and Volley stuff into Weave Magic or make it a seperate move. Just say it can H&S at close or hand range and volley at close.  Use advanced moves to extend that, or maybe make extended ranges a choice you can pick on Weave Magic.

    In Laws of Magic, I’d make them pick both 1 Ends and the Means, but I wouldn’t call them that.  I’d also format it as a picklist, with an “other” choice.  Like “Pick one type of desire your magic can never fullfil:

     [] Creating from nothing

     [] Healing others

     [] Harming others

     [] Avoiding conflict

     [] Decieving others

     [] ______

    Peter Johansen, I think your 2nd concern would be covered if the Weave Magic move said something like this? “When you work magic, tell us what it looks like.  When you work magic to peform another move… [rest of the move].”

  5. Thanks for the feedback, guys! I’ve updated the document a bit, taking your suggestions into account.

    Peter Johansen, I can see what you mean about interaction with other specialties. I think it does complement/enhance a decent amount in that Weave Magic can be applied to any other specialty’s moves as well as the basic moves, but I realize I’ve committed the minor offense of writing a specialty which only has a single move and enhancements to that single move. I’ll think on what else the specialty could do outside of weaving magic to help it mesh a little better with other classes; the answer might just be to make it a class instead of a specialty.

    I think the basic moves have a lot of flexibility and can cover most any situation you can think of, if you bear in mind that what’s important isn’t necessarily what you’re doing so much as what you’re trying to accomplish with what you’re doing. That said, you’re at least right that it doesn’t cover things like cantrips which aren’t fictionally important enough to activate a move. I think Jeremy’s solution is a good one, so that’s what I’ve gone with for now.

    Jeremy Strandberg, definitely needs a formatting pass, I agree. And I see what you mean about “taboo”; they can be broken with the associated punishments later on, thanks to Dangerous Forbidden Magic, but the word isn’t really important to the feel of the class so I’ll drop it.

    I’ll think on whether or not to drop the tag(s). My reasoning for it is that there are some tags with concrete mechanical effects (or even just specifically-defined narrative effects), and I want players to be able to include those in their magic, but I feel like they should have to pay for them in some way, the same as everyone else has to. “Well of course this spell is [Piercing / Messy / Precise / +1 Armor]; it’s magic!” just doesn’t sit well with me.

    I’ve taken your advice and moved H&S / Volley to Weave Magic. Not sure I’m entirely happy with how it looks that way, I’ll have to mull it over. I might move it back to where it was when all’s said and done. I originally was going to have them as a separate move, but I decided against it. For one, I don’t think there’s enough going on with those special cases to merit it, and I like things staying unified; the Mage’s weird separation of damaging and non-damaging magic is one thing I didn’t like about it. For another, I don’t want multiclassing warrior-style characters to feel like they have to pick up two moves if they want to do things with magic besides dealing damage (e.g., defending, defying danger, magically breaking bars and lifting gates). In the end, I might just make it a separate move anyway if I can’t find a nice format and add in the standard “If you take move X, you also get moves Y and Z” notice. I also took your advice and moved the extra ranges into Battle Mage and War Mage.

    I really like the pick list with a blank as one of the options. Heckuva lot better for quick-starting. I’ve reformatted the move in that fashion, though I’m sticking with the original name for Ends and Means, at least until/unless I think of or hear something I like better. I feel like Desires would be a good and evocative replacement for the former, but I can’t think of anything for Means that has that same level of meat to it.

    Not liking how much space Laws of Magic takes up now; the tag and theme probably don’t need to be a pick list, really. I dunno, I’ll give it another pass later.

    Edit: Glances up. Apparently I’m just fond of walls of text, which probably explains it turning out that way.

  6. Social Justice Commander Shepard, That’s a very different mechanical implementation, but I think it’s coming from the same spirit. There are some things that I really like (Arcane Bond in particular, Thaumaturgy is a nice way of doing Ritual in a more concretely defined fashion), and some things that I don’t (Still having bad consequences on a 10+, a few too many choices for on-the-fly spellcraft). The way you unlock effects through advanced moves is a nice way of expanding your repertoire while still remaining fairly organic. I’d be interested to see how the class has changed; I like most of it, even if I don’t like some of the core bits.

  7. I definitely reworked the “bad stuff can happen on 10+”, I didn’t even realize it was still in that version.

    But, I think you might also mean the weave a spell versus evocation moves, yes?

    The intent (which I am still trying to word effectively) is that when you weave a spell you are only creating it, like an alchemist creates a potion, you’re not actually using it yet and thus not rolling or spending focus for it.

    So when it asks you to choose a complication, what is being asked is “in what way can this spell potentially go spectacularly wrong?”)

    A fire spell might catch the whole building on fire, a healing spell might backfire and make injuries worse. Not that it will happen, but that it could happen.

    Cast an Evocation is where the rolling and spending focus comes in, You take one of your spells — either one created on the fly, or one you’ve come up with before and want to cast again — spend the required focus to cast it and then roll. on a 10+, nothing bad happens at all, but on a 7-9, or 6-, your complication is now a possibility, it still might not happen, but think of it like a custom made Hard Move that the GM has the option of dropping on you/the party. The built in “randomness of magic” makes it unpredictable exactly what will happen (this is the rationale behind rolling for your focus as well).

    Focus is still spent like hold (and spending extra isn’t really a “bad” thing as much as requiring extra effort.)

    I’m still working on revamping complications because I’ve been really unhappy with them thus far.

    As for the spell options:

    I went with the (verb) (target) format because it offers the most flexibility for the simplest and most efficient means of spellcraft.

    basically, you start out with only the 4 original verbs:

    Compelling, Altering, Concealing, Harming

    Every spell you would cast is then formatted like this:

    I am (Verb)ing the (Target)

    I am Compelling the lantern to float to my hand

    I am Altering the thief’s poison

    I am Concealing the campsite

    I am Harming the troll.

    and even if you choose both the advanced moves that increase your Verbs, you will still only end up with between 7-9 verbs total. With some verbs replacing older verbs.

    I like this approach the most because it makes your magic almost into a mini-move, where you — as your character — are making declarative statements about the fictional world, your magic is basically letting you be the GM for a single moment, and now reality (played by the actual GM) has to react to your meddling.

    I have cut down on the fiddly range and whatever tags, and simplified everything else. So that reduces the Weave a Spell Footprint by almost half right there.

    * Now, if you can see it, you can affect it.

    * Spells do not last long, and if a spell is going to end soon the GM may call for a Defy Danger +Arcane Bond to keep it going a little bit longer

    Oh, hello there wall-of-text! ;p

  8. Updated, subbers!

    Social Justice Commander Shepard  Ffff…. I had a longer response for you, but G+ ate it when I tried to click on Luminary Adept to review. >.<;

    Anyway… I got the divide between those two moves; as a player, though, I’m a bit averse to doing the same thing over and over, which is why I favor freeform magic over spell lists. So I’d probably be making up every spell on the fly instead of preparing them ahead of time, and that would slow the game down a lot with so many options, I think. For players who aren’t averse to a bit of prep, I think it’s great. Cutting down the footprint by a lot as you describe is also great, regardless of playstyle.

    I like the (verb)(target) format. I think I touched on this before, but unlocking new verbs as you go is a solid way of keeping things flexible while still allowing character growth, which neither my spontaneous caster nor the Mage do very well; they both feel pretty much the same at level 1 and level 10.

    I think it might help complications a lot if you took them out of the player’s hands entirely and let the GM make whatever hard move seems appropriate for the fiction at the time. That would keep magic unpredictable as you say you desire–and would keep GM privilege in the GM’s hands, which I honestly think is where it should remain. It would also cut at least one step out of the spellcrafting process, which would speed things along for players such as myself who like to make things up on the fly–especially since the complication might not come up anyway.

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