When you spend 36 of the last 48 hours working on a new playbook, roll+CON and hand the thing over.

When you spend 36 of the last 48 hours working on a new playbook, roll+CON and hand the thing over.

When you spend 36 of the last 48 hours working on a new playbook, roll+CON and hand the thing over.

Meet the Arcane Warrior playbook, compatible with regular DW. My table really likes the minimalist playbooks, and so when I set out to create my own spellblade type character, I sought to ape that look — but then I saw things I wanted to add or change, so this was born.

It’s hardly perfect, but with some tweaks I may even be compelled to do the other base classes. Eventually. Print it out, fold in half, and staple together into a four page booklet — it’s cute and fits right in your hand.

As for the class itself, I probably won’t have a chance to give it a test drive until after the holidays — but what does everybody think? I wanted a spellblade type character who felt like they were really dabbling more in the arcane, with more chances for uncertainty. The others I’ve seen (and, admittedly, borrowed from) were mechanically oriented, and bordered on overpowered.

The result is something that feels like a cross between Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis and Dragon Age Inquisition’s Vivienne. Which I’m digging, but I’m biased. And exhausted.

I purposefully chose against multiclass moves because I wanted this class to feel like they were really dabbling in their own version of the arcane arts — and because I didn’t want them outshining core classes (so they can’t hit as hard as a fighter nor cast as powerfully as a mage, but their moves still allow plenty of customization and versatility).



14 thoughts on “When you spend 36 of the last 48 hours working on a new playbook, roll+CON and hand the thing over.”

  1. First of all, your language is great. Concise but thorough. Great font as well.

    I really like the Never Give You Up move. It’s a bit odd because I wouldn’t expect this playbook to have a teleportation ability, but the idea behind the move is cool.

    Also, all the advanced, or master moves, seem to be WIS-based. Was this the intent? It lacks a bit of diversification.

    For this warrior/arcana type of class, I don’t know if I would include healing others. Healing yourself, sure, but I don’t recall many mage classes being able to heal others (or even themselves).

  2. Really neat. I love how open and fiction-first the magic is. Very flexible, and potentially very useful in a clever player’s hands.

    A couple comments on the moves…

    Soulbound When you are in clear possession of it, your bloodbound weapon will warn you of danger before it comes to pass or tell you something only it can know.” You’re mixing an ongoing effect (it will warn of you of danger) and a one-time thing (tell you something only it can know). I’m not sure how to resolve that as a player or a GM.

    Wither The wording is… awkward. The name (“Wither”) seems at odds with the description (continuing to channel destructive magical energy).

    Maybe something more like Conduit: When you use Arcana Touch during a fight, your attacks deal +1d6 damage from a magical element of your choice. This lasts until you stop fighting.”

    Arcane Blast: I think you’re better off leaving the miss result undefined. There’s so much room for hard GM moves with that one.

    Wisper: Misspelled? (Whisper not Wisper, unless that’s intentional). Also, its not clear if the the “They can ” is on the 7-9 result only, or applies to both 7-9 and 10+.

  3. Thanks for the comments, folks! Great advice.

    Damian Jankowski , the teleportation move is funny because two of the other spellblade playbooks I really like (Spellsword and Swordmage) both have magical weapons that return to the user’s hand, ala Mjolnir, and can be upgraded to teleport to. I figured it must be a holdover from D&D or something — and I’ve always been a sucker for teleportation. Between that and playing a lot of FFXV lately, it was an easy pick.

    I wanted a WIS-based magic person, so yes, that was intentional. But you’re right — a player would literally have no reason not to pump Wisdom, so that’s removed a choice — and that’s a no-no. Perhaps Arcane Barrier and Combat Magic, both relating to the careful study of the arcane and utilizing its effects, could be INT based. Maybe healing, too. I’m maybe tempted to make teleporting DEX based too, although I can’t quite figure out the justification — at our table it gets used more as a utility than a get-out-of-danger move.

    Lastly, healing is available to the Bard, the cleric, the paladin, as a wizard spell, and maybe even to the druid? I kept this one purposefully middling and imposed the harming yourself penalty to tie it back in to the magic. Since there’s a little bit of the knight/protector vibe, I thought it fit, and it spoke to the idea of diversity — the arcane warrior can’t outshine dedicated healers, casters, or fighters, but they can do a little bit of everything, without having to use multiclass.

    This character is a warrior, yes, but they use positioning and leverage to fight, not raw strength or advanced combat prowess. They manipulate the world, and their place in battle, to ensure victory, and to deny defeat.

  4. Jeremy Strandberg Thanks! With Soulbound, I think I agree. The warning of danger bit is boring, and it’s the thief’s thing anyway. I’ll drop it, and flesh out the second part. Maybe, “When you ask it about a person, place, or thing, it will tell you a secret only it can know.” Like the heart in Dishonored. “He worries about his daughter’s cough, so he goes to the brothel to forget. But sometimes he tries too hard to forget… The last one was younger than the daughter he concerns himself with…”

    Good call on Wither. Originally it was going to be about making enemies susceptible to magic, so that they took more damage from magical attacks (they take +1d6 damage any time they take magical damage), but however I had it felt like a mouthful, so when I changed it I left the original name. Which do you think is better? Dealing extra damage as a conduit, or weakening foes to magical damage?

    Good call on Arcane Blast. “On a 6-, for whatever reason, the arcane forces refuse.”

    Lastly, yes, it was meant to be Wisper, as in, you’re summoning wisps — but that’s esoteric as crap. Nobody’s going to get it. I’ll adjust.

    Thanks! I really appreciate all the advice.

  5. couple of comments, both complimentary and constructive:

    • I love the layout, it even includes thebasic and special moves!

    • Bloodbound and Channeling are so awesome! they function essentially like the Fighter’s Sig Wep, but unique enough to be their own thing!

    • I have always loved the vagueness of the Mage’s spellcasting, so i’m so glad you carried that over into this class! You even kept the 6- result!

    • For Foe Seeker, i personally wouldn’t give them a +1 to the roll, and instead make it so they can’t have less than +1. If it’s just a flat buff, it could get kinda insane if they choose a Precise weapon and make their DEX maxed out.

    • Might and Magic is kinda confusing. Do they take +1 to follow a melee attack with magic? or do they take +1 to a melee attack if they follow it with magic?

    • Never Give You Up is great (and i love the Rickroll reference), but i would add to the 6- something about the location where you and your weapon ending up not being the same place, just for the flavor.

    • Reflect, given that it requires Deflect, should (in my mind at least) be a 6-10 move. Also, i would make it a requirement of 12+. I suppose you could keep it as 2-5 but bump it up to 12+, then make a Replaces move in 6-10 that knocks it down to a 10+.

    • Chirurgist implies that you can choose how much damage you can take on a 7-9.

    • Arcane Barrier is great.

    • I love the renaming of 6-10 moves as “Master Moves”, that’s really clever.

    • Wither seems to require having an ongoing Arcane Touch going, but Arcane Touch itself implies that it’s an instantaneous and one-time effect.

    • Dispel is great, but you might want to look at the above comment about Reflect, and maybe have them choose one or the other.

    • Whisper (that’s a typo on your sheet btw) is fantastic. It’s what Elemental Mastery should be.

    • I love incorporating the background into the starting gear.

    I hope all of these help, and i look forward to seeing what you put out in the future, as this is already fantastic.

  6. Brian Reynolds 

    Re: Soulbound: cool, but it’s unclear to me what would fall under the auspices of “a secret only it could know.” Like, to me, the only things that would fall under that are, like, the exact number of crystals that make up the steel of your bonded shortsword, How would the spirit in my sword know anything about the inner heart of the old man I’m looking at?

    Re: Wither, I think a conduit is cleaner and easier. I’d go with that.

    Re: Arcane Blast, I honestly think you should just leave the 6- result off completely. That’s what most moves do. And it means “GM, make as hard of a move as you like, following your principles.”

  7. Here’s a new version! I changed some of the moves and adjusted formatting. I put some more flavor in arcane sight, and solidified “the arcana” as spirits, eldritch forces, and energies — that let me invoke them in, for example, the Soulbound move, and how they could know things outside the sword.

    Additionally, I cut reflect — what you could accomplish with it was close to what you got with dispel, which I kept. I also adjusted wither to conduit, which is just an automatic thing (basically, a damage boost) with some nifty trigger clauses.


  8. The Arcane Warrior has been updated to version 2! After incorporating some very valuable feedback, I’d like to present a slightly streamlined version: arcane barrier is way less fiddly and crunchy, and some other moves have been adjusted to be easier on the gm as well as more open. I’m feeling pretty confident that this’ll be the final version I decide to live with, barring any tiny tweaks.

    Of course, playtesting could throw that all out the window, we’ll see.

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