Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Problem of Fiddling with the Magic System

As I have noted, I really want the magic in Athanor to feel more like magic in pulp stories. However, I have come to realize after years of play and my experiences with D&D Third Edition that playing with the magic rules in D&D (or a simulacrum game) can really go wrong rather quickly.

The original rules, after all, have a balance of infrequent magic use with very powerful effects. Once you start making magic more frequent (like in Third Edition), then spells that made sense before start to seem less sensible. Magic-using characters begin to be capable of doing things better than almost anyone else, and their spells will be completely reliable. This gets worse if you also add in easy-to-make scrolls and wands and the like. In the end, Third Edition's magic rules suffered from one major flaw: it didn't change enough, and it didn't keep enough the same.

Frankly, I don't want to come up with a new magic system. At that point, I might as well as pick a different rule set. So how to fiddle with things for mood while keeping things essential the same? I'm pretty sure the idea is playing with fluff while leaving the rules intact.