Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Point – Counterpoint: Magic Is too Common

Viri the Bard of Valiant has started a new series, Point – Counterpoint.  Her first article takes the position that Magic Is too Common.  My own veiwpoint is that the commonality or non-commonality of magic should be dependent on the setting and characters played.

Viri points out that in the D&D supplement Waterdeep, magic became so commonplace that it was sold in shops.  That objection has merit if your character is a human thief.  However, if you are playing in a Harry Potter-like setting, having magic available in shops that are only accessible by magical folks is completely reasonable.

I will agree with Viri, that the proliferation of magic makes it seems less “magical”.  I watch the PITs playing Kingdom Hearts and I shudder to think of Donald Duck and Goofy as being magic users.  My boys play in the online Pirates of the Caribbean game and again there are too many magical items available (that is my own opinion based on watching them play).  The proliferation of magic in RPGs is a metaphorical arms race, “Mr. GM, why does her elf get a +3 bow of purity?  My Gnome needs something at least that good.”

The way I and my fellow GM, Bill (he runs the weekly AD&D game) handle this is first make sure magical items are rewards by the PC’s deity, meaning that item CAN be taken away by that deity.  Helping the deity’s agenda in unique way gains assistance.  Hindering the deity’s agenda will have repercussions.

The second thing we do in any game we run is to determine if magic is even in the universe in question.  In our Stargate game there is no magic, all “magic” is technological.  In Necessary Evil, yes there is magic but it is rare.  In our D&D games we follow the LOTR/CoN guidelines, there is magic but in needs to enhance game play for role-playing sake, not because it’s COOL.

The solution to common place magic is squarely in the hands of the GM.  However it is incumbant on the GM to remember that is his/her job to find the balance between fun for their players and avoiding a Magical Arms Race.

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Legacy D&D, News, Reviews and Culture, Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , | 6 Comments

NPCs and plot hooks from your favorite TV show.

cartoon_tv_lampI’m fascinated about the creativity and productivity shown by fellow bloggers that I read on a regular basis.  My own creative spark works best when I’m riffing on someone else’s bright idea.  So, when Uncle Bear recently posted about being inspired by one of my favorite shows, Ghost Hunters that got my brain working.  This team of average people (the lead guys are plumbers for Roto Rooter) investigate the paranormal by looking to disprove the evidence.  Uncle Bear did a bang up job of deconstructing this show for mining as NPCs.

This got me thinking, what other shows could be mined for NPCs or plot hooks?

Drama shows are easy, especially if you’re playing a game around the setting of the drama or wanting to incorporate that setting into your current game.  Need a doctor? stat out House or Private Practice.  Need a lawyer? stat out Boston Legal.  Need a cop/law enforcement? stat out The Shield or any one of the CSI shows.

Comedies are good fodder as well.  If you’re in need of a bumbling repairman who thinks he’s better than everyone else at fixing things, stat out Tim “the Toolman” Taylor from Home Improvement.

Reality shows can provide good plot hooks.  Dancing with the Stars; your PCs have crashed the ball in search of clues for their quest and unless they can dance better than the society regulars there, they’ll be found out.  Survivor; an evil wizard has spirited the PCs off to an island along with the direct counter-parts to your PCs group.  Only by working together can the PCs escape but can they convince the other team to help or will your PCs sabotage their efforts.  Wife Swap; your PCs suddenly find their (insert class here) is suddenly switched out with a completely different character, how will they react?

Upcoming articles for Gaming in the Universe of…
Ghost Hunters

Savage World stats for Mike Rowe and Tim “The Toolman” Taylor

mike-rowe-dirty-jobsName: Mike Rowe Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Guts d8, Knowledge (Filthy Working Conditions) d10, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Repair d8, Streetwise d8, Survival d10, Throwing d6
Charisma: 2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Code of Honor, Heroic, Overconfident
Edges: Jack-of-All-Trades, Charismatic, McGyver

tim-taylorName: Tim “The Toolman” Taylor Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Guts d8, Knowledge (Tools) d10, Knowledge (Classic Automobiles) d10, Notice d6, Repair d4, Streetwise d8, Survival d10
Charisma: 2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  All Thumbs, Bad Luck, Clueless
Edges: Charismatic, McGyver

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, Plot Hooks from..., RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments