Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Four Things

Almost a regular posting schedule again?  Preposterous!

Four things recently caught my attention.

This post from Fuck Yeah Dungeons and Dragons puts forth the proposition that one of an ettin's heads is smarter than the other.

Ken of Ghastria wrote a neat post about roleplaying with his daughter (specifically rpgKids and Marvel Heroic RPG) and parlaying it into the oft-discussed question, "Is table-top gaming dying?"  (A couple of years back, Ken made a post arguing that it is not.  I'm inclined to agree, but then again, I started playing fewer video games so that I could play more RPGs, so what do I know?)

rushputin informed me of this RPG.net thread in which the author constructs a phylogenetic tree of D&D monsters.  Having toyed with the idea myself (Baron Hook has attempted a taxonomic study of Hereticwerks monsters on the Sorrowfell Plains, while Rockulon Prime traces all life back to the Space-God), I naturally found this to be an interesting study.

Finally, this other post from Fuck Yeah Dungeons and Dragons details the so-called Muscle Wizard for D&D 3.5.  This is one of those game-breaking concepts one always hears about, but I rather enjoy it because (1) it's sufficiently weird and quirky and (2) it's a highly tenuous state.  To make a long story short, this posits playing an Illumian, a human subrace with strange, inherent magical abilities.  One such possible trait is the ability to make Strength the ability score for determining bonus spells rather than a mental ability.  While one can easily use spells to boost one's Strength, this character relies on becoming infected with Festering Anger so that she gains daily bonuses to Strength.  To offset the slow wasting of Festering Anger, the build also proposes becoming a Cancer Mage.  While considered to be a munchkin tactic, I rather like the concept as a PC or NPC character because the large selection of spells comes with very significant drawbacks: (1) the Muscle Wizard is covered with boils and pustules, generally resembling a plague victim; (2) the heights of power dreamed by most powergamers is a long way off — it takes a year of persistent anger to get infected with the disease, and adding bonus spells is similarly a matter of waiting; and (3) the Muscle Wizard is now vulnerable to spells such as remove disease, which will instantly strip her of her excess magical power (and now deal damage, too).  Astute observers might also note that "persistent anger" and "a year or more's worth of patience" seem diametrically opposed; I assume the daily Will save to avoid going berserk would be negated by the Cancer Mage's disease host ability, but it's still a thing for roleplaying.  It's not easy being an angry, nasty, pock-marked gutter magus.

I'm sure I'll have to include a Muscle Wizard as an NPC in some future game.

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