Magic Monday – opening thoughts

So my current “fantasy heartbreaker” is YAOSC. As a grad student with a baby, I don’t have time to do more than take it out and putter around with it a little every now and then. But recently* this post at Necropraxis got me mulling things over again. For a long time I’ve only had vague ideas about how the YAOSC magic system would work. I just felt that Vancian magic (D&D style) didn’t really put me in my happy place. Well, now’s as good a time as any to get things ironed out. I’ve gotten myself into the habit of putting up new content here, with my Japanese-study posts, and the nice thing about working out the details of a magic system is that writing up individual spells can be a non-demanding way to produce a lot of content. So we’re going to have a try at Magic Mondays, because alliteration that’s why.

A brief refresher: YAOSC (Yet Another Old School Clone) is my tongue-in-cheek working title for a fantasy tabletop role-playing adventure game. It riffs off of my experiences playing, DMing, and reading about D&D in all its incarnations, and is heavily inspired by what I read on various OSR blogs. Some notable characteristics are:

  • I want a set of rules that starts out simple, for beginners, but which can be unfolded by various player choices to include more options, i.e. more complexity. (Magic use will probably end up being one of those complexity-unfolding options. C’est la vie.)
  • Characters are structured around a class-and-level system, but the impact of class and level are de-emphasized.
  • Most of what you do will be centered around a robust skill system. This includes combat, which in standard D&D is largely divorced from whatever skill systems a given edition or version may use for non-martial activities.
  • Skill checks use different dice types. Results below a target number (your skill level) are successes. (So if you have a skill of 3, an easy check using a d4 has a 75% chance of success; a moderate check using a d8 has a 37.5% chance.) Gaining levels, and various in-game activities, grant you skill points.
  • There are three “survival meters” that reflect a character’s resilience in the face of harm, fatigue, and mental strain. These can function as a resource to be spent on activities… such as powering magic.
  • There are going to be multiple ways to access magic. The most powerful and versatile of them will generally be limited to the magic “class,” but these limitations can be built into the way spells work rather than being a matter of fiat.

That’s the spiel. Tune in next time, when I actually try to work out specific mechanics for how I’m thinking spellcasting will work.

*(When “recent” includes a post that’s a month and a half old, that gives you an idea of the pace at which I’m approaching this stuff.)

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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