The Philosophy of Magic: Games

Remember, we're playing a game. It's important to draw a connection between the fantasy of the game world and our real world if only because it's the experience of our players. We want to leverage that experience and familiarity to make our jobs a little easier. In the end, we want our systems and references to... Continue Reading →


The Philosophy of Magic: Schools

Given that cultural progression, in social developments and technology, come about both within the isolated sphere of a given culture and as a direct result of exposure to other cultures (through exploration, trade and conquest), it's difficult to say which of the eight classic schools of magic came first. Obviously there's a connection between the... Continue Reading →

The Philosophy of Magic: First Principles

What is magic? I figured before I continue the thread started with my last post, I should answer some basic questions. Magic, as a term for the supernatural, is often associated with things that are unexplained. In literature, magic is a convention for the storyteller to communicate something fantastic. Good stories will have a structure... Continue Reading →

On the hierarchy of illusion magic

If the reader will recall, I wrote before about the need to categorize magic according to principles drawn from modern observations and scientific understanding. A counter-argument came to me that I want to explore. We might argue that the literature ~ in fantasy fiction, mostly, but also in RPG products ~ doesn't support this approach. Further,... Continue Reading →

On the cursed magic item

Seems that WordPress ate my original post on the identify spell. Not quite sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, meh . . . just a bunch of words and it was one of my earlier posts, so it's not like there's anything too significant in it. On the other hand, it had a great... Continue Reading →

On the baseline for mental health

I was going to hold off on a post about dominate and mental control magic, being that I'm still working through my spell lists, but I came across a forum thread that put forth an interesting notion: what does it take to produce extreme mental trauma? EDIT: The rule concerning Morale was originally written incorrectly.... Continue Reading →

Rewards: Toys

Of all the sins of all the editions ~ and there have been many ~ I think the worst is probably 3rd Edition's implied magic item economy. For those unfamiliar, AD&D had guidelines in the DMG (or maybe it was a supplement; I can't remember, honestly, but I know I saw it somewhere) for making... Continue Reading →

Memory Charm

Malcolm Gladwell has a podcast titled Revisionist History. It's an examination of "something misunderstood or overlooked." Like most of Gladwell's work, it's worth its weight in gold. If you haven't heard of it before now, you need to take a moment and listen. I recommend starting with the episode about McDonald's French fries. I recently... Continue Reading →

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