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 →

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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 →

Magic on the Battlefield: Grease

One of the things I love about digging into spells is that it brings up all sorts of interesting questions about rules that I might not have clear answers for. For example, if you use the grease spell against a charging horse, how much damage should the animal and/or rider take from the fall? I figure... Continue Reading →

Magic on the Battlefield: Color Spray

Since spell range is such a critical element when discussing this topic, I feel it's equally necessary that we establish some standards concerning the movement and actions of battlefield units. First, we'll look at foot soldiers. Infantry units may be armed with swords, daggers, spears, and sometimes pikes or halberds. Other weapons are possible but... Continue Reading →

Reworking Magic

I've been working over the spells in AD&D, tweaking them for my game, and I keep finding myself drawn a simple yet devilishly complex problem. Simple because it's easy to look at the list of spells and say, "Well that doesn't make sense." Complex because the solutions I keep leaning to are . . .... Continue Reading →

Identify III

We've established that magic item identification should be possible through simple observation. This rule applies to constant items, those with "always on" powers or abilities. What of other items, those that require deliberate action to use? Let's start with the rules from 3rd Edition for magic item activation. I've found that, for all its faults,... Continue Reading →

Identify II

I realized, after writing my first thoughts on the identify spell, that I hadn't really defined the rule for item identification through mundane means. In order to define a spell ~ to provide carefully considered and well-written rules for a power that changes the way things work ~ you have to first know how things work... Continue Reading →

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