Sunday, 30 September 2012

Nowt as Queer as Folk Magic

There are two things ye must
know about the wise woman
Stray observation on the issue of why there is no folk magic system in AD&D: since magic does not exist one can invent any magic system for a game or book without worry and then that will simply be how magic works by fiat.

But once you try to add a second way for magic to work in the same setting you need to make them work together. For example, you need to explain why practitioners would not flock to the best one, where by "practitioners" I mean "PCs" and by "best" I mean "the one that kills monsters best".

This is pretty tricky unless you make all the changes purely cosmetic (which can be a let down for players when they realise that there is no "actual" difference) or you proceed with great care.

In AD&D, the standard system covers such a wide range of power from 1st level spells to 9th level ones that it's hard to find anywhere to fit a completely different magic system and if one did it would require a class to go with it, which also has to balance with the existing classes.

In other words: it's a total pain in the neck to have more than one magic system in AD&D and I think this is particularly the case for anything that resembles a folk-tradition with simple amulets, charms, potions, and other typical "wise woman" style magics - why would anyone bother playing such a character when they could play a normal magic user or cleric?


  1. I would go along with that, but I should add that I am fine with the idea of "rituals".

  2. why play such a character (besides role play, a straw man argument)?

    Faster/easier advancement. That wouldn't work in d20, but it's the strength of earlier D&D classes. "Balance" is an overall thing, not a level by level (or XP by XP)mandate.

    And to be honest, it's not difficult to make a more puissant version of a MU at L1. The hedge wizard, wise woman, ect, could be better by comparison at low levels, weaker at high, as another option.

    AD&D's magic system (well, 1e's anyway) is NOTHING to brag or write home about. One could muck with it or delete it wholesale & likely have little trouble doing a better job with even a small effort. I'm not dissing Vancian magic systems, but the actual spells & spells/memorised themselves.