Sunday, January 29, 2012

D and D Class Design Seminar Special: Rarity

Ok maybe a little Magic in D & D is ok
I am working on a post for tomorrow about the use of rituals past, future and especially, present, but I am also following the D and D XP Seminar on class design and I feel the need to respond to one of the bits they just released and a reaction I saw from @deadorcs on twitter. I want to be very clear that I am not accusing Wizards of the Coast from turning D and D into Magic the Gathering. I am also still kind of excited about D and D next, but I was very concerned when they said that they were considering making some classes common, some uncommon, and some rare. I know Wizards isn't trying to magicify... magictate... magic... they aren't turning Dungeons and Dragons into Magic the Gathering. I think the wording is perhaps just unfortunate.

What really bothered me though was a reaction I saw on Twitter. More on this later.  At first I wasn't pleased with the idea. Both because of the inevitable comparison to Magic, and because broadly I think the idea might be a good one in general, it is not something I want to see coded into the game. The idea actually fits much better as a module perhaps even one associated with campaign settings. That is I think it would be ok to have Wizards in Forgotten Realms be common, while sorcerers are uncommon and warlocks are rare. What I don't want is that idea coded into the core.

No, you can't play a warlock in my game Scott.
As a DM I wouldn't mind the book giving me some ideas for how to detail class rarity, but maybe I want Wizards to be rare and warlocks to be a dime a dozen.  As a player I want to be able to play the character I want to play without undue hassle. So when @deadorcs suggested that in his campaign he was going to want a truly awesome backstory if one of his players wanted to play a rare class. I have no problem limiting myself for a theme game, such as this one. But one of the things I liked about 4e was that everything was core. I hated when I bought a book to play the cool new class, that my DM would say no we are limiting things to core.

It really bothered me Wizards introduced magic item rarity into the game with Essentials. If magic items are a player resource, which they had been from the beginning of 4e then they should stay a player resource. If you want them to be a DM resource that's fine, but the rest of the game needs to support that. I happen to like having them as a player resource, again because so many times I "needed" a magic item which my DM wouldn't let me have. On the other hand,  I have enjoyed the mystery of discovering cool new magic items that comes along with them being a DM resource. My main concern is that if anything in the game is a player resource it should be class. Let's keep the core big and inclusive so I don't have to work harder than the swing a sword fighter just to get to the table. Until next time remember don't let your DM tell you no. It's always, "Yes and...?"

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