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Tycho / on Mon, Dec 8 2014 at 10:48 am

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We received some Dungeon Master’s Guides in the mail, no doubt as a result of our tireless service to these coastal sorcerors, and spent some time perusing it.

I have a special fondness for huge tables of magic items.  When you think about how much story they got out of a single sword with Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, it’s hard to look at even the most rudimentary arrangement of items and not see them instead as algorithmic seeds from which a thousand different stories might be told.  I have cautioned him in the past about items like The Deck of Many Things, not because of its cards necessarily but because there’s no way to yoke it once its out.  It can be fun to have a curve thrown at you, and seeing what those cards mean in your campaign is cool, like messing with The Tarot in game.  I think the dice system in the new Star Wars game plays with chance in neat ways that won’t split the seam of a campaign, too.  But I’ve also seen campaigns where the Deck Of Many Things becomes the Dungeon Master, when that’s supposed to be your job.  I don’t know if there’s a Deck Of Maybe Just A Couple Things that could fill in, or what.  Just a couple neutered cards that primarily determine where the party goes to lunch.

There’s a pretty long tradition, though, of goofypants items that go somewhat beyond the Sword +1 in these books.  Gonzo shit.  The one we talk about in today’s strip isn’t even that weird, I don’t think, but it’s of a piece with highly specialized implements that are vital for very specific campaigns.  I was about to say “ha, ha” imagine if this ended up on Athas, and how useless that would be, but then I thought about what a profound discovery such a thing would actually represent; it is hard evidence, essentially, of a radically different planet peopled (and apparently “fished”) by radically different…  people.  And fish.  Now I’m thinking about it really hard and it is taking up the cycles I use to form speech.

Now I want to run that game.  Hmm.

(CW)TB out.

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