Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Higher Class

I was asked why yesterday that I had been dead set against 'sage abilities' for fighters, but that my plans now included them.  I felt I should expand on that idea, and explain that my plans now include sage abilities for every class.  The word 'sage,' then, has ceased to mean an old man with plenty of time for reading books; it has become a convenient word for 'knowledge skills inherent in classes.'

Since beginning to work on the proposed system, with interruptions, I've come to realize just how many disconnects there are in the existence of things in the world vs. the magic that the game includes.  How did gelatinous cubes come into existence?  How are wands made?  Does a D&D world even have geology in the sense of fossils, tectonic plates and traditional volcanism?  If you have made a world with volcanoes, how do they work?  Has your world existed for billions of years, or did the gods make your world with volcanoes just so they could spout off once in awhile?  Do they spout when the gods say so?

For many, the answers are a matter of simple hand-waving.  But for some, who have an intense and abiding interest in such things, hand-waving is not enough.  I have been fascinated with tectonics since I was a young boy, having been well aware of the controversy in 1972 when subduction and continental drift were all the rage.  I was only 8, but I gobbled up books on geography like candy because I thought of the subject as the most wonderful thing!  Thus was the basis laid for my infatuation with mapmaking.

Fuck gaming.  Continental drift, volcanism, earthquakes and the like are incredible wonders - and where the reader talks of 'magic,' I point to such real manifestations of nature, complete with the rational formation underlying them, as every bit the value of any magic any gamer can pop from their skulls.  I shall never understand why laziness in waving something aside is allowed to take the place of the profound delight gained from knowing things and fitting those known things into the game universe.

I don't want my world to have volcanoes that don't act like volcanoes.  If there will be volcanoes, they will damn well function like volcanoes do, and the gods themselves shall tremble when half the mountain falls away and drifts ash upon a quarter of the world.

Which means that if druids know about the world, not all of that information will come from the gods.

Thus is the game a science, not the silly stories given to children to shut them up.  Thus all the various elements of the game must be hammered into that science - even though that is hard.  I don't care how hard it is. Great things are hard.  Passion is hard.  People who claim that things ought to be easy, for the sake of 'fun' or some other infantile pleasure, fail to see the intensity gained in accomplishment.  They have never screamed in delight and felt empowered like the gods, because they have done something amazing.

These poor, sad little furtive people and their fun.  We must pity them.

So yes, there are reasons to give sage abilities to other classes, to cover things that cannot be covered by spellcasters.  I'll confess, for fighters I am thinking of things like 'leadership,' the governing of men, the power to draw men towards oneself through prowess and ability, rather than charisma.  Find, if you can, a reference to Ulysses S. Grant's charisma - and then compare that to the number of references to his ability, his perseverance, his will or his energy.  There is more to leadership than being 'liked.'

I am thinking about logistics, though right now I have no idea how to apply that.  That will take more thought. What of naval combat?   What of the management of civilians?  What of keeping peace?  Or training men, particularly youth and civilians who have never participated in war before?  Are these things not also part of the fighter, and are they not ignored by the game as it stands?

We think so small.  We think extra shots with a bow or extra damage or more proficiencies or better binding of wounds.  Some of those things are important, and I will probably address them, but there are immense things as well, particularly in the management of fighting, that have for so long been ignored.

People are liking the druid studies, and that's great.  But having reconciled myself to changing the face of the fighter and other classes, I admit that I can't wait to finish the druid and start the next class!


Ozymandias said...

Do you see much crossover of sage abilities taking place between classes?

Logistics management during wartime operations is a fighter talent. But what other warrior classes (to use an AD&D term) might have that talent? The paladin, perhaps. Barbarians? (I forget whether you use barbarians...) What about rangers? Probably indirectly, as in they can provide information about the countryside (and how best to manuever through it).

But what of thieves? I can see them having a logistics management ability that's more about general economics or running a business (legal or otherwise).

So many amazing possibilities...

Alexis Smolensk said...

I actually covered that eons ago.

My character background table allows the possibility of anyone with sufficient wisdom being allowed to cross-train into anyone's sage list. It isn't common, but it does mean that a given cleric or thief might develop leadership skills or anything else I'm bound to post.

Stuart Lloyd said...

"I shall never understand why laziness in waving something aside is allowed to take the place of the profound delight gained from knowing things and fitting those known things into the game universe."

I loved this quote. It applies to real life too, and reminded me of the flavour text from the Barrin Magic the Gathering Card:

"Knowledge is no more expensive than ignorance and at least as satisfying."