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Showing posts from February, 2019

Ars Arcana Blog 2.5: Levelling Encounters

Ars Arcana Blog 2.5 Travis Joseph Rodgers Levelling Encounters
You’re planning a scenario for a new party, but you’re not sure of their precise capabilities. You don’t want them to be able to walk through every encounter without fear, but you also don’t want them to die before they have a chance to explore the scenario you’ve plotted. You need help levelling encounters.
The advice contained herein comes with a few important caveats, but if you observe the caveats, you can tailor and tweak encounters to give the precise feel and flavor you and your players are striving for. First, this approach works best with games that use levels, but it can apply well to games without levels, too. It just takes another step. Second, levels might not scale exactly similarly in different games. Still, that doesn’t mean that helpful guidelines cannot be constructed. Third, parties and players are individuals; they may have unanticipated skills, plans, and the dice may be ever in their favor (or against i…

Ars Arcana Blog: Spell Points, Slots, and Abilities

Ars Arcana Blog 2.4: Spells: Points, Slots, and Abilities Travis Joseph Rodgers
Do spellcasters in your game use spell points, spell slots, or can they call upon spells like other abilities (like climbing, throwing, and hacking)? Here are three potential problems your magic system will have to deal with and three approaches to solving those problems, with strengths and weaknesses of each approach considered.
Part I: The Approaches These three approaches may not be exhaustive, but they do a good job of capturing the typical range of options one might see in an RPG. They are differentiated by the frequency one can cast and the relative customizability of the power of a “readied” spell.
Spell Points (SP) Pool of points. Each spell has a cost. More points for more powerful spells. Systems: MERP, Role Master. E.g., Merlin and Magic Martha both cast “flame bolt” spell. Merlin easily pumps a dozen spell points into it, making it devastate his opponents. Martha fumbles through it, doesn’t have ma…