... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Buffs Redux

I may have stirred up a hornet's nest with the post about buffs, but here I go again, coming at you with a giant stick. My underlying objection to buffs, of course, ties into the post about my distrust of system. Although many of the buff spells are also dissociated, try for a moment not to think about whether the spell is connected to an in-game explanation, but instead about where the spell puts the focus: on the game system, or the world the game describes. That's why I'm OK with, for example, a girdle of giant strength, or boots of speed/seven league boots. Those are items that actually shows up in the fairy tales and legends that became incorporated into the implied setting of D&D; they exist in the game because people writing stuff for the game thought of those fairy tales and asked, "How could we include that in the game? What would be the rules?" In contrast, the buff spells seem to exist because someone thought, "We need a way to add a bonus to this kind of roll."

It's also why magic swords get a temporary pass, but I'll be trashing them in a later post. And Bless, too. Don't think I've forgotten about that.

Now, there's also the issue with the extreme duration of the buff spells. The 2nd level Strength spell, in many ways, looks much better than using 4th level Polymorph Self to become an ogre. It last almost eight times longer and doesn't carry any of the downsides of actually being an ogre (reaction of NPCs, unable to fit in some openings.) I'd rather have a buff spell that worked more like the AD&D spell Jump, with a duration based on a number of actions. Instead of a Strength spell, maybe a generalized "Borrow Gift" spell, which allows you to borrow one physical ability of one creature for one action (lasting up to 5 minutes,) plus one extra action per three levels. You need to either touch the creature you want to borrow from, or have ingredients taken from the creature you want to borrow from, and it can't be an ability that requires an organ or limb you don't have (no flight, no water breathing... there are already spells for these.)

1 comment:

  1. Buffs are really the realm of the cleric, not the magic-user, who should be far more flashy and fine than that.