In most campaign settings magic items are made on purpose. There’s some blacksmith that forges a sword with great skill that is then infused with magic by a wizard. Sometimes they are created by the gods themselves. Evil items may be the work of evil wizards, dark gods, demons et cetera.
Recently I thought about different ways to introduce magic items into the games. In an Earthdawn game I played in many years ago, I played a weapon smith that had lost his wife and baby son in a raid on his home village. He was away at the time and when he came back, he found his family murdered. So he took one of the swords he had been working on and finished it. He worked all day and night and forged his grief, desperation, anger and hate into that weapon and went out to avenge his family. He single-handedly killed the raiders and from this day on the weapon acquired some magical properties.
It was a great (perhaps a bit clichéd) story but it served its purpose. This sword was not “just another magic item” but it was my character’s grief and anger forged into steel. Alas I hadn’t have the chance to play this character for long but the GM and I intended to make the sword more powerful over time, it was supposed to get better along with the character itself.
In my opinion I should use magic items of that kind more often, provided it fits into the campaign setting. Throwing just another longsword +1 or mighty shortbow +2 at the party starts to get boring fast and all the sense of wonder becomes lost. In most campaigns magic items are just more flashy versions of the standard equipment.
Two things are important to make magic item more memorable: First they have to mean something to a player character. Even the most interesting magic item is just another thing in his backpack when it’s not relating to him. Make it a family heirloom, or something like that, to give the item and player a connection. The second thing you have to keep in mind is that the stronger the character gets the better items he needs. That’s at least true in game systems like D&D. So the item has to grow with the character. Instead of giving the player a better item, let the one he already owns evolve. Finding out more about the item could even be an entire adventure. And the reward is the activation of another power.
“Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire” is a new comedy series from Comedy Central and it looks sweet. Obviously the pilot will be on the air tonight.
I really hope they will air this show in Germany, too. But I fear I will have to wait for a DVD release or until someone puts it on YouTube or something… *sigh*
Over at the WEG Fan Forums Eric Gibson, the owner of West End Games, has posted an update on OpenD6. For your convenience, I want to quote his post here:
Moving forward, OpenD6 is ACTIVE. By that I mean the the system is now open as previously discussed. I have yet to publish the actual SRD for the D6 System, but that is coming. For the record, all of the text copyrights to the 51000 series of books is cover by OpenD6 and will be released as part of the evolving OpenD6 SRD.
The 51000 series of books include:
51005 The D6 System: The Customization Roleplaying Game (a.k.a. the D6 Cookbook)
51011 D6 Adventure
51012 D6 Space
51013 D6 Fantasy
51015 D6 Fantasy Creatures
51016 D6 Adventure Locations
51017 D6 Space Ships
51019 D6 Gamemaster Screen and Aid
51020 D6 Fantasy Locations
51021 D6 Adventure Creatures
51022 D6 Space Aliens I
51024 D6 Vade Mecum of Magic
The previous is all released under the OGL v1.0a. Per that license, I’m designating the D6 System, and OpenD6 and any derivative trademark as Product Identity (PI) meaning it is not open under the OGL. Rather, the trademarks to the D6 System will be subject to a separate System Trademark License (STL). I still need to put together the exact wording of the STL, however the skinny will simply be, to use the D6 System and OpenD6 trademarks, you have to submit any newly developed share-alike OpenD6 material (non- PI) to me, or ultimately to the OpenD6 website (when it is finally working fully) for archival. There are not other content restrictions. Simply put, whatever you were going to release as open under OpenD6′s OGL, should be archived in a single central location and that location is OpenD6.com.
Ultimately, someone will ask if the Legend System (D6 legend) is covered under this license. Yes, it is. However Legend system was never produced in a purely generic form and I cannot as easily indicate what may and may not be used. Legend is, for all intents and purposes, merely a variation of the basic D6 System and, since the OpenD6 OGL allows you to create variations, Legend is naturally covered. Putting the Legend system into the OGL is another matter however. It is very time consuming to create text for the OGL and naturally my focus must be on creating commercial material that we have in the works for GenCon. To that end, any assistance anymore wishes to provide in creating the text is a easily dissected or dissectable format either for Legend, or D6 will be appreciated.
As most know, OpenD6.com’s back end system is being actively worked on by a passionate and underpaid developer. Though still much more has to be done on this ambitious project, a lot of progress has been made. The database is set up (though recent discussions have suggested changes are needing to be made regarding rules classifications, requisites while will ultimately determine how the server processes the rulebook designs) and is able to take data and the Workstation (the interface that you enter and edit rules data) is nearing completion. the OpenD6 workstation not supports images as well as text. This is useful for rules that require charts, maps, or other graphic features for full functionality, is simply if a developer wishes to include flavor art.
The website will now dynamically generate PDFs of individual selected rulests which is the first step in possibly the most ambitious part of OpenD6 — fully customized rulebooks.
I really, really interested in OpenD6 and I hope it will be a great success not only for Eric but for the whole RPG community. I can still remember the outburst of creativity when the d20 System was released under the OGL. I hope the same thing will happen with D6. It’s a great system and it would be a shame if it would be lost to history. But with OpenD6 it has a chance to live through a renaissance!
I have to admit I have been struggling with this post for quite some time now. Sometimes it is hard to find the right words. Especially when you don’t want it to sound silly.
I am pretty sure that you’ll probably already have heard that shortly after 11pm on April 7th, Dave Arneson passed away. Dave Arneson was one of the pioneers of our hobby, the co-creator of D&D. And he’ll be dearly missed, by his family, his friends and millions of gamers who enjoy the games he helped to create.
Good bye, Professor Arneson, you’ll be missed!
Just a few minutes ago I noticed that my post about Wizards pulling the plug on PDFs was actually the 200th post I made on this blog. When I started this blog last year I never thought I would reach this mark in such a short amount of time. And this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my fellow bloggers from the RPG Bloggers Network. Thanks again to all of you! We have achieved a lot during the last months together and I am very happy being a part of this community. Now let’s have a look back on some of the posts I published since I reached the 100 post mark back in January:
- Wizards of the Coast stops all PDF sales
That was really a post to rule them all. Eventually someone posted the news about the so-called “PDFgate” at Slashdot and linked back to my post. In mere hours several thousand people came to this blog. And I hope a few will come back after the dust has settled.
- Review: Open Game Table
Another very recent post, but it’s representative of a lot of posts I made about the OGT. I can’t stop to mention how great this book is and if you haven’t bought it, you should do now. A lot of hard work and dedication went into this RPG blog anthology, so every gamer should get a copy. Thanks again to Jonathan Jacobs and all the assistant editors, artists, judges and contributors!
Did I mention it’s only $22.95 and available here or here. GET YOUR COPY NOW!
- Gender bender – or why I don’t like when men try to play women in roleplaying games
The most controversial post I’ve published in recent times. Sometimes I am a bit naive and I really didn’t believe this topic would be as controversial as it turned out to be. But I was wrong. So, if you are tough enough, put on your flame-proof underwear and check out the posts comments.
- Old-school renaissance
Old-school games were a great topic recently and in that particular post I asked my readers to help me understand what makes a game “old-school” or “new-school”. It’s an interesting read and gives some insights on the old-school phenomenon!
- Legal Information
In early March I finally added some Legal Information to my site. A lot of other bloggers have done this before, especially when there was some controversy about whether a blogger owns the comments made on his blog or not. Thanks again to Berin Kinsman for letting me use parts of his copyright notice and adapt it to my site. I am not good when it comes to legalese!
- Gary Gygax, I never knew thee
Perhaps my most emotional post so far. That said I remember that Dave Arneson passed away today. May he rest in peace. My best wishes go to his family.
- Dungeonslayers: The deed is done!
Another pet project of mine was the translation of the free, old-fashioned roleplaying game Dungeonslayers from German to English. As the one, who has almost single-handedly translated the whole thing I am very proud of what we have accomplished. And from what I’ve heard there is already a French and Italian version in the works based on our English translation. I never would have guessed …
- Creative Commons
Since January this blog was released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. And I haven’t had any regrets about this decision yet.
And following the tradition I started in my “A look back on 100 posts!” post, I will now give you some stats:
- Total number of posts: 205 (including this one)
- Total number of approved comments: 756
- Number of (unique) visits: 25.241
- Active WordPress plugins: 24
- Technorati authority: 28
- Google Page Rank: 3
- Cups of coffee consumed by me during the writing of that post: 0 (damn, I need another coffee)
- Word count of this post: 663
Woah, that was some pretty long post! I hope you’re still with me. So, what are your thoughts on the last 100 posts?
It seems someone has posted a link to my post “Wizards of the Coast stops all PDF sales” on Slashdot! And I am experiencing a lot of incoming traffic. Until now my host’s servers are still working fine, but if you experience some slowdowns you know what happened.
To all Slashdotters: Welcome at the Stargazer’s World! Have a look around and feel free to check out my other posts! And if you like what you see, tell your friends about me.
Update: It seems this blog has had more pageviews today than in the whole month of February. I have to admit that’s a bit creepy!