Monday, January 7, 2013

Missing the point

Always missing the point:

How is "fire and forget" remotely believable when I can slot and ready more than one "copy" of a spell?
So, you can buy into fireball spells, dragons, levels, hit points, and a ton of other game-related concepts, but Vancian Magic is where you draw the line? Seriously? The question isn't, "I think Vancian Magic sucks, how can I fix it?" Plenty of people thought the same thing when D&D was initially released. Have you ever seen another RPG before? No, the question is requesting an explanation as to why anyone could ever accept Vancian Magic as believable because it's possible to memorize more than one fireball spell at a time.


When I read all those Dying Earth stories, a couple years ago, long after playing rpgs for eons, it finally clicked in my head as to why D&D handles spells in the manner in which it does. Okay, that's cool and I like it and whatever because I've moved from merely playing games to trying to understand their raison d'ĂȘtre. But D&D is a game and that's how shit worked in the game, and fuck you if it doesn't make any sense, you're just an idiot. It's perfectly valid to say you don't like it, to change it, play something else, however you want to approach the issue. But the notion that it's unbelievable? What. It's a fucking GAME. Further, it's based on stories that pretty much handle spells the same exact way. Go ahead and tell Jack Vance his spell-casting system doesn't make any sense. You're allowed. I'm sure  he'd enjoy spending his last days alive trying to justify a system of magic in his stories within the context of your capacity of comprehension.

"Hit points aren't a remotely believable representation of wounds." So what? Are you sure about that, anyway? Ask any medical doctor to explain how bullets affect the human body and if he gives an answer other than "getting shot is bad" he's a fucking hack. No one knows. We have no idea how wounds operate in real life, so how the hell would we know about how magic works in a hypothetical D&D world?


I have no problem with people who want to create logical reasons for why things are done a certain way in games. It's sort of like being interested in how warp power works in Star Trek; just a nerdy pursuit that helps you enjoy the show more. But at a point the Star Trek nerd is either going to swallow pseudoscience and accept it so he can watch the show and have fun, or bitch about it ad nauseum and be a pedantic fuck. If you think I'm being hypocritical given my recent review of that dreadful Hobbit movie, my gripe was how much it deviated from the story, not about how hobbits shouldn't even exist or elves couldn't possibly be resistant to diseases for thousands of years because eventually a super virus would mutate an affect them. D&D magic works how it works because that's how it works. Requesting information on how it works is fine, but stating it defies belief? Show me how you cast spells in real life and if that D&D doesn't match up then you're right, it's unbelievable. Just go fuck yourself, please.


  1. Amen. It works because it makes an interesting in-game choice about limited resources. Oh shit what spells am I going to need for this adventure?

  2. I agree. Besides, if you yearn for a "realistic" explanation for Vancian magic, it's trivial to come up with you. In fact, Vance already provides you for you.

    You lost me with the bullet analogy, though. We know quite a bit about bullet trauma and the physics behind it. Unless you mean how a particular bullet effects a particular human body.

    1. I mean specifically that there is no way to know how any particular bullet will affect any particular body. People have been killed by .22LR bullets fired from miles away and basically shrugged off high-velocity rifle rounds to the face. In rpg terms, .22LR does 1D6 damage, .338WM 5D6 damage, or whatever. Randomizing wounds and abstracting them into hit points, why not? I can fire a million bullets into ballistics gel and come up with some guidelines about lethality, for instance (.357 mag has 98% one-hit stopping power, for instance), but that has zero to do with reality. There's no way to tell how wounded a dude will get from a handgun unless you shoot him. My point about the doctors was simply they can't predict the future better than anyone else, they can only say, "Yeah, that bullet wound sucks", after the fact.

  3. you think I'm being hypocritical given my recent review of that dreadful Hobbit movie

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