Review Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos - First Party Review

Necropolitan

Adventurer
My objection from the first moment was the concepts of wraiths.
No, you claimed Lorehaven only used artifacts.

Lorehold fight with artifacts.
Your latest (false) claim was that Lorehold spirits were weak, which I then disproved by pointing out their stats.

I'm not going to keep arguing, you've moved the goalposts every time someone proved you factually wrong.
 

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M_Natas

Hero
What about experience points?
Personally for a school setting I wouldn't find that enough, because mechanically you need to give out experience points that results in gaining a level every semester/school year or so and it is again a 100% approach - you reach the XP threshold, you got 100% or you don't and you got 0%.

Maybe the simplest subsystem for better simulation of learning and training abilities without changing 5e to much would be something like this:

Use XP. Subdivide the XP to get to.next level by 5 or 10, so you got sublevels.
Lime at 0 XP you are level 1 (10). 300 XP you are level 2.
At 30xp you are level 1 (9), at 60xp you are level 1 (8) until you are at 300xp, which is level 1 (0) = level 2.

So, now, at level 1 you are allowed to use Level 2 abilities, but when ever you use of abilities of the next level, you need to beat a DC of 13 + the Number in the brackets.
So a Level 1 wizard with 0 XP is Level 1 (10). He now can try a level 2 ability- for wizard that could be any level 2 arcane tradition feature or any level 1 spell he hasn't learned yet, but in order to succed he needs to do a DC 13+10 - dc 23 check (Intelligence).
A Level 1 wizard wit 150xp would be level 1 (5), the DC to use a level 2 abilities would be DC 13+5 = DC 18. At 270xp that would be a DC 14 check.

This is just a quick and dirty rule to simulate learning at a school.
Heck, I even would implement something like this in normal D&D to simulate the learning experience, make it an ability that, if it succeds you can do it once per long rest or something.
 

Without reworking the whole ruleset, I find it would be difficult to emulate learning. I'd focus on other aspects of student life.

I'd introduce optional attributes but instead of having Honor and Sanity, it would be Academic Standing and Popularity. The first is increased by getting outstanding grade, helping the faculty, doing useful quest, and decreased when doing badly, investigating random events on campus instead of showing up in class, being caught cheating and so on. Everyone starts at 5, and they need to reach increasingly hard levels to validate a level increase. So you milestone advance during the adventure... but only if you can get enough standing to be accepted on optional lessons -- we don't teach fireball to any random 14-years old. And yes, I'd lower the age of the students given the railroad of the adventure. Also, only children can realistically think than being expelled is worse than being killed and not being just a setback in an adventuring life (and they have to answer to their PARENTS who expect them to perform adequately in school as well). Popularity is raised by helping other students and being otherwise remarkable to the rest of the class -- most ways of which run contrary to improving your Standing with the faculty though. The heist would help with standing, as well as doing good at sports.

You need Popularity to actually have other students help you in the various adventures, or cover for you, or provide any kind of support -- in a very realistic approach, the faculty is actually more interested in their research than teaching, sure they are paid to teach but they positively hate it, think it's a waste of time except when they can find a worthy apprentice (once in a blue moon) and so they actively despise students they barely tolerate on campus. They charter of the university said "you have to teach lessons" not "you have to be nice teaching lessons". So yes, the faculty will send you to investigate the Death Swamp as a field work and if you wake the Hydra, then... well, new students arrive each year, don't they? Even Hermione tried to be nice sometimes and pretend watching her house's team doing quidditch.

If your Popularity drops to 0, life will be hard, you'll be the target of every other students that have interest in bullying you. And you don't want to be bullied by a group of fireball-casting teenagers don't you? Also, if you blast them back... strangely everyone will have an alibi except you. Angry parents will have you removed from the school. Again, this works better with children ; they tend to have less measure. I mean, school-age children can bully to the point of making other committing suicide or kiling other children by daring them to jump on the train track for fun, I think young adults tend to do that less.

If your Standing drops to 0, you're deemed unworthy of the time the staff is devoting to your academic progress. In this campaign, that's also a Game Over, roll a new character. Or maybe a teacher will demonstrate Desintegrate on you for the 4th years students. This promotion to "Teaching Assistant" was suspicious, after all.

Have a nice fun balancing those stats during your high school years. Also, I'd have the campaign progressing far faster in time (and not level). Honestly the whole adventure could take place over the course of a single year. It would make it more realistic that PCs don't have the time to investigate earlier.
 
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Without reworking the whole ruleset, I find it would be difficult to emulate learning. I'd focus on other aspects of student life.

I'd introduce optional attributes but instead of having Honor and Sanity, it would be Academic Standing and Popularity.
This would certainly be more in line with the school story genre.

As I alluded to earlier, this is because the genre has it's roots in the British Boarding School story. This might seem difficult for younger people to understand, especially in America, but historically, academic success did not matter in such environments. It was a class based system in which your future prospects depended on your family and gender, and making friends with the right people, how you did in algebra was irreverent.
 
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This would certainly be more in line with the school story genre.

As I alluded to earlier, this is because the genre has it's roots in the British Boarding School story. This might seem difficult for younger people to understand, especially in America, but historically, academic success did not matter in such environments. It was a class based system in which your future prospects depended on your family and gender, and making friends with the right people, how you did in algebra was irreverent.

Yes. In France we have a few selective schools that are actually very hard to join, but once you join, you're set for life. The national school of administration (of which half of the French presidents in the last 50 years are alumni) had what, one or two drop-offs in the last decade... and they "decided to quit", they weren't actually failing due to grades. The most important thing is "showing that you're at least trying" and "getting to know your future boss".

I think something that people would relate more is elite military schools. As far as I understand, people who join these elite organizations are bound to leave as officers. I suppose that Prince Harry wasn't expected to fail at Sandhurst, was he?
 

Yes. In France we have a few selective schools that are actually very hard to join, but once you join, you're set for life. The national school of administration (of which half of the French presidents in the last 50 years are alumni) had what, one or two drop-offs in the last decade... and they "decided to quit", they weren't actually failing due to grades. The most important thing is "showing that you're at least trying" and "getting to know your future boss".

I think something that people would relate more is elite military schools. As far as I understand, people who join these elite organizations are bound to leave as officers. I suppose that Prince Harry wasn't expected to fail at Sandhurst, was he?
In the UK you go to Eton, you go to Oxford, you become prime minister. It doesn't matter how hard you work or how dumb you are.
 


Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Thinking about how I'd do a magical school, I've come to the conclusion that it probably would work best with milestone leveling, gaining a level at the end of each school year. (Whether characters start at level 0 or at 1 is a separate question.) Tracking class credits and grades would just be making the bookkeeping of tracking XP even more cumbersome, to no obvious benefit.

Maybe give the characters some sort of bonus at the end of each year, based on the various skill tests they made to simulate classes. The under-used Charms mechanic (which isn't even listed in the table of contents for the DMG, setting it up for failure) would be a good way to do it and it'd have a very wizardly feel as a reward.

Absolutely failing the skill rolls, though, would cause a player character to not advance a year/level up. That's not great in real life and not fun in a game, so I'd want the chance of that happening to be very low and something players could resolve with "extra credit" adventuring.
 
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