Which game has your favorite magic system?

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
That was one design choice where Shadowdark lost me.

Why?

Edit: here’s why I like it…
1) It moves decision-making to the moment. Not “what spells will I need for the day” or “what else might I need this slot for?” but “Is it worth the risk RIGHT NOW?” And…
2) …players tend to hope for the best, which means they think they will make the roll, so they go for it. Whereas with slots they know they will lose the resource, so they play more conservatively.
3) It adds a new dimension of excitement/unpredictability
4) It seems to be easier for new players to understand, compared to slots and spell selection.
5) On average it gives more spells/day than D&D, without guaranteeing it, so it gives casters more casting without relying on cantrips.

Maybe you have given it a shot and didn’t like it, but if you only read about it I would recommend giving it a shot.
 
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TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
2) …players tend to hope for the best, which means they think they will make the roll, so they go for it. Whereas with slots they know they will lose the resource, so they play more conservatively.
This seems very much like a specific player psychology thing. I know quite a few players who are loss/risk averse, and like specific planning over any kind of gambling. Combine that with the fact that Shadowdark is an OSR-style game, which by nature encourage caution and planning over risk-taking, and I can see how a mishap table might be a bridge too far in getting them to try spellcasters.

I'm not saying it's the right or wrong approach (I'm still waiting for my Kickstarter of the game to arrive before trying it out), but I can see how it could be a turnoff to a significant swath of potential players.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
It followed the books in that it was totally overpowered in actual play. WoT only works if you're heavy into the roleplay, with very little combat or skill-based challenge, because otherwise channellers blow non-channellers away. Even at very low levels.

The whole "you need to be circumspect how you use your powers" thing never worked at my table. Because, if you have powers, you want to use them.
Most settings work best when you're heavy into the roleplay.
 

HaroldTheHobbit

Adventurer
Currently, it's Savage Worlds powers system. Imho it sits in a good spot between free form and rigid spellslots, with lots of flexibility for different genres while still being very easy to use. Yes, part of why I like it is that my players really lean into personalizing and being creative with powers, otherwise the system might be dull.

I must also give a shout to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 4e. Magic is detail-heavy, crunchy and clumsy, but oh my how it fits the setting!
 

Aldarc

Legend
Why?

Edit: here’s why I like it…
1) It moves decision-making to the moment. Not “what spells will I need for the day” or “what else might I need this slot for?” but “Is it worth the risk RIGHT NOW?” And…
2) …players tend to hope for the best, which means they think they will make the roll, so they go for it. Whereas with slots they know they will lose the resource, so they play more conservatively.
3) It adds a new dimension of excitement/unpredictability
4) It seems to be easier for new players to understand, compared to slots and spell selection.
5) On average it gives more spells/day than D&D, without guaranteeing it, so it gives casters more casting without relying on cantrips.

Maybe you have given it a shot and didn’t like it, but if you only read about it I would recommend giving it a shot.
I do like rolling for spellcasting. I liked it in True 20. I liked it in Blue Rose AGE. I liked it in Index Card RPG. I liked it in Dungeon World. I like it when I see it in many other games. However, I strongly dislike mishap tables, especially for spellcasting. This aspect in particular and this aspect alone is what I highlighted in bold as my dislike. And I don't need to play Shadowdark to know that I dislike mishap tables. Any more questions?
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I do like rolling for spellcasting. I liked it in True 20. I liked it in Blue Rose AGE. I liked it in Index Card RPG. I liked it in Dungeon World. I like it when I see it in many other games. However, I strongly dislike mishap tables, especially for spellcasting. This aspect in particular and this aspect alone is what I highlighted in bold as my dislike. And I don't need to play Shadowdark to know that I dislike mishap tables. Any more questions?

Yes! Lots and none at all!

Why didn't I notice the bold in your reply? Do I need to get my eyes checked? Is this an age thing? Or is it lasting damage from the days of chainmail bikinis?

(One more comment though: in Shadowdark the mishap tables interact nicely, in my experience, with luck tokens, because casters really want to keep a luck token in their pocket to get out of mishaps, which in turn causes all sorts of angsty decision-making when those tokens could be used for other purposes.)
 
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Aldarc

Legend
Yes! Lots and none at all!

Why didn't I notice the bold in your reply? Do I need to get my eyes checked? Is this an age thing? Or is it lasting damage from the days of chainmail bikinis?

(One more comment though: in Shadowdark the mishap tables interact nicely, in my experience, with luck tokens, because casters really want to keep a luck token in their pocket to get out of mishaps, which in turn causes all sorts of angsty decision-making when those tokens could be used for other purposes.)
To be clear: I don't think that mishap tables are bad or BadWrongFun. They are not to my taste or liking. I also avoid any games where magic corrupts the mage's body, because I don't like body horror and that sort of thing makes me feel icky. I also think that Shadowdark is a brilliant game. I would like to believe that I can recognize that a well-designed is distinct from a game that I would personally enjoy playing. (DCC is another brilliant game that I wouldn't touch for some of the aforementioned reasons.)
 


Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners

For myself, this is the thing that's making me bounce off Shadowdark. I dislike fumble tables for PCs because, like it or not, fumble tables punish PCs (and players) far more than NPCs. Simply because they will be doing the majority of the rolling and with a d20, sooner or later (or really often depending on how your rolling is going for the night), the PC is going to get zapped.

I don't like it for attacks and I don't like it for spellcasting. Now, if a 1 would have stopped at "you can't cast the spell again until you successfully complete a rest", fine. But I don't like the added Gotcha! of the Mishap Tier Tables.
Maybe you have given it a shot and didn’t like it, but if you only read about it I would recommend giving it a shot.
I played it as written. Ugh. Not as bad as DCC but yuck (for me).
 

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