Friday, January 20, 2012

YouTube Friday: Documentary and Nature Magic

Because it's Friday, I've got to throw up a video. This is a documentary from Brighton University about LARP, and despite the less professional quality of the video, I think that the people in the video sound like average, everyday people who happen to LARP. I love content like this.



So I've promised to talk about the pros of the Nature Playtest from WAR/NCN. So here we go!

1. Straight Forward Goal
A lot of playtests don't have a clear goal when they're submitted. Goals are important, because it lets everyone start on the same page. If someone submitted a playtest with a goal to improve production skills and in the text unbalanced melee combat, I would know that I could change the melee combat part without affecting the goal of the playtest. Additionally, if someone submitted a playtest to make hoblings better, I know that I could drop the playtest right away, as the goal of the playtest doesn't fit the balance goals of NERO.

Nature magic had the goal of adding another school of magic for two reasons. First, it added additional variety to magic in the game. Second, it targeted some common fantasy archtypes that didn't really exist in the game at the time. This is why the animal spells were adopted into the core rules by National.

2. Balance
Undertaking a new school is tough. There's so many things you have to worry about. How many takedowns are in the school? Does it obsolete something? Are there worthwhile spells to cast at every level? Is the formal magic worth it? What about Cantrips?

Other than a handful of mechanics (most of which I mentioned in the earlier post), the system was actually pretty balanced (before the last revision). And that's after having played with it in one form or another for almost 4 of the 11 years I've been playing.

3. Completion
Some playtests don't handle all the collateral damage they create. They tend to have glaring errors that leaving gaping holes in the rules that are up for interpretation. As a whole, Nature Magic is complete. It covers battle, cantrip, and formal magic. The new effects that are used are included in the playtest. There's very little that is up to interpretation.

Don't get me wrong, Nature still has a way to go before it could become a National Playtest. It's under a particularly high amount of scrutiny, due to the fact that it adds a lot of effects and is a new build purchased skill, rather than a playtest that modifies an already existing skill. But hopefully people can take away some lessons from this when writing playtests for 9th edition.

And yes, we'll be setting a way for people to submit playtests. We just have to get it through the proper channels.

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