A Vancian-inspired (re)interpretation of magic-users and heathen idol-worshippers (i.e. clerics)

You are playing some old skool D&D with your friends and decide that you want to play a magic-user. The DM tells you that level 1 magic-users can only cast one spell per day and, to add injury to the insult, “your starting spells are chosen at random.

You start sweating profusely, but being a hardcore masochist, you accept the ruling and allow Eris, Princess of Chaos and Dice-Rolling, to decide that your magic-user knows three spells (plus Read Magic) of astounding power: Detect Magic, Light, and Magic Missile. Unfortunately, your DM is an ass and does not even know that Light can be used to blind enemies, and, to make things worse, he also uses some weird rule for Magic Missile (1d6+1 of damage, but an attack roll is needed.) In practical terms, that means the destructive power of your character is similar to being able to shoot a single arrow each day. 10 years at the Magic University for this?!

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Why you should read Cugel’s Saga.

 

 

“The better to order his faculties, Cugel took a long draught of beer.”


 

cugels sagaI was going to write a long review of Jack Vance’s Cugel’s Saga, the book about the adventures and misfortunes of the outrageously selfish and coward Cugel the Clever (or so he thinks,) but I have decided to let the book and its florid style speak for themselves.

Don’t panic, it will be a short expatiation, just a few things from the first chapter, but they will be enough to convince you of its merits.

After some magical mischief, Cugel finds himself lost. He comes upon “an elaborate manse of archaic design” and tries to convince the peculiar doorman to let him in.

Continue reading “Why you should read Cugel’s Saga.”