Along the lines of the sentiment in this tweet: one thing about the Critical Role cartoon is it illustrates how much more interesting magic tends to be in the stories that inspired or were inspired by D&D than in actual D&D.
Like, a lot of the magic use in Legend of Vox Machina has a direct line of inspiration from spells that exist in the D&D rules, and a general trope of being able to exhaust one's magic if overused correlates in a vague way with the game's expendable spell slots.
But the magic does not behave like D&D magic, even D&D magic with an inventive player and generously flexible DM. Because D&D's magic obeys rules designed with specific gameplay purposes in mind, and LoVM's magic obeys rules designed with storytelling purposes in mind.
*Most* magic in D&D just works, because the "effort" the player puts into it is a combination of game progression (get those spell levels), opportunity cost (prepare/learn those spells), and resource management (conserve those slots).
When magic has a chance of failure (hit roll, saving throw by the target, percentage failure rates, HP thresholds, etc.), things like how hard the caster is trying and how much they believe in themselves and whatnot are abstracted away in the throw of the dice.
And you could choose to characterize your character's casting style as being "at first it looks like the spell is faltering and her lip quivers and she thinks about how much the team is counting on her and then FWOOSH! - a giant gout of flame blossoms from her hands."
But the system for the most part isn't set up to create that kind of moment for it. There's not ludonarrative support for it, outside of you having Bardic Inspiration dice or whatever you think to use.
In D&D magic, a Ranger with no healing spells can't replicate a Druid's healing magic by imitating the actions with the right components and having another team member perform the most generic magical action for his unrelated third class of magic to put a little spark on it.
I mean, you *can* have the Ranger make a (possibly untrained) Medicine check, score a nat 20, and flavor it as they remembered enough of the healing magic they saw the Druid do to stop the person from dying. Whatever limits D&D has, it doesn't stop you from using your imagination
"Alexandra, didn't you defend D&D a bunch earlier today?"

Yeah. It has good points and bad points.
And basically, its magic system... I'm not going to pretend I haven't found great inspiration in the potential embodied by specific spells among its multitudes.

But of all the things about D&D that are very D&D, it's the very D&Diest.

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More from @AlexandraErin

Feb 20
Counterpoint: You will never have a "full understanding" of anything, much less something as broad, amorphous, and multifaceted as a genre.

Prioritizing what aspects of what parts of the genre you will seek to understand is also your finite coin to spend however you like.
Also, classics are classics for several reasons, only one of which is, sometimes, "This is pretty good."

A far more prevalent reason that classics are classics is generations of dingdongs going, "You gotta to read this. You just gotta."

And several of the reasons are racism.
Read 14 tweets
Feb 20
A thing about "D&D is mainly good for combat, you can tell because of what it has rules for" is that if you released an indie game that had all the non-combat parts of D&D it would be more rules-heavy than a lot of non-combat indie games are.
Anyway, D&D rules aren't 90% combat. They're 90% character options. The PHB is about 300 pages and about 30 of those pages deal with rules for gameplay. The rest are "Here is a thing your character might do/be."
And by and large, the reason I'm into D&D and the reason I like to get new people into D&D is that I vibe with "Here are a bunch of modular, prefab character options you can snap together like interlocking plastic building blocks" more than more abstract character creation stuff.
Read 31 tweets
Feb 18
Literally eating berries and cream like a little lad for breakfast today.
We're paring down frozen stuff from the freezer for a much-needed defrost and there were some ancient frozen mixed berries in there.

I started making panna cotta as my new pandemic skill and I had planned on topping some with jam for a Valentine's dessert...
...but panna cotta isn't terribly firm and the likely difficulty of spreading jam across the top of the custard without just wrecking it had me thinking about other alternatives, and I remembered we had frozen berries from Whenever in the deep freeze.
Read 8 tweets
Feb 13
The Ted Talk in the second episode of Inventing Anna is such a perfect parody of a Ted Talk because it sounds exactly like a real Ted Talk. In this tweet, I will
My version of "don't watch dinosaur movies with paleontologists" is "don't watch movies with scenes taking place in Omaha malls or cultural attractions".

I don't know where those zoo exteriors were shot for the Berkshire Hathaway party scene, but I know where it wasn't shot.
As a general rule, I think big-city people who watch a movie and go, "Shyeah, they expect us to believe she took the chartreuse line at KT-tirst street and somehow got off across town at the Spromg Street station in time to catch the zeppelin? As if." are insufferable.
Read 4 tweets
Feb 12
A thing about NFTs is that whenever someone says they can be used to purchase something (event tickets, digital music, in-game assets) in a form that allows the purchaser to re-sell them... the reason you can't do those things already is a policy choice, not a technical limit.
Any company that is willing to use NFTs to sell you things that you own in a way that is transferable could have done so without NFTs.

What NFTs actually add on a technical level isn't the ability to be sold, but the ability to be stolen.
Whatever digital good the NFT represents is still stored in a central location. Access to the digital good is still mediated by a single central authority. But their willingness to equate ownership with a cryptographic token that exists outside their control makes it stealable.
Read 10 tweets
Feb 12
If you want special treatment from people who do customer service type work, the real trick is to be polite in a way that doesn't take up their time or energy.
Not asking for much and being a good customer > telling people you're not asking for much and insisting that you're a good customer.
If you do ask for something and they don't/can't do it, the best move is to make it clear that the query is over so that they aren't on the defensive for the rest of the interaction. "Cool, just checking." or whatever fits tonally, then move to the next thing.
Read 5 tweets

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