Monday, June 4, 2012

[Adventures in Fantasy] Book of Faerry and Magic Pt. 4

Note:  I owe an apology to anyone that has been specifically waiting on me to finish this read through of the Adventures in Fantasy rule books.  I actually began this blog with the intention of completing the read through as my first series of posts.  That did not happen because I got derailed and distracted by other things along the way.  I hope to rectify that soon with a minimal number of posts to do so.  


Sorcerous Combat
This section of the rules covers combat between opposing magicians and notes that it "is conducted at a mental level" using the system detailed in the rules.  The only other restriction is that "a lawful magician will never attack another lawful magician in this manner".  Of course, there is another formula that determines the amount of damage that a sorcerer can take. 

The traditional method of sorcerous combat described in the rulebook resembles the old gun-slinger face off depicted in the typical Western movies.  There are also two modes - kill and control - described in this section and their relation to the alignment of the sorcerers combating each other. 

Other information in this chapter includes The Magician's Code, magical fatigue, and the effects of fatigue.  It seems interesting and tries to capture a quasi-medieval feel to the magical combat rules used in the game.  I am not sure how practical the magical combat rules would be in play but it would be interesting to test them out in play. 

Faerry Magic
Faerry Magic is not simply spell casting but the magic involved in the art of song and rune.  This magic can be used by Dwarves, Troll Lords, the Faerry, and Elves - with Elves being the most powerful mages of the Faerry races.  Humans may use Faerry Magic but will be severely disadvantaged unless they are Druids or raised by a member of the Faerry race.

This chapter also discusses the determination of magic points, details some restrictions about the songs and runes among the faerry races, and ends with tables listing the songs and runes followed by the description of each one.  There are 20 songs and also 20 runes; due to race restrictions only a portion of the song and runes are available for use.  The songs and runes are described adequately and are, for the most part, pretty easy to understand but there are exceptions.  For example, the Song of the Baleful Omen allows the magician to "lay on an enemy or thief...any curse intended to bring suffering or eventual death".  Descriptions such as that might bother some because there is not a lot of fine details and the outcome is likely to involve a ruling by the DM instead of hard and fast rules but this is an old school design from one of the most old school designers so it fits the period.

The Faerry Races
There are 5 Faerry races: Elves, Trolls/Troll Lords, Dwarves, Goblins, and Faerries. Unlike D&D, it is quite apparent that players are highly discouraged from using the nonhuman races in AiF: all of them are afflicted by sunlight, have a -10% penalty to hit in sunlight, and are incapable of using their Faerry Magic in sunlight.  This quick overview of the Faerry races is followed by a more detailed description of each race.  The information presented includes average hit points, movement, alignment, typical encounters with members of each race, and even details on rolling up player characters of each Faerry race.  I suspect that most players avoided the Faerry races due to the associated disadvantages.

The final section of this rulebook covers the conjuring of Elementals.  Some of the information covered includes the alignment of the elemental, a standard elemental of each type, a more powerful elemental of each type, and controlling the Elementals. 

I am running out of steam and the college summer semester started today so I am going to wrap this up.  It seems that Arneson and Snider were aiming for a magic system that had a quasi-medieval feel to it and I think they succeeded.  I think they accomplished their goals with much less attention to detail than other games like Chivalry & Sorcery.  I am not sure that the magic system and the faerry races will appeal to wide range of players.  The spells can be downright boring - one of the spells increases crop output - and the faerry races are not viable play options due to the very tough restrictions placed on them.  Of course, this is all just from reading.  I have never played the game and I am not sure I understand enough of it play.  Maybe I can get to the point of comprehension sometime during my examination of these rules.

Up Next: the Book of Creatures and Treasures




  1. Great write up, Charlie. Very informative.

    While I am not a huge fan of the genre, in general (from what I know of them), I dug Arneson's concepts.

    This magic system sounds pretty darned cool - especially the earthy faerry magic. Like you mention, I am not sure how practical it would be in actual game play - but the concept is excellent. Druid classes always made more sense to me than magic users - yet the D&D that I liked snubbed them.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Eric.

      I also dig Arneson's concepts and ideas. It seems like he would have been one hell of a DM to game with. With any luck and enough determination, I plan on contributing something to this game - maybe a house rules document or even a new game inspired by the same ideas - who knows for sure?

      I also prefer a Druid class over the typical D&D magic user.