Sunday, August 5, 2018

Revisiting the Time Wizard

I got to play my Time Wizard for the first time yesterday playtesting an introductory adventure for Arnold K. I only got to cast 1 time wizard spell but I felt that was enough to justify a revisit to the class.

What follows is my own personal critiques of the features in my Time Wizard class. Perks, spells, dooms, etc are quoted; my own thoughts are italicized

Perk: When you would roll a boon or bane, you can reroll one of the d6s once.
Unfortunately for my character Arnold K does not use boons or banes in his GLOG games. This isn't a bad thing, but going forward I'll consider avoiding designing around Banes and Boons specifically. The GLOG scene is subdivided into people who use Boons & Banes and people who use plain +/- modifiers; the two are not easily interchangeable.

Drawback: Magic that would grant you boons, or would alter the possibility of your rolls positively, has no effect on you.
The wording on this is weird. It was meant to offset the strong perk, but I could have worded it better. The intent behind it is that Time Wizards are the only beings in existence with free will, and as a result magical constructs such as luck and fortune have no effect on them.

1. Change your appearance to that of a child, an adult, or an old person. 
2. Tell how old an object is just by looking at it. 
3. Detect the closest temporal disturbance. A disturbance is any effect that influences time. You can sense the direction in which the disturbance occurs, but you can't gleam its exact nature.

Cantrip 1 came in handy during Arnold's game. We encountered a small hole that was barely large enough for an adult to fit through, so I aged down to a child and crawled down like the chimney sweep I was destined to be. Also helped in calming down a child victim of a witch that the party discovered. So this cantrip is pretty good in my book.

Cantrip 2 I'm on the fence about even though it seems fine. I used it a few times to identify the age of a few objects that seemed suspicious, and even though my suspicion ended up having merit, knowing their age didn't really help. I feel like this cantrip lacks "oomph" but I think the full extent of its use has yet to be seen.

3 was absolutely useless and I know exactly why. I mean what the heck is a temporal disturbance anyway? Yes I know I define it one sentence later, and even though it's thematically suitable, unless the campaign you're in revolves around time, this cantrip just feels useless. Definitely back to the drawing board with this one.

1. Minor Paradox
R: 0
T: Self
D: 0
When you cast this spell, you may remove an action from the last [dice] rounds. Alternatively you may insert an action.
This is the 1 spell I cast and it was more of a headache than exciting or useful. Arnold hit the nail on the coffin with his critique. It's just too annoying to force the DM to keep track of combat rounds, and the nature of the spell gives the wizard a "get out of jail free card" that is all-encompassing with no downside. So rather than salvage this spell I think it's better to just replace it entirely.

1. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours. 
2. Take 1d6 damage. 
3. Random mutation for 1d6 Rounds, then Save with a -4 penalty. Permanent if you fail. 
4. You lose your Perk for 1d6 Turns. 
5. You lose all sense of time for 1d6 Turns. You automatically lose Initiative rolls and are always surprised. 
6. You're stuck in a time loop. For the next d6 Rounds, Save or repeat your last action. 

1. You age 2d10 years. 
2. Each time you cast a Time Wizard spell, Save or the spell causes a temporal disturbance. 
3. A clone of yourself from a different time period appears in the world. Its mission is to obliterate you.

Mishaps and dooms didn't come up during the adventure because everyone was level 1, but I'll take this opportunity to talk about them anyway. First off, I suck at coming up with Mishaps and Dooms. Maybe that's why my early attempts at making wizard classes lack them for the most part. With that said, this wasn't a half-bad attempt on my part.

Mishaps 1-3 are par for the course.
Mishap 4 is iffy for the same reason the perk is iffy.
Mishap 5 seems underwhelming. Losing all sense of time should have more consequences than just losing initiative rolls and constantly being surprised. But it feels so vague that it needs some sort of concreteness to make it work. Leaving it as just "You lose all track of time" doesn't seem like it will cause any inconvenience in the middle of a fight.
Mishap 6 I actually like. It can lead to some interesting scenarios on its own.

Going into the Dooms, I went into it with the Elementalist's Dooms in mind. That is to say, the more you fucked with time the more it fucked with you.

Doom 1 is fine. It's a warning shot from Time itself. This is the slap on the wrist. Go any farther and there will be actual consequences.
Doom 2 is iffy for the same reason Mishap 4 and the perk are iffy.
Doom 3 I like but it might be too vague. It essentially just adds an extra head of broccoli on the DM's plate. "Ugh now I gotta figure out what this evil twin is doing and how it's going to effect the party. ugggggh!" 


  1. I'm not ready to give up on Minor Paradox, yet. It's a great idea, we just need to come up with a good implementation.

    The two cantrips were great. They felt useful and not overpowering (although changing your age might be very good in the correct circumstances). And letting people know an object's age isn't problematic, since most of the time a DM will know how old the objects in the game are.

  2. How's this for Minor Paradox

    R: 0 T: Self D: 0
    When you cast this spell, secretly write down [dice] readied actions in an If->Then format. If the condition occurs to trigger them, a high-speed time copy of you appears and performs the action or actions on the next initiative step. If the triggering event does not occur after [sum] minutes*, the spell has no effect.

    E.g. You invest 3 dice and write down, "If the Orc Warlord runs, I will 1) run to the door, 2) close the door, 3) cast "prismatic ray" targeting the Orc Warlord".

    *fiddle with the duration.

    There's no need for the GM to backtrack. You just insert one "round" into the usual turn sequence where you (or time copies of you) appear and do a bunch of things.

    1. That's actually a brilliant little revision there Skerples. My vote is for that one, for whatever it's worth.

    2. I like this a lot! The only issue I take is the "secretly write down" part. I get why as a player you'd want to keep it a secret, but I feel a just DM will play the monster appropriately, even with the secret knowledge at hand.

    3. It's just one less thing for the GM to remember and be bothered by. It's not relevant until it's relevant; why waste the time of the GM and the other players?

    4. Very true! I was looking at it from a let's say more subtle angle, but that's because I'm a backstabbing bastard.

  3. Also, here's an idea for a Cantrip:

    2) At any point, you may ask the Referee one question. The Referee must answer your question, however they can only answer with "Yes" , "No" or "Perhaps".

    Though that might be a bit too powerful for a Cantrip.

    1. That's a good suggestion, but I'm trying to avoid the clairvoyant side of the Chronomancer coin. If Oracles can only see past, present, and future, then chronomancers can only travel through past, present, and future.