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Is there anything that Magic World doesn't do that D&D does?


sladethesniper

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In comparing the two products, there doesn't seem to be anything that MW doesn't do that 5E does except have special names for everything and have more lists of magic equipment and spells...but none of that isn't  D&D specific and can be moved into MW by GM fiat.

So, if you were a DM, and someone asked you which game is "better" which would you recommend, and why?

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As I see   it it comes down to two things: lethality and  character potentiality.

Games with fixed hit points, like the BRP family, don't allow characters to easily blow past mooks: even a goblin  with a pointed stick can, with a good enough roll, take down the mighty warrior-thane, and if there's enough of them, soaking up your parries and dodges...

Then there's  super-heroic power levels represented by 10+ lvl. D&D  characters. Now it is possible to play characters of this level in BRP games (Jaleel the Razoress, Elric, etc.),  but it isn't an inevitable progression, like it seems to be in most D&D campaigns, and  there's the issue of power creep in the latest iterations of D20 games.  Even a 3rd or 4th level  5E (or Pathfinder 2) character is pretty powerful compared to their BRP equivalent, with plenty of Feats, Talents, Class Abilities and the like.

So to me games like MW, and the like, are the TTRPG  equivalent of  Sword and Sorcery sagas like Conan or Elric; while D&D is  Wuxia and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Personally I think it comes down to  a difference between 'cool' and 'heroic', with MW being under the latter; but ultimately it's largely a matter of taste.

 

 

 

 

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D&D is all about character advancement in leaps and bounds, while MW is more nuanced and fine grained. That, to me, is the fundamental difference in the actual play experience. However, as you say, there's nothing intrinsic to MW that would stop you running it that way. Remember the ancient term, "monty haul campaign"? Just up the rewards.

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12 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

In comparing the two products, there doesn't seem to be anything that MW doesn't do that 5E does except have special names for everything and have more lists of magic equipment and spells...but none of that isn't  D&D specific and can be moved into MW by GM fiat.

D&D's underpinning assumptions and intended play model are radically different. D&D's "zero to hero" progression is much steeper than Magic World's more "Sword and Sorcery Annals" influenced progression and a substantial part of 5e's appeal / "shtick" is the discrete stepped progression (at this level this Class gets X class feature, at this level we all get Feats etc etc), as opposed to MW's / BRP's more organic / graduate development.

12 hours ago, sladethesniper said:

So, if you were a DM, and someone asked you which game is "better" which would you recommend, and why?

"Better" is a value judgement, and ultimately an aesthetic one, that is almost entirely personal preference and has no objective criteria: the useful question is "which will this particular group of friends get most enjoyment from playing?" I have groups that adore D&D 5e; I also have groups that loathe it. *shrug*.

D&D 5e to me feels like a pretty solid fantasy "super-heroes" combat simulation engine that does that quite well and... doesn't get in the way of the other aspects of playing a TTRPG such as social interactions, investigations etc; but it doesn't provide particularly robust or extensive support for them either. Magic World is a fast paced, more grounded game that provides wider support for different aspects of play, but doesn't "out of the box" provide the sort of flashy, colourful set piece combats  / heroics that D&D 5e excels at.

I've run and played both, and enjoyed both. I'm a grumpy old BRP grognard, so my brain uses BRP as the language to express RPG ideas, so I occasionally struggle a bit with D&D 5e stuff. But I have run very high powered, high action BRP before now, and with a judicious re-jigging of a few key assumptions it can handle such stuff very well. 

Edited by NickMiddleton
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Magic World doesn’t do super-heroic, zero-to-hero rolplaying particularly well, so if you’re into that kind of gaming it probably won’t be very satisfying. This suits me just fine however.

I guess that’s one of the double-edged swords of D&D, and games like it, you’ve gotta do a lot of killing/looting/leveling to get to the point where you can tangle with the “big bads.” With Magic World (or any BRP type game really) superior numbers or tactics (with a bit of luck) can see fairly inexperienced characters overcome some pretty big threats (be that mythical beasts, badass warlords, sorcerers or whatever else you think up to challenge players.

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I would point out magic item creation is better spelled out in D&D, with the exception of the Wizards Staff in MW and some smaller power items in supplements like The Witch. In the MW campaign setting, magic items are rare

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D&D characters are expected to have a pile of magic items, so giving them ways of making their own is perfectly fitting. They could also just go down the market and buy them. The items themselves seem a bit regimented, and a lot of players who've played D&D for a long time get bored of them.

There's a marked difference in tone between discovering the Mirror of Suasions after months of questing and finding another +2 sword that no one in the party has any use for (but keeping anyways in case you can trade it for +3 armour in the next village).

If I wanted PCs in Magic World to craft magic items, I'd use the RQIII magic book rules -- probably with an Enchanting skill (Base 0%, INT modifier).

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I must say that in 30-odd years I have never come across a PC making a magic item, and only once or twice creating a new spell, so in practical terms I don't think rules for that are too important. In other words, the referee has to do the legwork and make up all that stuff! 😜

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8 hours ago, Vile Traveller said:

I must say that in 30-odd years I have never come across a PC making a magic item, and only once or twice creating a new spell, so in practical terms I don't think rules for that are too important. In other words, the referee has to do the legwork and make up all that stuff! 😜

Just arrange for a Hoolar to appear at strategic intervals!

SDLeary

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There's one other "feature" that bears mention, IMHO:  the relative ubiquity of D&D vs. MW; there are just more players for the 800-lb gorilla (that's about 365kg if you're playing in Europe, Japan, etc).

For that reason, if I'm running a 1-shot "introduction to roleplaying" adventure for people who won't be able to join my own group, I generally run D&D for them -- that gives them a better leg up when they take their single game-session of experience to someone else's table, or are looking to get something going with a friend-group, or etc.

In this sense, D&D is "better" -- it has a more-well-known suite of tropes & assumptions when you're looking outside the sphere of existing RPG'ers, it has a relatively-large group of "heard of it, willing to try it" potential new players (and this feature doesn't port over to MW, alas!).

===

 

My current gaming-group was founded in my failure to be able to recruit a non-D&D gaming group.  I finally advertised a D&D game at my FLGS, recruited a group, and ran a D&D adventure; then announced "My next game will be..." (hint:  not D&D).

Most of the group stayed with me... and the group was off to the races from there (we have since played Shadowrun, Ars Magica, CoC, Deadlands, Runequest, and even (once) D&D).  Everyone in the group has GM'ed at least one system, and several of us have GM'ed several.
 

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If you look at the Elric! demon rules, Superworld, Simon Phipp's Runequest page or anything that Charles Green has written you'll see that BRP can do high fantasy.

I once read a description. GURPS is like lego blocks. BRP is like clay. I've run Call of Cthulhu games where everyone dies and Elric! games where a small band of adventures cut through an army.

D&D is its own thing. 

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