Monday, February 13, 2012

Magic Missigyny

So, Monte Cook posted a new Legends & Lore article! In Uniting the Editions, Part 3, he polls the community on features of old editions they'd like to appear in 5E D&D Next. Even ones he thinks are a bad idea! In his words:

"For example, it would be difficult to imagine that THAC0 would make a comeback. Armor Class values going down to represent them getting better. System shock rolls. Racial level limits. Gender-based ability score maximums. Lots of bonus types. And so on. But here's the thing: if I'm wrong about that, get involved in the open playtest when it starts and let us know. If you would like to see things like that be a part of the core rules set, or if you would use rules like that as optional modules, that's the kind of information we are looking for in order to make this a game you want to play."

Seriously though... scroll down and read that list. See if you can guess what's wrong with it!

No, no, I'll wait, it's cool.

A hint: It's got five words.

Worked it out yet?

Yeah, that's right: Magic Missiles that Never Miss.

What the fuck? Why would you even put that up as an option? Is this seriously something that the community needs to be polled on?

Look, that shit is amazing. When you cast magic missile, and it hits, which it always does, you feel absolutely fucking mondo. Why would you take that away? Magic Missile has never missed in every single edition that matters. Shit, look what happened when it did - in 4E that stupid immersion-breaking MMO-CCG power card quasi-narritivist disassociated sports game for dumb gamist babies, it became a situational spell nobody liked because nothing the Wizard could take to increase their damage actually worked on it when it mattered. Why would you want to go back to that?

Besides, what about verisimilitude? For the uninformed, verisimilitude (a subset of simmersionilitudism) is basically realism. And though we don't like to talk about it in today's "politically correct", it is a scientific fact that magic missiles never miss, that they're supposed to be cast by wizards. It's a historical fact that in past civilisations, magic missiles were treated as spells that never miss. You might not like it, but it happened, and they were cast by wizards. Is it really so bad to put that in a game for the sake of verisimilitude? No - I've gone into verisimilitudinous detail about the magical culture of the human tribes in my D&D setting, based off real-world history, and that doesn't make me some kind of spell-resistance-stacking missigynist who wants to cast magic missile all the time. Besides, I've included all sorts of other distasteful things for the sake of verisimilitude, like disease and child mortality rates (those who have read my multi-paragraph articles on the magical culture of my setting will know which footnote I'm talking about).

And you know what? Maybe you're a spell who doesn't want to never miss, and someone said to your face that magic missiles never miss. That's important to you, certainly. Important in a "that's a shame" kinda way. But you're implications are hyperbolic and there's no reason for you or anyone else to assume that other spells have had the same experiences and they are simply indicative of being a spell that deals force damage. The anecdote about your sorcerers in particular is not something that bears any relevance. you got prepared/cast by your caster. Yup. Everyone has. It's nothing to do with RPGs. The "villain" in that story seems to be your designer with her intent on imposing traditional spell role values.

Actually, fuck it. Look: many of you may be here in response to the banning of the vancian subcastits, looking for the next target of your ire. The fact is, you can take down an outlet, but you cannot take down a source. The source is wizards. As long as you are a magic missile spell, you will be smaller than us, weaker than us, and used by us to fulfill our desires (casting spells that don't miss). Subcastits like SRS attempt to soothe the cognitive dissonance created by this indisputable truth.

The idea that something was accomplished today is beyond idiotic. The fact remains that any time you appear on a scroll, any time you are seen by wizards, they objectify you, they hunger for you, they dream of writing you down and preparing you, and many of you will get the chance to let them act out those desires (to cast spells that never miss) before your time is through.

So let me say this clearly one more time: You. Are. Whores. Most of you just use your bodies for bartering as opposed to cash.

Magic Missile is supposed to never miss. End of story. What is even the point of putting such a stupid argument-igniting option on a poll if you're clearly not going to follow through on it?

UPDATE: Looks like the poll was taken down and Mearls posted a revised poll without the offending option and issued an apology. And there's no mention of gender-based ability score maximums either I guess.