Multiclass Dabbler

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Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2012, 10:51:42 PM »
eth0.n, the thing that you seem to forget is that if a fighter spent months or years studying magic, perhaps is feasible to say that something has changed in him, the trials and effort in that frame of time has finally proven useful and he now is able to feats of spellcasting WITHOUT taking a the multiclass dabler move. Most likely he won't be a truly acomplished mage, but he knows the basics and can go forward from them on. I'm not trying to say that your opinion on this matter is wrong, but to take into account that there is already something system-wise that let's everybody shape their characters whatever the move they may have.

So, what, it's OK to have traps in the game rules for new players/roleplayers because the DM can simply fiat new mechanics to help them out1?  If so, that's true of literally any RPG ever, with any possible bad mechanic.  It's an unsound argument (commonly known as the Oberoni fallacy in D&D circles).

No, any time a player is forced to appeal to pure DM fiat, because the rules failed them, it is literally the worst outcome game rules can ever have. It is impossible for a game rule to fail in any way worse than that. The DM can always fiat and houserule to patch-up bad mechanics, no matter the system they are playing. The whole point of designing an RPG is to avoid having to do that.

If the rule for multiclass moves leads people to ignore it because they don't like the outcome it produces, as you suggest people can do, then it is a failure of game design. What you say does not in any way support the mechanic as good design. All you're saying is that it's failure can only be so bad. And "so bad" is as bad as it can ever get.  In fairness, I'll note that what you say does not in anyway imply that the mechanic is bad, but I've already presented, other, sufficient arguments in support of that position.


1 And no, "do whatever Move you want if the DM lets you" is not a mechanic. The rules saying you can appeal to DM fiat is a not a rule at all. It's not saying you can't do, inherently, in any RPG.

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2012, 03:29:41 AM »

So, what, it's OK to have traps in the game rules for new players/roleplayers because the DM can simply fiat new mechanics to help them out1?  If so, that's true of literally any RPG ever, with any possible bad mechanic.

Er, that's not what was said. Never was said that the GM should fiat. What was said was that if you spend years in game practising at magic, the GM should make Dungeon World feel real and give you the benefit of what you've done. Just because you haven't spent an advance on it you can't car spells  regardless of the fact that you've been studying for years? That seems odd to me.

Just because you don't like the mechanic doesn't mean it is bad, nor a "trap".

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If the rule for multiclass moves leads people to ignore it because they don't like the outcome it produces, as you suggest people can do, then it is a failure of game design. What you say does not in any way support the mechanic as good design. All you're saying is that it's failure can only be so bad. And "so bad" is as bad as it can ever get.  In fairness, I'll note that what you say does not in anyway imply that the mechanic is bad, but I've already presented, other, sufficient arguments in support of that position.

I won't speak for others here, but I really don't think you've given any compelling arguments that the mechanic is bad, just that the mechanic doesn't do something you want it to, and are unhappy that the response from others isn't to agree with you, but rather to say "if you don't like it, don't run it that way."

Anyway, the difference between the multiclass moves and gaining the moves via descriptive, fiction first, positioning is exactly that: one way you get to prescriptively say, "I've learned how to cast spells," and the other way you say, "I'm going to practice magic junk every day with the wizard," and through a lot of plot and description and probably more than a few moves you eventually learn how to do magic. Maybe you get the Cast A Spell move with associated stuff, maybe you get a custom move related to hedge magic. Depends on the fiction. It's not demonstrably folk ignoring the multiclass rules, it's folk approaching the same goal differently. That's not a bad thing.

(edit: removed reference to Oberoni crap. After reading more posts on it than I care to ever again, it appears nobody knows what it actually means and it's just a catchphrase to not actually mention any formal fallacy.  Will now never mention Oberoni again, and if you want to discuss formal fallacies, actually discuss formal fallacies. Otherwise I will assume you are using a bunk appeal to authority, which while not a formal fallacy still leads to a weaker argument when your sources stuck are uncited)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 03:42:13 AM by Aaron Friesen »

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2012, 10:02:44 AM »
Er, that's not what was said. Never was said that the GM should fiat. What was said was that if you spend years in game practising at magic, the GM should make Dungeon World feel real and give you the benefit of what you've done. Just because you haven't spent an advance on it you can't car spells  regardless of the fact that you've been studying for years? That seems odd to me.

That is literally DM fiat. The most clear and text book example I could think of. Anything that happens in a game because the DM simply decided it should (or to permit it), and not on game rules, is DM fiat.

Now, DM fiat is not a bad thing, or something that shouldn't be done at the table.  Quite the contrary.  Judicious use of it is an essential part of DMing.  And Dungeon World's greatest strength is it's clear, and well defined understanding of where DM fiat should be applied, and where the players are given mechanical agency through Moves.

My point was rather that DM fiat, as cited in an argument by the poster I was responding to, does not in any way demonstrate that any mechanic is "good" or even "not bad".  If a group decides to ignore a game mechanic, and come up with something else instead, how can that possibly demonstrate that the game mechanic is good?  Any and all mechanics in any RPG ever can be ignored if the group wants to.

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Just because you don't like the mechanic doesn't mean it is bad, nor a "trap".

What's your point?  That it's just my opinion that the mechanic is bad, and a trap?  Well, yes, it is.  Obviously.  All any of us could possibly say on the topic is an opinion.  Saying that it's just my opinion is meaningless.  Attack my arguments if you think I'm wrong.

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I won't speak for others here, but I really don't think you've given any compelling arguments that the mechanic is bad, just that the mechanic doesn't do something you want it to, and are unhappy that the response from others isn't to agree with you, but rather to say "if you don't like it, don't run it that way."

No, I'm dissatisfied that the response from others isn't to actually disagree with my arguments, but raise points that are entirely tangential to them.  The existence of DM fiat is irrelevant to what I'm saying.

So, please, tell my why my argument that the mechanic is a trap for new players and roleplayers is unsound.  Tell my why it's necessary for this one mechanic to determine the fiction, when the whole game is based on fiction determining fiction, not mechanic.

But telling me "if you don't like it, don't run it that way" is meaningless.  Of course I don't have to run it that way.  That is always true, of any mechanic.  It doesn't need to be stated, and in no way undermines any arguments I or anyone else could ever make about game design.

Understand that I'm not posting out of concern as a player.  I am that optimizing, system mastering, powergamer that won't fall into the trap of not taking multiclass dabbling in casting at level 2.  As a player, the mechanic's flaws don't apply to me.  As a DM, I don't care that much either.  To me, the flaw is manifest, and so is the solution.  The rest of the game is good enough that patching this flaw won't put me off of it.

Rather, I'm posting on a discussion forum, for an in-beta game, suggesting how I think it's design could be improved.  In that context, telling me "if you don't like it, don't run it that way" is a non-sequitor.

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Anyway, the difference between the multiclass moves and gaining the moves via descriptive, fiction first, positioning is exactly that: one way you get to prescriptively say, "I've learned how to cast spells," and the other way you say, "I'm going to practice magic junk every day with the wizard," and through a lot of plot and description and probably more than a few moves you eventually learn how to do magic. Maybe you get the Cast A Spell move with associated stuff, maybe you get a custom move related to hedge magic. Depends on the fiction. It's not demonstrably folk ignoring the multiclass rules, it's folk approaching the same goal differently. That's not a bad thing.

It's folk approaching the same goal differently, by ignoring the multiclass rules and using fiat instead.  Now, again, at the table, that's OK.  If people want to ignore mechanics and do something else, more power to them.  'tis the wonderful nature of RPGs.

But the point of mechanics is to give players clear elements where they can do things without having to ask for permission from the DM.  This gives the players a greater sense of agency in the world, and greater sense of accomplishment when they accomplish their characters goals not simply because the DM said they could, but because they said the could.

So, as game design, it still means that new players and roleplayers are being punished for their lack of system mastery.  It means that I, the optimizer, have greater player agency because I can use the system mechanics to build the character I want, in an effective way.  And of course, I have just as much access to DM fiat as anyone else.

Whereas the new players and roleplayers that didn't take Dabbler at level 2 need to either accept a permanently gimped character (if they actually use the game mechanics), or appeal to DM fiat to have the character they want.  They have fewer/less-good options, as players, than I do, for no good reason I've seen.  I don't think that's fair.

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(edit: removed reference to Oberoni crap. After reading more posts on it than I care to ever again, it appears nobody knows what it actually means and it's just a catchphrase to not actually mention any formal fallacy.  Will now never mention Oberoni again, and if you want to discuss formal fallacies, actually discuss formal fallacies. Otherwise I will assume you are using a bunk appeal to authority, which while not a formal fallacy still leads to a weaker argument when your sources stuck are uncited)

I said exactly what I meant, so what anyone else thinks Oberoni fallacy means is irrelevant.  If you think I was ambiguous, or incorrect in what I said, then say so.

I did not cite Oberoni as an appeal to authority, or to imply it is a formal fallacy.  I would have thought "in D&D circles" would have made that manifestly obvious.  I cited it only as, well, a citation.  I was appropriating someone else's thoughts (the poster named Oberoni), and to not cite him would be plagiarism.  This being an internet forum, the readers of which having ready access to search engines, I did not think a formal "source" would be necessary.

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Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2012, 12:53:03 PM »
Sounds like you're kinda upset about this, but I don't think it's that big of an issue. Personally, I think it makes more sense fictionally to start at the lower level when you learn spellcasting. Much more than suddenly becoming a 9th level caster. I like it. The focus at my table is not on system mastery, it's on playing a fun game and making it seem real.(

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2012, 01:00:11 PM »
Sounds like you're kinda upset about this, but I don't think it's that big of an issue.

I'm not upset about this.  I'm confident that this is a mistake, and am doing my best to convince the authors of this game to correct it.

Is it a huge problem?  No.  But it's a glaring flaw in an otherwise well designed game.

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Personally, I think it makes more sense fictionally to start at the lower level when you learn spellcasting. Much more than suddenly becoming a 9th level caster.

Sure.  Then let the fiction enforce that.  As with everything else in Dungeon World.

Just as the mechanics don't say you can't hack and slash an iron golem with a dagger, the fiction does.

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The focus at my table is not on system mastery, it's on playing a fun game and making it seem real.(

Then the best way to do that is to have mechanics that are not designed to reward system mastery.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 01:49:00 PM by eth0.n »

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sage

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Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2012, 01:03:34 PM »
Adam I talked about this last night. We don't have strong preferences either way. I'm going to look over all the multiclass moves (including God Amidst the Wastes and the other very specific ones) and consider making the change.

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2012, 06:30:05 PM »
FWIW, I'm not concerned about system mastery, because I don't see DW as a game that's primarily about "balance." It's true that someone could make a less than optimal choice about character advancement compared to some ideal of getting the most power out of advancement.

But so what?

This isn't a game where you have to have the optimal build to survive, or thrive. You get XP for failing rolls. And if you're clever, you find a way to use your strongest stats and moves regardless of the situation. And most of all, you pay attention to the story and let the game ride along with you.

So if somebody takes a move called "multiclass dabbler" late in the game and then is disappointed by what it doesn't provide in terms of raw power, then I say maybe they should have thought that being a "dabbler" isn't the route to power.

I'm not much in favor of a change that means someone who's a level 8 thief can suddenly start throwing around heavy-duty spells out of nowhere. To me, that's a worse outcome than that someone with limited "system mastery" might make a sub-optimal choice based on placing a heavy value on being as powerful as possible.

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2012, 06:48:08 PM »
So, in short, Version A gives the optimizer very little additional power compared to Version B, while Version B presents a big trap to new players. I think it's clear that Version A is the superior rule.
This analysis of potential game playing seems pretty right to me.

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2012, 01:28:53 AM »
Couldn't you word the multiclass spelcasting rules so that you can both start at "level 1" spellcasting and reach "level 9" spell casting.

Something like:

You gain the [preparation move] and the [casting move] and count your level in the [spellcaster class] as level 1. Every time you (successfully/fail to/both?) cast a spell increase your [spellcaster class] level by one to a maximum of your level -1.

This would preserve the feeling of starting your spellcasting ability from scratch, but put you on a fast track to level 9 casting that would allow you to catch up to another multiclass character who had taken spellcasting earlier.

How's that sound?

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2012, 07:45:16 AM »


I'm not upset about this.  I'm confident that this is a mistake, and am doing my best to convince the authors of this game to correct it.

Is it a huge problem?  No.  But it's a glaring flaw in an otherwise well designed game.


"Glaring flaw"? Someone had an extra bowl of Hyperbole Flakes for breakfast.

I hope it isn't changed, it makes much more sense for someone who just started casting spells to be at a lower level than someone who's been casting spells for a while now. Otherwise we might as well just make all wizards start at level 10 and be able to cast 9th level spells right out of the gate too.

I don't think it was a mistake, and hope that the writers keep it as is.

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2012, 08:12:51 AM »
"Glaring flaw"? Someone had an extra bowl of Hyperbole Flakes for breakfast.

I hope it isn't changed, it makes much more sense for someone who just started casting spells to be at a lower level than someone who's been casting spells for a while now. Otherwise we might as well just make all wizards start at level 10 and be able to cast 9th level spells right out of the gate too.

I don't think it was a mistake, and hope that the writers keep it as is.

Come now, calling out hyperbole while committing just as heinous?  ;-)

Anyway, I'm not too concerned one way or the other what Sage and Adam decide on this. I dislike Eth0.n's argument, since I dint really see it figuring in to DW play in a meaningful way, and the discursive style leaves much to be desired. I like the fiction that the rule as is supports, and I'm sure that I won't resent the fiction that the changed rule supports. The only difference it's that I can see the current rule supporting the fiction the modified rule supports, through fictional positioning giving you greater power, and the modified one not giving the opportunity for the current rule's fiction without active discussion in advance of taking the move. One way or another, I'm sure I won't care 6 months from now, outside of an occasional grumble.

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2012, 09:30:28 AM »
So issues with Multiclass Dabbler are actually what brought me to this forum in the first place. I hope it doesn't seem presumptuous to come out of left field and post in this thread, but it seemed odd to me that nobody's mentioned what strikes me as the biggest problem with Multiclass Dabbler and spellcasting.

Someone said earlier in the thread that it's ridiculous to take something called "dabbler" at level 9 and assume it'll be powerful, and implied that people who have a problem with the way multiclass spellcasting works are basing it on this. The issue is that for almost every other move in the game, that is exactly how it works! Almost no moves other than spellcasting scale directly to your level. Someone who takes Ritual or Shapeshifter through Multiclass Dabbler at level 9 is every bit as good at rituals or shapeshifting as someone who took it at level 2. Multiclass Dabbler is, indeed, that powerful - just not for spellcasting.

This leads to a special situation when you have a character class that can take more than one multiclass move. (It's not entirely coincidental that I'm playing a bard with an eye towards the arcane in an upcoming game. :) ) Consider the somewhat extreme case of a bard who takes Cast A Spell at level 2 via Multiclass Dabbler and Ritual at level 6 via Multiclass Initiate, vs. the same bard taking those two moves in the reverse order. At level 6, the two characters are exactly the same in their abilities and choices - except that one casts like a level 1 wizard and one casts like a level 5 wizard, with no other tradeoff. In other words, one choice is explicitly "better" than the other, rather than being simply "different". That's something that Dungeon World is otherwise extremely good about avoiding (I can't think of any other similar cases that don't involve Cast A Spell) and that's what makes it a "glaring flaw" as someone else put it - not one that cripples the system, but one that stands out because it's so unlike how the rest of the system is designed.

At the same time, I don't have a good solution for it - the system obviously should allow for the "fighter who's studied a little bit of magic" because that's a genre staple, but at the same time it feels wrong that it arbitrarily punishes the "bard who's also a dab hand with sorcery" if you take the associated moves in the "wrong" order.

On a vaguely related note - what's up with the Thief being the only class that can't pick up Cast A Spell somehow? The Gray Mouser was a wizard's student, after all. :)

Anyhow, to get back to more concrete issues after that long post about Cast A Spell, I had another rules question about Multiclass Dabbler. It was posted earlier in the thread that someone who picks up a move that's interdependent with another move gets both moves, which is fine. What about more complex dependencies? I'm thinking of druid moves here specifically. Shapeshifter and Spirit Speech are each dependent on either Born Of The Soil or Studied Essence to do anything meaningful, but not technically both (since either way you get a "library" of shapes to change into or creatures to talk to). If you take Shapeshifter, do you get one, the other, or both? Likewise, Born Of The Soil is dependent on either of those moves to give it something to do. Which moves do you get if you take Born Of The Soil? Or can you not take a "library" move except as an appendage to an "active" move?


Edit: A partial solution to the bard situation just struck me: count the character's level in that class starting from the level that the character first learned a move from that class. You still have the situation of Cast A Spell not working the same way as any other move, but at least you don't get arbitrary bonuses or penalties based on whether you took Ritual before Cast A Spell or vice versa.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 01:19:23 PM by Benly »

Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2012, 02:37:38 PM »

Come now, calling out hyperbole while committing just as heinous?  ;-)


The difference being that my comment was meant to be laughable. :)

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sage

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Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2012, 02:43:33 PM »
Edit: A partial solution to the bard situation just struck me: count the character's level in that class starting from the level that the character first learned a move from that class. You still have the situation of Cast A Spell not working the same way as any other move, but at least you don't get arbitrary bonuses or penalties based on whether you took Ritual before Cast A Spell or vice versa.
This is the phrasing in the book as of the proofing version that went our Monday. You count level in a class from the level where you first gained a move from that class.

Hmm, the Thief is the only class locked out of spellcasting by default, and that doesn't quite fit. Feel free to add Multiclass Dabbler to the class list or create a compendium class for The Spellthief or whatever—I don't think we want to risk any changes to the core book at this point.

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sage

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Re: Multiclass Dabbler
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2012, 02:46:56 PM »
I think we're going to stick with multiclass level being determined from the level where you first gained a move from that class.

There are people on both sides of this who have some very smart and well-put opinions. Feel free to adapt the multiclassing rules as you see fit, and remember to follow the fiction.