Roll Your Own

2007 August 20
by Vanir

One of the best things about D&D is that it can be played a lot of ways. Some live for the battles, and treat it like a strategy wargame. Some, like us, love the roleplaying. And there are also those who enjoy extending the rules and creating new materials. Whole new game worlds, spells, character classes, monsters, you name it.

I personally did this a lot in high school, especially new spells. But one of the things I quickly discovered was that my stuff was usually massively overpowered or caused some other game mechanic to completely fail. For instance, my level 2 “Enhance” spell that I made when I was 13, which required you to roll a d10 — and whatever number came up was the damage multiplier for your next attack spell. 100d6 fireballs, anyone?

It wasn’t until much later, in a good friend’s recent campaign we played in, that it finally sunk in that the reason the classes/spells/monsters in the books work so much better than the homebrewed ones is that they have had the holy living crap playtested out of them by lots of people. In this particular case, we spent the majority of a campaign working the bugs out of some classes he’d created. It takes a lot more work than you’d think. More work than just one guy playtesting it in a campaign, anyway.

It is for this reason, that I really like the idea behind It’s a place where people who like to create stuff can put it out there where others can see it and try it out and report their experiences. As the Linux guys say, “many eyes make all bugs shallow”, and creative types generally tend to egg each other on. It’s always good to see people acting on their creative urges, and I’m expecting some pretty great stuff to come out of this site.

Oh, and those classes we were playtesting? Our friend says they’re totally going on that site. Sweet.

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