marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

interesting curses

The DM vs. the writer again -- a DM and his players want curses that have easy to work mechanics. 

What the writer wants is a curse that will intrigue the reader, affect the plot, have symbolic resonance and determine the character arc.  (The last of which is probably the one the player will hate most -- because it shoves the character around.)  A -1 on all throws is not dramatic. 

AND the game curse can be an incidental thing, picked up in play,  endured until morning and the remove curse spell.  A novel curse should be a major plot point.  If it does not drive the plot.

Then, this affects other things, too.  A sorcerer who is optimized for play is less intriguing that one of the more esoteric bloodlines, especially if the spell set is chosen to play up the bloodline, not to fight well.  Also, the bloodline should be central to the story.  Either the vividness would distract, or the character would be deliberately neutral to avoid drawing attention from the main plot -- either way, it's a waste.

OTOH, a character optimized for one environment works better in a novel than in a game.  A ranger of the forest -- well, "unity of place" may not actually be an Aristotelian unity, and it's looser for novels than for plays, but a hopscotch around the world is as hard to pull off for a unified plot as a random mix of monster.
Tags: character arc, metaphor, role-playing games, the dm vs the writer, unity of theme, world-building: magic (effects)

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