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Check Out Legends and Lore by Monte Cook!

Posted on October 26, 2011 by Monica Valentinelli

On September 27th, Monte Cook took over for Mike Mearls as a columnist on the Wizards of the Coast website. Penning “Legends and Lore,” the series dives deep into the core of Dungeons and Dragons to explore the essence of this game. I recently had the chance to pore through these articles and he brings up some great points that I hadn’t thought of. What I feel this column does, is open the door to community-focused discussion and feedback from all gamers, not just players who prefer a particular edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

I really liked some of the subjects Monte addressed when he talked about Magic and Lore in Dungeons and Dragons. In the article, he posed these questions: “What if the game assumed no magic items? What if magic items really were just hard-fought-for treasure that made characters better?”

In two questions, Monte managed to pinpoint my issue with magic and magic items in general. He gave this example later on in the same article. “If magic items aren’t something easily purchased and aren’t carefully equated to character level, there’s suddenly a lot more room for them to be stranger, more idiosyncratic, and in general more interesting.”

In my mind, that definition fits with the nature of magic and draws me further into the setting as opposed to focused on numbers and min/maxing the system. If I’m concentrated on a number, then the item itself is meaningless. When it comes to magic items, what typically makes a +1 Rod o’ Healing awesome for my character is that it gives my rogue elf a mechanical, not a story, benefit. While that may be true and important in some situations, for me? The story of how I got that Rod and where it originated from is crucial to my ability to become emotionally-attached to it. I will play with an item that means something to me, even if the mechanical benefit is less than another item, because I view that to be part of my character.

There’s a ton of nuggets like this jam-packed into every article. I encourage you to check out this series from Monte Cook to get in on the ground floor (so to speak). There’s a chance to vote on the article topic and the results are posted in the following column.

Here’s what has been covered so far:

  • Very Perceptive, Legends and Lore – Debut article in the series. Monte offers a different take on perception mechanics.
  • Magic and Mystery, Legends and Lore – A deep dive into what magic items mean to a game and to a character.
  • Live Together, Die Alone, Legends and Lore – Discusses teamwork and how classes and abilities play into that aspect.
  • Preserving the Past, Legends and Lore – Dungeons and Dragons has a history. How much of that legacy should be preserved in the newer editions?
  • Rules, Rules, Rules, Legends and Lore – How detailed do the mechanics need to be for something as straightforward as a climb? Monte presents three, different options for rules.

  • I’m really interested to see how this column will develop and how it will affect the future of Dungeons and Dragons. This is a refreshing take on the game and I hope to see a book come out of this one day.

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