This is the second post I have written concerning Bruce Galloway's 1981 tome of essays, history and role playing rules and errata known as Fantasy Wargaming; the Highest Level of All.
The post previous to this one gave a general summary of the differences that one could expect to find regarding FW as compared with D&D.
So, given these differences and the seeming complexity of the rules, I asked the question, why play?
I will cite the fascination we as gamers have with the dark age and medieval cultures as a major reason (who would not enjoy at least occasional gaming sessions set in real world history?), but I think the major selling point in running this game is the magical flavor.
That very feature might drive some away--its a like or hate thing.
The notes that a player will assemble to keep track of their spells could well end up looking and feeling like an actual grimoire. Spell components are to be gathered, and these are all related to a zodiacal table of correspondences.
One example given in the book is a Taurus wand. The Bull sign corresponds to hornbeam, copper and sapphire, so these items are used in the construction of the wand. Astrological lore is key to running the magic system of FW.
Spells cast in the month related to Taurus and the time of day and in areas will have great effect, being diminished by opposite controlling signs.
The spells will necessarily have to be related to the spheres of influence which correspond to Taurus.
Gemini, for example, relates to hidden knowledge, concealed things and mysteries, so divination spells will be most auspicious when cast using physical components that correspond to Gemini.
The GM is actually required to make notes of these ethereal zodiac influences in specific areas of his adventure and relate them to the mage character is needed.
Complicated? Could be? But nice flavor and authenticity, as well, if a mage is your thing.
In my next post I will discuss magic in FW a bit further and also talk about Religion, which works in much the same way except that character conduct and piety continually influence appeals for Divine Aid, whether you are a cleric or a warrior.
Its all a bit to keep up with and very much changes the nature of the game, but if you can craft a scenario out of these subtleties and make them part of the game itself (instead of assumed magic preparations which we find with D&D), you might have a thoroughly enjoyable session.
More to come.