Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Power of Yes

One of the great mentors I've had in life explained to me the Power of Yes. Before going into teaching full time, he had run an independent bookstore. He said that the most rewarding part of the job was the various ways he could say "Yes" to a customer to make their lives a litter easier, a little better.

"Do you have any books on...?"

"Can you recommend a book for my grandmother?"

"Can you point me to the history books?"

Of course, all of this presumes saying "Yes" only to reasonable questions and requests made by people asking in good faith. Saying "Yes," is accommodation and the affirmative of a comrade; it makes things easier, it fosters fellowship, and validates yearning. It satisfies both parties, where possible. Saying "Yes" is mostly good--by a wide margin.

It turns out that saying "Yes" to reasonable requests in my D&D games also feels nice. There are definitely things I'd say "No" to in terms of fairness and setting mood, but mostly you lose nothing by being accommodating. Here's some Things I’ve Said Yes To in 5e D&D:

Can I play a warlock that uses their Intelligence for all their class-based abilities instead of Charisma?
A warlock who uses their wits instead of their force of personality to bargain with an otherworldly horror for arcane power? Faust-as-lawyer? Dope, let's do it.

What do you say to a pact of the blade warlock who can manifest two finesse weapons to dual wield? Or, like, a pact crossbow?
People love their two-weapon fighting. Neither of those options is strictly better than manifesting a two-handed weapon, so nothing breaks there.

Would it be okay if I swap my eldritch knight’s access to evocation spells for access to necromantic spells?
You've got a cool concept for an eldritch knight experimenting with poisonous magic? Excellent.

Can I have a weapon like X that does damage type Y instead?
There are a couple holes in the combination of damage type and properties, though. It's not a big deal, but if we're going to add stuff to the game we might as well add stuff that's actually not there yet. Here are some armaments I've made available to purchase in my games:

New Martial Melee Weapons
Weapon Cost Damage Weight Properties
Greatspear 30 gp 2d6 piercing 7 lbs. Heavy, two-handed
Polehammer 20 gp 1d10 bludgeoning 6 lbs. Heavy, reach, two-handed
Saber 25 gp 1d8 slashing 3 lbs. Finesse *
* If a character is proficient with rapiers, they are also proficient with sabers.

Can my character to suffer complications for the injuries they’ve sustained?
Wait, you want me to fuck your character up even more? Umm, sure, if that's how you get your rocks off.

I’d like to play as a plant person or an insect person, can we find a race for that?
Yes! I don't own these supplements with weird-ass races in them for no reason.

Can I use Deception or Sleight of Hand to make a sneak attack?
Yes, and I made a full house ruling about how I handle that sort of situation.

Can I use the playtest versions of the mystic, artificer, or revised ranger?
Yeah, let's see how those playtest versions shake out.

Will you tell me more about this facet of the setting for your game?
You actually want me to blather on about my dumb special snowflake setting? Settle in, for I will a tale unfold.

This polearm feat doesn’t apply to spears or pikes, can I use it with them too?
Yeah, it's dumb that it doesn't work with those weapons. I dunno what they were thinking.