Rules Thoughts on Dresden Files

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Spectrum
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:08 pm

Rules Thoughts on Dresden Files

Post by Spectrum » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:34 pm

Lately, I've been on a lot of 'Doctor Time', lots of periods of time when things happen when they happen and not much to do about it other than try to entertain yourself until things get busy again. Ick. So I've been rereading the Dresden Files series again. I'm also planning on reading some of the peripheral stuff (short stories, comics) that I haven't read before.

So a few observations/thoughts:

Dresden powers- Some of the big name builders (Jab!) hate building supernatural characters because of how undefined they are. Butcher, being a single author, is able to define things better. Really looking at things, Dresden has ritualist and artificer, a nice HQ but not really that many powers that he can call on a regular basis. Mostly its damage and deflect and a few Features (FlickemBickus!). See Magesight below. He's more defined by his complications and the hero points that are constantly surging in. I'm also a little stumped around Harry's staff, blasting stick and shield bracelet. Are they Devices that buy off Uncontrolled? Are they Complications?

Molly's powers- In comparison, Molly is sooo much more complicated. She has a huge suite of mind affecting powers.

How does magesight work anyways: Detect Supernatural? Mind reading? Counters concealment? Using hero points for inspiration? Still, it's pretty well defined what it does in story but not too sure how it work mechanically?

Bob the Skull- Is he a Device? A full NPC? A construct? I think that his major mechanical effect is Quickness on occult (and history?) rolls. Not sure how I would represent his ability to leave the skull and investigate.

The apartment- Diminutive, concealed, multiple effects, laboratory/workshop, library (Bob?). Just don't think too hard about the scale involved in Little Chicago.

BlueBeetle- does it have Immortality? Regeneration?

NeverWhere- This one really got me thinking about the difference between Movement and Teleportation. BG3 brought up an interesting point a while back about Morph vs Feature. I'm inclined to think of Teleport as having more combat uses and moving around within a scene. Movement is about travelling between dramatic scenes and often involves some kind of story challenge in between the two locations. Moving between Chicago and the jungles around the Temple of Red Court Doom is a Movement power. I'm inclined to think that travelling to the lair of Corpsetaker is the same.

Writing into a Corner- Another observation that kinda stumps me. I dream of being able to write an ongoing story as tightly as Butcher. There are very few elements that aren't reused later in the series, sometimes much later. Also, given the volume of material, I didn't that many places where he contradicts himself without a payoff. At the same time, I think that Butcher wrote himself into a corner somewhere around Changes or Ghost Story. I can see where he wanted to move to the next progression but it didn't hit all the right notes. Still overall well done but discordant. I'm always a little hesitant when I see a writer not know how to end something so..everybody dies, The End. Still lots of stories that can be told but struggling to get out of that corner with that character. It's something to watch as an author or as a GM.

Anyway, enough wandering. I'm curious on what you think and what questions you have.
We rise from the ashes so that new legends can be born.

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L-Space
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Re: Rules Thoughts on Dresden Files

Post by L-Space » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:32 pm

Spectrum wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:34 pm
Dresden powers- Some of the big name builders (Jab!) hate building supernatural characters because of how undefined they are. Butcher, being a single author, is able to define things better. Really looking at things, Dresden has ritualist and artificer, a nice HQ but not really that many powers that he can call on a regular basis. Mostly its damage and deflect and a few Features (FlickemBickus!). See Magesight below. He's more defined by his complications and the hero points that are constantly surging in. I'm also a little stumped around Harry's staff, blasting stick and shield bracelet. Are they Devices that buy off Uncontrolled? Are they Complications?
Yea, power wise he would mostly have Blast and Move object. I've always thought his magic would probably have a Fatigue side-effect (since it has a tendency of wearing him out) and Uncontrolled with his foci giving him bonuses to making the save, buying off the uncontrolled, and maybe adding a power feat or two. Note: by all rights the tiring portion could just be after he uses it so much or his tendency of using Extra-effort.
Spectrum wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:34 pm
How does magesight work anyways: Detect Supernatural? Mind reading? Counters concealment? Using hero points for inspiration? Still, it's pretty well defined what it does in story but not too sure how it work mechanically?
I think magesight itself would be a combination of counter illusions and aura reading with a tendency of causing complications.
Spectrum wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:34 pm
Bob the Skull- Is he a Device? A full NPC? A construct? I think that his major mechanical effect is Quickness on occult (and history?) rolls. Not sure how I would represent his ability to leave the skull and investigate.
I'd probably say Sidekick with high skill ranks and quickness to help make Aid checks for Harry. While also having insubstantial and possession abilities.
Spectrum wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:34 pm
NeverWhere- This one really got me thinking about the difference between Movement and Teleportation. BG3 brought up an interesting point a while back about Morph vs Feature. I'm inclined to think of Teleport as having more combat uses and moving around within a scene. Movement is about travelling between dramatic scenes and often involves some kind of story challenge in between the two locations. Moving between Chicago and the jungles around the Temple of Red Court Doom is a Movement power. I'm inclined to think that travelling to the lair of Corpsetaker is the same.
Oh yea definitely a Movement ability, since they have to physically travel across the NeverWhere, with a number of encounters depending on how quickly the GM wants Harry to get where they're going.

P.S. I've been thinking about rereading the series, just wish I had a time frame for when the next books will be coming out.
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