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Old 02-18-2024, 08:22 PM   #1
Fred Brackin
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Shadow of the Weird Wizard pdf

You may have heard of this when it was announced. The pitch was for "like Shadow of the Demon Lord only not so dark". Since Shadow of the Demon Lord is really quite dark this sounded like room for growth and the pdf was cheap and myself and several other members of my regular group signed up.

I have the just released pdf now and have been working my way through it. When I turned on my computer this evening I already had an e-mail announcing the 1.2 pdf so I'm going to skip over typos.

So how do you make a character? First you choose your Ancestry and the only choice in this section of the book is "Human".

Then you either chose or randomly roll a Profession and I'd recommend choice but I'm going to see how bad random rolling can get. I am using a nearly new set of purple polyhedrals with few association s (such as _other_ dark fantasy rpgs of which there are a monotenous plentitude). Apparently on D20s and D6s are needed.

The D20 gives me a "6" which puts me in the "Entertainer" category. followed up with a "19" making my character's pre-adventuring Profession "Thespian". This grants mw what ever skills the GM (Sage in this system) want to give me and a bok with scripts for several plays. Not quite what I had in mind and other rolls could have given me a weapon or suit of armor or another language which is why I recommend "choice".
The next step is "Equipment" (but not the Equipment section) which gives me a dagger and what amount to the "Adventurers Backpack seen in other systems and a set of Bonus Equipment which is some sort sort armor and weapon. I choose leather armor, sword and shield and feel like this sis some progress.

The next step is Distinctive Featiures and again the text says "choose or roll" and some of them are so yucky I can't really imagine why you'd roll but I'll see what rolling gets me.

My D6 gives me 4 rolls on a random selection of tables. 1st roll is 'gaunt to the point of appearing skeletal". which is followed by "abundant ear and nose hair", habits of rocking back and forth when sitting and shifting my weight from foot to foot while standing (yes, that was rolls 3 and 4 which I combined in one sentence). Things could be worse. I'm not missing any body parts.

I can actually work with this (though I'm not sure I see the point). My character spent his early adolescence in a pseudo-Shakespearian theater troop. This ended when he grew all that hair and he was kicked out of the troop and now he's wandering the world (and not eating very well) looking for another livelihood. The movement disorders I have to put down to neurodivergence.

There are random Personality and Religious traits tables but I'm randomed out for a while and need to go on choose=ing a Path.

That's either a Fighter, Mage, Priest or Rogue. There are no random tables. it's choice only and i'm going with Fighter because I feel like my character has soem aggression to work out.

We're back to choice or random roll again but rolling gives you all of your stats as a set. My roll gives me ST 13 Agility 10, Intellect 10 and Will 10 (10 is average human). No, I don't know why my guy is so strong in spite of his gauntness.

Humans seem to have an option to raise to stats by 1 pt and i would choose St and Agility.

You then add in your Fighter Level 1 traits which are a "Natural Defense Score" of 10 which is your AC if not armored. Mages get an 8, Priests a 9 and Rogues an 11. The leather I go back under Equipment gives me a 12 and the shield a +2.

That's the end of Character creation and natural stopping place. I've looked through the Rules chapter and the "real" Equipment chapter but stopped reading at eh Magic section. There are a lot of "schools" of Magic.

Ask questions if you feel like it or wait til I've read farther. So far it might be a _little_ less dark than Demon Lord.
Fred Brackin
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Old 02-19-2024, 08:53 PM   #2
Fred Brackin
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Shadow of the Weird Wizard pdf

I have now finished my initial skim having read the Magic chapter and the Expert and Master Paths chapters.

There are somewhere around 2 dozen Traditions of Magic going from Aeromancy to War. I believe that Priests and Mages can both choose from these though some are more suitable to one or the other. You can definitely have more than one tradition and most of the random rolls started spellcasters with two. There about two dozen spells per Tradition broken down into Novice, Expert and Master levels.

Expert and Master Paths can be thought of as "prestige" classes with you gettng an Expert path at 3rd level and a Master Path one at seventh. These along with your Novice path determine what advances you gain at each level. There is no provision for advancement beyond ten and tenth level looks pretty apocalyptic anyway.

There is no "beastiary" "gazetteer" or listing of prominent npcs.

It's hard to tell without those if the game is really not as "dark" as Demon Lord.

I did discover that the table of contents is a big section of hyperlinks and if you touch a chapter or section listing it will take you there. Kewl!
Fred Brackin
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Old 03-01-2024, 12:18 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Saint Louis or thereabouts
Default Re: Shadow of the Weird Wizard pdf

Shadow of the Demon Lord is the first class-based system I've liked in twenty years, and it's mainly for the branching aspect of the paths while you're leveling up.
Mechanically, it's simple but sensible.
Stylistically, a game is as dark as you and the group want it to be. Some discussion beforehand would probably be good to map out "too far."
I too have have a new digital copy of Weird Wizard. It's the same, but different and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Like you said, maybe some of the supporting material will help move me into the WW camp.
Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs. - from Murphy's Laws of Combat
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Old 03-01-2024, 08:36 PM   #4
Fred Brackin
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Shadow of the Weird Wizard pdf

Originally Posted by Saint View Post
Stylistically, a game is as dark as you and the group want it to be. Some discussion beforehand would probably be good to map out "too far."
If only we had chosen "No TPK by mushroom monsters" before our Demon lord game started.

There was a lot of dark stuff in our Demon Lord games with crazed cultists and horribly abused victims. Weird Wizard doesn't really seem like it's going to be "kill the dragon and take his stuff" which is about where I want to be but it might not be as monotonously "Save the World! (whether you want to or not)" as we started to get stuck with in 3.x Adventure Paths.
Fred Brackin
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Old 04-04-2024, 05:59 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2024
Default Re: Shadow of the Weird Wizard pdf

I got the Shadow of the Demon Lord, alongside some other resource books and so far I GM'd (and finished) a 6-session adventure for 4 friends. It was great! IMO it is one of the best d20 systems I've ever GM'd. The whole theme and gritty damage/dying rules fits very well for anyone looking to GM an horror fantasy scenario where the PCs never get to become so powerful as to not take monsters and other horror dangers seriously. The electronic game it most reminds me off is "Darkest Dungeon".

What I hope from Shadow of the Weird Wizard is to have the same mechanical structure and that they only change four things rules-wise:
1) Tone down the gritty aspect of the "dying" rules, as to fit a non-horror game;
2) Expand the magic traditions a bit to make it more "colorful", also to feel more of a "traditional fantasy game";
3) Make a set of skills for players to choose from and leave the "Profession skill" as to be a wildcard for crafting and anything profession-related that the base skills wouldn't cover;
4) Make random background stuff on character creations something optional (except maybe for determining wealth). Makes sense for SotDL to send a message to players that they shouldn't attach themselves too much to the characters, but I think that SotWW probably sets another tone.

What I did like about Shadow of the Demon Lord (and that I observed that my players liked too):
- Player Characters are made of "pieces" of levels in different classes, that exist exclusively in 3 tiers, making leveling customization very engaging.
- Attack rolls, defense values and resistances ("saves") values not based on level, but PCs rather get very significant bonuses (as "boons") on such things based on the classes they picked on the way.
- Primary stats add to rolls on point by point, not "every even number", like 90% of d20 system inherited from D&D.
- Four main stats, removing the "Constitution" and "Charisma" stats from the trope. Strength stat gives more hit points (but only once, not per level), making HP is more strictly tied to choice of classes. Charisma is not there, so it won't become a stat of every single min-max player will dump (when not making charisma-based casters).
- The freedom of choosing magic "schools" (traditions) and those not being related to classes, but only separated by the two mental stats.
- The initiative system, which helps combat being faster. It is also dynamic, since players can decide on acting before enemies or going later to take longer actions.

What I disliked about the rules on Shadow of the Demon Lord:
- The abstract skill system.

This system is a 9.5/10 for me and I hope they get it right on SotWW too.

By the way, anyone got hands on the officially release? If so, how is it?

Last edited by Chubbyfox; 04-04-2024 at 10:03 AM.
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