Using Class in Worldbuilding and Adventure Design
The appeal of the wizard is that in many way it’s the most iconic of character classes. Nothing screams fantasy like an arcane spellcaster, able to manipulate the forces of magic that set your fictional realm apart from the real world. While this means, in most systems, that there’s a lot to keep track of on the character sheet, it offers all sorts of opportunities not present in other character types. There are tactics involved in selecting spells, and deciding when to use them. A great deal of creativity and imagination can go into describing the special effects of the spell. The invocations uttered, the material used, and the gestures performed can vary from one tradition, one school, on character to another, allowing for personalization. In determining how magic works within the setting, how it is learned, and the way it impacts culture, politics, and religion, it sets in motion a ripple effect that impacts nearly every element of worldbuilding. Wizards literally and figuratively rock the world.
Because the Class Theory supplements are system-agnostic, this volume will delve more into the perceptions and archetypal personalities of the wizard rather than specific abilities. In places, some broad generalizations will be made. You should adapt the concepts to what best fits the mechanics, setting, and character that you’re working with inside the context of your campaign. As an example, while not all systems have classes, the word class will be used generically to represent the actual character element of that name, character archetypes and templates, and other conceptual details that fit the general spirit of the wizard. Because if we’re going to be intellectually honest, we need to just admit that everything in tabletop roleplaying, no matter how innovative, unique, and transcendent it may be, with always be compared to the baseline created by the game that started the hobby.
For the Player
This book is not about new abilities, optimizing your character build, or exploiting game mechanics for maximum effect. The intention of this volume is to help you tell your character’s story. By the end of this book, you’ll see the wizard in relation to the Three Pillars of Fantasy Storytelling, and use the unique features of the archetype to create unique characters, enhance your worldbuilding, and tell unique stories tailored to their roles and abilities.
For the Gamemaster
By taking a look at the specific strengths and opportunities of the wizard class, you will be able to create truly balanced encounters. You will gain a fresh perspective on how the wizard fits into the Three Pillars of Fantasy Storytelling, so you can work with the player to create a character that fits seamlessly with the setting and your campaign. The way wizard characters can be leveraged to expand your worldbuilding efforts, and can be mined for story hooks, will allow you to have a richer creative experience, and an overall better roleplaying experience for everyone at your table.
The Three Pillars of Fantasy Storytelling
The Foragers Guild Guide series is predicated on the concept that fantasy storytelling requires three essential, non-negotiable elements: compelling characters, a captivating setting, and electrifying adventure. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a novel, a screenplay, or a game. These elements apply to any world or rules system. The interplay of these three pillars are what will make your fantasy storytelling stand out.
The best fantasy stories have memorable, even iconic, characters. We all have our favorite heroes and villains. They’re shaped and supported by the setting, and the adventures are about their attempts to achieve their goals and fulfill their ambitions.
Something about the fantasy genre makes people go crazy for worldbuilding. It’s important to understand why the setting is important, and how it needs to be balanced by the other two pillars. A great fantasy world will serve the needs of the characters and the adventure, rather than being some sort of end unto itself.
Throughout this series I’ll use the word “adventure” and “story” interchangeably. People looking to write prose fiction will lean toward the latter term, while tabletop roleplayers will likely embrace the former. For our purposes here, an adventure is a particular type of story.
About the Foragers Guild Guide Series
There’s a notorious overlap between tabletop roleplayers and creative writers. A lot of modern fantasy authors started out chucking dice and fighting monsters. Others roleplayers enjoy writing stories just for fun. Some of us just want our tabletop experiences to be as cool as the books we read. The Foragers Guild Guide line is for those people that enjoy telling fantasy stories and want to improve their craft.