June has come, which means we are just that little bit closer to the August release date of Frostgrave: Second Edition! (It’s also my birthday month – normally I would say to send all gifts care of the Osprey offices, but as those offices are closed at the moment, just send best-wishes!)
As with the first edition, the second leaps right in with creating a wizard, and, in truth, not a whole lot has changed. The system for creating wizards always seemed to be one of the strongest and most enjoyable parts of the game for a lot of people, so I didn’t want to mess with it much. You still choose from the same ten schools of magic, all of which have the same connections to the other schools. You still select 8 spells, following the same rules as in first edition. Now, some of those spells have changed, but we will get into that later.
In fact, the only changes I made to creating wizards are very minor, and all have to do with items. First, wizards no longer pay for their starting items. Charging a wizard 5gc for a sword, when the game is usually dealing with magic items worth hundreds of gold crowns just seemed fiddly, and tended to cause confusion in other parts of the system.
A few people might be horrified to learn that I have dropped the +1 Fight for wielding two weapons. The biggest problem with this is that it was just too good. Rules-wise, there was just no good reason not to do it (the hallmark of a bad rule). This in turn led to all these wizards running around like duelists with their swords and daggers, which didn’t feel right. Anyway, the rule is gone. On the other hand, the first dagger carried by a wizard (or apprentice) no longer takes up an item slot, so everyone gets a free back-up knife!
Following a similar thought process, two-handed weapons now take up two items slots, and wizards wanting to carry a bow will also have to carry a quiver. These rules are designed to offset the advantages conferred by these weapons, and make it less likely that wizards, especially higher level-ones who tend to have lots of magical gear, will carry them.
And that’s it for wizards; they are otherwise the same as in first edition.
Apprentices, on-the-other-hand, have gotten slightly better! (Do I hear applause? I did say slightly). Basically, I made a couple of changes to their Stats. First, their starting Shoot score is now equal to the wizard's (+0). This is actually irrelevant to most people, but it eliminates the awkward -2 Shoot that all apprentices had. Much more importantly, Apprentices starting Health is now only 2 less than the wizard, meaning they start with Health 12 (instead of 10). While this isn’t a huge gain, it means that apprentices can take a little more damage, and, perhaps even more importantly, have a little more Health available to empower spells. As an interesting side-effect of these two changes, starting apprentices are only 6 levels below their wizard, so if your wizard dies, you only lose 6 levels when promoting your apprentice. This will hopefully lessen the psychic blow to players when their wizard dies, and help keep campaigns feeling more balanced.
Finally, Apprentices now only cost 100gc. This is part of a general restructuring of money, and has little effect on assembling your warband in the beginning, but does mean that it isn’t quite so costly to replace an apprentice down the line.
I'm sure everyone got an eye-full of that new piece of aRu-Mor artwork. I told you she should could paint, didn't I! Some may recognize the piece as illustrating the very first scenario in the original rulebook - well the Mausoleum is back for a new edition!
Okay, that’s all I’ve got say about the spellcasters at the moment. I’ll be back soon with a look at the soldiers, and how they have changed for the Second Edition…