Imagine that you’re a new player. You’ve gone in for levels in wizard, and after careful study and long hours in the virtual Hogwarts you’ve figured out how your spells work. You’ve mastered the intricacies of ritual casting, written down a quick-reference for concentration check DCs, and even solved the perpetually-baffling conundrum of bonus-action casting. In short, you’ve got your little corner of the game on lock, and you’re justifiably proud of your newly acquired rules-fu. And then your martial-arts loving companion declares that he’s become a mage-slayer.

Now remember, in this imaginary scenario you’re a new player. You’ve just started down the long and winding road to system mastery. That means the vast bulk of your rules knowledge involves magic and magic accessories, which means that martial feats like Mage Slayer are right outside of your wheelhouse. Is it any wonder if the magic-users in today’s comic are mildly concerned?

Of course, Monk’s off-putting declaration of “I’m better at killing your character class” is a little beside the point. A quick google will render all mysteries transparent. But what I would caution against, and what I hope Monk understands, is that his domain of expertise is not obvious.

When we play these games for years at a time, and when we do build up our system mastery, it’s easy to forget that “the way my dude works” is far from common knowledge. When it comes time to discuss tactics, you might have to explain and re-explain the limitations of your abilities (e.g. “No, I can’t teleport everyone.” or “Yes, I do get an extra attack with spell strike.”). I’m thinking in particular of an Exalted 2e one-shot I played years ago. My dude was based on the idea of re-entering stealth mid-combat, and I had to explain and re-explain to my ST that it was indeed a thing within the rules. Dude wasn’t a bad ST or anything. He just didn’t have that particular sub-system already stuffed within his noggin.

It’s easy to think that GMs or other players “ought” to know this stuff. It’s just basic game mechanics! How can you play if you don’t know combat 101? But it’s important to be a generous gamer, and I’m not just talking about buying a round for bar patrons. You’re the expert on your own dude. You’re the one who researched all the intricacies of your chosen build. If it takes a minute for the other folks at the table to grok your powers and abilities, take the time to go over your shtick. The road to system mastery isn’t short, but it’s a lot more fun when we get there together.

Question of the day then! What is a complicated mechanic that you had to teach to the rest of your table? Why were they having trouble getting it, and did you all agree on the final ruling? Shout out with your kung-fu confusions and magical mechanical mixups down in the comments!


GET YOUR SCHWAG ON! Want a piece of Handbook-World to hang on you wall? Then you’ll want to check out the “Hero” reward tier on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Each monthly treasure hall will bring you prints, decals, buttons, bookmarks and more! There’s even talk of a few Handbook-themed mini-dungeons on the horizon. So hit the link, open up that treasure chest, and see what loot awaits!