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Weapons and Armor: A +2 What, Sir? (Part 1 of 2)

Plus Two What?A fighter walks into a shop. “Gimme a +2 sword.”

The shopkeeper nods. “Two swords coming right up.”

“Not two swords,” the fighter says. “One sword. +2.”

“Three swords, sir?” the shopkeeper asks.

“I want a +2 sword,” the fighter repeats, slowly and deliberately. “Just one sword, but +2.”

Clutching his patience, the shopkeeper raises an eyebrow. “+2 what, sir?”

In chess, saying a piece is killed or captured and then removing it from the board serves its purpose. In a roleplaying game, evocative language separates a rule that stumbles from one that strides. A carefully chosen key word creates the immersion that is so important in a fantasy setting. More than just an exciting explanation of the power the characters wield, key words illustrate what the characters experience. Dealing 1d6 damage per level to all creatures in a 20-ft. radius is a dull spell until it is called fireball and described as an explosion erupting on a medieval battlefield, scorching the horde of incoming orcs. This language illustrates a scene that is far more interesting than what is really happening: a series of d6s are rolled and the result is compared to a stat block to determine who lives and who dies.

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