Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition has an interesting, and potentially cool mechanic: spell slots. But it has been hard to explain the concept to the boys. And especially the party’s spellcaster, who is a very bright kid, but he has had an extremely hard time grasping this mechanic and as a result falls back on his weakest stuff when he could be doing so much more. And I was trying to think of how to help him grasp it when it just now hit me.
All of these boys play Magic the Gathering, to a large or lesser extent. And they are experienced players, not super competitive, but still good. And it just now hit me that I can use that as a teaching tool.
For example this sorcerer. In D&D terms he is 4th level, which means he knows 5 cantrips, and 5 other spells, and has 4 1st level slots and 3 2nd level slots. If you are confused, you’re not alone, this is not the most intuitive role playing mechanic I have ever encountered. But I realized I can explain this to him in Magic terms:
1. The Cantrips are zero casting cost spells he always has in his hand. They can be useful, but not great on their own.
2. Knowing 5 other spells means he has 5 other spells in his hand that he can cast, they can be a mix of 1st and 2nd level.
3. He has a total of 10 mana (slots), but 6 of it has to be cast in sets of 2 (2nd level slots)
4. 1st level spells only require 1 mana to cast, but can be cast with 2 for more power. And 2nd level spells all require 2 mana.
5, In addition as a Sorcerer he has 4 Sorcery points that he can use to create more mana (slots) or alter the effect of the spells.
If you haven’t played Magic, then this is still Greek to you, but for these boys they will grasp it right away I think. Which makes that an amazing teaching tool for me. I am even thinking of creating cards for him to use to help him understand this.