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Magic Alternatives?


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#1 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 27 May 2000 - 09:23 AM

What are the *MOST ORIGINAL* magic systems you have seen or imagined? I''m especially interested in systems that don''t limit spells with numbers, but rather create a balance that discourages spell overuse. Anyone?

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#2 Painless   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 27 May 2000 - 09:50 AM

Well, one magic system I like is the one used in the CRPGs Natuk and Nahlakh ( http://www.proudft.com for SW versions). In those systems, every attempt to cast a spell takes strength and makes spellcasting more difficult, until in the end of a long battle the wizards/clerics are usually only capable of casting very simple spells. Failing in casting usually took even more strength (and once the strength was gone, it would start draining HPs). In those games, magic was also fairly weak compared to, say, FFs or AD&D games (at least, the gold box games - I haven''t played BG) and was meant more to support the fighters and weaken the enemy before contact. IMO it''s far better than mana-based systems.

#3 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 27 May 2000 - 02:31 PM

Personally, I prefer Betrayel at Krondor. Every spell you take drains your HP. Of course, this would take away the spell Heal, but sometimes you just have to compromise.

#4 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 27 May 2000 - 04:06 PM

I experimented once with that in a table-top rpg. My reason was that you were channelling the natural forces of the world through your own body... which had the added bonus of driving your character slowly insane.


It'' interesting that these systems *technically* let the player cast spells whenever he wants... but you''d be amazed how out of their way they will go to avoid using spells if thier sanity depends on it.

#5 CodyVa   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 27 May 2000 - 04:10 PM

I like the systems where magic is used the other spells go down..like you have to exercise those.
so you have to keep using real attacks not just magic
real attacks to keep yoru hp up...
and spells you have to exercise too.
of course most people would probably only do magic..and little hp..but make hp need to be exercised more.
sound good?

#6 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 27 May 2000 - 05:04 PM

Uh, say again? No offense, but I couldn''t understand that, and I''m a native speaker in english... Can you be a little clearer?

#7 Sunriath   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 27 May 2000 - 10:00 PM

I have been thinking this a little recently. Personally, I have been working to create a spell system that really encourages strategy and discovery. I think part of the problem with modern *fantasy* magic systems (disclaimer: there are bound to be exceptions, but this is in general) is that they lack a sense of mystery concerning magic. The sense of awe and mystery has left because magic systems explain and/or quantify everything (which is what computers are good at). In ancient times magic was a very strange and mysterious force that was to be feared and wasn''t completely understandable even to the magician!

I am considering using a system where there is a magical language that has to be put together piece by piece in order to create a spell. This way the player is not limited to a certain number of spells. The players could experiment with combining the pieces to create new spells and slowly discover the mysterious language of magic. Part of the effect of having a combination spell system is that a player needs time to cast a spell and also needs a clear head to remember how to create the spell (just like a real mage).

This system then, of course leaves the question of how do you control the level and complexity of spells being cast? One way is to assign a cost to each piece (or use some other formula to calculate the cost of a spell) and somehow subtract that cost from what a user is currently able to spend to cast a spell. The resource spent could be manna or health or strength or gold, etc. Another way is for a player to be required to have a necessary rune (or other item) to cast a piece of the spell. This way you can control how powerful of spell pieces that the player has by what runes they have. An idea I am still toying around with is to allow the players to cast any spell they want or know or, but they have a spell handling skill that determines the successfulness of casting spells. More complex spells cost more manna and have a tendency to backfire with creative results (not just the standard “The spell backfired and fizzled out or hit you instead” but rather “you just alerted all orcs within a square mile to your presence”, etc.). Of course there’s always the negative consequence of casting a spell, such as magic causes the mage to go crazy, blind, or even magic is an evil force that draws the attention of evil (think of the one ring from Tolkien).

Hope this helps give you some more ideas. I suggest going to a store that sells table-top RPG’s and thumbing through a few books to see how they handle magic, they sometimes can give good inspiration.



#8 Cereal Killah   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 27 May 2000 - 10:35 PM

Hmm.. how about sacrifices? Like reagents, only they could be a bit more bulky and rare (or common).

For example, food, animals, or (!) people.

THAT would be interesting.

#9 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 28 May 2000 - 06:35 AM

I know a guy who used the language thing in his mush. He literally designed a language that allowed the players to manipulate the Mush itself through a layer, then gave them one or two commands, but didn''t tell them what the commands would do!

When there was a syntax error, he had it generate gross consequences. Very good deterrent to magic overuse...

So here''s some food for thought: Sunraith is right, and I know why magic isn''t mysterious anymore. In the cases of most mythology, magic was RARE, UNQUANTIFED, and ALL POWERFUL! But if you have players using magic, it can''t be all powerful, cause that interrupts balance right?

Ideally, magic would be all powerful and impossible to come by. You could implement that pretty well in a single player, but never want to risk it in MMORGP. Unless, you institute countermagic, something i''ve rearely seen in games.

#10 SonicSilcion   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 28 May 2000 - 06:46 AM

What do you mean by countermagic, Landfish? A spell with opposite effect? Or an object to defeat those posessing such magic {like silver for werewolves, stakes for vampires,etc?}

#11 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 28 May 2000 - 07:04 AM

I know countermagick from White Wolf''s Mage: The Ascension; table-top RPG. In that system magic was completely open-ended (sadly, it can never be implemented in a computer game). But you could perform countermagick; if you had at least one point in each sphere of reality being affected by the opponant mage, you would see it coming (much as a martial artist can predict the moves of someone using a style that they know), and attempt to counter it.

There are many ways you could implement counter magick, but what it needs to do is allow for balance. Make it so that a moderately powerful magician of certain type can overcome a superior magician of another type.

Hence, you could make magic rare and all powerful, because if you needed to take out a god-like mage, you could go off and find the countermagick or something. It''s difficult to explain, because the M:TA system falls apart if you realy on controlled situations.

#12 Hase   Members   -  Reputation: 313

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Posted 28 May 2000 - 09:54 PM

I kinda like the Shadowrun approach to drain.

Whenever you use magic you take energy from some other plane(world, whatever) and form it into a pattern, channelling it through your body.

When u use more powerful spells more energy has to flow through your body, this means that magic has two nasty ends.

Concentrate too hard and you´ll get a nosebleed but trying to fry your enemies with a maxxed out lightning inferno will probably burn your hands to crisp in the process.



I´d also suggest using something different than fixed, predefined spells. Magic should be partially uncontrollable and definitely largely unresearched.
Let things go wrong from time to time.


PS: read Earnest Adams´ article on magic somewhere at

www.gamasutra.com

#13 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 29 May 2000 - 01:01 PM

I think this is the article at gamasutra.





Edited by - Nazrix on May 29, 2000 8:03:47 PM

#14 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 29 May 2000 - 01:55 PM

Nazrix, I couldn''t have put it better than that post did. Everybody, if you can''t understand what I''m saying, READ THAT ARTICLE! Hell, read it if you do understand!



#15 WhiteWolf   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 29 May 2000 - 05:40 PM

Heh - Cool article

Just imagine - a starting party in D&D.

Fighter swings at the goblin - 1point of damage.
Wizard starts casting fireball.
Thief stabs at goblin - 2 points of damage.
Wizard - "ahhh, guys?"
Fighter swings at goblin - misses - "Yeah, what?"
Wizard (straining) - "We, ahhh, we might have a prob-"
- Huge ball of fire erupts from the ground, enveloping thief, fighter and goblin. Eventually burns out leaving nothing but charred corpses -
Wizard - "Never mind"



Regards,
WhiteWolf

#16 Run_The_Shadows   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 634

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Posted 30 May 2000 - 05:27 AM

I gotta blatantly plug what i think are the two best magic systems around.
1.)SHADOWRUN, everytime you cast a spell it tires you out unless you make a successful test against it. BUT, as you increase the spell power, the drain becomes larger and harder to handle, to the point where you can pretty much just fall to the ground asleep(not good in the middle of a street brawl, lemme tell ya'').
and
2.)Wheel of Time, overlooked, but the way its done is interesting. None of this, magic is everywhere, it is a single force of power. Nahh, none of that, magic is woven(cast), using the 5 types of it(Spirit, Fire,Air,Earth,Water), the way you weave it and in what quantities determines what happens. BUT(gotta love the catches), the genders can''t draw from the same "type" of magic, Females have a generally more passive and seducing type, where to cast, they have to learn to surrender to the ''magic'' but if they begin to love weaving too much, they will draw TOO MUCH and burn them selves out(can''t cast anymore), or simply burn themselves into a toasty pillar.
Males, on the other hand, have the more aggressive and dominating side of the ''magic'', they have to fight every second they hold it or it will destroy them. Also, males go crazy from continual use of it.
Anyway, just answering the question


-Run_The_Shadows
-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com

#17 dog135   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 30 May 2000 - 06:26 AM

Thinking about wands, amulets, etc. these items could be created by casting a spell "through" an inert object.

For example:

If you get a stick or staff off the ground, you could cast, say, a fire spell through it. The stick would have a capacitance affect and make the spell stronger each time you use it. Different materials could work better with different spells. Perhaps some materials could even affect how the spell works. If you cast a fire spell through a diamond, the fire would be invisible and perhaps hotter and the enemy would walk right into it.

If you want to get complex, you could allow the user to create their own amulets by combining materials. Maybe it they buy a diamond from a store(invisible,hot fire), put it in a gold bracket (good magic conductor), and attach that to a stick(good magic capacitance), you could have a powerfull weapon. But you''d still have to practice with it before the staff became a good conductor of magic for that spell.

Also, working that way, you''d have to watch what you use for what. The diamond would be expensive and if you use it with the wood, it might be less usefull for other spells that don''t combine well with wood. If you dissasemble your staff to use the diamond for something else, the staff would loose it''s magical properties.

E:cb woof!

#18 Facehat   Members   -  Reputation: 696

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Posted 30 May 2000 - 06:37 AM

quote:
Original post by Run_The_Shadows

2.)Wheel of Time, overlooked, but the way its done is interesting. None of this, magic is everywhere, it is a single force of power. Nahh, none of that, magic is woven(cast), using the 5 types of it(Spirit, Fire,Air,Earth,Water), the way you weave it and in what quantities determines what happens. BUT(gotta love the catches), the genders can't draw from the same "type" of magic, Females have a generally more passive and seducing type, where to cast, they have to learn to surrender to the 'magic' but if they begin to love weaving too much, they will draw TOO MUCH and burn them selves out(can't cast anymore), or simply burn themselves into a toasty pillar.
Males, on the other hand, have the more aggressive and dominating side of the 'magic', they have to fight every second they hold it or it will destroy them. Also, males go crazy from continual use of it.
Anyway, just answering the question



A few (thousand ) questions: How does that system work into the game? I haven't played WoT yet, so I'm curious. Is it just part of the back story or maybe a plot device? Or does it actually have an effect on the player? Also, can your character go crazy from using too much magic? How would they do that? And if you lost the magic powers, wouldn't that make the game virtually unprogresible? (I'm guessing that use of magic is probably neccasary to complete the game)


quote:
Original post by dog135

Thinking about wands, amulets, etc. these items could be created by casting a spell "through" an inert object.




Heh, thats how I was thinking of making the magic work in my own game. (Except for I hadn't really thought of how the material would effect the magic -- thats a really interesting idea)

--TheGoop

Edited by - TheGoop on May 30, 2000 1:39:13 PM

#19 Voodoo4   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 30 May 2000 - 08:42 AM

I don''t understand why would someone get ''tired'' because of casting a spell?
In most games the hero finds books of magic,wands,scrolls and other stuff that give him the ability to cast different spells.So his magic power depends on the item he holds or he has read,and not directly on his body resources.After all the spell uses mostly mental powers and not physical.
I also agree that there should be mystery on magic powers.
I hate it when the hero just holds a book and he instantly posseses a spell.There should be some difficulty for someone to cast a spell and it should get easier to use by time.I mean when you gain a spell''s knowledge from a book,the first time you cast it the effects should not be outstanding due to lack of experience and/or training on this specific spell.The more times you use it the most effective it will be.
Also,about the casting limitations,i believe they should only affect your magic stamina(mana usually) and not your physical strength.
And finally,i may be wrong...
After all it is just my opinion
Voodoo4

#20 dog135   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 30 May 2000 - 09:04 AM

VooDoo4, that''s one reason I like my idea. When you try to cast a spell without a wand/staff/whatever the effect would be quite insignificant. A fire spell without using a wand would only do maybe 1 point of damage. Only through using the spell over and over can it become more powerfull.

I also think your "mana" level should be specific to the spell, not just over all. Although you should have an overall "learning curve" which increases the more spells you''re good at. With a higher "learning curve" you could start off a little more powerfull with a new spell and become more powerfull with it the more you use it. It''d be fun tieing in all the variables needed for a good magic program.

damage=learningCurve*spell.spellMana*currentWand.wandStrength(spell)

Or something like that.

Kind of makes me wish I was into RPGs. But I''m not. I''ll never use my ideas in a game so I''d be honored if someone else would.

E:cb woof!




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