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Magic Alternatives?


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#21 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 30 May 2000 - 11:34 AM

AAAAAAAAAHHHH! So much to write!

1. "Drain" occurs because forcing reality to bend by channeling mana through your body is EXTREMELY MENTALLY FATIGUING (in Shadowrun). R_T_S was a little bit off the mark when he said "fall asleep." I think he meant "fall unconcious." Does that make more sense? If you were playing in one of my games, you might also "fall insane."

2.About books, I have a badass Idea. What if finding the book simply gave the PLAYER access to reading it. They read the (cryptic) instructions, and must then literally read and understand them to cast the spell, thus involving the player in the magical process! Then you can make books very rare, shared and protected by certain magical guilds! So neat!

3. I want to correct myself before anyone else does. As much as I agree with the above-linked aritcle, there are many forms of magic that are RIGIDLY SCIENTIFIC, and quantified. Both Hermetic and Alchemical magic use numbers, tables, charts and all variety of mathematical forumlas in addition to mysticism to "achieve" the desired "results". It would certainly not be hard to implement these into a game system. Doing it WELL in the other hand...

4. That WoT system sounds pretty cool (just make sure no protesters mistake it for WTO! =p)And believe it or not, I have not problem with the gender bias. It has archetypal signifigance (Anima and Animus) which is VERY closely tied to magic (Jung did study alchemy, after all.) I will look into that game.

5. White Wolf, I hope you weren''t putting that scenario forth to discourage that idea. I thought that scene was GREAT, and if it ever happened in a game I was playing (tabletop or CRPG) I would be thoroughly entertained. Meanwhile, the important thing to recognize in lew of the article is this: What will the scene play like the NEXT time that mage wants to cast a fireball? Very different. You could completely remove the Manapoint limitation system on a power that scary to use. Also, mages are not likely to be that clueless about their mystical powers, but if they are, they should be made to suffer for it.

5. Dog, have you ever considered inverting your system? Rather than casting spells through items to make them magic, how about needing the item to channel the energy of the universe, and therefor alter it (see drain above). By that token, the truly powerful magicians would be the ones who channel magic the Shadowrun way, by being magic items themselves.

6. I really have a neat and original idea about magic systems, but I will have to wait till another day. This reply is long enough already.

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#22 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 30 May 2000 - 04:17 PM

An idea for a magic system:

Magic is split up into various areas/spheres/fields. Each area has its own magical vocabulary that must be learned before you can use that area. This vocabulary could be in the form of runes or words, but either way the player will have to find a source to teach it to him (a book or teacher). Words in each vocabulary would probably be learned as a set, but they do not have to. It is the player’s responsibility to learn the new vocabularies, though the game may provide an interface where the player can assemble runes/words that they had previously written down.

The runes/words in each vocabulary would have set meanings. Results of the spell cast should be based on the rune/word used and its position in the syntax; every combination of words does not need to be assigned a meaning, just the components. For example: a rune meaning ‘cause’ followed by one meaning ‘blast of fire’ followed by one meaning ‘tree’. The program will recognize that the ‘cause’ verb needs two more words following it, the first an effect and the second an object (it may help to think of verbs as functions taking arguments). ‘blast of fire’ causes the object to take damage equal to some formula and to make the screen glow red. ‘tree’ in a text based game is an object in the room, in a graphical game it will likely be replaced with a click on the target.

If the player puts words together in a nonsensical way, the game should produce a random effect based on the words (and therefore areas) used.

Finally, every time the player uses runes/words from a certain area two things happen, the first is that he temporarily loses some mana in that area (more mana in an area can be gained through continued use). The second is that he permanently experiences some secondary effect (which is either positive or negative depending on the area) – the loss of agility, added vigor, or senility are examples. Helpful, golden-rule-touting areas should give positive effects; destructive areas should be similarly destructive to the player. Both of these effects should be proportionate to the magnitude of the spell cast. The player should be able to control this with additional words such as ‘small’ or ‘gargantuan’.


#23 WhiteWolf   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 30 May 2000 - 04:58 PM

Landfish,

First let me see say that it is annoying seeing that an addition has been made to the game design forum, only to find that the only new posts are in your threads. But then, hey - I post in your threads, so I shouldn''t be annoyed
Second - My little scenario was agreeing with the article. Magic should be dangerous and mystical. Remember that magicians were traditionally regarded with fear and loathing in the eyes of the general populace. Parties should think twice about travelling with a mage.
The scenario was a demonstration of what could happen if the magician rolled a 1 on a d20 for success of the spell, then a 1 on the d20 to see the outcome of the failure "You lose control of the spell" looks a darn sight more dangerous and dramatic than "Your spell fizzles and dies".

Regards,
WhiteWolf

#24 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3346

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Posted 31 May 2000 - 12:30 AM

I''m working on a deterministic magic system, using some sort of rune language, with rudimentary grammar and different runes available from different sources. I think this would be really fun and empowering for a magic user in my game, but I think it actually removes the mystery and wonder which is nice to have. Perhaps however, if the system is versatile and powerful enough, you could create spells so complex that even other magic users see it and think "hey, how on earth did you do that??"

Just as a side point: I have no idea how well the magic system is described in the Wheel of Time game, but there is a lot of detail in the books the game is based on. In fact, the magic is pretty much the central theme. Shame the series deteriorates into a sad soap opera the more books you read...

#25 Hase   Members   -  Reputation: 313

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Posted 31 May 2000 - 01:42 AM

The rune thing -

in shadowrun creating magic is forming energy along very complex and multidimensional patterns, every type of magic having it´s own colors and flavours (some creature can "smell" magic for instance"), making it possible to recognize the signature of the caster in an enchantment.

How about extending the rune system so far as to let each player put his/her spells together from a large library of spell components (ex: Offence, Defensive; physical or mental, area of effect, duration, power level, manifestation....)
As you increase in level or find new books you can add new components.

Or make them all available but don´t label them yet. Make them look somewhat alike ("this looks like a bigger version of the physical component of my fireball, i´ll just try and put this into the frame for my area effect sleeping spell ....
(sizzle, magician looks at his hands, puzzled, sudden eruption of fire all over, 10x10m area of forest+magician burnt to ashes)

This would require some kind of graphical representation..

Then the player could also learn finished spells and try to dissect them.

And never let a spellcast be perfect. Make a "to hit" variable and the more precise the caster hits the spell, the more it looks like what he intenden. Increasing difficulty with level, of course (that´s why those high-level demon summonings often tend to go critically wrong)


And (Shadowrun) don´t just let them fall unconscious, but do them physical damage as well.
If you take control over another creature channelling the energy through your head you might get a nosebleed.
Unleash an unpractised level 20 electricity attack on your foes expect your hands to be turned into something thats between medium and well done.





"Always geek the mage first"

#26 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 31 May 2000 - 08:40 AM

Could it be that there are quite a few posts in the design section that have nothing to do with design? But I, too, post in them, so why complain? (End Goblin Genocide...=126 replies and counting! =P)

Anyway, in Shadowrun, you can use magic at a level greater than your own skill; but if you fail your drain roll, you take physical damage rather than mental. Then you die. I like this because it makes magic feel much less restrictive, and much more frightening. Sure, you can do whatever you want, reall... but will you be around to appreciate the results?

#27 nicba   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 31 May 2000 - 02:48 PM

Hi

I generally like the idea of magic being mystic and dangerous. Designed well it could be great.

But it could also make the learning curve steeper than a course in linear algebra and render magic completely unuseable . Just think how frustrating it would be for a new player experimenting with the magic system if he was constantly dying from horrible magical side effects and forced to start all over.

Every time he tried something new his character would either die, go mad or kill every other member of the team with a giant fireball. Not fun to play at all...

Regards

nicba


Edited by - nicba on May 31, 2000 9:50:51 PM

#28 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 02:22 AM

That mage would just have to get a teacher, find some old tomes, or become enlightened in order to survive, huh? Oh, wait, that's what magicians should have to do! Problem solved.

Edited by - landfish on June 1, 2000 9:23:01 AM

#29 dog135   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 04:25 AM

Besides, a new magician shouldn''t have enough strength to cast a spell that would kill himself or the rest of the group. He might cause a little damage, but not a lot if he''s just starting off.

E:cb woof!

#30 nicba   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 04:42 AM

quote:
Original post by Landfish

That mage would just have to get a teacher, find some old tomes, or become enlightened in order to survive, huh? Oh, wait, that''s what magicians should have to do! Problem solved.




No that won''t solve the fundamental problem.It would just bring us back to the good old click-and-cast fixed spells like Baldurs Gate, diablo and so on. The player would only be able to cast a very limited number of spells which he have learned from books, teachers and so on.

The new idea was to have some sort of rune system or the like, where the player could create his own spells. For this to be enjoyable I think you would have to allow the player to experiment at least a little with the magic system.

Just imagine a game where the story line is so rigid that if you just take a little step besides the intended path to explore the sourounding, the player will be killed imediatly. This would (usually) be bad design. The player would feel "trapped" and even though you had a vast and wonderfull game world the player would never have the oppertunity to explore it. Then the player would most likely feel frustrated and cheated.

The same thing goes with the magic system. If you take the effort to create a huge, mystic and wonderfull new magic system then you better let the player explore it a little. If he can only cast spells by copying what he have seen in books or learned by teachers and will be killed by the slightest creative tendencies whats the idea then?

Regards

nicba


#31 SonicSilcion   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 05:08 AM

Ah!
Why not use both ideas. A combination of both ''books'' and ''runes''. To start out with magic, you must go learn a spell, either from a book or another mage. Then, when you know a few spells, you can study them and try making a new spell, only able to use the symbols you have already learned.

That way you wouldn''t have a spell that would blow up in your face at the beginning of your would-be-short career. Also, it allows players to be able to learn modifiers from other types/elements of spells so they don''t need to build up strength in each as slowly as the first time. Just require the sequencing to be different for each type to prevent instant mastery of a new type of magic.

#32 Voodoo4   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 08:43 AM


"Runes of a long forgotten time
Ancient spells in endless rhymes
Soon the other world appears

Sail by the ghostly river Rhine
Leave the misty shades behind
I can see i''m getting near."
Demons&Wizards © 2000

Yes learning spells and contribute with your own ones.
But i believe there should be a special language(that was mentioned before but i think it is a major topic) for casting spells, a magic language coming from the depths of time.You can''t just speak english and cast!
Voodoo4

#33 SonicSilcion   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 10:09 AM

That''s why I reffered to them as symbols. They''d be more pictographic/ideagraphic than phonic. Perhaps it would be required to posess the item the spell was written on. That way the item would be the conduit and the person an invoker.

I didn''t really think about how the spell would sound when it was chanted. Maybe it just be a series of utterances?

As for implementation, I was thinking of the symbols as a scripting language. There would be a ''grammer'' for each type of magic. Also, the spells could be written on medium other than paper; people, trees, rocks, buildings, etc. This could allow for avatars {people who lose control of their bodies while summoned gods inhabit them}, sacred areas, traps, and so on.

#34 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 11:12 AM

Somebody misinterpreted what I was saying. What I meant was, have a system where you can experiment with spells and deal with gross and powerful consequences, BUT Tomes of knowledge or teachers could help you to do this in ways that won''t kill you. That way you fear experimentation until you find an authority.

The player would actually read something like: "the water rune deos not mix well with the Air rune... be surte you are very practiced before undertaking such a transmutation." If the player ignores that advice he risks the consequences. Follow?

#35 nicba   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 12:53 PM

quote:
Original post by Landfish

Somebody misinterpreted what I was saying. What I meant was, have a system where you can experiment with spells and deal with gross and powerful consequences, BUT Tomes of knowledge or teachers could help you to do this in ways that won''t kill you. That way you fear experimentation until you find an authority.

The player would actually read something like: "the water rune deos not mix well with the Air rune... be surte you are very practiced before undertaking such a transmutation." If the player ignores that advice he risks the consequences. Follow?


Yes, I see what you mean. And I think it sounds good.

But all I''m saying is that maybe you shouldn''t let the player fear experimenting so much that you kill the players desire and motivation to explore the game.

I think it could be fun to be able to do something along the line of the following: "Hmmm, I know that the Air rune together with the Water rune produces heavy rain. Now, I combine the Air rune and the Fire rune, it will probaly rain meteors!"

The example is pretty far fetched (and far too simple), but I hope you get the point. It would be great to be able to combine existing knowlegde about how the magic system works into new effects. Of course there should be some combinations which are fatal to discourage random guessing but please don''t make it so fatal that the user do not dare to try out his new combination without first having read a book that say it''s OK to do so.

Regards

nicba


#36 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 04:44 PM

While it is wise to design all risks with a worthy reward, it is wise also to design all rewards with a worthy risk!

=)

#37 Voodoo4   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 01 June 2000 - 07:30 PM

Your idea is good Landfish,but i''m sorry to say this the word mixing and the word teacher remind me chemistry.
But i think experimenting with magic under the guidance of an experienced "teacher" is very good.
But i will insist that there must be a unique casting "language".
I really liked SonicSilcion''s idea about a symbol language.
Anyway,excuse the "chemistry" reference above but it''s these exams i''m having...
Voodoo4

#38 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3346

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Posted 02 June 2000 - 12:45 AM

quote:
Original post by Landfish

Somebody misinterpreted what I was saying. What I meant was, have a system where you can experiment with spells and deal with gross and powerful consequences, BUT Tomes of knowledge or teachers could help you to do this in ways that won''t kill you. That way you fear experimentation until you find an authority.

The player would actually read something like: "the water rune deos not mix well with the Air rune... be surte you are very practiced before undertaking such a transmutation." If the player ignores that advice he risks the consequences. Follow?


I think the success or failure of such a system depends largely on your target audience. I also said this for your summoning idea, so they go hand in hand.

Niche market: people who play your game will understand and appreciate what you are trying to do. Others may play and leave, but you don''t mind as you value the quality of your players rather than quantity.

Mass market: people play your game expecting to be entertained. Disclaimers on the box about ''frivolous gods'' or ''unpredictable magics'' mean nothing to the player who spent a lot of time (and money?) building up a character that nuked himself with his first home-grown fireball. Or when a lesser demon rushes onscreen from someone else''s summoning and chews him up. They may resent having to rely on other players to learn magic. They may even have problems with it: language barrier, for instance?

People pay to be in control Even if your game is free, most Europeans pay by the minute for their internet access, so if they are part of your target audience don''t underestimate the cost. Also, time spent on your game is time they can''t spend elsewhere, so it ''costs'' them something. They like to see that, when they do well,or try hard, they are rewarded. The only thing more frustrating than to do well and still be ''punished'' for it, is to have invested time and/or money into it as well

#39 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 02 June 2000 - 04:17 PM

That''s why mass market games use Point systems. Once you eliminate points playerside, you have to go with one of these "wierd" systems to balance power.

I hate mass media, mass advertising, mass marketing. Massive gaming could be good, so long as people think for themselves... (Gee, didn''t see that one coming out of my mouth, did you?)

#40 Voodoo4   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 03 June 2000 - 05:58 AM

And isn''t it stupid to count things that are uncountable?
Health,defense,resistance,dexterity,power,intelligence,magic and much more.

We have just get used to it that''s why to most of us it seems totally natural.But if you consider this more clearly you can see for example how naive is a numeric health indicator.You count your health as you count your money.And the most weird of all the hero is acting the same at 1% as he would act in 100%!!.

I liked Diablo''s health indicator and all indicators like it, but the problem of acting normally at every health stage is really pissing me off!
I don''t disagree that there must be simplicity.
But we''re talking about games that implement realism!

And you can''t count my intelligence!

To Landfish:
Yeah,mass media and market are really a pain in the ass.
And i get really outraged when i hear about globalization.
I really hate it.
Voodoo4




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