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Banner advertising on our site currently available from just $5! # Magic Alternatives? Old topic! Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic. 60 replies to this topic ### #41nicba Members - Reputation: 122 Like Likes Like Posted 03 June 2000 - 06:47 AM quote: Original post by Voodoo4 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%!!. Yes, you''re right about this one. It isn''t very realistic that one can go on as if nothing had happened with a health on 1%. A somewhat old gam called Biofoge (Alone in The Dark style game) actually made your character limb when he was hurt. And when the Health was really low he almost crawled along. As far as I recall there where no health meter either. You could only try to gauge the health from how the main characters looked. Although this worked well in Bioforge, there are some problems with this approach. For example, once you''re character has been hurt it would be very hard to restore his health again. Because he would perform much worse in the next battle the first damage could easily just lead to a evil circle where the character just kept getting worse and worse. This would might be more realistic, but probaly not as fun. It might even cause the player to just reload the game every time he got hurt and thus destroying the whole idea of the system. Regards nicba Sponsor: ### #42Landfish Members - Reputation: 288 Like Likes Like Posted 03 June 2000 - 04:15 PM Resident Evil (to it''s credit, of which there is little) always visually represented damage. I''m opening *another* post for the health level thing, because I have some thoughts of my own, but this post is for magic. Heh, everyone probably has thoughts on that one, actually. =) ### #43bumagovitch Members - Reputation: 122 Like Likes Like Posted 04 June 2000 - 06:21 AM My$.02

Two old games with original and interesting magic-use:

- Darklands: historical RPG: you pray to saints & practice alchemy, which involves study, yes "magic poitns", and for alchemy, reagent-gathering

- Loom: music = magic! brilliantly simple

Get both at www.theunderdogs.org

Ben Schneider
Freelance Metaphysician

### #44nicba  Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 June 2000 - 12:18 PM

quote:
Original post by bumagovitch

Get both at www.theunderdogs.org

Isn''t that Illegal?

Regards

nicba

### #45Voodoo4  Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 05 June 2000 - 05:50 AM

No,it''s abandonware(their companies don''t support them any more) so if none benefits from them anymore why shouldn''t we just keep these games alive!
And The underdogs is really the best abandonware site on the net.
Voodoo4

### #46Sunriath  Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 05 June 2000 - 10:05 PM

A lot of the concerns people have with these ideas should be taken seriously as warnings and serve as a reminder of the necessity of good game balance: the more complex a system is, the harder it is to achieve the proper balance. One of the things that a component magic system would help change is the power imbalance that most magic users enjoy over the other classes (or playing styles for those of you who don''t like to be limited by stereotyped characters). In general it seems that magic users grow to more powerful beings than fighters can even dream of becoming (unless the game starts giving them "Sword of Planet Cleaving + 2,000"). If we want to maintain a balance (which might be useful for a massive multi-player game so there are not a disproportionate number of mages running amuck), then there are several techniques that I have considered reduce the devastation that a mage causes.

One method is to make it take more time for a magic user to cast a spell that may not have the desired effect. It would require the player to depend upon other players for support. Playing with a mage would be possibly dangerous (due to the unpredictability of a mage) as well as beneficial (because of a mage''s power). In either case it would definetely be interesting.

Another idea I thought of is to make magic more strategic than hitting the monster with the most powerful spell currently available. Make monsters have more weaknesses. Learn from fighting games and make characters have recovery times so that there are magic “combos” that players can discover. Combos are what make fighting games, but they have not yet (as far as I know) been implemented in RPGs. What do you think?

I think this has been a good discussion of how we might be able to free magic from the bonds of modernity and quantification and free it into the unlimited lands of imagination. Thank you LandFish for the good discussions.

One last thought: Just because it is realistic or sounds like a good idea, it must pass the ultimate test for a game: is it fun? I’ve played some games that have been very realistic, but they were not fun because they got too bogged down in realism. Remember KISS (keep it simple stupid).

### #47dog135  Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 06 June 2000 - 04:30 AM

Hmmm, someone should tell Hasbro about "abandonware".

E:cb woof!

### #48Whirlwind  Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 06 June 2000 - 05:33 AM

I was reading over ad CDMag (www.ogr.com) about a new game ''Two Worlds'' that is using psi abilities as opposed to magic.

### #49Landfish  Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 06 June 2000 - 11:28 AM

I really hope they aren''t using psionics in a fantasy setting. Personal pet peeve of mine. Back then, all supernatural activity was called "magic". "Psychics" are a product of the last few centuries, in which we have had an inability to justify anything without science. Mainly because oppressive puritanical beleifs in the States cause "magicl" to be a dirty word. Sheesh.

Now, if it''s in a Scifi or (gasp) a Modern Fiction setting, I''m all cool with it. Otherwise it sounds like another freakin gimmick the same old "points for power" system.

Rant over. =)

### #50Run_The_Shadows  GDNet+   -  Reputation: 634

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Posted 06 June 2000 - 09:38 PM

Now now Landfish,
I''m not a big fan of the psi thing.
But i have to give kudos to the way the
guys over at (the now defunct)TSR put
psionics into the Dark Sun world.
It made SENSE to be there.

But generally, seeing psionics in a world
with wizards and clerics and etc. running
around is just stupid and annoying.

### #51Landfish  Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 07 June 2000 - 10:35 AM

Well, Dark Sun was different! Psionics were acceptable there, but what isn''t acceptable in a place where you could be EATEN BY HALFLINGS! C''Mon!

Ahhh. What a cliche-breaker that world was.

This post was brought to you by the letter "Land", and the number "Fish!"

### #52Niphty  Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 07 June 2000 - 04:52 PM

Ok Landfish.. i think you''ve gone far enough.. since you''re so worried about magic, then what about dealing with the way the magic came about in the lands?
Your game does have a story behind it, doesn''t it? How did these mystic powers that be come about? who first found out about them and how? That''s all game design as well. While i think looking for a good magic system is all well and good, it''s justification of a magic system that makes it credible. Like you said, Psionics didn''t exist in a medieval time, it was all attributed to "magic". Even if it was some mental ability, it wasn''t phsyonics that caused it. Magic is just a name we gave to things we couldn''t explain. But for everything we couldn''t explain, we made up an explaination. Gods, monsters, creatures and heros. all fake for the most part, yet.. they gave us magic and made us believe Isn''t that what it''s all about?
So, i ask you.. is it not better to justify the system you have in a proper way rather than make a system that works well and seems to go along with the game, but has no justification? I could very easily rewrite history so that mankind gained the ability to control the forces of nature with their minds, and thus was born a subrace of humans called the Psyce who the normal human population embraced as their lords and saviors.. hehe That''s what we do when we design, change the past to fit our own personal bill

J

### #53Landfish  Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 07 June 2000 - 05:43 PM

Umm, I might do that, if I used magic in a game.

(Urp) I don''t really like fantasy settings though. The closest thing I will make to a fantasy setting as you all know it in games will be VERY based in historical reality. Why? because the real world is so much more interesting!

If magic ever gets as cool in video games as it is in reality (or rather, the way people believed magic was performed in reality) then maybe I''ll use it. Till then, though, no thank you. Take your amnesiac monster hunters and get the hell away from me! =)

This post was brought to you by the letter "Land", and the number "Fish!"

### #54Niphty  Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 08 June 2000 - 01:58 AM

That''s a cop out if i''ve ever seen one

You should design one that''s as cool as you say.. show us how well that brain of yours works Cause i''m working on a few right now.. so.. hehe.. you don''t want to let me take all the glory, do you?

J

### #55Landfish  Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 08 June 2000 - 05:11 PM

I just figure my game design career will go nowhere, but everyone will use my ideas. I''ll be that guy who nobody''s heard of, but all the famous people say inspired them. Like that guy on all the "Behind The Music" specials! Yeah!

Naw, I will cave eventually and make a goddamn fantasy game. But when I do, watch out! Can you say weird? But first I have to make a completely Modern-fiction game, an ancient Sumerian Game, a Modern South Africa game, a historical fiction game, a Lovecraftian Horror game, and a tear-jerker. Then, maybe, I''ll do fantasy.

Urp?

This post was brought to you by the letter "Land", and the number "Fish!"

### #56kressilac  Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 08 June 2000 - 06:21 PM

I figure I will chime in here. I have to agree with everyone that Shadowrun has probably the best magic system in any RPG that I have played.(Though Call of Cthulhu was pretty fun too) I am going to mention two FASA products in this article because they both have pretty amazing magic systems.

First Shadowrun. In the game there was a time in 2053 where magic returned to the world. The awakening brought demihumans, magical beasts, and magic back into the world. Scholars, universities and corporations began to study thaumaturgy again. What they discovered was that magic has always been with us in one form or another. It sometimes is untappable due to social, religious, and/or intellectual beliefs. This explains the lack of magic in the early 21st century. FASA clasifies magic as manipulating a force that is all around us. The Astral plane is where spells are born, summoned creatures are anchored, and magic items retain their magic. This astral plane is everything to the magic system.

When a spell is cast that is a mana spell, the mage directly manipulates the astral plane to do his bidding. The spell travels in the astral plane to hit its target with magical force. Mana spells as these have become to be known can only knock someone unconsious. They fatigue a person by attacking the spirit/astral presence of a person. When your astral presence is sufficiently damaged the additional fatigue causes real damage. It is a direct attack on your essence which is a rating in the game indiciating how magically powerful you are and how human you are. This makes cyborgs much more difficult to hit with magic cause they are more machine than human and less tied to the astral plane. Mages in the astral plane could even attack a mana based spell on its way to its target in hopes of blocking it.

Mages also have the ability to force the end result of the spell to manifest itself on the physical plane. This manifestation causes more drain but does physical damage first. It is harder to cast spells because of this. While I am on the topic of manifestation, summoned creatures can manifest into the physical plane. Elementals are a good example. Since they expend more energy to project to the physical plane it reduces their rating or health the longer the remain projected. The reverse applies for humans in the astral plane. Elemental manifests physically too long and it dies. Human projects into the astral plane too long and the body left behind dies, stranding the human in the astral plane.

All in all the magic system in Shadowrun is the best explained and balanced magic system I have ever played. It could be even better if the dice system used in Shadowrun wasn''t slightly flawed.(nother topic entirely)

Sorry about the length. FASA created another RPG based in the medieval times. This was called Earthdawn. It was based on the same premis of magic origination that Shadowrun was except it personalized magic a bit more and made it more mundane. Magic was not just in the astral plane. Magic was fundamental to all objects. As an object was used, the experiences that the object had been through became strands of magic in an intricate pattern. This made the object more powerful to the person that understood the complexities of the pattern. It could take years for a pattern to form, and decades over for someone to decipher the pattern to unlock the magical attributes of that weapon. Spells were a quick way of drawing and using patterns. Intricately simpler, but just as personal. Every mage used his or her own pattern to cast spells and weave strength into an item or skill. All in all I like Shadowrun better but Earthdawn was none the less interesting in its approach.

What I am trying to get across here is that what makes these systems so complete, is that much like "Warp drive" has its foundations in real world physics, magic in these worlds has a meaning, a purpose, and feels like it is supposed to be there. In ADnD, I some times get the feeling that magic spells are jsut a simple energy conversion formula with no real reason as to why it exists in the world other than to genocide goblins.(had to) Without magic in Shadowrun, Shadowrun does not work. Without magic in ADnD, it is an effective RPG for the physical world. In your games magic needs to be of the former to retain its appeal to the player.

Thanks for reading this. I hope it helps in the discussion.
Kressilac

ps One last system that was not too bad. It has its weaknesses and strengths. TORG. It is another extinct roleplaying game that had a good idea and a bad implementation. The acronym stands for The Other Roleplaying Game.

### #57Landfish  Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 08 June 2000 - 07:01 PM

SR was always cool, but I still prefer Mage: The Ascension. So open ended...

This post was brought to you by the letter "Land", and the number "Fish!"

### #58 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 11 June 2000 - 02:13 PM

Look at magick systems this way:

In most Arthurian legends (you all remember *those*, right?) magick was less of a "bang, you''re dead" flashy explosive and in-your-face effect, and more of a coincidental thing. You want that guy to die? Make sure that there''s something near him that can explode or a boulder that can mysteriously topple over onto him, or a banana he can slip on, etc. Every effect occurs because of circumstance, and if there is no way for that circumstance to be evoked upon said enemy, then the spell fails. Eventually, you would assume that an area will run out of ostensible ways for a person to die, and the magick will repeatedly fail. In this way, you can easily implement necromancy into the game - you kill an enemy, and then cast "Vla-Necro-Tok-Tok-Tok" (a silly name for the spell, but you get the idea) on that enemy, and he is suddenly reanimated under your control. Any thoughts?

-Jaemes Weare, President, Paladin X Productions

### #59Nazrix  Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 14 June 2000 - 01:45 PM

Something occured to me while watching Sleepy Hollow about magic. If the world the game is in is close to how Earth is, magic would be very mysterious. If it were the middle ages and the world were like it was on Earth, someone who practiced magic would be feared but also would likely be considered to have ties w/ the devil. It would be an interesting game where you could use powerful magic but most people will fear and hate you. Perhaps mobs will hunt you down. I don't know ...just an observation...

Also, Jaemes Weare's idea about coincidence is a good one, but it seems like it might be tough to implement in a game...

Edited by - Nazrix on June 14, 2000 8:59:02 PM

### #60Landfish  Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 14 June 2000 - 02:34 PM

From what I''ve been told, Niphty has a BIG SECRET PLAN about that coincidence thing. But he won''t tell me... =(

Anyway, the thing about mystery in magic, I couldn''t agree more. Any suggestions that haven''t been noted in prior posts?

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