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Solthar

A unique (hopefully) magic system idea....

62 posts in this topic

I''ve been thinking about magic in rpg''s lately... to be more exact, masivly multiplayer rpgs. It seems like the mage''s and magicusers don''t have the freedom true "Warriors of the ethreal" should. Basically, my idea is as follows: 1. Mage''s need to learn each element on their own, in their own time. If a mage wants to cast a fire spell, he needs to know the "fire sphere" or if they want to enchant a weapon with, say, fire, they would need both the "fire sphere" and the "enchant sphere" to be succesfull. 2. A sphere of magic takes long enough to master that learning them all would litterally take months, if not years, in real life -- We shouldn''t have a Arch Mage without him/her working their but off for it. 3. A mage will be able to do anything -- he can create a tiny glowing ball of light, or summon a giant pillar of flame that rains destruction on all. All this is possible through a spell scripting system discribed later. 4. Each spell shall take a certian amount of time to cast and learn in game time -- for example, the light spell might take 1 minute to learn, and cast instantaniously while the pillare of fire and destruction might take months to learn, and days to cast. This balances out the warrior and the mage (who''s going to just sit there while a giant pillare of fire is slowly summond by an evil mage). Also - almost anything can disrupt the casting of magics, the ether of magic is a finniky substance. Higher masteries of the sphere(s) used will shorten cast time. 5. Spells should be able to be inscribed on scrolls, given the caster has the required skill to do so. it should take aproximatly 1/4 - 1/2 (skill depending) the time that learning the spell did, and when given to an apprentice, it will lessen their learning time by the same amount. 6. Enchanted weapons will be linked to the users manna pool. This means that the warrior still needs mana in order to use the mage''s ensorcelled weapons. Ok, there''s more but I think I''ll give you an example of the spell scripting system (or s3): // GLOWING HALO Id("Glowing Halo") //Name of spell Sphere(holy); //Using the holy sphere Aspect(light); //Each sphere has it''s aspects. //select light Form(circle); //Uses the circle form Movement(track_target);//It follows the target Target(self); //the target is the caster CommitedMP(15); //the MP that will be drained to cast //spell (some aspects have minumum req). LiveTime(120); //Time in seconds that spell is in effect. //can accept 0 (permanent), requierment //is heavy - varies with sphere/aspect Orientation(0,0,0); //Orientation of halo Origin(above_head); //Spell originates above head of caster Intent(neutral); //Does nothing And you''ve got a halo! the intensity of the aspect is calculated using livetime and commitedmp. Now if you wanted to be artistic, you couldof used the fire sphere, flame aspect, and had a burning, flickering halo! Now I shall show you how to create an ''earth lance'' using this system... //EARTH LANCE: throw a ball of earth which morphs into a lance Id ("Earth Lance"); Sphere(earth); Aspect(stone); Form(Sphere); EndForm(spear); Movement(rightthrow); UserMovement(usrrightthrow); Target(otherliving); CommittedMP(25); LiveTime(5); sOrientation(lance); Origin(throw_right_hand); Intent(harmful); You could even call other spells within your current spell by using a cast(spell_name); There - thats it. Stuff to be worked out: 1. Spell dificulty. how is it determined? (maybe by combination of commitedmp/livetime/intent/sphere/aspect/length of spell script) 2. How long should it take to learn? directly related to dificulty. 3. Need a better spell scripting system (ideas?) 4. A whole lot of other stuff that i''ve forgotten. P.S. you would be able to create undead by using a Target(otherdead);Sphere(Death);Aspect(Raise); Comments? Questions? Anybody willing to attempt the implementation of it? ---------------------- Solthar Rygelsun ICQ: 77657183
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So is the player of the game going to script his own spells in this system? It is a great idea, but you have to worry about the spells becoming unbalanced- for instance, is it possible to create a weak spell with this script that targets your opponent''s head like a homing missle, never fades and therefore continues to inflict damage until the target is dead? Obviously that would be a bad thing. The point is, there are a LOT of geniuses on the net that would find clever ways to bend the system unfairly, and maybe crack into it and cheat altogether.
Also you have to consider the fact that some people have no concept of coding as we know it and would be boggled by the whole system. In fact, I would say that although on this forum we are the vast majority, in the world at large we are actually outnumbered by thes poor fools. Basically, this idea allows great flexibility and RP- but it unbalances the game in favor of people who know computers. You need to find a way around this- for example, a graphical spell-creation system rather than text script, well-defined rules of spell creation, and good enough security to ensure that for the most part things are fair.



"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, but
the unreasonable man tries to adapt the world to him-
therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
-Samuel Butler
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I should say that the ''permanent'' status should only work with the ''Enchantment'' Sphere, and should be learned seperately. As for programming, I haven''t designed the language yet - i just gave an example of a possible outcome. With that format there are still problems - say how do you write a scripting language that will allow you to combine 2 or more sphere''s and aspects of magic? (eg. Enchantment/blade + Air/Lightning). And with the programmign problem - first of, lets aim for a system thats easy and powerfull (difficult to code for the game programmer, but more enjoyable on the user''s side). There should also be a decent amount of pre-built spells included with the game. Also, maybe have the option for a gui (graphical user interface) that will allow you to mix and match stuff...

like this:

Joe blow wants to learn a spell that creates a lightning storm, and he has already been taught the air sphere, and the lightning aspect

*He clicks on Sphere selection box, and clicks Air (shows only available sphereS)
*He Clicks on Aspect selection box, and clicks Lightning (shows availabel aspects)
*He clicks on Look selection box, and selects default (lightn. defaults to a lightn. bolt)
*He clicks on Behavior selection box, and selects Fall_from_sky
*He Clicks on Placement selection box, and selects .....

As you can see, the programming aspect can also be bypased visualy
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I''m going to have to point out another side of this...

It would be a lot of work, but would be cool...from a computer nerd''s(no offence to anyone) point of view. but, People aren''t going to want to do any of that work just to cast a spell! It would take enough time that the game would HAVE to be turn-based and...it''s harder to make a good turn-based game rather than real-time.

But, you''re heading in the same direction I am, except one thing... You''re offering too much detail.
There should be "Sphere" (as you call it), "Aspect", and "Mode."
And "Mode" would depend on what "Aspect" the player chose.
THEN, to make it more playable, the player should be able to save his sequence as a "Spell Macro" to quickly access it again.

But, Our ideas are significantly different on a more basic level than I''ve described here. So, you are original as far as I know...
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Ok...

Basically, any game that would have this system would include a good set of spells allready included, and since the target gametype for this system is a mmrpg, the spell trading system would run rampant :-)

And I agree with you - you should be able to ''memorize'' spells - as i mentioned above in the first post, generally, once it''s memorized you could assign a hotkey to it, or put it in an easily accessable place.

Anybody else have comments?
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If you''re going for the user-modifiable spell list in an MMPOG, I always thought it would be interesting to do it in a nomic style. That is, the college of fire mages (and all of its students) get to create a new fire spell every month or so. The rules for cost are reasonably fixed, so you minimize creating any strange unbalanced spells.

The college gets to decide the who and how of voting on or proposing (researching) spells, with a default of all students get to vote.

If you had responsible leaders of the colleges you could even allow some flexibility to define new effects.

Each month the new spell from each college gets submitted to the Arch-mage (i.e. someone on the MMPOG staff) who then verifies that the spell is reasonably balanced or makes a few tweaks.

The approved spells are handed back to the respective colleges, but not necessarily to everyone. So the new stuff gets to be a secret, and players get a constantly changing magic system.
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The entire point of a system like this is to create new and unusual spells -- Anyone can create a new spell, and each spell is stored as a script (1-5k at most) each spell, difficulty depending, takes a specified amount of time to learn, cast, and scribe onto scrolls for distribution (learning from a scroll halve''s learning time). Another example of the flexability of the system I''m proposing...

Sholan is a mage specializing in the evil and illusion spheres, and wants an undead army, but can only find (or kill) rabbits. So Sholan combines a Evil/Necromancy with Illusion/Monster, so that everytime he raises a rabbit from the dead, an illusion of a greater lich lord appears arround it. So, instead of running around with rabbits, he runs around with what apears to be an army of lich lords.

or another example....

Jexxa is a apprentice mage specializing in the Air sphere, and is having trouble with monsters approching to close to her (and damaging her cloack with those nasty claws and teeth - she just got a new one this morning!) so she chooses Air/Wind and chooses a shape of a hollow cylender, next she sets the orientation and size of the cylander so that it surrounds her, but does not touch her. Now she sets the length of the spell to 15 seconds (just got an idea - the manna should be calculated by the game itself...) and the desired strength to 5 (low strength, values can range from 0 (just for looks) to 1000 (apocalypes baby!)) so now, when she goes out to fight, she casts her ''wind shell'' and small monsters have trouble approaching here (what do you expect from str5 spell).

And I do agree on you - play balance would be paramount with any program using this system; nevertheless, it is my belief that the benifits of this system far exceed both the difficulty in constructing and balancing the aforementioned system.

I have decided to plan, and hopefully build this spell system, and need assistance in designing the scripting language, spheres, aspects, mp cost and play balanceing it. If anyone wants to help, contact me on ICQ at 77656183, or with email at CodeAtlas@yahoo.com


Solthar Rygelsun
ICQ: 77656183
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I know at the very least two games that are going to use similar systems.

The idea is not new, neither the design sorry.

Anyway, if you can code it, it''ll be nice to see what can be done

On my side I''m working on a similar system using ''runes'' instead of ''sphere'', still the general idea looks much like the AD&D magic system.
(There were plenty magic systems designed for various versions and worlds of that wargame [sorry, this is not an RPG])

Good luck.

PS:
Instead of magic points or whatever you want to use to limit the wizard power, replace it with fatigue, it would be much more innovative than spells points

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-
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True, true, I just found a few projects that are trying to do the same thing on the web, but that will not deter me. The plan I have for my system is different enough that it truly is unique.

I shall draw strength from it''s uniqueness, for is it not true that it is unique in it''s similarity?
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Sadly, the internet would impede the challenge secret spells - as soon as someone learns a spell combination, it will be on the internet down to the smallest detail. A novel idea, but you''d have rookies running around with the top of line spells from day 1 that they sucked off a list on the internet.
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The beauty of this (now revised) system, is that the user cannot specify the MP (or any other stat used for magic) that the magic drains, or the magic sphere mastery required. Another point is, that even mastering a sphere, some spells will kill you (as in DEAD) if you even try to attempt them (dont wory, you're guy will give you a warning... maybee say "This spell is beyond me...")

Now to counter your 'secret spells' thing; anyone should be able to cast the simple, straitforward spells -- but it takes true genius to cast a spell in a new and creative way (take my wind shell example). Or maybe a spell scripter wants to be artistic, and has his spell lift the target off the ground with a gust of wind, and strikes him with lightning from all directions while he is in the air.

It's about the user, and I believe that this type of game will encourage a type of 'spell trading' that has never before been seen in a game. I honestly believe that it could also lead to mage's taking on true apprentices, teaching them all the tricks and spells they've learned/created. Such deapths of magik users has been seen before.

P.S. There will be massive balancing so that level 1 mages can only cast level 1 spells (or the equivilent thereof) and, if they're lucky, level 2 spells

Edited by - Solthar on August 21, 2000 1:11:54 PM
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Wow, I must say that is a very original way of doing it... I think that would add a LOT of RP into the game... for instance, a band of evil players assaults the home of an old, wise, mage, and he concots a massive spell never seen before that wipes out the entire assaulting party -- that situation could go down in the "history" of the world in the game. And the player could become famous for his spell... spells themselves could have a history of their creation. And the spellbook of a powerful mage could become a very precious item!!

I think that games would end up being a lot more like tabletop AD&D and books written about the universes that tabletop games take place in (ie the Forgotten Realms stuff).

- SantaClaws
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I am just pointing out that any one starting the RPG late in the game will have pretty much a complete list of spells already so the fun of discovery will be gone from the magic side of the house. You can only have so many permiatations of magic combinations not unless you figure out a universal way to get the spell pieces to interact in a new manner so that you can have nearly infinite spell steps (like anyone is going to sit and wait for someone to finish a 1005342 step spell to cast on them) after a point, spell combinations will become tedious as fighters with uber weapons will dash Mr Wizard as he is trying to cast a high level spell.

If you add a speed enhancement as a result of casting each different spell step or type after each casting or X number of castings, it might balance out. Of course spell queing would also be a must for a player (que the combination and assign it to a hot key).

Still all said and done, it won''t be as exciting for the first person to learn spells as it would be for the 105th person as all the combinations that work would have mostly been found. The fix for that would be to assign each player a unique hash key that randomly causes combinations to work for that individual and only that individual. For training, the NPCs know the key and can teach spells to the player in that player''s style of magic. Some spells will have a common set of actions that can only be used by certian allignment characters and their key set (or magically orientate themselves to the character''s key set so that the scroll, once picked up, will be encoded to that player''s key). This will allow a common base of known spell combinations for the computer, yet allow/force each player to learn their own magic combinations.
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OK. Lets explain how I envision the actual workings of the system, from scratch...

For the Elemental Spheres:
1. Each spell shall be of one or more spheres/aspects
2. Mastery in one sphere shall give your spells greater power and shorter cast time for less MP
3. Each spell must take the form of an object, in game terms a model. This can be any of the models used in the game (yes, you can make a firetree)
4. Each object gives the user the ability to set its Size, orientation, and velocity, with higher size''s and velocitys requireing more mp than small, stationary objects (eg, weak stationary traps use less mp than huge fast fireballs)

For the other spheres:
1. Each spell shall be of one or more spheres/aspects
2. Mastery in one sphere shall give your spells greater power and shorter cast time for less MP
3. The caster must specify a target object or being
4. All but the good and evil sphere''s require a secondary sphere to be defined (eg, enchant/weapon and air/lightning or enchant/armour and good/light)


and a whole lot of other stuff :-)
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This idea is inspiring. What I was imagining as I read it was that the scripting of these spells would be done outside the game, ie in notepad or something. I think what would be really cool would be if the scripting was done in the game, say in a wizardry college or whatever. This would mean you could limit the creation of the spells such that they cannot be made to be unbalanced. (that would take a looooooong time of beta testing though!) I think if you provided the player with enough options in spell creation that you truly could make a near-infinite number of spells.
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YIPPIE! Someone finally grasped my idea!

Ok... I think I found a format for my spell scripting system (or systems in this case)

Basically, the implementer would create a caste based magic system, one like the outlined one which follows:


1. War Mage: Mage warriors that control the very elements themselves.
A. The Sphere of Air
I. Wind*
II. Lightning*
B. The Sphere of Fire
I. Flame*
II. ?????*
C. The Sphere of Earth
I. Rock*
II. ?????*
D. The Sphere of Water
I. Water*
II. ?????*


2. Enchanter/Enchantress: Mages devoted to the manipulation of the magical energies surrounding objects and other people.
A. The Sphere of Imbuing (gives magical properties to items)
I. Fire
II. Earth
III. Lightning
IV. Water
B. The Sphere of Curses and Blessings
I. Strength
II. Dexterity
III. One for each other stat....

3. Necromancers/Demonologists: Mages that are fascinated by the energies of the nine hells, they will do anything to further their power.
A. The Sphere of Necromancy
I. Vampyrism
II. Raise dead (cant use on Players bodies)
III. Poison*
B. The Sphere of Demonology (demons greater than users level/2 will destroy his soul)
I. Succubus
II. (list other demon types here...)
C. The Sphere of Summoning (must of defeated summoned creature monsterlevel/2 times before)
I. (each defeated monster)

4.Light Mage: Mages that focus on doing right in the land. These mages get xp for helping others.
A. The Sphere of Holy
I. Holy*
II. Light*
III. Turn (undead)*
B. The Sphere of Health
I. Heal
II. Cure
III. Regenerate*

* denotes an aspect that requires it to be bound to an object. Absence of a * means that the spell cannot affect an area, an must be targeted specificly
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People could make a living out of their skills for real in a game with magic like this. Enchanters wouldn''t have to be all-powerful beings, they could just be simply mages with a few spells. All the other mages might come to them to have their spellbooks made theft-proof. Maybe a farmer would stop in to have their pregnant pig blessed. Or maybe that same farmer would contract a team of enchanters to come and bless his entire corn field!

As I think about it, a magic system like this would turn spell-scripters into programmers (in some sense). Think about it...they''d all be trying to write optimized spells! There would eventually be a definitive "fireball" or "heal" spell, because these would be refined until they could no longer be...but the best spells would be both powerful and efficient!
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Turn Players into programmers? I sure hope not - I want to make the system so easy that a monkeys fith-removed-cousin-that-is-half-gerbil can do it!

What do you think of a script like this?

//Solthars lightning orb
NAME Amna la githa
SPHERE air
ASPECT lightning

OBJECTSIZE 0.5
OBJECTVELOCITY 10

OBJECTTARGET other

// Solthars Fireball Swirl shocker
NAME Shokun sa ma na //Required - name of spell
SPHERE fire
ASPECT flame

PLAYERACTION point //optional - defines animation of mage during cast, defaults to none

OBJECT sphere //optional - if not specified, defaults to sphere
OBJECTSIZE 0.5 //optional - if not specified, defaults to 1
OBJECTVELOCITY 10 //optional - if not specified, defaults to 0
OBJECTORIGIN MyHands //optional - defaults to MyHands
OBJECTTARGET other //optional - defaults to other
OBJECTVERTANGLE 0 //angle modifier, optional - defaults to 0
OBJECTHORIZANGLE 0 //angle modifier, optional - defaults to 0

VERTICALPATHMODIFY circlesmall //optional - defaults to none
HORIZONTALPATHMODIFY none //optional - defaults to none

ALSOCAST Amna la githa // optional - searches through spellbook for ''lightning orb'' (case insensitive)
// Also, the "ALSOCASTDELAY time spell" is available for the delayed effects


Basicaly it goes like this: The mage says "Amna la githa Shokun sa ma na" while pointing his arm at the victim, and a ball of lightning is shot out with a orb of fire orbiting it - quite an interestign combo... The script does not do all that i would like it to do, but does allow some high level customization
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First thing that I have to say is that this is a really good way of creating spells, and it adds depth to a game, but there are a few holes that should be patched up before its released...

like when a new guy walks into the world and there are so many spells around, the way to combat this is to make spells decay, and spheres (like deities) that are not sued, for example if someone''s scripted a lot of cool fire spells and every mage is using them then there''ll be a lot of fire based magic flying around, this would lead to less air and water magic etc (example!) and so those spheres would deteriorate, and fire would become more powerful and the magic and sphere would become more difficult to control thus eliminating some players. This would then make the players back off or something, and if not then eventually from overuse of the fire spells some fire elementals could appear and since almost everyone is using fire magic they would be unstoppable except for a few people that are using water and wind magic, thus the people (common folk, i.e. npc''s) would follow the water and air spheres more and a balance would eventually be restored...

This would also add some interesting plot elements into the game, since there''d be times of flood, volcanic eruptions, fire attacks, tornadoes etc... would really make a dynamic world, and the magicians would be feared, and sometimes hated for what their previous ppl have done etc...

Imagin a bunch of fighters lynching a local fire mage jsut because of a past grievence in another area a while ago... THat would also make more people hesitant to play with magic spheres etc...

Well that''s jsut my rant...

Dæmin
(Dominik Grabiec)
sdgrab@eisa.net.au
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Daemin : excellent !

There is a good book that introduces this principle : "The magic of Recluce". Where the two big magic systems are Chaos and Order. They hate each other, but can''t live without each other.
It''s a good application of the natural balance that exist in most natural systems (I think it''s Fibonnaci that told about it first).
I never thought about the elementals idea, but that''s a definitely great idea. A bit like when Chaos becomes predominant in a region and strange mutations start to appear everywhere...

But shouldn''t the effectiveness of Fire (for example) decrease with the number of users ... a bit as if the amount of energy of an element was limited, and if more users used it, each would have less to play with ? Just a thought, but I will think a bit more about that one !

youpla :-P
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