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Meaningful Magic, or Leveraging Synergies

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So, after a long arduous period of not doing much, I finally got back into gamedev-ing and am now at the point where I should start implementing game logic. As you might infer from this thread, my game can be summed up as a card-based wizard RPG. The mechanics are similar to Tactics RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, or the Ogre series. Each battle is a fairly complex ordeal, and each unit has its own turn speed, rather than whole sides taking turns at once. Spells must be paid for with mana of the four classical elements, and creatures can be summoned to fight for you. My problem is that I want to know from other people who play similar games (Magic: the Gathering, YuGiOh, PokeCardBattleDuelMaster-whatever), what would make a good spell? And by good spell, I don't mean "ultimate super death attack", I mean spells that combo well with other spells and with the mechanics of the game. For instance, in M:tG, you can use the spell "Persecute" to remove cards from an opponent's hand, and the artifact "The Rack" does damage to them each turn if they don't have enough cards in hand. Can any of you Leverage the SynergiesTM?

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Have you played Metal Gear Acid (either version)? There are quite a few cards in them that have effects based on the card mechanics.

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Original post by SiCrane
Have you played Metal Gear Acid (either version)? There are quite a few cards in them that have effects based on the card mechanics.

I have not, as I lack the appropriate hardware, but I've heard it's quite good. That is, I heard that from the people who weren't whining about it being a turn-based Metal Gear.

From the wikipedia description, I don't understand how you could create useful card combinations, but I'm sure they cooked something up.

I'm already planning on using stamina to determine when each character moves, which sounds similar to MGA's COST mechanic, but I wasn't thinking of assigning variable stamina costs to each spell.

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Well... hrm... I used to play M:TG religiously, but I won't counsel you to pick up any cards (or even closely related ideas) from Wizards, because they're kinda nazis about that stuff or so I've heard.

Counterspells and the like were always favorites of mine though, because if you can just shut the other player down, you don't even really need much of an offense. I've been talking about a magic system like this for a long, long time, that is, something that I always compared to the book Magic: The Gathering - Arena. Where players have tokens for spells, little packets of "mana" (read samples of the source from which it derives [i.e. dirt, water, grass, leave, etc...]) and the like and then hurl spells at one another in an all-out duel sort of fashion.

Since you're going for a cut-n-dry card game turned video, I would suggest getting some 3x5 notecards, making your actual "spells" on them, giving them all the usefulness you think they should have and then playing some games with friends to see exactly which spells are good to use, which ones can be disregarded and perhaps, which cards work best with which. It never hurts to get the mechanics down in ink and paper before turning them into bytes afterall.

Anyway, I know it's sorta brief and probably didn't help much, but that's my two cents, something to chew on,

Vopisk

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The example you cited, "Persecute" plus "The Rack" in M:tG is an example of emergent gameplay; many examples of emergent gameplay arise through the interaction of various game mechanics, rather that being preplanned by the designer. (Though given that "The Rack" significantly predates "Persecute", they may have had that interaction in mind.)

If you want to have some kind of emergent gameplay, the best way is to have various gameplay mechanics that can potentially interact in interesting ways, for example:

Abilities that have an effect determined by some condition (such as the number of cards in your hand) and other abilities that change those conditions.

Abilities that change the behavior of other abilities. (For example, in M:tG, and spell that grants "Forestwalk", and an abilty that converts another land into a "Forest".)

Abilities that produce things, and other abilities that consume things. (M:tG example again: the "Ebon Praetor" required a sacrifice every turn; if this sacrifice was a specific type of creature, it gained a permanent and cumulative power boost. A certain enchantment produced one token creature of the apropriate type every turn.)

Abilities that actually change base game mechanics. (M:tG's Enchant World spells.)

Abilities that cause other abilities to be performed under certain conditions. (For example, linking "Final Attack" and "Phoenix" materia in Final Fantasy 7. With "Final Attack" equipped, the character would use the linked materia if they died; "Phoenix" would revive all dead characters.)

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List of spells because they are silly:

'It was him...'
Effect: Unit talks to a unit within speaking distance and has tries to convince them to attack another unit.

'Leave me ALONE!'
Effect:If the unit is compleatly surrounded by enemy units and unable to move, they emit a burst of non-elemental damage to all adjasant units, with the possibility of knocking them back.

Summon Anvil
Effect:When summoned, the anvil falls from the sky and deals physical damage to a targeted unit. It takes several turns for the anvil to appear and the targeted unit is clearly marked. The targeted unit may move but the anvil will follow it.

Summon inanimate object
Effect: creates a bulky object on one square. The object has hitpoints and if attacked then it is destroyed. Useful for blocking some squares.

Dice
Effect: Rolls some dice to determine the damage delt. example damage= 2d6 x 10.

Load Dice
Effect: If on the next turn the unit uses a spell that uses dice, coins or other such objects to determine the effect. The player can tip the odds in their favor, increacing the chance of a favorable outcome.

White Elephant
Effect: unit selects one other unit (either friendy or foe) and then gives them one item from their inventory, if it is an eequipable item the target must wear it even if it means replacing an item they have equiped.

Summon Evil Twin
Effect: Targets one unit and summons a shadowy monster that looks vaugely similar to them. This monster has similar abilities to the one duplicates and will only target that one.

Play Dead
Effect: The next time the unit is attacked with enough damage to go into critical health, they drop onto the ground and their HP reads 0. However, they actually have some HP hidden away and still get turns. during their turns, you can either have them stay 'dead' or have them get up and take their turn as normal. If they get hit by anything that causes damage they stop playing dead.

Hurt Self
Effect: The caster uses up 1/4th of their available MP and receives nonelemental damage. This spell is very easy to learn, in fact it may very well be one of the first spells any magic user ever casts.

Magic Shortcircuit
Effect: Creates a pulse that covers a certain area around the caster. Anyone within the area immediatly attemps to cast 'Hurt Self'. People who can't cast magic are unaffected.


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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

@Vopisk:
Playtesting is always the best way to sort these things out, but using physical cards won't help, as the system I have in place determines turns by stamina, and each wizard/creature has their own rate of stamina regeneration (agility). It's a good suggestion, but I don't think I can quite use it for this.

@Anthony Serrano:
I know what you mean about emergent effects, but I would guess that the designers of M:tG did attempt to create it. That's why they only play with the most recent blocks so WotC doesn't have to balance every new set against 14 years worth of cards.

You've made a pretty good summary of the situation, which is helpful, but I was hoping somebody (i.e. you) might have some good suggestions about what types of effects they'd like to see in a wizardly battle.

@The Shadow Nose:
Some of those are a bit more cartoony than I had in mind, but the mechanics aren't half bad! I was already thinking of the "inanimate object", but I'm not far enough into scripting the battlefield movement to implement it yet.


Currently, I've got elemental resistances, 3 types of counterspells, forced forgetfulness (discard), forced drawing (for self or others), direct damage, damage over time, and movement modifiers (flight, firewalk, swim)

Does anyone else know of any clever spell scenarios that would be fun to see? Especially emergent spells would be appreciated!

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I'm not sure you couldn't still use physical cards to playtest the effects of using one spell against or in conjunction with another. You'll still be able to find the glaring holes in game balance issues and the like with this method before investing a large amount of time into implementing something that perhaps needs to be taken right back out again. Also, with my suggestion of 3x5 cards you can quickly scrawl notes on them about how a particular spell should be changed in this way or that before ever putting in the code, I find it easier to write the proper function/script in the first place rather than implement something I'm going to have to constantly go back and rework.

However, I do understand what you're attemping to accomplish with your stamina regeneration, but I don't think that this is necessarily a prohibiting factor in testing it old-school style if you will, if it works as a turn based card game and you know the spells are pretty close to balanced and work well with themselves and others, it's just a mattering having to fine-tune the stamina regeneration in order to maintain balance.

To touch on some other points, you ask for emergent combos and the like, but without game mechanics it's hard to say, will you have trample and if so, will you also have phasing? There are 14 years worth of cards out there and a lot of different magical "abilities" that have been introduced over the years, created by whole teams of individuals who sit around and ponder nothing but how to make a fun trading card game.

Some ideas that I would certainly find interesting would be things like artifacts and enchantments though, perhaps in the mode of allowing a player an inventory like you would normally find in an RPG-style game. Allow them to wear special equipment that gives them some bonus to X stat or spell (Cloak of the Elves drops forest casting costs by 1? Dwarven Mithril Boots allow the character to summon forth little 1/1 Dwarf token creatures at X rater per turn or some such). Also things like the glasses of Ezra or other "wearable" artifacts could have their own bonuses/abilities.

Other than those, I think primarily you're going to have to look towards original and interesting character summons and try to do something other than the run of the mill "direct damage" spells like we've all seen rehashed time and time again in ever magic system ever put into text, video or other type of game.

Anyway, more of my comments, hope something in here was helpful,

Vopisk

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Personnally, I think that, if you're going for a semi-RPG-style Card Game, you should have levels in different magic abilities, such as Direct damage spells, summoning spells, enchanting spells and so on and so forth. These levels could determine WHICH of the effects of a card would come out (provided you have a list of effects depending on the levels.)

As for playtesting, if you're a tabletop PnP RPGer, you might have heard of a game called FengShui, which does have a "tick", and allows for different lengths of turns. I use such a thing in my own card game. ALthough I'll admit it doesn't have much to do with magic. It is a duelling card game. Proper blade duelling. PLUS it requires you to have a pre-drawn-out board, which comes with a character deck. But to hell...

As for the different effects of leveraging, as you dubbed it, you need to predefine what the different abilities will be, in order to balance them. You can decide you'll have a summoning ability, and that there will be spells to modify the summoned creature (enchant), spells to destroy other spells (disenchant, or dispell, or counter) and maybe objects giving special abilities, like in YuGiOh!

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Original post by Vopisk
To touch on some other points, you ask for emergent combos and the like, but without game mechanics it's hard to say, will you have trample and if so, will you also have phasing? There are 14 years worth of cards out there and a lot of different magical "abilities" that have been introduced over the years, created by whole teams of individuals who sit around and ponder nothing but how to make a fun trading card game.
Hmm...I suppose I did ask a pretty broad question. Really, I wanted to know what kinds of mechanics people want to see, what are a bad idea and what I could try that non-electronic games couldn't. Most abilities in M:tG are a complete waste (what does horsemanship even do?), but I'm going to lift a couple like trample and kicker.

Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
Some ideas that I would certainly find interesting would be things like artifacts and enchantments though, perhaps in the mode of allowing a player an inventory like you would normally find in an RPG-style game. Allow them to wear special equipment that gives them some bonus to X stat or spell (Cloak of the Elves drops forest casting costs by 1? Dwarven Mithril Boots allow the character to summon forth little 1/1 Dwarf token creatures at X rater per turn or some such). Also things like the glasses of Ezra or other "wearable" artifacts could have their own bonuses/abilities.
Equipment will be part of the equation, but the amount you can carry or have actively equipped before getting into battle is determined by strength. Since you have to devote a wizard's stat points to it, I don't suspect people will go overboard with items. Any other items/equipment will have to be summoned in-battle.

Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
Other than those, I think primarily you're going to have to look towards original and interesting character summons and try to do something other than the run of the mill "direct damage" spells like we've all seen rehashed time and time again in ever magic system ever put into text, video or other type of game.
That's exactly what I'm talking about! I'm sure if I could cast magic spells, I'd have something more useful than 8 different kinds of damage spells. I'm also considering having a double-use for spells on the field as well as in battle, but given that I haven't even finished the battle system, I'm a long way from that.

Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
Personnally, I think that, if you're going for a semi-RPG-style Card Game, you should have levels in different magic abilities, such as Direct damage spells, summoning spells, enchanting spells and so on and so forth. These levels could determine WHICH of the effects of a card would come out (provided you have a list of effects depending on the levels.)
I'm trying to avoid levels as much as possible. Eventually, I want to add competitive network play, and levels would make 2-player battles a little unfair. I am, however, going to add an optional cost to many spells that will enhance what the spell can do (a kicker, in M:tG parlance).

I've never played Feng Shui, but it looks like something I would enjoy. I don't know how you'd keep track of everyone's stamina in PnP, which is one of the reasons I made this electronic.

Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
As for the different effects of leveraging, as you dubbed it, you need to predefine what the different abilities will be, in order to balance them. You can decide you'll have a summoning ability, and that there will be spells to modify the summoned creature (enchant), spells to destroy other spells (disenchant, or dispell, or counter) and maybe objects giving special abilities, like in YuGiOh!
Maybe I should have gone into more detail about how my game works.

Well, this is already a long post, so I don't think I'll go into too much about how my game works, because you've already given me a lot to think about. Once I get some art assets, I think I'll put the game up. Until then, continue with the suggestions!

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I remember an old card from my own deck in M:tG... It was a Dark, or a Fallen, if I remember correctly, but the name eludes me for now. Probably Goblin something. My whole deck was goblin, at the time...

Basically, it was used to enchant a land, which wouldn't give mana, but a +2/+0 instead to all your creatures. (Must have been Goblin Caves...)

Another one, which, untweaked, would have made the game completely unfair, was the Mirage extension "Gregarious behaviour", which gave every creature a +1/+0 for every other creature on your side. On a Goblin deck, this meant having, very fast an army of unstoppable creatures on your side.

I remember being able to pull off at least two summons of 1/1 creatures every turn, and still be able to turn them into 5/3 without doing a thing. Using said "gregarious behaviour", it meant that by round four, I had around four or five creatures ranging from 3/3 to 6/4, and an opponent feverishly asking himself how in Hell he could get himself out of it. I remember that the only decks that could regularly kick my butt were "Rack & Vise", which would use my own abilities to kill me, the Turbo-Stasis, which would give my opponent eight turns were I would use one, and the Black Death ones, were my opponent would simply strip my hands and deck from me, and send them to the cemetary, which he would periodically destroy.

Given that you want online PvP games, I would have thought that the levels would be important, because it meant being able to judge from your opponent's levels what and where he'd been. Meaning that it was a sort of history of the player, and of his past games tactics.

As for the synergies, I suppose you should have some cards that unbalance your abilities. Like, if you want to be able to play a different tactic that day, against that particular deck, you should have cards that draw all your levels and add them to a single line of power. Like, if you have lvl 2 Summoning, level 3 Direct Damageing and lvl 1 Mana Drawing, and that day and game, you want to play out your abilities in Mana Drawing, then you use that card, which reduces all your abilities to 1, and gives you the remnant of points in Mana Drawing. (Mana Drawing would be the equivalent of M:tG blue spells Mana Burn and Mana Drain condensed in one ability, which makes you deal damage to your opponent, depending of how much mana he would invest in his spells... A sort of Counter ability...)

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As for the playtesting of the tick, it's easy enough if you're ready to prepare things a little.

Let's say, for the sake of the demonstration, that you DO use 3x5 paper cards to playtest your game. If you draw a circle at the bottom of your card, and attach a rolling pin to the center, then you have a beautiful quadrant there, which can be used to measure the passing of time. You divide this quadrant depending on your cards needs (that is, six parts if stamina six, or twelve if stamina twelve, or... whatever...) And then, all you have to do, is make sure every card ticks off at the same speed. (Maybe you could add some time slowing effects, or freezing effects, which you could represent with stones, added or taken, which would represent the time frame. A little like M:tG Phasing, I believe. I wasn't playing anymore by the time this ability turned up, so... sorry if I'm making things more difficult by being mistaken...)

The obvious problem with this system is that it may confuse the player, at first, that a low rate is in fact FASTER than a higher rate, but it goes smoothly after game one, because you have seen that the number is simply the number of turns required to wait until you get another action and that's all... You only get your next action when your "meter's hand" gets to the top of your quadrant again....

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Original post by Fournicolas
I remember an old card from my own deck in M:tG... It was a Dark, or a Fallen, if I remember correctly, but the name eludes me for now. Probably Goblin something. My whole deck was goblin, at the time...

Basically, it was used to enchant a land, which wouldn't give mana, but a +2/+0 instead to all your creatures. (Must have been Goblin Caves...)

Another one, which, untweaked, would have made the game completely unfair, was the Mirage extension "Gregarious behaviour", which gave every creature a +1/+0 for every other creature on your side. On a Goblin deck, this meant having, very fast an army of unstoppable creatures on your side.

I remember being able to pull off at least two summons of 1/1 creatures every turn, and still be able to turn them into 5/3 without doing a thing. Using said "gregarious behaviour", it meant that by round four, I had around four or five creatures ranging from 3/3 to 6/4, and an opponent feverishly asking himself how in Hell he could get himself out of it. I remember that the only decks that could regularly kick my butt were "Rack & Vise", which would use my own abilities to kill me, the Turbo-Stasis, which would give my opponent eight turns were I would use one, and the Black Death ones, were my opponent would simply strip my hands and deck from me, and send them to the cemetary, which he would periodically destroy.
I wonder, were you playing with cards en français? Because I don't recognize any of those names. I used a similar snake-themed deck with coat-of-arms, which gives a +1/+1 to each creature for each other creature that shares a type with it. So, your opponent gets the benefit too, but they probably weren't running a theme creature deck. In any case, these are exactly the kinds of ideas I want to incoporate, thanks! [smile]

Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
Given that you want online PvP games, I would have thought that the levels would be important, because it meant being able to judge from your opponent's levels what and where he'd been. Meaning that it was a sort of history of the player, and of his past games tactics.
That's an interesting perspective, but I'm sure you could imagine much better ways of representing an avatar's history than levels. My aversion to them is because I want a game of this type to play like chess, where it must be about strategy because of the even playing field. Levels too often remind me of the kind of MMORPG "LOLz n00B, im lv99 wearing 1337 7r0uZ0RZ!!!" I don't want new players with better strategies to get completely "pwnt" by older avatars.

Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
As for the synergies, I suppose you should have some cards that unbalance your abilities. Like, if you want to be able to play a different tactic that day, against that particular deck, you should have cards that draw all your levels and add them to a single line of power. Like, if you have lvl 2 Summoning, level 3 Direct Damageing and lvl 1 Mana Drawing, and that day and game, you want to play out your abilities in Mana Drawing, then you use that card, which reduces all your abilities to 1, and gives you the remnant of points in Mana Drawing. (Mana Drawing would be the equivalent of M:tG blue spells Mana Burn and Mana Drain condensed in one ability, which makes you deal damage to your opponent, depending of how much mana he would invest in his spells... A sort of Counter ability...)
That's an interesting idea. I'm using the classical elements as "skills", rather than the types of spells, but I don't know if rearranging a character's affinities really meshes well with my game world. The ratios of affinity in different elements is sort of an expression of the avatar's personality. Although, I'd be willing to bet most players would completely ignore that fact, instead favoring the most efficient game strategy.

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Yes, I was playing in French, and I am pretty sure Goblin Caves was the name, because Dark extensions was never translated. (I started spending money on that when still in Beta, though...) As for the "gregarious Behaviour", I only got that one in French, yes. SO maybe it does have another name in English version...

As for the older players throwing noobs out of the window, this will happen anyway. Either you give cards away as a reward for winning a contest, so anyone with most contests has more chances to have more cards, or better cards at least. Or you give cards as a reward for just being there, and therefore, the older players get more cards than the noobs.

And if you decide to give cards against a payment, then as in M:tG, the most favoured won't be the oldest players or even the best, but the richests. Or if you decide to give every single card to every player, then you can never have a decisive deck, and most likely, every combination will end up on an internet site, with preconstructed decks.

You may also decide to preconstruct decks, and then give the players a way to find or get new cards, but that means finding a way to do that without frustrating older players of the fact that THEIR OVERALL POWER ISN'T EVOLVING, which is obviously a bad thing.

Give it your best shot, but be sure of one thing. Either you DO give the players a way to make the noobs feel that being older means a thing, and then you retain your older player base, or you do NOT, and then you retain no one. Feel free to choose.

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Yes, I was playing in French, and I am pretty sure Goblin Caves was the name, because Dark extensions was never translated. (I started spending money on that when still in Beta, though...) As for the "gregarious Behaviour", I only got that one in French, yes. SO maybe it does have another name in English version...
Je parle un peu Français, mais pas assez pour jouer un CCG. Comme vous pouvez voir, ma grammaire française est terrible! [lol]

Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
As for the older players throwing noobs out of the window, this will happen anyway. Either you give cards away as a reward for winning a contest, so anyone with most contests has more chances to have more cards, or better cards at least. Or you give cards as a reward for just being there, and therefore, the older players get more cards than the noobs.
You're half right. If my game achieves ideal balance, stronger spells won't be better, because they cost more mana to use, take longer to prepare and cool down, and are a bigger setback when countered. So, older players will have more cards, and thus more strategies, but not necessarily better cards.

Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
And if you decide to give cards against a payment, then as in M:tG, the most favoured won't be the oldest players or even the best, but the richests. Or if you decide to give every single card to every player, then you can never have a decisive deck, and most likely, every combination will end up on an internet site, with preconstructed decks.

You may also decide to preconstruct decks, and then give the players a way to find or get new cards, but that means finding a way to do that without frustrating older players of the fact that THEIR OVERALL POWER ISN'T EVOLVING, which is obviously a bad thing.

Give it your best shot, but be sure of one thing. Either you DO give the players a way to make the noobs feel that being older means a thing, and then you retain your older player base, or you do NOT, and then you retain no one. Feel free to choose.
The game is mainly a single-player RPG, so spells will be earned by adventuring and completing quests. Summoned creatures can be collected by negotiating with them in battle. The rich players won't have the best cards; I don't know if I'll even use money. In any case, the multiplayer mode is more periphery to the main game than I may have led you to believe. Plus, I don't even have a networking library in my engine yet, so it's a bit premature for me to talk about network play. I would like players to be able to trade spells and items, though.

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More spells (because nobody told me to stop)-

Summon Spirit Merchant
Effect: Your character crys out for help and an angel with black and white spotted wings appears. You pay him in gold (or some other currency-like material) and he performs magic to help you. He doesn't attack and cannot be destoyed. He may leave if you run out of money or another angel/demon appears.
Magic he may use:
Create food- he creates potions/bread/herbs that restore health. These are just like the ones you might buy at a store, only more expensive and you don't have to carry them into battle.
Channel mana- he provides you with all the mana you need to cast spells, but you have to pay for each unit of mana pers spell.
Heal- He heals your body and can cure almost any status effect, he doesn't have the authority to bring back the dead though.


'All my functions are now yours... take them...' [quote from TRON]
Effect: The caster selects one ally and then falls asleep. The ally then receives stat bonuses (mainly strength, defence, magical prowess, etc.) and some health transfered from the caster. If the caster is woken up then the ally receiving the power will lose all bonuese and perhaps recieve a negative status ailment.

Team spirit
Effect: a spellcaster has access to the mana pool of all adjasant allies.

Magic Puppet
Effect: manipulates another unit to cast a spell, usually an ally. The controlled unit casts as if it were at the same level of proficiency as the origional caster and only casts a spell the origional caster knows, though it uses the controlled units mana.

'I'm friendly... honest'
Effect: The caster changes a viewers perception so that they appear to be allies to whoever looks at them. This effect continues until they cast a spell that targets any other creature. AI characters might not attack them, and player controlled characters would see that unit as being of the same color as their own, though they wouldn't be able to control them.

==================

Skills-

Sceptic
Effect: The character is sceptical of magic effects and whenever targeted by a magic effect, either good or evil. They perform a will-check against the caster and try to make the spell fail. This works for both spells directed at the sceptic specifically or in cases that the sceptic is merely one in a group. They can never cast spells. (Sort of a take on the Final Fantasy Tactics faith system where magic effectiveness relies on faith to work)

Yawn:
Effect: A noise that may make adjasant units fall asleep

Sleepwalk
Effect: A skill that allows characters to move around even while asleep. They can't do anything and their defences arn't improved at all but they can still move away from danger.

========

Magic Block
Effect: Caster spents 1 turn erecting a magical barrier around themselves and when hit by a spell they pay additional mana to disrupt the spell.

Magic Reflect
Effect: When combined with Magic Block, the caster spends 1 turn infusing their barrier with the power to reflect spells to a chosen target.

Channel Boost
Effect: When combined with Magic Reflect, the person redirecting can pay the spells origional cost double its power when redirected. This does stack, so if wizard A casts a spell to wizard B who doubles it and then directs it to wizard C who doubles it, they combined pay 3 times the spells cost but it is 4 times as powerful. But they would all have to spend turns setting up their barriers to get it to work.


Magic Recharge
Effect: combined with magic block, the barrier absorbs magic and converts it into mana. can't be combined with magic reflect

Magic Absorb
Effect: combined with magic block, the barrier absorbs magic and converts it to HP. can't be combined with magic reflect



========

Seven Deadly Spirits-
A sort of sacrifice system thing I thought of based on the 7 deadly sins. You invite a spirit to possess one character. They get stat boosts from the spirit inhabiting them but there are demands. If one set of demandsis not met, you have a problem. It another set is met, the spirit leaves. Probably not the best but may inspire some other ideas. only got 3 sins.

Invite Gluttony
Movement: Host moves and attacks normally
Demand: The spirit consumes one recovery item (potion, herb, antidote...) every few turns. This doesn't interfere with the hosts combat ability, though they do benefit from eating the recovery items.
Problem: if they run out of recovery items, host starts losing HP steadily as the spirit consumes them.
Leaves: If the host is in critcal health and there is no more food.


Invite Lust
Movement: They attack and act normally. [or if its like FFTactics they could automatically get 'charmed' by one ally of the opposite sex]
Demand: They stay within a few squares of a living ally of the opposite sex at all times.
Problem: If they aren't near an ally of the opposite sex, you lose control of the character until they get near to one.
Leaves: If there are no more members of the opposite sex alive on the field.


Invite Sloth
Effect: sleepwalking skill, Yawn skill, and gradual HP recovery
Movement: The host falls asleep and begins sleepwalking around the map as controlled by AI. If they stop next to another character, they Yawn.
Problem: If they are woken up, they goes berzerk and starts attacking people randomly until they go to sleep a few turns later.
Leaves: If they can't get any sleep for several consecutive turns.

===================

Sigh, anyway. another bunch of random stuff. Let me know if any of these sound useful.

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@The Shadow Nose:
Some of those I can't use, but there are a few very intriguing ideas in there! I especially like the "possession" mechanic. I'm not quite sure what I'd do with it, but that sounds like a gameplay element that could go far.

All of the magic shield stuff is good, but I don't know if I want to have a spell whose sole purpose is to enhance a different spell. Perhaps if I made a single-use "mana absorb" spell that could target the shield...hmmm...

Thanks for all the suggestions, everybody! Hopefully I'll have a working boss battle by the end of this month!

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Original post by templewulf:
what would make a good spell?


I don't know if anyone has ever done this before (I certainly haven't) but a random spell generator would be nice to have. Randomizing all the elements (distance, timing, effects, graphics) to create random (but creative) spells for you. Don't ask me how to do that though...?!

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GDnet has given me the ability to create this message, so they are to blame...

Mindswap:

"One of your men switches minds with one of the enemies men, thus giving you control of their man and losing control of your man."

I don't know, I just thought of it... would be cool if your man was about to self destruct... hehe.

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Give things common attributes: for example, creatures in MtG had casting cost, colour, power, toughness, creature type, flags (like artifact) and possibly additional special abilities (like banding). Cards in play could be "tapped" or "untapped".

Now you can have effects that react to things based on their attributes.

Have some state: in MtG, you had the cards in your hand, your hand size, the order of cards in your deck (hidden state), the cards in your graveyard and their order, as well as the current phase of play.

Figure out what actions players can do: they can activate abilities on cards in play (and sometimes in the graveyard), and they can pay the cost of a card in their hand to cause something to happen.

Have a default play-flow. "Do upkeep, Draw a card, do stuff, maybe attack once, do stuff, discard excess cards and do end-of-turn stuff".

You could have the above game, and restrict it to spells like "fireball" and "summon ogre". That would be MtG without the meta-magic. It would be a playable game -- it just wouldn't be the same as MtG.

Meta-magic are spells that take a framework like the above, and start playing with the rules. Counterspells allow you to prevent opponent action, spells that cause things to happen based on game state (rack, ivory tower), cards that change your opponent's state or your own state (discard cards, draw cards), cards that change what resources your opponent has in play (destroy land/creature/artifact spells), cards that change the behaviour of other cards in play based on the card's attributes, cards that change the attributes of other cards, etc.

Just make a huge flurry of such metamagic cards. Now you'll want to playtest them -- some of them will form sick combinations, some of them will be gimpy.

But you can't have the metamagic unless you have lots of state for the magic to play with.

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Here's my idea.

I call it "Ishpeck's Keywording Magical Mixing Pot." So remember, when the idea makes you famous (we know better than to think you'll make any money) and has all those imaginary gamer-babe bikini models wanting to jump your bones, you owe me the first dozen or so that show up at your door.

This magic system was inspired by the way Google's GMail labels work -- as well as some other stuff I've done in MySQL and at work.

RESONNANT FIELDS
Whenever a spell is cast, it leaves a metaphysical "footprint" on the area around it. When you cast a "Water" spell, the arcane properties of that element affect the world around you. Typically this has no noticable effect on mundane perceptions but it can noticably affect other magical effects created in that same space. The area that is affected (both noticably by the intended spell effects as well as unnoticably by the magical "footprint") is called the RESONNANT FIELD. For the purpose of a game, a RESONNANT FIELD is confined to the area in-which combat occours.

I would describe the RESONNANT FIELD as a queue with a list of the "traits" of the last ten (or so) spells cast inside the area. (More on "Traits below.")

SPELL TRAITS
Each spell has a trait (think like gMail labels or like "keywords" people like to use to describe their web sites) that describes part of its nature in a magical, and physical sense. The possible traits are not predefined but are simply vlaues that allow the magic system's scripting language (yes, you'll have to script it -- but it shouldn't be too complicated) can reference.

SPELL SCRIPTS
Each "spell" consists of two major parts: A traits listing -- which is just a series of unique words that are relevant to this spell as well as others that look into the "RESONNANT FIELD" as well as a small script that describes the spell's effect.

Here's an example of a spell:
SPELL: ROASTY DOOM
TRAITS: Fire, Line-of-Sight, Projectile
EFFECT: This spell travels along a linear trajectory and burns the first thing it comes into contact with. The damage it inflicts is equal to the number of "FIRE" traits that appear in the RESONNANT FIELD minus the number of "WATER" and "SHIELD" traits in the RESONNANT FIELD.

So if someone has previously cast a "WATER" spell, it will dampen (that pun was not intended but I am deliberately leaving it in there) the effects of this fire spell. If they've cast any spell with the "SHIELD" trait, that will also weaken the possible effects of the spell.

The idea here is that everyone's spell effects can affect everyone else's. Strategic measures can be taken on behalf of the players to throw certain TRAITS into the RESONNANT FIELD that will weaken certain kinds of spells and strengthen others. Because each spell is dynamically scripted, you can have a vast array of traits and spells that key off of them and as long as you avoid really stupid "UBER-SPELLS" the game dynamics can scale with the economic challenges implicit in big, PVP games.

With the example above, you can have other spells key off of the "Line-of-Sight" trait and the "Projectile" traits -- do wonky stuff with whatever traits you can. Try to avoid having too many superfluous triats and make sure there's a tangled web of power-balance with what spells key off of which traits.

Heck, this magic alone could constitute an entire game by itself.

Then you could have metaspells that substitute "counterspell" concepts. Something like this:

SPELL: Parched Earth
TRAIT: Fire, Ambient, Metaspell
EFFECT: Remove a number of WATER traits from the RESONNANT FIELD equal to the number of FIRE traits in the RESONNANT FIELD.

Things like that will make the magic world like a chess board. Very interesting.

This also leaves room for "Materia-like" objects that just constantly put traits into the RESONNANT FIELD to aid the casting of other spells. The possibilities are limitless.

[Edited by - ishpeck on July 14, 2006 2:13:37 PM]

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SPELL: ROASTY DOOM


The system is good but this example name is excellent.

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Quote:
Original post by Beige
Quote:
SPELL: ROASTY DOOM


The system is good but this example name is excellent.


*Bows*

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Combos can be thought of as being one of two types: Leverage combos and ecology combos.

I'm making the terms up here, so I'll go over them.

A leverage combo is one in which one card/spell makes another more powerful. The key to this is simply to make an interaction circumstantial; making a spell that combos well is as simple as having it's effects determined by the current state of the game, then making other spells which alter those states in a favorable way or amplify a change to the game state that was already made. An example may be a spell that inflicts damage equal to a character's Magic Skill, and a spell that increases Magic Skill. These become more interesting when they can be multi-stage; for example, you may have a spell that lowers an enemy's magic resistance by half, then another spell which increases the damage they take from spells by half, then finally, an attack spell that inflicts a flat amount of damage but doubles if the enemy has less than 25% magic resistance. By playing these cards in combination you'd be getting much more damage than by playing them one or two at a time. Such an example is simple and not terribly strategic simply because it's so straightforward, but leverage combos can become quite complex with careful consideration.

An ecology combo is one that changes the way future actions by a player will impact the game; changing the game's ecology, in other words. Building an ecology combo is usually a matter of making two or more spells that alter the game mechanic in a way that is somewhat advantageous, but when played together become much more powerful. An example might be this set of three cards:

Rage: Each of your characters gains a free counterattack when hit with a melee attack.

Destiny: Once per character, instead of dying when reduced to 0 HP, the character will be reduced to 1 HP.

Courage: All of your characters' damage is vastly increased when they are close to death.

Each of these cards are sort of useful by themselves, but if you use all three at once, your enemy has to be very careful about hitting you with melee attacks--if he does, your character will survive and deliver a devastating counter hit.

Ecology combos don't have to hit every character or change the rules of the game--they just need to be something that will last long enough for other long-lasting cards to affect.

Generally, to make an ecology combo, you simply take a look at what an existing enhancement spell does--the free counterattack, for example--and think of another beneficial effect a spell could have that would have the side-effect of making the first spell more powerful or more applicable (or vice-versa).

The biggest difference between ecology and leverage combos is leverage combos usually work numbers whereas ecology combos work with rules changes. Both can be powerful and both can become broken, but that's a discussion for another day...

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