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There are some articles that discuss the current implementation of magic in the games and implying (rightfully so, i must say), that it boils down to a bow or a gun with a different name. You know everything there is to know about your spells : range, damage, duration, mana cost, etc. There is nothing mysterious or threatening or respectful in that. Also, it doesnt make much sense that a mage study a few measly spells for many long years, it seems way too restrictive. Mages are supposed to wield powers beyond imagination, infuse any bystanders with fear and respect, not shooting 20 damage firebolts every 1,35 seconds for 2 mana. Asprin's Myth series is something of a reference, Skive got to an amazing heights knowing just one most basic spell and using it at the right moments. Also, for some time now, i was thinking that the whole spell-based systems are somewhat outdated. Sure, its simple to click and see the result right away, but the whole concept of a "spell" is somewhat ludicrous. Its one thing when a cleric uses a power granted by his god, a god could give all his followers identical powers, thus - "spells". But for every mage there is to not be able to do anything except some pre-made spells ? That is a regress of a sort. What i would like to discuss, is how to implement a magic in games as a more absract, spell-less, force. One way to do it is just use a Star Wars "Force" analogue, basically a telekinetic power. It would need to be coded with a somewhat advanced physics model, i suppose, but the options are numerous. The way i see it : - No spells, just a few options (for example Rotation or Spiral) - Force is applied either to existing objects, or projects a "patch" of Force - Spacebar tapping pauses the game and enters Casting mode - A stat that will affect the number of simultaneous targets and the speed of interaction. Examples of use : - Selecting the sword hanging on the wall - setting the force direction - adding rotation - enemy is slashed to his death by a swirling sword flying right at him. - Projecting the force on yourself adding spiral option - projectiles are deflected. - Projecting the force on yourself from below - walking on water or even flying. - Projecting the force on the enemy from inside out or from outside - gruesome death. - Projecting the force on the pile of rocks - enemy is stoned to death. - Projecting the force on the enemy's weapon - disarming. Of course the combat would need to be pretty much exp-less, since its way too easy to deal with the enemy in this manner, but i cant say that its a disadvantage in any way. What i'd like to see, is the magic in its most arcane form, like building towers from thin air, or summoning a netherbeing with unknown qualities that player will need to explore, or transforming objects into one another at will in the middle of nowhere.

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I agree, magic is just another "Gun" in most games there days.

I have been thinking about ways to make magic more amazing and less of a "Tool".

One of which is to add a bit of "danger" to magic. Make it so that its use carries a negative aspect. At the moment this is limited to "manna" and using this up just means you have to wait until it is recharged. Not all that dangerous.

As an example imagine being able to summon demons or Undead. Now usually these have a certain time limit or a limit to the number to can summon at once. Again, not all that dangerous.

My idea was to have each creature you summon to act as a drain for your manna. If your manna runs out, then you no longer control the creature, but it doesn't go away. It becomes an enemy.

You would have to give the mage some way to banish a controlled creature (and maybe even a way to regain control) so that the player can dismiss then to avoid this occuring.

This way a mage get a sense of danger about them. Sure you might have the party mage summon the skeletons to fight, but if they summon too many, they might loose control of them, and then you are faced with a real problem.

They might summon a lot of creatures for a short period of time (like a boss fight), but if they keep them too long, then all hell can break loose.

A second method is to make the mage as a battle field control character (rather than the artillery that is they current role).

This means that instead of spells that do damage, you give them spells that can deny an area to enemies, open up access for allies and so forth.

For instance, if you had a mage be able to create a wall of rock as a spell, the although this doesn't do damage, it might cut off a group of enemies so that your allies could deal with a smaller group.

Giving your allies access might be achieved with a spell that punches a hole through a wall (may be just a short ranged teleport between sides of a wall), or you might have a spell that can create a bridge over a chasm.

The last idea I am working on is to give the mages a bit of "Craft" to their magic. Instead of just having the mages cast a spell and then their manna is used up, why not give the mage some control over how the spell is cast, a sort of after touch to the spell.

Part of this idea is having spells "channelled" by the mage. But unlike "channelled" spells in games like WoW which use a set amount of manna before you have to recast the spell, this would keep casting the spell until the player cancels it.

Take a Flying spell for instance. The player would cast the spell, then the character would keep casting it as the player fly their character around. As soon as they stopped casting it the character would fall (so you would only do this while close to the ground). However, as the character is flying they continually drain their manna (or other spell casing resource) and if their manna is drained, then the spell self cancels and they stop flying.

The after touch is that the player controls the direction of the flying. Now, this could be interesting if you allow the player to cast it on other objects. First, you would want the caster to retain the flying controls. Second, you would want the target of the spell to be effected by the flying controls.

So the caster might not be the target, and so they would not fly, but then the object that they cast it upon would. This might be a friendly character (and so allow them to reach a high up place), it might be an inert object (like a rock) which could then be moved around the battle field (or dropped on an enemy :D ), or it might be an enemy (and then you could fly them up high and drop them :D ).

This is why the after-touch concept can allow you to give the player much more control over the spells. They can use the after-touch to perform lots more tricks than the standard concept of a "spell" can do.

This method requires you to have a physics system capable of handling different after-touch methods (like falling objects do damage to whatever they hit), and so is the most complex (although the channelling part should be easy to do).

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The problem with using a non-spell paradigm is that it gets very complicated and hard to implement, very fast.

Look up the tabletop roleplaying games Mage: The Ascension or Mage: The Awakening for what is probably the best example of what I mean. The magic rules for either version of this game cover most reasonable eventualities ("reasonable" in this case includes time travel, memory modification, and growing extra hearts so that you won't be slain if you lose one). Because of its complexity, however, you can't write a reasonable game based on its ruleset. You just can't. Maybe we'll have games like that in twenty years, but certainly not now.

Additionally, adding mystery to magic is just fine for adventure games or non-traditional RPGs, but traditional computer RPGs have a stat crunching component, and many players enjoy this part of them. Taking away their ability to perceive the outcome of their actions will annoy and frustrate many players.

I'm trying to solve this problem in my game project by making magic effectiveness and exact results fluctuate based on other magical effects active and being cast in the general area, as well as the basic magical resonances of the area. This is acceptable magical muckery, to my mind, because even though the conditions surrounding a spell are very complex, a highly skilled and/or dedicated player can figure out, from numbers given them, how effective their spell will be - just like a particularly skilled wizard should know whether a spell would be useful in a situation. Thus, when the player does a complex bit of strategic thinking with regard to their spell cast, they get both the satisfaction of playing the system correctly and of affecting their RPG character's effectiveness using their own intelligence.

To me, magic should actually be reasonably quantifiable... for someone who understands what they're doing. A lowly apprentice might be stupid enough to try to imprison one of the seven archangels inside a ritual seal of imprisonment bearing that angel's name and the stamp of their power, not knowing what their seal of binding means, but any wizard worth his salt will have the in-depth knowledge to know that it wouldn't work, and the resourcefulness to come up with alternate means to their end. If it were completely unscientific, it would be too dangerous for common use.

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Sorry this post is going to be a bit rushed since I'm still at work, but I had a few things I wanted to throw out there while I'm thinking about it...

In my game I currently have 25 different Runes that can be used to 'cast' spells. Currently all you need is to have earned the Rune to be able to use it. So if know Rune A, you can cast any spell that has a 'cost' of Rune A. But if you only know Rune A, you wouldn't be able to cast a spell that has a cost of Rune A, Rune B. As it stands, this doesn't require any skill and always works.

What I was thinking is what if each spell had a specific order that had to be entered to work? Let's say you have Rune A, B, and C at your disposal. When you attempted to cast a Spell of cost BAC, a keyboard type interface would pop up and you would have to click on the Runes B, A, C in order to cast the spell. If you messed up and clicked B, B, A instead something bad would happen or the spell would fizzle. I feel this introduces two elements. The first is some type of skill requirement (I may luck out and my opponent that is about to kill me miskeys his spell so that I live another round). The second is that it in some way mimics the learning of a spell. If I have keyed a fireball with Runes B, A, C a hundred times, chances are I'm not going to mess it up. (Of course the sequence would be timed).

Also, I've implemented a system in which Magic will hurt the user. Some spells actually drain health or lower attributes temporarily. I've also considered the possiblity of random events happening because of the uncontrollable nature of magic (like a .05% chance of something weird happening everytime you cast a spell).

And finally, caesura, I'd love to hear more about your implementation of how magic is affected by other neighboring magical elements and location.

Comments, questions, critisms?

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I am still working on my magic system built out of operators and combinators. I think I may have gotten a system where you can create your own spells (and then make other spells out of those spells.), however I feel I am missing the same kind of thing you are looking for. It may also be too mathy for most peoples tastes.

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you would need a very very intuitive interface for custom spells on the go. The on the spot wielding and molding of raw magical power without a predefined spell that you are completing is not something a novist spell caster should be able to do. A better system might be standard spell systems but make all spells something that can be customized. Morrowind did this to an extent but implementing spell effects which had permitters that could be changed when making new versions of the spells. I think its a bit too mathy and concrete, but i think that a on the go spell system for custom effects might be to complex to implement well. keep in mind also that if magic gets too powerful, you have a balance issue in many games between different classes. If you can just make boulders fly around and crush people, why bother with a sword?

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I wasn't implying you would have to figure out how to cast the spell, i.e. try different Rune combinations (we've already seen that thread [grin]).

Instead, it was more about a skill developed by practice. Kind of like Guitar Hero. Sure you know the notes are Red, Green, Orange, Red - but can you press them fast enough to get the Star Power?

Similarly, I have to click Rune C, Rune A, Rune B on the spellpad (Rune buttons on the screen) before the time runs out. Do you think this would be too frustrating (kind of like having to watch the cinema displays in FFVII EVERYTIME I summon) or that it doesn't even add much to the game? Just let me cast the spell already...

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What if you use a build-your-own-spell system? You have a fully-featured magic system to create completely unique spells, and you can access the "build a spell" menu when you reach a certain level of expertise. You play around with bending the raw forces of nature until you have a consistent magical effect, or "spell". You've just added a new spell to your list. Now, in the actual gameplay, you have one more spell you can cast. The whole experimenting with forces of nature part is where it gets risky. You have to be very careful or you could accidentally teleport yourself to Mars, or whatever random stuff you want.

Also, why is everyone hell-bent on balancing magic users with non-magic users? Of course someone that can adjust physics to meet their needs is going to destroy a fighter in a fight. That's a given. That's one of the benefits of controlling matter and energy directly. If you get past the learning curve that is... And if you can get your spell off before the sword-wielding brute gets within 3 meters.

I really think it's self-balancing if you make it risky enough and costly enough.

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Here are some threads that explore the idea of "discovering" spells and allowing the user to create their own. Pretty much how I started developing my rune system instead of just letting a player cast fireball for no reason.

link 1
link 2
link 3

I grew up reading about Magic as a very powerful force and that's how a romanticize it now. Anything that can redefine the fabric of reality needs to have some kind of checks and balances. Which is also why I need restrictions on my psionics and my race of time-manipulating xenophobes.

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Heres an idea, to make things a bit different froma gun or a bow...

I came up with it by thinking about how the process of casting a spell would actually be different, and what it could be like!

It comes down to 2 things -
1.Casting a spell takes concentration, almost meditation.
2.Casting a spell, particularly advanced ones happens in stages.

So one implementation could be that to cast a spell, the player has to sustain a short period of concentrating, where he can't be running and can't be attacked or spoken to. It is begun by holding down the attack button. Perhaps over that interval the screen darkens apart from the player character until the whole screen is black apart from the player character.
Then the first part of the spell is ready, maybe now the player's hand is a ball of fire, a release of the button sends the ball of fire forward at the enemy, longer holding of the button changes it to a ball of ice. A quick press of the button, just after its left increases the size of the fireball, and uses an extra burst of mana points.

So you have more customizable attacks, but they are slower to do. The period where you can't be disturbed means that you are vunerable without other classes in your party, but will improve as you reach the high levels.
the concentration period, including sending the screen black will give an added feel of casting magic.

Just an idea - sorry if its actually crap - its late :).

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Here's another link to an old discussion:
http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=413473

To add to my comments already there...

I'm a Buffyverse fan, and they had some interesting twists on magic, like a potential for addiction, a good/evil dichotomy (common, but rarely manifested in interesting ways in any CRPG), a requirement for sometimes-exotic ingredients (ditto), combining your power with another person (ditto again), and complex rituals (need I say it...). There are plenty of classic ideas about magic that somehow never show up in computer games; you just need to come up with novel ways of *implementing* them.

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I've had another idea for magic. It is a system like Black And White where you have to use a gesture system to cast spells, but the gesture system is simplified.

The gesture system recognises only 8 gestures:
Up
Down
Left
Right
Up-Left
Up-Right
Down-Left
Down-Right

Basically this just compares the X and Y movements of the mouse and selects the gesture closest to the movement done.

Because there are 8 gestures, there are 8 "runes" or spell options. To cast a rune, you move the mouse then pause, then move it again. The sequence of "Runes" entered then corresponds to the spell cast.

Along with my idea of "channelling", spells, the player might have to keep entering a sequence of gestures to keep the spell going. Also, once a spell is cast, different gestures can give different results (like a fly spell might have left, then right as fly left or right then left as fly right).

You might also use an accuracy value (how close a gesture is to the "perfect" motion) to increase/decrease the effectiveness of a spell. So if you can make your gestures perfect, then you get the most powerful effects of the spell (and it might also use more manna too - so sometimes you might not what a perfect gesture). This is in line with my after-touch idea.

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A more intricate magic manipulation requires a more intricate 'world' mechanics to manipulate. A majority of what magic can do, someone can do with their hands and tools and you better be ready to make similar interactions accessible to players who are not magic users. You will probably find that making a more complex/interactiuve world work will be the major problem for your game (otherwise you will still only have the limited complexity of the current game that offer only a few interactions and a very short list of options to do magic).

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Some vague ideas on how to improve game magic:

-Actual power of a wizard or some other magic user is extended by opportunities to bluff and to intimidate. (Possible difficulty: PC intimidation, smoke and mirrors work only if the game system somehow manages to make players care about their characters. Players care more if they have invested some time and effort to a character, but if they have not...)

-Secret mechanics are revealed layer by layer. To make the system more interesting those mechanisms should really exist and be available to all players.

-Situation dependent possibilities to manipulate those secret mechanisms. Wizard's experience should bring more control and knowledge instead of raw power.

-More powerful wizards should have just more knowledge of how to use powers that exist in every player...

Examples about secret mechanisms:
-Opening portals: Results may depend on time, location, light etc.
-Talking to animals, stones, grass and trees that may co-operate but results are uncertain and depend on their mood, allegiance, personality etc.
-Typical spells can be implemented as seeing and using chaotic powers around instead of direct control: Teleportation, use of fire, lightnings and other spells that exist often in games can be made more interesting by making their availability and actual results more chaotic.
-Knowledge spells and illusions should be more available than other spells.
-Riding the wind, causing the sunlight to dazzle or blind players facing the sun, etc...


-Osmo Suvisaari
www.waspgames.com

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My idea was to have each creature you summon to act as a drain for your manna. If your manna runs out, then you no longer control the creature, but it doesn't go away. It becomes an enemy.

How about summoning a demon, but not knowing his character and initial disposition towards you ? He is caged in the magic circle, and you will have to either trust him, or tame him somehow, or banish him altogether. Evil demons may randomly join evil-aligned PC or attack him, on a whim.

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This way a mage get a sense of danger about them. Sure you might have the party mage summon the skeletons to fight, but if they summon too many, they might loose control of them, and then you are faced with a real problem.

Another idea, a Necromancer. As you summon spirits and revive corpses - you are slowly corrupted, and change your alighment and even your appearance towards a darker, cynical type of person. Maybe PC will still want to be good-natured, but people will try and avoid PC.

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but traditional computer RPGs have a stat crunching component, and many players enjoy this part of them. Taking away their ability to perceive the outcome of their actions will annoy and frustrate many players.

Yes, well, i'm sure power players will want all game mechanics to be apparent and transparent, but they have their games, and LOTS of them.

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In my game I currently have 25 different Runes that can be used to 'cast' spells.

Nice thoughts, but it was done before, and is somewhat offtopic.

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Also, I've implemented a system in which Magic will hurt the user. Some spells actually drain health or lower attributes temporarily. I've also considered the possiblity of random events happening because of the uncontrollable nature of magic (like a .05% chance of something weird happening everytime you cast a spell).

Good one, but it should be taken further. For example, screwing up a spell leaves the PC mute, or deaf, and wont cure itself, so the player will have to look for help while handicapped.

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If you can just make boulders fly around and crush people, why bother with a sword?

:) Roleplaying.

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What if you use a build-your-own-spell system? You have a fully-featured magic system to create completely unique spells, and you can access the "build a spell" menu when you reach a certain level of expertise. You play around with bending the raw forces of nature until you have a consistent magical effect, or "spell".

Well, the Daggerfall spell-builder was rather good, but it had two big flaws : you had to find the spell-building NPC and all effects were too obvious. Like "Invisibility", duh.
I'd make it more generic and cryptic. For example, an effect "Ethereal", which is sort of context-based, but actually does the same thing. Like, if cast on the enemy - enemy becames incorporeal and cant harm you, vice versa if cast on yourself, also could be used to go through walls and stuff or hide something.

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I'm a Buffyverse fan, and they had some interesting twists on magic, like a potential for addiction, a good/evil dichotomy (common, but rarely manifested in interesting ways in any CRPG), a requirement for sometimes-exotic ingredients (ditto), combining your power with another person (ditto again), and complex rituals (need I say it...).

Ritual-based magic i think would be very interesting, there is an opportunity to write all sorts of in-game books describing various procedures and sequences. Material magic system was used in Ultima Online, you needed material components to cast.

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A majority of what magic can do, someone can do with their hands and tools

Nope, they cant do that without magic, thats the whole point.

These are all very nice ideas, but you are still talking from inside the "spell paradigm", while i was thinking how to lose "spells" pretty much entirely.

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The idea of a spell is still there though. if you have a system where there are raw forces around you all the time and while casting you manipulate them and create some sort of effect, then doing that is a spell, and doing it again and again is what spells are there for. I dont think it is possible to move outside of the idea of spells, nor would it be beneficial to the game. Allowing the player to access effects they wish to use often is a very good thing.

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Though completely and utterly unfeasable with current technology, here's a little concept I came up with a while ago:

The game would probably have to be limited to 1v1 battles, kind of like a beat-em-up or something, with the two characters stood still facing one another. The two players each have a pair of gloves acting as controllers that sense their every hand and finger movements. The game mechanics would then simulate as if the players were completely submerged in water, and calculate ripples and waves caused by their hand gestures. Different shapes and patterns emerging would then be represented graphically as different elements; fire, electricity etc. and cause damage to the opponent. The idea being that players could mould the very air around them into fireballs, lightning bolts or whatever, and hurl them at their enemy, who, say, grasps and stretches at the air to form a shield or catches and flings the energy back again.

So anyway, back to the world of the possible... the whole magic-physics idea could eventually be done, but the real problem is in how the player controls it. The above example would be very extreme, in that the player needs both hands specifically for casting (hence why the combat would be stationary). The more complicated the casting procedure becomes, the less control the player has over other actions. If you were to allow the player to save pre-designed casting procedures then to be honest that's a waste of the system; players could just work out the mathematically "best" spells, and use only those from then on.

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Original post by H4L
Though completely and utterly unfeasable with current technology

Not at all. Perhaps *impractical* because such controllers are rare, but the technology has been there for years. You'd need at least ten accelerometers, a pair of microcontrollers, and two wireless transmitters. Just eyeballing some prices on DigiKey, it would probably cost $200-300 for a prototype, maybe $100-150 in bulk.

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Original post by Karnot
How about summoning a demon, but not knowing his character and initial disposition towards you ? He is caged in the magic circle, and you will have to either trust him, or tame him somehow, or banish him altogether. Evil demons may randomly join evil-aligned PC or attack him, on a whim.

How about summoning a creature you've already made contact with? If you communicated with it before you have some idea what it's attitudes/dispositions/goals are. Then you just have to worry about whether it was lying or not. If you're concerned, you could use magic to force control of the creature, but it would require constant focus and effort; ie, you couldn't do anything more complex than say, walking, for the entire duration.

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Another idea, a Necromancer. As you summon spirits and revive corpses - you are slowly corrupted, and change your alighment and even your appearance towards a darker, cynical type of person. Maybe PC will still want to be good-natured, but people will try and avoid PC.

Sounds like that Xbox game Fable (although I never played it). Maybe wielding magic is physically draining, causing accelerated aging and death.

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but traditional computer RPGs have a stat crunching component, and many players enjoy this part of them. Taking away their ability to perceive the outcome of their actions will annoy and frustrate many players.

Yes, well, i'm sure power players will want all game mechanics to be apparent and transparent, but they have their games, and LOTS of them.

I agree. We don't have direct access to all the numbers that keep our world running, why should we in games? You can give them enough information to give a reliable result without completely exposing your whole system to their abusive eyes.

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Also, I've implemented a system in which Magic will hurt the user. Some spells actually drain health or lower attributes temporarily. I've also considered the possiblity of random events happening because of the uncontrollable nature of magic (like a .05% chance of something weird happening everytime you cast a spell).

Good one, but it should be taken further. For example, screwing up a spell leaves the PC mute, or deaf, and wont cure itself, so the player will have to look for help while handicapped.

I like the side effects idea too. Small, temporary effects from a single casting/ritual; and gradual, permanent effects from consistent magical tampering. And the result of screwing up a spell should depend slightly on the forces involved. If you screw up a fireball it blows up in your face. If you screw up invisibility maybe it makes you glow, or go blind. Failing to read someone's mind might actually give that person amnesia if you mess it up.

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If you can just make boulders fly around and crush people, why bother with a sword?

If you're going to bother with a sword why take time learning to throw boulders around?

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Well, the Daggerfall spell-builder was rather good, but it had two big flaws : you had to find the spell-building NPC and all effects were too obvious. Like "Invisibility", duh.
I'd make it more generic and cryptic. For example, an effect "Ethereal", which is sort of context-based, but actually does the same thing. Like, if cast on the enemy - enemy becames incorporeal and cant harm you, vice versa if cast on yourself, also could be used to go through walls and stuff or hide something.

I was thinking of basing it around forces, directions, shapes, and effects. Examples: For a personal shield, maybe you would combine the "slow" effect with the "sphere" shape, making sure you make the sphere big enough, with however much "duration" you think you need. For a heat ray you combine "forward" direction with "fire" effect, and maybe duration defines the distance. You can change it into a fireball by changing the shape to a sphere.

You can extend that to longer ritual type spells. For a summoning circle you would have to define various protection spells in a certain way and lay them on top of each other. And because magic is unstable, the different spells are affected by proximity; the spell's effect or shape can change when other magic is close by. So it would take a long time to come up with a circle strong enough to contain the demon you want to summon. Maybe you can find an ancient tome that describes the process to make it easier, but that doesn't mean it's an instant cast in the game now. You actually have to go through the process each time, which is not an easy thing.


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A majority of what magic can do, someone can do with their hands and tools

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The issue I think needs to be addressed is "If magic exists why is it never used for mundane purposes?" It's always one guy is the villain that's trying to take over the world, and the other guy is the hero trying to stop him. Sure, that's a natural plot setup, but why are they the only ones using magic? Why isn't there a local mage in some town that heals people or animals, casts protection spells on farm fields, maybe manufactures practical magic items, like flashlights? All you ever see is Magic Sword+5 and Holy Plate Armor of Daisies.

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These are all very nice ideas, but you are still talking from inside the "spell paradigm", while i was thinking how to lose "spells" pretty much entirely.

The point of having spells is to expedite the process in gameplay. Sure, magic can be unpredictable, but if it doesn't have some predictability you've got a crappy game. I hate playing games that overly rely on random elements for the sake of difficulty. If magic is like physics it has rules. If you train enough you get used to the rules and you can do the same thing over and over with little or no thought, like playing music. If a mage practices flying long enough it becomes second nature to him. That's the point that you call it a spell and throw it on the quick-cast list.

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Ritual-based magic i think would be very interesting, there is an opportunity to write all sorts of in-game books describing various procedures and sequences. Material magic system was used in Ultima Online, you needed material components to cast.

I am using Ritual magic in my Pen and Paper D&D campaign world. Basically, in D&D (for those that don't know the system) spell casters (except Sorcerers - but we'll ignore them for this) have to prepare their spells before hand. It is called Memorising.

What I did is to change the concept (although it is mechanically the same). Instead of Memorising, then Spell casters had to perform a ritual to get that spell for the day (and they could perform it multiple times to get the spell multiple times each day).

No, with a CRPG, you could use a similar system. Spell casters might have access to all their spells, but if they do cast them it will take a certain amount of time and they won't be as powerful. However, a Mage can prepare a certain number of "spells" as rituals at any time. It initially takes longer to perform the ritual than to just cast the spell normally, however, once that ritual has been performed, they can then cast off that "Spell" very quickly.

For example lets assume there is a spell "Lightning Bolt". Normally a mage that knows this spell can cast it at will, but that takes 10 seconds to do. However, the mage can perform a ritual which takes 30 seconds to perform, but then allows them to cast the lighting bolt once for each time the ritual is performed (up to a limit) in only 2 seconds.

You could also restrict access to spell with this by only allowing the players to cast a spell after a specific ritual has been performed. You could also require several mages to get to gather to perform these rituals (and thereby creating a need for Mages Guilds).

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How about summoning a creature you've already made contact with? If you communicated with it before you have some idea what it's attitudes/dispositions/goals are. Then you just have to worry about whether it was lying or not. If you're concerned, you could use magic to force control of the creature, but it would require constant focus and effort; ie, you couldn't do anything more complex than say, walking, for the entire duration.

That is what the constant drain on manna is all about. A mage might summon a creature that the drain in manna exactly matches the amount of manna that they recover, but if they then cast spells, they won't recover manna and will, after a while give a sort of exhaustion.

Also, you could make it so the mage has to "channel" the control over the creatures. While channelling, they could be restricted in what they can do. You could then let them attempt the actions, but doing so would break the control (or increase the manna drain significantly - and if it drained their manna completely break the control) freeing the creature, which would then go on a rampage.

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Another idea, a Necromancer. As you summon spirits and revive corpses - you are slowly corrupted, and change your alighment and even your appearance towards a darker, cynical type of person. Maybe PC will still want to be good-natured, but people will try and avoid PC.

Unless these have actual gameplay effects (alignment might) it is really just a visual effect (like changing the colour of the character's hair). This can be a good thing as it can increase the immersion of the players, but it doesn't effect the game.

You can't just rely on a PC to react a certain way just because a character looks different. In all likely hood, players will respond more positively to a character like this as it shows that they have had experience and "look cool".

Also, messing with the appearance of a player avatar is risky as the avatar is tied into that player's self image of the game world. If you change it without their explicit permission, then they may react negatively towards the game. The look of the player's avatar is very important to the player. It is a bit like if you went up to a stranger's car and just gave it a new paint job without their permission.

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if you have a system where there are raw forces around you all the time and while casting you manipulate them and create some sort of effect, then doing that is a spell, and doing it again and again is what spells are there for.

That is correct, but why create situations that require one set of actions to be done over and over ? This is good for action/arcade/h&s games , but i would like to see something different in games that call themselves RPG and allow you to play as a mage.

At the very LEAST, maybe make not a total-custom spell, but a custom macros that would do the same set of actions ? If you really want to do that - you could. If not - you still have your individual actions.

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How about summoning a creature you've already made contact with?

Could be good, but i am, personally, an adept of total randomness in everything. >:D

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You can't just rely on a PC to react a certain way just because a character looks different.

True, but PC doesnt have to react differently. The game social system will take care of that. Suppose that you got beaten out of your home and have to sleep on the street - you havent changed at all, but after a while you will look like a bum and high-class people will avoid you like plague, while various "undesirable" elements of the society will try to befriend of use you.

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If you change it without their explicit permission, then they may react negatively towards the game.

It doesnt matter in the slightest, as long as it doesnt happen every half and hour. Mostly it will depend on the overall game image. What comes to mind are vampiric quests in TES and sides changing in Chrono Cross.

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For example lets assume there is a spell "Lightning Bolt". Normally a mage that knows this spell can cast it at will, but that takes 10 seconds to do. However, the mage can perform a ritual which takes 30 seconds to perform, but then allows them to cast the lighting bolt once for each time the ritual is performed (up to a limit) in only 2 seconds.

This is actually implemented in ADoM. You can cast from spellbooks, which is long and costly but infinite, or you can learn the certain amount of spells from the book, thus degrading it, but cast quickly and cheaply.

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True, but PC doesnt have to react differently. The game social system will take care of that. Suppose that you got beaten out of your home and have to sleep on the street - you havent changed at all, but after a while you will look like a bum and high-class people will avoid you like plague, while various "undesirable" elements of the society will try to befriend of use you.

In the real world yes. However, in a game there exists social bonds that are outside the game. Friends will play online, player will make friends online and so forth. You have no control over these external social bonds. Players (unless they are so delusional that the confuse game world with real world) will no see changes in a friends avatar (even if just cosmetic) as anything but a cosmetic change.

Even if they lots their house and were thrown out on the street, this would not alter the way their friends treated then. In a game world you don't (usually - as far as I have seen) have item degradation as part of the environment. So not having a house will not cause the character's cloths to rip, etc. And, because the player is not online all the time, they will not be present to any of the "Street Life" (if they are on line then they are out adventuring).

Because of these differences between real life and game life, this sort of example does not apply. Just because people behave one what in real life, doe not mean that they will behave in a similar (let alone identical) way.

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It doesnt matter in the slightest, as long as it doesnt happen every half and hour. Mostly it will depend on the overall game image. What comes to mind are vampiric quests in TES and sides changing in Chrono Cross.

Even if it happens once it will make a difference. In the Elder Scrolls the Vamperic quests were a choice the player could make. They knew the outcome of it (or could make a good guess at it) and so when they took it they were making that choice for their character. In effect they chose that change for their character.

If it is woven into the story, or if the player has control over it, then it can be accepted. However, if it is because of a "penalty" applied because of some arbitrary rule, then they will be annoyed. Even in games where it is planed as part of the story, players can be annoyed about it. It takes a great amount of skill in story telling to make such kinds of changes acceptable to players (and even with TES games, players had the option to restart/reload games when something that occurred that changed the character - with an online game you can't do that).

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This is actually implemented in ADoM. You can cast from spellbooks, which is long and costly but infinite, or you can learn the certain amount of spells from the book, thus degrading it, but cast quickly and cheaply.

Yes, I know it is not original :D .

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Original post by Edtharan
However, in a game there exists social bonds that are outside the game. Friends will play online, player will make friends online and so forth.


Thats a fairly big assumption, I think, for an RPG...

Even Neverwinter Nights, which is widely regarded as one of the most multiplayer friendly RPGs apart from MMOs, had only a small percentage of its player base ever play online.

If this particular RPG is intended as single-player, or even both singleplayer and multiplayer, I dont think the difference between a human reaction and an AI reaction should really be much of a consideration. Even in multiplayer, having the AI react in a certain way adds a certain feel... It might be somewhat offset by the players reacting differently, but a 50% success at making the game feel the way he wants is obviously better than not trying it and therefore having 0% success.

Personally, I am all for that sort of attempt at deeper consequences and stronger themes in RPGs. Some of the NWN servers Ive played on have used just that sort of consequence... and it actually works quite well for a roleplaying server (probably not a hack and slash powergaming server, I admit)... rather than showing up the difference between the AI and players, it provides a guide for the players as to how society reacts to certain things - some players even willingly play along with it.


There are arguments for not having this sort of system for certain target audiences, but I personally believe that if making your design inclusive of the wants of the lowest common denominator means that you have to sacrifice what you want to do with the game, then usually its better off keeping your vision and simply accepting that you are designing the game for a specific niche of the market.

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Even Neverwinter Nights, which is widely regarded as one of the most multiplayer friendly RPGs apart from MMOs, had only a small percentage of its player base ever play online.

My post on this was in response to how Player Character (PCs) will react to the appearance of another Player Character. NPCs didn't come into it, so I assumed that the game was an online game we were discussing.

I am currently developing a Online Wolrd for my Pen an Paper gaming group in the Neverwinter Nights engine. In a brief survey of them (I just asked around :D ), they overwhelmingly stated that the character appearance was very important to them and that I should put in system to allows Avatar customization (luckily for me NwN has much of that included).

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If this particular RPG is intended as single-player, or even both singleplayer and multiplayer, I dont think the difference between a human reaction and an AI reaction should really be much of a consideration.

It does if the reaction is supposed to be a balance mechanic for the player character.

This thread of the discussion started in response to what ways we could make the use of magic more risky to the player. Therefore this "fear" response was supposed to be a Negative effect on the character using magic. Therefore it was supposed to be a balance mechanic.

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It might be somewhat offset by the players reacting differently, but a 50% success at making the game feel the way he wants is obviously better than not trying it and therefore having 0% success.

Well if you look at it in this way: Would you rather drive 50% of your players away or have 0% negatively effected by this mechanic? Looking at it in that light it does make a big difference and it is not just that 0% success, that 0% Success is also equivalent to 0% negative effects as well and that 50% success is equivalent to 50% failure as well (Glass half empty/full debate - except we have to consider both viewpoints).

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There are arguments for not having this sort of system for certain target audiences, but I personally believe that if making your design inclusive of the wants of the lowest common denominator means that you have to sacrifice what you want to do with the game, then usually its better off keeping your vision and simply accepting that you are designing the game for a specific niche of the market.

This was not about "the lowest common denominator". It was about not putting in something that only a few people would want and the majority would dislike. It is about designing a game to fit the player market base.

Here is a question: Would you include a trap at the entrance into a treasure room (that it was optional to enter) into your game that cursed the player to always be a constant Blue shade even if they changed cloths?

Players can avoid the trap and not go into the treasure room, but if they what that treasure, then they have to be permanently turned blue.

Is this a good idea to put into a game?

This is even less of an impact than using the character's appearance (influenced by a choice they make) to give them an evil appearance and so have NPCs (and hopefully PCs) react differently to them.

Yet, I think most designers will not include such a trap because they can perceive that it has an alienating effect between the player and their avatar.

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