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domhnall4h

Feedback requested: RPG magic system

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After some thought, I deleted the old topic and went to work with what I think is somewhat more unique than set spells. I just want general ideas and feedback about it. I'm still cleaning up the specific powers and rewriting them, so it may be a bit before I can detail the specifics of their mechanics. I have a trip tomorrow. Basically, to summarize, the player has a small set of multi-use powers for each discipline. Each power is scalable to the PC's skill in that discipline, to that it an do damage/whatever on the level of the party. Some powers may just become free, or passive, as skill levels increase. This is for a cRPG, graphically in the style of the classic Wizardry, Bard's Tale, and Might and Magic series. Combat is more similar to Phantasie III. I haven't yet detailed the Invoking bit, which was basically added in. I felt that the limited quantity of rune stones and relative lack of power of the carving part relegated it to near uselessness. So I'm adding in a more limited spell casting part. Bardic Magic is more environmental in nature. Plus, I have a metric ton of music I can use. Magic Magic in general is the tampering with the natural order of the world. There exists several varieties of what common people call 'Magic', and while all grant their practitioners great power, it also grants great responsibility. Magic, no matter the form or discipline, takes energy to use. Each Power costs a certain amount of the caster's stamina. Constant effects create a long term drain on that character's strength, until they collapse from sheer exhaustion. Thus, extensive casting is very dangerous, as it can easily leave a weary or weak wizard helpless before his foes. There are 8 spheres of magic. These coexist with each other; a pyromancer is not predisposed to violence against a hydromancer. Life and Death cannot exist without each other. Each sphere has a number of powers involved, some of which are shared with other spheres. Each power requires a certain level of skill to use, and it's maximum potential increases with the user's skills. Using 'Fireflash', a pyromancer skill, as an example, it can be used to destroy wooden doors and walls, attack one or more targets with varying intensity, melt ice, create a wall or shield of flame, and provide continuous torchlight. Elemental Mortal Fire Mind Water Energy Earth Life Air Death In addition to these spheres, there are two more types of magic, more limited than the spheres, yet powerful in their own right. These are Bardic Magic and the Runes. Bardic Magic is practiced by the True Bards; those who use music to cast powerful spells upon their surroundings. They cannot direct the effects, rather they effect all who hear the music. The secrets of Bardic Magic is said to have come from the mists of time, where a musician sought aid from a mighty Devil. In exchange for his soul, he was granted this form of magic, and only managed to pass it on to a few students before his soul was claimed. The Runes are even more ancient, their origins unknown. Each Rune is said to represent some celestial being of Power, who grants their powers through them. Whatever the case, each Rune has different effects if carved upon different equipment, used as a Rune Stone, or Invoked. Generally, the carved Runes on items are vastly less powerful than the Stones, which themselves come from a lost time and are lost upon use. Their numbers are ever dwindling, and no one knows how to make them any more. Attempts simply create minor magical items of almost negligible powers. Invoking them has a lesser effect than that of a true Rune Stone, yet is still very powerful. However, there are greater costs in Invoking the Runes than in normal magic. Thanks in advance.

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Could you elaborate more on which is most powerful? Regular magic sounds pretty boring compared to the other magics, but it does seem to work in absolutes (life/death, fire/water) unlike the other magics, and the possession of a particular elemental sphere designates the holder as a mancer, which gives a feeling of being chosen that is only comparable with the True Bard teachings. On the subject of the Bardic magic, why is it inferior to the spheres when the source of bardic magic is a "mighty devil." I mean you make the rune stones so ancient and mysterious, but what is the source of the spheres that makes them so powerful? I guess the rune inscriptions is obviously the weakest. The rune stones from your description seem to be the strongest magic since it was worth to note that they are ancient, stronger than the rune inscriptions, single-use, few, and the art of making them was lost. All these details scream power to me, but I wish I had a little more detail on the game this magic system applies to. Some questions I would like to know are: Are the True Bards actually a cursed dark order since their power comes from a powerful hellspawn or do they have more of a Spawn/Malabolgia relationship? Is there really no MP in this game or just stat penalties for using magic? Is there someone who wishes to control the rune stones? Is it possible one of the protagonist has been chosen as the new genesis device of the Rune stones? Could I get a plot Summary? What are the good and evil deities of the game? Thanks for the thought food.

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Bardic Magic - The "source" of the Bardic Magic is more a Blues reference than anything else. I've a tendency to write my design docs with the style I'd use with a manual. Specifically, it references Robert Johnson, who sold his soul to the Devil at the Crossroads to become good at playing guitar.

It isn't actually the power source, but the source of knowledge of Bardic Magic. Devils can't grant powers, only teach what they know about. Mr Johnson could have been just as good with a 6 string had he spent a few years practicing, though arguably his songs wouldn't have had quite the flavoring.

The reason the Bardic magic is 'inferior' technically is it's limitations. The songs have one main effect, and that's it. With only about 10 songs, a Bard has about a tenth the versatility of a regular sorcerer. If that much.

The effects themselves are also more environmental in nature. Granting diplomacy bonuses during encounters, reducing the number of random encounters, etc. Finally, while the Bard's songs scale up with their skill, the cost does not. So a Bard with 100% skill will have the same cost in stamina for a song with 20 times the effect of one played by a Bard with 1% skill.


Sorcery - Each ability has multiple effects. One Fire power has 4 effects, and the damage effect can be changed to affect groups or single targets, as well as intensity. The damage effect also is capable of opening doors and knocking holes in walls via attrition. Even the basic Energy ability Eldritch Bolt can be used to disarm traps and push buttons that can't be reached normally; in addition to straight damage.

The -mancer bit is quite likely to be ignored, as I'm only splitting the magic skills up for sake of clarity. The main casting classes are Druid (Life, Death, Energy, Rune); Sorcerer (Energy, Fire, Water, Earth, Air) and Psionic (Telepathy, Telekinesis). Most players probably won't limit themselves to a particular sphere or two.

The point I'm aiming for with basic magic is a smaller number of versatile abilities, which have variable power levels. This is so I don't have to create ever more powerful, set spells as levels progress and content increases.

It also means that the player isn't stuck with a lot of useless spells. Anyone whose had to dig through 90 spells to get to the 10 that are good enough to work at that level knows what I'm talking about.

As to the source, I like to think of it more as being in tune with the natural forces that make up these things, and being able to control them. Going back to fire, it means being able to cause a flame to erupt on a target, and burn at a certain intensity, and then die away without spreading.

The challenge comes from making up the powers and giving them versatility. Fire is easy. Earth is not. It's also why I seriously doubt players will be restricting their sorcerers to a single element. They won't be balanced against each other, because there's not any intended or implied conflict between them to balance.


Power source - There's no MP, because everything runs on the character's stamina. This is to keep spellcasters from being dominant in the mid to late game. Typically, in games like this most fights are ended by the biggest mass-damage spells being cast until there is nothing to blast. Fighters just do clean up.


I'm not sure what you mean by stat penalties for using magic. Classes actually have no bearing on HP totals; that's stat and race based entirely. Except for persistent abilities, which drain stamina as long as they're active, none of the magic should reduce any stat down on the caster (unless it was countered and thrown back on them).

Stamina is also lost by swinging weapons, and even each step the party takes. Normally though, the player shouldn't need to rest except once every 24 hours game time unless they went through some bad fights. Then, it'll likely be health issues, not stamina.


I'm also not sure by what you mean as absolutes. Each sphere is simply a way of describing a certain set of powers and their effects, and binding those to a single skill. Death cannot exist without Life, nor can Life truly exist without the ending of Death. If I was up to implementing it in this game, there would even be powers existing solely in the areas that overlap between spheres.


Runes - The art of making rune stones is 'lost' primarily because some of the effects include permanent stat increases.

I don't want the player to be able to easily add stat points via magic. Having two or three stones in challenging locations do so is fine; it grants a sense of accomplishment as well as gives the player a choice on how they want to spent this reward. Letting the player push stats that the mechanics are designed to be at 1-25 or so all the way to whatever the max values are for those variables does not.

The inscriptions is a way to boost equipment strength when you can't find anything better. It's a simple, easily added thing that has minimal bearing. I'd even allow regular enchanting, except I don't think an adventuring party has time to do stuff like that.

Invoking them is less powerful simply because instead of a large, stored amount of energy you're using a caster's. And the caster doesn't want to push that much strength out in one spell generally.


Plot - As for plot, there's an overarching storyline which this game is only part of. The Runes play no real part in it. The PC's are actually just mercenaries, hired to protect a merchant's wagons on the trip to the game area. Shortly after getting there, the area is sealed, and the game begins.

As for deities, each race has it's own views on religion. One race has 3, while another has a few hundred. This forum would crash if I tried to type it all up. Good and evil is even abstracted away a bit. There are generally evil acting races, but for the most part is generally organizations than entire peoples.

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First of all state the game's name and what platform is it on. Then give a generalized plot description that encompasses the game from start to finish without giving any spoilers you don't want to.

Second, state what installment (both number of the game in series and when it chronologically takes place in series) this game is in what game series and how it fits in. Then give a generalized plot for the entire game series.

Additional question: who is/are the main antagonist(s) (and/or conflict(s))/protagonist(s) in the overall story of the game series? If there is not one, name the one(s) for this particular game.

Just don't crash the server by going overboard with detail. Thanks.

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Right now I'm just calling it Eclipse, and it'd be the first in a series if I decided to continue. It's generic and uninspired, but accurate to a certain aspect. Also, I generally refer to the engine as Eclipse ver x.y. Currently I'm developing it for Windows and Linux. Though if Vista angers me any more, I'll go back to pure Ubuntu again.

The party is created by the player, as in many of the classic western style RPGs. And actually, there is no 'final boss' or main villain here in this first game; though there are some side branches that have those. While events do tie in elsewhere, this is actually a side attempt to create confusion and distraction during a already bloody war. Mostly, it's an attempt to break a 4 year stalemate on the Western Front; but the player won't know that until near the end.

It'll also have multiple endings, two of which are 'good', one of which is relatively bad, and one which is worse. And Death, if you want to count that as an ending.

I do wonder why you feel this is relevant to a desire for feedback on the magic system, which existed to some extent long before I had the current idea for a story. In fact, the Runes as they are have been that way almost from the start, except I added in the invoking part.

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