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Carnivorous Duck

An idea for a magic system (sorta long)

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I wanted to describe an idea I had for a magic system in an RPG and get feedback on it. So here goes. Ideally, this system would be for a game where the player controls a single character, and in real-time, probably with a diablo-like pace to the combat. Every creature in this system would have a rating for magic conductivity. This rating can be either positive or negative. From an aesthetic standpoint, a creature living around large sources of magical energy could either build up an immunity to it, or become so laced with magical energy that they actually conducted it. Perhaps a fairy would have a positive conductivity, meaning that every spell they cast or that was cast against them had a more potent effect - that includes any type of spell, be it fireball, heal, charm, etc. Perhaps a dwarf, conversely, would have a negative conductivity, meaning that they had a level of resistance to magical effects and that their spells would be less effective, and that spells cast against them would have less of an effect. Again, that would include all types of spells, beneficial or harmful. This magical conductivity could even extend to the effects of an enchanted weapon, or perhaps there would be certain weapons whose enchantments are effected by conductivity and others who aren''t; such as an enchanted dwarven axe that ignores it''s weilder''s conductivity, or an elven longsword that is more or less effective depending on it. When a magic-user wanted to cast a spell in this system, they would do so by first selecting their spell and then charging it up. From an implementation standpoint, such charging would ideally be done by holding down a mouse button, and positioning the mouse to target the spell, then releasing the mouse button when the user felt he or she had readied as many charges as they wanted. As the caster charged the spell, it would gain aptly named "charges". There would be a limit on how many charges could put placed onto a single spell. More powerful spells would often take longer to charge, and more powerful wizards could charge spells - any spell - faster. As the wizard charges the spell, there would be progressively more pronounced eye-candy, and the spell effect itself would look different. A wizard casting a fireball using few charges would first see himself making various magical gestures and mumbling an arcane chant quietly while faint sparks and tiny flames appeared and drifted towards the caster. When he released the spell, the charging would stop and a small ball of flame would fly towards his target. A wizard using many charges would see his character making progressively more frantic gestures as the spell gained in power, and as it did so the chant would become louder and the eye candy would get more and more impressive. When he released the spell, a raging inferno would burst forth, incinerating his target. The spell effects would be designed to take the level of charges into account. A lot of balancing would be involved to ensure that a spell cast with the minimum number of charges would be worth casting, yet there was still a motivation to use many charges when the situation called for it. Perhaps an example spell would be: Fireball Mana cost: 20 + 3/charge Damage: 30-50 + 5-10/charge Radius: 30'' + 2''/charge You get the idea. This would be where magic conductivity would come into play. Wizards would probably desire a positive conductivity most of the time, as it would enhance their spells. Most warriors would desire a negative conductivity, unless they had magic-using comerades so that they could benefit from their spells more, or a large number of items that were dependant on conductivity. Say a wizard casts the afforementioned fireball. The wizard has a conductivity of 2, and he charges the fireball until he has 3 charges ready, then lets it go. The fireball will have 5 charges, and will cost 35 mana. His target is resistant to magic, however, and has a conductivity of -1. As such, the damage it actually does would only be as if the spell had 4 charges, or 50-90 damage. This wouldn''t affect the spell''s radius however, and if the spell hit multiple monsters, the damage for each of them would be calculated individually - the fact that some of the monsters hit had magic resistance wouldn''t effect the damage the spell does to those who don''t. There would be limits on the number of charges each spell could have, and limits on how low or high a character''s conductivity could be. Certain powerful monsters could be neigh immune to magic, and if the number of charges a spell had was reduced below 1, the spell would have no effect on that particular creature. Also, if a wizard is injured while casting a spell - especially of such an injury results from being clubbed in the head with a large object - the wizard will most likely lose control of the spell, releasing a flood of magical energy. This would cause random magical effects to occur, although most of them would be harmful in nature most of the time. The more energy a wizard had charged up when he lost control, the more devestating the resulting flood of magical energy would be. Losing control like this would almost invariably cost the wizard far more mana than releasing the spell as planned. If the wizard in question was very skilled and powerful, he may have a chance of seizing some of the flooding magical energy and shaping it into the desired spell anyway, although it would almost never be as effective as if the spell had been cast properly. ------------------------------------------------------- Thanks for reading. I''d certainly appreciate feedback. Please remember that this is a suggestion for a basic premise of a magic system, not for the exact specifics, so I''m looking more for suggestions along the lines of, "the player would feel like . . . " rather than "That fireball definitely wouldn''t be worth the cost of charging it." Thanks =)

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BobyDimitrov    122
Carnivorous Duck, this is a great system! I think it has a lot of potential, if balanced right.

One thing I missed (or did not understand): how is this "conductivity value" (CV) is calculated? Is it set by the player at character generation time, does it vary in the game (i.e. if you spent much time near powerful magic source), on what basis do you set CVs for the NPC, animals, monsters, etc?

My personal preference is the CV to be dynamic, so it''ll dictate new gameplay tactics. If you have become more resistant, then you don''t have to fear weaker mages anymore, but how do you know the one that''s standing infront of you and chanting something is a weak mage? In other words, the more resistant you get, the less you''ll fear mages, but that''s only till you meet some powerfull guy and then you start acting cautiosly again.

And one more thing... Maybe I did not get this right but anyways. If player is a mage, he''d like higher CV. But higher CV means that he''ll receive more damage from other spellcasters. And that''s not quite true. I think the more one uses magic, the harder it gets to damade him with magic.

One simple way to handle this is introducing a magic avoidance stat. It''s value will be a sum of the natural magic resistance of the player (dynamic too) and the magic skill. This is how it applies: a warrior has almost none magic skill, 1 out of 20, but is trained to resist all typed of damage, including magical. So he has resisance of 14 out of 20, a total 15 of magic avoidance. A mage has high skill in magic, thus 13 out of 20, but has almost no training in resisting attacks, so 2 out of 20. That makes a total of 15 magic avoidance.

The conclusion is that the fighter uses his physical strenght to reduce the damage, while the caster uses his skill.

My 2 gp...

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

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90907    122
THATS COOL!!! I have an idea what if you had combos spells where two mages could team up and cast a spell. like if casts fire ball another could help him charge it instead of casting a spell of his own. Or maybe one could cast a fireball and one could cast an earthquake resulting in everyone enemy being tossed in the air and then getting hit by flamming meteors*.

*depending on how many charges od course.

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BobyDimitrov    122
Hm, combos... That was discussed in one of the many magic-topics here lately. Using the systes the Duck describes about charges, I can imagine 2 major types of combos:

1) Single caster - a single person casts the combo. Usage:
----a) click target with action button (ie right mouse) - list of spells appears
----b) click (left) required spell N times - every time is a charge and takes time to "load". this is nice, cuz first you choose the power and then your character casts it for time, depending on his magic skill. that way you'll have to measure your powers pretty much precisely and every overestimating of your powers could be fatal (as you'll have to cast anew)
----c) click (left) other spell N times - just move the mouse up/down the list and click another spell.
----d) click (right) to issue

The more spells you combine, the more time it'll require to cast, in geometric progression (ie. time 2 for 1 spell, 4 for 2 combined spells, 8 for 3 combined spells, etc)

Pros: Spectacular eyecandy, greatly increased effect, ability to experiment and find interesting combos yourself, no other person needed. (That said, we should think of effects not as predefined sets (like the Cube formulas in Diablo 2), but more like logical system for layering effects of the spells. We should take in consideration which spell is selected first, how many charges of each spell are schedued, the caster's skill, etc)

Cons: Much increased time to cast, bigger mana requirements.

2) Multicaster - more than one person casts the spell. One of the casters is always Lead and the others are supporters. Usage (2 players example):
----a) P1 (lead) targets the enemy, list of spells appears
----b) P2 (support) targets the enemy, list of spells appears
----c) P1 clicks N times on desired spell
----d) P2 clicks N times on desired spell
----e) P1 releases spell, triggering P2's spell to unleash too

This is the trick: if P1 started the enchantment, any supporting spells are triggered when P1 releases his (or the master spell).

If P2 has not completed the charge(s) he queued on his spell, only the gathered energy so far is used in the enchantment.

If P1 cancels the master spell, P2's fails too.

Pros: Cast time and mana requirements low, great eyecandy.

Cons: At least 2 people required, all Supports fail if Master fails.

Edit----------

Later, I suppose we'll come to discussing combo combos , which is when 2 or more casters make combo with combos, not just single spells. This, however, imho, should be restricted, as it sould take incredibly long time to complete and due to caster's magic powers and skills limits.

----------ediT

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

Edited by - BobyDimitrov on August 3, 2001 11:25:41 AM

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Zaei    122
I like the idea a lot, but, I think it would make a bit more sense that, if the caster had a 2 CV, for example, he wouldn''t have to pay more mana for a 3 charge spell (going by the original equation, only 29 mana, instead of 35).

Z.

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quote:
Original post by Zaei
I like the idea a lot, but, I think it would make a bit more sense that, if the caster had a 2 CV, for example, he wouldn''t have to pay more mana for a 3 charge spell (going by the original equation, only 29 mana, instead of 35).

Z.


You''re saying that, unlike normal charges, charges that are the result of conductivity wouldn''t cost extra mana, but would have the extra effects?
I agree. I like that idea.

quote:
Original post by BobyDimitrov
One thing I missed (or did not understand): how is this "conductivity value" (CV) is calculated? Is it set by the player at character generation time, does it vary in the game (i.e. if you spent much time near powerful magic source), on what basis do you set CVs for the NPC, animals, monsters, etc?


I was planning on having it set from the start, and then further modified by items and spells. For example, maybe all dwarves have -2 CV, all elves have 1 CV, and all humans have 0 CV when they are first created. There would be items that would alter that (IE, "Amulet of Nullified Magic, -1 to CV for the wearer") and spells that alter that (IE, "Zone of Abolishment, -2 to CV for all creatures in the area"). I wasn''t planning on having CV change as a character levels, or rather, if it did change, it would be optional - a player may decide to make a dwarf character with the understanding that his cleric friend would have a slightly harder time healing him, but it would be a cruel design if, later on down the road, the game were to say "Surprise, your cleric friend can''t heal you AT ALL now!".
I like the idea of quests and powerful magic sources (including being electrocuted by countless wizards) modifying a character''s CV value over time, but if so the effect would be reverseable somehow.

quote:
Original post by BobyDimitrov
If player is a mage, he''d like higher CV. But higher CV means that he''ll receive more damage from other spellcasters.



That''s correct - part of the idea of the system is that there are pros and cons to CV. A mage who has raised his CV to be able to channel more magical energy through himself has also made it so that he lights up like a gasoline soaked phone book when someone hits him with a fireball. Not all players would choose to build their characters in the same way - the option would be available to have a mage who had a negative CV so that he could have a stronger defense, albeit at the cost of a weaker offensive capability, or a mage who had a positive CV so that he could have a stronger offense, at the cost of a weaker defense.
The same pros and cons would, in a way, extend to warrior type classes as well. A warrior who travels in the company of powerful healers may well desire a positive CV in order to take better advantage of their healing spells, even though it leaves him more vulnerable to enemy wizards.

quote:
Original post by BobyDimitrov
But higher CV means that he''ll receive more damage from other spellcasters. And that''s not quite true. I think the more one uses magic, the harder it gets to damade him with magic.



I agree. However, the reverse should be true - if it''s hard to damage him with magic because he''s built up such a resistance to it, it''s hard for him to channel the magic because he''s built up such a resistance to it. A drug-user builds up a resistance to drugs over time, but would wish that they hadn''t built up such a resistance, so that they could experience the same high. A magic-user builds up a resistance to magic over time, but would wish that they hadn''t built up such a resistance, so that they could channel the same power.
Except, in the game world, it''s possible to avoid building up such a resistance. Whether the player does or not is left as a choice to them.


On a seperate issue...

I like the combo idea a great deal, however, from an implementation standpoint, it seems impractical. If there are 30 unique spells in the game - which isn''t a WHOLE lot, but is probably an acceptable number - and you can combine any two spells together, there are 900 (30^2) possible combinations.
Making up 930 different spells would be tedious, to say the least.

A good way around this would be to program code that takes two spells and generates some kind of a mix between the two, but the result runs a high risk of seeming very mechanical, and it would be extremely difficult to program it so that it generated appropriate graphics as well.

A better idea, it would seem, would be to say that a combo would be combining an element with a rune. Perhaps an element wouldn''t necessarily be just Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, but could be a list of basic effects (charm, damage, heal, stun, etc.) or perhaps representing these basic effects as being the four ACTUAL elements, plus some additional not-really-elements like "Shadow", "Gravity", or "Chaos".
The runes, on the other hand, would dictate the way the element would be used. There would be runes that caused it to shoot in a direction, split into three directions, act as an area of effect, etc.
So, perhaps combining a Fire element with a square rune caused there to be fire damage in an entire area - like a fireball. Perhaps combining an Air element with an "E" rune would cause three lightning bolts to shoot from the caster, with the middle lightning bolt striking his target and the other two hitting areas -45 and 45 degrees apart from the middle bolt, respectively.

Such a system COULD be effectively programmed in, and would allow the players to make up their own spells without the necessity of hard-coding in hundreds or thousands of combinations. And, of course, it could be designed to work in conjunction with the charge system I originally proposed - altogether, this would give a mage player the ability to decide what kind of spell to cast, what it was made out of, where it was cast, when it was cast, and how strong it was, all in real-time. To me, that sounds pretty cool.

I definitely appreciate feedback =)

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TookH    122
quote:
Original post by Carnivorous Duck
This wouldn''t affect the spell''s radius however, and if the spell hit multiple monsters, the damage for each of them would be calculated individually - the fact that some of the monsters hit had magic resistance wouldn''t effect the damage the spell does to those who don''t.


Except for chain lightning. lol


Combos were done in Chronotrigger. They were great, but there were some things that I didn''t like about them: there was no reason to use one character as the lead instead of the other, and there was no strategy involved in the combinations.

A possible way to fix the first problem could be that if one character is the lead, he should give the combo special advantages that the other character doesn''t have, and vice-versa (sp?).

The second problem is kind of interesting. If you combine ice and fire magic, what do you expect to happen? Personally, I expect them to cancel eachother out, but in Chronotrigger they form some kind of super-magic that damages everything.

In my opinion it would be a lot cooler if characters were like ingredients in a potion. Mix fire mage with ice mage, get nothing. Mix ice mage with poison alchemist, get frozen enemies that take continuous damage. See where I''m going with this?

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TookH    122
Hey, that elemental/rune system is a really neat idea! How about an S rune for guided fireballs?

Here''s a thought: since those rune effects could be programmed so easily, you could maybe let advanced mages use multiple runes at once. Think about it... the S rune I mentioned, plus the E one you mentioned, times three charges... *grin*

Of course, that might unbalance the game a bit.

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ztn    133
Hey C-Duck,

I''m doing something very similar with an CRPG I''m developing. -Although, its not aimed at a Diablo Style play interface.

One key difference that I''m detecting in the language that you’re using; is that all objects in my game have ''magical'' qualities. You said that this CV idea could extended to items.

I’m using a number much like your idea of CV, only I’m used some OO design to make everything have a magical interface. i.e. Every ‘thing’ descends from a ‘magic’ class.

Since I started doing this, I’ve enjoyed taking advantage of some really cool details. As mentioned in some good ideas above, keep the CV number a base concept of how prone magic is to something, and then add other variables, which describe how the magic reacts to other aspects or spells etc...

Cool stuff.


I’ve done a fair amount of thinking on this. And while not all of it will apply to your game, let me know if you are interesting in hearing more about it.


zTn

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Zaei    122
Here. Why now have an offensive CV and a defensive CV. Each are set to the same value at the start of the game. Then, for insance, if your character was a mage, the more spells he casts, the higher both CV values go (so both offensive spells do more damage to enemies, while you are also more damaged by spells). On the other hand, the more you get hit with magic, the lower both values go. Each can be modified by items, potions, etc. It owuld add another element of strategy to character building.

Z.

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Ronin_54    122
This makes me think of Arcanum (will be released 20th of August).

You had technology guys, and magical guys.

You also had technological affinity, and magical affinity.

High tech means that you can use guns, but can''t use magic. Also, magic will often fail near you.

High magic means that you can cast spells, but makes it near impossible to fire a gun, and actually hit something (something you are aiming at ). But, bullets tend to loose accuracy near you. Spells don''t, unfortunatly

It''s a wonderfull system...

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Hey all!

I didnt read all the replies but one thing about combos:
quote:
If there are 30 unique spells in the game - which isn''t a WHOLE lot, but is probably an acceptable number - and you can combine any two spells together, there are 900 (30^2) possible combinations. Making up 930 different spells would be tedious, to say the least. A good way around this would be to program code that takes two spells and generates some kind of a mix between the two, but the result runs a high risk of seeming very mechanical, and it would be extremely difficult to program it so that it generated appropriate graphics as well.

First of all, 30 totally unique spells are a BIG number. I mean, Fireball, Meteor storm, Stone shards, Ice storm, Tsunami, etc, are just different names for most common offensive spell. So I think that 15-20 spells is a maximum. Anyway, you don''t really need to design 30 (or 20)^2 spells, just have a neat system that combines the effects. I won''t go into examples, as I don''t have the time now.

Also on the Elements/Runes system. Let''s go back to charges and combos. Imagine you want to cast a spell at an enemy. You click the enemy, click a Rune (say Offensive), click the Element (say Wind), then click the same element several times or click another element. That way you can have an attacking spell, delivering custom elemental damage, ie 2 Fire, 2 Wind, 1 Earth, which is 5 charges.

I suppose you already get where I''m trying to get. The same can be applied on combos...

Hm... time is running out, later guys!

ps: I cannot login, but it''s me

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

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