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Author Topic: Magic  (Read 20336 times)
Sunjammer
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« on: February 01, 2012, 05:30:15 PM »

If you have time, I would very much like to know more about what you have in mind for the magic system.

Magic In Myidealworld

I've been interested in magic systems since stumbling across GURPS version which appealed to me greatly at the time. Before then the magic systems I'd seen or played had been variations of D&D system with specific named spells where (if you were lucky) one would fit the dire straights you found yourself in and (if you were really lucky) you'd happen to have it memorised! However the GURPS system took a more granular approach where you might choose a particular college, for example Fire, and then learn the basic spell forms, Seek, Create (Ignite), Control, Shape, Destroy (Extinguish), etc. These would ultimately build the more classic (D&D style) Fireball and Wall of Fire type spells. I never actually got to play with the GURPS magic system and I don't remember it well (as it was *cough* years ago) but I've always assumed you could create new spells dynamically to suit any situation from these basic building blocks.

I experienced a similar approach in a little indie game called Magicka which I bought on Steam last year. The system allows you to create spells by combining up to 5 elements (from a choice of Arcane, Cold, Earth, Fire, Life, Lightning, Shield, Water) with form of casting (self, force/beam, area of effect, imbue item). There were 2 additional elements that could be created from the base elements, namely Steam and Ice. Depending on the element(s) used, force/beam casting could produce projectiles, beams or sprays and self casting could produce healing, armours and auras. Interestingly the area of effect form could be combined with the others forms as well as elements to produce arcs, walls and circles. Selecting the same element repeatedly in your "formula" could increase its potency i.e. it would likely do more damage or more healing. There was also something about crossing beams but I never played it in multiplayer so I'm not sure what the significance was (other than making me sing the Ghostbuters theme).

I think systems like these where you can "craft" or "build" spells fits nicely with the Mythurna philosophy and your desire to leave things as open, flexible and modable as possible: magic Lego if you will!

Magic In Mythruna

I've been searching the forum and what I've found two forms of magic one where you can craft objects that can be used in world and augmentations which can be used to enhance your character (collated below) and a passing references to Elves having innate magic which hopefully means that mages, wizards, magic-users, shamen, spell-chuckers (call them what you will) will be an available class.

The Elements

I assume you meant the elemental magic forces, which the obvious ones are:
-air
-fire
-water
-earth
-life
-spirit
-gravity
-electricity
-light

The difference between earth, life, and spirit may change and they may become the same or something... though in my current design they serve different purposes.  Light and fire may merge but I like the idea of heatless light.

I also feel like there are two that I'm missing but I don't have my notes in front of me.

and:

... I've evolved some new ideas that I'm playing with also.  In this approach, I've reduced the base magics down to gravity/matter, heat/light, and electricity/magnetism.

The ability to conjure water or fire or air (or anything else really) then becomes a manifestation of these.  In this mythology, someone who could manipulate water is just attuned to a certain frequency of gravity.  Is also nicely supports something like teleportation while still leaving it a really complicated build to produce.

Magic Lore

In one old set of notes, there is the physical plane and the spirit plane separated by the astral plane.  The spirit plane is where the ghosts live and the physical plane is where the rest of us live.  The astral plane is basically devoid of energy.  All gems and crystals punch through these layers in some way but only spirit crystals punch through to the spirit plane as they are a result of this all being twisted together.  Mythruna (the planet), at least in this particular mythology, is uniquely twisted in this way which is why the spirit plane bleeds into the physical one at all.  In my old DMing days, this was how I internally explained ghosts, etc..

A similar but separate mythology explained all magic as a bunch of spheres that were misaligned.  Because they are out of whack, sensitive people can see them and potentially learn to manipulate them.  Life energy in this approach is a harmonic combination of the other elemental energies.  Combined with the above, life with a spirit is a combination of other magic energies in harmonic resonance that pulls a spirit to the astral plane.  When the body dies the spirit goes back to the spirit plane.

The interesting thing in both of these approaches is that there is no "spirit magic" energy.  It's a place not an energy.  I waffle on this one but I will likely drop it as a separate force.

Similarly, the distinction between gravity and earth energy is a very weak one and I may just combine those.  This would make earth energy one end of a spectrum that goes through magnetism, light, and heat/fire.  In the other direction, water then air then back to fire again.  And then life force is a meta-energy... if those others were in a circle then it would be in the middle and the convergence is strong enough to punch through to the astral plane.

This is the problem of having collected reams of hand-written material over the long years of DMing pen-and-paper role playing games.  (Only as I said in the other thread, it didn't actually have to work in that case.) Smiley  And I've been thinking about this kind of "magic system" since 2003 or 2004 when I tried to implement some of it in Neverwinter Nights mods... and then subsequently tried to refine the ideas for the RPG I was designing way back then before scrapping it.

So I'm still working on it... and was actually trying to fill gaps in the magic-physics part earlier this evening.  In one field based design, it's convenient if all of the four element magics (earth, fire, air, water) have a positive and a negative side that can be combined in specific frequencies to create physical manifestations and/or used to manipulate those (which would allow some cool things like "bending" as  in the Avatar series though I don't know that I'd take it that far).  If I do that, it may be convenient to treat electricity and magnetism differently.

Electronics and Augmentations


Electronics will be a part of the magic system as electricity is one of the elemental magic forces.  I think I was up to at least 8 the last time I checked but I'd have to look at my notes.  It might have been twelve when I tried to add diametrically opposed forces.  Also, it won't be based on large blocks but on small components... ie: it won't take a whole basement to make a door bell. Wink  It will be more like making placeable objects except you'll be making magic circuits where beams of energy interact through different crystals, gems, and materials.  Hint: sand, glass, and black marble become important materials.  ...also, gravity is one of the magic elemental forces so with the right components could lead to thrust blocks, effective antigravity, etc.

and:


Yeah, you'll be able to build little "circuits" (though not in the classic sense) using crystals, gems, prisms, etc. to define the pathways and junctures, etc..  It will be similar to electronics but more like manipulating energies than having a full circuit.  In other words, you won't need a closed loop with ground.

Glass becomes a universal conductor and black marble becomes a universal insulator.  Glass prisms and prismatic crystals can be used to redirect the energy and/or combine it with other energies... some similar to the way transistors work.  Some gems can be used to convert one energy to another type and some can store energy for later release.

Spirit crystals emit whatever energy is pumped into another spirit crystal... so they act as wireless conduits.  I believe there will be a signal strength according to quality... but the range will always be longer than would be achieved through point-to-point light beams.

The resulting "circuits" will be small wafers that can be stacked and/or plugged into slots on your body or in weapons or other items.  And actually, stacking, or 3D circuits, may just be a natural requirement of building the "wafer" in the first place.  So stacking may not be a separate thing... but part of the circuit builder, ie: you build up layers like a real 3D electronics chip.

and:


Mythruna will have something similar to this in the form of "magic electronics" which is the best way I can describe it.  There will be something like 10 or so elemental magic energies that can be manipulated in crystal circuits similar to the way light would work.  So you can combine different magic energies, split them, convert them, etc. to make everything from locks to magic devices that enhance your players' abilities.  These would be more like the item crafting, though... not giant rooms of blocks but small components that could be plugged into your body, weapons, other objects, etc..

Some example energies that can be manipulated: life force, spirit energy, electricity, light, heat/fire, gravity, etc..  I've designed some simple circuits on paper to do some simple magic devices but I haven't fully vetted the design against more complicated things.  Things like "magic missile" are pretty easy to design as are "water breathing" and simple things like that.  Teleportation, bio-keyed locks, etc. are trickier and I have to do some more paper design before I know if the system will work.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 05:42:10 PM by Sunjammer » Logged
Sunjammer
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 06:45:14 PM »

Apologies for the double post but the first one was quite long enough and I wanted to jot down a couple of thoughts before I called it a night. Apologies also if the following is a bit random ...

I was trying to recall Dragon Ages elements: Fire, Cold/Ice, Electricity/Lightning, Earth, Spirit, Nature and Force (introduced by DA2 I think). I think there was also some pure "magic" damage type that Arcane Bolt used but I could be remembering that incorrectly. Poison wasn't an element as such but would produce Nature damage plus additional effects.

Given the name (Myth-rune-a) it wouldn't be entirely inappropriate to have some sort of rune base magic system where you collect magic runes which can be used to build spells (Lego magic); enchant weapons and create traps (you are having traps aren't you?). This may be useful for balance, progression and control. Runes could be acquired in a variety of ways bought from vendors, dropped as loot, discovered through mining, crafted through research, given as quest rewards, extracted from items, etc. Obviously the more powerful ones would be rarer. Runes would be of different types, for example, element (fire) + shape (shere) + size (small) + form (projectile) + modifier (expole on impact) = fireball!

Right that is more than enough preempting: I'll go to bed and let you tell us what you actually have in mind!
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 06:48:19 PM by Sunjammer » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 07:02:34 PM »

Hi, Sunjammer... nice to see you here. Smiley

You are not the first to have mentioned Magicka though I have no direct experience with it.  Yours is the most extensive description I've gotten of their systems, though and some ideas are somewhat close to what I've been designing.

There are still a few questions on how it will actually come together but they mostly depend on how large of a semantic component I build in based on what the player controls for combat turn out to be like.

For item and body augmentation, things are more well understood though subject to change.

The idea is that the magic component generates a field or can tap into an existing field of the "object" to draw energy from or add energy to it.  For general objects, this field might be based on static electricity and require electric power to maintain.  For living things, it could tap right into their life force aura.

So the field generation circuit is the simplest in these types of components.  It's likely that it's just a crystal attuned to the particular type of field... though if the "magic physics" develops far enough that I can turn it into a player built component then I will.  Multiple crystals/components might be brought into play to be able to control specific parts of an object's field.

Anyway, once the field is tapped into then it becomes more like an electric circuit.  Assuming the crystal-based approach because it's easiest to talk about, energy can be pumped into the crystal to enhance the field and/or drawn out of it to dampen external energy applied to the field.

So, if you wanted to create a field that resisted fire attacks and were using electrostatic fields then you might pump a lot of electric energy into the crystal whose frequency was attuned to be compatible with heat energy.  If there is no additional circuitry to draw that energy back out then it ends up hurting the player... but if you draw the energy out of the crystal and give it a place to go (either a battery or pumped back into your own life energy, etc.) then you can resist attacks of that type of heat energy.  The strength of the field would control how much damage it could absorb and every hit would sap more electric energy to maintain the field.

The formulas and losses will be such that even if you built a battery into your circuit to power the electric field and then fed converted heat energy back into that battery, you still end up with a net loss.  The energy required to maintain a field is always less than the energy you are able to draw out of it.

Furthermore, energy output is exponential to energy absorbed.  So while a field of strength "1" (whatever that means) might stop 1 point of fire damage, it would take a field of strength "4" to stop two points of damage.

These are simple energy flow and conversion circuits and hopefully are easy to imagine laid out on a block-like grid circuit.  Where it really gets interesting is when you start to combine logic gates and other switches to control what's going on.  Add to that the ability to beam energy from one component to another through spirit crystals and you can imagine some interesting configurations.

For example, you can imagine armor that absorbs fire energy as above and sends some of its excess heat energy over to heat energy battery in a wand.  This wand could have a crystal that lights up once the battery is charge to a certain point.  So once you've been shot with enough heat energy then you could shoot some of it back at the guy throwing it at you.  Or your wand could have converted it (at a small loss) to some other type of energy and shoot out lighting bolts or magic missiles or whatever.

Wands are tricky to discuss because they require complex field manipulation and I'm not sure whether this applied to all energies or if they are piggy backed onto shaped gravitational energy.  A beam is easy, similar to a laser.  You have some component or components that turns the beam annular.  Things like magic missile are more difficult to describe as they involve creating one field within another, filling that field with energy, and punching it off.  A minimum of three fields are in effect and only one is a beam.  In Mythruna magic, "magic missile" will not be a trivial thing to make. Smiley


I will also add this.  Regardless of how "spells" take shape, there will be no "mana" in the standard RPG sense.  Your life energy is your mana and some subset of that energy is used to maintain your hit points.  So you have excess life energy beyond your physical "life".  If you draw out enough of this for magic then it will start to affect your hit points and how rapidly you recover from fatigue, etc..  Maybe you have some spell that will nearly kill you but it still might be that crucial battle-winner used just at the right time.

And tying "mana" to "life" makes so much sense to me that I'm surprised more games haven't done it.  A really old game Betrayal at Krondor was the first I'd played that did it and it was a really excellent bit of added depth in magic battles.



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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 07:03:26 PM »

And yes, I'd like a form of rune magic, also.  That is always in the back of my mind as I design the systems though I'm not sure exactly how it fits yet.
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 09:25:25 PM »

Well... I've had an Idea that is wil most likely be bad when added into the game or just won't work the way I wanted it to AKA users abusing it
My idea is "Ancient magic" Lets say I'm exploring and I find an Ancient Relic or something like that... It then shows me an ancient spell which will be something huge... like you draw a Design around a town on the ground... use the ancient relic on it and the town gets teleported to the hell world of mythruna or simply vanishes... now most users wouldn't be able to use this or will use it because it would cause major damage to their character... like they get knocked back 20lvls in the magic type that the Ancient relic used... ect ect... I can see a bunch of ways this can go wrong... but lets hear some critisim Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 09:46:40 PM »

I really do want that kind of powerful magic but it would never be something that one player could cast on their own.

It would have to be something that would require recruiting lots of friends to help with and you would all die in the process... and get transported with the town or something.  And failure would still equal death.

It's still unclear how much of a pain death will be, though. 

There aren't really any levels to sap... though maybe it blows out all of your magic crystals requiring you to start over on all of your magic components.
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 10:54:10 PM »

To be able to do more powerful spells, maybe there could be certain 'magical' creatures, ones that have extremely high life energy, and you could draw from their fields. And that could at least be a partial function of the rune idea: stored magic fields.
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 11:20:45 PM »

Yeah, could be.  In my mind there is definitely the idea of being able to suck energy out of things.  For example, this might be how cold/frost rays are produced.  It might also be the unnatural form that the undead take: bones/flesh reassembled and then imbued with something that sucks life and spirit energy out of the environment thereby animating them.

The other thoughts on runes were that if there is a series of motions a player must do in order to produce a given spell (to properly generate the fields necessary) then the runes might be physical manifestations of the motions.  So with the right ink and applied starter energy, in some way they could channel that same magic.

This has the added benefit that if the ritual/motion portion of spells is based on some kind of magic field physics and not predetermined then so too would be the runes.  And within that, certain shapes could represent energy filters and so on.

I have ideas on how a player might make hand motions and trigger energy to cast some kinds of spells without a wand but I'm not at all sure I can make it work... and some of those answers fall directly out of the results of the combat prototype.
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Sunjammer
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 11:01:12 AM »

Yikes! The magic system seems to be much bigger that I imagined it would be: physics, spells building, augmentations crafting, runes, rituals, energy sources, etc. I'm definitely intrigued to see who you are going to balance classes (if you having classes) and make the mundane combat (melee and ranged) as potential interesting as magic has the to be that's a conversation for another thread or two (*evil grin*).

Elements

Since the elements are basis of magic system and still appear to be somewhat up in the air I decided to try and refine my own ideas and in the hope of producing something you might find useful. I started with a blend of traditional 4 and 5 element systems: various different flavours from various different cultures. I added a dash of almost forgotten PnP RPG memories and seasoned with a pinch of recently indulged CRPG experience. The whole thing was allowed to simmer over lunch and reduced it until I was left with:



The primary elements are six nearest the centre: positive and negative energy, fire and ice, earth and sky.

The elements on the left in opposition to those on the right however the left side (other than negative energy) are not inherently negative. The elements' child nodes are things they are associated with: their spheres of influence, properties, forms, etc. The fact that the two "energy" elements have a lot more children may not represent them being more powerful but they are probably more eclectic or, if you prefer, versatile. I avoided including illusions (upsetting many Gnomes) preferring to provide positive and negative versions (under Nature and Spirit). There is also an argument to say that Spirit and Nature could be elements of their own but for now I've left them there because ...

Races

While I was working on the elements it struck me that a couple of the playable races were particularly attune to one element or another: Avians to Sky, Dwarves to Earth, Elves to Positive Energy (Nature).

So I decided to see how far I could take this association. I started with the standard fantasy assumption (probably ingrained in me by D&D) that Humans, as the jack of all trades, should not be associated with a particular element. The three I mentioned above were obvious and Pantherians seemed to lend themselves to Fire (they prefer hot, dry places; hate water; and all cats like to curl up in front of a good fire). With five down and two to go: Reptilians seemed closer to Ice (they are cold blooded and, in my mind at least, potentially amphibious) but no matter what, I couldn't associated Simians with Negative Energy. Despite their aggressive tree chopping ways I didn't think you'd ever forgive me if I suggested making your engineering monkeys evil!

Then I remember the close relationship Humans have with Simians. Perhaps there was an elemental reason for this connection. So if I took the arbitrary decision that Simians also lacked an elemental association what race could I associate with Negative Energy? Mythruna appears to lack an evil playable race (what no Sith?) so I had little choice but to look beyond playable races, at least for the time being:



My approach was to try and shoehorn the elements to fit the races however if you like the idea you can always amend the races/lore to fit the elements and so, for example, Reptilians may become Aqualians or some such.

Spells

I like the idea that your life energy is your health, stamina and mana all combined. Everyone has draws from a single pool in a way that best suits their play style. Presumably for balance melee and ranged combat will have a similar "do and die" option that mages would have (unless of course there are no classes).


Wands are tricky to discuss because they require complex field manipulation and I'm not sure whether this applied to all energies or if they are piggy backed onto shaped gravitational energy.  A beam is easy, similar to a laser.  You have some component or components that turns the beam annular.  Things like magic missile are more difficult to describe as they involve creating one field within another, filling that field with energy, and punching it off.  A minimum of three fields are in effect and only one is a beam.  In Mythruna magic, "magic missile" will not be a trivial thing to make. Smiley

Does this just apply to magic or just mechanical magic (wands and circuits)? Or were you simply talking from a programming perspective which will be transparent to the player? I think this case illustrates the difficulty of trying to align magic with science or engineering. While we both find this approach attractive there are limits and at some point I think we have allow magic to retain some unexplained mystique. On these occasions saying "its magic" isn't a cop out but similar to the way we accept Star Wars lightsaber blades and blaster bolts simply because they're cool.

As I see it (with my somewhat blinkered view) there are 6 forms of casting (with some associated D&D style nouns):
  • self
  • object/location
  • projectile/directed (arrow, bolt, javelin, missile, spear, beam, ray, etc.)
  • self AOE (aura, circle, sphere)
  • object/location AOE (aura, circle, sphere, wall, pillar, storm)(
  • projectile/directed AOE (spray, cone, ball)

Additionally there may be modifiers such as "explode on impact", "recursive", etc. So Chain Lightning could be normal Lighting with the "recursive" modifier so that some of the energy is reserved and used to recast itself from the initial target. Alternatively this may simply be due to the properties of electricity and metal which reach a critical mass when there are enough armour clad warriors in close proximity.

Combination and Cumulative Effects

I also jotting down ways in which different primary elements could be combined to create new secondary "elements" which might also be useful. Some basic examples might be:
  • earth (stone) + (lots of) heat = lava
  • earth (sand) + heat = glass
  • ice + heat = water
  • water + heat = steam
  • earth + water = mud
  • mud + water = quicksand
  • water + cold + air = snow

Of course that barely scratches the surface but you get the idea. Unfortunately it also raises a question about how elements in opposition apply to each other. Fire + Water = Nothing but Water + Fire (Heat) = Steam? Do the order and quantity of elements in a formula become important?

Similarly, in combat, can attacking with different elements produce cumulative effects? To use a Dragon Age example, if I freeze someone with Cone of Cold spell and follow it up with Stone First is there a chance my frozen opponent could shatter?  Or to use a Magicka example, if someone is wet from being in water or hit by a water spell and I cast an electricity spell at them does it do more damage?

« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 11:06:08 AM by Sunjammer » Logged
BenKenobiWan
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 12:09:12 PM »

I personally don't favor the idea of associating elements with races, because it makes them more limited. Talking about different races, Paul has mentioned that elves (I think) are better at magic, simians are better at machines, and so on. So it's higher up than magic. instead of being the thing you divvy up, you divvy up a broader category, and magic is one piece.
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2012, 12:11:26 PM »

Wow, Sunjammer... it will take me some time to digest all of that. Smiley  But I definitely will look at it closely.

@Ben, yeah, in fact elves are the only ones that can perform magic as non-players.  They are the only race with any kind of natural magic aura... and even then it is limited.  (At least in the default game... server admins are welcome to ramp up whatever they like, I guess.Smiley)
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 12:53:10 PM »

Hmmm Are you mad xD?
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 01:01:36 PM »

I personally don't favor the idea of associating elements with races, because it makes them more limited. Talking about different races, Paul has mentioned that elves (I think) are better at magic, simians are better at machines, and so on. So it's higher up than magic. instead of being the thing you divvy up, you divvy up a broader category, and magic is one piece.
From your reaction I don't think I explained my idea very well. I'm not saying that a particular race owns an element or are prohibited from using an opposing element. That would, indeed, be very limiting. All I was trying to do was see if there was a natural association each of the races and and a given element. The effects of that association would be much more subtle and in line with the other racial traits. It wouldn't really be particularly limiting or empowering but rather just another slight difference between the races.

For example, I think most will accept the undead as being creatures of negative energy and therefore susceptible to positive energy. It pretty much an RPG standard that what heals living creatures harms undead creatures and vice versa (sunlight and vampires, Cure Light Wounds vs. Cause Light Wounds, etc.). And yes, as you correctly pointed out, Elves have an innate magic ability but if we read their description we see that "[i]t is based on life energy and usually requires sunlight to work. In other words, they can naturally transform sunlight into life energy": this sounds very much like Positive Energy and Healing to me. Similarly the fact that some Dwarves "will be able to predict whether a mineral vein is worth following just by the smell and shape of the rocks. Some may even possess a homing sense for specific types of minerals" could be seen as their sensitivity to the Earth element. Further "[t]heir relationship to the earth means that many types of magic energies are naturally and harmlessly absorbed making some magic have a diminished effect" echoes the "insulating" property I assigned to the Earth element.

Hopefully you can see that the seeds for the races being associated with or having an affinity to a particular already exist in the race descriptions and all I've tried to do is take them to a natural conclusion. It may not fit with Paul's world view or it might be it does and as a result he decides to change the Reptilians in to a underwater race of fish/shark people because it helps balance the system.
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 01:26:56 PM »

Hopefully you can see that the seeds for the races being associated with or having an affinity to a particular already exist in the race descriptions and all I've tried to do is take them to a natural conclusion. It may not fit with Paul's world view or it might be it does and as a result he decides to change the Reptilians in to a underwater race of fish/shark people because it helps balance the system.

That's not so far off since reptilians can breathe underwater. Smiley

There will be some clans of reptilians that build underwater cities.  I want underwater cities and they are the only race who could really do that.

But most of the reptilians players will meet will be desert or dry savanna dwellers.  That doesn't mean they can't be associated with water... after all, surviving in the desert could mean lots of different things, including the ability to absorb water from the air.
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 11:04:15 PM »

How's your mind about magic nowadays? Still thinking about implementing this?

The wizard in me is doing happy backflips and throwing firework spells all over the place Cheesy
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