Friday, 16 December 2011

Magic Spells and Potions

Potions and Magic often overlap heavily in games, with many spells having equivalent potions and vice versa. I think it takes away the uniqueness of magic and prefer when there is a clearer distinction between the two, in terms of effect and usage.

Potions should include anything you can put in a bottle. From the everyday things like lamp oil, milk and soup to old favourites like poison, acid, hallucinogens, nerve tonics and antidotes. Their effects would always be direct and singular to an individual, lowering or raising a stat or causing a status effect like paralysis.
For the more exotic potions the player would need to find recipes and then collect ingredients - or purchase them directly from witch doctors or apothecaries. Potions can be held in small medium and large bottles, capable of containing 1,3 and 5 doses respectively. The advantages to smaller bottles are their use as sling ammunition and their lower chance of breaking when the player takes blunt weapon damage (Broken glass covered in poison might have its uses though).
For magic I prefer the pulp fantasy variety that costs its users dearly - dabbling in dark arts should not be taken lightly, and wizards shouldn't be able to walk around throwing fire like tennis balls. Spells should be cast with ceremony - laying down arcane areas of effect like protection from beasts or auras of fear and frenzy.

To reflect this I have made some spell tiles that are written in the players blood. Yes sir, our HP and manna are now one and the same, every spell bleeding a percentage of life force out of you. The closer you are to death the cheaper magic would become hopefully adding some strategy and drama to magic use. Thematically it might turn heavy magic users into Elrik like characters - addicted to restorative potions, stimulants and other concoctions to negate the crippling effects of their sorcery. Or perhaps the blood of innocents could be harvested for use in magic instead.
All of these ideas might make for tedious and boring game play, I don't know, but I like the idea of character classes created by playing styles, rather than doling out an MP meter with each wizard and arbitrary armour restrictions to archers...

1 comment:

  1. I to prefer this style of game play. I have been thinking of a system where your health (hp) is the cost of casting a spell. The effectiveness of the spell is based on the appropriate Magic/Mind/IQ stat. You'll need your hands free to cast and certain heavy armors may somewhat interfere with waving your arms to cast.

    This will provide interesting choices. Wear the heavy armor for the defense, but lose some % of spell utility.

    Daggers will have a very high crit bonus. Crits are easy to get on monsters that are not alerted to your presence. The Dex/Agility/Rogish score will also impact the rate of crits. A creature is alerted by sound and site of a player. How much sound is made is based upon how much heavy metal the player is wearing. And the creature does not wake up until their next turn after being alerted. So a swift and silent player can run up on a creature and get in a good crit before it can react.

    As for the 'warrior' type player he is all about heavy armor and weapons. He is not worried about speed or using magic as he is a blugeon of death. Defense is king.

    You may also want to check out Orson Scott Card's discussion of 'The Price of Magic' in chapter 2 of his book How to Write Scifi and Fantasy. And if you google The Price of Magic there are several articles written on the subject that are pretty good.

    Sorry. Kind of a long comment having nothing to do with your tiles. Great tiles btw. I post as Jo on Temple of the Roguelike.