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  1. So I've been reading the different arguments for and against Vancian magic (sp?) and cool-down based, stamina based, and other metrics based magics. I wanted to propose another possible mechanism. I will lay out the problems as I see them, and then lay out my solution. Finally, I will try to address how this solution answers the problems as laid out. If you are not interested in reading the whole thing, look for the yellow text. The Aspects of Vancian magic (and its problems as outcomes): 1- The one-time use of memorized magic severely limits the magic-user to only using a limited number of spells per rest. This is done so as to make magic-use challenging and tactical. This is not a problem. 2- Because no player has complete knowledge of the challenges he will face in a dungeon/battle it proves difficult for the magic-user to know whether they should become involved (magically) in that particular battle. If they do, they might use up spells that may be necessary for a future battle (possibly just around the corner). Players will save even rudimentary first-level spells "for the right moment" and completely neglect one aspect of their combat choices completely. 3- However, the party is in need of a combat-ready member, and thus magic-users are relegated either to "stone-throwing duty" or heavy-magic users in parties who are "rest-spammers." This breaks the magic mechanics and side-steps the limitations put there in the first place. The Problems with "metrics-based" (cool-down/stamina/mana) magic: 1- Magic becomes more of an option for a magic user. As the risks of using magic decreases, magic-users are more likely to make this an option in combat. This is also not a problem, and is what the developers (probably) want. 2- However, the magic-user is no longer limited to a per-rest restraint, but more of a per-battle restraint. That is to say that with the end of each battle, the party can effectively wait long enough to "cool-down" the magic user so as to get into battle again. 2- This waiting time removes the player from immersion if he/she chooses to wait until the magic-user's cool-down is complete. 3- Further, because spells are (mostly) limited to a per-battle restraint, the management of spells over a series of battles no longer plays a role. Thus if two smaller battles of low-challenge monsters arrives (two camps of 8-10 goblins 2 minutes apart), the magic-user will always be ready to unleash those spells that are cool-down sensitive. Lower-tier spells are no longer an issue over multiple battles. 4- These problems are similar to all self-recharging mechanics (stamina, mana). Ultimately, the same players who rest-spammed, will now effectively wait-spam until their magic-users are fully recharged (to the best of their abilities). This will remove those same players from immersion. There are likely other problems that I have not considered, so please let me know. I have tried to summarize the general gist of most reactions to these systems. ----------------------------------------------------------- This solution to this problem actually comes from an intelligent application of the Vancian system in Baldur's Gate II (an IE game) to create a challenge in both resource-management as well as effective magic-usage. In the game, Baldur's Gate II:Throne of Bhaal, during the final arena with the boss (Melissan), the player is not allowed to rest (you are in another plane of existance, you cannot rest at all), and thus magic becomes a very limited resource. However, you need to use magic (and strong magic at that!) to weaken the boss before you can even fight her, by fighting monsters that are unleashed from "spirit pools". As you defeat each group of monsters and unlock each pool, two of the three pools "restore" your party as if you are resting. Thus they act as "rest-areas" without you actually resting for 8 hours and they restore your magic during that time. However, the spirit pools are one-time use only. Thus these pools become a very limited and precious resource and there is no opportunity to spam rest or spam wait. If you do not use magic, these spirit pools are useless (forcing the player to use magic). So it seems simple enough, instead of letting "resting" restore your magic use (or stamina or mana, etc), utilize specific "spirit pools" found all throughout the P:E to restore the magic. It actually also makes more sense, from a lore perspective - I get into that at the end of this post. The "pools" act like the D&D spell "Wish" where you can restore your parties magic completely. The pools are on a cool-down (every 8 hours) and several pools can be found in a dungeon (they are spread all throughout the P:E world). Perhaps, some merchants have taken the waters of these pools and sell them to adventurers. These "potions of restoration" act like the D&D cleric's level 6 spell "wonderous recall." They allow some (random) of your soul-powered spells to return to you, so as to allow magic-users to cast these spells again. Perhaps some spirit pools allow partial rejuvination, and some only allow certain schools of magic to be restored (Spirit Pool of Divination - only allows divination spells to be restored). This allows for much more interesting combinations of restoration and more interesting puzzles and challenges in dungeons. Again you can have partial restoration through potions (Potion from the spirit pool of divination). I will now go through the problems as stated before and show how this mechanic solves these problems. 1- Vancian magic: Players will save even rudimentary first-level spells "for the right moment" and completely neglect one aspect of their combat choices completely. The player now no longer has a reason to save his or her spells. As long as the player can manage his/her resources until the next pool, s/he can utilize their spells to the most tactically advantageous way possible. If they don't use it, they lose it as they reach the next pool (all spells are restored, regardless if used or not.) 2- Removes the player from immersion The player is now even more immersed in the game, as they try to figure out (through a skill perhaps?) what kind of spirit pool they have uncovered, whether it would be best to save this pool for later use, etc and they are kept on their toes as their try to fight past monsters to get to the next "spirit pool." This continues to keep the player thinking about resource management. 3- Vancian magic-users are relegated either to "stone-throwing duty" or heavy-magic users in parties who are "rest-spammers." Magic-users can now take their proper role as magic-users. If they do not do so, they will miss their chance to use magic in between spirit pools. 1- Cooldowns: The party can effectively wait long enough to "cool-down" the magic user so as to get into battle again. The restoration of magic is no longer dependent on wait-times and cool-downs. The concern of "dumbing down the game" is removed as players are forced to once again manage resources and spells as before in the Vancian system. 3- Cooldown: The management of spells over a series of battles no longer plays a role Resource management continues to be a factor between spirit pools. Players are forced to consider that they might not find a pool for long periods of time or that there might be another pool a short distance away. Sneaking and information gather through rogues become more important. They become effective as scouts looking out for enemies as well as trying to find the next spirit pool. Even then, perhaps the next spirit pool might only restore certain spells. For those who do not manage their spells effectively, they will be forced to carry potions of spiritual restoration and hope that the spell they want is restored. Players are punished for lax play, and rewarded for strategic play over several battles. 4- Cooldown: Lower-tier spells are no longer an issue over multiple battles Once again, lower-tier spells are an issue for multiple battles. Players cannot spam level 3 flaming arrows and wait for them to cool-down between fights. Perhaps a few level one spells can continue to be on cool-down (or maybe potions would have to restore them), but these tweaks can be made over time and with enough play-testing a proper balance can be found. LORE It never made much sense (in D&D) that magic spells were memorized each morning and forgotten after being used. It also didn't make much sense that by resting you would restore these spells. I would imagine that the magic-user was not resting but rather spending his 8 hours in camp memorizing new spells. Not quite the restful break for the magician. In P:E, magic-use and its derivatives (apart from chanters?) are linked to channeling the spirits in some way. Thus as each person in this world channels their spirit in this world, they are likely to weaken this link in some way. However, spread all throughout the world are "pools" or portals in which the links to the spirits and people is much stronger and this link can be strengthened at these pools. However, the pools can only be used every so-often as the energies emanating from these pools gets used up. Over time, the energies in these pools recharge and allow people to "refresh" their links with their souls. Some merchants have tried to make a profit from this, as many pools found inside the cities are protected or bought (and can be found only in the hands of the very wealthy). These merchants have asked adventurers going out on their journeys to gather the waters of these pools and to return them to the merchants. The price paid for these waters is good, but purchasing these waters is quite expensive (merchants need to make a profit afterall). What do you guys think? Please forgive any spelling or grammatical mistakes.
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