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463 members have voted

  1. 1. Magic System

    • Vancian (Memorization)
      190
    • Mana Pool
      143
    • Other
      130
  2. 2. Spell Progression

    • Individual Spells (MM->Acid Arrow->Fire Ball ->Skull Trap)
      292
    • Spells get upgraded (MM LVL 1-> MM LVL 2)
      94
    • Other
      77
  3. 3. Should there be separate Arcane & Divine sides to magic?

    • Yes (D&D)
      268
    • No (DA:O)
      102
    • Other
      93


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Cool downs are way too arbitrary, as is the Vancian system.

However, I can at least deal with the Vancian system if there is a rest button, which also destroys the whole point of it.

 

My preferred system tends to be a mana-based system with some sort of regain deemed appropriate for balance. Weaker spells costing less than and thus being able to use them to a greater extent, while strong spells would need to be used more thoughtfully. To add a bit of flavor to the mix, spells above a certain threshold could cause damage to fatigue or health depending on the how much above the threshold they are.

 

If fatigue gets below a certain point they pass out for x amount of time. If health gets to low, they again pass out or have the added fun of dying. (Passing out in a fight also likely leads to death.) Thus, when one is low on health, or fatigue, it might not always be the best idea to cast something typically as harmless to the caster as chain lightning, let alone something that is dangerous to begin with like a meteor storm.

 

Of course, the threshold would likely increase, or penalty per amount over decreased, with the skill of the caster.

 

A similar system could also apply to melee characters as well. A powerful melee attack might potentially damage, or kill, to the user, cause them to pass out, or maybe even use some amount of mana.

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Vancian casting is perfect. It rewards planning and foresight, qualities a wizard ought to possess. It also fosters versatility.

Edited by Jasede

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I find the Vancian system to just be so....unintuitive. I like to think that ny mages don't have the memories of goldfish, and don't suddenly "forget" how to cast magic missile when that's the only spell they've been casting so far. (I'm serious, it's the only spell I've been using at this point.) I'd much rather have a cooldown system, or perhaps the spells use up a good chunk of mana at first (as you gain levels, you get more mana). I'm the type of person who likes to save my big flashy spells for boss fights. I'd like to actually make it through a dungeon without having to run out and rest each time I want to swap/recharge spells (which is all the time, because I must be prepared for absolutely everything), it just doesn't make sense:

 

Mage: We have to go back!

Paladin: Why? We're a room away from the MacGuffin!

Mage: I'm fresh out of spells and I need to rest!

Paladin: Wat

Fighter: *sighs* Didn't you just rest back there? I swear, if you delay us again with your eight hour cat nap, i WILL cut off your head and nail it to my wall!


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Vancian casting is perfect. It rewards planning and foresight, qualities a wizard ought to possess. It also fosters versatility.

 

It rewards metagaming and reloading. And how on earth does it foster versatility, when each day you're forced to pick the spells you're not going to use that day?

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I find the Vancian system to just be so....unintuitive. I like to think that ny mages don't have the memories of goldfish, and don't suddenly "forget" how to cast magic missile when that's the only spell they've been casting so far.

 

Bloody hell - again?

 

Just how many people played D&D without udnerstanding anything abotu how magic works there?????

 

Small adivce - learn the underlying lore before proclaming the system makes no sense.

Edited by TrashMan

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Magic as extension of the soul...

Cooldown could make sense, but sectionning off a soul for the day, to be disolved at a point of use, as per Vancian, seems weird.

 

Maybe if Magic got weaker with each use of a given spell set before rest?

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Vancian casting is perfect. It rewards planning and foresight, qualities a wizard ought to possess. It also fosters versatility.

 

It rewards metagaming and reloading. And how on earth does it foster versatility, when each day you're forced to pick the spells you're not going to use that day?

 

Because the way to approach the system is to pick a balanced set of spells that should carry you over the course of several encounters, and use them judiciously. Not trying to have your wizard casting spells at the same speed your fighter is swinging his sword. If you didn't use the spells that day, it's because you chose the wrong spells, and you should be adjusting your strategy.

 

It's not like we're talking PnP AD&D where there's dozens to hundreds of possibilities. In a CRPG you generally have very few choices. In a PnP game, spells like divinations, utility spells (Levitation, magic mouth, tenser's floating disk, etc), they're all useful. In a CRPG, they have no practical application. So really, all you're doing is choosing combat spells. Which is *alot* easier to predict what will be useful and what won't.

 

Further, you act as though cooldowns are somehow immune to metagaming and reloading, which they're not. If you make the wrong choices in a Cooldown system, you're still going to be metagaming and reloading.

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In D&D there were hundreds of spells. Suppose now that P:E chooses to have the richness of D&D in the spell department. How could cooldowns in that case work? Either each spell would have its own cooldown or the caster would be forced to make some choice on a subset of spells to have on cooldown. The first is clearly unbalanced, as the caster would have far too many choices (the enemy uses "spell shield" - cast breach. The enemy is immune to fire - cast cone of cold etc). The second is just another form of a Vancian system, with it's inherent oh-so-bad-metagamy strategizing.

 

A system with mana could be critiqued in the same manner; if all spells are available then it's unbalanced and if not then a choice has to be made on which spells to have available, i.e. Vancian.

 

The conclusion is simply that a large number of spells implies a Vancian magic system. A fortiori, anyone who suggest a system with cooldown or mana and no preparations simply wants there to be few spells available.

Edited by codexer

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Vancian casting is just a form of conditional cooldowns. I like to see a more sophisticated cooldown system: short-term cooldowns of individual spells and long-term cooldown of the mana pool. (Yes I know that's been done before. :))

 

I'd sure like to see spellbooks have some role in a game. Maybe weaker spell casting with much longer casting times and lower mana cost?


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I don't mind a spell taking a while to cast. In fact, I think protective spells shouldn't be instantenous, but rather with a delay. However with a spell-memorize system, a situation like coming across a basilisk for the first time in days - when you don't have a protection from petrification spell memorized - is irritating at best and frustrating at worst. You either have to come up with another solution such as cast summon creature and hope the basilisk doesn't target your party members... good luck with that if there are a group of basilisks (probably some re-loading here to win the battle from awkwardly maneuvering your party around and casting summons) or you have to retreat and rest to memorize the right spells. And this sometimes in a dungeon, crawling with critters. I don't like to rest in dungeons unless absolutely necessary. It's not realistic. I'd rather only be forced to rest in dungeons when I'm almost entirely out of magic points. Not when I forgot to memorize one teensy little spell.

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Please avoid cooldowns at all costs!

 

It puts too much focus on waiting for cooldowns than to actually think about what spell would be the best to use. Cooldowns belongs to REALTIME action games like Diablo were you don't plan so far ahead in a combat. In a more semi-turn-based game it destroys most of the fun from tactically choosing spells instead of just using the most powerful spell that is not on cooldown.

 

I basically think ANY system is better than using action-time-critical cooldowns. IMO the more "turn" based features the combat has the better.

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In tabletop games, the "Vancian" systems do make strategic gameplay more important, but a lot of that is lost in a game with reloading.

That's why I never reload !

I'm this kind of guy who will turn on the "Trial of Iron" mode from the first playthrough, and never turn it off...

 

That's probably the reason I like the vancian system...

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I'll just quote myself from another thread:

 

In D&D there were hundreds of spells. Suppose now that P:E chooses to have the richness of D&D in the spell department. How could cooldowns in that case work? Either each spell would have its own cooldown or the caster would be forced to make some choice on a subset of spells to have on cooldown. The first is clearly unbalanced, as the caster would have far too many choices (the enemy uses "spell shield" - cast breach. The enemy is immune to fire - cast cone of cold etc). The second is just another form of a Vancian system, with it's inherent oh-so-bad-metagamy strategizing.

 

A system with mana could be critiqued in the same manner; if all spells are available then it's unbalanced and if not then a choice has to be made on which spells to have available, i.e. Vancian.

 

The conclusion is simply that a large number of spells implies a Vancian magic system. A fortiori, anyone who suggest a system with cooldown or mana and no preparations simply wants there to be few spells available.

 

My point is simply that IF there are a lot of spells (some specialized, other general - as in D&D) in a game then there has to be a restriction on which spells are available at a certain time. This restriction is exactly what spell preparation is about. If you don't require preparation - or restriction - of which spells are available then you want fewer spells.

 

It's, however, true that it can turn into meta-gaming when you reload and memorize a particular set of spell just to beat an encounter. Personally, I think the problem is in the save function, and not the magic system.

 

Admittedly, you could tinker and tweak this restriction function so that it's less exploitable; for example by having a trainer in town that let you retrain your spells and abilities into a another subset. Alternatively the spell restriction could be irreversible - as in forced upon you when you level. That makes the magic system a lot like how sorcerers worked in D&D.

Edited by codexer
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I prefer the vanacian systme honestly.

 

Not only is it more tacticla and rewards preparedness more, but it also given the gmae gravitas. Having to rest, but the area being dangerous - a tactical decision.

With no mana and HP that replenishes after each battle you have ot make some tough choices.

In tabletop games, the "Vancian" systems do make strategic gameplay more important, but a lot of that is lost in a game with reloading. Especially if the choice of spells has a dramatic effect on efficacy (e.g. did you memorize dimensional anchor before fighting creatures that are constantly teleporting all over the battlefield), failure to select the "right" ones can result in catastrophic failure. In the absence of information required to make informed decisions, those choices aren't strategic; they're just guesses. After a reload, they're meta-strategic, but I doubt most players feel clever for making a retrospectively obvious choice.

 

I was saying just this earlier.

 

Sure the game could tell you what to expect later, but really that cannot be true in all circumstances otherwise the game itself is just giving away what's going to be happening.

 

Having your full spell library available to you at all times really is the best choice.

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A good DM, like a good Developer, is fully capable of giving you hints along the way without outright slapping you around with the information. Whether a player pays attention to such things or not, whether their character is able to detect them through the net of their skills or not, is not a meta gaming choice. Does the reload factor come in? Sure. However, no good Developer makes their game with the assumption a player will just reload. Obviously they'll reload. The hints and clues, and things people can find on or off the beaten path, the ways they can figure out what might be needed, what might be useless, are a part of crafting a game. I know this from putting together PnP games, if I need my players to have certain information, I'll have it available, either as a whole, or in small bits, clues by they hidden or spoken in a way that may not be immediately obvious.

 

These the things the creation side does to make sure that a tactical approach is actually viable. In PnP obviously I'm not going to let them reload, but if I were developing a game, while I'd surely note that a person can reload, I'd still make the game as if they couldn't. So that the needed information would be there.

 

A cooldown/mana system just gives you everything all the time. No limitation. The cooldown portion doesn't matter because you will have it, you'll just wait until the cooldown you need is up. None of this makes you stop and think. I've seen plenty of people playing games using the mana or cooldown or combined systems and it always just comes down to spamming whatever when available no matter how much they try and claim 'tactics' . . .

 

A good PnP game using a system like the D&D one will make you play Chess with your abilities, use them Chess pieces, make you think of when and where to move them based on an opponent's own choices. A good DM or Developer will lay down the ground work you need to make intelligent decisions as to what you're going to bring to the battlefield, but they won't scream it in your face either. It's part of the adventure of an RPG, uncovering the hidden clue needed to defeat the "insert whatever here" instead of just rushing into its lair and getting deep fried. Listening to the tavern gossip and realizing that you might be jumped by Goblins out on the road, as that's been happening lately. Seeing the wanted posters for a local gang of Bandits in the area. There, part of the scenery, or in the case of the "instert whatever here" hidden, a known problem with an unknown solution that you have to track down. Oversimplified examples, sure, but the logic stands when running a game.

 

The game development logic has its own challenges, its own set of issues that a PnP game doesn't face, but the basics are the same. How do you plan for your fight? By sniffing out the information? Where's the information? How do you find it? These answers are context sensitive. Are there prints on the ground hinting at what a thing ahead might be? What sort of roll would you have to make to detect the print? What knowledge and roll would you have to make to determine what sort of thing made the print?

 

All of these things, and more, are possible in a cRPG because the examples I gave are actually variations of things I've actually seen cRPGs do, and not even close to all of the possibilities I've seen cRPGs bring to the table.

 

The issue that breaks such things apart, is not, in fact, reloading, because outside of a hardcore mode you can't stop people from doing that, but instead something much more simple: "The Resting System." The resting system tends to be what's exploited in games that don't have the common sense to prevent you from resting constantly, and putting in deterrents that, well, deter people from just resting every few minutes to always be full on spells. Again this is something plenty of older games actually addressed even when they didn't use the D&D-like spell system they added in rests being limited by location, by potential encounters, by the heroes not feeling tired and thus refusing to rest and so on and so forth in so many ways that I doubt I've even experienced them all, and I've experienced quite a few.

Edited by Umberlin
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I think it's possible to still make prep meaningful by allowing the player to switch between pre-built (by the player) suites of spells at a frequency that is less than "per rest". I.e. if the player can only use a subset of spells at any given time, but can switch between those subsets with a time penalty (or only outside of combat), that still makes the choices important without the system strictly being Vancian.

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I think there's plenty of strategy in only being able to cast so many spells in a given encounter, or 24 hour period (not based on resting, but one time passage in the game), based on some mechanic (in this game's case, the soul) only allowing so much energy to be filtered through it in a given period of time.

 

If the spell caster knows how to use that energy to make fireballs, he should be able to cast as many fireballs as his energy allows. Anything outside of that feels artificial... unless you include some kind of component requirement, and then you need to have enough bat guano or some such (I am not advocating components - hate it!)

 

Magic shouldn't be a gun with special ammunition... or bow with special arrows.

 

Personally, I also wish there were other down sides to casting spells - Warhammer does this pretty well, and theoretically Dragon Age's setting (even if not the game mechanics) does so, too.

 

People are really locked into the spell schools, spell lists, number of spells per day, realm. There are so many other ways this could be done.

 

I guess suites of spells is a possibility, but it just sounds like tinkering with the underlying mechanisms and logic of Vancian. If the suites work off of "I am a fire mage, I can choose these spells" or "I work with illusions, these are the spells I can choose" I can live with that. I don't think that's what's being suggested, though.

Edited by Merin

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I do not like the vancian system of magic. It limits how often you can use a spell. It means guessing before you rest at what spells you may need. The cooldown system may not be good either. I think either some mixed system of vancian, cooldown, mana might work better if it can be done.

 

As for upgrading spells or just learning new spells I definitely think a mix would be best. Some spells get stronger but you still learn new spells which in turn as you use them get better.

 

I think there should be some differation between arcane and divine spells. there might be classes that can use both such as Pallidin or if we have multiclass that person could use both.


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I didn't read all the posts, skimmed the first two or three.

 

Magic brought me here!!

 

In another post, I mention the vivid animation. Wizards generally, when they are on opposing sides, should interlock each other. The one with the wizard should be at an advantage, and when there are two, they will duel against each other.

 

Imagine a fireball appearing out of nowhere, just about to hit your entire cluttered party in the face. Instead your mage reacts to the magical flux of energy and manages to contain the fireball in some way. Maybe even casts a magical barrier that flashes transparently purple as an explosion of flames erupts right next to the party. Out of the shadows another mage appears, fully concentrated on applying force into the fireball so that it will pass through your own Wizard's powers and hit the group.

 

The options of the Mage in old school RPG's bugged me mighty about this fact, a great powerhouse that could deal lots and lots of damage at a time (DnD burst damage I would like to call it), but couldn't do anything to stop it. Gandalf can both attack with and defend against magic.

 

In some situations though, of course, even having a wizard in your party could prove bothersome an encumbrance in itself. How many times have I entered fights without my mage in Baldur's Gate because I don't want to waste his memorized spells? I love the idea of memorization of spells, but perhaps there should be a turn based cooldown handled spell system.

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In tabletop games, the "Vancian" systems do make strategic gameplay more important, but a lot of that is lost in a game with reloading. Especially if the choice of spells has a dramatic effect on efficacy (e.g. did you memorize dimensional anchor before fighting creatures that are constantly teleporting all over the battlefield), failure to select the "right" ones can result in catastrophic failure. In the absence of information required to make informed decisions, those choices aren't strategic; they're just guesses. After a reload, they're meta-strategic, but I doubt most players feel clever for making a retrospectively obvious choice.

 

It's the player's decision if and how many times he's going to reload. I personally have a limit of, let's say, 10 reloads - and after that it's game over.

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Slow magic point regeneration works quite well in Wizardry, limiting spell use. Magic points return over several in-game hours - not seconds. Spell domains help as well, with different magic points for different spell types. Not all magic regen systems are broken or lacking for strategy or tactics, really. And I am not saying Obsidian should emulate ye olde Wizardry series (look at Arcanum!)... but, honestly, not everything need be centred on D&D -- although I do understand the majority of people on this forum are for D&D RPGs only and want nothing but that system. RPGs have employed a wide range of systems from memorizing spells to magic rune gestures to magic points to stamina points or a mix of these or something new entirely.

 

As a hardcore roleplayer, I don't despise having to run away (speed is key for my characters :3), but I do despise having to run away to hide in a section of the dungeon to rest to memorize spells for the encounter. While I'm resting, I'm rarely attacked by enemies, and - more strangely - the particular enemies I've run away from did not search for my party when I basically just ran around the corner! o_O What? Suspension of disbelief, much? Even if the AI was improved to follow me, I bet I could still run outside the dungeon, rest in the wilderness around the corner then return. That's not a good system or realistic: that's monotonous play.

 

Magic points allows for strategic play by forcing the player to pace their use of spells.

Memorization allows for strategic play by forcing the player to re-load or run away and rest.

Edited by tilly

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I think it's possible to still make prep meaningful by allowing the player to switch between pre-built (by the player) suites of spells at a frequency that is less than "per rest". I.e. if the player can only use a subset of spells at any given time, but can switch between those subsets with a time penalty (or only outside of combat), that still makes the choices important without the system strictly being Vancian.

That sounds nice,I think.

 

Now,my only real concern are cooldowns.What about them?I have to say I'm not really a big fan:they put an excessive amount of focus on timing in a system that focuses (mostly) on different kinds tactics and said timing element feels really tackled on because it's a separate counter unrelated from the merits of the specific ability(basically if timing is related to the duration of spell-casting or how much it takes for a fireball to land that's fine,but cooldowns offer a 'detachted' timing mechanic).I also think they're not a good way to stop the player from spamming attacks because a more organic system(spell counts,mana) can do that without the problems above.Furthermore I don't think it's a good way to balance super-powerful spells since I think such concept,well, should not be in games(the spell should have advantages and diadvantages on its own,without need of a feature that,again,I feel,is tackled on.)

Edited by Living One

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I think it's possible to still make prep meaningful by allowing the player to switch between pre-built (by the player) suites of spells at a frequency that is less than "per rest". I.e. if the player can only use a subset of spells at any given time, but can switch between those subsets with a time penalty (or only outside of combat), that still makes the choices important without the system strictly being Vancian.

 

So, for example, the wizard would be able to cast each of the spells within a subset unlimited times (with a cooldown)?

 

Or.. if, more likely, there's a mana pool or soul pool or however they're gonna call it, the number of spells would be limited by it and the pool would be replenished after combat.. on its own?

 

Of course, mana or no mana, each spell should have a reasonable casting time (and cooldown). Spamming spells every 2 seconds is a bit too much, I think.

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