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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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Ideally the system is NOT about running back and forth from tavern to dungeon, it's about managing a limited resource.

 

Purpose for mana points and cooldowns are same. They are only different approach to problem. And so are skill check sytem, especially if game also implements stamina system. And Cost (reagent) system is maybe mostly about managing limited resources. So vancian sytem is not really any different from other magic system to this end.

Edited by Elerond

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Isn't Vancian system effectively a cooldown system?

 

Basically yes. In vancian system you have to rest in tavern or other place where this is allowed to recharge your spells, while in usual cooldown system you'll have to wait certain time OR rest to recharge. Cooldown time usually depends on power of the spell. Only real difference is that in Vancian you have limited amount of spells to use before you rest again so prepare to run like crazy between tavern and dungeon. Same thing when you notice you forgot to memorize some spell you needed ----> Back to tavern. I honestly don't know why anyone prefers pure Vancian system in CRPGs.

While the vancian system has its own flaws (and I even pointed one of them in my previous post) you are trivializing this way too much.

Ideally the system is NOT about running back and forth from tavern to dungeon, it's about managing a limited resource.

...and when you fail to manage those resources, for example in situations where you don't know exactly what's ahead of you, it turns into running back and forth. At my first playthrough of every Infinity Engine games this happened at least couple of times and it was extremely frustrating every time. Then there are of course situations where you have no possibility to go back and you have to defeat all enemies before you are able to rest again. In those situations you can play yourself into corner where only way out is to die or reload. (if you still have older save file)

 

I know you all have played Infinity Engine games million times through and know exactly what's behind every corner and at that point it might even be a little bit fun to plan with which spells I'm gonna kick that boss's ass this time around, but on the first and most important playthrough it's not fun at all. I like to have all options with me all the time, so if I wanna change tactics in middle of dungeon I don't have to go take an 8 hour nap in between. It doesn't make sense at all.

 

I think anything from cooldowns and mana pools to different combinations of those are far better than this ancient remnant from tabletop-RPGs.

Edited by Haerski
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I'm not going to rule out cooldowns and I'm not going to design the entire magic system on the fly over the course of three weeks. Both Tim and I want the magic system to feel expansive, powerful, and flexible. We want the player to have to make prep choices when selecting spells for active use. These things do not require a Vancian system, nor do they require the absence of cooldowns as a mechanic. As I wrote in one of the class threads, our goal with class design is not to limit the role of classes but to ensure that every class does have at least one combat role they can clearly excel in. This does not mean that wizards won't be able to cast protective spells, transformative spells, etc. It is likely that they will not be able to select from all of those things in the moment but unlikely that we will require the player to rest to change what he or she has access to.

 

Please don't mistake my concerns for a lack of support. I really hope you create something wonderful, and am eager to see the results, I'd just feel amiss if I didn't voice my concerns, whether they're worthwhile or not. I'm sure that goes for a lot of us here, we feel strongly about it because we care.

 

Thank you for the clarity. Good luck with what you're trying to do.

Edited by Umberlin
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Whatever verbage we feel like using, a mage character should be useful every "round". Firing off a spell and then being forced to plink away with your 1D4 sling while you wait for something to recharge is the epitome of suck.

I completely disagree. Having the magic system designed so that there's always something to do seems like busywork.

 

If my mage can wait for all of the enemies to be herded into a group and then kill them all with a single spell, that's way cooler than constant casting of smaller spells.

 

Fighters do something every round. Mages don't. Partly because that sort of design would dramatically limit magical power. There aren't going to be any spells that kill everyone if the mage is expected to be casting constantly.


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Ideally the system is NOT about running back and forth from tavern to dungeon, it's about managing a limited resource.

Purpose for mana points and cooldowns are same

Barely, and in very different ways, especially where mana regen is involved. Cooldowns aren't strictly about limiting resources, but limiting the overuse of power moves/abilities in a short spawn of time.

Memorization is all about limiting your resources for a fairly large amount of time (i.e. "I'm entering this dungeon now and I know that if I don't want to make a boring travel back to town I'll need to use these resources carefully").

Mana is a limited resource in the sense that gives you a limit of spells you can use in a row, but doesn't prevent you to use, for instance, the same useful but inexpensive spell very often as far as mana is available.

 

So, if what you are trying to say is that every mechanic can find its place in a game, then I agree with you; if you are saying that they are essentially the same thing, then you are wrong.

 

...and when you fail to manage those resources, for example in situations where you don't know exactly what's ahead of you, it turns into running back and forth. At my first playthrough of every Infinity Engine games this happened at least couple of times and it was extremely frustrating every time.

That's just you playing poorly and/or exploiting the system.

If anything the problem with IE games was that they didn't punished/discouraged that kind of behavior hardly enough.

Resting in the middle of a dungeon should be far more dangerous and going back to town to rest should be far more problematic (i.e. you end wasting way too much time to end a timed quest or like in Dark Souls when you rest all minor enemies respawn with you).

 

Of course, developers usually don't like these punishing mechanics, despise how they make things much more interesting, because there are many people, even on this forum, that don't like to play to master the mechanics but "just for the story",

Edited by Tuco Benedicto
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Knock and its old friends spider climb and invisibility are part of a classic family of spells that made rogue and thief players say, "Hey, why do I exist?" I don't believe their inclusion in pre-4E editions of D&D and AD&D was a great thing. That sort of spell design is good if you're making a game specifically about how awesomely powerful wizards are (e.g. Ars Magica), but I don't think it's good in a class-based system where the classes are supposed to have different strengths and weaknesses.

 

I think these spells you mention were not meant to replace rogue skills but to augument them. If a mage had enough of them remembered to fit the role of rogue, he would actually suck in a role of mage - and he wouldn't be so great a rogue too, cause in combat he would be weak as always.

 

So I wouldn't dismiss good ol' knock on the spot :)

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Whatever verbage we feel like using, a mage character should be useful every "round". Firing off a spell and then being forced to plink away with your 1D4 sling while you wait for something to recharge is the epitome of suck.

I can't say I agree at all. That's exactly what makes Dragon Age so painful to manage with the AI completely off compared to Baldur's gate 2.

In Dragon Age you are constantly cycling through characters that have very short cooldowns, while in Baldur's Gate you usually set a generic target for each of your men and *then* when it's actually useful to do so, you pick some special ability/spell/item to use.

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Fireballing a group of kobolds and having every last one drop dead is one of the most satisfying things ever. This is what magic users live for, just like the fighters who critical and have enemies explode on the screen. It would be sad if spells could be used so often that their damage wasn't high enough to accomplish these things anymore.

 

Again, I think there's a nice middleground with the vancian casting system that can be met where you allow casters to study during the downtime between combats and slowly regain spells, starting with the earlier level spells that take shorter to rememorize, and taking much longer with the higher level spells. This way rest isn't forced, but it has a place still if a magic user had to, for some reason, use most of the spells in his arsenal recently. No need to severely weaken current basic spells, but no need to rest so often either, as the useful low level spells that allow a mage to still help in a fight will return in due time.

Edited by Hypevosa

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That's just you playing poorly and/or exploiting the system.

 

How does making decisions without proper information handed by the game equals playing poorly and/or expoliting the system?

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Whatever verbage we feel like using, a mage character should be useful every "round". Firing off a spell and then being forced to plink away with your 1D4 sling while you wait for something to recharge is the epitome of suck.

I completely disagree. Having the magic system designed so that there's always something to do seems like busywork.

 

If my mage can wait for all of the enemies to be herded into a group and then kill them all with a single spell, that's way cooler than constant casting of smaller spells.

 

Fighters do something every round. Mages don't. Partly because that sort of design would dramatically limit magical power. There aren't going to be any spells that kill everyone if the mage is expected to be casting constantly.

 

Different strokes for different folks. If your idea of fun gameplay is to stand there doing nothing for several rounds until all conditions line up and then execute one action before standing there again doing nothing until those conditions line up again, rock on. :thumbsup: To me, that would suck.


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Something like the "Unlimited Mana" alternate system for GURPS might be good:

http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/unlimited-mana.htm

 

Basically you got your power tally, which is increased by casting spells and decreases over time. If your tally goes above a threshold value, you start rolling on the calamity table, taking pluses on the roll depending on how much you have crossed the threshold by. This being soul based magic, the calamities would have to do something about exhausting your soul or causing permanent damage to it on the higher results.


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That's just you playing poorly and/or exploiting the system.

 

How does making decisions without proper information handed by the game equals playing poorly and/or expoliting the system?

"Making a decision without proper information" is exactly the big flaw in the memorization system that I mentioned and addressed in my first reply in this thread.

It prevent's flexibility and creativity with the "weirdest" and most "situational" spells.

 

That said, I still find the idea of running back and forth to recharge your spell arsenal a cheap way to exploit the system.

In all these IE games I always forced myself to enter an area and not rest until I was done with it. Even on the biggest dungeons I never rested more than once for every floor.

Edited by Tuco Benedicto

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I just want to add this to the discussion..

 

I'd love a system where the resource for casting spells doesn't recharge on its own (be it mana or soul points or a spellbook). But only through resting (and rare mana potions). Why?

 

Because it lets me challenge myself. I can decide I'll replenish my spells/mana only 15 times during the game. If I can obliterate every single encounter with powerful spells it doesn't feel all that challenging. I like the strategy element of saving the spells only for the toughest fights.

 

This is the aspect of resting systems that I value the most.

 

And people are being silly about the cooldowns. Every magic system has cooldowns. Casting time is a cooldown as well. Othewise you'd be able to cast spells every second and that would be a nightmare for anyone standing on the receiving end.

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Whatever verbage we feel like using, a mage character should be useful every "round". Firing off a spell and then being forced to plink away with your 1D4 sling while you wait for something to recharge is the epitome of suck.

I can't say I agree at all. That's exactly what makes Dragon Age so painful to manage with the AI completely off compared to Baldur's gate 2.

In Dragon Age you are constantly cycling through characters that have very short cooldowns, while in Baldur's Gate you usually set a generic target for each of your men and *then* when it's actually useful to do so, you pick some special ability/spell/item to use.

 

You actually just sold me on a more Vancian system. The way DA:O cooldowns were set up made the game fun to play as a pause and play action game, but annoying to play as a slow strategic game. I believe it is the latter here that P:E is looking to emulate. The biggest problem I had with the Vancian system, however, was that my mage was likely to not even be used in a large amount of encounters as I just didn't want to waste spells worrying about what was around the next corner. That made my mages into glorified sling swingers which seems like spitting in their extremely powerful faces. So I'm left liking the hybrid that's been discussed in this thread best, the one involving low level spells sort of freeing themselves from the Vancian and becoming more easily castable.

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"Making a decision without proper information" is exactly the big flaw in the memorization system that I mentioned and addressed in my first reply in this thread.

It prevent's flexibility and creativity with the "weirdest" and most "situational" spells.

 

That said, I still find the idea of running back and forth to recharge your spell arsenal a cheap way to exploit the system.

In all these IE games I always forced myself to enter an area and not rest until I was done with it. Even on the biggest dungeons I never rested more than once for every floor.

 

Same for me, but I still don't see how trying to overcome this flaw is "playing poorly". In any way, I find it less exploiting than reloading the save, cause player actually tries to handle the situation using available game mechanics, rather than re-enter territory with knowledge of what's ahead and having proper spellset. Personally, I never had patience to do all this resting and resorted to reloading all the time :p

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The biggest problem I had with the Vancian system, however, was that my mage was likely to not even be used in a large amount of encounters as I just didn't want to waste spells worrying about what was around the next corner.

Well, that was the fun part for me.

When I tried to restrain myself as much as possible but at some point I was like "Damn, now I *really* need to use the big cannons".

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Different strokes for different folks. If your idea of fun gameplay is to stand there doing nothing for several rounds until all conditions line up and then execute one action before standing there again doing nothing until those conditions line up again, rock on. :thumbsup: To me, that would suck.

 

Just a note, going back to that combat as way thing. In this way of viewing combat, having a mage who doesn't do anything most of the combat is quite ok because the real battle was decided mostly beforehand. Preparation is where the fun is, no in execution. Of course this isn't true all the time, but it is mostly the case. It is more important to have the ability to, in one round, really change how things are going, than be able to continuously change things a bit each round. Because not doing anything most of the time is boring for anyone, though, these games do better with quick battles, (or at least, quick rounds) than with extended ones where you have to make dozens of decisions every turn, or round, or segment of time.

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The biggest problem I had with the Vancian system, however, was that my mage was likely to not even be used in a large amount of encounters as I just didn't want to waste spells worrying about what was around the next corner.

Well, that was the fun part for me.

When I tried to restrain myself as much as possible but at some point I was like "Damn, now I *really* need to use the big cannons".

 

I completely understand where you're coming from. A lot of fun I get from a strategic combat system also comes from antagonizing over when to use that 'big cannon' and the satisfaction after finally using it. I think I would just prefer a little more leeway than say BG1 gave me in when I could cast anything and a couple fewer trash mobs that I knew didn't need magical intervention from the start.

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In the old IE games rogues weren't DPS kings. You had to be invisible to backstab, and once you got off a single backstab, that was it. You became visible and your subsequent hits were normal weapon damage, and far less than what a standard Fighter could do per round. If you wanted to backstab again, you had to re-stealth, which was nearly impossible to do without magical assistance, and literally impossible to do in the same round as your previous backstab.

 

In IE games rogues were so unnecessary that I almost never had one. Locked doors? Knock spell. Traps? Run through them and heal the damage. That's how I played all my D&D cRPGs. Magic really made rogues absolutely unnecessary.

 

That's because you didn't have Nakia Nightshadow. You was fantastic. Could sneak under things normal folk couldn't. Had high charisma so was good for talking. Scouted. Lead enemies into ambushes. Did a lot more than locks and traps. Never became a pickpocket either. She was and is my favorite character ever. Played forum PbP RPGs with her. You just never had the right build.


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The examples you guys give are to me exactly why a Vancian system works. You have a limited amount of times you cast cast something before they are gone (until you replenish them, however that may be). Sure you can cast your 10th level Spell of Doom on that pile of worms but that would be stupid and you will be without that spell until replenishing.


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The examples you guys give are to me exactly why a Vancian system works. You have a limited amount of times you cast cast something before they are gone (until you replenish them, however that may be). Sure you can cast your 10th level Spell of Doom on that pile of worms but that would be stupid and you will be without that spell until replenishing.

And that's exactly the point of this kind of system, in fact.

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I'm just glad this won't be a D&D game ! It is a new IP...Thank the cows ! I hate dice rolling in a dungeon crawler.

i don't think they ruled "dice rolling" (which is a fancy way to name random variables) out of the game at any point, honestly.

Edited by Tuco Benedicto

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I'm just glad this won't be a D&D game ! It is a new IP...Thank the cows ! I hate dice rolling in a dungeon crawler.

i don't think they ruled "dice rolling" (which is a fancy way to name random variables) out of the game, honestly.

 

I hope that won't happen because I won't play the game.

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