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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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I voted for Mana Pool, Individual Spells, and seperated Divine and Arcane.

 

Reasons below:

I chose mana pool since I like to have availability, sort of like how sorcerers functioned in dnd. All spells available but limited in some way (amount of casts in dnd before resting, or with mana pool). It could be done so lvl 1 spells almost cost nothing, but their effectiveness at higher lvls are somewhat minor, and higher lvl spells cost more, but are more effective.

The regain of mana could be done the same way as with memorising spells in dnd, as it is regained during rest. If the rest is interupted you wont get a full manabar, but a percentage.

I would also like to see that mana dont regain out of combat, only during rest.

 

I chose individual spells, since it gives a feeling of increasing in lvl, compared to the same spells which has higher numbers the higher lvl you get. The last part is a bit too MMO'ish for my liking

 

I chose seperated divine and arcane spells, since I feel that clerics and druids shouldnt have access to the same spells as mages, wizards, warlocks, etc

 

 

 

On a note, I would like to see a warlock/blood mage'ish class implemented, a class which use their HP instead of mana to cast their spells. It gives a risk/reward aspect to the game.

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I don't care about Vancian particularly (though I love it in my D&D and Pathfinder, and sitting there staring at the spell selection screen can be oddly enchanting), but I really want Obsidian to come up with something other than mana pool or (*shudders*) powers with cooldowns.

For me, the biggest drawback of Vancian system is that low-level spellcaster options are extremely limiting. Pathfinder tried to address this with at-will cantrips and school/domain-specific abilities, and it worked to a certain extent. It's not that all classes should have roughly equal possibilities at every level, anyway (I'm looking at you, 4E). Of course, Obsidian is not making a D&D/Pathfinder game, and neither I want them to make one. But this spirit and general approach to magic is where my heart lies.

If anything, I want complex system that provides both strategical and tactical depth, allows for specialization and spell variety beyond DPS/crowd control/buffing, and has the potential for a combinatorial explosion of choices. And above all, magic should feel magic, not a game mechanic device. It should be reasonably balanced and convenient, but not built for balance and ease of use.

I am somewhat opposed to the systems that gradually reduce magic efficiency while spellcasting resource (mana, stamina, whatever you call it) dwindles. This seems like an invitation for potion chugging (or equivalent) and if it's not an option, your imminent failure just becomes slower, more painful and boring.

Use of long and complex rituals (time resource) for potentially miraculous effects is an interesting idea to explore, but I wonder how it will work out in RTwP.

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I'm basically taking Skyrim's alchemy system and applying it to all magic (so spellcasting then carries an inventory management component, like several Ultima games).

 

 

I once had a similar system for tabletop RPG magic, with different runes. Each rune had a corresponding skill value, and gave its value to the spell's value total. As you grew in level, you could use more runes in a single spell, and individual runes became stronger because your corresponding skill increased. Combining different runes altered the spell's effect (eg. Fire + Blood was a blood boiling spell, but when you added a Blessing rune to it, any time an attack drew your blood, it became a little gout of flame, damaging melee attackers). The different features of the same spell (range, damage, AoE, duration, etc.) was influenced by the order of the runes (if you put Blessing in the first place, the duration increased, if Fire, the damage, if Blood, the range... etc.). Players had a lot of fun experimenting.

Problem is, it would be too much work to implement such a system to be worth it.

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I'm basically taking Skyrim's alchemy system and applying it to all magic (so spellcasting then carries an inventory management component, like several Ultima games).

 

 

I once had a similar system for tabletop RPG magic, with different runes. Each rune had a corresponding skill value, and gave its value to the spell's value total. As you grew in level, you could use more runes in a single spell, and individual runes became stronger because your corresponding skill increased. Combining different runes altered the spell's effect (eg. Fire + Blood was a blood boiling spell, but when you added a Blessing rune to it, any time an attack drew your blood, it became a little gout of flame, damaging melee attackers). The different features of the same spell (range, damage, AoE, duration, etc.) was influenced by the order of the runes (if you put Blessing in the first place, the duration increased, if Fire, the damage, if Blood, the range... etc.). Players had a lot of fun experimenting.

Problem is, it would be too much work to implement such a system to be worth it.

When the number of symbols increased, it can get quite confusing, too. I came across a similiar system.
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as i said in another topic the best would be a mana pool that regenerates on rest or by 1 point per 1 in-game hour (the timer strats when he uses a spell while on full mana) and a bit faster if you are in a rare area full of magical energy. no mana potions. if implemented on a dnd game, it would be like this

you get a number of mana points equal to your intelligence for mages and same with wisdom for priests, and as you add points in int or wis you get more mana points plus 1 point for every 3 levels

lv1 spells cost 1 mana, lv2 cost 2 mana, lv3 3 mana and so on. no matter what spell it is, the cost goes with the level

you can learn spells normaly, but the use of higher spell levels will be unlocked as you get more character levels (so you can have a lv7 spell in your book from lv1, but you have to wait until lv12 to be able to use it)

this allows the mage to cast more lv1 spells at the begining of the game, but as he unlocks more spell levels he will have to manage the pool. casting the strongest spell he has, will leave him unable to cast other strong spells at a later encounter or limit his ability to be of further help in the current fight.

Edited by teknoman2

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I agree, but I do think there should be different spell schools. Then let the player define himself as either "a nuker" or a "healer" or "jack of all trades" based on the schools he's chosen to pursue.

 

Or is that too Skyrim-ish for us?

 

Im supporting this and maybe we can gain some perks after using only 1 school for a long time. Like a long time necromancer getting resistant to cold damage and fear/scare effects while illisionists can detect enemy illisions easily.

After using 250 Fireballs im pretty sure a wizard can calculate how he can avoid most of his or enemies fireballs effect.

 

 

Not quite on topic but i also like to see some counter spelling action or some friendly wizard spell duel.

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Please no Vancian system. I just can't understand "forgetting" a spell and having to "study" it again so you can cast it.

 

If you want there to be some artificial preparation to force magic users to guess what they'll need, the perhaps divide up magic into different elemental types, foci, or whatever division you want to include and force MUs to choose how much of what kind of mana/spell points they want to cast. Instead of 50 mana, make that 30 exothermic mana, 10 life mana, and 10 dark mana to draw upon.

 

Or do something like you can have X number of "fresh in your mind" spells with a base 100% chance of casting success and the rest with lower base chances of success based on spell difficulty and how much experience you have casting it. (So that eventually simple spells you've used thousands of times are as effortless as "fresh in your mind" spells.

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You could, have a mage have to cast from a spell book. The book has limited pages and the more powerful spells take more pages. The spells have to be scribed in a special ink (preparation) and when cast the ink contains the components for the spell, thus rendering the book blank (lost in casting).

 

There would need to be some balancing for pages (your 1st level mage would otherwise scribe 100 magic missles in a 100 page book).

 

And if you had a disarm system you could disarm a mage's spellbook in combat and, if lucky have your mage pick it up...

 

But anyhow my point is you can do the kind of limits the Vancian system does without actually having it involve forgetting spells, relearn etc.

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Personally, I've never been very struck on Vancian - especially on the table-top - because it just didn't gel well with anything but D&D's magic system. None of the fantasy novels with magic that I've personally read (except Discworld, which sort of a parodied D&D) ever used anything like Vancian for their magic. And indeed, prior to D&D 3.0, my system of choice was Rolemaster (which uses power points). (Note that while I play 4E, 3.5 is my system of choice (or more accurately, 3.Aotrs, since it stuffed full of house rules and cribs from 4E Pathfinder and anything else that has some good ideas!)

 

That said, I liked the magic in PD:T and BG2, especially once you got to higher level and got going (plus there were some delightfulyl fun spells!)

 

So I wouldn't object to to Vancian, in priciple.

 

That said, I think the ten-minute adventuring day problem needs to be addressed. I like playing wizards - especially in CRPGs with all the shiny, shiny death - but the whole eight hours rest thing has either one of two effects: either a) if freely available, it becomes mostly irrelevant (you could replace it with a 4E short rest or something) or b) if restricted, it can be a pain in the arse sometimes. I never have gotten around to finishing Mask of the Betrayer, for example, despite the fact I was a Warlock, the fact that the major NPCs were all primary spellcasters was a real pain, because we couldn't stop to rest without going whappy from the soul-hunger. I felt like I had to race through the game, and it made it rather not-fun. (I don't like even soft time limits (specific quests aside) for the same reason - I find them distracting and at worst, I find I end up basically following a walkthrough so I do't "miss" anything.

 

There is, of course, the possbility to just whole-heartedly embrace a), and then just set the combats up such that you expect each one to basically be a boss fight, where both the PCs and the enemies nova all their resources; this is what I generally tend to do when running on the tabletop (and how I often played BG2/IWD). (If it's not a boss fight, I don't worry about the PCs slaughtering it). This, of course, basically leads to "you rest for eight hours, moving on", which, as I say, renders the time period effectively pointless. (But at that point, you've shifted the basic paradigm away from resource management over time to tactical resource management. Now, I don't object to that, as it gives you lots of high-stakes, exciting combat, but it does require a shift in thinking away from more traditional RPG "random encounter" or very short combats. Middle-Earth Third Age was the closest I saw in that regard, in which the combats were all fairly stiff opposition, as opposed to the often fairly trivial thinsg you find in say, JRPGs and some of the IE stuff.)

 

I think there needs to be a balance between the two, giving you some limitations, but without them becoming too much of a pain for the wizards to play. In my own heavy modifications to 3.x, what I have done is convert to a mana-system, but basically, I give the classes two pools - one for 1-3rd level spells (which refreshes slowly over the day) and one for 4th plus level spells (which requires the old eight-hour rest). Between the former and the D&D's Reserve feats (which, for those not in the know, basically gave you a spell-like ability you could spam of a certain type (e.g. the fire spell one gave you a little explodey fireball you could spam, the strength being based on the highest-level fire spell you had loaded), it meant that wizards didn't tend to run out of spells to cast (which is a particular problem at bottom level.) (4E's at will/per encounter/per day system isn't too bad in that respect, I'll give it that, if making everyone work in the same way isn't the way I'd have done it.)

 

I'd be happy with something that let you set up your spells for the "day" either full Vancian or more like 3.5's sorcerer (i.e. you have a number of spells per level which you can cast as you like); or possibly better, something like the Spirit Shaman, which basically allowed you to change the spells you had access to cast every day (i.e. spells known), but allowed you to cast the spells like the sorcerer.

 

Mana pools work too, but there is a tendancy for them to become a bit less utility-ey, and generally you tend to find they give you less breadth of variety of spells.

 

So I think what you want is a magic system that gives you bigger spells less frequently (and perhaps "loaded" like Vancian) and then some weaker, supplementary spells that you could spam when you ran out of big ones (either by giving you a lot more spells per day, a regenerating mana pool (either during or at the end of the encounter) or with short cool-downs. Any of the above would work.

 

 

 

On the other issues, I definately like the idea of a variety of spells available (as the IE games had) - even if, if I'm honest 95% of the time I stocked up on various flavours of "explodey-in-yer-face!" though I quite like the idea of upgrading spells as well. (Perhaps either though some sort of skill or feat/quirk system (either permenantly or liek 3.x's metamagic feats), or through "recipes" or scrolls or something found through the game. (So you could upgrade your (spammable?) magic missiles to, I dunno, D6+2 damage or something, or memorise them so that they do elemental damage (instead or in addition to) or something.

 

I also like the arcane/divine spilt, though I think taking a leaf from 3.x and even 4E and giving the "divine/nature" side a few more explodey-in-the-fcae options (different ones to the arcane side) would be nice.

 

Though if I'm honest, I'd go further for wizard-magic/divine-magic/nature-magic/psionics or something...! (Again, blame Rolemaster for having "arcane/wizard" magic, divine magic, mental magic, their arcane magic (which was basically a sort of magic made from the others combined), possibley elemental magic seperate from that, prosaic magic (which was like really crappy professional magic for use in leather working - fear Strand Bolt, the level 30 spell! (For reference RM's Lightning Bolt and Fireball, staple offensive spells were like levels 8-10...)) and psionics (in two flavours...) Which is, to be honest, waaay too much to expect from Eternity (and the poor Obsidian staff as that sort of magnitude of workload would probably send them all whappy...!)

 

 

 

Well, that were a big post to start on the forums with weren't it...?

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In the last years, straying from Vancian meant pretty much a horrid cooldown system. Or something else where mages cast constantly, but instead of feeling like masters of a powerful natural force, are more akin to the peashooters from PvZ. Invariably, Mana systems have meant continuous spellcasting in every battle - and balancing principles dictate that magic itself is nerfed so bushwackers may compete.

 

So yes: go Vancian.

 

As for separate schools of magic, I voted yes but that depends on the setting.

Edited by Delterius
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I believe a very similar topic existed before, but I shall repeat myself for the sake of publicity.

 

To me, what the Warhammer setting oferred in terms of magic was a perfect set-up. There is no mana, memorization, or other nonsenical barrier brought up as a kind of "game mechanics armour" which were designed not to allow mages to become one-man-armies (a task at which they utterly failed).

 

Mages should be able to cast their spells when they want and however often the wish BUT each and every casting, depending upon the power and nature of the spell, should carry with it an innate danger, either short-term (for example, harming the caster or those around him) or long term (getting cursed, daemonic possession), Not only would such a system make a player think twice about casting a spell, it would also give (FINALLY) a story-based explanation why exactly to people distrust and often hate mages.

 

Of course, in the case of divine magic I have other ideas entirely, but for now I'll let it rest.

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To me, what the Warhammer setting oferred in terms of magic was a perfect set-up. There is no mana, memorization, or other nonsenical barrier brought up as a kind of "game mechanics armour" which were designed not to allow mages to become one-man-armies (a task at which they utterly failed).

 

Considering the amount of playtesting done on tabletop RPGs, I very much doubt people didn't realize spellcasters grow exponentially in D&D. Mages eventually grow into a 'one-man-army' (relative to lower levelled challenges) overtime because that's how the system works, it just happens that no character is supposed to be a one-man-army against a equal because it just happens that we're speaking about party based here.

 

it would also give (FINALLY) a story-based explanation why exactly to people distrust and often hate mages.

 

Maybe it has something to do with all the insanely bad things that arcane spellcasters tend to cause in stories.

 

Power corrupts, and corruption of the powerful is a fearful thing. Is it bad to add a 'evil corruption' innate to magic? No, but that's not always needed.

Mages should be able to cast their spells when they want and however often the wish BUT each and every casting, depending upon the power and nature of the spell, should carry with it an innate danger, either short-term (for example, harming the caster or those around him) or long term (getting cursed, daemonic possession),

 

Reminds me of the Wild Mage kit from BG2. Really fun, but also really Vancian.

Edited by Delterius
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Not quite, since the Wild Mage's spells going wild can't open up a portal to another dimension and disappear the entire neighbourhood with a *plop*. Let's faces, in existing magic systems any so-called "dangers" (if any present) were illusionary and minor. I'm talking about exponential risks, when one actually thinks about whether looking to the occult for a quick, easy answer (and yes, magic should be powerful) is worth it.

 

That is also why I am a fan of minimizing "magical" weaponry. Make it extremely rare, non-buyable, but powerful.

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I've always disliked the memorization system. All it does is limit your spell versatility, and make mages worthless at low levels and broken at high levels.

 

If you don't know what you're going up against, you're not going to bother memorizing interesting situational spells. Instead you just memorize all your combat spells. "I can memorize Featherfall or Fireball? Hmm, let me think about that one..."

 

Likewise, early on when you're severly limited in the spells you can cast, wizards are worthless. "I can only cast Magic Missles 3 times today, and am fragile like a dandilion, so unless things start looking dire, I'm going to be standing in the back, throwing paper airplanes and glaring at the enemy." To make up for which, wizards are completely broken at high levels, able to destroy whole groups from range.

 

 

Besides, there have been plenty of D&D computer RPGs. We're not constrained by D&D licenses here, so let's get away from D&D. Let's do something different for a change.

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I liked in the original Diablo finding books of firebolt level 1 or level 2 but I'd be fine with Individual Spells. It was fun hunting for that upgrade in some dungeon but it’s not necessary. I've never played a cleric outside of Darksun so I lean more towards Arcane & Divine going to all magic users. I also hated having to rely on a god for my spells, it just felt to much like begging. I support Mana Pool or a Power Point system like being a psionic in D&D or something new.

 

I don't consider most MMO healers to be clerics also. I say this and played a Priest in WoW for about five years.

 

Edit: I thought Fallout had a good system with its action points. Maybe an action point system like that were everyone has action points to spend on spells/attacking or even non combat skills. Could even set that up in a dialogue system were you had to use 2 action points just trying to bluff or intimidate.

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I've always disliked the memorization system. All it does is limit your spell versatility, and make mages worthless at low levels and broken at high levels.

 

If you don't know what you're going up against, you're not going to bother memorizing interesting situational spells. Instead you just memorize all your combat spells. "I can memorize Featherfall or Fireball? Hmm, let me think about that one..."

 

Likewise, early on when you're severly limited in the spells you can cast, wizards are worthless. "I can only cast Magic Missles 3 times today, and am fragile like a dandilion, so unless things start looking dire, I'm going to be standing in the back, throwing paper airplanes and glaring at the enemy." To make up for which, wizards are completely broken at high levels, able to destroy whole groups from range.

 

 

Besides, there have been plenty of D&D computer RPGs. We're not constrained by D&D licenses here, so let's get away from D&D. Let's do something different for a change.

 

Of course you think Mages are worthless at lower level. You're memorizing Magic Missile of all things.

 

Combat-centrism is a issue with recent CRPGs, not the Vancian system. This is shown by your comparison: of course Fireball is going to win against Featherfall, you't not going to fall off a cliff anytime soon and (even if you do), it will be in a cutscene and spellcasting isn't a option.

 

Even then, combat-centric memorization has never been a bad thing in Vancian CRPGs anyway.

 

Not quite, since the Wild Mage's spells going wild can't open up a portal to another dimension and disappear the entire neighbourhood with a *plop*. Let's faces, in existing magic systems any so-called "dangers" (if any present) were illusionary and minor. I'm talking about exponential risks, when one actually thinks about whether looking to the occult for a quick, easy answer (and yes, magic should be powerful) is worth it.

 

That is also why I am a fan of minimizing "magical" weaponry. Make it extremely rare, non-buyable, but powerful.

 

Wild surges can and do open portals to other dimensions. While it can translocate entire continents that's not something that was implemented in BG2, however it does summon the armies of the abyss and worse.

 

Wild surges also happen whenever the Wild Mage is tempted to spontaneously cast a spell through the Reckless Dwemer. A quick way with terrible possibilities.

Edited by Delterius
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The manner of casting spells could be different depending on the kind of mage you are, allowing both systems to be used, or a mix of the two, as well as something entirely different. That would be the ideal situation IMO.

 

Magic could be item based, forcing mages to carry around scrolls, spellbooks, magical tomes and components to complement / augment their existing spell capabilities. Certain spellbooks could produce a stronger version of the spell, but would require you to have it in hand while casting. (1 Handed / 2 Handed Spell Book items)

 

Instead of using mana, spells could drain life or stamina, leading to death or exhaustion if they drop too low. The cost could be lessened by having the proper components, or if you are casting from a scroll or spellbook.

 

The possibilities are endless, so I don't see this as an either / or proposition. I hope they come up with something we haven't seen before.

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I'm basically taking Skyrim's alchemy system and applying it to all magic (so spellcasting then carries an inventory management component, like several Ultima games).

 

 

I once had a similar system for tabletop RPG magic, with different runes. Each rune had a corresponding skill value, and gave its value to the spell's value total. As you grew in level, you could use more runes in a single spell, and individual runes became stronger because your corresponding skill increased. Combining different runes altered the spell's effect (eg. Fire + Blood was a blood boiling spell, but when you added a Blessing rune to it, any time an attack drew your blood, it became a little gout of flame, damaging melee attackers). The different features of the same spell (range, damage, AoE, duration, etc.) was influenced by the order of the runes (if you put Blessing in the first place, the duration increased, if Fire, the damage, if Blood, the range... etc.). Players had a lot of fun experimenting.

Problem is, it would be too much work to implement such a system to be worth it.

That's basically Ultima Underworld's magic system.

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I say since magic is tied to the soul, using magic should stress it. Have a fatigue bar. Only refills with rest, the lower you go the more fatigued you get and you get penalties for being fatigued. Fighter/rogue powers would use the same bar with the same penalties. If your bar is emptied, powers start using health, and are less effective. You could combine it with a reagent system, having applicable focuses for powers makes it easier to cast resulting in lower fatigue costs.

 

Instead of using mana, spells could drain life or stamina, leading to death or exhaustion if they drop too low. The cost could be lessened by having the proper components, or if you are casting from a scroll or spellbook.

 

Damn, beat me to it.

Edited by Oerwinde
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I'd much rather have some other than the memorization system.

 

For one, it's amazingly silly. "Today I can remember fireball 3 times and then I'll forget it".

 

Even in D&D I pretty much favored sorcerers over wizards, just because it gives more tactical possibilities. With a base wizard, you're stuck with whatever spells you happened to memorize and didn't cast yet. And if the memorized spells don't work, save and reload, memorize, sleep and try again with a new combo.

 

Nothing wrong with mana pool or whatever is used. That even makes a bit of sense, with 4th level spells being more draining than 1st level ones.

If it leads to lazy design, that's unfortunate. But I don't see why it needs to lead to something bad instead of something cool

 

To go onto a pseudo-tangent, the actual reason behind the need for preparation is that you cast the majority of the spell during your preparation time and when you use it later in the day, you perform the final components (verbal, somatic, material, whatever) of the spell and it is cast.

 

I actually take the opposite perspective and think that sorcerers were great for handling combat for damage and control for general purposes but, wizards were the one's that were great for a variety of tactical reasons. I think the main discrepancy on this is that typically, I'd assume that adventurers would get as much information about where they're going as possible before heading there, which allows the wizard to prepare relevant spells. Sure, there will be times when there are unknowns and a sorcerer is great for those if they know the spells they need.

 

For the actual thread topic, I trust Obsidian will do what they think fits with the setting and the overall gameplay theme that they're going for.

Edited by chrisrobin
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Im really interested to see how they choose to implement spellcasting in the game. I trust Obsidian will put alot of consideration into this but i hope there will be a a wide variety of spells and no (god forbid) mana bar.

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Here's some required reading on the subject. As always, Vince is an excellent writer. Despite the fact that he doesn't have anything bad to say about cooldowns, it is an interesting read. I also liked the rune system in Ultima Underworld and loved the mouse gesture casting system in Arx Fatalis. A little tricky to get the hang of, but eventually it really made me feel like I was actually casting something. Arx was one of the few cRPGs where mages actually felt slightly underpowered.

Edited by metiman

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The vancian system was simply a resource management system for wizards in D&D to make them feel powerful, but vulnerable. Blow all your good spells in one combat and you were done for the day. Scrolls and wands were a great way to keep the Wizard useful, while saving his big hitters for when they were needed most. I agree it made low level wizards painful to play, while high level wizards were godly. To be frank, I think that is one of the reasons people loved them. You run the gauntlet of suck for 5 levels while most the other classes outshine you, but if you lived through it, you were heavily rewarded. This works pretty well in a Pen and Paper setting, even if the narrative explanation is a bit weak. The rest of your party could care less if an over-anxious wizard needs to rest after every encounter. They have a quest to finish and the clock is ticking. It creates a unique problem in a CRPG when there is not a group of cheetoe-eaters harassing you for noob casting. Any wizard that ended up living past level 5 had almost certainly learned to manage his spell list, If you didn't, you died.

 

I've played, and DMed, a lot of table top D&D over a lot of years. I loved the Wizard until 4th edition. But I must admit, the 4th edition model is much friendlier to CRPG design. Like most the systems in PE, the magic system is still in its very early stages. I have some ideas on how we can keep the resource management (and spells in general) feeling special, without resorting to memorization or a mana bar. Ultimately, Josh will make the call on how magic is used in Eternity, but there will be tons of feedback from the other team members. We'll get it right!

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Honestly I hope Obsidian finds something new, what with their talk of souls and how it relates to magic.

 

One thing I did like from the older D&D games was that spells were distinct and unique in a lot of ways. You didn't have fire1,fire2, fire AOE, and fire shield like dragon age or whatever. Gives the world a lot more flavor.

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