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Old 06-14-2002, 03:09 PM   #1
Burr
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The lack of new topics to read in this part of the forum makes me sad, so I thought I'd post about another possible magic system. I'm mainly just rambling, and what I hope to be an innovation probably isn't all that original in any case, but maybe you'll find something in it that interests you.

The candle magic idea I posted was, I suppose, an example of component magic. Another example of component magic doesn't necessarily involve the mixing of items at all, but the mixing of keywords. From an RP perspective you might equate the keywords with chanting or gestures or something like that. The point is that you don't have to hunt stuff down.

All examples of component magic I recall have only a finite number of effects that the magic user has any control over. Of course, this is partly because of the need to manually implement interesting descriptions of each effect so that it will seem like there is actually something interesting happening.

However, just because the types or categories of effects would need to be finite in number doesn't mean the range of actual effects would need to be finite.

In a keyword component system, one that doesn't involve the mixing of actual items, you could add a random element to the calculation of how much the spell affects each variable that it does affect.

I'm sure that's probably been tried before, probably to make the mud more "realistic" and make the exploration of PK tactics less stagnant.

What you can add to this, however, is the ability to save the specific effects that come from the components (i.e. the variables) and random aspect (i.e. the exact magnitudes of those variables). This would be like remembering the exact inflection used in a serious of chants, or the exact position of the fingers in a series of gestures.

A person could practice the spell well enough to achieve <i>an</i> effect. And then when they finally achieve the effect they want, they could "remember" the way it was done. They would then have a slightly higher chance of achieving the exact effect. They could then practice the spell as they remember it to become better at that exact effect, though this would make it harder for them to achieve other effects with the spell (as they would develop a natural inclination to use the spell a certain way.)

So it's also sorta like spells in a spell tree, where you can go down the branches you'd like to explore further at the cost of not being able to go as far down other branches...except that the range of spells in total can be infinite rather than finite.

Example:

I could practice a spell that increases dex and decreases str. I could then use a spell and achieve different magnitudes of increases and decreases. (We could implement it so that the two magnitudes would always maintain a a relative balance.) Once I'm good enough at the spell to actually use it, I could use it once and get an 2 point increase in dex and a 2 point decrease in str. I could use it the next time and get a 5 point increase in dex and a 5 point decrease in str. The next time I get 3 point and 3 point changes, and this is the one I decide I like best, so I immediately "remember <spell> <slot#>" so that this particular effect will be reliable. Every time I practice the spell while this particular effect is remembered, I will be getting better at producing that particular effect and worse at producing the other particular effects.

Of course, if at a later date I achieve a different particular effect, I could always remember it as well. At first I would still mostly get the first effect I remembered, but with diligent work, I could eventually come to distinguish between the two ways of performing the chants or gestures, and thus be able to do either one reliably...at the loss of not having been able to spend that time/memory on another spell or effect.

If both effects were remembered equally, then I suppose simply typing "cast <spell>" rather than "cast <spell> <slot#>" would give you equal chance of using either, along with a chance of deviating. Even masters can't repeat things perfectly, and in any case, they may want to remember yet another effect of that spell.

Finally, they could also become better at individual components. That way they could become better at learning new effects. Where at first it would be difficult for them to learn to distinguish between the chants and gestures that give them different exact effects of a spell - something which they would learn mainly through unconscious habit than conscious perception - it would become easier as they become more adept at the components themselves - at which time they could learn in a more conscious, rational way.

Anyhow, I suppose that's enough rambling for one day, which is a good thing, because I can't think of anything else to add right now.
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