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World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

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World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by BloodKnight_Anna on Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:46 pm

The Concept

Trying to create a system for Vas (Paper and pencil tabletop RPG version) to use for mage-like characters. Below will provide the general background information to know how the "mechanic" works lore-wise, and then will go into some ideas we've come up with so far, which ones sound better, and would like some feedback, input, suggestions, etc to how it could be improved.


The Mechanic

There is a Plane of Existence known as the "Eldritch Arcana"; a realm that is made up of pure energy. For a person to use "magic" in Vas they must know a few things about how to summon magic into the world.

1.) The [Mage] must know the Ancient language (or at least enough words to begin and finish the process). They do not need to know the entire Ancient Language to be casting spells, in fact most modern mages don't even know the spells they're casting is the Ancient language; they just see them as spell incantations.


2.) The [Mage] then speaks the correct phrases of the Ancient language which "anchors" him or herself which allows them to proceed with opening up a conduit between themselves and the Eldritch Arcana (Ea).

((In game terms, this means you spend X number of Action Points (AP) for Turn 1 - the anchor))


3.) The [Mage] has opened the conduit between themselves and the (Ea) allowing them to siphon energy into themselves. Note: Without uttering the Ancient words to anchor themselves, this energy would completely vaporize them, so it's a necessary process!


4.) This energy is then molded and combined with elements of the native world (We'll get to the base elements in a bit). When the right combinations are put together, the [Mage] can then unleash the spell altering reality appropriately (sending forth a fireball? teleporting? perhaps creating base elements out of thin air (like water to drink) even tearing the Veil and summoning ghosts! ... or worse... demons!)

((In game terms, this means you've put together a spell using the finished mechanics we're going to determine below -- and then unleash the spell in Turn 2+ allowing a new spell to be crafted and cast on Turn 3+ and another on Turn 4+ as long as that anchor holds ~ meaning no moving around or getting hit, etc ~ then the [Mage] can keep casting))


5.) When the [Mage] Finishes casting spells completely, moves, or is hit with an attack, the "anchor" is broken and they can not continue casting until they spend another turn casting and re-anchoring themselves.



The Elements

Okay this is the part would love to get some help with. So far I like the idea of going with basic elements - combining them for more powerful version, and combinations thereof make certain spells. Example below ((Note: These elements were taken from Magicka for ease of use, but are subject to change))

<< Base Elements >>

Element 1  <->  Element 2 (opposite)
Water                Lightning
Lightning            Earth, Lightning
Life                    Arcane
Arcane               Life
Shield                Shield
Earth                 Lightning
Cold                  Fire
Fire                   Cold

{} Sub-elements
Steam (Water+Fire)  <-> Cold
Ice (Water+Cold)      <-> Fire

------------------------------------------------------
Okay so we have the basic elements above, by themselves won't do much. Here's MY take on it. Each spell formula should look like this:

[constructor] + ([base1] + [base2]) + [optional] + [optional]

Okay now to break it down in easy terms:

[Constructor] = the base elements that shall be the method of casting (spray, projectile, wall(protection), enchantment, etc) So to do any kind of spell that would guard the caster against other elements or physical attacks should be "Shield" as a Constructor element. Base 1 + Base 2 are the elements to protect against. For complete protection (or at least reduce a lot of damage) against physical attacks, one might do:
[Shield] + ([Earth] + [Earth]) for example. 


[Base1] + [Base2] = These are the main elements that define the spell. A pure fireball spell would be like this: [Earth] + ([Fire] + [Fire]), the [Earth] constructor to make the spell a projectile.
Of course one might one to alter it, using Fire and more earth? Fire and Steam? As long as none of the elements conflict with each other, nearly any combination should be possible.


[Optionals] = These are 2 extra slots to make the spell a more powerful version of itself but at a higher casting time cost. Using our basic fireball example we'll just give it a value of "50 damage" for example sake.
If the player were to add 2 more [Fire] elements to it this would be a "level 3 fireball" so would take +2 more Turns to cast; However, it will also amplify the amount of damage inflicted (+10dmg for level 2, +5dmg for level 3 for a total of 65 damage.

Turn 1: Spend AP cost, 'anchored'
Turn 2: 'charge up' (spell is now level 2)
Turn 3: 'charge up' (spell is now level 3 and ready to cast next turn)
Turn 4: Cast spell and can now immediately cast another spell (that has no extra elemental charges of course)

Higher level spells do not cost more AP to cast, only more time. Plus the actual numbers can be changed later if this method is decided to be the better one. Of course this method is also always done "on the fly" meaning to use the Fireball example, a player constructs their spell choosing the elements they want and then casts it on same turn (in normal example, this means Turn 2) -- of course planning wise it's best to know what spell you want to cast prior to it getting to your casting turn.

So that also means if you decide you want to cast fireball, but when it's coming around to your turn you notice that just a little more damage could finish off this boss, you decided instead spend that next turn to add +1 more optional [Fire], and your teammates still haven't killed the boss yet, it comes around to your turn, boom! You unleash it for +60 damage which kills it (after any damage reduction or whatever mechanics we put in for that). You celebrate because your godly magic skills can PWN those NOOBs >D

~~~
Now as for pre-constructed spells go, we can make tables much like the way of Magicka to give some projectile tables (Fireball, Arcane Bolt, Acid Arrow, or whatever), some Spray tables (Lightning, Burning Hands, etc), and even Wall/Defensive spells, or enchantments (perhaps a flaming blade? Would be cool eh?)



Another idea was to build a pyramid like system

Earth 1; Air 1; Water 1; Fire 1

and a spell such as "Blizzard" might be worth 6 points with pre-requisites such as "Gale"= 4 Air (4 points) + 2 Water (2 Points).  Or Air+Fire to become an Inferno, etc. Cordeh could explain that one better than I I'm sure.

So yeah I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by Cordelia on Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:05 pm

I have no problem with the somatic components (the bits that need speech to work).  That's fine.

1. On first turn, mage begins spell by anchoring, with somatic components; mage must be able to speak to cast.

I think the spell construction, itself, is getting into the "not intuitive" realm, especially after seeing some of the conversation you were having last night in the SB.

At its most basic level, I think the magic NEEDS to be intuitive.  I think there should be a "Common Sense Effect" note in the rules, which grants the GM discretion over logical effects:  Example:  If a spell would logically cause an enemy to be wet, then an effect that could be amplified by the presence of water (like electricity) may cause more damage.  The GM then adds a set amount of additional damage (only) to the spell damage, maybe with a table of conditional variables.  Either way, simple, simple stuff to facilitate play, creativity, and engaging combat that doesn't involve a lot of rule referencing.

I'll go into more specifics about how and why I think the above is important, but after I get into the spell formulae.

As it stands right now, I feel like spell construction is cumbersome.  Neither of us particularly likes the idea of a mage requiring a spell book, which means they should be able to learn the foundations of elemental casting, and be able to build upon that foundation as they go.  So, too, with the player.

I like the idea of Area of Effect spells, and defensive shield spells, but getting into the construction requirements to qualify as a shield, spray, or "beam" was really starting to lose me.  Not in that I felt I couldn't understand it, but that's one of the areas where it started to come apart for me in terms of how intuitive and easy to use it would be.  

What I think would be easier would be sort of Schools of casting.  Like a Focus.


SPELL COMPONENTS: [Class] + [Focus] + [Element] + [Effect] = Spell

Example List of Schools:

Class:

Offensive
Defensive


Focus:

Area of Effect - Spell affects all or max number of targets within an area.
Single Target - Spell affects one target of caster's choice.


Element: Elemental damage = 1d10

Fire
Water
Earth
Air
Electric
Void
Essence

(Stand-in elements until final versions can be determined:  Void offers access to effects associated with the void, and Essence can be summed up as life, health, vitality, strength, fortitude, will power, spirit, aura, soul, etc.)


Effect:

Damage - Damages a character's HP.
Hinder - Places a debilitating physical effect on character, such as hindering movement, attack speed, offensive damage, or armor rating.
Enchant - Places a debilitating mental effect on character, such as madness, hallucination, blindness, reverie, or fear.
Heal - Restores character HP.
Protect - Reduce or negate incoming damage.
Buff - Add beneficial effects to characters (temporary health/armor/attack bonus, elemental weapon damage, defense against elemental damage, etc.)
Debuff - Remove beneficial effects on character.

NOTE: All of these are examples, not things set in stone, just to illustrate what I'm thinking here.


So, to cast a spell, the mage would choose a class (Offensive or Defensive) to determine what kind of effect they're even after.  Offensive spells lead to the Effects "Damage", "Hinder", and "Enchant".  Defensive spells lead to the Effects "Heal", "Protect", "Buff", and "Debuff".

Pretty straightforward, I think.

So, the mage constructs a spell like this:

[Class] + [Focus] + [Element] + [Effect] = Spell

Example:

Defensive + Area of Effect + Fire + Protect = Fire Barrier 
(AoE Effect: Produces a barrier of fire where cast.  All who come in contact with barrier take 1d6 dmg +1pt damage over time for 1d4 rounds.  Barrier lasts 1d4 rounds.)

Defensive + Single Target + Essence + Heal = Restore Health x1
(Single Target Effect: Restores 1d6 HP to target, +1pt HP for 1d4 rounds.)

Offensive + Single Target + Earth + Damage = Jagged Spire 
(Single Target Effect: A spike made of jagged stone pierces target for 1d10 dmg.)


These would be basic Low level spells.  The magnitude of the Effect can still be amplified +1/2 (one-half) damage by waiting a turn before releasing the spell.

This compounds for every turn the spell is held over.  So, waiting three turns (Round One: Casting; Round Two: Hold; Round Three: Hold; Round Four: Cast) would add +1 1/2 (one and a half) times damage.  

Max damage for Low level single element spell would be 25 pts dmg, where elemental damage is 1d10 (max of 10), +10, +5, for +1 1/2 damage.


SPELL DURATION: 1d4

Any spell should have a duration period, here determined by 1d4, so a spell may last up to four turns.  Once the player determines the spell they'll cast, and casts it, they roll 1d4 to see how many turns it will last.

In the case of barrier spells reducing incoming damage:  The spell can be recharged by a probability roll + 1d4 on success; after which a Low level spell may be cast on the same turn.


DETERMINING NUMBER OF TARGETS AFFECTED BY AoE SPELLS: 3(+1d4)

Low level AoE spells can affect up to 3 targets by default.  To add additional targets to AoE, player spends 1 AP to roll 1d4.  Player may buy more 1d4 rolls by spending additional AP at -1 for each attempt.


ELEMENTAL AP COST: Exponential

For higher level spells, you get into the cost of the elements.

First element has an AP cost of 1.
Second element has an AP cost of 2.
Third element has an AP cost of 4. 
Fourth element has an AP cost of 8.
Etc.

Doubling the cost for each additional element represents the greater effort it takes to bend elements into a desired effect, and discourages players from making OP combos just because they can.


DETERMINING SPELL AP COST: [Turn] + [Element] (+ [Additional Elements]) + [Additional AoE Targets] = [AP per Spell]


A turn costs 1 AP by default.

So, a Medium level spell would look like this:

Offensive + Area of Effect + Fire + Air + Damage = Inferno 
(AoE Effect: Causes 1d10+half (1 1/2x damage for amplification) burning damage to 3(+1d4) targets, +2 additional points of damage for each round until the spell duration has ended.)
AP Cost = 5
[Turn 1] + [Element 1] (+ [Aditional Element 2]) + [Additional AoE Target Roll 1 (if yes, per roll)] = 4-5(+)

Offensive + AoE + Earth + Void + Enchant = Forsaken Idol 
(AoE Effect: Generates Fear Effect upon 3(+1d4) targets in radius; Fear reduces incoming damage, and can cause enemies to flee immediate area for (1d4 rounds determined by GM if target fails to save against Fear)
AP Cost = 4-5(+)

Defensive + Single Target + Essence + Void + Heal = Siphon Life 
(Single Target Effect: Target suffers 1d10 damage to HP, which is added to caster's HP.)
AP Cost = 4


CONCLUSION

While this system certainly could use refinement, I think it's a more intuitive approach to building spells from a player perspective. 



  • AP Cost is easy to calculate.
  • Damage is easy to calculate.
  • Elemental combinations are easy to imagine.
  • Base rules are simple, but concrete.
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by BloodKnight_Anna on Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:52 pm

Yeah that's something like how I originally planned it that you shot down Razz But yours is a lot more clearer/precise and I like it! Not sure how I feel about the 'Fear reducing incoming damage' though. It should just create a cowering effect (where player must run away from the source of fear and can take no other action).

I do like the examples of Class, Focus, Element, and Effect. the elements are even fine as they are honestly. For schools I was thinking something like:

* Elementalist (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)
* Diviner (Electric, Essence)
* Umbramancy (Void)

That way the elements are summed up and can be described with their respective elements.

ELEMENTALIST

One who studies the forces of nature in its rawest form. The very earth that lays upon their feet, the air that they breath, the fire that warms them in the coldest of nights, and the water that they drink. These elements form the very basics of life. ((Or whatever fancy desc. you want to use Razz ))


DIVINER

As closest to the gods, these elements give birth to Creation and Life. The crackling and shattering sounds of thunder along with the raw power of electricity bring light to the skies and energy to certain inanimate objects (such as golems). This power is not to be taken lightly!


UMBRAMANCY

Those who dare to dwell into the dark arts, to pull from the Void for whatever purpose may find they hold power over Darkness itself! To make other cower in fear, to re-animate the bodies of the dead, to give sentience to the shadows themselves... this is the power of Umbramancy.


~~~~~~

Let me know what you think of that ^_^

Another thing I like is the damage amounts you're putting.. kind of. While level 1 heroes start with 100hp, I could make mobs have lower HP than us and swarm (typical RPG). or well I mean not a LOT lower (typical mob for level 1 might have between 50-60hp, with tougher enemies having around 80-120hp. But.... then again this now ties into combat mechanics lol

But that does raise another question.... I forget what level we were in the D&D campaign... should we start back over at 1 with the new mechanics? enemies/abilities can be easily tailored to new levels with a new system I'm thinking.
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by Cordelia on Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:14 pm

Fear reduces damage coming FROM the target suffering the Fear effect:  Common Sense rule being someone suffering from a fear-like effect is not as capable of using their weapons or skills, and less willing to engage in combat.

As for the schools (or, potentially Skill Trees), I think there should be one that focuses on healing and support, one that focuses on offensive magic, one for defensive magic, one for all-purpose boosts, and maybe we can work in something related to summoning and the void.  

I don't think we should heavily associate elements with any of the trees, because it implies a mage can only use those elements if they put points in those schools.  Since we're not building character classes, trees and point allotment determine what a character does.  The player chooses to stick points in the general tree for magical boosts and benefits that affect all their spells; the healing and support tree offers boosts for healing magic, buffs, enchantments, and hindrances; and the offensive/defensive trees offer benefits to damage and armor.

We can make natural elemental associations -- such as maybe Void working well with enchantment boosts, so it would be under support alongside Essence for healing--, but I think we need to be careful we don't make people think they can't use the other elements just because they chose a tree to follow.

Also, a "diviner" divines (or determines through means of divination) future events.  Similarly, the suffix -mancy means a method of divination.  I personally request we avoid these terms.  Unless the title of Diviner actually applies to someone who reads the future through various means, and Umbramancy means divining the future through consultation of the shadows and void, then I think we should choose other ideas.

Elaborating on this, specifically, a little further, I think we could provide a list of example titles mages can take on, based on specializations, but encourage the player to make up their own titles, as well.
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by BloodKnight_Anna on Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:34 pm

Okay well that makes more sense on the Fear thing. For the class/skill tree thing I was working on something for an early version of custom Vas mechanics. I'll post these to see what you might think (they were based off of the wheel tree from Path of Exile... only less amount of skill/traits? lol I think PoE has like 1100+). So you can take what you want from this (perhaps just ideas for trees, ideas for class-like abilities/passives, etc) or disgard what you don't want.

For the elemental association I was just saying for schools. Schools do not imply restrictions. All I was trying to do there was classify the elements under schools for easier identification. Classic elements (earth, air, fire, water) = ELEMENTALIST. This could be useful for players that want to play a druid-like character so... their characters could think to draw from the ELEMENTLIST school, HOWEVER-- they are not restricted to that school; nor do they need to put any points in it. Because schools/elements are not going to be part of the skill trees.

Also I apologize for the "Diviner" I couldn't think of what else to call it. I was just trying to relate the name to something "divine" as powers of Creation/Life and Lightning/Electricity is something as close to the powers of heaven (as the Greek thought the gods lived on top of Mt. Olympus and Zues uses lightning, etc. That kind of reference.

The skill trees can be more for boosting existing abilities (say for example from the below trees, you might put a skill in the [Caster] tree to reduce total AP cost of casing Tier 2 spells, or they might apply +XdXX extra damage to a single element (like you could call the trait "pyromancer" +1d10 extra fire damage to any Offensive Fire Spell) or something like that).

WARRIOR
ROGUE
CASTER
DEVOUT

Warrior (War); Caster (Cas); Devout (Dev); Rogue (Rog)

[--- WARRIOR ---]
Knight (War)
Crusader (War-Dev)
Spellsword (War-Cas)
Mercenary (War-Rog)


[--- CASTER ---]
Sage (Cas)
Assassin (Cas-Rog)
Theurge (Cas-Dev)
Mage-Knight (Cas-War)


[--- DEVOUT ---]
Cleric (Dev)
Paladin (Dev-War)
Inquisitor (Dev-Rog)
Druid (Dev-Cas)


[--- ROGUE ---]
Scout (Rog)
Bard (Rog-Cas)
Swashbuckler (Rog-War)
Monk (Rog-Dev)
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by Cordelia on Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:52 pm

What I object to in the example tree is the fact that these still sound like classes.  What I object to in the schools is that a druid should be defined by their skill allocation and player style, not school choice.  Currently it feels like you're just replacing "class" with "school".

What I'd like to see is much more like Skyrim's perk trees, where instead of having skills categorized by Warrior, Rogue, and Mage, it looks more like this:

OFFENSIVE [OFF], DEFENSIVE [DEF], SUPPORT [SUP], MAGICKA [MAG]

I'm going to need a little while to work on fleshing out the extent of what I'm talking about, but even in your example, I'm still seeing class definitions, even if it's a rough title chosen because the skill tree types combined or alone mirror that title, the whole point, to me, is the fluidity.  I don't want to put together a couple of trees and have a title assigned because of it.

In Skyrim, if you go far enough down one tree, you look a lot like a mage because you get bonuses to defense and magic by wearing cloth.  If you don't go that far and invest in more diverse directions, you can be a mage in heavy armor with a shield, or an enchanted blade, or sweet alchemy skills, or the greatest sneak skill.  The point allocation doesn't label you as anything; it's your choices in the game and in the trees that determines what you look like, but you still get to define yourself and your character.

That's more of what I'd like to see.

Again, I'm going to need a bit to work out what I'm talking about in terms of the trees and elements, though, so feel free to respond, but the major point is still being built.
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by BloodKnight_Anna on Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:58 pm

Well the reason they still feel like classes to you is because that's how you're looking at it... I'm trying to say is.. okay let me put it this way. Pretend there are 3 jars. 1 jar has pennies, 1 has nickels, and 1 has dimes. You.. an ordinary human citizen have access to all 3 jars..... that. that's it. that's all I'm trying to say.

All I'm doing is saying that penny jar could be the elementalist jar (earth, air, fire, water), the nickel jar is the "creationist or whatever", and the dime jar is the umbramancy...  but you as the player are able to pick any of the elements from the schools. That doesn't make you specifically an elementalist, a diviner/creationist, or umbramancer. It just means you're taking from those schools.... if you need further explination think D&D  "Summon Monster 1" is [Conjuration], but multiple classes can use that spell. Does that make better sense?


EDIT: Also those 4 trees makes sense and I can get behind those.
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by Cordelia on Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:31 pm

I do understand what you're saying, and that's basically what I pictured already.  I dislike separating the elements into distinct schools -- or jars. 

What I'm picturing is three jars -- one with seven pennies, three dimes, and a nickel, the next with four nickels, two dimes, and three pennies, and the third has a quarter, a nickel, a dime, and three pennies.  All of them have forty-three cents, all of them have an assortment of coin types.  My objections are specifically about making the separation between elemental types at all; they should always be mixed.

The schools should be about the disciplines -- magic to take HP, magic to protect yourself and others, magic to restore health.  Some elements may be more suited toward a task, like causing damage, but all of them can do everything pretty equally across the board; it's all in the approach.

For instance, Fire obviously causes damage, but if you turn it to Defense + Area of Effect + Fire + Buff you could create a spell that bolster's the party's bravery, raises their attack.  Fire can heal, fire can create heat illusions through Mirage (with the side effect of something like "heatstroke", which causes +1 pt HP damage for duration of the spell), while an illusion created by Void might cause a demoralizing effect lowering enemy HP, and an illusion created by Water could lower enemy accuracy (think looking through glass with water pouring down it, or severe downpour).

Using Essence to damage an enemy could leave them weakened.  Void could leave them confused, so they damage allies.  I can literally think of spells in each of the categories I outlined for every element, and that, to mean, says the elements shouldn't define the categories.  THAT is why I object.

I mean, I'm not pushing it because I think  you don't agree with my suggested replacement, but just so you understand WHY I'm objecting.
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by Cordelia on Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:25 pm

Okay.  A mock page for a Vas Player Manual about magic.  The most relevant paragraph is at the bottom, but it makes the most relevant sense when you read all of it as one piece.

----


MAGIC IN VAS


Beyond the material plane, there is a plane known as the Eldritch Arcana. Communion with this plane can grant a mortal access to the essences and powers stored within. This manifests most prominently as control over the elements, life and death, and occasionally even interaction with the Void – a realm of demonic forces and unending chaos. Once a caster has anchored themselves to the Eldritch Arcana, a world of power becomes theirs to enjoy.


Despite the virtually limitless power and variation of energy contained within the Eldritch Arcana, mortals can only access a small portion, due as much to their limited capacity for full comprehension, as the physical limitations of their fleshy bodies. The elements known to man as those which may be channeled are:


Fire
Water
Earth
Air
Lightning
Essence
Void


Through generations of experimentation, mortals have discovered the most effective way to channel these forces without risk to their own health and safety.


These methods can be broken down into two major classifications: Offensive spells, and Defensive spells.


Spells in the Offensive category have physical effects ranging from damaging the caster's enemies and impeding their ability to function effectively, to impairing their judgement with visual tricks and ambient affects within the environment, itself.


Spells in the Defensive category include formation of protective barriers, the restoration of health and vitality, provision of beneficial enhancements, and removal of magical enhancements.


The full extent of elemental combinations to achieve these effects is, as yet, unknown. Casters tend to make and maintain their own personal grimoires, or spell books, after studying for years to master the fundamentals of elemental manipulation, and even though those few institutions brave enough to give formal instruction do provide specialized spell books to their student bodies, every mage chooses their own path as they progress through the essence of the arcane.


While not officially recognized by a standardized method across Vas, many academies bestow titles upon their aspiring mages and teach them to specialize in a handful of elements. This has lead to opposing movements, pitting one school or method against another. Despite the fact that any element is just as capable of executing a desired effect as any of the others, specialized instruction and philosophy draw lines straight through elemental groupings so many mages never step outside two or three “harmonious” elements to explore the full extent of their capabilities.
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Re: World (Vas) - Magic System - Ideas and Feedback

Post by Cordelia on Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:27 pm

Don't quibble about the specifics outlined in the overview -- I tried to be accurate, but also it was just to give a taste of the layout and structure to give context for what I was really addressing.
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