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Toms Other Games => SpellMaster III => SM General Discussion => Topic started by: Tom on October 20, 2011, 01:50:26 PM

Title: Concepts
Post by: Tom on October 20, 2011, 01:50:26 PM
I've got some doubts about the core game concept. Much of it is based on real time (XP gain, energy regeneration, etc.) but the game does not happen in real time.

That's a dissonance that needs to be resolved for everything to work out. Right now, things are awkward and there's a lot of "gaming the system" in there (e.g. wait an hour with your response until you've got enough energy again, etc.)
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Nathan on October 20, 2011, 03:01:51 PM
How much redesigning are you willing to do? Is there anything you really want to keep the same?
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: ^ban^ on October 20, 2011, 05:35:27 PM
I'd like to point out the conclusion of an IRC discussion we had yesterday as well: The current magic system is one of the least flexible possible and precludes several otherwise-traditional spellcaster roles from being played effectively. The three mentioned specifically were Illusionist, "nature mage" and Necromancer. Within the framework of the existing magic system, these and other classic archetypes are literally unplayable.

It, additionally, has some very awkward bases (I'm looking at you, Death) which have very little practical application. While it is technically supposed to cover "Unlife", GM rulings on spell research have left it capable of little more than a way to kill, protect yourself from being killed by Death, or find out how someone died. Combined with other facts -- such as the strange or complete lack of interaction between certain bases and intents -- the result is that only one mage archetype is possible: a blaster.

I think the root cause of this awkwardness, as Tim put it yesterday, is that the system's balance is based around proximate end effects and not ultimate effect, leading not only to the issues mentioned above, but things such as extremely high-power zero-usefulness spells. 5/5/5 Fire/Perceive? Compare that to the Body base which works with literally every intent.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Indirik on October 20, 2011, 07:18:49 PM
I tend to agree that the Death base seems to be pointless as it is currently defined. Kind of a generic way to kill someone that could be done with another base just as easily.

I don't think that every possible base/intent combination needs to provide a useful function. Not every substance makes a good material from which to build a particular item. i.e. building a shield out of glass would be pretty pointless. But that doesn't make glass itself useless. From there, it follows that just because you can throw craploads of power into a particular endeavor shouldn't guarantee that you can come up with something useful, or that it's not a complete waste of time. Yes, "5/5/5 Fire/Perceive" doesn't seem all that useful, unless you want to know where every fire is in the adjacent 500 square miles.

But perhaps rather than redefine the base/intent system, some of the interpretations of the combinations need to be redefined. Why can't you "control/death" to raise the dead? Seems logical to me...

A bit of expansion of the strict definition of the Base systems could allow more things to become useful. For example, what if perceive/fire let you use a fire as a scrying glass? Or as a means of two-way communication? Then a high-powered perceive/fire could be a means of long distance communication, possibly between multiple locations.

Such a relaxation of the interpretation of the base/intent system would let us do a lot more without completely redefining the system.

But I don't think that's what Tom really meant with redefining the core concepts of the game.

I do agree that the continual 1/hour XP/Power regeneration is a bit much for the pace of the game. You can just not do anything at all, and become very powerful. And intentional delays become useful metagaming maneuvers. Wasn't the "certamen" concept supposed to take care of this? Each player involved should lay out the energy they have to work with at the beginning of the certamen.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Bedwyr on October 20, 2011, 07:26:12 PM
I'm with Indirik on this, I thought certamen was supposed to resolve the real-time/game-time issue.  You continue to accrue stuff as normal, but you only have whatever you had at the start of the "action" sequence to do stuff.

I would also strongly disagree that the system only supports blasters as ^ban^ suggests.  It may make certain archetypes difficult (though I think that has more to do with the GM approvals than anything inherent in the system) and I have a whole plan laid out on how to do a mind-control character that should work just fine.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Indirik on October 20, 2011, 07:35:54 PM
I have a whole plan laid out on how to do a mind-control character that should work just fine.
Shouldn't be that hard. After all, there's a whole "control/mind" combo to work with. :P
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Tom on October 20, 2011, 10:04:48 PM
Yes, "5/5/5 Fire/Perceive" doesn't seem all that useful, unless you want to know where every fire is in the adjacent 500 square miles.
Err... no? That would be a 1/5/5 spell. At an effect of 5, you would perceive everything that is possible to perceive. You would know when and how the fire started, who started it, with what, everything that is has burnt so far, everything it is currently burning and at what speed, you could basically ask any question about any fire within the area of effect and get it answered.

Quote
But perhaps rather than redefine the base/intent system, some of the interpretations of the combinations need to be redefined. Why can't you "control/death" to raise the dead? Seems logical to me...
yeah, me too.


Quote
Such a relaxation of the interpretation of the base/intent system would let us do a lot more without completely redefining the system.
It was meant as being a relaxed interpretation. What I don't want is people going around gaming the system. Killing someone always requires an Intent to Harm, you can't do it as a side-effect of, say, a Create spell. Likewise, you can't use Water to do some stuff with the blood of someone, because that's a mechanical view - a holistic/magical view would consider blood as a part of the body.

Those are cases where I stopped the far-fetched interpretation. That doesn't mean everything has to be perfectly literal.


Quote
I do agree that the continual 1/hour XP/Power regeneration is a bit much for the pace of the game. You can just not do anything at all, and become very powerful. And intentional delays become useful metagaming maneuvers. Wasn't the "certamen" concept supposed to take care of this? Each player involved should lay out the energy they have to work with at the beginning of the certamen.

This is what this thread should focus on. I kind of like automated-over-time things, because it means people don't have to play to get ahead. But it's a problem when it doesn't fit the pace of the game.



Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Anaris on October 20, 2011, 10:11:23 PM
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on October 20, 2011, 10:13:27 PM
Hmm.

How about we change things to be similar to BM? Like say casters need to meditate every 12 hours? Make energy recover in this way while make concentration gained over time. Instead of us gaining 1 xp per hour, maybe make people spend concentration to gain xp?

so to summarize,

energy - required for casting spells. magical energy which casters need to gain
concentration - needed for casting spells, earning xp (reading books, studying runes etc)
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Valast on October 20, 2011, 11:58:13 PM
I may sound childish here... and feel free to ban me from all your speekings n squeekings....

but if each story has a place in time... why can it not have a time stamp/power stamp?  Start of a thread shows everyones stats at that moment...
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: loren on October 21, 2011, 03:25:26 AM
I personally support the idea just stopping adding any mana/concentration for however long a time after some commits an action...
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Anarki_Hunter on October 21, 2011, 08:43:28 AM
What if (idea based on turns!):

Concentration
were to regenerate only by 2 methods:-

Mana or Energy
could only be regenerated, only by the following
(sorry for the bad rp_it was meant to be an example and the multi_edits)
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on October 22, 2011, 03:19:01 AM
For going into a battle, maybe we can divide between battle spells and general spells.

For battle spells to be used, maybe we need to press a button - stops both energy and concentration from regenerating. Once you press the button to regenerate, maybe make you go through some kind of cool down time (a day or two?)
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on November 07, 2011, 10:33:39 PM
I don't want to make things more complicated but I have a question to ask.

Let's say I use a fireball spell 4/3/1. As soon as the fire ball leaves my hand, the law of nature will take over. The fire ball won't be able to last over a second since there isn't enough oxygen focused around to sustain the ball. Shouldn't the duration be at least 2 instead of 1? 1 should be like a lighting bolt spell.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Tom on November 08, 2011, 12:31:09 AM
I don't want to make things more complicated but I have a question to ask.

Let's say I use a fireball spell 4/3/1. As soon as the fire ball leaves my hand, the law of nature will take over. The fire ball won't be able to last over a second since there isn't enough oxygen focused around to sustain the ball. Shouldn't the duration be at least 2 instead of 1? 1 should be like a lighting bolt spell.

1 does not mean "a fraction of a second". It means "a short moment". That can be a couple seconds, so fireball is fine.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on November 08, 2011, 01:26:31 AM
Might want to change the description. It says 'an instant' and by my understanding an instant does not mean a couple seconds.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Morningstar on November 08, 2011, 06:59:51 AM
Whatever happens, happens instantaneously. There's no sustained fire, even for a few seconds. Make duration 2 and you're looking at napalm. :D
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Tom on November 08, 2011, 01:08:19 PM
You're all thinking modern-times notions of time. A second would've been an instant to a medieval person, wouldn't it?

Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on November 08, 2011, 03:53:03 PM
Uhhh........ Are you kidding me Tom lol. I think everyone except you thought effect one was instant. I mean effect two's description was seconds to a minute. If you wanted to use the medieval idea, I think you should had descriptions like that as well. I mean this makes things quite different. You were playing on a totally different league...
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Tom on November 08, 2011, 08:12:08 PM
Uhhh........ Are you kidding me Tom lol. I think everyone except you thought effect one was instant. I mean effect two's description was seconds to a minute. If you wanted to use the medieval idea, I think you should had descriptions like that as well. I mean this makes things quite different. You were playing on a totally different league...

Ok, maybe we need to get this straight. By "instant" I do not mean a point in time, because by pure physics alone, using that interpretation any instant effect would create infinite forces. It has to be long enough to be physically possible, even if it is magic. Breaking a bone in someone else's body is an "instant" effect in the game in so far as it has no duration worth mentioning - for all everyone cares, it practically happens in an instant. Of course, it does not physically happen in an instant, i.e. zero or even almost-zero time, because the hydrostatic shock alone from such an event would kill you.

It is an interesting thought to require spells like Fireball to have a duration longer than 1, though. Absolutely, a fraction of a second of exposure to even a very, very hot flame would not do much damage to you at all. I can totally see the point, and it would solve a part of the problem of harm spells being so extremely powerful compared to other spells.

So, can we agree on duration 1 meaning "less than a second" ? If you look at the other duration descriptions, it should be obvious. Here they are, so you don't have to look them up:
Code: [Select]
        1 => 'an instant',
        2 => 'a short while, about a minute',
        3 => 'about an hour',
        4 => 'a whole day',
        5 => 'several weeks, maybe a month',

As you can see, every step up is one order of magnitude higher (minute, hour, day...) so it follows that 1 is one order of magnitude down, i.e. seconds or something.


But, again, even if we were to allow up to a second for duration 1, some harm spells wouldn't do much harm. A second of being engulfed in flames is probably not exactly pleasant, but unless something catches on fire (and even many perfectly flamable things need a longer exposure than that), the damage is likely to be minimal.

I think this is a good thought and we should re-think quite a few spells based on that. I was orginally afraid of balance (lightning being more powerful than fire, at the same SP cost), but as I don't plan to write a full-blown Certamen anymore but would rather rely on roleplaying, that's not a problem. And fire has other advantages that balance things out.




Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on November 08, 2011, 10:15:46 PM
One thing I do not like about the current system is that if you want to use a spell which lasts more than an hour (lets say 2 hours) I need to use effect of 4. That is just not right in my opinion. I do not think the caster should put in so much more just to make the effect of the spell last an hour more. I mean a 2 hour duration spell needs same amount of work as a whole day duration spell?

IMO, we should have
1= under a min
2= under an hour
3= hours under 12 hours
4= under a day
5= under a week

I think spells shouldn't last more than a day but oh well.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Indirik on November 09, 2011, 02:26:38 AM
You could carry the same reasoning to just about any level, and any system. For example in your proposed system, it costs as much power to cast a 2 hours spell as a 12 hour spell. It lasts six time longer, but takes the same power? Any such system with only five levels of granularity will necessarily have some oddities in the math like that. Not that I have any particular issue with your proposal. Yours seems to offer a bit finer control on the lower end, at the expense of very high energy cost for the longer duration stuff.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on November 09, 2011, 03:04:16 AM
Good point.

Maybe we should have a bigger scale.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Tom on November 09, 2011, 10:38:54 AM
No, we just need to move away from technological to mental concepts.

The system is built on orders of magnitude, because we think in orders of magnitude. That's why "59 minutes" seems to be a different time to people than "1 hour" until they start thinking. And that's why "one of anything" seems to be different than "many of anything".

Basically, maybe we should rewrite them as:
I'm not in the least concerned about mathematical equality - it's x60, x60, then x24, x7 (or x31) - that's not an issue for me.

Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Anarki_Hunter on November 09, 2011, 02:47:27 PM
Oh..

I was thinking on the lines that the minute specifications of 'Duration' were moderated by GM's during spell approvals and other players during Spontaneous casting (on fair play basis) that; any form of casting directly affecting other casters (such as harm type) spells will adhere towards lower value of magnitude if the spell description fits the game.

It would be a bit out of bounds for a Harm spell to last longer than 2 hours with Duration: 3, but at the same time control or change spell can last a bit longer for around twice that amount with the same duration magnitude.

---

May be the 'Duration' can be understood to move along with 'Effect' and 'Target'?:
.Higher 'Effect' will sway the spell towards higher value of Magnitude (like five to six times the hours with Duration: 3)
.Higher 'Target' will sway the spell towards lower value of Magnitude (Lowest around an hour or two with Duration: 3)
.overall "power level" can also have a effect?
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on November 09, 2011, 05:27:39 PM
Hmm...

Well the concept of time was different back in the days like you pointed out Tom. People either looked at the sun or they were usually event oriented. But I doubt we can use any of these.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Tom on November 09, 2011, 05:57:50 PM
It would be a bit out of bounds for a Harm spell to last longer than 2 hours with Duration: 3, but at the same time control or change spell can last a bit longer for around twice that amount with the same duration magnitude.

I don't see why. "Harm" does not have to mean "kill". Illness, diseases, weakening - all part of harm.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on November 09, 2011, 06:19:17 PM
Wouldn't weakening be change?
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Indirik on November 09, 2011, 06:22:32 PM
That depends on your "intent".  I can't easily think of a straightforward situation in which you would want to weaken someone without the intent being to harm them.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Halden on November 09, 2011, 08:41:28 PM
Wouldn't weakening be change?

I am of the opinion, as well as the hope, that the same spell could be performed in a multitude of different ways.  For example, to create a candle light effect, one may cast a low level spell with a fire base and perception intent. Or perhaps a create intent with a fire base. In the same way, a bolt of fire could be just as damaging as a shard of ice. This would allow you to be essentially equally effective as your peers in the same situations, but at the same time, each spellcaster has different skillsets. Of course, once higher level spells are created, specializations would be formed, each with its own...flavor.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Tom on November 09, 2011, 08:58:40 PM
I am of the opinion, as well as the hope, that the same spell could be performed in a multitude of different ways.  For example, to create a candle light effect, one may cast a low level spell with a fire base and perception intent. Or perhaps a create intent with a fire base. In the same way, a bolt of fire could be just as damaging as a shard of ice. This would allow you to be essentially equally effective as your peers in the same situations, but at the same time, each spellcaster has different skillsets. Of course, once higher level spells are created, specializations would be formed, each with its own...flavor.

Yes, there are often various approaches, though the focus shifts. For spells, that is not as important, as they are very specific. But for spontaneous magic, you want to use the proper Intent at least - a "Perceive/Fire" spell will always give you some illumination to see by, because that is what you specified. A "Create/Fire" spell may, with a few shifts, create just a smoldering, for example, which is a fire created, but won't give you much light.

Basically, really do use Intent as "what is it you intend to do", and not just as a method.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Halden on November 09, 2011, 09:16:01 PM
Would it be appropriate then to have a few bases, but many intents to be able to utilize these bases differently?
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Indirik on November 09, 2011, 09:46:47 PM
From the web site:

Quote from: Intents
Change
Control
Create
Harm
Heal
Move
Perceive
Protect   
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Halden on November 09, 2011, 10:47:35 PM
Well that doesn't exactly answer the question.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on November 09, 2011, 11:06:58 PM
It is entirely up to you. But from my experience, I would recommend you to get some levels in move and protect.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Indirik on November 10, 2011, 01:59:00 PM
Well that doesn't exactly answer the question.
Sorry, I misunderstood the question. Given the purpose of this thread, I thought you were talking about the design of the magic system, and not looking for advice on what to buy for your character. :P
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Halden on November 10, 2011, 02:23:26 PM
Many thanks.  :)
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Valast on January 12, 2012, 05:52:50 PM
Hmm...  I am still not sure I have wrapped my head around the ritual spell time frame.  Perhaps because we only have the practice RP going...but if I have magic that takes a month to prepare, do I need to RP the beginning of that ritual a month in advance?

a ritual (Control/Mind - 5-5-5)

This for example would take 1 Month, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, 20 Hours.  As it is a ritual, a character should have already thought up the goal I intend well in advance.  Yet we as players have the ability right now to just assume it was planned.

Now of course we are all playing to have fun and anyone who just wants to "win" should hit the door... but where are we going to draw the line on RP preparation?
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on January 12, 2012, 06:16:22 PM
Well you can reduce the preparation time by using sacrifices and other magical materials. You can RP it like how your character is trying to kidnap some people from a near by village. But you probably want to leave some room for others to stop you from doing so if they desire.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Indirik on January 12, 2012, 06:17:47 PM
The time given for the ritual is not "preparation time". It is how long it actually takes to *perform* the ritual.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on January 12, 2012, 06:24:54 PM
In real time as well. My character finished a ritual which took him two weeks. I literally did not write anything for two weeks. Someone could have interfered with me but no one did.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Valast on January 12, 2012, 06:47:10 PM
Terribly boring to spend two weeks doing nothing.  I suppose that dialog RP could be taking place during the same time...but without a time stamp (be in two locations doing RP in REAL time, while it being two different times IN the RP...) it becomes difficult unless the ritual allows breaks.

It will be interesting to see how this all works out.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: loren on January 13, 2012, 03:26:16 AM
You should be actively doing the ritual for that time.  Ocassionally writing about what is going on so that someone who wants to join won't just be writing from nothing.  It's also not "I go off and train for four months in sword practice." and then four months later you write "I am now a masterful swordsmen."

Same concept.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Tom on January 13, 2012, 09:43:47 AM
a 5-5-5 ritual is quite powerful. Maybe you should be doing something at a lower power level? Doing it at 4-4-4 would shave off 3 weeks.
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on January 13, 2012, 07:41:59 PM
Or level up your skills before you do it. Or you can modify the numbers like Tom suggested. Mine was 5-1-10 and took me 2 weeks to complete it.  ;)
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Valast on January 13, 2012, 11:12:53 PM
All very good ideas... along with ... grab me some minions

But it is all just me making sure I have a good grasp at this point :)

but speaking of skills.  How is everyone doing on skills if you do not "mind" my asking? 

My guy is a bit one sided really, but it will make him that much more fun to play when I finally get a moment to do so.   Control intent is at 13, Mind base is at 12...
Title: Re: Concepts
Post by: Zakilevo on January 14, 2012, 01:08:55 AM
Well since I stopped writing RPs - cause no one was writing anything - I kind of made my guy use random rituals. I guess if I was going to RP this I would probably have said he was doing a research or experiment or something.

I am trying to put skill points in different areas. I learned my lesson when my char fought Tom's char. My guy had no protection spell.