Author Topic: A New Attempt  (Read 7768 times)

Tom

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A New Attempt
« Topic Start: June 29, 2012, 12:25:55 PM »
I am re-thinking a few things here. One is that I believe there was a bad decision made very early and that was to bring up too much strict game mechanics.

The game should be more free-form. Here is what I think right now in game-mechanics:
  • Keep the "bases" and rework them to act as "energy" - basically, you have a limited amount of each base available per time period (it replenishes).
  • Keep the "intents" and rework them as skills - basically, your ability to use your available energy for various purposes.
  • Drop all the range, target, etc. specifications and replace them by a subjective, variable and highly flexible "power" number.
Game mechanics: To make a successful effect, you specify what you want to accomplish, and how much energy you invest. The GM secretly decides a required power for that effect, taking the effect but also circumstances into consideration. The game calculates Intent times Energy as the power that you create. If the result is near the required power, then what you wanted to happen, happens. If it falls short then your spell fails (energy is still expended). If it is much stronger then unintended side-effects can also happen.

Behind-the-scenes we would have some guidelines for GMs to determine power levels. Players would find workable effects by experimentation, they could invest time and energy into "confirming" effects in their labs, at which point the GM would hand them a signed formula, which they can then use to reliably cast that spell (i.e. circumstances other than counter-magic by others would no longer play a role, the familiarity with the effect allowing the spellcaster to adapt to minor changes like that).


Example - Fireball
Obviously a spell based on Fire, and cast with an intent to kill/hurt. As an area-effect spell with side-effects (burning), and massive damage an example GM arbitrarily assigns it a power rating of 50.
Our spellcaster has a killing-skill of 6 and since he specializes in fire magic has a pool of 9. He really wants to make sure his enemy is dead, so he throws all he has into the spell - 6*9 = 54 power. This is close enough to the required power, so the fireball explodes just like he assumed.
One of his enemies (who has not yet been burnt to a crisp) wants to reply in kind. He has a killing-skill of 8, but his fire magic isn't as strong and he only has a pool of 7. Moreover, he has already used up 2 of those points and misjudges the required power, investing only 4 points for a total of 8*4 = 32 power. That's not enough and the spell fizzles out. He now has only 1 point of fire magic remaining, maybe enough to light a candle.


Anaris

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #1: June 29, 2012, 01:27:58 PM »
This sounds like it will require a GM ruling for every single spell cast. That would make things about an order of magnitude slower and more frustrating.

Unless I'm misunderstanding?
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Tom

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #2: June 29, 2012, 09:28:19 PM »
This sounds like it will require a GM ruling for every single spell cast. That would make things about an order of magnitude slower and more frustrating.

Unless I'm misunderstanding?

Until you get the formulas, yes. As for slowing it down - if it helps getting things running at all, then it's still progress, isn't it?

Anaris

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #3: June 29, 2012, 09:35:22 PM »
Until you get the formulas, yes.

What do you mean by this? That once we have cast enough spells that we can figure out exactly how much power a given spell with given settings uses, we won't need to consult the GMs anymore?

What's the point of that? Why not just put the formulas in the parser, like they are now?

Or have I misunderstood?
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Tom

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #4: June 29, 2012, 10:41:20 PM »
It's not that different from now. If you have formulas, you can use them and you'll know what they do and what it costs. Spontaneous magic is where you will always need a GM.

Tom

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #5: June 29, 2012, 10:43:30 PM »
Ok, so I should elaborate on that:

Rituals will be what you do when you need lots of power and must accumulate it over time, because you simply don't have enough energy to cast it as a spell.

Spells are basically unchanged.

Spontaneous magic is changed. This is what I outlined above: You describe what you want to do, and how much power you put into it, and then you'll see what happens. How close you come to your intended effect will depend on how well you estimated the required power.


Anaris

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #6: June 29, 2012, 10:48:39 PM »
Ok, so I should elaborate on that:

Rituals will be what you do when you need lots of power and must accumulate it over time, because you simply don't have enough energy to cast it as a spell.

Spells are basically unchanged.

Spontaneous magic is changed. This is what I outlined above: You describe what you want to do, and how much power you put into it, and then you'll see what happens. How close you come to your intended effect will depend on how well you estimated the required power.

Oh, I thought you were describing a whole new system for spells.
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

loren

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #7: June 30, 2012, 12:52:49 AM »
It's not really a new system at all with respect to speed, it just requires more GM action at the start.  You would've still had to wait for someone else to respond to your RP when you cast spells anyways.

I'm open to anything, I'd just like to start telling stories again.

Zakilevo

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #8: June 30, 2012, 02:07:59 AM »
yeah... hopefully people will join again. are we going to do the rework of the spells too?

loren

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #9: June 30, 2012, 03:43:34 AM »
You'll note that this will erase the spells.  That isn't to say that you couldn't practice them to the point where it becomes a spell that you earn.  In a lot of ways its the way spells were created in SM.  GM's granted them to players.

Zakilevo

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #10: June 30, 2012, 03:49:23 AM »
You'll note that this will erase the spells.  That isn't to say that you couldn't practice them to the point where it becomes a spell that you earn.  In a lot of ways its the way spells were created in SM.  GM's granted them to players.

So GMs will create spells for us now? or do we still get to create spells but will GMs change them?

loren

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #11: June 30, 2012, 03:53:22 AM »
No, you do what tom outlined.  You fiddle with it until you figure out just how much it takes to cast the spell and in essence demonstrate the familiarity.  Then you get a hash key to just auto insert it.

Anaris

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #12: June 30, 2012, 04:24:42 AM »
Wait, now I'm confused again. Tom specifically said:

Spells are basically unchanged.

Spontaneous magic is changed. This is what I outlined above: You describe what you want to do, and how much power you put into it, and then you'll see what happens. How close you come to your intended effect will depend on how well you estimated the required power.

So are you saying that to start with, there are no spells, and they are derived from performing the same spontaneous magic over and over?

Or are you saying that Tom misspoke, and we do, in fact, have to get a GM ruling on every single spell we cast, regardless of whether it's being cast against someone?
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

loren

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #13: June 30, 2012, 06:23:39 AM »
So are you saying that to start with, there are no spells, and they are derived from performing the same spontaneous magic over and over?

I won't speak as to 'no' spells, but considerably fewer than we have in the DB right now would be my bet.  As for just blatant repetition, no. 

A close reading shows that you have to tinker.  Lets use the fireball, it has a power rating of 50.  It's intent is Kill.  I have a skill of 5 in Kill.  So I'll start off and say ok, it'll take 8 energy to cast this spell.  Damn it fizzled.  Ok, Maybe it'll take 11 energy to cast.  Well it's somewhere between 8 and 11 because I just burnt my test subjects to a crisp.  Time to find more volunteers from the Cult of the Fallen.... (some time later) Great, more targets to practice with.  So it was between 8 and 11.  Why waste power? Lets try 9.  Nope it fizzled.  And crap my kill skill went to 6 with all this practice.  Lets try 8 again as it was a 20% increase in my skill and if I min max it I'm better off always trying from the bottom/middle (note 20% decrease from 11 is 9.166 so I know my range is now 7.5-9.16)  Ok so here goes with 8.  Damn another fizzle.  Ok then maybe 9. Wham they're all dead again.  Ok the value is between 48 and 54. 

You can see how this might take time.  Especially if you have to get it within a certain percentage/range/over/under or some such other rule.  Which incidentally could also require certain skill levels in the intents.  If I had a skill in Kill of 1 and I got a range between 40 and 50 that might not count since it's still so unknown.  That doesn't even open up the possibility of half energy levels etc, though I have my own thoughts on that.

Or are you saying that Tom misspoke, and we do, in fact, have to get a GM ruling on every single spell we cast, regardless of whether it's being cast against someone?

A spell does the same thing every time with defined limits, so no you won't need a GM for that.  Obviously if you go beyond those limits any player or GM could easily point out your error.  Spells haven't changed, just how you get them and how they're calculated.  We'll have to discuss amongst ourselves what it means to improve skills in this paradigm and whether a learned spell always costs the same amount of energy, or if it explicitly says what the power rating is and the game figures if you can meet that and it takes away your energy automatically.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 06:35:13 AM by loren »

Tom

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Re: A New Attempt
« Reply #14: June 30, 2012, 09:05:51 AM »
I can't really answer the detail questions right now, because everything's at the idea stage.

Basically, spells would stay, but change (fewer numbers). Some math needs to be worked out, as Loren pointed out, you simply can't reach all power level unless we allow fractions.

The core idea isn't changed that much. You can get effects by tinkering, and if you want to use them more often, you can experiment until you find the right numbers. There would still be a lab where you finalize the effect (maybe fractions are allowed only in the lab?). Once you have the spell, you can use it reliably (fractions rounding or whatever).