Author Topic: Game Mechanics  (Read 1607 times)

Tom

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Game Mechanics
« Topic Start: August 05, 2011, 04:53:21 PM »
Here are the first rough guides on game mechanics:

For the cooperative storytelling, there is no need to invent new rules the ones from SM2 will do just fine:
http://lemuria.org/SM2/roleplaying.html


For the magic system, there will be something very new.

Spells will be defined by the following characteristics:
  • a (unique) Name
  • an Intent
  • a Base or source of power
  • a Power Level or strength of the effect
  • an Effect Description
The new elements Intent and Base work as a dual-axis category. Both are single-word categories.

Intents are concepts like harm, protect, control, transform. It describes what the spell is supposed to do. Magic being an art of the will, intention is important. As a spellcaster, you don't just create a ball of fire - that is actually just the means. What you (magically) do is create a ball of fire in order to harm someone. A spell without intention is unimaginable. And yes, that does mean you can't use a Fireball (which is a harm spell) to light a campfire. You can use it to burn a peasant and throw him into the firewood to get a fire started. If you're a member of the Underworld. :-)

The Base of a spell is where it draws its power from, how it manifests. These are words like fire, water, stone, death, mind, etc. - they describe how the spell works to achieve the intent. The base is also important for spell interaction.

Spells interact with each other based on their bases. This is especially important in magical duels or Certamen. Interaction can be normal, strong or weak. It is always reciprocal. For example, fire interacts weakly with itself. You can throw a fireball right through a burning room and neither fire will be affected very much. In Certamen, a fire-based defensive spell will be very ineffective against fire-based attack spells. At the same time, the fire-based attacks will, while passing easily through the fire-based defenses also not affect the defenses very much. Fire and water, on the other hand, interact strongly. A shield of ice (water-based protection spell) will be very effective against a fireball. At the same time, while the fireball will be very likely blocked, it will also do a lot of damage to the shield of ice.
In Certamen that means that there is a strategic balance between passing through defenses and doing damage, and smashing into defenses to take them down (so your future attack spells can do more damage).

The actual numbers depend on the power level.

The effect description is a free-form text that describes what exactly the spell does. Spells are exact in so far as doing exactly what the description says and nothing else. See the SM2 example - you can't use a "summon undead army" spell to summon an undead servant, because it a) summons an army, not just one and b) it summons soldiers, not servants.



Like in both predecessors, spell formulas can be traded.

Learning will be much simplified and automated.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 04:56:01 PM by Tom »

Tom

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Re: Game Mechanics
« Reply #1: August 05, 2011, 05:40:32 PM »
The Power Level of a spell depends on three factors:
  • what target (size) it affects
  • how severe the effect is
  • how long the effect lasts
these act as multipliers.

Effect
  • cosmetic effect with no real consequences for the target
  • a small effect, like a minor wound or a nagging voice in your head
  • a large effect, e.g. a serious wound or a strong desire to do something
  • a severe effect, instant death or irresistable control
  • a massive effect, like being instantly turned to ash or total control and memory wipe
Target
  • a small item or a part of a human-sized being
  • one human-sized being or a large object
  • a small group (5 or less) or a tree, small hut, large waggon, etc.
  • a large group (up to about 20) or a house, a boat, etc.
  • everyone around (~100 people or so), a whole field, ocean-going ship, an entire village, etc.
Duration
  • an instant
  • a short while, about a minute
  • about an hour
  • a whole day
  • several weeks, maybe a month
Multiply all of these together to get the power level of a spell.

For example:
  • The typical Fireball may be capable of killing (effect 4) a couple of people (target 3), but it lasts only a moment (duration 1) for a total power level of 12.
  • Making the king (target 2) your puppet (effect 3 - we don't want 4 because at that level it would be too obvious) for the month (duration 5) comes in at a heavy 30. If you only need the control for a short while, say so he passes the judgement you want on a case before him duration would drop the 2, making the whole thing a lot more affordable at power level 12.
  • creating an illusionary (effect 1) village (target 5) for and hour or so (duration 3) until your hunters think they've taken the wrong turn and move elsewhere comes in at 15. Note that this is a cosmetic effect only, they could, for example, walk right through the walls. If you want the village to be solid, you'd have to go for at least effect 2, doubling the cost to 30.
  • Tearing down (effect 4) the city gate or a tower (target 4) might only take an instant (duration 1), but it still has a power level of 16.
  • But if you're hungry after all that casting, incapacitating (effect 3) a rabbit (target 1) for a minute (duration 2) until you can catch it comes in at only 6. The alternative, killing it outright (effect 4, but only duration 1) is even cheaper at 4.


loren

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Re: Game Mechanics
« Reply #2: August 05, 2011, 08:05:04 PM »
Tom,

I could easily see a way around some of the power level issues that relate to concentration/control/precision.  For instance, lets say that I'm facing a group of ruffians.  Instead of casting a massive fireball, what if instead I use my fire whip and simply lop off all their heads,  Target size 1, Duration 1, Effect 4.

However, it would require a lot more control to make that thin fire whip, so instead of an easy 1 generic fireball, it is an inherently more difficult spell of say 2.

Tom

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Re: Game Mechanics
« Reply #3: August 05, 2011, 11:05:01 PM »
I could easily see a way around some of the power level issues that relate to concentration/control/precision.  For instance, lets say that I'm facing a group of ruffians.  Instead of casting a massive fireball, what if instead I use my fire whip and simply lop off all their heads,  Target size 1, Duration 1, Effect 4.

Why do you think the target size would be 1?

You are still targetting the entire group, target size 3, power level 4, just like the fireball.

With a power level 4 spell you could chop off one head. And the GM who accepts the spell may still rule that the target size is 2.

loren

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Re: Game Mechanics
« Reply #4: August 05, 2011, 11:24:56 PM »
I suppose that'll just have to have the GM moderate it then for size.  I guess I was looking at total effected area, not total effected result.

Tom

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Re: Game Mechanics
« Reply #5: August 05, 2011, 11:41:20 PM »
I suppose that'll just have to have the GM moderate it then for size.  I guess I was looking at total effected area, not total effected result.

nah, I should have been clear that "a" in target one means "one".
As soon as you affect more than one target, you are looking at 3+

Bedwyr

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Re: Game Mechanics
« Reply #6: August 06, 2011, 01:14:37 AM »
Yeah, having a number of targets restriction at each level fixes that easily enough.  Although I think the GM might allow it as effect level 2 if you made a single length of fire stretching six feet across the road and they galloped into it, just for sake of creativity.  You'd have to increase the duration, though...
"You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til ya understand who's in ruttin' command here!"

Tom

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Re: Game Mechanics
« Reply #7: August 06, 2011, 10:50:18 PM »
There will certainly be room for creativity there, but all spells will need GM approval to prevent people gaming the system, which is always possible.