Author Topic: Spell casting types of costs  (Read 3647 times)

devonps

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Spell casting types of costs
« on: December 18, 2011, 10:27:32 AM »
I'm currently looking into the design of spell casting cost types and currently have designed the following options:

  • Mana
  • Health
  • Sacrifice of an ally

What I've been thinking about lately is whether I should ditch these (standard?) types and go for something slightly different and my thoughts led me to a combination of:

  • Mental fatigue
  • Cool down

I realise that in essence I'm swapping one inhibitor for another however I do think my second approach provides more tactical play for the player.

Does anyone know of another roguelike that uses my second approach - so I can take a look.


Regards,

Steve.

Ancient

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2011, 10:43:31 AM »
I think I played such a roguelike.

*freezes halfway reaching for RL Database and RL list*

Ah, yes! Cardinal Quest demo has timers on spells instead of mana. Its cool down essentially. I am curious in what way mental fatigue differs from mana points.
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

Pueo

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 10:52:00 AM »
I don't know about any specific roguelikes, but I know that there are a few basic options:

Cast from Mana/Mana-like-thing - Pretty basic.  It's also mostly the same thing as cooldown, because you have to wait for the Mana to recharge.
Cast from Health - Can add a tactical side to gameplay, ie, "Do I have enough health to cast this and still survive?" type of thing
Ally Sacrifice - I wouldn't use this one, it seems a bit harsh for one spell
Charges - Each spell can only be used 'x' amount of times, then it needs a recharge. Could be a version of mental fatigue, you get tired after casting a spell 'x' times, for example.

However, some different options could be:

Expendable spells - Make a spell out of some ingredients and you have a one-time charm. I would personally use this as a supplement.

Casting time - It takes 'x' turns to cast Fireball, for example.  Hard to implement without unbalancing the game.

Blood Sacrifice - Cut your health to 10% or so and gain the ability to cast a powerful spell a few times.

That's all I can really think of right now.  :)
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devonps

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2011, 11:02:30 AM »
Ancient thanks for the reply.

I'd forgotten about Cardinal Quest - I even have a copy of it!

I guess my view is coloured by my experiences with films and books - where I don't see the mage/wizard reaching for a "mana potion" to refill rather they can only cast so many spells at any one time. I'm trying to put together something that is slightly different for my players, something that makes them stop and think or at least slows them down.

At the moment I find hard to quantify any technical difference between the two (just as I said in my original post), except that one goes down in value as it's used and the other increases.

I guess I'm just a little jaded with the whole notion of using "mana potions".

Steve.

devonps

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2011, 11:10:20 AM »
I don't know about any specific roguelikes, but I know that there are a few basic options:

Cast from Mana/Mana-like-thing - Pretty basic.  It's also mostly the same thing as cooldown, because you have to wait for the Mana to recharge.
Cast from Health - Can add a tactical side to gameplay, ie, "Do I have enough health to cast this and still survive?" type of thing
Ally Sacrifice - I wouldn't use this one, it seems a bit harsh for one spell
Charges - Each spell can only be used 'x' amount of times, then it needs a recharge. Could be a version of mental fatigue, you get tired after casting a spell 'x' times, for example.

However, some different options could be:

Expendable spells - Make a spell out of some ingredients and you have a one-time charm. I would personally use this as a supplement.

Casting time - It takes 'x' turns to cast Fireball, for example.  Hard to implement without unbalancing the game.

Blood Sacrifice - Cut your health to 10% or so and gain the ability to cast a powerful spell a few times.

That's all I can really think of right now.  :)

Hi Pueo,

You have some interesting ideas there, I've responded accordingly.

Ally sacrifice - if used would be for the Necromancer class mainly, where he can summon lots of weak allies and then use them as sacrifice.
Charges - I didn't think of that, in effect you're actually restricting the spell and not the caster - nice idea.
Expendable spells - Interesting idea, I would need to think about that approach before forming an opinion.
Casting time - I could implement this as a part of my delayed effects sub-system, interesting thought that one.
Blood Sacrifice - I see this as an extension of the "cast from health" mechanic, so that would be fairly easy to implement.

Regards,
Steve.

Hamish

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 12:44:51 PM »
For the tileset I am making I have made spell tiles that are written in blood - I like the HP related spell casting as it forces hard choices and gives magic a little dramatic potency.

I don't have extensive knowledge of all the roguelikes out there so I don't know if this has been done already, but how about having manna as a property of the environment rather than the character.

In Larry Nivens 'burning city' books manna exists as a non renewable ambient energy. Areas that see a lot of magic use loose the manna and magic ceases to work. The stories all revolve around wizards looking for alternative sources of manna.

Terrain based manna points would create lots of new areas for strategy, magic users would have to move around a lot and would be drawing on the same manna as there enemies. Non magic users would also be able to take advantage of different levels of ambient manna by keeping to dead zones.

Also in the Larry Niven books the wizards are able to drain magical items of their manna if there is no ambient source - this could allow the player to cast spells by desiccating magic rings, weapons and trinkets.

Unrefined gold is a major source of manna in the books, and cold iron acts as a sink for manna - this could be used to explain why magic users are only allowed staves and silver knives.

something to think about.

eclectocrat

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2011, 01:16:55 PM »
I'll tell you what I use in my game Mysterious Castle.

I'm going for more of a D&D type magic system, where you can learn spells of different levels, and then prepare a certain number of spells with material components when not in battle. In my case the components are mushrooms of different colours. So you can prepare X (lets say 5) level one spells when not fighting, and then during play you can cast them. This puts a limit on what the caster can du during combat, and adds a scarcity value to the material components (mushrooms), which requires you to balance out what spells you prepare/cast. It's a little like the expendable spells system mentioned above, but without being embodied in an object.

PS. For some really great magic systems you need to look at Ultima 8, it's an isometric RPG from 1993/4 which had 5 different magic systems (ok, 4 that the PC could use), each one different from the other. I thought that game felt really magical when you had to arrange red and black candles and various reagents on a pentagram in order to prepare fire spells. If you did it wrong, a demon might appear and smash you! Good times...

Darren Grey

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2011, 02:36:36 PM »
I agree that the traditional "spam fireball, chug mana potion" method of combat is bad for mages, and a cooldown system can work very well in a turn-based game to make you think very carefully about your every move.  ToME4 is the best example I know of this, and it even stretches the cooldown system to a lot of vital warrior skills, making for a much more interesting combat system in general.  The best part is it applies to enemies too, so you can try to get them to waste a spell against a temporary shield before closing in to hack them down, and other such tactics.

devonps

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2011, 05:39:46 PM »
@Darren Grey - in my game all magic casting monsters (player, enemies, npcs) will use the same magic system and spells, this is something I've baked in from the very first line of code.

@Hamish - I like the idea of the environment controlling whether spells can be cast of not, makes for very interesting choke points in a game.

@Electrocrat - thanks for the tip about Ultima 8; Having the classes perform magic in different ways is something that appeals to me, for example a summoner could only cast (magical) allies who actually cast the spell.

@All - thanks everyone you've given me some really great ideas for my magic system(s) in general as well as providing input into my specific question.

Regards,

Steve.

lulero

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2011, 11:58:45 PM »
Wizard101 isn't a very good game, but I like the battle mechanism a lot and I feel it would do great in roguelike settings.

The player owns a deck of cards (spells/skills). Game would goes somewhat like this:
  • When entering a new level, the player a) shuflles his discard, deck and hand b) draw a new hand
  • The player can, anytime, play a card from his hand if he has one
  • When used the card is discarded and another is drawn (if any left)
  • Class/skills/whatever unlock access to some cards and make them more powerful
  • Some piece of equipement (weapons mostly) can provide "perma" cards that aren't discarded (but use one hand slot for a relatively weak effect)
That last point is quite different from the original but I like it better.

Anyway, I consider using a similar system for my project, but since I never finish anything :'( if anyone like the idea it's not mine anyway :P

Jo

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2011, 02:49:24 AM »
  As far as sacrificing an ally, I like this idea. The cost of magic is blood of your friends. If mana does not automatically refill and this is the only way to get more mana...this is cool. 100pts for a baby, 10pts for an old man. 1pt for a chicken. If you run out of mana it can start taking your own life/health.

  Along with cooldowns on most of the abilities, WoW also uses the following mechanisms.

Warlock - Standard refill over time mana, but the player may easily transfer health to mana.

Warrior - Uses rage. It is built up by hurting and getting hurt. Starts at zero. Fades over time. Has the effect that a Warrior stats a fight a big slow but gains ability throughout the fight. They have the ability to finish you off with a huge blow at the end.

Rogue - Uses energy. Starts at 100% and falls quickly. Refills quickly as well. Also certain abilities create combo points which other super abilities also require. This class generally opens a fight big. Then slows down as they build up combo points. Then once their combo bar is full they end in grand fashion.

DK - Uses a 6 rune system of 2 types. Using abilities takes 1 or more runes. Runes refill over time. A sort of cool down system based on the resources not the spell used. Kinda wonky but fun.

Shaman/Mage/Priest/Paladin/Hunter - Standard refilling style mana pools. I think they call the Hunter pool 'focus' or some such. These classes can open big at range but they can run out of mana and peter out.

Druid - Uses the Mage, Rogue or Warrior method depending on what animal form the Druid takes.
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Jo

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2011, 02:54:23 AM »
  I wonder if any roguelikes use a food system where you can get sick from eating/drinking too much. This could be a fun little control on how much potion a person chugs.
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Pueo

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2011, 03:09:03 AM »
  I wonder if any roguelikes use a food system where you can get sick from eating/drinking too much. This could be a fun little control on how much potion a person chugs.

I believe Nethack has a thing were you can vomit if you eat too much, but I don't think that's exactly what you meant.  That's a good idea though, mind if I use it for my project?
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devonps

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2011, 07:20:48 AM »
@Jo My Warlock class already has spells that do just that - transfer health to mana & vice versa.

I don't play WoW so have no idea what a DK is however based on your description I have a Runecaster class that uses the same concept, so I'm kinda guessing they are the same?

devonps

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Re: Spell casting types of costs
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2011, 02:06:25 PM »
I thought it might be useful to someone to see an overview of my thoughts about the different ideas posted in this thread.

For each idea I've posted the opening paragraph(s) and I've posted a much more indepth article on my blog Veneficus Schola.

Mana

Using mana is a well-known and trusted way of controlling when the player character can cast spells and it is quite simple to implement.

Health

Using the casters health to cast magic is a lesser used alternative to using mana and presents a direct risk to the caster, because low health means a greater chance of death.

To counter this the caster should be provided with cheap and quick ways to increase their health e.g. a spell that will swap mana for health.

Ally sacrifice

Ally sacrifice is a mechanic that allows the caster to sacrifice any number of his/her allies to provide the power to cast any number of spells.

The basic idea is that the death of each ally makes available an amount of “power” that can be passed back to the caster which can then be used to cast one or more spells.

By using this mechanic not only will the casters allies attack all enemies of the caster but upon their death they will return an amount of power back to the caster, which allows the caster then to cast further spells. An interesting side thought is that the power returned to the caster could be based on how many enemies each ally has killed.

Spells have charges

Simply put this means that a spell can be cast a specific number of times without the need for any further preparation, ingredients or penalties to the caster (unless the spell fails).

One of the key questions for this mechanic is how can the spells be prepared?

I can think of using rituals, ingredients and over time as valid options.

Using a totem pole (aka a fetish)

Once the totem pole has been placed on the ground it emits an energy field that provides the caster (or even everyone in that field) with enough energy to cast spells.

The totem pole would last for so many turns before it is exhausted at which point it should be collected by the caster and allowed to recharge over time and of course whilst it is recharging the caster cannot cast spells – quite an interesting challenge for the player I think.

Mental Fatigue

Mental fatigue represents the amount of concentration needed to cast spells, each spell produces fatigue that the caster accumulates over time and therefore makes it slightly more difficult to cast the next spell. If he/she stops casting spells then this fatigue will go down, however if he continues to cast spells then the increase in mental fatigue will affect his physical statues, e.g. they could pass out thus rendering themselves vulnerable to attack and maybe death.

Environment based energy

My initial thoughts (and I admit they are based on a forum comment) are that the terrain will contain both pockets of energy and natural energy seeping from the ground. This will allow the caster to cast spells wherever they are but if they want to cast something powerful or more than 1 spell then they need to move into these pockets.

When the caster is moving around isolated and specific terrain tiles will contain enough energy to allow the casting a single spell. The caster will need some indication of where the next “casting” terrain tile is located and I’m not sure how to do that yet, maybe a visual marker of some kind.

Spell preparation

This allows the caster to have a set number of spells ready to be cast at a moment’s notice. Each spell can only be cast once before it needs preparing again. To offset this one-shot spell casting approach the caster my thoughts are turning towards a quick turn-around for preparing spells and/or maybe only part preparing spells so they can be used quicker.

As I said at the top of this post I've included only the opening paragraph for each description.

Regards,

Steve.