Author Topic: "Realistic" magic casting criteria  (Read 9554 times)

Endorya

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"Realistic" magic casting criteria
« on: August 16, 2013, 11:51:05 AM »
I'm over the game's magic system and I was really thinking of making it different from traditional fantasy games, where in traditional games, players are able to cast magic just like that, with no restrictions whatever except for the character's mana availability. So, how different could I do it? I want it to be plausibly "realistic" with a "fairly" criteria demand.

My game has 9 magic schools, each one focusing in a particular area.
They are the following:

* Sun (Collects its power from heat sources like the Sun and fire)
* Stone (Collects the energy from big chucks of solid rock.)
* Lotus (Collects the energy from plants, from grass to trees)
* Eclipse (Collects the energy from the planet's negative discharges of energy that happen at night)
* Moon (Collects the energy at night from the light's moon)
* Comet (Collects the energy from the cosmos)
* Storm (Collects the energy from the planet's atmosphere and water)
* Leech (Collects the energy from all the living creatures, plants and animals)
* Feral (Collects the energy exclusively from large wild animals)

Ok, so what I'm attempting to do is restricting the way each magic school works to cast magic. This is what I have so far:

Sun - It needs at least one of the following conditions:
* Day time with with about 60% of the sky without clouds.
* Any character in the party actively hold a torch or any other fire source.

Stone
* A land type rich in rocks like mountains and rocky deserts.
* It can work quite well inside constructions like castles and dungeons.
* Unable to function if rocks are covered with ice or snow.

Lotus
* It requires biomes rich in plants, like forests and grasslands.

Eclipse - It needs all of the following conditions:
* It requires night time.
* Air humidity above 60%

Moon - It needs all of the following conditions:
* It requires night time.
* At least a quarter of moon's light visibility.

Comet - It needs all of the following conditions:
* It requires night time.
* They sky should be at least 60% clear of clouds.

Storm - It needs all of the following conditions:
* Environmental humidity of 70%
* They sky should be at least 60% filled with clouds.

Leech
* It requires land types filled with life, plants or animals.

Feral
* It requires land types with abundant large, wild animals.

These restrictions may look more than fairly, nonetheless, those who exercise magic will be able to store their spells into runes, allowing them to cast spells without needing to match that particular magic school's criteria. However, runes will have a limited amount of spell storing capacity and will break to dust after some usages. Wizards will also need to recharge these runes under normal casting criteria before they can used them at will. I think this will provide the right flexibility for casting magic under various scenarios, without making a wizard feeling too week or incredibly too powerful. Though I strongly believe that with the right strategy they will still present themselves a very dangerous character to have as both an opponent and ally.

I know its difficult for you to fully understand the implications of having such design implemented when not even remotely aware of how everything will work in the end. But still, I would be interested in listening to your point of views.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 11:54:41 AM by Endorya »
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guest509

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 03:09:05 AM »
Sounds fun. Not sure realistic is the word here, but sounds fun.

Vanguard

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2013, 04:11:04 AM »
Could "believable" be a better word for what you're looking for?

The best way to make believable magic is to draw from things that real world cultures actually believed in.

The thing about magic is that it's something people came up with to understand the world around them.  People saw lightning, and they didn't know about electrons and such, so they explained it as a god's powerful magic weapon.  Magic was about evil monsters who prefer to attack newborns as an explanation of infant mortality.  People didn't know anything about how the sun and the moon worked, so they came up with magical explanations for both.

Imagine the world as if it were built out of intuitive concepts rather than the laws of physics.  Imagine the world as if it really functioned exactly as people subjectively perceive it, and that all the strange quirks of human perception were 100% accurate representations of reality.  So correlation DOES equal causation.  And luck is a real thing and certain people are lucky or unlucky or whatever reasons.  Those sorts of things are what you want.

Endorya

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2013, 08:48:18 AM »
Sounds fun. Not sure realistic is the word here, but sounds fun.
Could "believable" be a better word for what you're looking for?

The best way to make believable magic is to draw from things that real world cultures actually believed in.
I think plausible is the word I seek. What I'm trying to do is to supply a sort of a "plausible" approach (or a scientific approach) to explain how magic works, while at the same time exploiting its functionality to add restrictions for casting magic, because I want to "force" the player to ponder cautiously about the magic schools he will focus on but mainly restraining him from casting magic at will.

Making it belief-based would mean that magic itself would be built around faith and around a great deal of lack of knowledge. I don't want this. My game needs a set of magic schools strongly founded on knowledge in which anyone can attempt to learn it, regardless of their culture. I want magic to be seen as something justifiable and testable like being a blacksmith or an alchemist, I want magic to be felt like science to be studied and improved upon. I don't want it to happen just like that without a reasonable explanation.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 09:44:20 AM by Endorya »
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malignatius

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2013, 09:43:56 AM »
I like your approach, but personally I'd probably go with fewer schools of magic. Eclipse and moon could for instance be merged and Lotus-Leech too. It would make it a little bit "cleaner" I think.

Endorya

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2013, 10:03:00 AM »
I like your approach, but personally I'd probably go with fewer schools of magic. Eclipse and moon could for instance be merged and Lotus-Leech too. It would make it a little bit "cleaner" I think.
I see what you mean but they are very different, let me explain:
[Note: the following descriptions are very resumed]

Eclipse is founded on necromancy: resurrecting the dead, cursing, causing mind attacks like fear and inflicting diseases from rotten corpses, while Comet is the astral magic school, offering strong blessings, the only magic school to create portals and capable of changing the player's destiny when near doom. Other things on Comet magic school includes summoning an Astral Golem and casting the devastating meteor shower.

Leech is about stealing health, mana and stamina attributes as well as converting anyone's health, stamina or mana to anyone elses's health, stamina or mana. Lotus on the other is severely bound to plants providing the ability to heal, poison, root to ground along many other things of nature's character like invoking the planet's spirit to bring fallen allies back to life.
 
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 10:56:35 AM by Endorya »
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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2013, 10:03:44 AM »
Making it belief-based would mean that magic itself would be built around faith and around a great deal of lack of knowledge. I don't want this.

I don't mean believable for people within the setting, I mean believable in the sense that the player can look at the game's world and say to themselves "This setting is coherent.  These cultures could plausibly exist given their circumstances, and the ways people behave and the things they think are all plausible."

Endorya

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2013, 10:15:00 AM »
I don't mean believable for people within the setting, I mean believable in the sense that the player can look at the game's world and say to themselves "This setting is coherent.  These cultures could plausibly exist given their circumstances, and the ways people behave and the things they think are all plausible."
Then I don't see the point of your comment when this thread is about magic casting criteria and not how realistically plausible cultures could came to be.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 10:16:39 AM by Endorya »
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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2013, 10:22:46 AM »
Because there's no such thing as realistic magic, so I assumed that you were really looking for magic similar to what real people have historically believed in, or magic that appeals to humankind's collective unconsciousness.

Maybe I didn't really understand what you were asking for.

Endorya

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2013, 10:35:28 AM »
Because there's no such thing as realistic magic, so I assumed that you were really looking for magic similar to what real people have historically believed in, or magic that appeals to humankind's collective unconsciousness.
Maybe the realistic word was not the best choice, though I still quoted it as I was referring to a fantasy element called magic . Anyway, I just looked for a way to restrain magic usage by explaining how magic in the game works. I did it in a way so that the player can fully understand those restrictions without arousing questions. If a particular magic school just works during the night, it leaves no room for doubt, it only works at night. Though I will still provide an explanation to why it only works in night. But that plausible explanation is bound only to work in that fantasy world setting, mostly because it is a fantasy world and out of our reach to be scientifically measured.

When I say a plausible explanation, I mean the same way Star Wars explains the how the "Force" works in the Star Wars universe, completely disconnected from our own world's rules. If people accept trolls, orcs, dragons and fireballs, I really think they will do just fine accepting these plausible explanations.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 11:00:57 AM by Endorya »
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Trowel

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2013, 02:38:56 PM »
I think what you're saying is you want to build a magic system that exists for some logical reason, not simply by some unexplained or mystical method like the god of magic etc...

You could always explain it with symbols that need to be 'charged' or activated by the element they represent in order to release their power.

So for example, a goblet inscribed with pictures of the sun can only be used where there is sunlight, stone magic items need to be placed on a rock to activate etc.

Endorya

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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2013, 03:37:45 PM »
I think what you're saying is you want to build a magic system that exists for some logical reason, not simply by some unexplained or mystical method like the god of magic etc...

You could always explain it with symbols that need to be 'charged' or activated by the element they represent in order to release their power.

So for example, a goblet inscribed with pictures of the sun can only be used where there is sunlight, stone magic items need to be placed on a rock to activate etc.

Yeah. That's basically that. But Magic can still be used without requiring artifacts, if meeting the magic school's casting criteria. For example, you can exercise Sun spells during the day without runes, but as sun goes down, you will need a light source, such as a torch or a rune with a pre-casted spell on it in order to cast that Sun spell.
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Re: "Realistic" magic casting criteria
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2013, 09:10:44 PM »
I would use the term Thematically Cohesive...but I know what you are saying.