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Mark Hall
2014-10-08, 12:59 PM
So, I'm fiddling about with some ideas, and I want to develop a third way to limit a type of magic as a finite, daily resource. The game I'm playing already has two similar magic systems, but one is purely slot-based (you have 1 slot of X level, which can be filled with any spell from X level), and the other is a slot/point hybrid (you have 1 slot of X level, and you can cast that spell at normal cost; any other spell can be cast at double cost; additional points can be used to increase the power of spells).

But if you were to create a third type of magic, which is somewhat mechanically distinct, yet still a finite resource (i.e. no "cast all day with no penalty"), what might you use?

lytokk
2014-10-08, 01:13 PM
A different approach that comes to mind is casting times. Increase casting times to increase effectiveness of the spell.

Or a spellcasting system that explicitly drains life points, you're sacrificing your own vitality in order to cast a spell.

Jormengand
2014-10-08, 01:45 PM
Something like Tower of the Archmage (look it up, it's a free online flash game)'s flux points or the Cultist of the Apocalypse (in my sig)'s Sanity Limit and Corruption Levels, maybe? That is, you can keep on casting, but you get these points that you don't want, and when you have too many of them, boom, you turn into a squirrel. Or something. The point is, that if you throw too much stuff about, magic becomes, say, harder, more unwieldy, or downright dangerous. Hey, if you cast too many spells, walking around or swinging a sword is dangerous.

Or, you can cast all day, but every single spell you cast has a drawback. You can't heal your allies except by giving up your own hit points. You can make your ally stronger for a while, but she's slower. You can make your ally shoot twice as fast, but he's less accurate. Your chain lightning can arc to your allies just as easily as your enemies. Your summoned creatures aren't loyal to you. Your rogue might not want a flaming sword if it lights him up like a chrismas tree, and burns him every round he wields it. You could give this kind of magic a horrifying side - your fighter becomes big and bloated, strong and slow, or maybe an ally has tentacles that shoot out from under his skin - that hurts, and pretty much screams "Evil", but hey, he's got a weapon now!

Of course, both of these have the possibility of mitigating the drawbacks, but I reckon that's at least half of the strategic element - should I really slow down the rogue who's chasing his enemy, or would it be better if I made the fighter who's cornered his opponent into a slow-moving powerhouse? Hey, if I'm confident the guy the rogue's chasing isn't a threat to her, maybe I could slow him down, and she can catch up with him. But is it worth letting him hit her harder? Or should I just throw a chain lightning at the guy and hope it doesn't hit the rogue?

Rondodu
2014-10-08, 04:18 PM
A lot a systems (White Wolf, Reve: A Dream Ouroboros, In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas) just have a specific ressource. Casting a spell cost several (mana/dream/power/blood) points. A spell might be cheap to cast or, on the contrary, very expensive, allowing for balance. With 12 dream points, your usual daily reserve, you can detect magic (2 points) up to six times a day, or you can trip people up (4 points) to three times a day, or you can create a 5m-radius zone in which air is turned into fire (10 points) at most once a day and still have 2 points to spare.

Sometimes (Shadorun 4th ed, I think? Wouldnít bet on it) the resource isnít specific ó you lose fatigue points when casting a spell, possibly even life points if you overdo yourself ó which I think is a nice danger/reward mechanic.

You regain points either over time (1 power point per two hours, 1 per hour when [performing character specific activity ó being underground for a depth demon, or having sex for a succubus, e.g.]) or by performing specific actions (gain 1 blood point per pint of blood you drink, regain 1d7 dream points per hour of sleep ó beware, rolling 7 might yield troubling dreams).

More powerful spell casters, on top of having more numerous, more efficient spells, may also have a greater pool of said resource available.

Although I canít remember any system using this, spending more points might also be used to make a spell more powerful. Casting a magic missile is 3 points, e.g., but one can add additional missiles at 2 points each.

These allows for more powerful spell casters without character levels. Because, seriously, who enjoys levels?

lytokk
2014-10-08, 04:22 PM
Although I canít remember any system using this, spending more points might also be used to make a spell more powerful. Casting a magic missile is 3 points, e.g., but one can add additional missiles at 2 points each.



3.5 psionics does this, but you're limited to how many points you can add to a power.

Mastikator
2014-10-08, 04:26 PM
Casting a spell involves a spell cast skill check, each spell that is cast imposes a penalty, even if the spell fails. The penalty is reduced over time (1 per hour of rest, 1 per 4 hours of activity, or something).
The power of the spell decides how hard it is to cast.

So lets say the check is 2d10 + Skill mod VS DC. So a Fireball has maybe DC 15.

The more you use magic the less reliable it is, there's no mana or spell points or spell slots involved, but it is limited and better spells will become impossible before weaker spells.

Jormengand
2014-10-08, 04:37 PM
Casting a spell involves a spell cast skill check, each spell that is cast imposes a penalty, even if the spell fails. The penalty is reduced over time (1 per hour of rest, 1 per 4 hours of activity, or something).
The power of the spell decides how hard it is to cast.

So lets say the check is 2d10 + Skill mod VS DC. So a Fireball has maybe DC 15.

The more you use magic the less reliable it is, there's no mana or spell points or spell slots involved, but it is limited and better spells will become impossible before weaker spells.

Basically, truenamers.

The trouble with skill-based casters is that anyone who has the system mastery to cast at all, can cast all day. There's barely any middle ground. If you make it so that only people with system mastery can get anywhere near casting, it's not very user-friendly, and if you make it so that people without system mastery can cast, you'd better believe that the ones with system mastery will be casting forever. Wizards managed to go half-and-half with the truenamer - a newbie's 20th-level truenamer literally can't utter at level-appropriate opponents, while mine is firing off each utterance five times before having to roll to empower and quicken all his utterances.

I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm saying here be dragons.

Thinker
2014-10-08, 10:49 PM
I'm partial to magic systems similar to the binding magic found in 3.5. Choose a patron to draw power from and gain a set of abilities that can be used more or less at-will. The scope of those abilities is limited and if you want a different set of abilities (binding a new patron), you have to invest time and effort. If you don't care for the at-will aspect, add some limiter like at-will for level 1 abilities, 5/day for level 2 abilities, etc.

If you are looking for something entirely new, here's an idea:
Soul Weaving
Players have a pool of points based on {Insert Attribute Here}.
Points may be allocated to unlocking different abilities.
Points may be reallocated after an hour of meditation.
New abilities include access to spells - higher level spells require more points to unlock. Each unlocking is one cast for the day.
Allow points to also be used to gain effects from magical items that last so long as the points are assigned (for example, allocate 7 points to gain the effects of a Cloak of Fire Resistance).
Points used for magical item effects should probably be limited in some way - either taking up a slot that would be used by a magic item or by only allowing one use of this ability per day.
Points may be allocated to allow basic at-will abilities for the day instead of spells (for example, Mage Hand or Prestidigitation).

Sidmen
2014-10-09, 03:22 AM
One way that I've limited spellcasting in one of my homebrew systems was to introduce preparation times.

It was for Earth magic, which was far more ritual based than Sorcery - which used the casting points method. In essence, an Earth Witch would have to gather components then perform a ritual to "prime" a spell. Primed spells could be stored in potions (instantaneous effects, usually) or talismans (for those effects that were persistent).

The more powerful the spell, the more costly the components were (I used a resource system, so didn't have cash values), and the longer they took to prepare. It took hours to prepare the equivalent of a first-level spell.

So, the upside was that you could prepare tons of stuff in advance, but that you had to actually carry them around with you. If you neglected to carry your firebringer potion, then you were out of luck.

Vitruviansquid
2014-10-09, 04:35 AM
The Battle Mage. No, he's not a mage who fights battles, he's a mage who harnesses and uses battle in the same way a "fire mage" might harness and uses fire. The Battle Mage receives the ability to cast spells based on the number of people who get defeated or killed in the current battle that he is in, or the amount of damage dealt if that isn't too difficult to track in your system. This makes a system that is not fiddly since you don't need to keep a list of spells slotted or manage a sizable pool of spell points. It also encourages players to play quickly and jump into exploration without spending a lot of time talking about how meticulously they prepare before each battle. Finally, the system backloads the mage's power while most resource-based magic systems frontload power.

You can always refluff how the battle mage gains the ability to cast spells or change the mechanics around to make more sense for the system you're playing, so long as you have discrete triggers for gaining his spell resource that only occur during combat. You might refluff it as a vampire who can use magic shortly after consuming the blood of an enemy, or a protector of some kind who gets inspired when his allies are in danger.

Mastikator
2014-10-09, 04:47 AM
Basically, truenamers.

The trouble with skill-based casters is that anyone who has the system mastery to cast at all, can cast all day. There's barely any middle ground. If you make it so that only people with system mastery can get anywhere near casting, it's not very user-friendly, and if you make it so that people without system mastery can cast, you'd better believe that the ones with system mastery will be casting forever. Wizards managed to go half-and-half with the truenamer - a newbie's 20th-level truenamer literally can't utter at level-appropriate opponents, while mine is firing off each utterance five times before having to roll to empower and quicken all his utterances.

I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm saying here be dragons.

That depends on how you set up the skill system, if you go with something like GURPS where there are no levels and the skills have diminishing returns and set the DC of spells at the point where you don't want to spend more point in the skill then it would be fine.

Also combining systems and then comparing them is where dragons lie.