[MUD-Dev] Re: let's call it a spellcraft

Oliver Jowett oliver at jowett.manawatu.planet.co.nz
Sat Sep 26 19:28:05 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Fri, 25 Sep 1998, quzah [sotfhome] wrote:

> Or, just keep a global amount of spell/magic energy. The soil/land
> could add to this number every pulse/whatever, and when a spell is
> cast, it is removed from this number -- this way, the land would be
> able to be magiced out/depleted. Another thought, is to have it room
> or zone based, and you could deplete the magical energy of the room
> or zone. You could also give different regneration rates for the
> mana/magic in the room or zone, based on terrain type, or whatever.
> You could then have low or high magic areas, or areas without any
> what so ever. Shrug.

I'm currently messing around with a magical-energy-density system which is
something like a finer grained version of this.

Every area has some density of magical energy. All magical effects come
from tapping movement of magical energy down a density gradient. The
energy itself is not consumed. To move magical energy against the gradient
requires external energy. Uncontrolled movement of magical energy happens
whereever there is a gradient anyway, dependant on the size of the
gradient and the type of materials it passes through, and produces
essentially random production of magical effects as this happens.

How I hope to actually use it: your typical "mage" is someone who is good

. gathering magical energy into himself against a gradient [concentration]
. preventing the magical energy from seeping out again [insulation]
. extracting useful effects from controlled releases of magic [control]

There are a lot of interesting effects that spring from this sort of
system (I'm still working them out) - magical containment systems, mages
becoming temporarily more powerful when they move from a high-magic to a
low-magic region, the possibility to weaken the magic of the entire world
by isolating magic away from it somewhere, magic-saturated items (or
people!) spontaneously destroying themselves when taken into low-magic
areas (this acts as a nice balance to powerful magical items, actually :),

The big problem I'm having is in getting magic to actually flow and
dissipate across the world (from the points where I initially introduce it
into the visible game-world - I have magic reservoir external to the game
world that feeds these points) without bringing the machine to its knees.
The system seems to have a lot of parallels with fluids, and I'm sure
there are ways of handling this already worked out, but I can't find
references to them. 

Anyone have any suggestions or pointers? Ideally I want something that
handled magic flow at a high level for those regions that had relatively
stable flow, and only go down to detailed descriptions of the distribution
when you had localised changes (eg. mages casting spells). 


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