[MUD-Dev] The Best Guy on the Mud Thing

J C Lawrence claw at varesearch.com
Fri Sep 17 12:38:23 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Thu, 16 Sep 1999 10:30:36 -0700 (PDT) 
Adam Wiggins <adam at angel.com> wrote:

> I was working on a system a while back where mages would have to
> tote around spellbooks filled with their favorite spells.  You
> could 'study' a given spell for a while, rapidly pushing its skill
> level up very high (perhaps maximum, guarenteeing no failure when
> casting).  Once you were doing anything *but* studying, however,
> the skill level of the spell started to drop.  Thus, mages needed
> to haul around spellbooks in order to keep themselves in tip-top
> shape.  It also meant that they must jealously guard their books;
> another mage could steal it, and potentially learn all the spells
> in there, basically for free.

This sounds reminiscent of the DragonLance books.  There the base
concept was that the "level" of a mage was proportionate to the
number and difficulty of the spells he could memorise.  Very
impressive mages could memorise several comples spells while most of 
the rest could handle any of the big spells and had to content
themselves with some number of more minor spells.

> Now, this raises the question - why would Bubba the mage, being
> the nice kinda guy he is, not want to loan his spellbook to Boffo
> the mage, so that they could both have all the spells at their
> disposal?  

The obvious counter is to control access to the spell books.  One
approach could be to make spell books read-only to their owners:

  -- A spell book can only be read by its owner.
  -- A non-owner attempting to read a spell book is subject to being 
the target of a magical explosion.
  -- A non-mage possessing a spell book is subject to being
transmogrified into some unpleasant beast.
  -- A mage can acquire someone else's spell book, and can, with
considerable difficulty, change the ownership to himself, with the
difficulty of the transfer being proportional to the sum of the
difficulties of the spells contained.
This all is fairly easy to justify.  One approach is to state that
due to the magical qualities of the spells they must be written in a
special magical ink (writing them in any medium would be identical
to invoking the spell) which in truth is not an ink but a
metamorphic telepathic substance which cannot be directly read but
instead impresses the identity pattern of its owner and then
directly injects the content of the spell into the conciousness of
its owner when gazed upon.  It is then up to the owner's mental
capabilities as to whether and how fast he can commit the spell to

The only thing left to control is the authorship and lifetime of
spell books (you can't afford the inflationary effects of
uncontrolled authorship).

> This led me to the idea that JC's scenario reminded me of: making
> the spell's power be relative to the number of times it has been
> cast recently.  

DragonLance took the approach of making spell casting exhausting and
even fatally damaging to the caster.  One could crush mountains and
level armies, but the personal pain and suffering forced on the the
caster was severe.

> In addition, spellbooks (or rather, scrolls) with new spells would
> not "pop" staticly on mobiles: as an admin, I would place a scroll
> into the game world ONCE.  The first person to find this scroll
> would be the ONLY one to ever have it, unless he gave copies to
> his friends.  (You could 'scribe' copies of spells if you knew the
> skill, and you could even translate it into different languages to
> try and throw off potential spell-thieves.)

> At this point it would be in his or her best interest to keep the
> spell entirely to themselves, in order that it might retain its
> maximum amount of power.  As soon as he or she shares it, the
> power of the spell quickly becomes 'diluted' - perhaps to the
> point that the spell becomes completely worthless and everyone
> discards it, until a while later when it has 'recharged' and the
> whole process starts all over again...


J C Lawrence      Life: http://www.kanga.nu/   Home: claw at kanga.nu
---------(*)                Work (Linux/IA64): claw at varesearch.com
 ... Beware of cromagnons wearing chewing gum and palm pilots ...

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