[MUD-Dev] DGN: Chemistry based magic systems

rayzam rayzam at home.com
Wed Dec 5 23:07:18 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nathan F. Yospe" <yospe at kanga.nu>
> "Bryan "Cyngon" Helmkamp" <cyngon at planettribes.com> said:

>> I think a good magic system can be formed by using a chemistry
>> simulation.  We are all familiar with different systems that
>> involve combining substances to get magical effects (for example
>> potions).

> Mostly preset.  Yeah, we've all seen them.  The question here is,
> how is the effect of mixing two magical elements determined?

>> Now when a player combines two magical whatevers, say a fire
>> attack and a earth attack, the MUD adds up the charges to see how
>> close it is to being "stable".  If the fire had a charge of +3
>> and the earth had a charge of +5 then a stable spell would be
>> formed because it totals +8.  A stable spell would theoretically
>> be effective while a very unstable spell would not work right.
>> Unstable spells could have negative consequences as determined by
>> the designer, or just be more unpredictable.

> As long as it's designer determined, you're really just creating a
> guide for designers.  A cooler idea would be to build a system for
> magic which actually modeled the effects of combined magical
> elements, based on some series of factors.  Perhaps chemistry
> would make a better starting point than, say, random dice.  I'd
> prefer it.  I certainly used as complex and combinational a model
> last time I designed a magic system, though one of the
> consequences was the absense of "traditional" spells.  But what
> does the magical equivalent of, say, crystal structure translate
> to?  That is one of the things that you can predict from purely
> ionic chemistry, with a little training.  I'd think that you would
> get things like transforms, transfers, illusions, energies,
> knowledge, creation, and destruction, or some such set, as
> "chemical properties" of a spell... and remember, even knowing the
> chemical formula doesn't tell you everything about an object of
> whatever material.  Graphite, fullerene, or diamond?  Powder or
> large crystal?  Perhaps something equivalent to structure, when
> there's varied solutions to the question, what is it?

I've been working on a mineral & material system. Using geology
references, I'm taking a series of minerals, placing them in
appropriate environs. That's fairly standard. The database also
includes their mineral properties. Some are quite obvious how
they'll interact with materials, like hardness, specific gravity,
tensile strength determining armor features such as protective
value, weight, mobility, bulk. The other properties, like the
lattice structure and other categories, I'm attempting to work out
in a system for magic.

This system will include needing to use the right minerals to allow
specific enchantments on created equipment. Want to make it fire
resistant, you need to make it with a material that will be able to
absorb a spell of fire resistance. The amount of resistance is
determined by the quality of the mineral, the amount of it in the
final piece of equipment, the skill of the crafter, and the skill of
the spellcaster.

The system also will work for potions, though it'll interact with a
plant server/herbology, and the plants will have the larger
impact. If people are interested, I can describe it in more detail
when its completed, privately or on list.

So it's not a magic system as in a spell. But I did start designing
the mineral and material system, with the idea of taking the
properties of the minerals and creating a series of rules about
it. Then it becomes easy to add more minerals into the system, or
even make some new ones up not found on Earth ;) It adds a great
diversity, and the ability to play with substitutions: Well this
mineral is in the same class, with a slightly higher specific
gravity, I hope it comes out okay.

The final bonus, in my opinion, is that the players interested in
handling the system, have an easy way of researching it, look at
some geology references. Since any system created is likely to be
put up on a website anyways, why not have the tenets of it
accessible to all, and save the developer the time of compiling it
themselves :)


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