[MUD-Dev] Striving for originality

Robin Cloutman rycochet at rycochet.demon.co.uk
Tue Jun 4 18:50:17 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

I'll only reply to a little bit, as I'm designing a mud codebase, and 
it's the bit that i've thought on most... Fun Magic Systems ;-)

Matt Chatterley <matt at eldoops.co.uk> wrote:

> A magic system based on material components, syllable-stringing
> and gestures (or any of these) might require real brain power
> behind it, quick thinking and creativity from a player (I'm
> certainly planning some sort of free form magical interaction
> along these lines), but to gain this new style of play, will it
> take too long for the average player to pick up and use? Instead
> of typing 'fireball <target>', they find that they have to acquire
> the spell, its ingredients, and then perform the right sequence to
> use it .. would this put them off?

I was thinking about how magic systems could be made more skillfull
- having it so you just "cast fireball target" is all well and good,
but once you know the spell there's nothing new to it, no matter
what you want to do...

Then someone on one of the NG asked "how about an utter command"
where you cast the spell, but people can see what it is you are
using, and that got me thinking...

As an idea, instead of having named spells (fireball, heal, etc) how
about creating the spells from what someone utters - perform some
magic on the string the player enters, and create the spell from

Splitting the string into syllables seems the first step, and giving
rules of syntax looks good too. I thought for a while about having a
list of syllables, but eventually decided that it might be better to
play with the actual values of the characters themselves, maybe
compress a 3 char syllable to 2-bytes, then use that on a fixed size
array to lookup a final value. Have the final value have a Power, a
Focus, and a Type (earth, air, fire, water, good, bad, etc).

If this is done for each syllable in turn, then perform some magic
on the line as a whole (maybe sorting out higher/lower power & focus
by the order etc), then you end up with single Power and Focus
values, and aarray of syllable types (maybe as a string for
simplicity) - then lookup spell commands of that order, and pass the
Power and Focus values to it - hence a spell of "Fire" could have
low Power and high Focus - and create a spark to light a torch, or
low Focus and high Power, and create a fireball, with anything in

I decided on some simple rules - if two succeeding syllables have
the same Type, then multiple the power & focus for new values,
otherwise add them. Any syllable has a maximum Power+Focus of 5. The
character remembers what Types (from the array) they know, and gains
skill in them - so they can't cast spell syllables too powerful for
themselves. And they gain experience evened for all the Types - so
if 25% of their total Type exp is in one Type, they gain exp to that
Type at 25% (if you see what i mean) - so it's easier to be a
specialist than a generalist.

Another idea that came about chatting to a friend - once a spell can
be cast then the player should be able to write it into a spellbook
and give it an easier name to remember...

And I've got to admit, part of this idea came from wanting different
races to have the same spells looking totally different (hey, if i
can workout the syllable lokoup to work right then I'll make that
evil spells *look* evil ;-)

Don't think I've left anything out... managed to cover about 30
sheets of paper with doodles doing this ;-)


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