[list] Re: [MUD-Dev] Scripting Languages and Magic

Scion Altera scion at divineright.org
Fri Oct 10 13:26:49 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Here's a system I have been considering for the game I intend to
build some day:

You have a set of skills. Some are 'shapes', and others are
'elements'. You have to use a shape with a noun in one of three
syntaxes to create the name of a spell. You can use any shape with
any noun. Example:

  cast 'ball of fire'
  cast 'fireball'
  cast 'fire ball'

The three syntaxes are identical to each other in function. There
are three just because some spell names look goofy in the wrong

Different shapes mix with different elements for different
effects. A 'cone of cold' creates a blast of coldness in a cone
towards the target.  An 'earth rune' might be inscribed on a door,
causing rocks to fall on the unwary person who next opens the
door. A 'firebane' or 'fire shield' might protect the caster from
fire affects.

Since all these words are skills, the effectiveness of the spell
depends on the caster's skill in each of the words used. It is up to
the player to decide how to structure their magical knowledge: lots
of elements at low levels for variety, or a couple powerful ones?
What kinds of shapes to learn?

The other benefit of this system, as you may have surmised, is that
the programmer gets a lot of bang for his/her buck. When you add the
code for one shape, you get a new spell for every existing element.
Add a new element and you get a new spell for every existing shape.

One of the major drawbacks of the system is that you lose the
obvious capability for some types of spells, such as teleport or
change weather. These could still be built in around the system (or
this system could easily be built into an existing Diku style magic
system). Or, you could get really clever with your shapes and
elements. What, for instance, would a 'tunnel of wind' or a 'spirit
portal' do? Given those, what would a 'fire portal' or a 'hole of
death' do? :)

I have yet to do any design of the code for this system, so there
may very well be flaws in it that make it unwritable. It sounds like
a fun system to me though. Your mileage may vary.


                      --    scion at divineright.org    --
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