[MUD-Dev] Scripting Languages and Magic

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Sat Oct 11 23:30:26 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Fri, 10 Oct 2003 15:28:39 -0400 
David Smith <Smith> wrote:
> From: J C Lawrence on Friday, October 10, 2003

>> It becomes particularly interesting when the power of a spell scales
>> up linearly with the number of people who know it, but decreases
>> exponentially with the number who have used it.

> That, I kind of like, I'd call it a skeptic's model of Voodoo.
> Whereas other "known" magical systems might have different knowledge
> models (would knowledge model be a possibly correct term here?)

It could, but I'd consider it largely irrelevant.  The critical factor
is that you can make the effectiveness and other qualities of a spell to
be derived functions.  As such you can make the dependent on whatever
you wish -- the dependencies could in fact be unsubtle and manifold.  eg
a simple example:

  Spell XXX's range is proportional to how close the casting character's
  inventory weight approximates 75% of his carrying capacity and is an
  additional function of the number of pointy items in the environment,
  and inversely proportional to the number of red items in the
  environment.  The power of the spell however is a function of the
  number of elves within a 5 minute walk's radius and the total quantity
  of iron or pigs blood in the local environment approximating 5Kg, but
  not exceeding 8Kg.

With such an abstruse approach it would be fairly easy to make spell
definition a thing of trial and experimentation.  Wizards would have an
idea of what sort of thing they were approaching, but the actual
definition of what is accomplished could be fairly complex and
contextual.  This would in turn tend to lead to the formation of
superstition models such as:

  -- Fire spells seem to work better if you're carrying glass beads.

  -- Storm spells work better if you're really tired.

  -- You don't want to cast any alchemy spells when there are dwarves

  -- Really big area affect spells work better if people are constantly
  walking in and out of the room.

Building a system which encourages such superstitions, and whose graphs
for the various functions are interesting wave-forms shouldn't be too
hard, and could be quite interesting.

Hit the archives.  This specific area has been discussed before --
sometime within the last 18 months IIRC.

J C Lawrence                
---------(*)                Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas. 
claw at kanga.nu               He lived as a devil, eh?		  
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/  Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.

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