Enhancing Magic

C.M. Yearsley (cmy@cs.keele.ac.uk)
Wed, 24 Nov 1993 16:25:14 +0000 (GMT)

I think the magic skill system is great, and should be fairly easy to
fix. I feel there are 2 problems facing a full-time mage:

1) Everyone needs at least some money; some must be earned. Magically
of course; a real mage won't (shudder) get his hands dirty!

1b)A mage should be able to provide useful services.

2) There most be 'interesting' goals for a mage. A trader wants to be
_rich_ and discover new trade routes noone else knows. A fighter
wants a large and deadly army, and perhaps a mighty fortress. An
explorer wants to explore, perhaps selling information. What can
a mage aspire to?

Question (1) is the easy one.

Let's assume that besides the abilities we know of, a mage has lots
of little spells that are not significant in game terms. 'Cure runny nose',
'Conjuring', 'dowse for water', that sort of thing.

Let's have a skill (suggestions for a name, anyone?) that involves
spending a week working for the peasants doing this kind of job, and
getting paid for it.

There are lots of ways of implementing it; I think any would work. I'll
describe one here, but I'd be happy with Rich going for almost any varient
of the above idea.

How about this, to start discussion off:

1) Can only be done once per turn per location.
2) Pays amount equal to 1/3 of available tax money, or twice
that amount if used from a tower (surrounding region pays
then, of course, not the tower itself!) (Is this enough? Half, not 1/3??)
3) Does not diminish available tax base.
4) Belongs to the 'Magic' family of spells.
5) Cost: 1 mana, Time: one week Ingredients: none. (Is this too quick?)

Here's some vague ideas of 'useful' spells. I'm thinking of what can
already be done, and suggesting spells to help, or just do the same thing
another way.

Raise defence of structure [MAGIC? ARTCONS?]
Perhaps needs mage present for turn after turn. Perhaps gives
building a boost that decays over time - I'd perfer the latter.

Improve mine yield (or mine safety, even?) [SCRYING]
Perhaps you need to specify a resource. Perhaps you need to
have some as an ingredient; easy for iron/gold, but preserves the
inaccessibility of more unusual materials....

Weaken Structure
Speaks for itself. Needs some exotic ingredient. Research-only,
of course.

Rich: implement the randomness in the movement of roundships (if not
both) that the rules refer to but presently does not exist. With this spell
a ship could move faster and safer (or have a terrible time,
depending). 'Foulweather' on an army messes up its archers. 'Fairwind'
on your own army cancels this.
I don;t know if the noble would have to be _on_ the ship.
Perhaps yes, and then have an art. con. spell to make a magic compass
or a magic sail that would have the same effect but not need a mage
there. If a spell needs a mage on a ship for turn after turn, it's a
_huge_ cost to the mage faction.
This spell needs active trade-by-sea to be worth it for ships.

An alchemical potion that makes workers work harder for a while;
great for castle-building.

Bless Crops:
Increases tax base of a province. Time: 3 weeks, cost: 3 mana
(so with adv. meditation you could do 1/turn, othwise you couldn't)

Blight (Necromancy, of course)
Decreases tax base of a province.

Some combat ideas

The easiest things to tamper with are probably initiative and retreat

A spell that improves (by a little bit) the chance of one of _your_
stack being picked to attack.

Perhaps a similar 'bad' spell to cast on the other side.

A spell to improve your morale ("courage") or a "fear" spell to
make the other side fun after taking less that 50% losses.

A necromancy spell "Ghost Warriors". They can't attack or do anything,
but when a target is picked by someone trying to attack you, a
ghost may be picked, thereby saving your men and wasting that attack.

There must be other things like this that we could have. Let's not
forget that they could be alchemist abilities (potion of courage,
1 dose treats 10 men) or artifact construction spells (Crown of Command),

These are just the random ideas I can come up with right now - Rich, so
we all know what to talk about, is this the sort of magic you like
or not?

Another thing is - to make 'explorer' more fun I'd like there to be one or two
skills that can't even be researched, and one or two super-special artifacts
that must be found, not made. There don't have to be many; just enough so that
there are interesting rumours going around. Just enough to make someone
who hasn't explored much, and who hasn't talked to other players much,
a teeny tiny bit worried.....


Chris Yearsley

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