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1eyedking How should a mage's playstyle/quests be like?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by DJOGamer PT, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. DJOGamer PT Magister

    DJOGamer PT
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    Although I'll be specifically focusing on ARPG's (like Gothic/Deus Ex), you can also talk about how it should be in CRPG's.

    My question is how should a purely Mage character be played and how should quests revolving around that playstyle be designed (faction/guild quests being the most obvious example, but of course they are not limited only to them)?

    For example a Thief should be played like Garret is meant to be played in the Thief games, and his missions should also be like the ones in the Thief series. If the game has a diologue system and speech skill throw in some diplomatic options (specially some "street wise" ones) or even better a sort of "Trickester" persona.

    A Warrior character should be played like in Severance and NIOH - although I quite like the "smart warrior" role like we have in Dark Messiah and the Conan stories were character is not only a very capable fighter but also one who will trick/outwit/use his sorroundings whenever possible. And his quests are, obviously, going to be: battles; war campaigns; protection details; and ocasionaly venturing into a dangerous locations to retrive something/someone.

    All well and good so far, but this brings us to the Wizard archtype.
    Being only about combat is, IMHO, really poor design - as it's essentially a warrior character with no profiency in melee combat. Besides, not every setting is high fantasy were magic can be molded into fire ball just because someone understands it's workings.
    Maybe a mix of the other 2 roles? The problem with this aproach (like the one I mentioned before), is that it makes this character role offer nothing new and unique in comparasion to the other 2 major roles.

    What are your thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  2. Covenant Learned

    Covenant
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    There's too much variety in how magic-users are depicted to have a straight answer for this. For every fireball-slinger there's also a wizard who barely ever uses what we'd term as 'magic', like Gandalf. And that probably wouldn't go over too well in a game, particularly an ARPG.

    For my part, I think a mage's style should be to attempt to set up the playing-field so that he's won - or nearly won - before he even steps out onto it. So rituals of empowerment and protection, traps (overlap with thief here obviously), brokering alliances, and research are all likely to come before major combats and confrontations. The challenge is in making that style actually interesting.

    If you think about it in terms of old JRPGs like Final Fantasy I - mages are the guys who spend ages grinding on the Peninsula of Power, so they're overlevelled and strong enough to defeat anything they're likely to run into. Fighters are the ones who know what every enemy is weak against, so they focus on playing each fight optimally. Thieves are the guys who use speed-running techniques, clipping and RNG manipulation to bypass large portions of the game and everybody hates them.
     
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  3. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Environmental interaction, of course. Engines these days allow for a lot of variety there and magic can do a lot of cool shit. The Dishonored games have some cool spells like blink which allows for rapid vertical movement, but there most of the magic abilities are combat focused. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic also had cool applications of the elemental spells: wooden objects catch on fire when you cast fire bolt on them, enemies slip and fall when you cast ice sheet on the floor.

    Magic can be used in a lot of ways in an immersive sim style RPG, Deus Ex or Dishonored style. Dungeon exploration can feature some cool architecture that requires a spell like blink to traverse and couldn't be traversed on foot. Morrowind had some dungeons where you could only reach some places with levitation. You could change elements of the environment in certain logical ways: cast freeze upon a deep lake to cross it without having to swim. Burn the ropes of a suspension bridge to make it fall down and cut off the attack route of the enemy who's chasing you. If the game has dialogues and NPC interaction, use mind magic to manipulate them. Etc.

    Give the mage character a couple of spells that have great utility in different situations (useful in combat, useful in manipulating the environment, useful in interacting with NPCs), then create situations for the player to navigate. Just like Deus Ex or Thief. Except with magic.

    Spells I'd definitely put in:
    - something like Dishonored's blink for movement; very powerful as it lets you get to places you couldn't reach on foot, but not as brokenly OP as Morrowind's levitation which makes travel trivial
    - a powerful telekinesis spell that lets you pull switches from afar, like through an open window, without having to touch them; lets you pick up items from a distance; lets you even disarm enemies as long as they're unaware and not holding on to their weapon too tightly; etc
    - some elemental spells like allowing you to freeze water and set things on fire; replace the generic fireball with actually setting stuff on fire, which makes its combat use more unique: set fire to an enemy's clothes or hair which makes them flail around in an attempt to put it out, giving you a chance to flee or follow up with a physical attack, rather than dealing raw damage
    - some kind of social manipulation spell; I liked the one in Dishonored: Death of the Outsider where you could take an unconscious NPC's identity for a limited time (as long as your mana lasts) and everyone who sees you would think it's the person whose identity you got; something like this would be cool especially if you give it a material component: something of the person you want to impersonate; so having a lock of hair would let you assume the person's identity, so you could, say, find a lock of hair of his lover in a locket the guard captain keeps in his bedroom, magically change yourself into his lover, then convince him to do a thing you want; also rewards exploration by letting you find such items that can be used in spells
     
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  4. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    I like the idea of wizard as crafters- people who gather materials, construct tools and facilities, find manuals, construct or conjure servants, and generally alter the world to their benefit. Master of Magic probably did the wizard archetype best. It doesn't really fit into a traditional rpg very well, since the entire point of magic is to trivially bypass the things that other people would have to deal with. No dialog, just brainwash them, no combat, just avoid it or instantly resolve it, no need for stealth, just go invis and stroll on by.
     
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  5. Mr. Hiver Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Mr. Hiver
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    Youve answered it yourself.

    The issue is type of gamneplay thats provided. In combat heavy games... the wizard must be combat oriented and that loses a large part of other possibilities and options.
    If you want a more diverse wizard - you need to create a game and a setting that supports it.

    The environmental interaction Jarl describes above - needs a game that supports such options.
     
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  6. lukaszek the determinator

    lukaszek
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    guyz, just play heroine quest already
     
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  7. Sergiu64 Arcane

    Sergiu64
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    Wizards are gods. How do you play a god?
     
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  8. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    I always thought it'd be cool to have a game which would realize a sort of occult magic approach - where you'd have spells so powerful that one spell would be enough to complete a quest, but that spell would require a number of super rare components that you have to somehow obtain (and maybe for additional challenge, figure out the exact recipe). Like, you're tasked with killing an evil tyrant and instead of breaking into his heavily guarded castle, you do that by somehow obtaining a lock of his hair, a dragon's heart and cat's footsteps and using those to cast a death curse.
     
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  9. Jacob Obviously Arcane Patron

    Jacob
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Everyone who engages in combat is a fighter. Magicians throw fireball at the opposition and go back to studying magic.
     
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  10. DJOGamer PT Magister

    DJOGamer PT
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    Alrigth, let's consider that playstyle.
    Imagine a you're designing a Mage's Guild. How do you make a questline that's unique for that playstyle?
    Because while the Warrior and Thief are completly opposite playstyles, that Mage role is capable of completing the tasks of both one and the other.
    So in the end, what would the Mage's guild quests offer that the Warrior and Thief guilds didn't already offer? Or better yet, why would the player choose a Warrior/Thief role when he can choose one that possess the strengths of both of them, plus abillities that are inacessible to the other two classes?
     
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  11. Mr. Hiver Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Mr. Hiver
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    umm, lets see.... content that isnt only about fighting?

    I sure wouldnt start with concepts as "mage guild" because that already shapes the setting in a particular direction that is dumb.
    And there is issue of how fantastic the magic is, how common, rare or accepted and what can you do with it and does it cost anything.
    Or as vaultdweller wrote some time ago, how integrated it is in the setting in the first place.

    Because in majority of games with magic, it exists completely separate from the rest of the setting. Or just barely affecting some specific simple things in society while it doesnt affect any other obvious ones.
     
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  12. lukaszek the determinator

    lukaszek
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    reason why you go to fighter guild to kill giant rats in your basement and not mage guild is cost.
    Having basement intact is a nice plus.

    Think morrowind, mage guild quests were mainly research. Fighter were caves that offered nothing by enemies. For role playing reasons, each shouldnt be interested in another.
     
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  13. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    Should be like Superman: There's no question of if they can defeat the threats, but they need to do it with minimal civilian casualties.
     
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  14. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    FTFY.
    Show Spoiler
    :negative:
     
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  15. unfairlight ヽ(✿゚▽゚)ノ Patron

    unfairlight
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    Like a scholar, researching the ancient and using great albeit dangerous power. That's something I liked about Oblivion, having to get recommendations in the guild hall of each town before you can actually work among the higher mages. I think mages should be able to read ancient texts, brew potions, be able to bend things to their will and be a very exclusive group. I think what could help the exclusivity is having very little grasp on magic at all until you reach the higher ranks, like Gothic 2. That's something that Skyrim almost got right, you had to show off you had some sort of grasp on magic before being able to enter, but of course in TES games post Daggerfall anyone and everyone has some sort of grasp on magic and the exclusivity to using magic is non-existent.
     
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  16. DalekFlay Arcane Patron

    DalekFlay
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    I usually only play mages in more tactical RPGs because I tend to dislike them in action games. I'm not against the idea it's just that a pure mage rarely feels "right" to me in an action game, either because of balance issues or pure mechanics. I just see magic as a more wizened wizard tactically controlling the battlefield type of play-style, and that's hard to do in an action title. Without it being turn-based or pause and play you're left with shooting fireballs and running away to prepare to shoot more fireballs, it just never clicks with me. I'd guess the only way to make it more appealing would be like a few others said, make it even more powerful so you're not constantly managing it but have a trade-off. I feel like that would require too much separate game design work though, which is likely why it doesn't really happen.

    I tend to play rogues in action RPGs and I do like to use spells here and there though, as a supplement. Like illusion spells in Skyrim for example.
     
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  17. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    They should be laughed at for wearing dresses while the chad cleric steals their women
     
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  18. Sranchammer Arcane

    Sranchammer
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    You should press a button and something awesome happens.
     
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  19. Kabas Savant Patron

    Kabas
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    Agree unironically
    Buttons must be actually awesome though, something like this
     
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  20. Sigourn Arcane

    Sigourn
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    This is something RPGs as a whole are sorely lacking. Take Fallout and the Explosives skill. It would be really cool if placing explosives let you shape the battlefield to your advantage. Hell, being able to block doors by moving furniture around in order to decrease the influx of enemies would be great. When I briefly tried out Resident Evil 4 that's one of the things that really stuck out for me: it showed me how static games usually are.
     
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  21. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Yesterday I finished Warbanners, tactics game with minor RPG elements (you can level up your mercs). It's just a simple 2D hex based wargame, but it uses environmental manipulation very well despite its simple presentation.
    Solders can get the ability to dig at level 5, the ability to erect barricades at level 10. Barricades can be destroyed by attacking them. Bushes act as natural barricades and can also be destroyed. Digging creates a water-filled ditch and a unit standing in one is easier to hit. It also takes 2 AP instead of one to move through a ditch. Fireball spells can create fire on the map, and firebombs can also be thrown. When fire is on a hex it will damage a bush or a tree if there is one on the hex. Fire acts as a barrier units can't walk through. It can also spread to nearby tiles. Trees can be felled by units with special abilities (dwarves, a minotaur hero unit). When a tree is felled the tile can be walked upon, and the tile behind the tree is hit by the falling tree, doing damage if a unit stands on it. There's a certain elven unit which can summon treants, but the spell must be used on an actual tree on the battlefield. The tree then turns into a walking treant that attacks enemies. Freeze bombs can freeze water tiles, creating traversible ice shells which don't give units the "standing in water" malus.

    Lots of cool environmental interactions that make the battlefield a lot more dynamic.
     
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  22. Cross Savant

    Cross
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    You can lock doors in Fallout, which would prevent enemies from coming in. Also, explosives do have some limited effect on the environment:



    Unless you're referring to the Gamebryo Fallouts.

    Shaping the battlefield is more common in fantasy RPGs (e.g. spells like Grease, Web, Wall of Fog, etc. in D&D).
     
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  23. PirateScum Educated

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    It's hard to be a god. So, on hard mode, I reckon.
     
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  24. Generic-Giant-Spider Arcane

    Generic-Giant-Spider
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    Fuck Wizards.

    Fuck magic.

    Fuck the king.
     
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  25. HarveyBirdman Learned

    HarveyBirdman
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    Depends. Why is your character a mage?

    Dark Souls would like to have a word with you.
     
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