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Games where you have to find your own spells / abilities + some spell system questions

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Outmind, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Outmind Augur

    Outmind
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    Recently i made a thread asking people about the most complex lvl up and character customization systems (thanks go to those who suggested some). Now, i have another question, a couple actually.

    First - are there any games out there which force you to look for buy / otherwise ge your skills / spells manually, without getting them via lvl up / talent trees etc. A few examples off the top of my head include:

    Any d&d game with an honorable mention of pst - you do get to chosose some of your spells each lvl, but what i really enjoyed about the whole Wizard (and archivist in p&p) play experience was finding scrolls and inscribing the spells written within into my character's spell book.

    Diablo - similar as with dnd, but with books in stead of scrolls, plus, you got to upgrade the spells when you found more books (all the while shamelessly abusing the guardian ). A similar system was also implemented in fate.

    Betrayal at Krondor - you either bought scrolls in each city you found, got them as rewards or learned them by drinking from a cup you found extremely late in the game.

    Arx fatalis & ancient evil (has anyone played the latter btw?) - You had pre made spells, but in order to unlock them you needed to find and combine runes.

    So, anything along the lines of the above would qualify.

    Second, are there any rpg-s out there where the focus is solely, or at least mostly, on magic? It isn't as important to me story-wise, as it is when it comes to the practical application of magic. Basically what i am looking for here are games with well thought out, deep and versatile spell systems where your characters can wield a wide array of diverse spells to do diverse things. As before, dnd would be a good example, but i'd like to try something different for a change, provided something that fits actually exists.
     
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  2. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Daggerfall and Morrowind had the ability to create spells yourself at the mages guild, based on spells you already know.

    For example, if you know a fire damage spell, a poison damage spell and a drain attribute spell, you could go to a mages guild and create a spell of your own that would do high fire damage, low poison damage, and drain an attribute, and you could specify whether it would be ranged, on touch, or an area effect spell.
     
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  3. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    quest for glory

    ultima 7 pt 2 IF you ignore the spell sellers is hella fun, finding the scrolls you need around the world and transcribing them to your spellbook (don't use them, cast the transcribe spell on them).

    That way, a loot that is almost inconsequential if you used the sellers, turns into the most exciting loot in the game (a lost opportunity for the original game, and even pt 1, considering the plot where all mages are mad tbh).

    TOME 4 (which i've been playing recently) has some examples. Some are too forward-mechanical - a 1rst time by type escort quest has a high possibility of opening a talent tree to invest in almost all of the time, but some 2 or 3 around rewards the world are more inventive and topical (though nothing on the puzzles of quest for glory, or the exploration of U7 - it happens almost by accident when you explore)

    As for magic centered games, there was a old one i forget.
    Betrayal in Antara was also nice for that (exploration is also nice, but the game is bit clunky, story is derp, and a nightmare to install in modern systems because the second disc can't be read on anything except explorer, so you need to copy the files to a dir and make a iso of them).

    quoth wiki
     
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  4. Renegen Arcane

    Renegen
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    Betrayal at Antara has a pretty cool magic system that's a bit like Arx Fatalis. You have concepts like "projectile" and "fire" that you find on your journeys and when combined they form a fireball. It's up to you to combine the words properly.

    Rudra No Hihou, an SNES jRPG, has a similar magic system around putting various building blocks together. I think every Final Fantasy has you finding spells. Really, most games don't have spells on lvl up.

    Now a thread about unique spell systems, that would be interesting.
     
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  5. spectre Arcane

    spectre
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    Torchlight's spell system is fairly similar to diablo and fate - you have regular abilities unlocked at levelup and spell scrolls of various levels that you can scribe into your book (but you can only have four).

    Dungeon Master - spells are pre-defined but you have to discover them by experimentation or scrolls. It varies a bit depending on the version you're playing (in the original you had all the runes from the beginning, in some variants, iirc, you had to find the runes first).

    I have to admit that the most fun I've ever had with magic was in morrowind (and daggerfall, but I didn't get to play it too much due to its buggy nature). Simple dabbling in magic in itself was rewarding (various utility spells such as water-breathing and open minor locks, not counting abusing spells for training purposes), but as an archmage you could almost feel the power. Shame all that was lost in the sequels, but honestly, that was the least of their problems.
     
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  6. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    Ultima Underworld, for fuck's sake. That's a grandfather of all the "find the runes and try to combine them into something useful" games.

    Nahlakh/Natuk/etc - same sans the "find" part.
     
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  7. MMXI Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    MMXI
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    Well, there was Dungeon Master, but it wasn't exactly the same because you found the recipes rather than the runes themselves through play.
     
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  8. Aeschylus Prestigious Gentleman Swindler Patron

    Aeschylus
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    The Quest for Glory games actually allow you to both find spells and to gain a couple skills through gameplay, though the skills (becoming a Paladin for fighters, acrobatics for thieves) are hard to avoid getting.

    In the first Lands of Lore game (never played the sequels) you had to find spell scrolls throughout the world, I think it is possible to miss most of them, and some are only in secret areas.

    In Gothic all of your spells came from getting runes. Actually, it's kind of hard to think of a western RPG that didn't force you to find at least some of your skills and spells outside of just levelling up.
     
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  9. Tripicus Augur

    Tripicus
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    There was a game for NES called Dungeon Magic: Sword of the Elements, which had a rune combination system. Each element had 3 runes each and up to 3 can be combined to form spells. There were 20+ non combat spells ( some with variations on the others), and various elemental damage spells. The damage spells varied in hp cost to cast and damage dependent on the ruins used.
     
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  10. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    There was the old indie Aleshar; where spells were combination of runes (all secret).

    You won't get far with spellcasting in that game i'm afraid - it's very hard to up the statistics and overuse kills you.

    I second Ultima Underworld; it has the advantage of being a great game too.
     
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  11. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    Seconded this.

    In older TES (pre-Oblivion, from oblivion onwards they began gradual disappearance) you also had variety of non-combat utility spell effects, like waterwalking, levitation, light, waterbreathing, telekinesis, teleportation, slowfall, and more widely encountered charm and open.

    In both Morrowind and Daggerfall you had to buy pre-made spells, but in order to be a truly effective caster you had to make your own.

    I don't know much about Daggerfall's spellmaker, other than that it allowed wonderful and level dependent definition of effect magnitudes, but in Morrowind effects were applied in order specified during spell's creation, acting like pre-set spell sequencers, so if you made a spell that first drained willpower, then attempted to paralyze the target you ended up with super effective paralysis.

    In Oblivion you theoretically also had spellmaker, but it applied effects simultaneously, so you couldn't make one affect the other in single casting and with reduced effect library it was not very useful.
    (Then again, Oblivion itself was not very useful, nor enjoyable, so yeah).

    In Skyrim they ditched spellmaker altogether ( :rage: ), but introduced buyable/lootable Diablo-style tomes.

    What they *should* have done is keeping spellmaker, reintroducing all the dropped effects AND switching from buying spells directly to buying/finding effects (as tomes, engravings, inscriptions and so on) and formulae allowing for combining them (working basically as spells with empty slots for effects, modifiers and sometimes ingredients).
     
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