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Pure magic users' superiority in RPG's

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Crispy, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    I don't see why there is this compelling need to enforce some kind of arbitrary balance between those who can warp reality with their thoughts and those who can't. Instead of trying to balance the game between magic-users and not-magic-users, why not just have the game consist of characters which are ALL some kind of mage, and use the not-mages as recruitable assistants and minions? Then there is also no need to enforce "squishy mages", which, frankly, isn't all that realistic anyway, nor is it true to the "traditional" material. Neither Merlin nor Gandalf were slouches in a fight.
     
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  2. Redeye Arcane

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    Gandalf was an angel in disguise.

    Merlin was also something else.

    My Fantasy aesthetic is simulationism with gamism on top rather than just gamism.
    So for me being a rock hard tank requires training and living as one.
     
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  3. Gondolin Arcane

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    Yes. Before blaming MMORPGs one should blame Diablo I, where wizards had to be just as able to survive as fighters right from Level 1.
     
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  4. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    In term of magical effects on exploration, Morrowind got it good. Water Walk, Free Fall, Jump, Run, Fly, etc... Bethesda always do great on creating a big gameworld to mess around.

    Mind you, they are absolutely shitty in creating game's quests, stories, NPC interactions, and backgrounds. Boring as shit. I dont ever read much those walls of text they are so proud of. Their writing department should have been injected some new lead... scratch that, fire them all and hire them new.
     
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  5. Overweight Manatee Scholar

    Overweight Manatee
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    The biggest problem has been the decline in overall party sizes. In the beginning the absolute minimum you would usually have in an adventuring party would be six, and the maximum could be as big as a dozen. Later six suddenly became the maximum party size for a while, then a few years later we cut it down to 3-4 and thats it. 3 or 4 characters means either you need MMO-shit aggro mechanics or the mages have to take a beating just as well as warriors do, because you can't form a front line and keep the wimpier mages/ranged units in the back.

    Bioware is probably the biggest offender in this. Party size constantly needing to be cut down because players don't want to manage things, and also because Bioware wants to make 5 NPCs with 100 hours of voiced dialog and multiple sex scenes rather than 20 NPCs with only semi-voicing and no romances.

    As for whether mages can fight is a good thing: the point of a mage is that they are supposed to spend almost their entire lives studying magic. If you want a mage that knows how to handle a sword you pick one of the mage/fighter hybrids that has a dual focus in both styles. Of course, then people will whine 'but the fighter/mage doesn't get cool lvl 9 spells so I can't use them'. Tough luck bitch, the point of a fighter/mage is that you aren't as good as a pure class in their specialty.
     
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  6. SacredPath Novice

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    :lol:
     
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  7. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    This would be fine too. (Shadowrun has something like this, called 'Adepts', who have magical talent but use it to enhance their kungfu or whatever the fuck they want and can't cast spells.) The heroes are already special, otherwise they wouldn't be heroes. They may as well have magic too. If someone uses the magic more internally than someone else, he'll play much differently. A Mage decked out in all his combat buffs wielding a magic sword he made for himself isn't that far a cry from a warrior to begin with. He'd certainly be a swordsman compared to the guy flying around shooting webs and fireballs.

    But like I said, I don't find warrior types pulling off supernatural feats any less realistic than magic already is to begin with. Whether they're tied together doesn't matter much to me. Whether McUrist the dwarf berserker can throttle a dragon because he's using the arcane weave, blessed by his drunken gods, or just capable of training to be that much stronger than a normal dwarf, it's all the same to me.

    Redeye: All that rest and memorization shit becomes completely irrelevant once a wizard can teleport back home whenever he wants. That's the official line for me. When you can escape any situation within 6 seconds and end up miles away in your own tower (by the time you have teleport you have stone shape and wall of stone) to refresh yourself and come back the next day, you're pretty much untouchable. Oh sure, the DM could come up with some plot the wizard can't win because he can't abandon the damsel or whatever, but if the wizard doesn't give a fuck, he can always just run further away. As far as enslaving Dragons go, Energy drain or two (No saving throw, ranged touch attack is a joke vs large creatures) followed by dominate monster would do the trick for 20 days. You could energy drain it again while still dominated and recast the spell before it ends too.

    That's assuming you want a guaranteed method. Just flat out, level 20 wizard with 19 intelligence (Piss poor) not specialized with no helpful feats or items, has 10/20 chance of success vs a young adult red dragon. (6/10 for actually adult, there's a big jump there.) If I wanted to cherry pick, white dragons are pussies and a mature adult has the same will save as a young adult for a red. And any wizard worth his salt will also have 24+ intelligence by level 20 and enough spell enhancing toys to keep one of every colour of dragon around for shits and giggles.

    This is per 3rd edition, but I doubt 2nd is much better. I seem to recall a lot of soul trapping gems and spells in that edition. Plus nearly half the spell list was transmutation. Burning Hands was my favourite. Totally not evocation, no sir. :roll:
     
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  8. Heresiarch Prophet

    Heresiarch
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    I think the most difficult thing is balancing spells vs environment, not desgining the actual spells.

    I liked how Dragon Age explains that teleportation is impossible due to its own "scientific" way. Otherwise, like mentioned before, wizards can teleport anywhere, take a peek at a girl taking a bath, maybe even charm and rape her, and then teleport away. With creative use of other spells you may even make it like never happened.

    It's like reading a Doraemon manga, whenever the guys get into trouble, my thought was "why didn't they use the XXXXX tool?". When some guy in a RPG explains how terrible an orc siege is, killing hundreds of soldiers, my thought was, "why not teleport a scout out to another city to call for reinforcement, or even use Scrying to locate the orc commander's tent and throw a meteor or storm of vengeance on him?"
     
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  9. thesheeep Arcane Patron

    thesheeep
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    You're mostly talking about D&D magic system here.
    The only thing it does "right" (in the sense of achieving its goal) is that it balances mages. More or less.

    Other than that, the system is pure bullshit. Having to rest 8h to cast spells? Bullshit.
    Having to memorize spells you cast for your whole life (or half of it) everyday, and they certainly don't change, yet you always forget them? Bullshit.
    Only being able to cast a limited amount of spells and then you're.. what.. empty? Exhausted, but you still do everything else without any sign of exhaustion? Bullshit.

    Some people bring the excuse that you need some kind of ritual to prepare spells. Alright, I like that idea, but how incredibly complicated are they to take 8h? And if they take 8h, when does a caster sleep? And if it does not take 8h, but only 1 or 2 before sleeping, why can't I do those 2h of preparing whenever I want? Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!

    :x
    (By now, I feel a bit like the AVGN/Spoony, completely talked into rage.)

    What I want to say is, it doesn't make any sense and therefore is a good example of putting the balance you want higher than any sense it would make.

    I still think Shadowrun got that best by allowing you to cast your spells as often as you want, but you have to hold some of them up (resulting in modifiers to everything) and generally survive the backlash of casting. It's not really a matter of dying, but you risk getting hurt (non-physical "mind" damage, similar to the D&D one), which again results in a modifier...

    Oh, and I totally agree that magic should be more interesting than dealing damage.
     
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  10. Shannow Waster of Time

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    I don't think I agree with the very premise that wizards have become stronger at low levels so as to be equal in survivability to fighters in the last years. At least not in cRPGs. But perhaps I play too few mmos?

    I'd like to see wizards rely more on tricks and using the environment than being plain "nukers". Freedom Force did that quite well. Or mesmers and necromancers in Guild Wars that could punish their enemies in various ways without using direct damage. It'd be nice to see more games that use magic in a creative way (e.g.: Risen's polymorph into a snail to get through cracks or telekinesis to reach stuff across chasms, or Gothic's use of a shrink spell to change a huge troll into a beatable small troll) but less in a schematic puzzle way and more in a creative emergent gameplay way. E.G. in Incursion "mining" decreases the stability of a level, thus the amount of mining you can do is limited. Safe places for resting are rare. But as soon as you gain the spell "meld into stone" you can walk through stone, mine where the gold/diamonds are without having to mine to them and create safe havens for resting. Compare that to the restrictive NWNs where changing into a flying creature didn't change the gameplay at all, or summoning elementals in MotB couldn't be used to slake your spirit hunger.

    In general I'd like to see a skill based RPG in which anybody could learn magic, but it'd be hard (and usually evil, baby hearts and stuff) to come by components, hard to find teachers, costly in time requirement (in a game where income is needed to keep the player fed, in good health, his equipment in good shape, etc), could backfire and would need rituals for most greater spells like permanent buff, summoning, calling storms or draughts, cursing, warding, enchanting, etc and didn't have any direct-damage-in-combat-spells.
     
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  11. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    Personally, I'd like spells to be a little more limited and "realistic", or believable. Fireballs should be out. Wizards cannot create matter out of thin air. They can create energy, however, so fire itself is okay (using hands as flamethrower, setting fire to stuff). They should also be able to change temperature: freeze water to pin down an enemy standing in it, heat enemy armor to make them sweat and reduce their fighting ability. Use telekinesis to throw stuff at enemies.

    Setting fire to a piece of wood, then throwing it at the enemy via telekinesis is much more awesome than merely casting a FIARBALL, isn't it?

    Creative use of spells should be the main attraction for playing a wizard, including tons of utility spells like levitate or change gravity, rather than being an elemental artillery.
     
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  12. made Arcane

    made
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    Ur all clueless. It's only realistic if it simulates accurately how Raistlin was in the books. Everything else is make-believe fairytale bullshit.
     
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  13. sheek Arbiter

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    If you are in easy mode perhaps , where you can rest anywhere/any time. In any actual non-easy mode D&D game, you would need to distribute one day's worth of spells over 5 or more encounters. Your six mages go to sleep in the dungeon they wouldn't wake up.
     
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  14. sheek Arbiter

    sheek
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    Um, the number of spells you can have ready to use reflects the constant mental effort to keep track of complex thoughts simultaneously. That's why it's based on intelligence.

    Memorizing a spell is like memorizing a phone number, but a 20-digit long one (that's for a lvl 1 spell). Most people would only be able to memorize one at most, maybe two with effort. Once you'd lost one, you'd need to go back and stare at the number for a while to get it back into memory.

    If you were distracted momentarily, your spell might not work.
     
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  15. Ebonsword Arcane

    Ebonsword
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    I think that the peculiarities of D&D's magic system don't stem so much from an attempt to achieve balance between casters and warriors (although that's certainly part of it) as from an attempt to accurately mimic fantasy literature, specifically Jack Vance's Tales of the Dying Earth.

    Just like D&D had Thieves' Guilds in an attempt to emulate Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar tales, D&D has memorization of spells in an attempt to emulate Vance.

    Which is why the removal of Vancian casting from 4th Edition is so offensive--not only does it throw out a mechanic that has been core to the system for thirty years, it also takes the system further away from its roots in fantasy literature.
     
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  16. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    larperslarpinglarperslarping

    I care not for the systems logic, but for the design's effect on the game.
     
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  17. sheek Arbiter

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    Dude was saying he didn't understand Vancian spell casting, I'm explaining the origins of it to him...

    I think it's a great mechanic.
     
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  18. Hobo Elf Arcane

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    Nothing is more boring than a Wizard that sucks shit at low levels but becomes a dangerous threat to the local pantheon at higher levels. It's ok if the off-set is that the Wizard has other utility spells that make up the lack of offensive capabilities, but this is rarely the case. You have enough mana / spell points to cast 2-4 shitty magic missile / magic missile-esque spells and that is it. To add salt to the wound a level 1 warrior could do the same amount of damage with normal melee hits. He also has better armor, more HP and doesn't fucking run out of spells so he can just keep hacking away at it.

    Realms of Arkania got spell casters right. They have heavy damage spells, but drain their AP fast, they have a shitton of utility and they aren't complete pussies in melee combat either.
     
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  19. Ruprekt Scholar

    Ruprekt
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    VAS KAL AN MANI IN CORP HUR TYM RPG CODEX
     
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  20. sheek Arbiter

    sheek
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    That's what a D&D Wizard is supposed to be.
     
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  21. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    Which is why mages usually have half a dozen spells designed specifically to allow them to rest anywhere. Rope Trick being the most egregious, but something as simply as going into a room and magically sealing the door with either a wizard lock or an alarm ward should suffice at low levels. Higher levels start granting shit like wall of stone and teleportation. Besides, 6 wizards would have 6 familiars to use as lookouts and scouts.

    Roguelikes tend to do mages the old way pretty well; at low levels your mana pool and spell selection is shit, but once you amass a bunch of spellbooks, you're in god mod. You walk through walls, store your belongings and rest inside solid rock, magical see the entire floor, detect every object's location and purpose, and murder enemies before they can see you. Anything too powerful to fight you skip by invisibly, teleport past, or teleport IT to the other side of the dungeon.

    Never cared for vancian magic myself. I think Shadowrun did it best. (Though Rifts was cool too, in regard to the use of things like solstices and eclipses and the like.)
     
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  22. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

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    And that's why we need a friggin Warhammer Fantasy rpg already. Mages that are rare and powerful, but each spell needs special stuff to cast, takes effort to cast, has a chance of summoning demons, making the mage go mad or explode. Fuck yeah!
     
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  23. Shannow Waster of Time

    Shannow
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    Did he ever cast anything but sleep an feather-fall? :M
     
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  24. Unradscorpion Arbiter

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    Maybe if magic gameplay was about being clever with rule abuse that spells offered while having little to no actual brute force.
    Of course you would need a roguelike level of emergent gameplay to make it even a bit interesting.


    Or maybe magic as a skill instead of a class, so that it can be only used when dealing with magical items/beings/places. All your fighter/mage balancing issues solved and it would actually make developers fit some sense into magic.
     
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