IDEA: Spellcrafting

So one thing that I’ve seen is that as of right now the spells that can be used now only require 2 strokes to cast. What I would like to suggest is a spellcrafting system. Basically, each spell that can be made has several components to them.

For example: Say I wanted to have a fire spell that affects an area. To ‘discover’ the spell, I would need to use one ‘fire’ component and one ‘area’ component. If I wanted to have it do damage (to the area) over time, I would add a ‘damage over time’ component. If I wanted to just get rid of the AOE part of the spell, I could just remove the AOE component. Or I could keep the AOE component and add a ‘projectile’ component so I’d be able to shoot it and have it do area damage. Etc, Etc.

I figure that this would work relative to how spellcasting normally is in videogames. The bigger and more complex your spells get, the longer it takes for you to cast the spell.

By doing this, many spells can be unique and if done properly, fairly balanced as well. For example, taking the spells from above, adding an area component slightly reduces damage as a tradeoff for area damage, and the damage over time component splits the overall damage into several parts.

But in the end this is just a suggestion. It might be difficult to implement, and I have little knowledge of how a system such as this would work.

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I’m still figuring out exactly what the final version of the spellcrafting rune system will look like, but the way your describing is definitely one idea I’ve considered. I came up with runes for the various elements (e.g. “Fire”, “Water”, etc.), then runes for “missile”, “explosion”, “aoe”, etc. and then by combining them together you got the spell.

However, that really is a lot harder on the part that recognizes the strokes unless you make it to where they have to be done in a certain order (e.g. element always first, then attack type always second, etc.)

Plus to some degree unless we base the whole gameplay around elemental combat (which we aren’t right now) it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to do it that way.

What I’m tinkering with now is a system where for each spell (e.g. Fireball), there is a basic two-stroke version to get the simplest version of the spell. Then there will be a third stroke you learn to cast a more powerful version. Then there will be a really complicated 4th stroke you learn (its “Power Rune”) that unlocks the most powerful version, but at the same time takes quite a while to draw and will be hard to get right every time. Obviously as you said the more strokes you choose to draw the longer it takes, and in addition the higher chance you will draw it poorly so it doesn’t work.

So in addition to the above, what we could also do is have that 3rd stroke actually have 2 or 3 options, e.g. 1 that is just a single missile but way more powerful, 1 that causes you to fire a spread of missile, 1 that causes an AoE version of the fire spell, etc.

Something like that, anyway :slight_smile:


One of the best discovery system’s I remember was in Asherons call. You had to discover the correct taper pattern for your spell, and it was different for each person. If there was a way to randomize it, think of the frustrating fun of discovering spells. RPG are for the long haul so spending time to figure things out shouldn’t be an issue. Much more interesting time sink than the “take the package to this guy” quests.

Imagine if archers had to hunt birds for feathers to make the arrows they carry, different bids have different effects, again somewhat random so you have to discover for yourself. This type of learning could be applied to most any class.

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I was thinking that certain elements have certain benefits that others don’t. For example, Ice is better at applying status debuffs like slow and weakened defenses, while fire has great damage over time and AOE capacity, and lightning could have great raw damage (all as examples).

I’m not sure how your current spell recognition code goes, but I was thinking that upon submitting the spell it checks for various components (like what you said, there could be an extra line that dictates AOE, I was thinking about a circle though) and then determines the output based on the analyzed components.

Say you drew 3 fire components, a missile component, 2 area components, and a damage over time component. This would result in heavy fire damage over time that originates from an area around where the missile lands.

In specifics, I would say that the base fire component already has damage on it, and by adding the 2 new fire components, there is more damage applied but a % less damage overall (compared to fire spell + fire spell + fire spell). Then the missile component makes it shoot out. However, the area component means that the shot will have an AOE that stems from where the missile lands. Having 2 area components allows a larger area to be affected at the cost of some damage, and having an area + missile allows for more range (around where the missile lands rather than yourself) at the expense of some damage. The damage over time component (combined with area) makes it to where you deal the max amount of damage over a certain number of ‘ticks’ in that area.

In coding terms I see this as each ‘element’ having classes/objects and there being modifiers inside of those classes/objects. Again though, the whole element system is designed to be so that they modify things. This could fit in to artificer (or maybe even a blacksmith?) where they are able to imbue weapons with elements (similar to enchanter from elder scrolls). There would be the same kind of thing there; take the berserker’s axes as one case. Creating a left handed Ice axe allows you to lower (or maybe take? haven’t played the berserker) the enemy’s stats, and having a right hand Fire axe allows you to leave a burning DoT on the enemy.

It may be possible that we have the same concept in mind and if so that is perfectly fine, but it is up to you to implement how you like. And even if this idea gets turned down, I do like the direction that you are heading in.

Pardon the long response.

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as for an inspiration, I really liked the system in Arx Fatalis. The full description is here : Arx Fatalis/Runes — StrategyWiki | Strategy guide and game reference wiki and is based on sequences (order matters).

One of the practical ideas is that you have to find a rune to use it, but you could also unlock it through progression, of course.
It’s compatible with a simple version of a spell, enhanced through different suffixes, like adding an area of effect of power improvement.

you could also limit the length of spell depending on the level of mastery/character.

Pattern recognition would be quite light too, as you may allow only certain combinaisons like fire for area damaging fireball, water/ice for crowd control area, but thunderbolts wouldn’t be area compatible. This limits the “possibilities”, but force the player to know a good combinaison ahead of casting instead of just randomly adding damages and fire to its spell.

I’m just trying to bring my water to the mill, of course, I guess you already have a bunch of work done on the bench.

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