So last week I shared with you how fighters could do something special without slowing down the game. Now let’s talk about the other side of the mage/fighter dilemma.
When I first started working on Whack Pack Adventurers one of the visions I had was for a spell called wrath of the phoenix. Now this was a uber powerful spell, the sort that wipes out armies. It only did damage to enemies and had a radius measured in miles. It healed allies and raised them from the dead. And it did it all with fire.
I have created a magic system in which that spell exists. But that is a lot of power to drop into the hands of one player. So how do you keep that kind of mad awesome power balanced against a fighters combos? Good question, lets look at some of the common ways of answering that very question.
So there are a few ways mages get limited in a lot of games. You can only cast so many spells in a day, you have a pool of power that you exhaust and then are done for the day or perhaps you have to burn through your own life force to cast a spell. All of these work but they also turn casters into accountants with lightning bolts.
Another limiter is level. You can access more complex spells at higher levels. It makes a nice bookkeeping sort of logic. The more advanced you are the more power you can throw around.
I have gone a different route.
The main limiting factor on a caster is time. There are going to be very few spells that go off in one round of casting. And those that do? They are going to be pretty weak. We will get into more detail on how to build a spell, did I mention that you make your own spells so don’t come whining to me if you want to cast fast make a spell that casts fast, if you want to blow up armies of goblins build that spell.
Now remember that Wrath of the Phoenix as you can imagine it takes a while to cast, last time I was testing the magic system I think the fastest I was able to make it happen was 23 rounds of combat. On the other hand even an apprentice who knew the spell could try to cast it. But it would end badly for them I am sure.
The other limiting factor on magic is skill level. Like all other prolonged tests in WPA you are trying to generate an amount of effort equal to the task. In spell casting we add one other wrinkle. When you fail a test you generate backlash. If you generate enough backlash the spell collapses and all that magical energy has to go somewhere usually it is in to your surrounding environment and probably you.
So there you have it. Fighters may get to deliver devastating combos on occasion that can destroy a opponent in one exchange. Casters on the other hand can unleash all sorts of magical hell on an opponent it just takes a bit of time and there may be consequences.
In a few weeks we will dig a bit more deeply into spell building, backlash and all that other good magical stuff. Before that though we are going to look at what makes thieves and support characters special. Till then stay wacky.