[MUD-Dev] Waving Hands -- Debian's Spellcast for Linux

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Tue Dec 21 13:31:15 CET 1999

On Tuesday, December 21, 1999, Dan Shiovitz wrote:
> On Sat, 18 Dec 1999, J C Lawrence wrote:

> [..]
>> Mage2Mage still seems much more promising.

> The problem I have with mage2mage and that kind of "let's make magic into
> a programming language" system is it seems biased towards simple spells,
> like "CREATE + FIREBALL" and not more interesting stuff like "MEND +

I think "seems" is a key word here.  There's no reason why it *has* to
be biased towards simple spells.  It's true that complex spells will
be harder to create than simple spells, but they don't necessarily
have to be harder to *cast*.

Also, simple spells may be less effective, depending on other aspects
of the magic system.  For example, in my current (paper) fantasy
campaign, I'm using a magic system which has an underlying programming
language paradigm.  However, spells are powered by the caster's life
energy (or their death energy -- more on this below), and gross
effects like creating something from nothing are extremely costly.
Hence, while mages *can* do things like throw fireballs, doing so is
likely to kill them.

This puts the emphasis on less "flashy" spells that are carefully set
up -- e.g., instead of throwing a fireball, burn out an opponent's

>  To a certain extent this
> balances out, since "CREATE + FIREBALL" is easily countered by "SUMMON +
> ICE" or "DESTROY + FIRE" or whatever, while the more complex stuff has to
> be countered in a more complex manner, but what are the non-spellcasters
> supposed to do? 

Again, this depends on the setup.  In many systems, almost any spell
can be countered with a simple "destroy magic" spell.

> I guess the right literary ref here is the Vlad Taltos books -- more
> or less everyone can cast spells in that series, so they use magic to
> accomplish the heroic and adventurous tasks of protecting themselves from
> the rain or teleporting to the grocery store. Given that kind of situation
> I'd raher just call it 'technology' and have magic users stick to the cool
> stuff.

Again, that depends on the setup.  Everyone can do magic in my current
campaign as well -- but there are large variations in how well they
can do it.  The higher forms of magic are done through art -- singing,
painting, dancing, etc. -- and require talent, time, and effort to do,
just as the arts do.

Also, since magic requires life or death energy, those who want to be
able to do great effects have to find a way to get more life or death.
This can take many forms -- sacrifice, becoming a vampire, etc.

It's not simply *what's* done that's important -- *how* it is done can
be important as well.

       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
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