[MUD-Dev] Too much magic?

Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt hhs at cbs.dtu.dk
Fri Feb 13 10:45:15 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

On Tuesday 10 February 2004 06:00, John Buehler wrote:

> My own preference for magic in a game context is to have magic
> augment and alter 'mundane' elements of the game fiction.  If a
> game has ice, and it's slippery, have magic that can create ice
> when ice normally wouldn't be around.  More fundamentally, if
> 'slippery' is a quality supported by the game engine, permit
> magical ways of manufacturing slipperiness when it wouldn't
> normally be present.

> By having magic alter mundane processes, it first requires the
> implementation of those mundane processes, and then makes those
> processes more interesting by letting players fool with them.
> That, instead of manufacturing magical processes which all mundane
> objects are then drawn into.

Not that i necessarily disagree with you, I feel it is a design
issue more than anything else how and how much magic is present in
the game but I feel you are perhaps looking at this from one side,
when you could look at it a bit differently.

As an example, I could give other words to the kind of magic you
seem to find shallow, that fits the description of how you would
prefer it;

People healing their wounds naturally is a mundane process. Having
magic that heals their wounds where they normally would not would
fit your template.

Fire is a natural, mundane phenomenon that hurts players and
NPC's. Having magic that creates fire around players and NPC where
there normally would not be fire is a very similar alteration to the
ice you mentioned.

Now I just described a cleric healing peoples HP and fireballs, and
I have a feeling that that would fit exactly the things you dislike
about the use of magic in a game (please correct me if i'm
wrong). What i think is the problem is that magic is often reduced
to a combat-only oriented - deal damage or reduce my opponents
combat fitness - kind of magic, where I, if you design a
low-magic-availability world, would have preferred to used it in
more subtle problem-solving situations.

--Hans-Henrik Stærfeldt
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