Siggi wrote:So, the first question is how he does that. The second question is how it looks. All the above mentioned examples may be performed in a different manner. Say, the wizard tends to the wound with an ointment. What it does exactly? The preparation harms the wound-spirit somehow, or is it a portal that helps fetch that healthy aspect of reality? Or, say, the wizards whispers something at the wound. Is he asking the wound to go and bother his pet bunny instead or is he pronouncing a mantra that restores the ethereal body?
I believe that at this point you guys must have a decent understanding of how your magic works. If you could give us a hint, it would be easier for us to help you with categories.
Agamemnon can obviously differ somewhat here, as we both have or own ideas and visions, but as far as I'm concerned, ALL of that is up to the player.
Player chooses the components. Player chooses the look. He whispers to the wound-spirit? Fine. But does he really believe that or is he just BS-ing others to keep them from trying the same thing later, as the others "can't hear the spirits"? Up to the player, really.
Would such an approach create several wildly different interpretations on how magic works in the world? I bet it would. Are such different interpretations present in good literature? Absolutely. Are such different interpretations common in our real-world folklore? Even more so. Could this approach create inconsistencies as far as the magic-users' views go? Yes, yes, yes!
One mage could use herbs for components exclusively, other could use animal parts, third one could use gems, minerals and different sands. And we all know what Melisandre likes use for components. *wink-wink*
In a word, ALL of that would be up to the player
. For magic to be mysterious, freeform and improvisational, this is what we want, no?
So, how would we prevent the whole thing becoming a muddled mess? My answer to that is aiming for a certain FEEL.
The difficulties that the player has to beat with their for spells are quite high. Sure, he could try and go Gandalf on them and handle everything with a staff, but for most magic users, they'd have to use components to lower the Obstacle. Use a unique, cool sounding herb or an oddly specific body part from a certain animal? *BAM* Ob -1. Does the player describe weird chants and gestures or uses their components in an unexpected way? *BAM* Ob -1. Does that description include macabre/disturbing imagery? *BAM* Ob -1.
This is the FEEL we're going for. Details are up to the players.
So, right now we're trying to quantify the effects. We have the obvious categories to cover such as Distance (touch, sight, known location), but even that isn't as clear cut. We're not yet 100% sure whether affecting an unknown location should be a thing, for example. And whether adding a "self" distance would be beneficial for some things or too much of a temptation to make Jedi jumping possible.
And depending on that, we'd also define the granularity. Right now I'm personally leaning towards "threes" myself, as (easy, medium, hard) is an easy concept to wrap one's head around.
Another tricky subject is the nature of the target. As in, should we pool animals and humans together on one difficulty or should plants really be different from inanimate objects as far as affecting them is concerned? Let's say we're affecting a person with a spell. Should killing them be the hardest task, or should we put "fates worse than death" above that? And mentally, what is worse? Coma or madness?
Then there's the area of effect and the number of targets. Would it be more difficult to summon a storm to drive off the enemy fleet, or to slay three "usurpers" much like Melisandre did. Or should the two be separate categories entirely?
Right now, I'm thinking number of targets would be a separate thing. For example, with the Melisandre demon-baby thing, we could combine "known location" of target with a "city" "area of effect" for the demon to search. If she wanted to slay more people, she'd need to go "multiple targets" on top of that.
But why would they need to sail closer to the city to release the demon? Our Distance rules fail to answer that, so, there's room for improvement already.
And... Thanks to Melisandre, I just thought of something that I hadn't considered before: Delay. Immediate effect should be the hardest to achieve. Delay (year, month, day) would work fine for fiction, but most games don't run on such a time scale. What kind of time scales would be acceptable for most players, etc?
Okay, I think I'm rambling now, but it should give you guys a good enough of an image of the direction and several areas for input.