A bit of thread necromancy, separating a topic from the assassination thread
thirtythr33 wrote:You guys talk a lot about replicating classic and modern literature and I've noticed more than a few references to Game of Thrones. What about magical assassinations such as Melisandre assassinating Renly? "Scry and die" tactics definitely feels likes like a very 'Bastards thing to me but its possibility opens the door to even more degenerate situations than has already been discussed in this thread.
We played around with this for a while, before coming to an interesting place with it. The biggest thing we wanted for flavor was to make magic retain its folklore/mythology/occult vibe. This meant making certain decisions about what magic can and can't do. So for us, no fireballs, no glowing energy shields. No shooting lightning out of your hands, or opening portals through which to summon badgers to fight for you. Magic wants to work through more natural channels than that. It takes on a more subtle, indirect character.
Of all the laws for magical behavior, the one we found most important was this: Life is immutable, and beyond the power of magic. Magic can neither directly create nor destroy life, it can only manipulate the world around us.
You can't kill someone with a spell anymore than you can bring them back to life. However, that's not the same as causing them to be killed. There are plenty of extremely nasty things that a motivated sorcerer can do to someone without violating this core premise.
There is no such issue in weakening the foundations or walls of your home until it collapses around you and kills you. Or, for that matter, in making you so sick and wretched that you simply wish you were dead — of course, the the illness may take care of that for us both. I could place a doom upon you, and curse you in such a way that you bring your own death upon you. If I was the least scrupulous but highly motivated sort, I could even entreat with or bind a spirit or demon to intercede on my behalf.
This setup works extremely well to emphasize how differently obstacles can be approached by different character types. So much of magic is in subtlety and preparation, working at things by indirect means.
Of course, this is a magic system that specifically caters to our tastes and the kinds of magic we wanted to see in the styles of game we tend to play. It's not meant to be universal. We're certainly planning on developing some alternate magic systems down the line to fit other settings we have in mind, and people will be welcome to develop their own variants or the like and throw them on our forums.