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Monday, March 26, 2007

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Indie RPG Makers Interviewed
10:35 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

RPG Codex has posted a new combined Q&A session with four independent RPG developers. Two of those interviewed, Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker and Planewalker Games' Jason Compton, spoke about their upcoming projects: Eschalon: Book 1 and The Broken Hourglass.

7. Magic. What did you come up with and why? What's the role of magic in your game? Alternative way to kill monsters or something else?

Jason: We use a five-element (the "classic four", plus "physical" magic), mana-potential system of magic, where most common spells are devoted to healing, damage, buffs, and de-buffs. There are other novel spells and spell effects as well, but those end up being the biggies. Our rules designer wanted to avoid the usual complaints about the D&D-style "hung spell" model (discourages spellcasters from actually ever casting spells; all but mandates rhythm-killing party resting after a big encounter) as well as the usual complaints about straight mana systems (game turns into Potion Collect-'n-Chug), so in our system, most spells and magical effects return mana to the caster after the duration of the spell expires. The "classic four" also happens to suit our character stat model, where we have four different primary attributes, each of which maps to one of the magical elements...

Thomas: Magic in Eschalon is divided into two realms: Elemental and Divination. Elemental spells deal with the physical world: fire, earth, air and water. Many of these are combative in nature, though some such as "Gravedigger's Flame" (a magical torch) and "Reveal Map" (a sonic ping that temporarily maps your surroundings) are assistive.

Divination spells deal with metaphysical, spiritual and organic realms. While there are a few combative spells such as "Fleshboil" and the infamous "Turn Undead", many are designed to aid the caster such as "Divine Heal", "Bless", and numerous buffing enchantments. Overall we've tried to make the spells in each realm unique so that characters specializing in both realms can have a useful variety and not just 10 different ways to kill a Goblin.

Each spell can be cast at one of six power levels which draw energy from your Mana pool, and Mana recharges with rest or potions. Since Eschalon is a single-character game, we've made sure that magic is powerful enough to support a pure Mage character, yet not required if you want to play a pure Fighter. This balancing act has definitely been a challenge!
Click over to the site below to read the rest of the interviews.

RPG Codex: Indie RPG Dev Interview
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book I
The Broken Hourglass
Buy Eschalon: Book I

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