- ===The following will most likely be used regardless of which system we use===
- On Rhas, works of magic are done by channeling the ethr. The ethr is essentially a cloud of potential energy enveloping the planet, presumably set up by the Abr as a kind of global power network. Energy is completely inert while it remains in the ethr, and can only be accessed by living organisms channeling it. Magic is simply the directed conversion of ethr back into operable forms of energy, such as heat, motion, and mass.
- While all organisms can and do access the ethr, this is mostly in excessively small quantities and unconsciously. To perform a more powerful working, a concious directing of the ethr is required, and the most powerful workings can only be performed either by those who have dedicated themselves to shaping the energies of the ethr or by those with some kind of magical aid.
- Ethr changes back into energy unpredictably. The more powerful a working, the less predictable its outcome. That is, predictability is inversely proportional to power. (This is of course the watt kind of power -- a slow trickle of magic is more manageable than a sudden outpouring of it). Because having huge amounts of volatile energy around is rather dangerous, foci are used to shape magic. This is why things such as a staff of catch things on Fire exist, and exist in such quantity.
- All the details of magic are not explicitly told to the player, so it's important to have some sort of consistent, logical pattern to magic, so the player can be reasonably expected to figure it out given the limited information, and it won't be just a bunch of boring trial and error. In fact, it would ideally be quite difficult to figure out by trial and error alone (though of course some trial and error will be involved), so as to encourage the player to decipher the pattern.
- There will also likely be some sort of system of strengths/weaknesses between the elements, so that melee will still be useful against enemies you are not elementally equipped to deal with.
- The following are ideas we have for magical systems/patterns.
- ===System 1: elements as processes===
- Ethr also by nature polarizes into distinct elements. When channeling the ethr, a conscious channeler must choose a particular element to utilize before casting. Otherwise, the opposing elements cancel eachother out and the spell goes piff. The only case in which a channeler doesn't have to decide upon in an element is if they are using an elementally charged focus (for example an elemental staff). Then, the focus tugs on its ingrained element during the casting and brings it out no matter what.
- Each of the 3 elements is a process that creates one thing and destroys another, and has a corresponding anti-element that destroys the first thing and creates the second. When two elements are combined, one of them creates the same thing that the other destroys, and those two aspects cancel out, and the two remaining aspects form the anti-element of the third remaining element.
- The first proposed trio of elements was fire/water/bone, but we tried messing around with different things to make the system of creation/destruction work out nicely. Things we considered as things which are created/destroyed: matter, energy, life, mind, order.
- ===System 2: somewhat more traditional===
- Similarly a trio of opposing pairs of elements, but more similar to the classical air/water/earth/fire system. The 3 pairs of opposites would be sky/ground, water/fire, and life/death. This would be conceptually simpler than the other systems, which could be both an advantage and a disadvantage. It's easier to make it work, but it sort of takes away from the unique aspect of having the player need to discover the interesting pattern behind the system.
- ===System 3: five elements===
- The proposed 5 elements are wind, fire, bone, loam, and water. When arranged in a pentagon in that order, each element has two opposites (i.e. fire's would be loam and water, wind's would be bone and loam, etc). Each element is the combination of its two neighboring elements, though it's difficult to make this work in a non-awkward way.
- ===System 4: letters as spells===
- Each of the 18 letters of the Abr Rhasz alphabet corresponds to a spell cast by clicking and dragging the mouse to draw the shape of that letter. There are 6 sky spells, 6 land spells, and 6 ocean spells. The spells are arranged in a triangular structure consisting of 7 nodes (3 corners, 3 edges, 1 center), where the corners each contain 2 spells (of different elements) and the other 4 nodes each contain 3 spells (of different elements). Letters are grouped into nodes and elements based on having similar characteristics. Also, sets of 3 colinear nodes will have spells with similar characteristics.
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