2.6.2 Defining Spells
The process of defining spells is very similar to that of
defining skills. Use the
==================================== >> What stat is this spell based on? >> [Enter stat, or .q to quit] ====================================
A spell, like a skill, is based on a specific stat: a roll against the mage's skill level with the spell plus stat level for the base stat determines the success or failure of the spell. Spells can be based on any of the five basic stats or two figured stats, Physical skill and Craft skill, but the norm is for spells to be based on Craft skill.
==================================== >> Are any objects required to learn this spell? (y/n) ====================================
As a way of controlling the availability of of powerful spells, Argo lets you specify objects that a user must have in order learn a spell (in addition to objects that are needed to cast the spell). If you want to ensure that spells, though defined in the database, are not available during chargen, or to integrate the process of learning spells more tightly into the RP environment, you might want to specify an object a rare scroll or grimoire, say required to learn the spell. By controlling the availability of this object, you can control the availability of the spell. As with an required-object entry, enter the class rather than the name of the required object (object classes are discussed in Defining Objects). For example...
==================================== >> Are any components required to cast this spell? (y/n) >> What components are required to cast the spell? >> [Enter *class* of component, .l to list classes, or .q to quit] ====================================
Components are essentially tools: objects that the mage must have in his inventory or in the room in order to cast a spell. Like tools, components are multiuse. The witch's wand, the wizard's staff, and the medium's crystal ball are all classic examples of components.
The entry for a component would be the class of object or objects that could be used. For example, if the realm's database had `Oak Staff', `Rowan Staff', and `Yew Staff' as defined objects, each having `wizards' staffs' as one of its classes, you would enter `wizards' staffs' for the object class: mages would be able to use a staff of any of the types of wood for this spell. (In other situations, you might want very specific types of components, and would either specify multiple classes or more specific classes.)
==================================== >> How many instances of this component are required? >> [Enter a number, or .q to quit] ====================================
Normally, mages will only need one instance of a required component, but you are free to specify that more than one are required.
==================================== >> Component entered. Are any other components required? (y/n) ====================================
You may specify multiple components, in which case the mage must have the required number of each component specified.
==================================== >> Are any materials required to cast this spell? (y/n) >> What materials are required to cast the spell? >> [Enter *class* of material, .l to list classes, or .q to quit] >> How many instances of this material are required? >> [Enter a number, or .q to quit] >> Material entered. Are any other materials required? (y/n) ====================================
You may well wish to specify materials that are needed in order to cast spells, either instead of or in addition to components: materials are `one use'... that is, casting the spell uses up the material (the object is recycled). The `eye of newt' and `bat's wing' called for by the witches brew of nursury rhyme and folktales are classic examples of materials. Use materials as a way of ensuring play balance: that is, define spells in such a way that the cost or difficulty of obtaining materials for spells offsets their power.
==================================== >> What is the fatigue cost of casting this spell? >> [Enter cost, or .q to quit] ====================================The fatigue cost of a spell is perhaps the most important way of ensuring play balance on worlds with magic: without a significant fatigue cost, spells could be cast over and over, with little penalty. Even a spell with minor coded effects could be used repeatedly, with overly powerful results. Study the fatigue costs of spells included in asys-stdspells to get an idea of reasonable fatigue costs. With well balanced spells, mages will be able to cast two or three reasonably powerful spells, or one quite powerfull spell, at the beginning of combat, when they are fresh and rested, but will need to wait a significant number of turns before being able to cast additional spells with any reliability. Extremely powerful spells should have fatigue costs that require the mage to `buy up' Strength and Constitution, achieving a fatigue level of twenty two or greater, in order to be able to cast the spell at all (Strength and Constitution are not high priorities to mages other than their value for increasing fatigue, so twenty two or higher would qualify as a `high' fatigue level for a mage; for a fighter, it wouldn't be considered exceptional). When making these calculations, remember that mages can cast spells with a fatigue cost up to twice their rested fatigue level... They will only be prohibited from casting the spell if doing so would reduce their fatigue to their exhaustion level (zero minus their rested fatigue). So, in order to make a spell fatiguing enough to require a rested fatigue level twenty two or higher, its fatigue cost needs to be greater than fourty four.
==================================== >> Does the target of this spell get a roll to defend? (y/n) >> What is the category of the Ability the roll is based on? >> [Enter stat, skill, spell, psiab, or .q to quit] >> Which stat is the roll based on? >> [Enter STR, CON, DEX, INT, PRE, PHY, or CRA, or .q to quit] ====================================
Spells that target other players with harmful intent should definitely allow a defense roll. And even for positive or helpful spells, you may want to specify a `defense' roll... here, the roll would not be used to let the target `defend against' the positive, helpful effects of the spell, but would instead simulate the difficulty of improving or increasing something that is already good or high. For example, a spell which increased the target's Strength might have Strength as a defense, the idea being that it's easy to increase the Strength of someone who is weak (they have a low Strength, so the spell would often succeed), but difficult to increase Strength further when the target is already very strong (they have a high Strength, so the `defence' would succeed relatively often: it would be hard to increase this character's Strength further).
The defense against a spell should be based on the stat that is most closely related to the effect of the spell, or on a skill spefically intended to provide defense against magic. For example, you might want to define a `magical tactics' skill that can be used as a defense against offensive spells. When in doubt about the relevant stat or skill to use as a defense against spells, Presence makes a good default choice.
As with skills, spells with coded effects will require a program that handles the effects. See Programming Spells for more information. The one exception to this is `Summon <creature>' spells... You can define spells that summon creatures without additional coding by defining a creature and a Summon spell for that creature type. You can perform these two steps in either order.