Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A spell list of pokemon moves


One of my long carried over projects is to make a game or D&D adaptation whose entire spell list is taken from pokemon. Basically to take the list of Gen 1 - pokèmon moves (back from when there were 151 of them) and rework them into spells. 

Many of them are explicit on their effects (flamethrower). Some of them might require some explanation, and some of them, which are redundant (Thunder, thunder punch, thunder shock, thunder wave and thunderbolt), can be reworked into more interesting things, so they are the place in which I can get creative with non-combat effects (for example, thunder wave might be used to magnetically seal a gate or whatever)

The great thing about this is that it feels a really new start, not based in the D&D list, to make magic fresher and personal. At the same time it has some constraints that, far from being adverse, are always the greatest helpers when building something great.

Interestingly, it allows for a very elemental-esque approach to magic, with all spells having someone that is vulnerable or resistant to it. One can make monsters based on elements, or trying to figure out to which pokemon element do D&D monsters belong. 

PC casters should not be elemental per se (they are treated like type: normal unless belonging to a specific race, like merfolk or harpies) though they can become elemental under certain circumstances (some spells or items, maybe?). Another good way to "pokemonize" this casters is to allow them to learn only moves of 2 different types, (beyond type:normal). Maybe monks can also work this way, by learning moves of type:fighting.

In the list I linked the moves are labeled as physical (causes physical damage) status (causes status alters, might be sort of magical) or special (more magical in nature). This and the movement type are to be respected a priori, though I might change my mind.

I find it very interesting that in the pokemon games there were no Dark and Holy types (though they added Dark shortly afterwards). This sort of paints the world as having no definite law and chaos, just a very strange and wild nature. Also there are oddly specific types like bug, ghost and three types of earth related elements (plant, ground and rock; with steel being added in the later generations). So there is no way to play a cleric in the usual version we know about. If we count them as being "those who drive ghosts away", a quick glance at the chart shows us that only other ghosts are super effective VS ghosts :/

Which element do you feel that a healing spell would belong to?
Which types would you grant to a medusa?

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

magic system sketch

Following the guidelines of previous entries, I'm devising some possibilities to simple and cool magic systems.

I want magic progression to follow a 4-step, exponential structure; from non-magical, to initiate, mage and archmage (and diminishing gains after that if any). 
Magic, then, is cast from a list of spells that increase in number on every "magical grade", but also in power.

What I have for now is this:

Initiates roll 1d6 when casting spells
Mages roll 2d6
Archmages roll 3d6

and spells have three parameters to be measured:

Impact (how many hp you heal, damage you do, effect you cause, etc)
Range (how many people it affects)
Retain (decides if the spell is retained after use or not)

As I want that there are mechanical benefits to casters to disregard armor, I made it so wearing armor or other encumbrances decreases the chance to retain spells: you must roll your movement rate or under to keep the spell.

Sample movement rates:
No armor=2
Light armor=1
Heavy armor=0

Initiates roll 1d6 to cast magic. So when an initiate rolls a heal spell, the result defines all parameters; but one from impact or range is defaulted to 1:

Lets say he rolls a 4: he can choose to heal a target 4 hit points, or heal 1 hit point to up to four targets. As he rolled over its movement rate (no armor=2), the spell is lost.

Mages roll 2d6 to cast magic. They can allocate the results anywhere they see fit from Impact, Range or Retain. A parameter which has no results is defaulted to 1, and if its Retain, its automatically lost.

Mage in no armor rolls a 4 and a 2 when healing: He can choose, for example, to heal 4 points to a target and keep the spell (2 is equal to his movement rate); or maybe he can heal 2 points to 4 targets and lose the spell.

Archmages roll 3d6 to cast magic. They are, of course, benefited from allocating low rolls on Retain and high rolls on effect. 

Archmage in light armor casts heal and rolls 3, 3 and 1. He heals three points to three different targets, and as he keeps the spell, he can attempt it again next turn.

Now the base is established, lets get to the fun spare bits:

* Some spells make no sense in having a numerical score for Impact, but they can be described differently depending on the result assigned to it (from an 1 to 6 score, how much does "Magical Light" shine into the cave?). On others, where the result is a matter of yes or no (charm, sleep, maybe) the Impact roll can measure the number of turns affected, being a threshold that you must reach for the spell having an effect (like in "sleep needs a 3 at least to kick in") or just having the spell work straight, and making it more a matter on "how many people you sleep" (effectivelly putting the weight on the Range score)

* Mages and Archmages revert to 1d6 lower if they are for any reason deprived from their magical wands (I'm a great fan of Earthsea novels)

* Spells can be learned multiple times. This is the way in which a forest nymph (Initiate level) would cast Entangling vines many times before retreating.

* Things that complicate this structure further must be treated on a case by case basis, described on the specific spell description.

* Casters can attempt to cast spells reactivelly: when they are attacked, they can attempt to cast a spell before the attack takes place. This is done by casting normally, and if the Retain is successful, the spell is cast before the attack. If the Retain is lost, the spell takes effect after the attack (if the mage is still alive and any other conditions allow it). In any outcome, this consumes the casters' turn.

*It is weird that mages can only cast spells on groups of 6, no matter their power, huh? To fix that, having a range of 6 means you cast the spell on all the group you select (all foes, all allies, everyone but a single person... its your call)