Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mages As Enchanters Who Never Fight

In Getting Beyond Spellcasting the idea is mooted of getting away from spell-slinging wizards with some ritual magic. This isn't going nearly far enough as far as I'm concerned.
It should be noted that item enchantment magics should also be performed as rituals, with significant investments of power in many cases.
A mage who ONLY does enchanting and takes NO part in combat AT ALL is acceptable in conjunction with the Offline Activity concept in the essay Marking Time. But only if two conditions are met.

First, making enchantments gives the player serious money as a mage. Not minimal money, but serious money. Because that's going to be the enchanter's only source of income. Granted, the money could primarily come from player characters. But it could also come from noble NPCs handing out fat contracts (quests) to supply their armies.

Second, there are quests to further the player's skills and supplies as an enchanter. If they learn from Master Yan how to enchant scrolls of town portal for example. Or they go to Sundabar to secure a contract for a routine supply of Eagle Feathers (either as needed or by the tonne) from the Merchant House of Vreel at a given price. A price which they may improve upon when their contract runs out and they opt to go to Sundabar again with more points in their Negotiation skill (thus improving their profit margin on even low-level enchantments).

Ideally, all of the no-risk grinding activities that involve supporting other players and negotiating with them (determined by your automatic Negotiation skill!) should happen offline. And all the activities that involve risky Personal Character Development and decision-making (like learning stuff, setting up trade routes, and negotiating with fighters to escort him to Sundabar) should happen online. This is really basic game design since sleeping and resting is skipped over (not endured) even in pen and paper games.

Most of that's done already. What's novel is the offline activities concept, and converting "one eagle feather in a wizard's inventory" into "a contract for one tonne of eagle feathers delivered by caravan to the wizard's shop". And both of those novelties are to systematically do away with grinding. Which is something very anti-WoW. But then again, so's actual roleplaying (stealing, gambling and negotiating) so fuck em.

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