From Darian's Desk #1
As we get closer to the wipe (any day now I'm told), things in Myth have slowed down on the visible front. A lot is still going on behind the scenes and I thought I'd take today to talk a little bit about that. But, in the interest of making it entertaining and new, I'm going to focus on my own work and my own sort of realm of influence. That's right, this is a magic and lore blog today!
I'm going to give you guys some backstory about magic and the way it works in Myth, along with some of the plans I have for mages and some ideas that may or may not go into the game. We're still in Alpha, and it's a perfect time to address issues with the code base or to add things we've always wanted. I'm hoping to learn to code so I will speak a little to that as well. Myth has been a great opportunity for people who haven't been given a shot on other projects to come in and see how they take to the actual work of making a UO shard. Without getting your hands dirty it is really hard to have any frame of reference for how any of it works. I'm really glad we have that opportunity, even if it means people sometimes bite off more than they can chew, but I think it's worth it. Trust me, I'm guilty of that too. It is just part of us working to keep this hobby healthy and thriving!
Lore-wise, from inception to players moving into the game, we used a central philosophy and set of laws to build our story setting. It's important to start neutral, for example, but let players maneuver themselves into conflict naturally. Don't stand in the way of it, but help facilitate the story that players want to tell. Along with those, we thought about the in-universe laws that governed reality. Kind of like an understanding of physics in our own world runs counter to historical magical or alchemical though, we made sure that the real rules were obscured and obfuscated behind centuries of people using the truth for their own ends. That's why lore and in game can sometimes differ, but some things are hard to question.. just like in our world.
Functionally in our world, Arcane and Divine magic are the same thing. Firstly, because the mechanical spells that are used by classes on both sides are identical but also because all magic comes from the gods in-universe. The split between someone seeing arcane and divine magic different must come from the setting itself. The church may look down on hedge mages, or think of magic as completely natural. Some churches may lead crusades against necromancers while a couple of churches couldn't care less. It's meant to be a big mess with no clear answers so that the stories that can come out of it can be compelling and surprising. So, do the mechanics fit our setting's magic?
I'd say no. There are a lot of restrictions between what mages and clerics can do, how druids fit in, why monsters can use magic or not. Those are all questions we want to explore with story but Alpha is the perfect time to address them with mechanics as well! And remember, we're entering the real world of make believe here. These are just ideas that haven't been tested yet.
Elemental mages need some adjustment. We all know that water mages don't really work and cryomages were added with frostlings and have always been locked off. We also use a 4-part classical element style for them but have 5 elemental damage types. We even have other types in other magic.. Druids, clerics, necromancers, etc that aren't covered. So, first idea. Rework Cryomages into poison elemental mages. Relax, not nox mages. Necromancers have 100 poisoning but are capped on their poison spellcasting. I'd look at both of them and what they get out of nox magery (Casting level 5 poison on people) together. A lot of classes (and now a race or two) gets poison resist so maybe that would cover it. But I am thinking more an elemental mage that casts poison damage fireballs with a unique passive like the other elemental mages. Water is supposed to do true damage but it doesn't work. Give them the Cryomage freeze (water and ice.. let's just go with it for the idea) but make it only as strong as the earth elemental stun. Then give the poison elemental one a damage tick like pyromancers get except make it target stamina. You can target stamina with a mace, but it's much harder with spellcasting and that doesn't step on any other mage's toes.
I could keep going about a weaker, non-undead version of the Necromancer that uses golems and robots.. maybe with Tinkering to build Golem parts and use a modified version of the elemental mage's mage staff system to build golems that are XML items that store their stats. But this is the sort of long process that comes out of looking at each mechanic. All of that was basically me trying to figure out what to do about aquamancer's ability not working.
Magic is something that I really enjoy reading about in fiction. I want to introduce xml abilities that work as spells outside of the 64 rotes. I want these specific to class. So the elemental mages, clerics, forester druids, necromancer mages, rogues with UMD, anyone who can cast magic could get different abilities. Some of these are already in game, things like .mgspb for mages that you just get for having the class. This is the kind of code I'm most interested about moving into the new RunUO Core, because calling them magic I can do my UO Magic school questline I'm so excited about but the same could be done for bounty hunters with bounty quests... after so many you unlock a new ability associated with that task. Or as a BoD reward for crafters.
So that's where I am. I am spinning a lot of plates, and I'm sorry that this was so stream of consciousness style of writing, but I like the idea of every now and then having one of these so people know that there's a lot going on behind the scenes. I didn't even get into the map work, where we're changing the starting city location and adding locations that can one day be taken over.
We're as excited as you guys are. I hope we all survive this short wait and I look forward to seeing what everybody decides to play when we're rolling again!