Spell design

Discussion on the Earthdawn game line, errata, and feedback not related to playing or GMing.
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BRW
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Spell design

Post by BRW » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:21 pm

Hello,

Are there any plans for the reintroduction of the spell design and magic items creation systems? Was is seriously considered?

I really enjoy the fact that the first edition contained spell design rules. First of all, it greatly enhances the consistency of the system. Typically in fantasy games one can read a lot of fluff about some applications of magic within the setting which cannot be represented in-game, i.e. one can quite often read about specific effects that has been obtained in the setting using magic but cannot be represented as long as one sticks to the spell lists presented in the books, for example because those effects would be of no use in the actual game. Spell design rules give a proper background to cover a lot of such cases.

Besides that, a good spell design system gives the proper feel of the flexibility of magic. Again, in fantasy settings, one may easily come up with some large-scale effects which are central to the plot (because of a curse that has been cast on the duke, this and this happened...), but cannot be handled mechanically (that is, other than via GM's fiat). Since Earthdawn is a high fantasy rpg with a great deal of consistency between the setting and the rules, one could expect that all this colour and flexibility of magic should make its way into the rules.

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The Undying
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Re: Spell design

Post by The Undying » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:04 pm

I'd like to see this, too.

Over at Panda's blog, as part of the ED4 Discipline spell discussions, there's talk of a lot of groundwork being done to codify basic guidelines for spell power levels, thread abilities, extra success powers, etc. Similarly, there's talk of how they chalked out what spell capabilities should exist for each Discipline, both flavor and actual mechanics. I would LOVE to see this information to help me formulate my own spells. Even if this is just provided as a blog entry somewhere, rather than a polished and published product, it'd be extremely valuable.

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RazanMG
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Re: Spell design

Post by RazanMG » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:58 pm

That would be great to have it.

LouP
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Re: Spell design

Post by LouP » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:47 pm

Hello,

Just to provide a little historical context, the ED1 Spell Design system was created by reverse-engineering the existing spells in the ED1 core rulebook and Companion.

The goal of the spell design system was to provide a system that players and GMs could use to create new spells that approximated the effectiveness of the published spells. In other words, I wanted any new spells created to more or less "balanced" when compared to the existing spells. I'm not going to comment on how well (or whether or not) I succeeded in that goal beyond saying that I *think* I succeeded.

The original designer (Greg Gorden) followed some rough guidelines when creating new spells, but in the end each was tweaked according to what looked and felt right. The result of this was that not every spell at a given Circle has a consistent range, duration, effect, # of threads, or Spellcasting difficulty. For the most part they are fairly consistent, but there are a few outliers here and there.

I started with a database that captured the details of all of the available spells so I could more easily compare the details of the different types of spells at each Circle.

The system I designed broke things down in such a way that a magician should be able to re-create any of the existing spells (with the possibility of a slight difference in statistics here and there), assuming they were of sufficient skill and rolled well along the way. As I recall, I assumed that the existing spells had been designed by very competent magicians who on average achieved a Good or Excellent success. This was intended to simulate the idea that existing spells had survived the test of time and had been refined over time. I'm sure there are a handful of exceptions to that, but that was the general idea.


Take Care,

Lou Prosperi

Slimcreeper
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Re: Spell design

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:07 pm

I actually like the idea of the spells not being perfectly balanced - gives it a more organic feel. I would love to have database of spells so that I could choose them randomly for found spellbooks and NPC magicians. That would make finding and learning sweet new spells a major motivation for PCs. Or maybe if they were printed out on spell cards ... then I could shuffle the deck.

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Kosmit
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Re: Spell design

Post by Kosmit » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:26 am


Slimcreeper
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Re: Spell design

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:47 pm

Thanks, Kosmit!

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