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Magic in Ilandria


As every physician knows, the world we live in is comprised primarily of magic, and Ilandria is I assure you no exception. Magic beams down from the sun to imbue the crops with life, is ingested by the livestock to dwell in their flesh until it is combusted in the guts of men to give them nourishment and when they die, they return it to the earth. Magic lives in every blade of grass, and sways every wave that crashes on Ilandria's shores. Magic enables everyone's lives--everyone touches it, and is touched by it.

But those who can push and pull on the forces that wrap around us are rare and sparkling gems. Dangerous, mysterious, powerful. The workers of magic are sorcerers.

Magic in Ilandria is traditionally divided into two categories and five elements. However, in recent centuries several scholars have agitated for the consideration of a third category, discussed in brief below.

***

The two categories of magic are known as High Arcana and Low Arcana.

The vast majority of magic practiced in Ilandria falls under the auspices of the Low Arcana, with the tacit implications of "trivial" and "base". Of course, the man who can learn to harness even Low Arcana is rare indeed. Low Arcana is not without its advantages. Spells of the Low Arcana can be cast quickly and without special preparation, as long as one can channel enough mana. This means that all combat magic belongs, by necessity, to the Low Arcana.

The High Arcana is far rarer and more powerful. Spells of the High Arcana cannot be cast in combat and require ritual and preparation. However, their effects are significantly more far-reaching and profound than burning a foe or hastening an ally. High Arcana sorcery is "global" magic that can effect the patterns of weather or the flow of time itself!

The defining characteristic of High Arcana magic is that the magical effect accomplished is greater than the caster's mind can withstand. The very act of casting a spell of the High Arcana erases it from the mind, and a spell of the High Arcana cannot be RECALLED after it is cast. In order to cast it again, it must be learned anew!

***

Besides this as Low or High, Ilandrian magic is also divided into five Elemental Schools.

The Elemental Schools are Sun, Moon, Earth, Air, and Water. The Sun school also includes its aspect, Fire. In the same way, the Air school includes its aspect, Electricity and the Water school includes its aspect, Cold. No school is limited to its aspect, however, and the fact that the Moon and Earth schools lack a distinct aspect is in turn no limitation.

Every spell of the Low Arcana belongs to one and only one element.

Spells of the high Arcana can mix elements from several schools, or even more often, embody ALL of them.

On the Creation and Learning of Magick:

Firstly, only a rank novitiate would speak of the "Creation" and "Learning" of Ilandrian Magic as two separate things. The act of creating a spell is the same act as the act of learning it. The act of learning a spell is the same as the act of creating it. In the same way that an arcane scroll, a mental capacity, an incantation, and a plume of fire are all a spell.

Secondly, this discusses only the creation of magic of the Low Arcana. The creation of High Arcana spells is highly speculative.

Ilandrian spells are created using Power Runes. There are seventeen known Ilandrian Power Runes. Five of these are the Elemental Runes, which you may think of as "adjectives". The remaining runes--many of them lost to time and antiquity--are the Runes of Intent, which you may think of as magical "verbs". By combining an Adjective with a Verb, you create a magical phrase--or in other words, a Spell. To do so, you must combine an Elemental Rune and a Rune of Intent with a blank leaf of Paper; the connecting siguls must be writ in Demon's Blood Ink. The resulting product is a Scroll, which when read, will teach one of the sixty known spells of the Low Arcana--which one depends, of course, on which runes were combined. The process of reading and memorizing a Scroll destroys it, as well as all of the elements used in its creation.

The true arcanist must experiment with spellcraft and explore every possibility in order to master the potential of the Low Arcana.

***

On The Modern Heresies:

As mentioned earlier, recent scholars have posited the existence of a THIRD category of Ilandrian magic. That THIRD category is Alchemy. As all of the flora and fauna of Ilandria are innately magical, the creation of a potion is no different from the creation of a spell; the mortar and pestle and retory and alembic and calcinator and cauldron all serve to free the magical reagents from a physical component, to combust and combinate in air. Thus the act of creating a potion is no different than the act of creating a spell. The act of drinking a potion is the act of learning and of casting in one--it effects the user like casting, and it destroys the product in the same way that learning a spell destroys the scroll.

But several learned arcanists have refuted the contention that Alchemy on its own constitutes a school of magic. While admittedly the combinative processes of alchemy are comparable to those used in the spellcraft of the Low Arcana, ingredients and the resulting potions do not belong to any particular elemental school. Likewise, alchemy and the resulting potions and poisons can be used by ANYONE. True magic can only be performed by a practitioner of The Art. It is known.

***

Further Reading. If interested in pursuing magic as a career or a serious scholarly interest, you may wish to consult the following texts, all of which can be found (or will eventually be found) in the game world of CODENAME: THE GREATEST GAME THAT EVER WAS OR WILL BE.

Magic of Ilandria by Esther Selenor
The Grammar of Magick by Jolfryd Thuffay
The Joy of Alchemy by Gracie Kleever

-Ilandrian Faith-

Leaving aside abhorrent demons and ancient and debased deities are FOUR good and true deities worshipped by the human people of Ilandria.

They ARE:

Tayne - god of commerce, trade, coin, and tithes. Patron of men and merchants. Associated with the arcane or intellectual pursuit of magic.
Lorelin Longstride - god of forests, beasts, fishing and hunting. Patron of elves and rangers. Associated with the druidic or naturalist pursuit of magic.
Krogann - god of earth, stone, metal, mountains, mining and smelting. Patron of Dwarves and smiths. Associated with the divine pursuit of magic.
Gwynnialea- goddess of farms, fields, plants, the seasons and the harvest. Patron of alchemists. Associated with the alchemical art of magic.

Posts

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"It must be learned anew"
So, does this mean the caster(if he's very interested in the spell)
will just keep learning it and casting it?
What if it's something major like something that would really mess up the world if it was cast over and over again? And what about their memory? Maybe they ruin the world and all they could remember was walking thinking "Hey, this is a cool spell" and finds himself in a wasteland?

Edit: And your text coloring hurts my eyes...
Regarding High Arcana...
the magical effect accomplished is greater than the caster's mind can withstand

Is the loss of the spell absolute or can you keep it if your INT stat is high enough, or something like that? The latter would allow uber-powerful sorcerers, friend or foe, to exist in this game.

When you explain the way to create spells, it seems only mechanical to me. No special "power" or ability reserved for sorcery-gifted people seems necessary in crafting a scroll. So you might want to edit that.

I like the presentation. You explain this like a scholar NPC would do it ingame.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
So, does this mean the caster(if he's very interested in the spell)
will just keep learning it and casting it?
What if it's something major like something that would really mess up the world if it was cast over and over again? And what about their memory? Maybe they ruin the world and all they could remember was walking thinking "Hey, this is a cool spell" and finds himself in a wasteland?


If he can keep finding the necessary Power Runes and Paper and Demon's Blood Ink and keeps crafting them at a Spellcrafting workstation to create a scroll to relearn the spell from, sure, he can recast it that way. As you can imagine, it'd be rather a quest to get to that point.

Casting a High Arcana spell doesn't effect the caster's memory of anything other than the spell, although that's an interesting thought.

Edit: And your text coloring hurts my eyes...


I'm sorry! What combination of colors do you think would be more readable?

Is the loss of the spell absolute or can you keep it if your INT stat is high enough, or something like that? The latter would allow uber-powerful sorcerers, friend or foe, to exist in this game.


When you cast a High Arcana spell, you lose the skill; you can relearn it again, easily enough, so it's not an "absolute" loss, but regardless of how awesome your MAG is, you still lose it. Basically, this is to limit the use of High Arcana spells, because if you could cast them consecutively with no cost beyond Mana, you could basically PWN the game in certain instances. They're meant to be "for special occasions only".

I mean, we are talking about spells that can turn back time in a game where, primarily, you are racing the clock.

When you explain the way to create spells, it seems only mechanical to me. No special "power" or ability reserved for sorcery-gifted people seems necessary in crafting a scroll. So you might want to edit that.


Good point. It's kind of a meaningless distinction, though, as the only real PC in the game is sorcerously gifted, in all of his incarnations.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
5236
This is a functional magic system is well defined, yet allows a lot of room for extremely gifted sorcerers (read: villains) to "break the system", upping the ante for the protagonist. I'm picturing a villain who develops a high arcana spell that allows him to remember other high arcana spells, and another who develops a high arcana spell that allows time to slow down for him any time he is casting a spell so from then on he can cast other high arcana mid-battle. Hell, turning back time by itself is damn impressive and useful. Aside from the typical time travel shenanigans, you could possibly turn back your mind's clock to a point when you knew different spells.

As far as gameplay goes, the usefulness of high arcana will depend on how hard the spells are to get and how effective they are. I'm assuming some of them will just be plot devices, while the gameplay-oriented ones will mostly be effects that persist for a large number of battles, like a rainstorm that strengthens water-type monsters and weakens fire-type monsters, or a mental clarity spell that grants a bonus to XP gains, or stuff like that? I would be interested in seeing a list of some high arcana spells and what they do in the game.

I like the normal text color, but the purple could be lighter.
DE
*click to edit*
1313
Moon - Mind/Spirit.
Earth - Metal/Body.
Technocracy.
Forbidden Runes.
Sanguimancy.
Elemental Sigils.
Mantra.
Tower of Creation.
Arcana Mundi.
One Magic.
Ars Magna.
BRAINSTORMING IS FUN!
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
Interestingly, the governance of the Moon school is "Magic", essentially. So your Magic damage (Magic is a specific damage type in this, not a metatype containing several elements) and manipulation and your silencing and MP damage and MP regeneration and all of that stuff belongs to the Moon school. I'm trying to not make any of the schools more powerful than the others, but Moon is definitely "the coolest" in my mind.

The Earth school being related to metal and body is a good guess. One of its more powerful spells is "Oxidize" which causes enemy equipment and bodies to become Corroded. It also has two spells that, cast in rapid succession, bestow near total immunity to physical attacks.

Elemental siguls are already implemented into the game, naturally, and are used to craft spells and enchant weapons.

As far as gameplay goes, the usefulness of high arcana will depend on how hard the spells are to get and how effective they are. I'm assuming some of them will just be plot devices, while the gameplay-oriented ones will mostly be effects that persist for a large number of battles, like a rainstorm that strengthens water-type monsters and weakens fire-type monsters, or a mental clarity spell that grants a bonus to XP gains, or stuff like that? I would be interested in seeing a list of some high arcana spells and what they do in the game.

Every High Arcana spell that will be named in the game will be castable by the PC. That said, I'm sure there are some unnamed ones that are alluded to less specifically that are essentially plot devices.

The weather system hasn't been implemented yet, but here are a couple of examples of High Arcana.

*Removal* - This spell literally kills every (non-boss) monster in a given dungeon/the game. I haven't decided which yet. It's not permanently, obviously, as enemies respawn over time, and it won't work on the world map for random encounters, but there may be a different spell specifically for that.
*Mark and Recall* - This one is tricky; the spell to mark a teleportation destination is a High Arcana spell, but the spell to teleport there will probably be Low Arcana. This means that you don't have to restrict your teleporting to special emergencies, but you can't mark new teleport targets willy-nilly.
*Renewal* - This spell restores the ore you've already mined out to every single mine in the game. Obviously, this is hugely important, as ore doesn't have any other way of regenerating over time, unlike plants.
*Reversal* - Turns back time X days, where X is a reasonably balanced number I haven't figured out yet. If you're fighting the clock, this gives you more time to fight it, which is huge. Essentially, you can imagine the entire game as a giant battle, where the "Days Passed" is your Health Bar. On that extremely macro-scale, this spell will be healing.
*Regrowth* - This spell doesn't actually turn time forward, but it makes plants think that time has advanced X days, causing them all to grow back. Like the Renewal spell, but not as absolutely crucial. It will be a lot easier to find/cast too.

All of those names are placeholders, by the way.

Keep in mind that, if you aren't the kind to explore a LOT, you could easily finish the entire game without finding any of these. That and obviously the first demo/short game will not have every single spell already implemented.
As you asked, I post here my questions about the "crunch" of the system:

I guess the player will start with few (or none at all) runes and gain them during the game. Will some verbs be more powerful than others (and found later in the game), or will they be about equally effective (so finding more runes only ehnances your versatility)?

Will every character be able to use every rune? Will characters have one or more elements they are "talented" in?

Will every element cover a type of magic (Sun for direct damage, Moon for buff/debuffs, etc), or will this be covered by verbs?

And some new ones:
How hard will it be to get runes? At the end of the game, will the "average" player know just a handful of spells or will he know half of them (or more)?

How will character grow interact with the system?
Will the MC start with 10 mana and end with 1000, or will he start with 100 and end with 150?
Will the MC's stats have a big effect on spells' effectiveness?

Also, I read your post on high-arcana and I think I get what they're about. You could also use them as a one-time way to open new areas. I'd like a game where I can just NUCLEAR BLAST the mountain between me and my destination, or a minor villain's den. I'd like it very much.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
1) Most of them are. There are one or two verbs that are better, but the associated spells will have proportionally higher mana costs, so it will all balance out. For instance "Harm" and "Wound" are both direct damage, but "Wound" uses a different element (for each school), does more damage, and has a higher mana cost.

2) The player starts the game with nothing. Literally nothing. Unequipped with no items and 3 Royals in cash. At least in the Short Game. The only runes you get will be the ones you can find, buy or in certain versions of the game...mine.

3) There is only one planned *real* PC for now. Additional PCs will be hirelings or summons, and most likely will not have any Mana, so teaching them spells will be worthless. I'm not sure about this yet.

4) No. Every school will be capable of dealing direct damage, healing, buffing, and debuffing. However every school's equivalent spell will function slightly differently and grant/inflict/cure different sets of status effects. For example, here are the Heal spells from all five schools.

There will be verbs for which one or two adjectives create spells that are superior or more important, but usually those spells will have balancing factors like increased Mana cost.

Sun + Heal = Cauterize: Heals one ally and cures Bleeding.
Moon + Heal = Moonlight : Heals one ally slightly and adds Infusion. (Regenerate 10% LP/Turn.)
Earth + Heal = Earthmeld: Heals one ally and cures Corroded.
Air + Heal = Healing Zephyr: Heals ALL allies, but costs more Mana.
Water + Heal = Purification: Heals one ally and cures all Poisons.

5) Runes aren't LEARNED. They're FOUND, BOUGHT, or MINED. They then get used up when you use them as a component to make a spell. Anyway, I'm not sure about the answer to all of these yet, except I will say that it will be possible to learn High Arcana spells in the game. Check the Magic page as I just posted some examples.

a) I'm not entirely sure how hard it will be. They won't just be lying around everywhere, though. A rune is fairly significant treasure.
b) I don't know yet, sorry. I do want it to be possible to finish the game without learning any spells, if you so choose. Spells will feature much more heavily in the Epic Game than in either of the other two game formats. Basically I want the answer to be "It's entirely up to you".
c) I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "character grow" but every spell that does damage or heals scales with MAG which scales with leveling and other character growth.
d) MC will start with 2 Mana. His theoretical maximum is 200, from leveling alone. But I'd imagine that at the end of the "normal" game you'd be probably around Level 30, starting with 2 Mana and winding up with 61.
e) For spells that directly damage or heal, yes. Less so for status effect spells although of course "+150% ATK" is better the higher your attack is, so even those scale somewhat.

I LOVE the nuclear blast idea. I love the idea of High Arcana serving essentially as the "Hammer" from Mario 3. I will definitely put that in. : )

The world map is already very "Game-Board" like, a la Mario 3. I also like the idea of a High Arcana spell that just immediately levels you up upon casting it.
author=Max
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "character grow" but every spell that does damage or heals scales with MAG which scales with leveling and other character growth.


I meant: how much will the MC's skills improve during the game (both storywise and gameplaywise)?
Will he start as a useless loser and end as a demigod, or will he start as a fairly competent fighter and end as a more competent fighter (or anything in between)?
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
Ah, I see, well in that case...

Short Game-> Start as a useless loser, end as a moderately successful tradesman.
Normal Game-> Start as a moderately successful tradesman, end as a town's savior.
Epic Game-> Start as as a powerful wizard, end as a demigod
author=Cozzer
I'd like a game where I can just NUCLEAR BLAST the mountain between me and my destination, or a minor villain's den. I'd like it very much.
Wish I had thought about that...It's sounds so awesome...
Yeah, probably the same color as the title would be a good color for the text.
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