Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Strength of Magical Times

The use of magic in role-playing games has an additional requirement, beyond those discussed already, that must be dealt with in the mechanics to give it a sense of realism. Stick with us, even if you're not a gamer, because this has as much to do with creating the setting and the effect of magic on that mood, and the mood of any scene or scenario where magic is involved as it does games, numbers, or rules. As with so many other situations this requirement for magic and verisimilitude involves time. It's not just about creating an air of reality though; it's about dynamics and the implications that are spawned by setting out the rules, the physics, of magic and what is involved in its use. The mechanics are a factor of time because magic takes time, how much dependent upon the dictates of the setting which of course are set out in the rules.

In our more realistic setup for magic the ability to cast a specific number of spells per time period is off the table. Instead magic points are used, with each spell requiring a certain number of points to cast. It takes time to regain these points. How quickly they are used is more important game-wise than how long they take to recharge, but for fiction writing the significance is about the same unless magic only takes as long as the time to cast it--there is no need to figure it takes anything more than will and knowledge. The time required to cast spells and the recharge time can affect the pacing of your timeline if not the pace of the story. Often there are also methods by which a spell caster can gain and use additional points, such as rituals with multiple members, and sacrifices. Both of those right there add flavour and mood to the magic, and impact the setting.

There is yet another option for gaining magic points that involves an external source. Some settings have places of magic such as locations where mystic temples were built, lines of magical force that criss-cross the globe called ley lines, and places that are just plain magical whether because of a bleed-over from another dimension, the influence of magical beings like faeries, or at the decree of deities. Beyond that, these locations and others may have increased magic at specific times of the day, month or year, or when certain celestial alignments come about. These places and times can cut short the time required between spells, and allow for stronger spells to be cast than normal. All of these of course change the dynamic of the story or the game without even getting into the nitty-gritty of them. The exact mechanics and number crunching flow from the story elements.

Mood: relaxed.
Music: Can I Play With Madness by Iron Maiden and Watch This by Slash.

Iron Maiden: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
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Slash: Slash
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