Monday, March 24, 2008

ItFR: What is magical?

As I reported in my last post, I'm working mostly on dialogues these days. I'm having a fairly good time with that, especially when I get deep into character and I know where I'm going. I enjoy making my NPCs speak, so much so I'm starting to think some of the dialogues may end up being too long. I'll see during play testing what they feel like.

I've also squeezed in time yesterday to script another of the companion's special custom items (scripting is my way to relax... ;) ).

In Into the Forgotten Realms, each of the four companions will have a special item as part of their starting equipment: Rindal the Rogue will have a climbing rope; Thelvar the Cleric, an Amulet of Speak with Dead, and Elmaer the Wizard, a Wand of Detect Magic (I haven't figured out yet what Autamma the mace-wielding Fighter will get).

So last night I was scripting Elmaer's Wand of Detect Magic, and in the script I had to define what objects and items in the game are magical. Since there is no "IsMagical" switch on objects, I had to create some rules. The following is what I came up with:

An object will be flagged in game (with a VFX) as magical if:

(Creature) It has a spell effect applied to it, OR
(Item) It is cursed, OR
(Item) It is NOT identified (which implies the item is magical), OR
(Item) It has special item properties assigned to it, AND
(Item) It is NOT an item equipped in a creature slot (meaning that it would be a creature item)

In addition, objects with a "IsMagical" local int on them would also be included. This I added to catch objects that cannot be covered by any rules (e.g. some placed effects that would be used as magical "objects").

Objects (creatures, containers) with "magical" items in their inventories or in any of their equipment slots would have the VFX applied directly to them.

I recognize these rules are probably not 100% failsafe, but they seem like they could do the trick.

I wonder though if anything else should register as magical. For example, are there creatures that would emit a magical aura detectable with a Detect Magic spell (Constructs?).

If you have any ideas to make these rules better (other rules, adjustment to current rules etc.) , think of something that could potentially make this concept fail, have suggestions on a better way to go about this altogether, or any other thoughts of any kind, I'd much appreciate if you could let me know. Thanks! :)


Wyrin said...

Sounds like a pretty cool system. My only thought is will it work ok with corpses - a main use of Detect magic in PnP is to see what items dropped by NPCs are magical.

Construsts don't appear as magical (a targetted dispel doesn;t destory them) but summoned creatures would.

Things like symbols/glyphs of warding... not sure they show up with a detect magic by the book

Just some quick thoughts... sounds like a nice addition to the module tho.

E.C.Patterson said...

Thanks Wyrin! This is a great help.

I'll be sure to catch dead creatures (or their loot bags, if that is at all possible.)

Great point about summoned creatures. They're going in there!

I'll see what I can do about catching AOEs.

Thanks again.

James said...

Ive been thinking about trying to make a detect magic spell for a PW but havent been able to figure out how to make the vfx for it apear only to the Player that cast the spell does anyone know if there is anyway to handle vfx so that they woudl only apear client side?

E.C.Patterson said...

Hi James,

I don't think that is possible. VFX will appear for everyone. Since I'm developping this for a single player or single party environmen, I don't mind that the VFX is there for all to see.

In your case, you might be able to use a message box or screen message that only appears on the casting player's screen that *describes* what type of magic was detected and where. Maybe that could be an option.

Good luck!