Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More...More on Mages

So, what keeps mages from taking over the world? Looking over spell lists in nearly any version of D&D, at high levels they can be walking arsenals - and pretty invulnerable to most of what the mundane world can throw at them...

I'm thinking that magic ought to be dangerous - the more powerful, the more dangerous - so there could be very high level mages - but they might get consumed by their own power if they aren't very, very careful about how they use the magic. So, while a mage could conceivably walk around and blow fireballs at everything in sight, what if there's a cumulative danger in unleashing them? (hmmm - 5% for first 10% for second 20% for third 40%, 80%, 99%...chance of something very bad happening - but what? Summoning a hostile fire elemental? That would be in keeping with the notion of summoning a bit of the elemental plane of fire as the fireball spell - assuming that's the fundamental mechanic of a fireball spell).

So, while there could be some generic "spell failure" tables and the like - maybe there should be some kind of specialized mechanics for overuse of magic. I've considered the mechanic of magic costing the mage Constitution points or even Hit Points (because of how I envision magic working in Daen Ral) - but I think I want something more directly applicable to the actual use of magic...

So...maybe there's both the chance of failure (see previous post) as well as the chance of something very, very bad happening, especially as a mage uses more and more magic in a short period of time.

That might make mages less useful in combat, of course, but perhaps they would need to be more creative - or make more use of wands and potions and scrolls and the like (which would not necessarily be under the same constraints as the mage actually wrestling with the arcane energies him/herself).


Stuart said...

I think you percentages are way too high.
Would you drive a car if 5% of the time you'd get into an accident?
1% per level would as high as I'd go. Eventually it will catch up with the mage.

Daen Ral Worldbuilder said...

You're probably right - I'm using the blog to "think out loud" as it were - so I'll think on this some more. Thanks.