Toggle Dark Mode

Magic System Draft

By Trevor Hoglund, February 01, 2013

The date on this file is approximate, all I know is that I wrote it when discussing the idea of making a game centered around a hard magic systems some time during my sophomore year of high school.

§1 Magic Basics

§1.1 Mana

Your maximum mana level is determined by your magic level. You lose mana frequently as you use magic, but how do you regain it?

Firstly there are mana potions. Mana potions can be brewed, bought, and found in dungeons or towers. A drink or two of this potion and you should be fully ready to blow everything up a second time.

Second and most fun option is the Mana Altar. Mana Altars are randomly generated throughout the world. Throwing items or creatures into the altar will extract the mana from them. Creatures will leave behind their remains, which at this point is just a pile of bones.

Last and certainly least is just waiting it out. Over time your mana will slowly regenerate.

§1.2 Levels

Your magic level is key in how much mana you have and how many words you can use in a spell, but how does one level up?

It’s actually simple when you break it down. Like most games your level is earned with EXP. The amount of EXP you need to level up grows with each level on a fibonacci scale (ie $0,1,1,2,3,5,8…$).

When you die you lose EXP which will also affect your levels. On average upon death you will lose half of your EXP. This loss could change based on the level of your opponent compared to yourself.

Your total levels is often split into two groups: Active Lvl and Used Lvl. Your active level determines your spell word count and also any other factors that require a level, except for levelling up which ALWAYS uses your total Level. Your Used Lvl is the amount of levels that are currently being used by something like a Summon or a complex magic.

§1.3 Exp

As earlier stated you need EXP to level up, and here shall explain how you get and use EXP. The most common way to gain EXP is with magic (of course!). The amount of EXP gained from a spell is heavily influenced by a spells instability. By which I mean the more unstable the more EXP. This makes it very interesting to use magic and also a challenge to balance your spells.

Other forms of earning EXP include enchanting tools and armor.

§2 Spell Writing

§2.1 General

Your magic level determines the amount of words you can write into a spell. The amount of words is equal to your level plus 1. The order of the words determines the order of operation in mana. Spells are written in this syntax:

[Element][Type][Modifier][Modifier] etc...


Ignis Tignum Circa Mors

This would produce an area beam of fire, with an instakill aspect. The mana usage would be determined as such:

Which is $600$ mana per time unit. VERY spendy spell. If you want to use multiple ELEMENTS per spell you separate them using et. When calculating mana it is represented as a $+$. Example:

Ignis et Aqua Murus Circa

This would produce a circular wall of steam around you. The mana usage would be determined as such:

Because the order of operations is ALWAYS left to right (screw math rules), this is read as $((1+1)^2)\times3 = 12$ Mana. A special modifier known as ‘Multiple’ can be used for some cheaty things :3. Though each use uses up 4 words. Example:

Ignis Impes Nonnullus per modum Nemo

This is kinda cheaty because Multiple allows you to change the amount of mana used with some perks. The Zero number for multiple divides the mana by two, but doesn’t change the attack. This is because you cannot have less than one attack per attack -_- With this modifier this spell uses $1/2$ Mana. Mana ALWAYS rounds up so this is a useless waste of $4$ words in a spell, but it is just a proof of concept.

§2.2 Instability

Instability factors help determine the chance of a spell working correctly. To find the chance of a spell not working we use the following equation:

Where $i$ is the instability value of a word. If a spell if too unstable it may even just completely implode and kill you rather than doing anything else.

§2.3 Spell Books

Each book can contain up to $25$ spells. As a starter you get a ‘General’ book that works equally with all spells. You can find or buy new books, most of which will be type specific. For instance if you have a Fire Book and you use a fire type spell it will reduce the mana cost by $10%$, if you try using a different type of spell it will increase the mana cost by $10%$. Type specific books will often include an aid for writing spells in that type.

Books that you find in towers or trade with wizards for will often already include spells, though they aren’t always well written.

§2.4 List of Words

Element Usage Mana Instability
Fire Ignis, Flamma 1 -1
Water Aqua, Lympha 1 +1
Earth Terra, Tellus 1 +1
Ice Glacies 1 +1
Plant Herba 1 +1
Lightning Fulmen 1 -1
Air Aer 1 +1
Life Vita 2 +1
Magic Magia, Praecantio 2 +1
Evil/Dark Malum 2 -1
Attack Impes x1 -1
Enclose Obsepio x5 -2
Defend Custodio, Contego xT(Time Based) +2
Push Truso, Pello x2 -1
Pull Druco, Importo x2 +1
Beam Trigum x2T(Time Based) -2
Wall Murus ^2 x2
Multiple Nonnullus* x1 -5
AOE Circa x3 +2
Healing Medella +4 +1
Sickness Morbus +4 -1
Poison Venenum, Virus +4 -2
Instakill Mors x100 -100
One Unum x1 +1
Two Duo x2 +2
Three Tres x3 +3
Four Tetradium x4 +4
Five Quinctus x5 +5
Six Senio x6 +6
Seven Septem x7 +7
Eight Octo x8 +8
Nine Novem x9 +9
Ten Decem x10 +10
A Lot Multus, Conplus x15 -15
None Nemo x1/2 -15
Mixed Element      
Steam Fire + Water 1 +2
Snow Water + Ice 1 +2
Bubble Shield AOE + Wall ^5/2 +5

§3 Summoning

§3.1 General

Summoning is as always very useful for getting some fighting pals. Though it will be tough to do because you will need to know the Summon’s Call. Summoning requires Life and Magic combined as Vita et Magia or Vita et Praecantio. The syntax of any summon spell is as follows:

Vita et Magia Ego Vocare Te Apud [Call]

Ego Vocare Te Apud means “I summon you with”. This is the pretext to the Call. Each Different summon has it’s own call. Example:

Vita et Magia Ego Vocare Te Apud Potest de Cybium

This spell summons you a Cat Familiar. If a summon spell is written even slightly off there can be massive consequences. The most common side effect will be hostility in the Summon.

§3.2 Calls

To obtain a call you have a few options. First, you can find Call Books in dungeons. Call books are notebooks written by previous wizards who often died at the hands of a summon, so be wary of the last written call. Secondly there are a few spells using Magic and Pull effects that have a chance of pulling a Call Scroll from a creature, the rarer the creature the less likely it is to work. The third option is to collect a Call Scroll upon killing a creature. Every creature has a small chance of dropping their Call Scroll upon death. The last official option is pain. If a creature goes through enough pain it could shout out its call (fyi mana altars cause a lot of pain).

All calls have an instability factor of $\times0$. Making all summoning spells have no instability whatsoever, unless you write extra things after the call.

§3.3 Minions

Minions are in a way like disposable Summons. They are a type of Summon who are made using pure Evil and Life. The syntax of any Minion spell is as follows:

Vita et Malum Laboro [Order]

When using a Minions spell there are very few possible minions. That aside they are completely and utterly stupid. to use a minion, assign it to an object. Any further instructions and its head will explode, you simply have to hope it’ll do its job the way you want it to.

§3.4 Usage

When using magic there is always something that must be sacrificed. In the case of summoning it is you active level that suffers. Each Summon has its own level value that is both the required level to summon it and the amount of levels subtracted from your Active Level and put into your Used Level.

§3.5 Modifiers

Just summoning a summon is freaking boring, they’re all standard and stuff, BUT FEAR NOT! There is a way to make it more fun! Modifiers I tell you, just slap these babies onto your call and VIOLA a better summon. Same Instability rules apply as in any other spell, so as usual: BALANCING IS YOUR FRIEND!

§3.6 List of Summons

Summon Call Magic Description Level
Amphisbaena Duo Vocat False A snake with a head on both ends. 10
Stymphalian Bird Plumis de Metallo False A man-eating bird with a bronze beak and shootable metal feathers 15
Sphinx Cattus et Mulier Corpora True A creature that has the upper body of a female and the lower body of a lion. 20
Laelaps an Praedam ad Nunquam Capiatur False A dog destined to always catch its prey. 15
Mare of Diomedes Sapidum Homines False Man eating horse. 15
Chthonic Cat Infernum bis Tincto True Hell cat that uses fire magic. 20
Hydra Rei Angues Similis False A snake thing that regenerates two heads where one was cut off, unless the stump it burnt. 30
Ipotane a Bonus Locus ut Stomp False Just a human with horse legs. 15
Hippocamp Natantibus Equus Rei False A horse with a fish tail. 10
Abarimon Vicissim Calcaementa False Really fast humans with backwards feat. 10
Acheri Immuni Filioli True A ghost that brings sickness to people. Thus the whole magic using part. 20
Akupuru Posuit Mundi Down Occidere Persona cucurbitae Mortuum True The turtle that holds up the earth. Uses life and plant magics. 30
Al-mi’raj Lepus Unicornis False A unicorn rabbit. 10
Aobozu Hyacintho Raptorem Monachus Memorabilium True A creepy blue monk that punishes children or something like that… I’ll just tell you that it’s Japanese, now can you figure it out? 15
Cacus Novum Palatinus Collis True A giant fire breathing giant. Uses fire magic. 20
Camulatz Capita Adam et Eva False The thing that ate the heads of the first men. 15
Chimera Dorcas Hirnea et Mures False A lion with a random goat sticking out of it and its tail is replaced by a snake, IDK ask the Greeks they made the darn thing up. 20
Colo Colo Ego ne Sciunt Quidem False-ish Rat bird hybrid that can turn into a snake (o.o) 20
Chockatrice Parvula Draco Gallinaceo True A chicken dragon, it uses fire magics ^-^ 25
Cat Familiar Potest de Cybium False It’s a cat… familiar… >.> 15
Drop Bear Eucalyptus Relinquit False A koala bear that jumps from trees and eats people. 10
Goblin Parvula Thesaurum False IDK, it’s a goblin… I guess… ?_? 10
Grigori Causa Cadere True A fallen angel, it uses Dark magics ~mwahahah 15
Griffin Volantes Mures et Bis Tincto False It’s a flying lion, that is all. 20
Inapertwa Aliqua Instrumenta et Officium False Little builder dudes that hopefully fix your screw ups cuz you suck at magic. 15
Dog Familiar Os False Just a damn dog. 8
Eagle Familiar Volantes Piscis False An Eagle… 10
Rabbit Familiar Coniugem et Foramen False A Rabbit… 10
Horse Steed Fenisicia False A Horse… 8
Dragon Guard Divitias ad Custodiam True A dragon… it uses Fire Magic… I guess… 40
Pack Mule Oneratis ad Portandum False It carries your stuff… 15
Imp Parvula Pugione True Little demon with a knife (if you have one otherwise they get pissed), they use teleportation magic. 15
Phoenix Calidum Farinam True A Fire bird that uses Fire Magic and stuffs… 20
Shoulder Monkey Ariera False A monkey that sits on your shoulder just so i have to do the artwork for it ^-^ I hate myself. 8
Turtle Aliquod Bonum Harundinibus et Sumptus Solvit Trinus ut a Obstinatus Hotel Quia i Amare Turtures False Just a turtle… 50

§3.7 List of Modifiers

Modifier Usage Instability
Color Pigmentum [Color] +5
Set Can Use Magic Uti Potest Magia +10
Set Can’t Use Magic Uti Non Potest Magia -10
Make Bigger Grandior [Num] -1
Enchant With Commotis Per +10
Use Mana Actively Furetur Plures +2M (Mana Based)

§3.8 Modifiers Expanded

Modifiers affect the level usage of a summon only when they cause the total word count to go above the previously set level of the summon. Summoning spells atypically have an instability of $0$, until a modifier changes it, which means you gain no EXP from a summon whatsoever. Instability on a summon could be very dangerous in a large number of ways that I’m too lazy to think of.

§4 Magic Tools

§4.1 Weapons

Finding a magical weapon is probably as rare as something that is very, very rare, but there is an alternative. Opening up an interface for your tool you will be able to write spells on the weapon itself. The syntax of basic weapon spells is as follows:

Magia et Telum Convenio [Element]

A basic spell like this will simply give the weapon an elemental aspect. It will behave accordingly to its element, using up its mana charge as it does. There are also much more complex spells to cast on a weapon. Using modifiers and such to do so. The syntax of more complex weapon spells is as follows:

Magia et Telum Convenio [Element] Exim Ago [Modifier]

Exim Ago means to “Do After That”, so write weapon spells in order as you want them to act. Weapon modifiers act as the weapon itself. So if you tell a weapon to beam then AOE; the weapon will create a beam and wherever it hits it will do an AOE.

The most complex spells you can apply to a weapon are ones that will do multiple spells in a sequence. The syntax of the most complex weapons spells is as follows:

Magia et Telum Laboro ( [SPELL] ) Exim Ago ( [SPELL]) etc...

Sequenced weapons spells like this activate the next step upon an event. Events are any change in status of the weapon; for instance the bow. The sequence of events for a bow’s arrow is as follows:

Shot => Flying => Hit => Retrieved

This means you can set an arrow to explode on impact or to create a beam as it flies. It also means you have to make sure to not allow it to hurt you as you shoot it. Weapons need mana too! But don’t get your hopes up, they aren’t going to actively take yours. A weapon needs to be charged beforehand to allow it to use magical aspects.

§4.2 Staffs

Staffs act as cheap magic conduits. Using a staff will reduce your mana cost by $1-5%$ (randomly fluctuates). Higher level staffs will have even higher mana cost reductions. Another way a staff can reduce mana cost is by binding a spell to it, creating a spell staff. Spell staffs have a mana cost reduction at a constant of $35%$.

§4.3 Transportation

Using spells for transportation could result in a multitude of solutions. One of them is Teleportation. Teleportation spells are simple spells in action and also mediocre in writing. Though the effects of instability could be very very bad… in some instances your armor might not come with you, or you might even lose some pixels. The basic teleportation spell is as follows:

Magia Me Tolle Ibi

This spell means “Magic Take Me to There”. If generic teleportation isn’t your style and you want some awesome fiery effect then you can add some elements. The basic syntax of an elemental teleportation spell is as follows:

Magia et [ELEMENT] Me Tolle Ibi

Though all that adding an element to a teleport does is add aesthetics and instability. The mana cost of a teleportation spell is set in relation to the amount of stuff you have.

Another form of magical transportation is a “grappling hook”. Though it is just a specific combination of elements, the grappling hook is still worth pointing out. It is a combination of a beam and pull. The basic grappling hook spell is:

Magia Importo et Trigum

Be careful with modifiers to this spell, they can be quite dangerous. For instance: adding an AOE to this spell will rip your character apart.

The last major form of magical transportation is a double jump. Double jump is a result of enchanting boots with the following spell:

Magia et Aer Truso

§4.4 Armor Enchantments

Armor enchantments work similarly to weapon enchantment. Enchanting the armor with a spell (usually a defense spell) will cause it to activate upon being hit. Using the defense type will greatly increase your defenses. Because it only activates when provoked the time based mana cost is not as bad as a constant use of the spell. Also due to it activating when needed it has a mana cost increase of $10%$.

Like weapons and staffs, Armor with enchantments must be pre-charged with the mana it will be taking up when using spells.

§4.5 Jewels

Jewels are rare magical stones that can be found in destroyed terrain, bought, or found in towers and dungeons. Each weapon, staff, and piece of armor in the game has a ‘Jewel Slot’. Jewels are to be placed in that slot. A jewel will add an aspect to an item such as more mana storage, lower mana costs, and higher damage/defense.

§4.6 Charging

To charge an item you must bring it to a mana altar. If you put an enchanted item in a mana altar it will not suck mana out of it, but rather suck mana out of you to charge the item. When you charge an item the altar VERY forcefully pull mana out of you, and possibly even cause damage to you. The only other option for charging is to get a charging jewel infused into the item. The charging jewel takes mana from your character less forcefully but also VERY slowly.

§4.7 List of Jewels

Jewel Effect
Ruby Mana Cost -5%
Sapphire Effectivity +10%
Diamond Recharge Mana
Dragonstone Mana Cost -10%
Emerald Instability /2
Amethyst Recharge Mana (Speed /2)

§5 Potions

§5.1 General

A potion is a magical brew that gives an effect type magic to something. A potion must usually be drunk, but if you throw it into someone/thing’s face correctly you might just get the right effects out of it. To obtain a potion you must find it in a tower or dungeon, trade for or buy one, or brew it in a cauldron. A cauldron holds enough water to brew 16 potions(once filled). To brew in it you must light a fire under it to keep it boiled, then dissolve the ingredients into the boiling water. When the brewing is done you must scoop the contents into vials. If you brew a potion without cleaning the cauldron from the last one, then you will get very interesting side effects.

Potions have the same Instability effects as spells. A common effect of an unstable potion is a total reversal of effect. If a potion is supposed to lower damage received, then it will increase the damage you take. There is no effect based on the order you add ingredients in with potions, but different ingredients have different index values. Ingredients with higher values take priority over those with lower values.

§5.2 List of Potion Ingredients

Ingredient Effect Mana Instability Index
Rabbit Foot Nimbility 2 +3 1
Cat Tail Stealth 5 -3 9
Turtle Shell Resilience 10 +5 7
Rose Obedience 15 -7 5
Stone Oppression 10 -9 5
Oak Root Strength 7 +7 3
Dandelion Fertility 3 +3 1
Cocaine Activity 11 -9 2
Oxycontin Ignorance 1 +2 10
Nekomimi Awareness 4 -5 3
Brush Weakness 6 -7 1
Snake Head Venunum 6 -4 7
Feather Lightness 13 +6 5
Hemp Hunger 6 -5 6
Bat Head Blindness 7 -7 2
Iron Ingot Weight 4 +3 5
Snake Skin Lengthen *2 +6 10
Bobtail Shorten *0.5 -6 10
Honey Prosperity 10 +3 5
Lilac Sickness 7 -3 6