there could be more to magic

Talk about the mods you'd like to see in Daggerfall Unity. Give mod creators some ideas!
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there could be more to magic

Post by meritamas »

LAST UPDATE: 11 February 2020
Updates highlighted: 2 August 2019, 3 August 2019, 4 August 2019, 11 August 2019, 19 February 2020

I am originally an Oblivion player who then switched for a short while to Morrowind because of its higher level of sophistication and is now considering playing Daggerfall instead because it seems even more complex and realistic. I learned of Daggerfall Unity and see this as an opportunity to make an already great game even greater. I would like to use this topic to work on some ideas I have with regard to magic. Some of it will be quite divergent from Classic Daggerfall. I plan to build on Daggerfall mechanics and expand on them, where possible, but also study other TES games or even other universes and seek to suggest good ideas and work out the details sufficiently that they can one day be implemented as a mod/mods to DFU. I observe mostly the RP element in the game, immersion, lore-friendliness.

Discussed below are:
- The mystery part of magic
- (Magic) Skills and attributes above 100
- Unleveled spells
- Alchemy
- Enchanting
- Aiming with magic missiles
- Some spell missiles are born faster
- Rethinking spell creation
- Updated teleporting
- Plans forward
(following soon to be moved to another post)
- Super strong NPCs
- Contact with Daedra and the Daedric realm.
- More/updated wizarding quest lines
- Possibility of Unlife
- A mechanic for controlling other beings or characters (Imperius for short)
- Conjuration, necromancy
(above soon to be moved to another post)

Will soon be adding certain further changes with possible connections other topics, like special (dis)advantages getting stronger at higher character levels and a diseases and cures mod. These are both ideas somewhat connected to magic that I currently think would not be too hard to implement.
Planning to include some things from this topic too.

  • Plans forward
My original intention was only to publish some ideas. I was going to stick to minor changes and improvements. It seems it rapidly got out of hand...
(11 August 2019) ... I now aim to work out some details and, after the release of DFU 1.0, implement some or all of the ideas as a complex magic mod. Would appreciate more feedback and/or help.
There are a few things I would like to do first. I am committed to implementing a roads mod and am also considering doing a banking, ownership, capitalism mod before the magic mod as well.
There are also a few mods/ideas I like, so I will try to remain compatible with and build on the following mods: Daggerfall Unity Quest Pack #1, the Archeologists Mod and the Roleplay and Realism Mod Pack - will be looking to add further mods to the list before implementing.

I'll try to suggest at least two different approaches to the individual ideas, one ideal and one minimalistic in case there will not be a lot of folks who'd help.
I'll try to be methodical, work from the more basic things up to the thing built on top of them. Even as the details are worked out, I'll try to assess and keep track of the possibilities for implementation.
I'll try to remain realistic and work only on ideas I see a good chance of getting implemented.

If I should discontinue work on this project for any reason, please feel free to use all things published here to advance your own projects.

As things currently stand
  • The mystery part of magic
Idea: to have a (larger) part of magic that cannot be systematically learned. First, I am planning to search the other TES games for inspiration on what spell effects could be added.
Then, the most potent spell effects need to be made unavailable for purchase.
Details in the 2nd post here.
Working on finalizing the spell affects gathered from the other TES games (enumerated in the 5th post below) and adding some basic thoughts on how they could work in DFU.
  • Skills and attributes above 100
Idea: Attributes can be higher than 100 - the maxima depend on race. E.g. more magical races have a higher maximum intelligence and willpower, more physical warrior races have higher maximum strength, agility.
Skills could also be higher than 100 - the maxima could depend mainly on governing attributes and primary/major/minor skill status. Some exceptions can be allowed if numbers above 100 would break game mechanics. Asked a couple of questions related to the affected formulas in other threads. Given up on waiting for replies. Will need a way to find out what the formulas the skills are being fed into are.
Details here in the 7th post.
Currently not working on this one.
  • Unleveled spells
Idea: the magnitude and duration of a spell should not depend on character level. It doesn't make any sense that a warrior character would cast stronger spells at higher character levels.
Spell level (SL) could be introduced like SL = Floor((Skill + (Willpower-50) + (Luck-50)/5) / 5)
Spell level could function in the game mechanics in an identical way to how character level works currently.
Next thing will be to perform some calculations with the aim of refining the above formula.
  • Alchemy
Idea: Creating a new Alchemy system based on DF Alchemy and inspiration from other TES games.
A proper implementation would require an Alchemy skill. I was recently informed that new skills cannot be currently modded in. This complicates the situation. *
More detail in the 5th post here.
Currently trying to figure out if there is a good way to do this without a dedicated Alchemy skill.
  • Enchanting
Idea: to have a mechanic allowing the PC to perform his own enchanting. Some justification. If the game universe allows you to become a powerful wizard, one who can deal with ancient vampires, powerful undead spirits and Daedra, one would expect you to be able to do better enchantments than someone mediocre in comparison to you, if you really wanted. This is the part that I am missing in Classic DF.
More on this in the 6th post here, a dedicated Enchanting skill does not seem to be necessary.*
Currently not working on this one.
  • Aiming with magic missiles
Idea: When launching a spell-missile, I think it is always launched on target, whereever the crosshairs point. A more realistic way would be to have a random deviation from this direction that could be contingent on random chance and a skill* that represents the character's ability to aim their magic missiles.
If new skills will be not be able to be modded in, a minimalistic version could be to have this accuracy contingent on Spell Level, some magic-related attributes, aggregate magic skills or a combination of these.
Currently not working on this one.

  • Some spell missiles are born faster
Idea: Apart from magnitude and duration, On Target spells could have a 'Speed of Propagation' statistic. The higher the speed of progagation, the higher the speed the missile travels, the higher the cost, perhaps higher the expected deviation from the direction the crosshairs point.
Currently not working on this one.

  • Rethinking spell creation
Idea: A mechanic to enable the PC to create his own spells without paying or using the services of anybody else. It kills immersion to have a great wizard pay gold to somebody far less powerful and/or knowledgeable in magic to create a new spell or tweak one of his spells for him.
This option should only be available to the PC if certain conditions are met (such conditions could involve Intelligence, Willpower, Fatigue, the relevant magic skill or a combination of these)
Currently not working on this one.

  • Updated teleporting - discussed in short in the 2nd post, and brought forward in this thread.

(4 August 2019) A thought about adding skills. Even if new skills will not be able to be modded in, the following might work. Merge two language skills, edit the game formulae accordingly, rename the unused skill, add formulae that use this skill the way you intend to use it. Here, what's needed is the ability to change the name of the skill shown to the player and the ability to change game formulae used to calculate things and add new ones.

Will consider moving the following groups to another post in the near future.

GROUP: Will need more game experience and/or study before proceeding:
  • Super strong NPCs
I'm putting this idea on hold for a while. First, I'll need to gain some experience with the most formidable NPCs and enemies in the game now. So I am not sure whether we need to make some enemies/characters stronger at all and if so how much stronger. I have a hunch I'll favor doing it later on, though. (I'm pretty confident I won't find them difficult enough, but before I go on with this line, I'd like to make sure.)
Some details in the 2nd post here.
  • (More/updated) wizarding quest lines
Idea: New quest lines, additions to become an exceptionally formidable wizard. These would include quests and quest chains allowing the PC to learn the spell effects mentioned above that exist but are not available for purchase.
There could also be quest-givers among the super strong NPCs.
Details in the 2nd post here.
Will return to this one after assessing the quest lines and possibilities that are already there (core+mods). Will be trying to build on those.
  • Contact with Daedra and the Daedric realm.
Idea: In the lore there are suggestions that it was possible for one to enter the Daedric realm (Oblivion). TES IV: Oblivion is about foiling the Daedra Lord Mehrunes Dagon's plot to lay waste to Tamriel. But there also was the Shivering Isles, a mod to Oblivion that adds quests, graphics, characters etc. through which you can interact with this Daedric realm completely independently of the main quest. I think such possibilities would add quite a bit to DFU, too.
On the other hand, it would also take a lot of effort to implement.
A minimalistic approach would be to improve upon what is already there: more Daedra related quests, editing existing quests etc.

Currently not working on this one. Will return to this one after assessing the quest lines and possibilities that are already there (core+mods). Will be trying to build on those.

GROUP: Rejected, dropped or postponed indefinitely:
  • Unlife
Idea: the PC should be able to transform himself into an undead being.
Can undead beings exist that are animated not by some external magical force but by their own willpower and a spell they cast on themselves some time ago that binds their soul to their undead body? I say, yes.
Does the game need to accommodate for the PC to transform himself into such a being. At the moment, I say no.
I rejected the idea, but might change my mind in the distant future.
  • The Imperius effect
Idea: A new game mechanic that allows one character to control another. Details in the 2nd post here.
Put the idea on hold because implementing such a thing alone would be out of my reach for the foreseeable future. Might revisit the idea in the distant future.
  • Conjuration, necromancy
Idea: Conjuration could be added as a new school of magic - i.e. a new skill and the spells.
Summon spells should make a given creature materialize and no further magicka should not be required to keep it there.
Corpses could be reanimated.
After summon/reanimate, Imperius.
Details in this thread.
Will not be working on this idea here. My idea of Conjuration/Necromancy would rely on the Imperius mechanic, but - as indicated above - I put that idea on hold. Will consider helping other people's efforts in this direction though.

On 5 June 2019, I edited the text of the original topic starter post into the second post just below.
Last edited by meritamas on Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:28 pm, edited 23 times in total.
Interest in expanding and improving the Magic system, Capitalism and an Unleveled World.

My main quest in the DFU community is my (Mostly) Magic Mod.

Posts: 150
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Location: Slovak Republic

Re: there could be more to magic

Post by meritamas »

The following is the text of the original topic starter post originally written 29 April 2019. I copied it here 5 June 2019 so I could use the first post as a summary of how my thoughts on the topic currently are.

Before I continue, I'd like it to be known that my understanding of Daggerfall is limited. I am originally an Oblivion player who then switched for a short while to Morrowind because of its higher level of sophistication and is now considering playing Daggerfall instead because it seems even more complex and realistic. Then, I learned about Daggerfall Unity. I think that what the community has accomplished so far is great and I very much appreciate it, but that does not prevent me from posting ideas that could make it even better... for me at least :)

I am a big fan of magic and I think there should be more to magic than currently is in Daggerfall (and other TES games I have information about).

I think of magic as some arcane art, not something you can systematically learn. The same could and perhaps should also be said about physical combat skills, but because I am not into those, but magic, I will leave physical combat to someone else and only concern myself with magic for now. To make my point more precisely, magic should have a part of it that can be learned systematically (like buying knowledge of spell effects for money and practicing them). This part of magic is already incorporated into the game nicely. What I am missing is that there should still be some knowledge out there that can be gained, but only through exposing yourself to great danger to get that knowledge. It is this second part that I am missing.

Like in Harry Potter, it is one thing they teach you a lot about a lot of things at Hogwarts, but not about some of the most potent stuff, like the unforgivable curses or horcruxes etc. - it is simply not taugh in the conventional process. In that universe, you need to either study countless tomes and books and ancient sites for decades to gain the knowledge or to have a powerful wizard who already has that great knowledge (Dumbledore, Voldemort, Snape etc) teach you or at least give hints of the secrets still out there. Of course, these would only do so for their own, sometimes benevolent, sometimes selfish or plainly mysterious ends.
The implication about this 'inaccessible' part of magic can also be illustrated by TES examples. In Oblivion, at the end of the Mages Guild quest line, before you go and destroy Mannimarco, Traven does seem to posess some secrets, the way he sacrifices his own life to somehow enchant that great black soul gem to enable you to resist Mannimarco's spell and effectively fight him (the King of Worms had the power to 'ensnare' you and that would likely be a spell or an effect similar to that one I discussed in this topic - in this post I'll call it the Imperius spell/effect/mechanic to make it simple)...or Martin Septim conjuring up a portal into Oblivion (but if it is possible, why can't the player)... or books on lore about a wizard who successfully entered the daedric realm... or Divayth Fyr in Morrowind...

all this clearly implies that the game designers also wanted to hint that there is much more to magic than the PC can master in the game. I would like at least parts of this potential to be added.

I have been thinking for some time about how to go about doing this in a way that is most consistent with the Daggerfall or TES universe and wouldn't break other things. It seems there is no need to throw out what we have but instead I am considering proposing some minor and some major additions and modifications I hope could greatly enhance the game with relatively little difficulty of implementation (still a lot of effort needed I imagine, but at least not completely out of reach). The problem with this is that for most part I can only guess how difficult it would be to implement one idea or another. Thus, I would greatly appreciate some feedback in this regard.

So now, my thoughts so far.
1. One part could be attributes and skills above 100, like I proposed it here. E.g. I could imagine spells you can only learn if you have an intelligence of 130 or higher and only cast if you have a willpower of X or higher and perhaps some skill at a given level. Perhaps some currently present spells could be made less readily available, too.

18 May 2019 UPDATE: I have given a more detailed suggestion on how the upper limits to attributes and skills could be set up in the thread linked above.

2. A spell or an effect similar to that one I discussed in this topic - in this post I'll call it the Imperius spell/effect/mechanic to make it simple. This would make conjuration/necromancy available as an option. The imperius effect should be one you cannot completely shield yourself from using conventional means like absorption, reflection, resistance - these would need to be altered in such a way as not to enable 100% defence - this would be good for other reasons, too, e.g. I think a level 1 character able to absorb any spell thrown at it, the only condition being for it to have enough room in its magicka pool, is not realistic. I plan to write in a little more detail on this topic in another thread soon). For now, I would imagine this effect to be such that you could have a powerful artifact that can specifically shield you from it or a potion greatly increasing your willpower (so non-magic characters could combat foes with this power, too) and the other choice would be to have a sufficiently high willpower to resist the caster. Otherwise, if the effect hits, you would practically be doomed.
If you conjure up a strong spirit, it could also act as a quest-giver.

3. Super strong enemies (I gave some thought about them in this topic) could likewise have a really high willpower and could potentially ensnare you (take control over your character using imperius and make you do stuff like disarm yourself and approach them) if you engage them too early. These super strong vampires/daedra/necromancers/liches/wizards could be hard to come by and perhaps governed by a different kind of AI and could sometimes most likely not attack you without provocation, because they simply could not be bothered by killing a weakling like you who does not pose any real threat to them. Then again, sometimes they would just crush you on sight, when they are in such a mood, so it would not be a good idea for weaker characters to seek their company. This could be random chance. Some quests could also unfold by you talking to such characters.

One of the things that could make these so strong could be a very high natural resistance to magic (perhaps as a natural consequence of a very high - above 100 - willpower) and also to physical damage. A way could be divised to break these defences, e.g. a very strong spell to lower the magic resistance (like a 'break will' spell that you could only cast above 130 willpower but that could also be cast upon you so beware)... then you can use further magic to deactivate the physical resistance... - perhaps with high enough willpower and/or luck you could use the Imperius spell to control the creature and compel it to lower its own defenses... if for some reason a warrior character chooses to take on these quests, we could consider adding scrolls of these spells so even such a character wouldn't be totally disenfranchized or perhaps with the help of potent potions (discussed below)...

4. Unlife. There could be a spell effect that enabled you to turn yourself into an undead being. Of course it would not be taught in school or conveyed by merchants, but instead possibly learned from a super strong enemy or an NPC as part of a special quest line. Unlike vampirism which can be cured, this would be a permanent state. You could get decisive benefits but potent weaknesses as well. I can think of some like (a) you take damage from the sun, (b) from holy places, (c) only have very limited magic abilities in these situations, but (d) would have increased attributes, (e) no need for sleep, (f) magicka regenerating constantly as if you were resting and (g) most NPCs will sense or know - depending on their knowledge of these things - that something is not right with you and would dread you and be very hostile to you if this hostility is not overcome by their even greater dread or an Imperius spell - so you would have trouble interacting with the civilized world, be very powerful but also an outcast.

5. The more potent part of magic could be learned as part of special quest-lines. I don't think it would be good to do this as part of the mages guild. That is not to say we couldn't add some high-end quests there, too, or some quests that lead you to these mentioned special quest-givers, but I essentially think exceptionally powerful and knowledgeable wizards wouldn't like to share their secrets and would therefore conduct their activities independently from the guild.
I can think of a couple of narratives like: (1) there is a very powerful daedric artifact in the world but the daedra lord would like it back. because of the 'limitations' on daedra activities as per Oblivion lore (the Dragonfires preventing daedric invasion), he cannot just go and take it back, but would ask you to do it - even the character who has the artifact could be a counter-quest giver but ultimately your foe but one that is very strong partly because of the artifact in question... then in turn, you would need to enter some part in the daedric realm (or someplace halfway there), would require very powerful spells to enter and give the daedra the artifact there... you could even try to keep the artifact, but then, the daedra lord in question would keep sending stronger and stronger foes to get you (2) there could be like 4 powerful wizards, 3 of whom could be good and 1 evil - perhaps a very strong undead vampire... the evil one is getting stronger and stronger but the good ones are old and nearing death but choose to let go rather then to enter unlife themselves - there could be some reason for which the good ones won't directly assault the evil one, but it clearly needs doing and if you have already had substantial magical powers, they notice this but also that you are still very weak for the job, they give you tasks that enable you to gain spell effects, attributes, skills that are needed to confront the evil one. You could even choose to side with the evil one and become undead yourself and kill the good ones and then, the evil one, too... (3) there could be some chance if you conjure up a high level daedra that it would give you quests (4) some hard-to-find Godly quests could also help along the way ...

6. I think completing such quest-lines could make the PC very strong and able to complete other quests where magic abilities can help, with great ease. But it should be a very long, difficult and treacherous path comparable in difficulty or even more difficult than the main quest line.
What I would not like to see, though, is that you don't have any worthy enemies left to fight. That is exactly why I envision the very strong foes as described above. It should be challenging to combat them even after you have accomplished all there is to accomplish in the field of magic. So if there is a 'break will' or imperius you can use on them, these options should also be available to them to use on you.

7. In Oblivion, you can use sigil stones to create you own powerful artifacts. In our case, it could be one of the above mentioned wizards that can assist you with that - in exchange for a few services, a few 'small errands' you could perform for him in return.

8. It would also be nice to enter Oblivion somehow. I am thinking of the Shivering Isles mod to Oblivion.

9. In alchemy, I imagine you could get a lot of different ingredients, some very hard to come by (perhaps only obtainable through quests), but then you could make potent potions. Not so strong ones as the 'superpotions' of Morrowind but still very strong and an effective help in accomplishing certain tasks. This - along with the artifacts as per point 7 could also be a counterbalance - a way warrior characters could get very high willpower and a lot of benefits the mage characters could get by completing the quests mentioned in above in point 5.

26 May 2019 UPDATE: more detailed thoughts on Alchemy added in a separate post.

10. I would also like a mechanic that would allow you to teleport to anywhere you have already been. Perhaps astral projection + teleportation. This is really not quite well thought through yet, but I imagine an all-powerful mage should be able to go where he wants to go, instantaneously.

1 June 2019 UPDATE:
As I see it now, we only have the Recall spell which functions to memorize the current location and also to teleport us back there.

I think we could improve on this system in the following way:
1. There should be two (2) separate effects. One to memorize the current location and another to teleport the PC to one of the memorized locations.
2. More locations should be memorizeable at any given time. The number of places a character can 'keep in memory' at any one given time could be contingent on e.g. his Mysticism skill.
3. There should also be a UI to manage the 'memorized places'. This would allow you to delete ('forget') a previously memorized place and choose, which one of these your destination should be on the next teleport. (Any change could cost the PC a set amount of magicka.)
4. The teleport effect would take the character to the place selected as indicated above.
End of 1 June 2019 UPDATE

Finally, I would like to point out several (rather obvious and some less obvious) things.
A. I know implementing such changes takes a lot of effort and it is not a one-person task. I don't expect anybody to do it for me. I am perfectly aware that if there is nobody except me who likes these ideas enough to help implement them, they will not be done.
B. I tried as much as I could to separate the ideas from each other so maybe some of them (perhaps the easier ones or the more attractive ones, who can tell) might be implemented.
C. I am not in a rush. Have plenty of time to wait. (At least I hope so :) )
D. This year I am almost fully committed to other things, so the maximum I could help with these would be to think, plan, design formulas etc. But in later years, I might be able to code some of the parts, too.
E. There are some ideas here that are rather divergent from classic Daggerfall, I imagine. They could not be a part of the core game but implemented as a mod or as several mods.

At this point, I am putting this out here so you could read it and decide if you like any of it.

ADDITION (16 May 2019)
I just noticed spell-casting seems to be governed by character level.
There is a discussion about an unleveled world here:

All in all, I think it would be better if the probability of success, duration and magnitude of the spells had nothing to do with character level. I think I'll read about some alternative ways of doing this, think about them and then make a suggestion.
Last edited by meritamas on Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: there could be more to magic

Post by pango »

Both could be interesting, but I don't see how
  • enemies not scaling with character level and
  • spells not scaling with character level
are related....
When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
-- Charles Goodhart

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Re: there could be more to magic

Post by meritamas »

pango wrote: Thu May 16, 2019 5:48 pm Both could be interesting, but I don't see how
  • enemies not scaling with character level and
  • spells not scaling with character level
are related....
I think they are related because both are things not scaling with character level.

I deliberately posted the thought in this thread because it has everything to do with magic and in the other one also because it could be thought of as a part of an 'unleveled world' mod, too.

This 16 May 2019 addition of mine also seems to contradict one of my previous statements
meritamas wrote: Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:55 pm It seems there is no need to throw out what we have but instead I am considering proposing some minor and some major additions [...]
I find a contradiction in that making the spells unleveled could have a domino effect on other parts of the magic system, too, and that pursuing this path could easily lead to a radical redesign of the magic system, not sure whether worth the effort...
Interest in expanding and improving the Magic system, Capitalism and an Unleveled World.

My main quest in the DFU community is my (Mostly) Magic Mod.

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Re: there could be more to magic

Post by meritamas »

Alchemy - I have been reading through how Alchemy works in the various TES games.

Although I have never played Skyrim, I like several elements of its Alchemy system, like
- There are lots of ingredients.
- The types of ingredients are also well thought through. You could: harvest from plants/mushrooms etc., collect from killed creatures, buy them from a merchant, find some already collected samples (e.g. in dwellings, dungeons) and one I specifically like: catching a 'passive' creature like an insect, peaceful fish etc.
- You need to 'discover' the effects of ingredients, from eating ingredients, recipes or created potions.
- You can conduct alchemy at a specific place (alchemy lab) - it is a similar limitation as the need to contact a Potion Maker, but there is a clear difference that makes me accept one and reject the other: you can set up an Alchemy lab in your home and do the alchemy yourself.
- Ingredients that have the same effect can have that given effect stronger or weaker.

A strong argument against an alchemy system like in MW or Oblivion is that it is simply not realistic to have the PC stop by a road or in a puddle, get out his alchemy gear, put in the ingredients, do the alchemy and collect the potion - all in no time at all (it is instantaneous).

We could create an ideal alchemy system for DFU by combining some elements of that of Skyrim with some elements of that of MW/Oblivion and some elements of that of Classic Daggerfall.
1. I would keep everything present in Classic Daggerfall that I have no good reason to change, like all or at least most of the Ingredients already present in DF. Adding further ingredients+recipes based on inspiration from Skyrim or other TES games would make it better (it doesn't matter if the given plant does not grow in the Illiac Bay - the ingredient could have been imported and bought from merchants or found somewhere.)
2. To have ingredients with multiple effects would problably be preferable (like in MW or Oblivion or Skyrim) - but a lot of ingredients could only have one or two effets. Having ingredients that are stronger and ones that are weaker in a given effect seems like a good idea. Like there could be like 20 ingredients that have a 'resore health' effect but it is perfectly believable to have 2-3 that excel from the bunch.
3. I would keep the Potion Maker service available (not everyone is a skilled alchemist...), but would add that alchemy could also be performed at an alchemy lab. This, you might need to set up in your home from the individual pieces of equipment. Another option would be to have a few laboratories available for use e.g. in related guilds. The efficiency of a laboratory could be contingent on the equipment that was included when it was set up (cheap equipment, lower quality potions). The concrete pieces of equipment could be 'borrowed' from MW or Oblivion (Mortar and Pestle, Calc., Retort, Alembic).
4. The potions/poisons you can create should also depend on an alchemy skill.
5. Having to 'discover' the effects of ingredients in-game is also an interesting thought. Either that, or something like MW: certain levels of skill reveal the effects.
6. Poisons could be added to weapons to enhance the weapon (like a certain number of arrows or for melee weapons, for a certain number of hits).
7. Conducting alchemy should take time and should only be able to be done when no enemies are nearby.

Finally, I add two ideas of my own.
- It could be possible to have a few spells that can 'improve' an ingredient that could also have an effect on the potion that is created from it.
- We could have strengthener ingredients. These would not do anything by themselves, but included in a potion/poison, they would amplify the effect it would otherwise have.
Interest in expanding and improving the Magic system, Capitalism and an Unleveled World.

My main quest in the DFU community is my (Mostly) Magic Mod.

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Re: there could be more to magic

Post by meritamas »

Updates are denoted: 28 July 2019, 4 August 2019

In the past weeks I have been thinking about the enchantment and alchemy systems and how to go ahead with working out some improvements. I came to the conclusion that before doing this, it would be reasonable to think about spell effects.

One issue with enchanting is the question of a 'power source'. In MW, as I recall, the only way you can enchant an item was via soul trapping, which is kinda evil. I don't like this idea because it implies the only way you can enchant something is evil, so the possibilities of a 'good wizard' character are severely limited in this regard.
I think both enchanting and alchemy should be neutral, nor good nor evil in and of themselves. One idea would be to add something like the Sigil Stones in Oblivion. You get a stone, you can use it to put a powerful enchantment on an item. You might be able to get them through quests, maybe buy them on occasion from an exclusive vendor, maybe they could be found hidden in some really difficult dungeons.
Another idea I had was a new game mechanic that would allow powerful wizards to create powerful enchantments from their own magic. Like in Harry Potter when Dumbledore just created an enchanted item (portkey) casually in midst of a conversation.
I am thinking along the following lines. It shouldn't be easy. It should involve the Mysticism skill because of the arcane nature of giving magical properties to something. It could also involve Alteration because you are altering the thing, only not temporarily, but permanently. It should also depend on your skill in the magic school the given effect belongs to. Creating powerful enchantments should also cost a huge amount of magicka. Like in the thousands or the ten-thousands. There should be no need to do it all at once, you could do it bit by bit, first time round it would yield just a weak little enchantment, then second time round it would build on that and so on. There should be a maximum of power you can give to an object: the stronger your relevant stats are, the higher this maximum. The amount of side-effects could also depend on what you are trying to do and your relevant stats. It could very well be that creating strong enchantments should require a lot of perseverance (lot of times till completion) and/or stats inhumanely high. These inhumanely high stats could be reached through potions from rare ingredients. There could be one to increase your maximum magicka and then another to actually fill it up. There could be potions to increase your Mysticism/Alteration/other relevant stat. You could even create enchanted items that help with enchanting further ones (the MW enchanting mechanic has a similar feature too). The process of enchanting itself should take time (the more power involved the more time) and you could only do it if there is no threat. Disenchantment or removing side-effects could also be thought through.

I am now planning to compare the spell effects available in DF, MW, Oblivion and Skyrim. My initial impression is that DF has a wide range of spell effects, and most likely I will find only a few in other TES games that I would consider adding, but still, even one or two could improve the game. Does anybody know of a similar effort being made in the past?

(28 July 2019) After having gone through the UESP summaries of the available magic effects in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, I would consider enhancing Daggerfall magic effects as follows:
Paralysis. I am proposing two limitations. (1) You should only be able to cast on self while paralyzed and it should cost more and/or be liss likely to work. (2) You should not be able to take any potions while paralyzed.
Levitate - just like in Morrowind, there should be a magnitude determining how fast you can move - this could be used by powerful wizards to fly really quickly and reach their desination faaaast. Likewise, should be able to cast it (or perhaps a similar effect) on other creatures with the aim of immobilizing them.
Create Item - what can be created... I think most basic stuff, including armor and weapons should be creatable but there should be some factor that increases the magicka cost (it could be mass, potency, cost...)
Dispel, Cure Poison, Cure Disease - these should be thouroughly thought through. It shouldn't be that easy to magically erase an effect that is not even identified by the caster. Like: "I don't even know what I have contracted, but my head hurts so I know it's something, luckily here's this cure-all spell and it goes away..." More severe diseases should be harder to remove. It migth also be worth it to make stronger poison effects harder to remove.

Telekinesis (Skyrim, Oblivion)
Reanimate (NPC) (Skyrim, Oblivion)
Command Daedra (Skyrim)
Transmute mineral ore (Skyrim)
Detect Dead/Living (Skyrim, partly Oblivion, Morrowind)
Detect Key, Enchantment (Morrowind)
Clairvoyance (Skyrim)
Demoralize (Oblivion)
Burden (Oblivion)
Restore Health to Undead (Skyrim)
Sound, Blind (Morrowind)

Disarm - The things held by the character stricken by this spell in his hands fly away as if he threw them away. (4 August 2019)

One more quick thought: spells can be cast on Self, Touch, Target at Range, Area Around Caster, and Area At Range. Target spells could also have a Speed stat that would determine how fast a given spell effect travels. Increasing the speed would also increase the magicka cost of the spell.
(28 July 2019) Magicka-costly and instantaneous spells were an interesting thought but I have rejected the idea because such a change would most likely take a lot of effort to implement while not adding so much to the game.
Last edited by meritamas on Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:57 am, edited 4 times in total.
Interest in expanding and improving the Magic system, Capitalism and an Unleveled World.

My main quest in the DFU community is my (Mostly) Magic Mod.

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Re: there could be more to magic

Post by meritamas »

This post is on ATTRIBUTES and SKILLS. Last update: 5 March 2020
Changes denoted by color: 9 July 2019, 5 March 2020


I would propose a system in which there are normal circumstances and extraordinary circumstances.
Under normal circumstances, there would be set upper limits, but these would not all be 100, but instead could vary by race. It makes perfect sense to have a High Elf or a Breton able to achieve more in the field of magic naturally, and e.g. a Nord or a Khajiit better naturally suited for physical challenges. I have read through the descriptions of races here and come up with the following.

Breton: STR -2 END +0 INT +2 WIL +2 SPEED +0 AGI -2
High Elf: STR -2 END -2 INT +2 WIL +2 SPEED +0 AGI +0
Wood Elf: STR -1 END -2 INT 0 WIL -1 SPEED +2 AGI +2
Dark Elf: STR +0 END -2 INT +1 WIL +0 SPEED +0 AGI +1
Redguard: STR +2 END +0 INT -2 WIL -2 SPEED +1 AGI +1
Nord: STR +2 END +2 INT -2 WIL +0 SPEED -1 AGI -1
Khajiit: STR -1 END +1 INT +0 WIL -2 SPEED +1 AGI +1
Argonian: STR -1 END +1 INT +1 WIL +0 SPEED -1 AGI +0

The table is to be interpreted in the following way.
-2 means that the given race has a base maximum of 80 defined for the given attribute. Likewise, -1 implies a maximum of 90, +0 a maximum of 100, +1 a maximum of 111 and +2 a maximum of +125. I tried to set the figures so that it be as well balanced as I could manage. I left out personality and luck so that each race has equal opportunity in these areas.

These modifications could be thought of as follows. We consider 100 to be the pinnacle of mortal achievement, on average, but the individual races have their general tendencies, as discussed above, so 100 is the maximum that a member of a race with an average amount of talent in a given attribute gets. In attributes that the race excels in, it gets a higher maximum and in attributes it is weaker in, it gets a lower maximum.

Then, there would be extraordinary circumstances. E.g. you finish a difficult quest chain for the Gods or Deadra or a very powerful and ancient wizard (quests and quest chains to be modded in, also) and as a reward, you can somehow become even greater at some attribute.

Regarding skills: the basic rule could be that a character of a given race can master a skill to the same maximum as the base maximum stated above for the attribute that governs the given skill + extra points enabled by the fact that the given skill is the character's primary skill etc. (question: any exceptions? - see below):
+25 for Primary skills
+11 for Major skills
+0 for Minor skills
-20 for miscellaneous skills

The skill increase mechanism would also need fine-tuning. I think the amount of effort it takes to develop a given skill should be contingent not on current skill level, but on the difference between its maximum and current state.

Idea from here: the magic skill increases should be more realistic, not incentivize the player to make low-cost practice spells and keep repeating casting them in a safe environment, but rather to find reward in casting more complex spells.

Impact on leveling and beyond.
In Daggerfall Classic, your Primary skills start out around 30, Major skills start around 25, the highest Minor skill starts around 15.

I know the calculation is not precise but it is good enough. Absolute precision is not needed at this point.

This means you can get roughly 70+70+70+75+75+85 = 445 points that count towards leveling. That implies a maximum level of around 30.
This means you can get roughly 70+65+65+70+70+80 = 420 points that count towards leveling. That implies a maximum level of around 28.

The changes proposed do not affect the starting skill numbers, just the maxima attainable. If you want to max leveling out, you would pick all Primary, at least two major and one minor skill from amongst the skills governed by attributes your race excels at. Like for a Breton you would pick some INT or WILL governed skills for this purpose.

That would allow for reaching the following maxima: 150, 150, 150 (primary), 136, 136 (Major) and 125 (Minor).
This would involve being able to gain roughly 120+120+120+111+111+110 = 692 points that count towards leveling. That implies a maximum level of around 47 (+17).
Will need to consider whether to keep the -5 modifier for skills developed after the first.

- That's a lot of extra levels. Need to think about everything that would entail. Personally I think character level should affect only class-specifics - the special advantages/disadvantages - ironically - with some exaggeration - these appear to be the only things it does not affect.
- The changes incentivize picking primary skills and most major skills from skills favored by the race of the character through the governing attribute. I think this is perfectly okay. You would expect a High Elf to have the strongest of his skills coming from magic or intelligence related skills anyway. So this is a neat side-effect.

Questions to consider:
- Giving +2 to one of the attributes for the Dark Elf, Khajiit and Argonian race? It would make sense in light of the skills and leveling if we want to give them equal opportunity. Or we could find other ways to balance this out.
- Any exception to the skill maximum rule stated above? I believe in the fewer rules and fewer exceptions the better. So I would only consider an exception if having skills above 100 breaks any game mechanics.
Last edited by meritamas on Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Interest in expanding and improving the Magic system, Capitalism and an Unleveled World.

My main quest in the DFU community is my (Mostly) Magic Mod.

Narf the Mouse
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Re: there could be more to magic

Post by Narf the Mouse »

You have a lot of good ideas, but perhaps a few too many to start with. ;)
Previous experience tells me it's very easy to misunderstand the tone, intent, or meaning of what I've posted. If you have questions, ask.

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Re: there could be more to magic

Post by meritamas »

Narf the Mouse wrote: Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:50 am You have a lot of good ideas, but perhaps a few too many to start with. ;)
Thanks for the feedback.
I don't mind discussing only one of the ideas at a time, this has been going on mostly in other threads. Just keeping them here for easier reference.
Interest in expanding and improving the Magic system, Capitalism and an Unleveled World.

My main quest in the DFU community is my (Mostly) Magic Mod.

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