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The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby Big Bene » Friday July 3rd, 2015 5:26am

So, in effect, you use what I call a mana system.

In fantasy games (roleplaying, dungeoncrawling and wargames, Pen & Paper, Live action, board game or computer) there are several solutions to handle magic. The most common are spell based and mana based
In spell based systems, as in D&D and Heroquest, you have a given set of spells you can use up.
In mana based systems you have a given amount ouf magic points and the use each spell has a special cost. These magic points may be called "mana" (Diablo), "astral energy" (Dark Eye) or any other name. I normally call it mana, as this is the most widely known term.
There are other possible rule systems (e. g. you could use the spells as often as you like, but require a test each time to make it work), but spell based and mana based are the most common.

In your case, the mana of a magic user equals his mind points. I would recommend to describe it this way. Choose a term for the magic energy and then state that "A magic user starts a quest with mana (or whatever) equal to his mind points". Each spell has it's given cost in mana. Call it "mana cost", not "power". This would be clearer, at least to my ears, than
"Each Spell has a power rating between 1 and 4. To cast a Spell, the Hero must spend magic power equal to the spell’s power rating. Heroes begin the Quest with magic power equal to their starting Mind Points for each Spell Group they took at the start of the Quest".

As you use separate mana pools for the different spell groups, you could call it "earth energy", "water energy" etc.. This would add to both atmosphere and clarity.
Have a look ;)


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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby matrix23 » Saturday July 25th, 2015 11:23am

Your cards are truly magnificent, the artwork and the new symbols are truly inspiring! Really nice upgrade for the spell-cards!
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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby Count Mohawk » Friday August 7th, 2015 3:46pm

matrix23 wrote:Your cards are truly magnificent, the artwork and the new symbols are truly inspiring! Really nice upgrade for the spell-cards!

Thanks! Symbols, used properly, make card games much easier to understand and allow for more complex card text in less space.

Big Bene wrote:So, in effect, you use what I call a mana system.
-snip-
In your case, the mana of a magic user equals his mind points. I would recommend to describe it this way. Choose a term for the magic energy and then state that "A magic user starts a quest with mana (or whatever) equal to his mind points". Each spell has it's given cost in mana. Call it "mana cost", not "power". This would be clearer, at least to my ears, than
"Each Spell has a power rating between 1 and 4. To cast a Spell, the Hero must spend magic power equal to the spell’s power rating. Heroes begin the Quest with magic power equal to their starting Mind Points for each Spell Group they took at the start of the Quest".

As you use separate mana pools for the different spell groups, you could call it "earth energy", "water energy" etc.. This would add to both atmosphere and clarity.

That's the short of it. I wanted to refrain from using the specific word "mana", so I went with "power" instead. Now that you mention it, though, referring to magical power as "Earth energy", "Fire energy", etc. rolls off the tongue much more easily.

Now let's see if I can clean up the instructions for playing with this system:
    At the beginning of each Quest, each Hero chooses a number of Spell Groups as determined by the Hero’s class; for example, a Wizard starts with three Spell Groups, and an Elf starts with one. Whenever a magic user selects a Spell Group, they also gain a number of Energy points for that Spell Grup equal to their starting Mind Points. (Both the number of Spell Groups chosen and the amount of energy each Hero starts with can be altered by Artifacts or skills.)

    Heroes can cast a variety of spells from their chosen Spell Groups based on their Mastery of those groups. Each spell has an energy cost, represented at the top of the card by a number of icons between the name and the image (typically between 1 and 4). Spell costs can only be paid with energy of the same type as the spell being cast; that is, Fire spells require Fire energy, and so on.
A thought that only just now occurred to me is this: The cost to cast each spell does not necessarily have to be tied to that spell's mastery level. I could instead make a checklist card for each element that dictates which spells fall into which category. I like my current setup (weaker spells are learned first), but using a list or even just altering the back of the cards allows for a more dynamic system.

Now for some new stuff! First, a small edit: I have switched the Earth spells Power of Stone and Crystalize around - the former now costs 2 instead of 3 and has been powered down accordingly, while the latter now costs 3 instead of 2 and has been given what is probably a buff. This change fixes a problem I had with the Earth set in general, in that the set's healing spells were only available at the highest level of mastery. The links in the first post have been updated to reflect this change.

More importantly, work on a random Spell Scroll deck has begun!
ImageImage

The Scroll Deck will include a wide variety of different spells from all eight Spell Groups. Some are exact duplicates of the Spells from the first post...
ImageImage

...while others are unique to the Scroll deck:
ImageImage

And then there's the Arcane spells, a selection of rarer scrolls with more powerful effects:
ImageImage

Unlike other scrolls, Arcane spell scrolls do not shuffle back into the deck after being found, which is probably for the best, since they are much more potent than the other kind. Depending on how frequently the deck is reset, this may or may not have an impact on the Heroes finding multiples. The other gimmick unique to Arcane scrolls is that they require their users to have high Mind Points to work properly. Although all Heroes may use Scrolls regardless of class or magical affinity, Barbarians and other low-MP Heroes should definitely not try to cast these! I debated implementing a system like this for every scroll, but haven't decided one way or the other yet.

Edit Aug 12: I've finished pirating obtaining imagery for the scrolls and am making them available for download.
Scroll Deck: .DOCX file | .PDF file | .PNG images
Spell Scrolls: .DOCX file | .PDF file | .PNG images

slev wrote:All looking familiar to me ;)

Have I mentioned yet how your HQR was the system on which I based my own? :ugeek:
Also, thanks for the minor wording fix. I edited that in as well.
Last edited by Count Mohawk on Wednesday August 12th, 2015 9:49am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby slev » Wednesday August 12th, 2015 8:54am

All looking familiar to me ;)

Wording suggestion:
At the beginning of each Quest, each Hero chooses a number of Spell Groups as determined by the Hero’s class; for example, a Wizard starts with three Spell Groups, and an Elf starts with one. Whenever a magic user selects a Spell Group, they also gain a number of Energy Points for that Spell Grup equal to their starting Mind Points. (Both the number of Spell Groups chosen and the amount of energy each Hero starts with can be altered by Artifacts or skills.)


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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby Anderas » Monday August 17th, 2015 9:43am

I like these cards. I was just downloading them to see what i like and what not. More detailed feedback comes later the day.

Right now, there is only this:

Positive
* Great Artwork
* I like the symbols and the Spell schools.
* The scrolls are cool!


Negative
I don't like the idea of having 3x6 or 3x8 counters in front of the wizard on the gaming table. I mean, one set of counters per color? Also, i don't think this system solves the basic problem of the wizard.
With the mana system, I guess, with experience from other RPG's, your wizard will save 50% or more of his Mana for after the quest. Because you never know. You know how they are. :D
You give him a lot of freedom, though, to cast the one or the other spell more than one time. This is good!

Can you imagine your counter system, but with only one color for all the spells or would that provide too much freedom?
And could you imagine some mechanic to make the wizard actually use his magic frequently so that he's exhausted at the end of the quest?

Feedback to the cards follows later.


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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby Count Mohawk » Monday August 17th, 2015 3:12pm

Anderas wrote:I don't like the idea of having 3x6 or 3x8 counters in front of the wizard on the gaming table. I mean, one set of counters per color? Also, i don't think this system solves the basic problem of the wizard.
With the mana system, I guess, with experience from other RPG's, your wizard will save 50% or more of his Mana for after the quest. Because you never know. You know how they are. :D
You give him a lot of freedom, though, to cast the one or the other spell more than one time. This is good!

Can you imagine your counter system, but with only one color for all the spells or would that provide too much freedom?
And could you imagine some mechanic to make the wizard actually use his magic frequently so that he's exhausted at the end of the quest?

In order for the Wizard to avoid shying away from casting magic, he needs two things: access to a bunch of useful spells, and an assurance, even if just a mental one, that he won't 'run out' of magic at a critical time. It is well known that about a third to half of the spells in the base game are underwhelming, and the powerful ones don't make enough of a difference. With just 9 spells (and really only 5-7 good ones), the Wizard will be casting a spell once every two rooms, which is terrible! So I fixed this problem by expanding each spell group, so that regardless of what the Wizard took, he would be able to find a use for all of his magic power.

However, even if he has more magic, the Wizard still has only a finite amount of magic, and therefore may still hold magic in reserve until the end of the Quest, thus wasting it. To solve this one, I will reference video game logic! Consider pretty much any game with an MP bar. Game developers incentivize MP use with a few tricks: MP-powered attacks are stronger than one's basic attack, which provides the base incentive: Players like to see their foes go boom! MP typically also slowly regenerates during a stage, which means that the player is never completely out of magic. Thus, by casting spells and letting the bar recharge, they get more magic in total than if they were to save all their MP for the boss.

The creator of the Flash/Steam game Gemcraft 2: Chasing Shadows ran into a similar problem during development. Fortunately, he left detailed notes on how he fixed it. Also, GC:CS is totally an awesome game and you guy should all play it too. /shamelessplug

Here's how all this translates to Hero Quest. Instead of starting the Wizard off with 6x3 = 18 mana counters with which he must pass through the entire Quest, I instead start him with less, perhaps equal to base MP, plus a few for higher mastery of his chosen Elements / Philosophies. Then, throughout the Quest, the Wizard regenerates additional mana counters, whether each turn or by using a spare Cast action or whatever. I haven't figured this one out fully yet. An idea that just popped into my head would be a special action for spellcasters, usable once per room much like Treasure searches, to regain a few points of mana (Roll dice equal to MP and gain mana counters equal to the number of Skulls rolled).

Of course, some of the spells from each spell group may have to be limited to "once per Quest". Pretty much all of the healing spells would fit that category; otherwise a Wizard could camp around in an empty hallway and heal the party back to full before each room.

As for allowing a Wizard to use just one type of mana... well, I'm not a fan personally, but I can't think of any unbalancing concerns this would cause.


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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby cynthialee » Monday August 17th, 2015 4:04pm

Perhaps just have the mage required to take no action nor move to regain a counter would be the simple fix?
As for healing at the doors scenario...
Make them have a cool down so to speak. If you cast a healing spell, no other healing spells may be cast until after a non healing spell has been cast.
Not allowing the same spell to be cast back to back as a limitation is reasonable. Perhaps after casting a spell from one element, the mage needs to cast a spell of another element or take a Body point of damage if he insists, as he has manna fried himself with excessive use of a magic type.
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If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby Anderas » Tuesday August 18th, 2015 3:49am

Here you might be interested in Slev's broach of determination

Basically it allows to reload one MP per round if you have a spare action.


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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby slev » Tuesday August 18th, 2015 5:35am

Based on that feedback, I'd increase the number of Power required for each Spell by one.
Each Hero then starts with a number of Power of each type equal to their MP.

Gem of Focus
On your turn, as an action, you may recover one Power of any type you wish. This may not be used to take your total of that kind of Power to greater than your current MP.

This then allows a flow of magic, the Wizard can cast whenever they like, but may find themself out of power for a while after. You could also give the wizard an extra item:

Energy Jewel
Once per quest, you may recover up to five power of any one type. This may not be used to take your total of that kind of Power to greater than your current MP. Wizard Only.

This allows the wizard to dig themselves out of a situation, should they find themself threattened while on no or little power.

This would also mean that the Wizard could heal someone every four turns on average, if doing nothing else of note with their magic.


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Re: The Wizard's Expanded Spellbook

Postby Count Mohawk » Tuesday August 18th, 2015 2:00pm

Anderas wrote:Can you imagine your counter system, but with only one color for all the spells or would that provide too much freedom?

Count Mohawk wrote:As for allowing a Wizard to use just one type of mana... well, I'm not a fan personally, but I can't think of any unbalancing concerns this would cause.

I've been rethinking my own statement in response to Anderas', and I have changed position somewhat to "keep the spell groups separated" to "on the fence, leaning towards integration". I like separating the spell groups because it forces the Wizard to play with all of his hand rather than sticking to just one favored element or philosophy (especially if it's Water or one of the other healing groups). But on the other hand, I can't deny that keeping three extra groups of mana counters separate, in addition to a pile of BP and MP tokens, is more likely to cause confusion. As for cynthia's suggestion,
cynthialee wrote:Not allowing the same spell to be cast back to back as a limitation is reasonable. Perhaps after casting a spell from one element, the mage needs to cast a spell of another element or take a Body point of damage if he insists, as he has manna fried himself with excessive use of a magic type.
...this is not good because the Elf exists, who only gets one spell group in total. Sure, you could apply it only for Heroes with 2 or more spell groups, but sometimes the correct play in a room full of monsters is to throw two or three fireballs in a row, or buff everyone up with Rock Skin, or whatever. And I don't want to discourage that.

Furthermore, if the Wizard can regenerate magic power (see below), he'll choose to take back counters for whatever spell group he's been using most frequently. ...Damn it Anderas, I think you've sold me.

slev wrote:Based on that feedback, I'd increase the number of Power required for each Spell by one.

I thought this one through this morning, and the more I considered it the more I like it. I'll probably need to adjust a few of the spells up in power in response, but that's not a big concern.

I also discussed slev's Gem of Focus with my brother, and I determined that I had two main beefs with it. First, the Elf exists, and being a magic user he also would need some mechanic to regenerate mana counters. The Broach of Determination / Gem of Focus either sets the Wizard and the Elf equal (if they can both use it) or strongly nerfs the Elf (if it's a Wizard-only equip). Secondly, it opens the door to infinity, which is always a dangerous ground to tread. I think it's possible to encourage spellcasting without giving the Wizard an infinite amount of magic. How does this sound?
    Focus
    Focus is a special action a magic-using Hero may take to recharge his pool of magical energy. To Focus, the Hero rolls combat dice equal to his Mind Points and regains Power equal to the number of white shields rolled. A Hero may only Focus once per room or corridor, and only if no monsters are in sight.
You may remember that Searching for Treasure can also only be done once per room. If the players can remember which rooms they've searched, they can also remember which rooms they can Focus in. As for numeric analysis, this action will restore ~1.33 Power to an Elf and ~2 Power to a Wizard on average. Most Quests are about twelve rooms long, so even a base-level Wizard gets to use 9 (starting: base MP + total mastery in chosen spell groups) plus 2x12=24 (focus) = 33 points of power (+5 with slev's Energy Jewel), while the Elf gets 5 (starting) plus 1.33x12=16 (focus) = 21 points.
...Hm, that may be too much magic for an Elf. Looks like I'll be restricting this ability to Wizards only after all. (or force the Elf to roll for black shields - 5 + (0.67*12) = 13, much more reasonable)

Now for some new thoughts! First: Although I (and others) love the artwork I produced for each of the 72 Spell cards, it occurs to me that a max-level Wizard would be fumbling with literally half the deck in front of him. Thus, shortcut cards!
Image
You can keep the Spell cards themselves around to reference the full text, but I think it's much easier to only have to check three or four cards than as many as 36. The above piece of work is 3.75" x 5", which means you can very easily fit four of them on an 8.5" x 11" piece of cardstock, and with bleed besides. (I haven't decided what should go on the back yet.)

Second: AKA, "Where all the heals at??"
Of the eight spell groups above, Water, Earth, Alchemy and Protection include at least one healing spell (well, Control does as well, but it's exclusively for MP). In fact, those four groups all have at least two healing spells. However, only Water has a Novice-grade healing spell (Novice here means the 1-cost spells, now 2); all other spell groups only provide heals starting at Adept (those are the 2-cost spells, now 3). In practice, this means that a 1st-level party of Heroes playing with this system of magic will have less healing magic from the Wizard to go around than usual, and it will be spread across a longer period of time. I would love to playtest this to see if it's a problem but right now space is tight at my house, so I will have to argue with theory only for now.

...I think I said too much...


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