Monday, 10 October 2011

Magic in DAEMON Part 1

I thought I'd write a little bit more about the Magic system in Daemon. Its very heavily (well, more like ripped-straight-off from) two real-world occult systems: the medieval grimoire Ars Goetia (also known as the Lesser Key of Solomon), and the Kabbalah (Tree of Life) of the Western Mystery Tradition.

The Real "Tree of Life"

I intend gameplay to metaphorically simulate the path of the Goetic (one who summons spirits) ascending the Sephiroth (Spheres of Tree of Life) whilst battling the evil forces of the inverse of the Sephiroth, the Qliphoth as one descends dungeon levels. Thus the spirits the Character can summon to assist him/her have thematic powers appropriate to the corresponding Qliphoth, foes will also be based upon said qliphoths, and the Sephiroth themselves will influence both the environment and also other powers that the Character may have.

For example, the dungeon levels corresponding to Geburah/Golachab (named Golachag in the game) will have enemies themed with destruction/burnings and ruins (in real-world occult lore, the qliphoth Golachab means "Burners with Fire" whereas the sephira Geburah embodies Strength), but the level itself will perhaps filled with martial armouries, great demonic captains or the remains of a dead god of war and so on.

The fluff in the game for Golachag states that:

"Spirits of Golachag are those who burn to do destruction - even onto themselves. They are known for inspiring in mortals unbridled radicalism and tyranny that brooks no opposition, and executes all its opponents.When manifested their bodies are forever consumed with an unburning liquid fire."

Summoning and using Spirits will cost the Character corruption and degeneration points, which will however, in return make summoning and using spirits easier. There will be ways to reduce both, although I've not finished designing these, but I suspect they will operate much like piety in Crawl does, although aligned upon Kabbalistic premises.

For example, in the screenshot above, it is possible to attempt to summon one of ten ranks of spirits, from the least, Soldier, to the greatest, King (as per the Ars Goetia). The more powerful a spirit summoned, the greater the powers available to the Character, but the more risks are involved.

Characters can summon and control three spirits at a time, and have access to the powers of the spirits (for example, in the above sphere, Neremoth (Fear), spirits will be able to frighten enemies, reducing their effectiveness or even preventing them from attacking altogether for a short period of time).

However, accessing their powers will reduce the spirit's life-force - represented by a hunger level. If the hunger level gets too low, then bad things (tm) could happen. I am still designing the consequences of what happens if this occurs. Perhaps the spirit could break free and attack the Character?

I'm also intending for environmental effects to play a big part in the game, akin to Unangband for example. These could make summoned spirits more or less effective, or easier to summon, and so on.

My aim is to make magic, and in fact, entire game-play a much more two-edged sword than in any previous roguelike, simulating some of the character progression in RPGs such as Kult (which is another influence).

Note that the names of the Spheres/Qliphoths have been altered slightly from their real-world equivalents and all spirits will have randomly generated names as to avoid harming any innocent spirits.

1 comment:

Ronbo said...

nice write up! would like to hear how you implement the spirits - do they just augment the player stats or are they actually characters in the game? if so what are you doing for ai?