Magic & Spells by: Forged Chaos


by Forged Chaos

Wish to delve into the arcane arts? Prepare yourself for a journey that will be as long and costly as it will be dangerous. You must craft your own spell book, come to learn arcane symbology, explore the world in search of rare components and dare to disturb powerful arcane creatures. That's just to get your first spell, which will be a weak version of what you can ehance it to.

You'll be able to enhance various aspects of your spell, based on your preference. Would you rather cast your fireball further or have it do more damage, or both?

Casting magic in ToA will not use 'mana'. Instead, it will use stamina, the same stat physical activities such as running and combat will use.

The magic system

"Aha, there you are! Surrender yourself to me! You shall obey me or .... "

"Did anyone loot my corpse?"

If you have plans of learning the arcane arts, you can expect the same fate ... many times over.

ToA magic is, by design, incredibly hard and we will make no apologies for it. The journey will be long, filled with setbacks and frustrations that are purposely designed to test how badly you want in to the arcane order. It will not be for everyone. Hell, it probably won't be for most. Your character will suffer. You will suffer. You've been warned.

If we haven't scared you off and you still wish to dabble in the arcane arts, read on foolish mortal! brave soul and get a glimpse into what ToA magic is and how it will work.

First things first - what is magic? I have never wanted magic to exist in ToA merely because we code it. I've always demanded we have a backdrop for magic, some roots if you will, and some pseudo-logic in how and why it exists. Having this foundation will allow for more immersion in both the way you come to practice and understand magic and how we can build upon it in ways that make sense within the game world.

Magic is made up of four schools; Ethereal, Material, Atrophy and Creation.

Magic is fueled by arcane energy. This energy exists all over TerVarus but can only be seen by those that have completed their first steps of magery therefore understanding the principles in which to see them. Arcane energy typically attaches itself to a physical, living host. The host can be anything from a plant, to a deer, to your shopkeeper, or even you! In almost all cases a host will never know they have arcane energy attached to them. It is not known why they attach to a host as they do not seem to affect their host in any way.

The first step in your journey to becoming a mage is crafting your spell book(s). By doing so you will gain an understanding of how your attunement to the arcane is unique and how no two mages will ever interact with the arcane in the same way. You will need to craft a spell book for each school of magic you wish to pursue. Crafting a spell book is an endeavor within itself and will require you to gather various components which in turn will require a significant amount of travel. The good news is that once a spell book is crafted, it will bind to you, meaning it cannot be stolen or looted.

Once your spell book is crafted, you will be able to use it to detect arcane energy in the world around you. The detection process will be taxing on your stamina and might require the presence of specific components. If any arcane energy is within your detection range, they will manifest as auras around their host. This means you could see auras around the apple tree across the street, the stray dog as it runs by, and maybe even around your fellow adventurer.

Here's where it gets hairy.

You must provoke the arcane energy into separating from its host and the only to do that is by harming the host. Once separated, a battle will ensue between you and the energy. During this battle you can be offered no help and the energy cannot be affected by anyone else. The battle is over when either you are dead or you have defeated the energy. Upon defeat, the energy will release either a whole or a portion of a symbol that will flow into your spell book. Your character's intelligence will play a big role in how much of a symbol is gained.

Capture a particular sequence of these symbols and you will begin to detect arcane creatures. These extremely powerful entities do not attach to a host, allowing them to move about as they wish. Like arcane energy, arcane creatures must be fought alone. Defeating an arcane creature will release its grip on its own power source - a spell. The spell will flow into your spell book as either a whole spell or just a portion of one. As with arcane energy, your character's intelligence plays a major role in how much your spell book absorbs. You do not get to choose which spell it is.

Something to note about these entities: they are vindictive and they have a strong memory. Should you fail to defeat one, not only will they shred you from limb to limb, but it's entirely possible that it may 'mark' your soul for later use. Many veteran mages have told stories about how they were suddenly transported to an arcane creature they failed to defeat and forced to fight on its side.

Assuming you've been brave, lucky and tenacious enough to secure your first spell, you're going to need to gather the component the spell requires in order to cast it. This component is not universal for the spell. Instead, your attunement with magic will determine what component must be present for you to cast the spell.

Casting the spell is physically taxing on a mage. There is no mana in ToA. Instead, stamina is used to power spells.

Each spell will have its own properties, each of which you will be able to focus on and enhance. You can expect to see things like damage, area of effect, duration, casting time, component use and a plethora of others.

There you have it, the nuts and bolts of our magic system. This is only the beginning and a trimmed down version. We're hoping, post launch, to allow things like merging of spells, both from the same school and from different schools, allowing you to discover new, previously unknown schools, and a whole lot more.

Again, it won't be for everyone. We know that. It was designed that way.


How does magic work?

If you want to be a mage in ToA, you will need lots of patience, tenacity, skill, gold and some good old fashioned luck. If there were a hardcore version of this already tough game, trying to become a mage of any renown would be it.

Magic involves building your own spell book, learning symbology, the language of the arcane, going to distant lands to gather rare to impossible resources (you can't buy them off others as they must be freshly harvested), locking yourself into one-on-one battles with creatures of the arcane that would love nothing more than to rip your soul to shreds, and finally trying to unlock the encryption of your spell.

What's more is once you've finally unlocked your spell, it's a pathetic version of what you can enhance it to ... by doing the above process many times over.


Consider yourselves warned.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Why make magic so difficult?

We do it for multiple reasons.

TerVarus is not magic rich. We don't subscribe to the idea that every other person can cast magic or every third item is magical. When you do that, you lose the whole draw of it being something different and magical.

We want you to be awe-inspired, jaw-dropped and outright fearful when you see a fireball rolling your way.

Lastly, magic is *powerful* in ToA. The above said fireball could possibly decimate an entire group of characters. The way we chose to balance such power is with the difficulties of obtaining it.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Will mages use mana?

No. They will use stamina instead of mana as casting magic in ToA is incredibly taxing on the body. This puts most mages into an immediate quandary because stamina is also used for physical activities such as combat and running. Stamina management will be crucial for any mage's survival.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Will a spell be the same for each mage?

Every spell will come with multiple properties that can be individually enhanced as desired by the mage. For example, the fireball spell mentioned above will have properties akin to range, damage, area of effect, casting time, chance of component consumption and more. As such it's very likely two mages will have two wildly different variations of the same spell.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Will instant travel such as teleporting be available?

Only to the mages that have researched the spell. We believe instant travel, while convenient, destroys the size and danger of a game world. Why make a large world to explore when you can just hop a portal to the next town? Why bother making certain areas dangerous when players can just teleport around them?

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

I'm not 100% sure if they will classify magic as a skill. Possible the whole magic system will be a system on it's own.

You're correct - it's not associated with the skill system at all.

Source: Forums (Brax), 05-01-2013

What kind of spells will there be?

The spells are going to more than likely be a closely guarded secret, but I can tell you the spell list is very different than what you might be used to.

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-01-2013

We're not going to ever give out the spell list. You will have to discover the spells for yourself.

Magic is FAR from being just focused on combat. In fact there are a lot more utility spells than there are combat oriented spells.

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-02-2013

Will being a priest-like character with healing be possible?

Healing, yes. Priest, no. We've cut the religion system for launch, but we certainly want to bring that back at some point. But yes, you will be able to heal. Not through magics, it will be through salves and skill.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Can you give us an example of the power of magic?

Kaboom! In a word, great. You will be a force to be reckoned with, that probably can't be matched by any warrior, any thief. The balance there, is in getting there. If you're going to play a mage, and I've stated this very clearly, you're gonna die and you're gonna die a lot. And you probably won't make it.

And when I say make it, I mean possibly not even to your first spell. But, that's how we're balancing it. We want to lead out the people that think they want magic until they try magic, versus the people that really want it.

But to give you an example of the power of magic, I would say it's a safe bet that if you research a particular spell, like a destructive kind of spell, and you cast it on a party, chances are you could flatten the whole party. Depending on how skilful you are, of course. If you've mastered that spell, then yes, you could be a group eraser.

Varl: But just like the dragon, the trip to get there will be hard and long. I actually didn't want it as tough as Brax envisioned it, but I came around. I realised, if you're going to have magic in the game, it's got to be worth going after. The trip to get there can't be easy, you have to work for it.

Loestri: We don't want to have a game with some magic-rich environment, because magic then just becomes like a light show. Everyone in the world can cast a spell, and it really would become commonplace and unimaginative. If you look at a world where magic is very rare, and very difficult to learn, but yet has great power, then it becomes something that is worth achieving, but again it's going to be a difficult road to follow, and there won't be a lot of mages out there. And that's how we want it. It's not necessarily a balance thing so much, as it is just defining the world that we want to play in . And I think by eliminating the magic, apart from those that are really dedicated to go out and get it, we're going to accomplish that and I think that's a good thing.

Varl: And by powerful, when it comes to magic by the way, doesn't simply mean destructive. It could be beneficial as well. Magic that allows people to achieve things that doesn't mean blowing up a village to get it. Power is pretty widespread in that regard, so it doesn't only mean blowing things up.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Could it be dangerous for several mages to group up?

Too much magic in one area could attract the larger more dangerous arcane creatures like a kid to a candy store...

Source: Forums (Brax), 18-01-2013

Will spells possibly misfire?

There will be a chance of casting failure and the magnitude of that failure is scaled based on a number of things, most of which the mage can control. Keyword being most (as in - not all). Were you running while you attempted to cast the spell? That causes your chances of failure to rise. Don't have the component in your inventory that you need to properly cast it? That might cause a big ol' spike on the chance-o-failure meter. Did you get interrupted while casting? That energy you've summoned has to go somewhere, right?

The failures won't be just outright "you take X hp damage". Yawn. It will have something to do with the spell effect itself. Like a fireball you're charging up ignites early or your teleport lands you 200 meters to the south and 50 meters above where you intended.

Oh, the BBZZZZZRRTT bit in the article is the mage getting fragged by the arcane creature.

Source: Forums (Brax), 14-02-2013

How hard is it going to be to fight arcane creatures?

I can say that it isn't just the danger of losing a life counter you should worry about. Arcane creatures have long memories and are incredibly vengeful. Mix that with their power and you've just gained an enemy that you might come to regret because if it lives through your attempt to destroy it it will mark your soul.
What they can do with marked souls hasn't been fully revealed but we've mentioned being involuntarily summoned to fight at its side against another aspiring mage or opposing arcane creature. This torment can only be stopped when the arcane creature has been destroyed.

So, you see, it's not about how hard it will be to kill the arcane creature. It's more about just making darn sure you kill it.

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-03-2013

The End