A Brief History of Spellcasting

August 2, 2014

Spellcasting looked a lot different at the beginning of Valentia's development:

  • Each path was purchased as a separate skill, so you could have a 10 IR in Fire and a 5 IR in Air. This was before skill variants.
  • When casting, you had to spend a number of AD equal to the spell's tier, though only one contributed to the roll.
  • A penalty applied to the spellcasting roll equal to the spell's tier.
  • Most combat spells took one phase per tier to cast.
  • There was some long forgotten rule that allowed you to pick a random assortment of spells, rather than follow a path.
  • It did not cost CP to buy up tiers. What you could cast was simply based on the AD cost and tier penalty.
  • DR did not apply to spells.
  • Contests could not be overloaded.
  • Spells generally did a lot more damage – most mass effect spells did one die per two levels.
  • Electricity caused startling as a side effect, not EP loss.

It did not take long to determine that this original method had some major problems. Updates were made:

  • Skill variants were introduced for spellcasting and other skills. Paths could be added for 10 CP each.
  • Costs were added to buy each tier of spells. They were originally lower than they are today and then higher.
  • Spellcasting no longer required 1 AD per tier.
  • Crude Casting and other alternate spellcasting perks took over the job of buying random assortments of spells.
  • Casting from spellbooks was added to allow characters to cast above their level and help when they could not overload outside of combat.
  • Spell damage was scaled back significantly.

A few years later, another round of updates happened:

  • People were building tower wizards that started above 20 AR. Upper IR costs were increased significantly and other rules were put in place to stop this.
  • Contests could now be overloaded.
  • DR now applied to most spell damage.
  • Electricity now reduces EP instead of Startling (inspired by Skyrim).
  • The cost of buying up your tiers was balanced between the low and high ranges it previously cost.

More recently, another round of updates have happened:

  • Spell damage has been increased.
  • Contests that cost AD now must happen as response actions.
  • The cost of additional path skill variants has been reduced to 5 CP.
  • The number of phases in a round has been reduced from 10 to 5, providing fewer safe casting situations.

We are now considering dropping the tier penalty to the spellcasting skill check. This is one of the last vestiges of the original spellcasting rules. Our hope is that this will encourage more dabbling in magic and reduce the need to build tower wizards.