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magic leveling system

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: 06/13/2010

need help, my game uses a decimal leveling system. instead of leveling up 1,2,3,4,5. it goes 1.1,1.2,1.3,1.4,1.5, etc.
and your spells max level is based off of the spell itselfs max level and your max casting level. all elves and their subraces except the Katar elf has the ability to cast at .2 higher spell levels(blood elves at first level can cast at 1.4 instead of 1.2 like normal elves, and Katar elves at level 1 cast at 1.0)

I have a system for spell creation, making the minimum spell level based off of all its effects, and what the spell does, and the max level you assign it. meaning if a spell was created and it equals level 1.4 only the blood elf could cast it, but if a spell equaled .8 (i havent fully gone over the whole system, but I believe this is the lowest possible spell level right now, but that is okay.) than anyone could cast it at first level.
I also have a system to determine the casting cost of a spell, as I am using a mana based system.

but my one problem is...
I can't seem to figure out how to level the spell appropratly
If i were to use logic, the more you use a spell the better you got at it, thus the spell would gain experiance per use. but what about those spells with more specific uses, that can not be used in every situation but may be very vital spells? they would hardly gain any experiance with this system, and and when used would hardly give as good as an effect as it could at the appropriate level.
but if they gain experiance per event/encounter/battle than it would kinda kill my idea of the game...
as you can only learn spells at their minimum level (Meaning if two players were teaching eachother spells, and one player taught the other a level 2 spell that he casts as a level 6 spell, the learner would learn it at level 2)

it would be better to use the idea that unlike players, spells gain their abilities per full level rather than per .1 level correct? Meaning a spell that did fire damage started at level 1.2 wouldn't gain its next damge or so until level 2.2 right?

also I was a bit unsure of how I should calculate spells abilities per level.
as in how much better should each spell get per level?
distance,damage/healing,etc. should say a summoning spell gain double its level of creature summoned per level? meaning a level 1 summoning spell at level two would summon a level 2 creature at level two? and if say damage is calculated into the created cost, it should double the damage? that would seem fair to me, as a low level damaging spell versus a high level damaging spell would not be as comparable, the higher level spell would do more at its levels than the lower level spell at an equal level.

and should higher level starting spells level slower than lower level starting spells? as they will most likely be more powerful?

i need to be able to calculate this stuff into the spells so that a player can create a spell. as the idea of magic is that not everyone is gonna know the same spell, and everyone who does know a similair spell would probably have slight variations of each spell.

also I asked a friend, and he said it was illogical to calculate the distance of a spell into its cost, as it wouldn't take much energy to toss or release a spell, so much as just creating the spell.
so i made it where the range cost is based off of whether it affects a touched target, or if it has distance at all, not if it can go say 30 feet, or only 15 feet.
though I still have it where area effect spells add to the cost, so do line affecting spells, and spells that affect multiple targets.

Joined: 07/24/2008
How many elves, how many

How many elves, how many distances and how many levels are there mindwaper10?

Taavet's picture
Joined: 08/15/2008

A lot of this you are just going to have to playtest with and figure out. There is no one right way, it all depends on the circumstances of your game.

Instead of making the spells level from 1.0 to 1.1, 1.2 ect why not just start the spell levels higher: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 (this may also fix some of your other issues). Or you could go even higher and do 100, 110, 120, 130, ect.

As for leveling up spells I seem to recall the Final Fantasy Online game having an interesting take on it. How about having players choose a Primary spell or type of spell like (healing, damage, summon, buff, curse, ect) and then pick a Secondary spell. When ever they get XP with their Primary spell their Secondary spell gets 1/2 the amount of XP. And players could switch their Primary and Secondary spells throughout the game to level them up as they desired (probably best to only switch by a Tome, Sage or Power Crystal instead of just whenever you want).

It also sounds like you are dabling in the how's of magic which is fairly open turf so you could make it however you want. In the world of Magic are there certain spells that start out at higher levels or do they all start out at low levels? For instance in Naruto ninjas develop their abilities to use chakra which then opens up more powerful abilities. It's not that the abilities themselves are super powerful and have high starting levels its that all the lower prerequisits have been met so the ninjas understand how to use better/more effective/more powerful abilities.
So with Magic can someone just develop a spell to Summon a Dragon (like the force, size matters not) or do they have to build up the ability to summon larger things by first learning how to transport small items from one location to the other, then to teleport them from one location to the other while being able to see the item, then being able to teleport something without see it and only imagining it, and so on. If you are trying to tie logic into magic then I think you have to set some guidlines. Such as matter cannot be created or destroyed. So if I was going to summon something it would have to come from somewhere, and if it died here it would be dead 'there'. Likewise if I was going to heal or cast a fireball it had to come from my pool of mana which I would have to draw out of the area surrounding me?

It sounds like you have most of what you want to do figured out and just need to do a lot of testing to balance things properly.

Good luck!

Relexx's picture
Joined: 05/31/2010
Quote:I can't seem to figure

I can't seem to figure out how to level the spell appropratly
If i were to use logic, the more you use a spell the better you got at it, thus the spell would gain experiance per use. but what about those spells with more specific uses, that can not be used in every situation but may be very vital spells? they would hardly gain any experiance with this system, and and when used would hardly give as good as an effect as it could at the appropriate level.

The beauty of magic is that some components do not need to be mathematically logical, or the rule can be explained away.

Rather than spells gaining experience you could have the caster gain experience. Regardless of the spell casting magic increases the casters knowledge of how magic works.


If you are set on having experience based spells then the frequency the spell is cast could be dismissed, base it upon the event, or have a factor of experience gained per spell cast. In your example vital but not often cast spells could have a factor 1 (each time the spell is cast they gain experience), a more common spell could have a factor 1/4 either they gain experience once every four castings or a 25% chance that they will gain experience every time the spell is cast

re: spell damage bonuses
This will have to come down to playtesting

re: spell ranges
touch and line of sight (LOS) is a common mechanic, often self is considered in the same mechanic, self spells cheaper than touch, touch cheaper than LOS.

However this is just one mechanic to cast spells. Casting spells at different range is often conceived as part of effort to cast the spell. The question comes down to how granular do you wish to make the range step costs.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Maybe instead of one max

Maybe instead of one max casting level, you have max casting level categories, with independent values.

Your ability with a specific spell would then be influenced by your stats on the specific categories that affect that spell, and your stats would improve depending on what spells you use. Then your ability to cast one of those rarely used spells could increase not only by practicing with that specific spell, but with other spells that affect and are affected by similar max casting level categories.

Let's say there's a rare spell for juggling cats on fire that's affected by categories A, C and F. But there's also a mundane spell you use to flush the toilet that uses categories A and B, and one for finding the TV remote that uses B and F. Each time you flush the toilet you not only become better at flushing the toilet, but also at finding the TV remote, and juggling cats on fire.

It's like training for a sport. You not only play that sport, you also do some push-ups and some running, etc. to improve the skills you will need when playing the sport. And that will also help you with other stuff like moving boxes or pushing your car if you run out of gas or whatever.

Joined: 06/13/2010
thank you!

there are 4 subracial elves, high elf, wood elf, dark elf, and katar elf. all elves have a bonus to casting except the katar elves, who are attuned to fighting especially with two weapons, and the blood elves have the greatest bonus to magic.
though this may change, right now my races arent set in stone, and I only have about 5 of the races I intend to have that are ready to be tested. of course I won't add/take anything to/from my world that isn't/is in my book that I am basing this game of off, so as long as my book and its world are incomplete, so is this game

I havent made a max level as of yet, and so far what I have made using the decimal levels isn't 60 pages long for each full level, every class has a gain based on every X.X levels
for example the mage gains
+1 mind every .3 levels
+1 spirit every .4 levels
+1 body every 1.2 levels
+1 reflex every 1.5 levels
for his/her saves

as for distances, there is self,touch,range,are of effect,line.
I am also using the unrealistic 5 foot distances, like in D&D, and other similiar games. as its much easier to judge distance in five foot intervals rather than 1 foot intervals...
I mean I know that I can NOT step 5 feet in one step, and I know a person who is 6 feet tall, and most people taller would have an almost difficult time stepping that far, especially in combat, and I am 5'5" and Its my torso that is short not my legs.
(and believe it or not I actually did a whole little practice in my backyard, using various areas with my various sized friends, and I found out just how unrealistic 5 foot intervals are, and it irks me to use it, yet its so much simpler, especially if your mapping something out on graph paper, as it takes less room.)


could you perhaps give me a little more info on how that would work? as that is interesting, but im not sure if i get it fully. (your alternate leveling idea)
I actually can almost see that working, I guess it would be a type of specializing, and each player would have to choose, it would also add to the depth of strategy and tactics, and force players tothink on their stype of play.
as for spells starting levels yes there are spells that start at higher levels, its all based on how you put together a spell, everything from damage and the dice used to element type is calculated in to determine the level and cost.

and when I say logic and magic...thats a rather tough thing to say, as in our world most people that accept magic as a probability, more than likely disregard the idea of shooting fire from ones hands, and tend to tie in the tranfer of energy, or the change of whats required, and perhaps the control of whats inside ones own body, whilst other people may believe whole heartedly that a fireball can fly from ones hands, and wont burn the caster, but wouldn't know where to start. whereas a fantasy world it is possible and everyone knows this, the only real thing they need to know is, how do I channel my inner energies? and once they learn this through practice they would cast bigger and better spells.
so for the most part, as long as you have the energy and the magical practice, the type of the spell only matters a little, if its divine or arcane.

and for relexx
that is not a bad idea, as I like the idea that as a person casts a spell they become more atuned to casting that spell and so they get better and better at casting it, so using your idea, the spells that would be used less often grow faster, and the spells used more often grow slower.
so my only problem with this is, even though I could make the gain based on the type of spell, the fact that the players could add everything at once (making their spell one hell of a weird spell, doing damage, summoning, teleporting, causing ability damage, moving, mind controlling, etc. lol, this would probably make the spell weak and high leveled, so the likely hood a player would do this is very low, or so I hope)
I guess I could make a rate based off of the type, and have it change based off of what other things it can do, this way if a telekinis spell could lift 300 lbs. worth of weight, and do 1d6 damage, and it lasted a number of rounds, than it would level slower than say a spell that lasted a set time and lifted 300 lbs of weight. or a spell that had an affect such as growing a beard would level faster than a spell that did fire based damage.

also I wasn't sure about the touch versus self spell, before I took advice from my friend, I had them seperate for now I have them the same, but I guess releasing energy upon yourself would be less work than reaching out and forcing the energy into a touched target.

that is an interesting way to look at it. I may have to look into making a system based off of that concept.

in general---
also I suppose I should say this, my game is based off of a book that I am writing, and magical energies fill all beings, and so even a fighter can cast magic, but no one casts magic better than a spell-caster, I already have a system made to determine the difference between a mage casting a fireball, and a fighter throwing a fireball, or a cleric healing and a barbarian healing, its all possible but never will be as good as a spellcaster.
I need this game for my book almost as much as I need my book for my game XD

and as for playtesting, I would prefer to playtest in real life, but as it is about as hard to get my friends together as it is to get a sheep to stop following, or a goat to stop having fun, (sorry I am a goat rancher, all my metaphors are about animals) than I would need to playtest online...unfortunantly I am having about as hard a time finding a good site to playtest on as I would get my friends together...

Thank you all for your help, I may have to see how some of these ideas fit into my system, and perhaps blend some together.
and as always everything could stand a little tweaking now and then,

and as my book is only in the middle of chapter five, I outlined the book back in chapter 3, and have the whole book and its future outlined...I even proceeded to outline a book two and three, and two sub stories based in the same I pretty much already know what is in my world, I just need to add it to the book and the game. the world itself is incomplete, or to me it is, when my friend looked at what I had written down, he said I was an idiot to think so, and that I had too much written down, and had enough stuff to literally recreate a whole planet...
but thats how I have always been, everytime I make something, I go way in deep, I once had a D&D world that was over 300 pages worth of stuff... unfortunantly since I took the time to write it down and not type all of it up, the one time I had a bad rat infestation ruined the majority of it, so I threw it all into the dump...

but now I realize I am writting too much, I do that alot, get too into whatever I am
and once again, thank you everyone, and if you actually read all the way from top to bottom...well I wish I could give you a prize for that, because I think that would be something else...

Relexx's picture
Joined: 05/31/2010
Quote:I already have a system

I already have a system made to determine the difference between a mage casting a fireball, and a fighter throwing a fireball, or a cleric healing and a barbarian healing, its all possible but never will be as good as a spellcaster

It appears you have spheres of magic, and depending on the casters ability in the sphere depends upon how well they can cast the spell.

From what you have described you have created a points based system to create spells. I would think that it may be easier to reduce the complexity some what that you may have created with the 1.2,1.3,1.4,...

Maybe something such as character gets X points to magic, Class gives bonus Y points to sphere, Race gives A or B points to magic and/or sphere. A character then can only cast a spell up to C points in a particular sphere (magic + sphere + race).

For experience gain when they cast a spell in a particular sphere they might get a sphere gain of 10, but they also gain an overall magic experience gain of 1.

I hope I am making sense.
... it has prompted me to think of a card game ...

Joined: 12/01/2008
I like what seo said. You

I like what seo said.
You could also do something to the effect of, when a character wins a battle you get x number of points to distribute wherever you want. In practice, you'll probably see the players largely putting the points to improve the spells that they were using, but with the option of building up the utility spells too.

Taavet's picture
Joined: 08/15/2008
Elaborate on what?

I don't really have much more to elaborate on then what I posted since it was all pretty much off the top of my head.

I think you were referring to the spell leveling where one spell was set as the primary and another as a secondary to allow it (although unused) to level up as well.

The post above would accomplish the same goal. It is just a way to allow the players to gain experience for spells not being used like the utility spells.

If I understood a little better where you were coming from with your design I could possibly explain better how my idea could apply although it might not apply (it was just off the top of my head).

Sorry I couldn't really flesh it out more for you. Please respond with more information or specifically what you are looking for and I'll see how I could help.

Joined: 06/13/2010

Its okay, I think I have everything I need, Thank you, everyone for the help, it is very much appreciated, with these ideas I believe I have figured out what I needed.
Now I need to finish up a few things and can go into the games first playtest! of course, this will probably still be a few weeks away, as I still have a few things I need to do, but I believe I have what I need to fix those too.
once again, than you everyone!

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