Magic

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Note: For the game called "Magic" by Geoff Fortytwo, see Magic (game).

Classic Examples

Approaches

In IF, magic is usually presented as spells: defined magical effects controlled by an individual, with discrete results.

  • Spells may be cast by the use of dedicated verbs, often unusual words such as GNUSTO or PLUGH. This is a common feature of Zorkian fantasy. Either the author should explain these in the ABOUT text, or they should be learnt over the course of gameplay.
  • Various objects may have magical properties:
    • Spell scrolls typically allow a spell to be cast once only.
    • Magical wands and the like may be waved, pointed or aimed to cast spells.
    • Manipulating magical machines is a very common IF activity. These generally work just like normal machines, except with more fantastic results.
    • Virtually any inventory object may be magical, although clothing, weapons and treasure are particularly common.
  • Magic may just be used as an extension of the player's body, with no special syntax; the player might use a spell to UNLOCK DOOR, for instance.
  • Magic may lie in the proper arrangement of various spell components (see also alchemy).
  • Summoning or creation magic, which (in theory) enables the player to produce any object out of thin air, has been tried in a few games, but tends to suffer heavily from combinatorial explosion.

Advantages

  • Like sufficiently advanced technology, magic can be used to justify virtually any world behaviour.

Disadvantages

  • The player will have to learn how the magic system works. This can be fun in itself if handled properly, but if bungled it can be confusing and frustrating.
  • Broad-purpose magic effects can impose a very heavy coding burden. A sword enchanted to be a bit sharper isn't, for the purposes of coding, a great deal different from a normal sword; a player endowed with telepathy or control over atomic structure is going to cause a lot more problems.

See Also