Friday, 18 April 2008

Captured Spell Books

A few days ago I was contacted by Dwight Kubach (aka kgambit), content editor of the great Thieves Guild website about a project I might consider for my Readable Books. He asked if it was possible to make a spell book that contained spells for wizards to find and copy. My first reaction was that it should be fairly straight forward and I decided to give it a shot. After I started, it soon became obvious that the project was not going to be as quite straight forward as I first thought, especially as my knowledge of XML coding is still quite basic. However, with the knowledge I do have, I managed to hit on a workable solution. It may not be the best way to do it, but at least it works.

I had to make some design choices, such as the maximum number of spells that could be found in any one book, but after some more communication with Dwight, I believe I have found a combination of random spells per wizard level that should do the job well. However, for those who like to tweak the spell books themselves, I have added some parameters that can be set at build time that can tell what limit of spells the book will have in it, and I hope I will eventually code in variables that allow the builder to specify the exact spells found if they wish to. I hope also to code a value system for the book, representing the spells that are in the tome, gradually decreasing for each spell removed.

Lastly, I have added a DM's tool to add some global switches that can make the wizard only be able to learn one spell a day, and/or even make a DC roll to see if they successfully copy the spell or not. If I get the time, I will even add an option that allows a DM to create a spell book according to variables they select dynamically available during a gaming session. This part, however, does involve a great deal of repetitive coding for the way I want it to work, and so it will all depend upon how I feel about it at the time. (UPDATE: This has been added and is available with the final product.)

Copying In Practise

To make the system work with what is available in NWN2, I had to assume a successful copy produced a scroll of the copied spell, which the wizard could then either scribe into their own spell book or cast. Therefore, if the wizard was successful in copying the spell from the spell book and acquired a scroll, they would still have to be of the right level to be able to scribe it into their spell book according to the engine rules. Therefore, no balance is lost in the game. Furthermore, as another measure to ensure game balance is not upset, I have made it so that once a spell has been successfully copied as a scroll, then it is removed from the spell book. In other words, there is only one scroll produced per spell in the spell book. (Picture shows greyed out spells already copied.)

I think there could be a lot of potential for this item, especially if I can get the coding to allow a DM dynamic control within a gaming session. My thanks go to Dwight who helped encourage me to look at this idea, as now that it is underway, I can see it will be very useful and hopefully well received in my own campaign.


Liso said...

This reminds me of Ultima! very nifty! :)

The Bard of Althéa said...

Thanks Liso,

I can't remember if I played any of the Ultima series or not. I know I played Ultima Underworld - That was one of the best gaming experiences I ever had. :)

I still have a little more work to do on this yet, but as soon as its done and gone through some testing, I will post it on the Vault.

Be sure to let me know what you think.

Thanks again, Lance.

Epirote said...

Hi Lance,
great job you've done there. I had the honor to beta test it and could not find any faults or bugs after excessive testing. Thumbs up.

The Bard of Althéa said...

Hi Epirote,

Thanks for the testing. I will give you some credit in the manual for that.

Let me know how playing with it comes along if you ge the chance.