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Mad Scientist Mode is Active

I don’t really know where this is going.  My mind has activated Mad Scientist Mode, which means I’m on rapid fire for the strange ideas.  There will probably be no structure, no direction and no plot: just crazy ideas.  Let’s have fun.

It’s no secret I love Fallout 3.  Seriously, it’s made the top 10 list, and that list has some very hallowed and well respected games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Half Life 2, so that’s no mean feat.  It’s really hard to understate how much I enjoy this game.  It does have some rough edges though, and I’m not the biggest fan of apocalypitc worlds (whoo!  Lots of brown and gray.  Boring).  What I am a fan of, though, is steampunk and dungeon punk.

I came up with an idea to make a Fallout 3 like game set in a fantasy-steampunk world, not unlike my own D&D setting.  The idea I came up with took the basic ideas of Fallout 3- first person shooter/RPG, and set it in a fantasy world.  I’d take a few ideas from Oblivion like spellcrafting, item enchanting and multiple factions to spice things up and add a bit to the side stuff (Fallout 3 had great quests, better than Oblivion, but it could have done for some faction-type stuff like Oblivion).  The game would probably have lots guns, but there would be a balance between guns, melee weapons and bows.  The game isn’t modern, so while there are telescopic rifles, there’s nothing like a high powered sniper rifle.

Magic would be another powerful factor in the game.  While I enjoyed that every PC in Oblivion could use magic, I didn’t like the fact they could be screwed without it.  Unfortunately, I don’t really know how to get away from this in a game like Oblivion, unless magic can do only one thing.  I don’t want magic to replace things (like lockpicking or stealth), but at the same time I don’t want it to be marginalized to just tossing lightning bolts.

And, since this is me, I’d totally implement an engineering system so players can build their own cool equipment.  I loved custom weapons in Fallout, but I felt like they didn’t go far enough.  I’d love to see what you can do when you combine a sniper rifle and a plasma rifle. Sniper plasma rifle perhaps?  I’d love to do that.  Plus, I’d totally combine it with enchanting, so you could enchant your telescope goggles to automatically enter night vision when it gets dark.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Moving away from electronic RPGs and onto the tabletop world, I’m experimenting with building a series of nercomantic spells for wizards in my campaign.  I’ve always been a fan of necromancy and I’m a little disappointed 4e has shipped without them.  I’m currently reading over Maho powers from Legend of the 5 Rings and some of the things from the previous editions.

I want to go beyond the simple army of the undead when it comes to necromancy for my game.  Yeah, animating the dead is part of the deal, but Wizards of the Coast has already made some of those kinds of powers.  I want to focus on the really dark stuff like soul tearing, corruption spells and spell taints.  Magic that will make people around you go “holy shit dude, that’s the dark stuff.”

One route I’m considering is making powers like the Spellplague in the 4e Forgotten Realm’s Players Guide.  Something a player can multiclass into, since I’d love to see necromancers beyond old guys in robes.  Imagine a Fighter with the power of necromancy at his fingertips!  Sword swings that rend not just the flesh, but the soul as well.  Wounds that fester and don’t heal right, even after the enemy patches them up (saves).  Wouldn’t it be cool?

Unfortunately, I’m still somewhat at a loss for what kind of powers would be appropriate without breaking the game in half.  In addition to reading over Maho, I think I’m going to pull up the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide and see what the Spellplague granted people.  I don’t want to copy that too much, but I want to see what they did.

I also think it would be cool to use as a roleplaying hook.  I don’t see dark magic as inherently evil, but I definately want it to have something of a corrupting influence.  Like, if one of my players took it, I’d take them aside a few times during a session and talk to them privately about dark thoughts they might have.  Maybe while at the table, I’ll voice some small part in their character’s head that tells them to embrace the darkness within and do something despiciable.  I think that might be fun.