Color Pie Afficionados Unite!
Posted on July 10, 2018, 11:58 a.m. by MindAblaze
Good Day Everyone,
I'm working on a project right now that's taking a lot of my mental energy and I could use the assistance of anyone willing to throw in their two cents.
I'm developing an adventuring table-top skirmish-style RPG, and one of the options the player characters have is to spend their found gems learning spells. They can make it easier to find gems by purchasing an item called the Attractive ____ (Pearl, Sapphire, Jet, Ruby and Emerald) Ring from the Jeweler. As you can tell, the gem colours mirror a game we all know and love, and as such, I'm using some of the spell concepts from this game to shore up the number of options players have.
So what I'm asking of you guys is to throw out your list of iconic spells; Things that mechanically define the color for you. Lightning Bolt, Fireball, Murder, Dark Ritual, Healing Salve, Harm's Way, Explore, Creature Summons, Divination and Sleep all come to mind.
For reference, the game has seven classes. While their titles are subject to change, essentially the roles we have are Monk/Druid, Barbarian/Warrior, Paladin/Crusader, Cleric, Wizard/Shaman, Amazon and Ranger/Scout.
If you have any questions let me know, but I'm excited to hear what you have to say.
I disagree with Dark Ritual being a defining card in Black. It is an iconic piece of Magic's history, but no longer falls within Black's portion of the colour pie. Now, the idea of "pay mana, get more mana" is firmly a Red mechanic, with cards like Desperate Ritual. There is a neat little article on the subject.
Some key elements of Black include:
Blue is a colour defined in terms of Order and control. Key blue elements are:
Hindering opponent resources, either through post facto annoyances, while giving the opponent an option to merely repeat the offending action, delaying an opponent's ability to act, or interrupting an action.
I'll try to get to the other colours when I have a bit more time.
July 10, 2018 12:27 p.m.
Green - Rampant Growth, Rancor, Giant Growth Red - Lightning Bolt, Shock, Magma Jet, Rift Bolt Blue - Counterspell, Cyclonic Rift, Serum Visions White - Final Judgement, Terminus, Angel's Mercy Black - Consume Spirit, Thoughtseize, Dismember
July 10, 2018 12:29 p.m.
cdkime I definitely hear you when it comes to Dark Ritual not fitting any more. It would be more of a “sacrifice a resource for the energy,” sort of, think like Culling the Weak. The whole MOAR POWER thing. You know “greatness at any cost.” So the lifedrain is fitting in and hurting allies for gain works too. I’m even using status effects, so stuff like Smallpox that goes after their resource, leaving them poisoned or ill in some way, and yes, raising minions from dead foes.
I’m unsure how to facilitate bounce spells in an environment like this. It’s hex-based movement with table-top d6 combat mechanics. I have a number of status effects like Frost Breath that are tempo oriented, but the game is intended to be co-operative, with the option for PvP in the future, so bouncing/flickering bad guys has interesting implications. Limitations on the number of spells that can be cast a turn, and the way the hand is handled has made draw kind of irrelevant but I’m using a return to hand “Mystic Retrieval” style of CA to make up for it. I am using an enchantment style counter spell at this time, but at this stage in development don’t have any bad guys that cast spells. I’m sure they will exist though.
Making attacks unblockable/hit automatically could fit ala Aqueous Form. I like that.
For green, Giant Growth and Rancor fit great! Rampant Growth/Explore are useful ideas. I’m considering a cycle or partial cycle of “you may cast an extra spell this turn,” cards to make something that creates resource more useful, and the ramp cards can make resource for the resource intensive spells. I’m also considering green to be a bit Plant/Animal/Elemental Summoner-y, so that will fill any holes.
Direct damage in red makes a lot of sense.
I think a “nuke the board” spell could be too powerful for the format, but how can a board wipe fit into White without saying outright “destroy/Exile all creatures?” I’m considering some sort of “Consecrate Earth” style AOE spell, but I’m open to suggestions.
I can’t believe I forgot Dismember, straight up killing stuff with flavourful names is juicy. What about other black enchantments or status effects that could be useful?
July 10, 2018 3:13 p.m.
This is a wonderful article by WOTC to discuss the inner workings of the color pie and how the colors are designed to be used.
Here is another supplementary article on the MTG Wiki featuring similar content.
This article goes a little into detail on more of the mythos of the mana and where it specifically stems from.
TheManaSource is a wonderful Youtuber who delves into the color philosophy of many color combinations and what their inherent desires and flaws are.
Here is a beautiful article on the aspects of humanity that each color represents.
Between all of these, any and all questions you could possibly have should basically be answered. <3
Yes, it's quite a lot of information but if you are going to be designing a game, it's better to go in with too much information than not enough. Hope I helped :)
July 11, 2018 12:06 a.m.
Bounce effects could be simulated with disarming spells. Not sure how it works in the d6 system, but in D&D this would force an opponent to spend a minor action (and possibly a move action, depending on how far the weapon was thrown) to pick up their item. This provides a bit of a delay, without causing any tangible damage to an opponent.
Rather than focus on bounce/flicker, I would instead consider using some temporary exile effects in White. These types of spells are found in D&D on the Cleric class - the target is banished to another dimension until the Cleric's next action. This prevents the target from dealing damage or receiving damage.
Moving on to the colors I have not preciously addressed, I'll start with White since I've already broached that color. Some other options include:
Healing or preventing damage - which I think is pretty obvious.
Combining strength with an ally for an offensive advantage and Being willing to take the entirety of a hit to prevent an ally from harm (yes, I understand banding has been--unfairly--discontinued, but it was still a primarily White ability that feels quite appropriate).
Do you intend to allow for the combination of colors? Those combinations create distinct entities with all sorts of color pie implications.
July 11, 2018 10:07 a.m.
I do not currently have plans to make multi-coloured spells per se. I’m sure if I decide to build an expansion I could consider that as an option, but right now it’s focusing on overall mechanics, story, my seven classes, their spells and the coloured spells. The resource system allows them to learn the coloured spells at a cost of gold and gems, so they can go into a number of colors if they so choose. That being said if they want to stick in one colour they would be rewarded in ways too.
Those resources are great, and I appreciate that. It’s nice to update the archive I had of old color pie discussions, especially since the website changed my link doesn’t seem to work any more. I guess I was just wanting to know what people would consider to be the most flavourful spells to add to a hex-based environment that uses a combat system similar to other table top wargames.