"Magic" in a Steampunk game

Games with combat, inventory, crafting and more beside a story and dating/life sim gameplay
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jack1974
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"Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by jack1974 »

I've asked on Twitter but thought to post here too. As you know I'm planning to do a steampunk RPG game (NOT THIS YEAR :lol:) but this time I'm thinking to have the story written a lot in advance, since I think might be easier to decide/plan which images to draw or choose an artist when the plot is all done (something I never did before).
The question is: how "Magic" should be dealt in a steampunk game ? There can be regular fantasy magic or should everything be alchemy/chemistry? using potions to heal, to buff allies, explosives to damage enemies, and so on?
Arcanum had magic for example, and while maybe it's not realistic, I am trying to find the right balance between "steampunk realism" (lol) and fun to play!
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Sylrissa
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by Sylrissa »

You could try working in some kind of technomage angle.
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jack1974
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by jack1974 »

What do you mean by "technomage" ?
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Sylrissa
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by Sylrissa »

Hope I can explain this right, but It's idea for working in magic into a steampunk or sci-fi setting, if you don't want to go with fantasy magic. The person in question uses technology to replicate what appears to be magic, even though it's really just very creative inventions,gadgets etc.

I'm a big fan of alchemy/chemistry as you saw from the amber magic shop thread, so that still sounds good, just thought of this and wanted to share :)
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jack1974
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by jack1974 »

Ah yes understand. So instead of fireball there could be devices that manage to form a ball of fire and throw it to enemies, and so on. Cool 8)
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pysali
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by pysali »

I mentioned this in twitter but there are three things you can do. If this is meant to actually take place on earth you can use 'ancient magics' in the form of Egyptian, India, Native American or Chinese/Japanese, but that gets super uncomfortable when you think about what was happening in a lot of countries in that time period.

You can use a combination of Chemistry to pattern real science, with a healthy dose of clockwork and inventions (a really big part of steampunk lol). And you can put in psychic abilities (spirit communication, mentalism/hypnosis, telepathy, telekinesis, pyro/cryo kinesis, alchemy, out of body experiences) to be your 'magic' since a lot of that came off as weird magic, not scientific stuff. In fact people could even fight over which is the proper science of the time (with the more mechanical 'steampunk' obviously winning and psychics being either outcasts or mocked and disbelieved). Cool airships, amazing clockwork men and chemical grenades and elixirs! Or fireballs (pyrokinesis), weird plasmic spirit goo (spirit communication), and transmutation (alchemy)!
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jack1974
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by jack1974 »

Haha yes, looks like I am not going to run out of options :mrgreen: I can reproduce most of the fantasy magic with other stuff. Like "charm" = hypnosis for example, and so on. Will be quite interesting to write :)
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pysali
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by pysali »

If you want it in then yes. Just replace magicians with psychics. Mesmerists are charms, slight of hand, hypnosis. Psychokinetics are your standard elemental mages with telekinesis, pyrokinesis, cryokinesis. Necromancy can't quite be duplicated with spirit communication and body possession, but you can use spirit guides to help. Healing magic can be like psychics who claimed they could actually lay on hands or do psychic surgery and telepathy or out of body experiences or aura manipulation. Or can be done with elixirs.

Just with goggles and top hats and steam punk and science! Flying airships and clockwork automations, and sword canes and conspiracies!
mfraze02
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by mfraze02 »

An interesting idea to combat this would be to use something similar to a very old game I played, in which you could scavenge for items that you could combine to achieve spell affects.

For example a fireball was 1 part brimstone 2 parts ash. if you had the items in your inventory it would allow you to cast the "alchemy" or spell

there were other things like heal was 1 part root, 1 part water

anyway the game I'm talking about was on the SNES called Secrets of the Evermore, it was an action rpg and it featured probably around 50 "spells" they referred to them as alchemy formulae, and the requirements for using the spells was you needed to find someone who knew the formulae and could teach you, and then you needed the ingredients.

they also had a level system for the spells, the more you used them, the better you became at using them, it was quite a good idea, meant you only got out what you put in.

anyway here is a link to all the spells from that game so you can get a bit more of an idea.

http://shrines.rpgclassics.com/snes/soe/alchemy.shtml
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jack1974
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Re: "Magic" in a Steampunk game

Post by jack1974 »

Thanks, it's interesting indeed. I have in mind something similar, I made a post about a "universal crafting system" a few months that could be reused for all RPGs (changing every time based on the rules/settings): blog/2012/10/building-a-crafting-system/
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