The use of death magic and what it means to virtue.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Baron Drocis Fondorlatos, Jan 25, 2017.

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  1. Poor game design

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    @Lum the Mad
    @Lord British

    I do not see how any player can use any form of death magic that either summons the dead or steals (converts) the life force of another living thing and uses it for the caster, and not take a virtue hit.

    Please explain how this is possible? Is this something that will be changed as we get closer to launch?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  2. Jens_T

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    What virtue do you think should be negatively affected?
     
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    All of them.

    Truth would take a hit because you're being dishonest by stealing life.
    Love would take a hit because you're taking rather than giving.
    Courage would take a hit because you're summoning the dead, instead letting them rest. But you're also likely having them fight for you, instead of doing the fighting yourself.
     
  4. Gideon Thrax

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    "Death is a tool to wield, like any other. It is not inherently good, nor evil. It is just a state. We death mages are engineers, scientists in the formula of moving between states. People who do not understand the nature of things like to ascribe more to it than that. But that is all it is. Just another state, another waystation. Perhaps my health makes me a bit more ...sanguine about the topic than most."
    -Davropos
     
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    I would expect Davropos to take that point of view, but I would not expect the virtue system to agree with him.' To summon the dead is not a neutral act. To steal life force is not neutral.

    Just as you can't tell someone you killed that they're simply in a "state of death" so it's not your fault. You can't steal someone's life and explain that it's just engineering of life science. Virtue doesn't work that way.

    Now if there were some way for you to use death magic without killing anything (which there's not), then perhaps that person would be devoid of a virtue hit. Even if the only reason you summoned a lich was so that you could include it in your dance party, you've still taken control of something against it's will to perform your bidding.
     
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  6. Gideon Thrax

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    I think it's unlikely a school of magic will be categorized as virtuous or anti-virtuous. I do hope the virtue system is complex enough to categorize actions though. For instance, attacking from behind - regardless of what weapon or magic you use, that should be a virtue hit.
     
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    I agree with your logic of attacking from behind.

    Attacking people that are not in combat mode would be another good one.

    I'm sure Lum and RG are thinking that death magic doesn't kill people, people kill people. But I disagree with that logic. There's a reason that we don't have killing spells in the life tree. Even Banish Undead only works on undead, it doesn't work on living things. That is why death magic is inherently invirtuous. (notice I didn't say evil)
     
  8. Black Tortoise

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    I would love to see death magic have a similar lore and significance as necromancy in everquest - while its uber powerful, the challange is balanced by every faction hating you, most cities killing you on sight, and those who will deal with you come with a "charisma hit."

    So I guess the SOTA equivalent would be some, or all, virtue hit.

    /me mumbles something about factions and Novia needing various factions ...
     
  9. Jens_T

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    Following that logic all magic (and actions) that cause harm should negatively affect virtues. Isn't death magic like fire magic just a tool that can be used to create harm? Is the difference between a death ray and a fire bolt that fire just consumes while the death magic channels the life force to some better use?
    Isn't it the act of unjust and uncontrolled aggression that harms "your virtue" - using stones, swords, poison or any school of magic will have the same effect on the opponent and shouldn't be "better" or "worse" per se.

    I agree that the concept of a virtuous "necromancer" sounds uncommon or counter-intuitive. But as long as you are not binding souls or extend life that has already perished I follow an utilitarian approach. Granted, mages that deal with the afterlife and manipulating the life force beyond healing are probably tempted by the power that is promised. But then this true for most schools once your mind tapped into the raw energy and promises it makes.
    It is the weakness of will and heart that leads us astray, not the tool in itself.
     
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    Stealing currently takes a virtue hit. In fact, even if you just practice the skill of stealing verses a practice dummy you get a virtue hit. So why would stealing life by less important?

    It's not just the thought of a virtuous necromancer sounds uncommon or counter-intuitive, it's that the act of using death magic in this game is the opposite of a virtue by default. It can only effect living things. It's not like fire or lightning that could be used as a tool. How would someone use death touch as a tool other than to steal life away?

    Death Magic is different than every other school of magic, and I guess why it matters to me is that I've mastered the entire death tree, and my expectation is that I would have negative virtue. I also don't appreciate people that dabble in death magic getting a free ride and having good virtue. I think that's poorly designed in its current iteration and deserving of more thought.
     
  11. redfish

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    I think the point is, do you believe hitting someone with a fireball or zapping them with lightning is not unvirtuous, but draining their life is ?

    You say Death Magic can't be used for anything but stealing. What if someone volunteered to give you their life force?
     
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  12. Lum the Mad

    Lum the Mad Keeper of NPCs

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    Why is a life tap less virtuous than a fire bolt?
     
  13. Gideon Thrax

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    Don't forget the combos - Sacrifice (transfers large amount of life) isn't possible without Death Ray.

    Also, congrats to you @Baron Drocis Fondorlatos - you have a dev in your thread!
     
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    It's Tap Soul not life tap, and that presumes the existence of souls, which is on a whole other level of discussion. :)

    But to answer your question, it's stealing life. Can the stealing of life be used as a tool? Is it a neutral act? If so, then why would pick pocketing a combat dummy be less virtuous than hitting it with a sword?
     
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    It's also not possible without a life spell. Which might justify the lack of a virtue hit.
     
  16. Barugon

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    I suppose barbequing someone with a fireball is OK.
     
  17. Crumpets

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    Whether you are using a halberd to open a wound and thereby drain their blood, or using death magic to drain their life you are bringing about the same result. My death mage helps keep her comrades alive and I wouldn't consider her particular ability to bring about a death any more or less virtuous - it is going to depend on how she uses it. My expectation is not that I would have a negative virtue due to my class but only due to my actions.
     
  18. Jens_T

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    Concerns on game mechanics aside - stealing could have a negative impact on Honesty / Truth but depending on the usage could have a positive impact on Compassion / Love. (Robin Hood style thieving). This is hard to implement in a game unless there are controlled situations where the intention is clear. Perhaps a KPI "Value stolen goods / Value compassionately donated foods" could help.
    My point is that the virtues as I understand them allow for the intention to matter and not just the act. In a game this is hard to implement as we don't have mind-reading. But I maintain that in a defense situation (to avoid the backstab / agression scenario) it shouldn't matter how I defend myself. From a compassion point the most effective but least painfull / deadly way probably is the best. But if there's a difference between being electrocuted, shock-frosted, penetrated by obsidian, torched or energy-sucked is probably not too big - and should be close to sticking pointy things in somebody.
    Following that thought it would be interesting if there's less-deadly ways to master combat and still get experience. I.e. a chance to subdue but not kill an enemy. Or to avoid a fight with magic rather than fighting it.
     
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    Yes, that's the argument.

    But how do you reconcile summoning a lich or a skeleton? It seems to be the path of Love looks down on those disturbing the dead, no?

    Samuel and the other guy, are only communicating with the dead. They aren't stealing the life force of other living things and using it for their own benefit. (be that helping their group or not) There's a clear difference between death magic and other schools of magic and the difference is that death magic is a very selfish discipline that has rare outlying uses for anything that doesn't benefit the caster directly for the good of the caster.
     
  20. Jens_T

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    I agree on the summoning bit , but how would summoning elementals or wisps rate in comparison? Isn't it also enslaving a sentient being into a corporeal form on novia?
     
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