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Magician vs. Herbalist, differentiation going forward and how they can stand out  XML
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Zachary Ruffing



Joined: 2019.12.05 00:00:00
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Hello,

Just started playing this game a few days ago and have to say it is looking pretty fun. I'm not quite sure if it's out yet, but I have heard the Magician and Herbalist role are pretty similar. I would much rather be a magician so here is how I would differentiate the two. Note: This is mostly flavor and guesswork as I have no roles at all right now.

Many of the abilities that herbalists have, magicians also have, but I imagine them approaching them very differently in flavor. When I think of herbalism, I think that they are more task-oriented and while they do know what they are doing by all means, they don't tend to peer into it more than they have to.

On the other hand, Magicians are more likely to soun a bit academic in how they approach something. A magician probably wants to know the esoteric wheres and whys behind what they are doing even if it is not necessary for the task at hand.

A concrete example is below.

An herbalist draws a magic circle, making sure they get the geometry correct so it will work. The geometry is a concern on a practical level and the focus on it is based on the need of accuracy for safety and effectiveness.

A magician also draws a magic circle and the magician wants it to be correct as well, however, as they work, the abstract concepts, which are unnecessary for the task at hand come into play.

I picture Herbalism being a discipline and one that requires a lot of knowledge, but one that is made for practical work.

Magicians' magic should have jargain and sound slightly scientific, and in terms of how the role should cause people to view the world, Magicians should notice a lot of unnecessary details and also be a bit cerebral.

going forward with new skills and such, Magicians might enjoy some skills that more academic-style roles would use or academic-style people, while herbalism might cross over to either nature, perhaps a little into religion or faith, or perhaps even more interpersonal skills, whatever that means.

Perhaps to draw the dichotomy further, Mgicians might in other skills, have a venier of civilization or artifice to them rather than the natural feel I get when I hear herbalism.
Mark Phillips


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Thx for this!

The other wrinkle in the mix is Healer, who like Magician operates in the Astral, where the difference that seems intuitive to me is that Magician Skills would tend to be more aggressive, while Healers are obviously about repairing the outcomes of aggression.

And lastly Malopath. The commonality of all three is their ability to impact the material plane from a distance, by moving through the Astral. Healers can Remote Heal, Malopaths can Remote Harm, all of them can Astral Project.

If we were to brainstorm concretely, what would be the lists of Magician, Healer, Herbalist, and Malopath Skills?

(Parenthetically, Nina and I have talked about the distinction between Herbalist and Poisoner. My sense is that "Poisoner" would be essentially an Evil Herbalist, but Nina feels the label is too narrow. Perhaps a topic for a different thread.)

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
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Zachary Ruffing



Joined: 2019.12.05 00:00:00
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Well, I have a few ideas for how to differentiate the roles here a little further but because of the Mgician subject forthis thread, I'll probably wind up saying more on that.

1. Mgicians get some more weapon skills than some of the other roles, for example; sword and stick, so a more aggressive set of skills does seem to fit what is already there a bit better.
2. However, I don't think that magician skills should be aggressive in the way the malopath's skills are. The Malopath is by definition a predator. Many of their skills involve energy feeding and such. Magician skills should avoid drains or direct predation. They should not have "drains" or or ways to "feed" in any way.The magician draws from themselves alone.
3. because of the fact that magicians cannot feed off of others, they should have a feel that requires more rest or sleep on their part because their magic is drawn from themselves alone, meaning they would need to rely on energy equipment more or would just need to rest more.
4. Magicians currently as listed in the role table can be of any alignment, this means that although they should have aggressive abilities, they should have others that do not necessarily involve harming others. the Malopath is by necessity preadatory and the healer is by necessity benevolent, Magicians and I believe heralists if they can be of multiple alignments need a mix of stuff available to them.
5. magicians' abilities ought to perhaps be more psychological, for example sowing confusion in someone, making someone temporarily friendly regardless of normal behavior or the like. On another hand, with the ability to use some weapons quite well, Magicians might be more the magic class that has more abilities in which they directly get their hands dirty. For example, if and when new skills are added, Magicians get fewer remote ones and get more that require them to be present with who they want ot help or harm.
5. as for herbalist vs, healer: This is distinctly a tougher area to differentiate, especially because I have little experience with the game. What I would say is Herbalists should be more grounded in the material world with their abilities. When I hear "healer" it sounds more mystical to me and the healing they provide seems, rightly or wrongly, to come more from an esoteric or arcane or otherworldly source. Herbalists contain the word "herb" in their names. This implies, again rightly or wrongly, that they work with herbs and plants. If a botany skill were ever added, healers I feel should not get it but herbalists should. If there were skills for making tinctures, tonics, or elixirs, I would give that skill to herbalists, and perhaps magicians, but not healers.
Special skills for healers: Healers sound like they would have a more religious feel to them, thus if there are skills that sound more divine in nature, the healer should get them but not the magician, malopath, or herbalist.
malopath: the word "mal" or rather prefix, which is also the French word for "bad" is innately present in the Malopath's name, going forward, their abilities should directly involve predation and harming others, perhaps even roles, even for evil characters might have a sort of hierarchy, with a Malopath by definition being among the worst of the worst because of what is innately involved with them.
poisoner: Poisoners, Like herbalists could have mystical powers, but they should be more grounded in the physical and natural world than healers, magicians, or malopaths. Again, any skill to make medicines/poisons, botanical or anatomical skills, and such should go to them.
Possible alternative to Poisoner: perhaps if being able to make poisons is too narrow for a role, you might try "assassin" This would also have some skills from the thief and would also have abilities like being able to coat a blade with a poison o something of the sort.

I have little experience with the game, so none of this might be relevant or helpful, but it was just my ideas.
Mark Phillips


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Yah we're thinking along the same lines re Magicians. I'll have commands for Befuddle, Confuse, and Mystify ready in two or three days - those'll be different degrees of mental fog which Magicians can throw characters into. There'll also be "remote" variants - AstralBefuddle, etc.

Thx! Keep the suggestions coming these are great!

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
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Mark Phillips


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Also implied in your earlier thoughts re the ways the different Roles interact with the same commands - we can change the text output of the commands. So RitualClean would be described differently to Herbalist, Healer, Malopath and Magician. I like that.

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
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Zachary Ruffing



Joined: 2019.12.05 00:00:00
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Hello,

actually just got info on the Herbalist, Healer, and Magician. And I think we oughtto look at the small ways they differ already to work out where they should go going forward.

1. Healers have direct healing and can diagnose illnesses and deal with other such problems. that should be their focus going forward with a direct line to healing their friends and protecting the sick and injured.
2. Herbalists have the ability to create a few special items that enhance their skills in some way. such as those things they make that boost stats. that's fine, and they should focus on that going forward with a focus on creating buffing magical equipment.
3. Magicians are a bit more of a problem., though I have looked up their skills though there is no meaningful description in the player guide for what "trance, means so I'm in the dark there, they do say that they are getting the xp and money they get from performing rituals that give access to new kinds of activity and awareness and such. Perhaps a couple new kinds of activity need to be developed. I am not sure exactly where they would go though. They can't see the future or do too much scrying directly as that would tred on what they said the seer did. They can't do the gods because that is what oracles are for, and they can't see the future too much because that is what prophets are for. Perhaps they do things that alter the bodies of others or temporarily boost certain skills. For example, they could cast a spell on someone that would make them better at fleeing, perhaps being some sort of swiftness spell. Putting them as specific skill boosters would keep them from stepping on the herbalist's toes and I don't think that crosses over any of the others I've seen. Because Magicians can use swords and sticks, they have a more active role, while without those skills, healers and herbalists seem more passive. Magicians ought to be a more hands-on and active spellcaster, whatever that means. I'm not advocating high-fantasy wizard stuff, but they ought to be doing things that require more presence and a hands-on approach, at the very least requiring them to be at the location they want to work with or at the side of the character/npc they want to help. or do anything to. With what they have already, keep it but grow the roles separately as you go.
Nina Smith



Joined: 2005.03.14 00:00:00
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I play a herbalist-healer character, Gwene. These two roles complement each other very nicely, allowing a wider skill set for different healing arts. For example, while as herbalist Gwene can create sachets for faster healing or energy regen, as a healer she can energize or heal characters and NPCs (alas, very few NPC usually need energizing).

Traditionally, the magician role has been associated more with male characters, so I am not completely okay with that being the "scholarly" role. I understand where this thinking comes from, men practically being the only educated ones in medieval times (also the ones holding any significant position of power), and the "wise women" being easily deemed as witches (especially if they disagreed with the male-dominant ruling). However, there is (recent) research about women's role in prehistoric times showing them travelling extensively and being perceived as valued members of societies. At this point I think I must acknowledge my personal bias: I am Scandinavian and my perception is that male-dominant religions and government hierachies oppress women all over the world. Yet, I would not label my views as feminist.

I think it is awesome to have discussions about the available roles, and how they could grow in meaning and complexity. I would argue that herbalism requires more knowledge than being a magician, which resembles more like a role of an alchemist than a scholar. We could possibly introduce a new role of Seiðr (seidar) if there was an intention to have a divine style healing - this could probably work for all alignments, so that an evil aligned "healer" could assist malopaths (because as of now it is impossible to heal or energize evil characters). I wouldn't see the seidar being only for evil alignment, though, because shamanistic approach is not evil.
Personally, I think characters with black/evil alignment don't see themselves being evil. They just have different values. Therefore, my choice of wording for "evil herbalist" would be something like venomist or toxicologist - implying the interest in venoms, yet having the capability of doing different kinds of potions or sachets for their customers.


Nina
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Zachary Ruffing



Joined: 2019.12.05 00:00:00
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I see where you are going with that critique of magician. Perhaps "alchemist" would work better and I was nt saying that herbalist was a non-knowledge role.

Personally I don't like the role name much to begin with as an American, Magician usually means an illusionist or stage performer or sleight of hand artist, though I believe many non-American English speakers use the term Conjurer for that.

Also, if you read the old alchemical texts, (and I have read several) while the science and theory in them is pretty bad and has multiple logical flaws as well as drawing numerous erroneous conclusions, it does share language with academia of the time, hence why I contend that magicians seem to fit a more scholarly or academic vocabulary and outlook.

As for the critique regarding gender and this role, I don't think it necessarily needs to be applied here. With the notable exception I've seen of the Northeastern government in-game, a lot of the gender stuff seems to be treated differently in game than it has been historically, thus I don't see "Magician" in this world as inherently patriarchal, and thus the scholarly bent to them does not seem to have the same implications in this world that it does in ours.

I do really like your analysis of more evil herbalist-style roles, it not only puts an interesting spin on how to use them, but also solves what seems to be a rather pressing problem with existing roles in-game.

Also, just regarding your general comments, Karl Marx has a lot to say on the subject as he tackled feminism quite a bit in one of his major works, in fact, what you largely said is the basis for Marxist feminist theory in regards to male-dominated religions oppressing women globally and throughout history.

But I digress.
Mark Phillips


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To digress even further, Engels was far better than Marx on what became known as "the woman question". Marx never fully escaped the Victorianism of his era, for example, the single biggest spat he ever had with Engels was over Engels' rejection of marriage. In all of their history together the one and only time Fred ever chewed him out was over Marx's initial refusal to offer sympathy when Fred's gf Mary Burns died. Where Karl and Jenny were behaving mightily unwoke.

Re TriadCity magic, and alchemy. TC magic is "ritual" magic which traces from Plotinus through the Renaissance mages (we have John Dee in-game) to the Golden Dawn; from there into Modernism and the New Age. That tradition and alchemy if I understand it share a constitutive Neoplatonism, where the "operator" enters via imagination into a non-material reality which is considered both morally superior and ontologically prior to the mundane material. TC's implementation has been extremely sketchy, 'cos that's how we roll. We do a sketch, then flesh it out as it becomes either necessary or requested. Which is where we are now with magic.

I spent yesterday and today immersed in Astral Projection and its consequences. There'll be an early implementation online within a day.

The distinction which I see as most fundamental between the Roles we're discussing is that Magician, Healer and Malopath are all able to Astral travel, enabling them to work remotely. Herbalist participates in the ritual magic tradition but is limited to Meditation --> RitualClean --> MagicCircle, while the others can go on from there to Trance --> AstralProject --> Astral Thingies.

Lisa's about to weigh in with the observation that Herbalist thus needs some ability which is as advanced as Astral travel. The World depends on Actuate, but, it's not at the same Skill level as Trance++.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2019.12.11 00:29:18


Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
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Lisa Chau



Joined: 2003.06.02 00:00:00
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Not exactly.

I've never played a magic-using character so my comments are not from experience.

The convo leads me to think Herbalist is out of balance. The others have capabilities which are presented as more advanced.

But the reality in-game is that players have more contact with Herbalists, and honestly more dependence on them, than any other role.

If the goal is to balance the roles then Herbalist should be given advanced skills roughly equal to those of the other magic users.

[P.S. I used my magical moderator powers to fix typos in your last post. Practical magic.]

[P.S. Frances Yates is the main source re Neoplatonism and Renaissance magic. Worth pointing out.]

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2019.12.11 00:21:27


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Meghan Culber



Joined: 2019.12.01 00:00:00
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Do roles have to balance?

If they were classes as in Midgaard I'd say yes. But in TriadCity you can have several, so I don't think it matters.
Mark Phillips


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Many of the ideas brainstormed in this thread are now online. Many thanks to everyone who pitched in!

Here's the MOTD with details.

Over time we'll enhance these skills further, particularly by requiring necessary materials: salt, blood, incense, magically pure brooms and so on. These will add to realism, as well as provide income streams for the Magician Role and possibly others: someone has to make an activate the stuffs.

Enjoy!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019.12.17 17:11:33


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