Grey reigned me in a bit earlier this weekend (As he is wont) and I pulled back from the frilly bits of design and put my mind to the more nitty gritty parts of the game. One thing that came up with was magic spells. Its only natural - when about half of your proposed character types use the stuff, it's bound to come up. Besides, its important he knows what they are going to look like when pen goes to paper.
The fun thing about game design is that MAGICAL POWERS are suddenly the mundane aspects of the thing. But I digress.
Anyway! I should talk about what's in the damn header. Magic in Break!! is the result of me wanting my cake and eating it too. In spite of it being a highly contested subject, I like "Vanician" style D&D magic. I think managing big spell effects and limited resources are a fun and challenging part of the game.
I also totally understand a lot of the things people don't like about it, especially at low levels. Thing's are rough on a neophyte character as is. It's not too much ask for a little more from your magic; especially when you are rocking a character type that depends on it.
The third influence here was my desire for more streamlined, focused spell casters. Not every Wizard in Break!! can learn every spell; you are limited to magic types you select at character creation. You might be able to cast Verdant and Hex magic as a sort of old world Druid or a Battle-Caster who specializes in Frost magic and considers themselves a Winter Knight. Its wonderful and evocative, but it also means less variety. The trade off for this is a bit more oomph and consistency when it comes to each spell.
Actually using spells is where that last bit comes in. Every morning, a caster Commits a certain amount of spells; basically loading them for that day. (That's likely not all that unfamiliar to many of you) A committed magical spell is more or less kept within the mage and occasionally manifests a strange side effect like luminescent hair or strangely putrid breath.
As long as a spell is committed, the caster may call upon its Flare effect. A spell's Flare is a minor manifestation of that spell's ability. One spell may allow you to move small objects with your will, levitate a bit off the ground, or even order a small version of a fearsome monster to carry your things around. As noted before, Flares can be used as long as a spell remains committed.
Every spell also has a Burst effect. This is the true manifestation of the spell's power and is much more potent then a Flare. This is where deadly bolts of lightening, rainbow bridges and the creation of powerful magical constructs come from. There is a price however - when a spell's Burst is used, it unravels and is gone; it (or its Flare) cannot be used again in till it has been re-committed the next morning.
So there you have it! It's certainly simple and will likely be refined a bit as things go on; but I hope its interesting. I can't wait to share all the crazy magic types I've got planned, either.