Long story short, I have been a big fan of the warlock style of magic and have been thinking of different magic mod ideas for a while now and just recently I thought of one that I think would be, really, really cool and minimalistic. (when playing not necessarily when making)
Basically its a few key axioms:
(I use the word spells in these but after thinking about it a bit more, I think the word incantation might be a better descriptor. In addition I have used the filler term "Magick" throughout this but thats just because its not really important, although I have been thinking about calling them just Advance/Advances/etc)
1 : spells are comprised of words which you create without any multiblock structures or special blocks (some spells can be designed to be repeated with a cumulative effect) (a key goal is to, as much as is reasonably possible, avoid adding blocks.)
2 : you can always say these words but they may not work correctly if you do not have enough Magicks.
3 : Magicks, when used, evenly weakens potion effects and, if the effects are completely nullified, builds a potion effect resistance that lasts for the remaining time.(In theory you could make a potion effect whitelist so there is a "Magickally induced Regeneration" which doesn't get cancelled, but I am a bit more iffy on that.)
4 : there are several types of Magicks, each spell used may utilize one or more types to differing amounts
5 Spells accumulate Magick to work, they do not have a hard limit. Ie : instead of "You need to have 5 Magicks to do this" its "You need to have or accrue a total of 5 Magicks to do this" (that is obviously not real numbers or measurements, its just an example to explain the concept)
6 : The normal human body holds very little Magickal potential unless it has undergone extreme long term exposure. (or extraneous factors are at play, such as modifications, injections, etc) The same is true for its regeneration. Natural, un-assisted regeneration is also extremely slow taking several minutes to completely refill your natural Magick Limit. If long term growth is added (ie : something like the more you use spells the stronger your innate magic gets) then dying reduces this progress.
7 : you can eat ingredients (mostly herbs but not entirely)quickly (in a fraction of a second as opposed to the seconds to eat normally) to affect your caps, regen, etc for different Magicks. These herbs may, rarely, affect one another in unforseen ways. (and, if possible, maybe even be directly used within spells, like a special herb which, when eaten, will serve as a "targeting" herb and focus whatever spell you are thinking of wherever that herb was grown; so you could have a quick return spell which teleports you home. If targeting ingredients do exist, then the farther away they are the more Magick they would have to accumulate.)
8 : Different relics or rituals can be found or learned which can have their own Magickal effects on you, your spells, etc. Critically though armour and similar things should be avoided as they would almost certainly perform whatever magical properties they have on their own and thus create a disconnect between Magick user and Magick used. An example of a good item would be a charm which catalyzes certain spells meaning, when held, you can use more words than you could before. (ex : a Diviner's Wrath charm or something which can apply powerfull curses onto undead) Another one might be a necklace that takes damage in your stead but never breaks completely and repairs itself by pulling from your Magick supply. (ex : Basically item based absorption) Another one might be a ritual which, when the right markings are placed pull from some Magick supply to make whatever it is they encase immune to destruction. (basically magical force fields) etc, things that are not "sword but better" or "armour that pushes people away" but instead serve really obscure but useful roles
9 : There are no spells to make magic lamps. (this is a bit more esoteric but basically, just don't make a Magick user's house look substantially different than a non-magick user's house, maybe a few arcane symbols here or there for certain specific reasons, but for the majority of the time there should be no active spell effects visible. An example of these specific reasons might be some security system which senses when someone who isn't allowed gets in and does something)
10 (possible feature) : maybe an inscription system of some sort to carve simple runes into surfaces? Nothing like psi which is linear, but something much more, strange, in nature. Basically you would take a carving knife or something, select a face on a block, and then a simple window would come up and let you click what symbols to add to the rune. You could add 1-20 symbols and one Magick source, a "core" (a mix of ingredients to be placed in the centre of the rune where no symbols can go) or something and could they be something like "Activate this rune if entity walks within line of sight of the rune" (so it is like a tripwire) or "ONLY activate this rune if whatever is detected does not have match any targeting ingredients" (basically an activation modifier, so if we combined it with the past one we could say "When an entity walks within LoS of this face, and it does not match either blood A or blood B, activate the rune") or "when this rune is activated, release a burst of Magicks from the core". If we put these three symbols together, we would have basically a one use laser tripwire security system that may cause some collateral. Its critical to note that these symbols would not be logical in nature, just as easily we could add a fourth symbol that says "Activate this rune if an entity walks within 5 blocks of this rune" then we have a 4 symbol rune which fires a Magick burst if an unauthorized entity walks past it OR near it.
11 (another possible feature) : an armour inscription system maybe, I am less sure of how this would work but it would be similar to previous except the core wouldn't supply Magick, instead that would be the wearer, and the symbols would probably be a bit more specific. (or maybe customizable? so you can say "Activate this rune if someone walks [IN FRONT OF/BEHIND OF] wearer", this is really just an idea.)
12 (maybe how to learn words) : You can learn various Magickal words through either long term use of spells (so after using a similar spell for so long you might think of another word), seeing someone else use the word (maybe just a few times), or maybe finding tomes which can have hints at new words in them.
example spell usage : eat herbs (to gain required Magicks) ->Entia In 5 [1/2/3/5/10] (Entities within 1/2/3/4/5/10 BLOCKS) -> Statim Ire (Instantly go to/teleport) -> Trans Ratio (Across dimensions) -> eat ingredient with locational properties ->Quo magia ducit (Where The Magic Leads)
This spell would transport you and anyone within however many blocks you select to a location, specifically across dimensions, to go to wherever is indicated by what you ate.
An example of this spell in exact use would be :
eat herbs ->Entia In 5 -> Statim Ire -> Trans Ratio -> *Drink blood of an animal* -> Quo magia ducit
this spell, as written exactly, would teleport you and any living entity within 5 blocks of you (so anything with health) to the location of an animal whose blood you drank. (so if you took a blood sample from your wolf who is at your house, you and your friend would go to your house)
as an example of how to handle messed up spell usage lets say this :Entia In 5 -> Statim Ire
This spell might cause everyone within a 5 block radius of you to just teleport randomly.
if you said : Entia In 5 -> Statim Ire -> Quo magia ducit
Then it might make everyone within 5 blocks randomly switch places
if you said : Entia In 5 -> Quo magia ducit
Then nothing would happen since all you said was get everyone within 5 blocks and go where the magic commands, which would be nowhere since you basically just made a car without an engine. (maybe make a weird magical fizzle out effect or something)
Basically : if a person messes up a spell, you want it to fail, but not with a message or icon, but with its result
When it comes to displaying your Magicks the only low profile thing I have thought of is something you can craft about mid-way into your journey that puts a small orb in the bottom left of your screen that looks something like this: (forgive me, I only have ms paint... I'm sorry, this is a disgrace)
where each segment of the orb gets a stronger hue the more of that type of Magick you have.(so if a completely new user got it, it would either be very dim, or completely blank, likely very dim to the point of looking nearly blank)
I haven't decided on the best way to do casting as of yet, I feel like this would depend highly on how the words work, possible a kind of MineMenu like system where you can pick from a wheel of words to build a spell on the fly maybe? The key for me is to avoid something like Psi where people just start trading spells without building them themselves or understanding them. Having an exclusively on the fly spell building system would mean people not only get antiquated with the core words, but they also have good reason to remember them, since if they fail a healing spell may turn into an ignition spell. If this is what ends up happening, a Mine Menu wheel with click and hold word power accumulation would be best so basically, you keep holding click on whatever word you want to add until you "finish" the word, ie : it has finished accumulating Magicks and then the menu reopens with that word rewritten and prompts you for a new one.My biggest issue with this system would be that the more words you get, it might get extremely cluttered, but otherwise i think it would really promote a deep understanding of the spells you use and in general just be really freaking fun to use. As for axiom 2, some words might be specifically only cast-able in X amount of time, and if you go over that amount of time they will lose accuracy or potency encouraging you to have a large Magick store before using these words. Since you can't have the players literally saying these words, it would likely be best to have some visual queues as to what words have been used, so for instance you could see someone casting a spell with a tracking projectile and setup a reversal spell or something before it reaches you. (this would obviously come at a later date but I think it is important to be thinking about since systems like this would wind up being crucial for PvP combat using it)
To anyone who figured this out, yes this was highly inspired by John Constantine and his style of magic although its not like Constantine is the only character to ever use magic like this. This kind of magic is more of a mix of several with a general aim to avoid users of this mod becoming a plain and simple "magic user" by incorporating things like the previously mentioned potion affect countering and trinkets.
I think the mod would work best without direct explanations of what everything does to encourage personal testing. (maybe a brief description of it in an obscured manner or something) Maybe have the initial words you learn being very simple, ie : "ignire" for igniting something, something you could get a general grasp of without it being explained to you in detail, and then as you progress you can actually learn the words instead of just having them explained to you in a book or tooltip. This could be how the tomes work in that, at differing Magick comprehension levels, you can gleam different words from the book, so an advanced Magick user could learn more from the same book than a novice could. A tutorial to get people started in learning it might be a necessary feature though, even in that case however I believe the level of explanations should be low to encourage people to get a good grasp of the words themselves.
As a bonus, the compatibility between this and other mods could actually be really high. To add herb compatibility with botania for instance you would just need to create a single "clippings" item for whatever flower you want, and then add its affects when eaten. You could even introduce things like exorcism words for compatibility with mods like Bewitchment when they get ported. (which itself would be a really fun word to use, imagine if some words you could choose how much Magick to focus into them, so you have to make the choice of if you want to wait longer for a more certain exorcism or cast it now with the risk of it not working) With that said, I think they should diverge at higher levels instead of converging. To explain i will use bewitchment as an example, (even though it isn't currently for 1.16) I think that the mods would benefit if you could eat mandrake cuttings as a herb to enhance your Magicks, but I think that for actual spell usage they should counter each other, ie : a word to scramble the generation of Altar power in Bewitchment but not one to increase it. I think this would encourage magical warfare while also reducing the chances of an overpowered mod combo.
I have been thinking about this for a while but I don't have really any modding experience so I don't know how much of this would be possible or how it might need to be changed so some of this may be out there.
While the direct incantations are the most apparent and clear part of the mod concept, I do think other aspects are almost just as important. Things like charms, trinkets, and even rituals that can be found, created or used would probably what converts this from a surface level skill mod (like the wall jump mod) to an actual in depth and game altering mod. Having less common but more powerful items that are more about how they are used than direct strength would be extremely useful in adding depth since they allow you to break the limitations imposed by the Incantation format and in general build the ethos of the world. (your not just some dude who knows magic, you are the possessor of it ) It could also prompt either teamwork or increased PvP depending on the server. On a primarily Co-op server people would be sharing rituals they found and artifacts they have collected to well, obviously work together and get better as a group, but on a primarily PvP server people would be hiding these trinkets and skills thus meaning that the people at the top have targets on their back. The culmination of all of these factors would, hopefully, result in a magic mod which seamlessly integrates into normal play in that, to a non magic user, the worst intrusion they get is finding some trash items, but to a magic user there is a world of potential which encourages study of the words, testing of incantations, mixing of rituals and trinkets, and exploration.
This got long, fast, sorry about that, uh tldr : Magic mod about on the fly incantation usage instead of premeditated spell construction with a focus on magical specialization and additional trinkets and rituals that help flesh out the world.
(this is also leaned towards multiplayer if it wasn't clear, I doubt it would work nearly as well in a singleplayer world, although I could be wrong)
Woah! That’s a really impressive idea, I’m not the most experienced modder but everything you’ve said sounds doable at a glance and I’d be more than happy to take on the project.
my discord handle is Tobi-Wan!#0482