Posted by on August 15th, 2014

An early introduction about TUG’s early magic interactions. How is apothecary and alchemy introduced in the world of TUG?

Thus far in TUG we have seen a lot of beginnings to systems including the crafting, cooking and hunting systems.  Each of these have used a very basic principle in its design, the idea of crudeness and early experimentation.  Now we are entering into another new system, our magic system and it also follows that same design principle of early crude uses with the potential of great refinement as the game progresses.

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What is magic?  In our real world, magic is a universal umbrella covering anything that is misunderstood or not quite explained.  I’m sure several of you have heard the Arthur C Clarke’s third law stating: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  Let’s break down this law a little bit.  When Clarke made that statement, I don’t think he was saying that technology and magic are similar or that all magic is just advanced technology but more of what he meant is that to someone who has never seen a technologically advanced device, its operation would seem like something magical.  When comparing this to how we want magic to operate in the world of TUG, magic is a “shortcut” to powers or abilities that become readily available through more advanced tools and devices as the Seedling’s progress in their technology levels.

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Keeping this in mind, our first forays into the realm of magic are coming in two forms that match up to the Seedling’s crude level of current tools and we have chosen apothecary and alchemy to represent these first forms of magical interactions.  Much like how early human civilizations progressed, the process of gathering roots and herbs veered into creating poultices and crushed concoctions.  Likewise, hunting and cooking meat left bones and other products that could be ground into powders.  

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Potions created through apothecary provide us with our shortcuts to aid in other systems.  From a potion that helps your plants grow faster to a potion that extends the amount of hunger or fuel that the Seedling runs on!  That last one is a perfect segway into discussing our second element of magic, alchemy.

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Alchemy is truly one of humankind’s mystical arts.  Alchemists believed in finding that one transmutation that could turn lead into gold but in TUG our alchemy system is a little more grounded on helping Seedlings find easier routes to goals.  Early alchemy systems in TUG are all about finding a return on investment as well as exchanging one product for another product that will be more useful to the player.  Alchemical experiments can be conducted both in the wild as well as at a crafted station made by the player.  Wild alchemy is a little bit more costly but doesn’t require the Seedling to return to their home base when they really need to make some conversion of resources.  The alchemy table the player can craft doesn’t take as much of a toll and also offers more types of conversion experiments.

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But what is this cost?  While potion making in apothecary is more based on the player’s skill at gathering and brewing up mixes, alchemy is about a new type of interaction with the Seedling and his environment.  Performing magic, even at its most basic comes at a cost.  The Seedling will sacrifice a little bit of his fuel for each alchemical exchange.  This is the price of forcing energy in the world in new and unusual ways.  As magic progresses as well as the Seedling’s technology and understanding, new ways to offset this cost will become available as well as stronger uses for magic.  Exciting new mystical paths will begin to open for the Seedling but every tap into the energy flowing through the world has a cost!   

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