While working on the magic and event system code, I have chosen the Warlock wizard template as a case to get these systems fully functional. So I thought I would give a quick description of what this wizard is about.
The Warlock has the following magic school (all at level 1): Chaos, Arcane, Shadow, Death. That makes him a pretty diversified spell caster, but not particularly strong in any kind of magic. The player can pick a path for the Warlock, either continuing as a jack-of-all-trades or specializing in one of these schools.
Chaos magic is primarily about destruction. It features spells that wreak havoc on opposing armies, cause unrest in towns and cities, and some potent combat spells. Stronger chaos magic can mutate heroes and armies, potentially making them more powerful, but at the risk of less desirable mutations.
Arcane magic can be described as sort of a “meta-magic school”, it deals with raw magic, either harnessed as protective or destructive spells – especially potent against magical creatures – or as spells which siphon mana from mana nodes, which breaks enemy enchantments or conjure up creatures of raw magical energy, difficult to maintain for long, but powerful against mundane foes.
Shadow magic is manipulation of darkness and shadow. It can be used to keep things hidden from the prying eyes of enemy wizards, to bind foes in tendrils of tangible shadow or to summon forth semi-corporeal creatures, which make excellent assassins.
Death magic deals with negative energy and undeath. Snuffing out life from foes with a single word, raising the dead as zombies and skeletons, or weakening enemy heroes by infusing them with negative energy. Powerful death magic users can also drain the life from the land itself, leaving it barren and infertile.
The Warlock has the Evil alignment. This means evil creatures are more attracted to this wizard – it also allows him to commit some actions that are not available to those of more delicate moral persuasion. The disadvantage is that good creatures will dislike the wizard and not willingly serve him or help him.
“Summoner” is one of the traits the Warlock has – it lowers the cost of summoning spells and the subsequent upkeep. And it gives a bonus to researching summoning spells.
The other trait, which very much defines the Warlock, is the “Dark Pact” trait. When the world is generated it examines the world, and picks a relevant entity. The Warlock has struck a Dark Pact with this entity, and it will give him some advantages, depending on the nature of the dark benefactor. It could be an Elder God – uncaring and aloof for the affairs of mortals, but reaching out in dreams to the Warlock, teaching him mastery of the void and words that break the minds of mortal. It could be a Demon Lord, seeking a servant to help it cross over from the hellish plane it resides on, in return for powerful demonic magic and servants.
This pact will give the wizard some nice perks – but will also generate events where the benefactor makes requests or demands of the Warlock. It might desire a sacrifice of innocents, requiring the Warlock to raid a nearby settlement for captives. As the game progresses these requests will become increasingly demanding – perhaps an imprisoned dark spirit requires a worthy vessel to possess and wants the wizard to provide a powerful hero, or a demon wants the wizard to raze an entire town conquered by the warlock, and now a source of troops and gold. At some point the Warlock will be required to face his benefactor – and the longer he waits the more powerful it will grow. In essence the Warlock has an additional opponent in the mid and late game, but has opportunities to gain some advantages in the early and mid game.