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Background: In my world, people can gain Enchantments (explained here) by killing a monster with their own self, and since magic is an extension of self, it counts as a simple way to gain Enchantments quickly and easily, even the powerful ones like Quicken. Ergo, to prevent this, I decided that because of who-knows-what, killing a monster with a spell simply gives a mage a new spell.

Why Does This Matter?

Each kind of monster can only reward one spell out of a few possible options when killed. When a Mystic (AKA 'mage') kills a Chomper, they can gain one of three spells from it: Shard Sword, Shard Shield, and Shard Shot. This is pretty useful, as Chompers are the most common monster and their spells should be perfect for combat due to comprising offense (Sword for melee, Shot for ranged) and defense (Shield, obviously). My question is simple: How Useful Are Shard Spells?

1. Shard Sword

Description: Forms a solid mass of enchanted enamel from Chomper essence, a sword as sharp as the razor-like fangs of those monster this spell came from. This sword is a typical medieval broadsword by default, but Shard Sword can also form knives, axes, rapiers, shortswords, or spears. If the Sword is shattered, one can gather the pieces and recast the spell to reform the Sword for 1/2 the regular Mana Cost.

Mana Cost (cost to cast): 50 for default sword or an ax or spear, 25 for a rapier, 10 for a dagger (as compared to the 5,000 mana a new or "green" Battle Mage will have to work with for the duration of a typical battle)

2. Shard Shot

Description: Forms a diamond-shaped projectile of razor-sharp enamel (like an arrowhead scaled up to the size of a typical man's hand, but in the shape of rhomboid prism) and fires it from the caster's open palm. This attack has the same range and force as a longbow shot. If the caster's palm is not open, this spell will simply fire from his or her palm when it is open, unless it is held 'in reserve' for five minutes, in which case the spell will weaken over time and dissipate uselessly at the end of the five minutes.

Mana Cost: 50 again, 25 if the caster is using a previously shot Shard

3. Shard Shield

Description: Forms a diamond-shaped shield of Chomper enamel around the caster's forearm, which is about the size of a 13th century "coat-of-arms" (AKA modified kite) shield at max or the size of a typical buckler if the caster opted for smaller size. This shield is an inch thick, and if it is cracked and in contact with the caster, it can be repaired instantly for 5 mana. If shattered, the pieces can be reforged into a shield for 50 mana.

Mana Cost: 100, 25 if one chooses to form a buckler instead of a kite shield

Notes:

  1. Nature of Shard Spells-When a monster dies, part of its spirit lingers as a Remnant, its last mark upon the world, and usually attaches to the monster's slayer. Mystics use this Remnant to channel mana into a certain effect (read: cast a spell).

Shard spells therefore create an item out of Chomper shell; so instead of a construct of magical energy that will dispel, you get a solid object made of Chomper shell that does not dispel. At the end of the day, as long as a Shard item isn't reduced to dust (completely destroyed), it is repairable through magic.

2.Toughness-Enamel is stronger than steel, so Shard items should have greater penetrating power. This is based off Chomper teeth, which are triangular, short and thin (sort of like a chip) but with razor-sharp edges that can slice through wood like butter. Why? Because the Chomper essence that a mystic transforms into a Shard spell transforms mana into Shards to form a sword, projectile, or shield. Yes, this means each Shard item has really sharp edges.

  1. Combinations-One can combine Shard Spells, with examples below:

Shield Shot: For 200 Mana, one can fire a max-sized Shard Shield at an opponent with the force of a football linebacker's tackle, with a maximum effective range of nine feet. A Shard buckler can be fired for 100 mana and has twice the range but half the impact of a full-sized Shield Shot.

Sword Shot: For 100 Mana, one can fire a Shard Sword, Ax, Spear, or Dagger from their hand with the same speed, range, and accuracy as a crossbow bolt. All but the Ax fly straight; axes instead take an arced path, like a boomerang.

Shield Sword: For 100-200 Mana, one can transform a buckler or kite shield into a larger-than-normal blade; for 100 mana a buckler will just become a sword (or spear, ax, or dagger) that is twice the normal size, but is just as easy to wield for the caster, but for 200 mana, one can turn a full-sized Shard Shield into:

  • A broadsword with a six-foot-long, one-foot-wide blade
  • A rapier with a blade the same size as the one on the Grim Reaper's scythe
  • An ax with a blade the size of an anvil and a handle like a log
  • And finally, a spear like a beam of lumber with a spearhead the size of a football, all just as easy to wield for the wielder as they were at regular size, as long as they're willing to pay 100 Mana for every five minutes they're using the oversized weapon.

Clarification:

These spells will primarily be used by adventuring or military mages, or against monsters or enemy soldiers.

Military mages will be facing Sharpened weaponry and Strengthened armor and structures (like siege towers), as well as other military mages and whatever Boltrunners (mentioned in a linked page, link titled "Quicken") or Blazers the enemy can enlist.
Adventuring mages will be facing all kinds of monsters, like Savages, Droppers, Ploppers, the standard fire-breathing dragon, goblins, trolls....you get the idea.

Utility can be summed up as: If Shard Shield does not rival Strengthened plate or cannot block a Savage attack, it is not good enough. If Shard Sword cannot penetrate Strengthened plate or Savage armor, it is not good enough. If Shard Shot can't take out a Dropper, it is not good enough.

I hope this helps those seeking to answer the question!

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  • $\begingroup$ It's not entirely clear : all items last 5 minutes per cast? At the end, is it considered broken and repairable or disintegrated and unrecyclable? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena: ah, sorry about that! Will edit now. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH You forget that a weak mage can cast 100 arrows before running out, without the need of a bow or retrieving the arrows. It's 25x more than the arrows I had access to at my archery club :p. You can also opt for 500 throwable daggers (without throwing them automagically), a sword for 8 hours straight or a sword and shield for almost 3 hours, without accounting mana regen. Peck, they're pretty good for rookies XD. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena: great advice, thanks! I think I'll make Construct Permanence one of the upgrade paths for these spells, then, and use five minutes as their default duration. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 0:28
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    $\begingroup$ You are asking "how useful is a spoon?" without telling if the spoon bearer is facing a soup or a granite wall. How are we supposed to make chocolate out of it? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 4:43

1 Answer 1

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They are always useful, even if you could use it only once. The ability to fire a single shard can be life-saving. You don't seem to have a casting time, so being able to fire even a single sharpened shard at your enemy at almost any time is a massive boon. Assuming the shard shot weighs the same as a longbow arrow (bigger head but no shaft) it is a heavy and sharp shot, but lacking depth of a wound due to it's size and shape. It will travel at around 195km/h, more than enough to deal with Droppers and other such creatures. Since it has the same range as a longbow but isn't as aerodynamic it has to have a higher starting velocity, so at short range it would hit even harder. At 100 shots in a single battle for a newbie mage they can fire more shots and with less stamina problems than a professional longbowman. That is something you want.

Having such a mage with you is important in a battle. You can quickly re-arm allies or protect yourself with a shield, or have one fire point-blank shards into enemies without having to hold a large bow or work with the immense and tiring drawstrengths required to fire one.

In terms of attacking or defending against strengthened or sharpened creatures you are in tough luck. Having items stronger than steel is useful, but if your enemy is a few times tougher, stronger or has weapons much sharper than normal? I doubt you would survive, although again having weapons and armor stronger than steel remains a distinct advantage. Using oversized weapons would likely be the most advantageous aside from the shard spell as they let you swing something with more weight very easily and with more reach than normal.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, this is exactly what I was looking for! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 20:58

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