The Portmanteau

As I begin making my journal I start by what a game would require in order to be a spiritual successor. Which elements are to be kept, which ones are required in order to make sure the game has the same "feel" as before are all very important, and complicated to get right. A good place to start is the basic mechanics and workings of the game and build from there.

Because Magic and Mayhem was not that popular a game, I would not be able to rely heavily on the appeal of nostalgia to the wider audience. However that does not mean there cannot be many references to the older game as well as the sheer nostalgia that would come from influence from this era of PC gaming. Some of the most memorable aspects of the game were the creatures and the portmanteau system. Throughout the game, you would acquire magical ingredients for Cornelius, the protagonist wizard, to place in his portmanteau, a box that contained talismans, each correlating to the three alignments. By placing a magical ingredient into one of the talismans of each alignment -Law, Neutrality and Chaos - you were able to create different creatures and spell combinations. As the game progressed, each next ingredient would make for more powerful spells.

The magical ingredients and their individual appearances have always been one of my favorite features of the game . there is something very charming and mysterious about the design of these objects - crystals, potions, phials and plants - all of which you would expect to find at the bottom of a sorcerer's bag and each hinting at what they may have in common with the effects they create. For example, you begin the game with a simple Mandrake, a rather muddy, ugly root that summons commoner garden fairy folk such as the Brownie and Bats. Later in the game, you acquire more refined and valuable objects, such as the Bloodstone, which summons the likes of the impressive Griffin.



The Portmanteau

The Portmanteau

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The ingredients within Magic and Mayhem were each very unique, but I feel that this could be pushed further. The Art of Magic introduced new types of objects such as mushrooms with Fly Agaric and Psilocybin. Alongside new gemstones and potions, I am intrigued by the idea of maybe using objects such as eggs, teeth, skulls, and even specimens such as butterflies. I am inspired by the idea of there maybe being a new, magical apothecary in this game or places in which you can buy potions and artifacts, maybe even enhancements for your spells?

Magical Ingredients in Magic and Mayhem

Law: Brownie
Neutral: Bat
Chaos: Redcap

Law: Unicorn
Neutral: Basilisk
Chaos: Skeleton

Law: Centaur
Neutral: Spying Eye
Chaos: Wraith

Law: Scythian Bow
Neutral: Chain Lightning
Chaos: Gooey Blob

Law: Bury
Neutral: Magic Mist
Chaos: Fear

Law: Elf
Neutral: Faun
Chaos: Zombie

Law: Fountain of Life
Neutral: Lightning
Chaos: Pestilence

Law: Subversion
Neutral: Haste
Chaos: Lucifer's Farewell

Law: Griffin
Neutral: Troll
Chaos: Manticore

Law: Knight
Neutral: Unsummon
Chaos: Vampire

Law: Cure
Neutral: Fireball
Chaos: Raisedead

Law: Excalibur
Neutral: Meteor Shower
Chaos: Tangling Vine

Law: Lure
Neutral: Earthbind
Chaos: Bloodlust

Law: Loreli
Neutral: Guardian
Chaos: Totem of Fear

Law: Judgement
Neutral: Teleport
Chaos: Apocalypse

Law: Iron Skin
Neutral: Magic Missile
Chaos: Gorgon Stare

Law: Phoenix
Neutral: Crocodile
Chaos: Hellhound

Law: Sloth
Neutral: Levitation
Chaos: Tornado

Salamander's Feather
Law: Orthinopiter
Neutral: Lightning
Chaos: Inferno

Law: Champion of Law
Neutral: Dragon
Chaos: Champion of Chaos


From left to right: Hemlock, Clover, Phosphorous, Belladonna and Holly

Ingredients added in The Art of Magic

Law: Excalibur
Neutral: Dryad
Chaos: Dragon’s Breath

Lapis Lazuli
Law: Totem of Pacifism
Neutral: Minotaur
Chaos: Fear

Law: Elf
Neutral: Haste
Chaos: Lure

Iron Pyrite
Law: Iron Skin
Neutral: Goblin
Chaos: Pestilence

Fly Agaric
Law: Centaur
Neutral: Morph
Chaos: Harpy

Law: Knight
Neutral: Disenchant
Chaos: Gorgon Stare

Law: Scythian Bow
Neutral: Giant Spider
Chaos: Gooey Blob

Law: Faerie
Neutral: Eagle
Chaos: Zombie

Law: Magic Eye
Neutral: Invisibility
Chaos: Wraith

Law: Judgement
Neutral: Totem of Remote Casting
Chaos: Fire Elemental

Night Shade
Law: Bury
Neutral: Fireball
Chaos: Skeleton

In my notes, I have selected an array of spells I would consider keeping as some of them help to make Magic and Mayhem what it is, and give the right feel of the game. Others because of their effectiveness and the crucial role they play in any RPG, such as Cure and Haste. In Magic and Mayhem, there was a very even split between ingredients that produced spells and those that produced creatures. With the exception of Sardonyx, all ingredients produced either three spells or three creatures when placed in any talisman. They were often rigid in their themes, such as Cauldronius producing three totems and Belladonna producing three spells that focus on air. 

In The Art of Magic, that completely changed where spells and creatures were mixed in with one another in the same ingredient. It feels a unbalanced in some ways because there are some vastly different choices that are both unique and valuable in game, such as Mercury having both Haste and Elf. There is also the particular issue of never having the choice to share a certain spell technique with certain creatures, such as Spindletree sharing both Scythian Bow and Spider. However, a some one who has played the first game many more times than the second, this opens up some interesting and more difficult new choices, as you aren't necessarily guaranteed to get something with that theme when you pick the spell, I think a combination of the two would be very interesting.