First of all there will be a major change compared to ADOM in that arcane and religious magic are going to feel quite differently in ADOM II. Major differences will arise due to how you learn magic, advance your skills in magic, replenish magical energies and in general in which kinds if magic are available to you in any case.
For arcane magic I will be using a similar to the one in ADOM with quite a few elaborations. The arcane basics are:
- Spells are learned from spell books. Additionally spells probably can be learned from trainers in arcane academies in larger cities (by paying or procuring rare ingredients).
- The more you read about a spell the more often you will be able to use it (a degrading knowledge system similar to the one in ADOM).
- The more often you use a spell the more skilled you will be in the spell (increasing its power, lowering its power cost, increasing range and effects as well as making it harder to resist the spell).
- Spells cost power points in usage.
- Spells will be typed (similar to what AD&D 2nd Edition did) in that there are different kinds of categories for spells (haven't decided on the final ones) like e.g. Transmutation, Necromancer, Evocation, Conjuration, Divination, Abjuration, Elemental and others.
- Spellcasting classes will favor certain categories while they increase the difficulty of other categories. The generic wizard will be of average capability with all (or most) spells, specialists (like the conjurer, the elementalist, etc.) will be much better with spells of their favored categories (resulting in less experience being required in raising those spell skills, automatic spell knowledge gains with each level and higher learning rates when reading from spell books as well as reduced power point costs) and fare worse with disfavored categories (roughly the opposite effects of favored categories).
- Arcane spells will focus on matter manipulation, contacting the outer planes, elemental magic, combat magic and protective magic with a mix of other things added in.
- Some spells will have prerequisites (probably minimum levels, certain attributes and other stuff). If you fail to fulfill prerequisites it either might be much harder or impossible to learn the corresponding spell. Prerequisites will be limited to particularly powerful and exotic spells -the majority still comes with prerequisites. The prerequisite feature will allow for great story arcs (just imagine finding the lost city of star elves in the forest of Magnadan and there discovering the ancient spell books of Shazzak, the sorcerer, containing the "Spell of Fiery Rain of Damnation", only learnable by either beings with silver elven blood or wearing some silver elven artifact).
As ADOM II also already differentiates between basic professions (the ones you can choose at the start), advanced professions (kind of specializations of basic professions) and master professions (highly specialized expert paths) these will also be available to specialize as a magician (e.g. a necromancer might become a "Bone Master" as an advanced profession and then rise to the "Lich lord" master profession effectively gaining undead status and more). This is an idea derived from the prestige classes of D&D 4rd edition and the profession system of Warhammer. These advanced and master professions won't all be in the game right away but will get added over time, especially as I want some of them only to be available as the results of finding specific locations, completing quests, etc. Again advanced and master professions will provide extra bonuses in highly specialized areas and provide new special powers.
Characters without any arcane professions will have a very hard time of learning arcane magic so it won't be quite so easy to cast spells as a pure fighter, etc. (ignoring details like the much lower number of available power points).
So far nothing revolutionary but IMHO a big step forward in enhancing the arcane magic system laid out in ADOM. The underlying topic here is that arcane magic mostly is influenced by the skill and might of the caster and not so much by external factors.
Which gets us to divine magic. Here I want to introduce big changes into the game to make divine magic much different in look and feel from arcane magic and by radically enhancing the whole system of religion in ADOM II. Although there are quite a few areas where I still am fighting with design concepts (see below) some basics already are finished (for now ;-) ):
- Deities will have great influence on the abilities of divine spell casters. Priests will follow a specific deity while druids will revere nature in general. Priests and druids thus also will be mutually exclusive professions.
- Divine magic will introduce special abilities (dependent on the deity you choose to follow and your piety) as well as the ability to cast a subset of spells (governed by the spheres of influence ruled by your deity of choice).
- Spells will not need to be learned explicitly but will be automatically available when choosing a divine profession.
- The spell knowledge will depend on several factors: the level in your divine profession, your piety (the internal piety score). With each miracle invocation the knowledge score will be lowered, with each new level or piety gain it again will be increased.
Again there will be some divine elaborations:
- Deities will govern spheres of influence (like war, love, trade, agriculture, nature, death and others).
- Spells will be associated with spheres of influences and divine spell casters automatically gain access to all spells that are governed by the sphere of influence of their deity.
- Spheres of influence might provide additional talents.
- Divine spells will be closely connected to the spheres of influence - in general I want divine spell casters to be more introverted, defensive and passive than arcane spell casters which I see as much more extroverted. Nonetheless each sphere might have one or two special spells that will pack quite some punch and only are available to them (so you can expect some nasty support from the God of War ;-) ).
The deities contained in the ADOM II pantheon still are a major point of uncertainty for me:
- I'm sure that deities will be connected with a specific alignment - as ADOM II has nine alignments (basically the classical (A)D&D alignment system that I love dearly) there is a lot more variance compared to ADOM Classics three alignments. Thus your piety might take a major hit if your alignment changes as this also means that you disconnect from your deity and so on. Details yet have to be decided.
- I'm totally unsure about the specific deities: I always loved the racial pantheons of (A)D&D but I fear that having up to nine (or even more) deities (due to the available alignments) for all major pantheons will become somewhat unwieldy (even with the basic races you'd have many dozens of gods). On the other hand I never liked cosmologies with one set of deities for very different races - this just doesn't feel right to me as even our one-race-Earth has so many different deities and religions. Comments, feedbacks and wishes regarding this point is particular welcome.
- Adherence to alignment will be important. If you act against your alignment, you act against your beliefs and thus hurt your piety.
- There should be a set of actions that your deity looks favorably upon. I have no details specified for that so far.
- There should be a set of favored sacrifices that are welcome at altars.
- It should be possible (to a much lesser extent) to sacrifice money to get back to some basic standing.