Tricks are delightful acts of poetry and, well, trickery. They do nothing other than help you TM your magical skills and make lovely things happen in the text on the screen, but they are wonderful illusions and useful tools all the same.

To create a trick, the first thing you will need is a large Hag Stone. These are found in several locations around the Disc; the most convenient for most witches is by the willow tree near Granny's cottage. You will have to search to find one. Once you have a large hag stone, you'll need to bond it to yourself so it will listen to you.

Secondly, you'll want to decide what skills you want the trick to use. Borrow a copy of Woddley's Occult Primer from a wizard (he's probably a student, and not likely to actually be using his text book anyways) for a list of the skills that will work in tricks. You will have to find a way to incorporate the skill name in the trick's descriptions; this is the poetic part. If you use more than one skill name, even accidentally, in the description for a given stage, though, the MUD will choose which skill works. Some have said it might activate all of them, but I trust my Focus Tea--and when I write "sparks of enchantment fill the air" and the tea says it's using the Air skill, I figure it's pretty useless to use that trick if what I wanted was to use my Enchanting skill.

When writing the trick, not only will you need to use the name of the skill (though it will work in any tense) in the description that the trick will "say", you need to keep in mind what everyone in the room will see. If there is a target, refer to the target as "Charlie", "he", "him", or "his", and this will automatically be changed to reflect the target's name and gender when it is cast. Similarly, when you want to refer to something you are doing, use your own name--and it will be changed to reflect the caster if your trick catches on and someone else casts it. You do not need to use your name in the portion that the trick will "tell me", because that will appear just as you have written it. You also do not have to make the "tell me" section use the name of the skills the trick will help advance.

The key to writing a trick is using "syntax convince". This delightful command will take you almost step-by-step through creating a trick; type it between each step.

Once you've got your trick written up and set into stone, you'll need to educe it. Forgetting most or all of your spells at this juncture would be a very wise idea--if you don't have enough room for it, you'll release the spell, and you can't get it back.

Now that you know your trick, you can check with Charlie and Old Mother Dismass's crystal ball down near Lancre to make sure that what other people see is what you intended it to be. Unfortunatly, if it isn't, you'll have to rewrite the trick--you can't edit it.

On a further note, Granny Beedle's Cooperative Credits, tells us all sorts of fun information about our Tricks. Also, I recently discovered that Hilta in Ohulan Cutash has begun peddling Hag Stones imbued with tricks that have become noticed enough. You can order a trick from her, and with some time and a few crowns you can eventually collect it from her. If you order part of the name, Hilta will suggest a few matches for you, though she won't give you the whole list. If you want a trick to be famous enough to be ordered, make sure you share it with other witches, because she won't hear about it if you keep it all to yourself. The tricks that have gained enough noteriety to be (possibly) ordered can be found, along with the notes of Goodie Whemper -maysherestinpeace- on Trick making at Lawks, there's even a few of my own there!

There is one wonderful thing besides foolin' people and TMing your magical skills that Tricks are good for: Witch Trials. Every now and again, the witches of the Disc gather together and have a contest with their tricks. The authors of the best tricks generally get prizes, too, not to mention the opportunity to show of their ingeniousness and bragging rights as well.

I've decided to set up a quick template for trick building here to help those learning how to make tricks as well as to make my own life easier. The following is directly taken from syntax convince, by the way. Simply copy, paste, and insert the actual name and words of your trick, and take out the lines that do not apply or repeat the ones that apply to different stages. I'd advise doing so in a word processor first, so that if the stone explodes or you need to correct an error, you can use what you wrote beforehand.

1st: Name your Trick (in this case, the name is Sultana Keb's Experiment)

Convince stone to learn Sultana Keb's Experiment

2nd: Tell your trick if it's cast on anything or anyone.

convince Sultana Keb's Experiment [that] it isn't cast on anything
convince Sultana Keb's Experiment [that] it is cast on {something|someone}
convince stone to forget trick

3rd: Tell your trick how many stages it has. This is skillchecked.

convince Sultana Keb's Experiment [that] it has {stage|stages}
convince to forget trick

4th: Tell your trick what to say at each stage, and incidental information. Be sure to include a magical method in each "say" statement.

convince Sultana Keb's Experiment to tell me "*string*" when finished
convince Sultana Keb's Experiment to say "*string*" when finished
convince Sultana Keb's Experiment to forget stage *number*
convince Sultana Keb's Experiment to say "*string*" at stage *number*
convince Sultana Keb's Experiment to tell me "*string*" at stage *number*
convince Sultana Keb's Experiment [that] stage *number* is {easy|average|difficult|impossible} [to cast]
convince Sultana Keb's Experiment [that] stage *number* consumes *object*
convince Sultana Keb's Experiment [that] it needs *object*
convince stone to forget trick

5th: Set your trick in stone. If you look at the stone, it will appear ready once you have entered enough data for your trick in step four.

set Sultana Keb's Experiment in stone

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Last updated: 21:25 Tokyo Time, Tuesday, December 6th, 2005.
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