Search Unity

Help me figure out magic schools

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Not_Sure, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Posts:
    2,603
    I'm chipping away at my RPG engine and have come to some aspects that I think need some serious rework.

    The basic premise is a wheel of skills, not unlike Skyrim.

    But I was not happy with some of the aspects and after some serious re-work I think I've landed on a design I'm more comfortable with.

    On my first pass I was planing on having 7 schools:
    life
    death
    arcane
    earth
    fire
    water
    wind

    but then compared to my combat skills it seemed like over kill, as well as forced me to either add more skills that didn't fit to give the wheel balance.

    Mainly, life magic would need to fall towards the strength section of the wheel which was nonsensical. Also, I needed to add skills that were not easy to account for, on opposite ends of the wheel.

    So I landed on four magic schools to keep balance with my four physical attack skills (marksman, dual, one handed, and two handed).

    At first I thought:
    Life
    Arcane
    Death
    Elemental

    But elemental would take up too many attack spells and life is always boring.

    I'm currently thinking:

    Earth / Life
    Water / Arcane
    Fire / Death
    Wind / Illusion

    But obviously that doesn't work well in conversation and confuses people.

    Maybe something like
    Nature (Earth and Life)
    Sorcery (Water and Arcane)
    Chaos (Fire and Death)
    ??? I have no clue (Wind and Illusion)

    How would you rename these schools?

    OR, how would you divide magic into four schools?

    EDIT: And not that it matters, but here is the list of skills I'm down to:

    Smith
    Two Handed
    Heavy Armor
    Block
    Enchant
    Earth / Life
    Water / Arcane
    Fire / Death
    Alchemy
    Wind / Enchant
    Light Armor
    Stealth
    Artistry (crafting)
    Marksman
    Dual Wield
    One Handed

    EDIT 2:

    If it helps, here it is in wheel form:
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  2. Volcanicus

    Volcanicus

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Posts:
    83
    You can always borrow.
    From your first pass, you had almost all the WoW elements:
    Nature
    Fire
    Ice
    Shadow
    Arcane
    Holy

    You can always go the FFTA route:
    Fire
    Ice
    Thunder
    Dark
    Holy
    - and lesser elements
    Earth
    Wind
    Water

    Or just copy the DND elements...

    Based on what I am reading, you are overthinking, overcomplexing and overmixing several concepts.
    So here's a slap and the keyword: "FOCUS".

    When I do this, I always start again from scratch and try to rebuild it into something better.

    For elements, pick a base:
    - Earth, Fire, Water, Air?
    - Electric, Fire, Ice?
    And then evolve from there.
    - Shadow/Light?
    - Holy/Dark?

    Then, you can create different methods of applying the element:
    - Outwards
    -- projectiles
    -- debuffs
    -- aoe
    - Inwards
    -- buffs
    -- enchantments

    Then you can assign the strengths of each element to each methods. For instance, let's say water heals (just for the sake of argument), then relegate it to buffs and projectiles, maybe AOE. Fire can't heal but does damage.

    OR, if none of this appeals, then dedicate a core philosophy around your base elements and what they represent.
    I have seen the following dichotomies:
    - Water = offense or healing
    - Earth = defense or healing
    - Fire = offense or buff
    - Wind = buff or debuff

    It always depends on context. You can even have exceptions due to whatever twist you want to add. For instance, healing is relegated to holy but dark can life-steal, thus, pseudo-heal. And so on...

    Let me know if you want more ideas.
     
  3. TonyLi

    TonyLi

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Posts:
    9,412
    What schools reinforce the game's setting or theme?

    For example, if it resolves around interpersonal dynamics, your schools could be something like Empathy / Domination / Solitude / Seduction. If it takes place in a prehistoric past, it could be something like Animal Spirit / Plants & Earth / Fire & Lightning / Stone & Water. If you can match your schools to your game world, it makes both more interesting and unique.
     
    Goat-Boy likes this.
  4. palex-nx

    palex-nx

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2018
    Posts:
    768
    This sounds good. Put Death in place of ??? and this sounds perfect. What a magic system without necromancy?