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Pandamonius

Ideas for alternatives to "Elements" in a new magic system

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Greetings all!

 

I'm working on an idea for a new component magic system. The system would use a "chassis" (basically, a magic circle) that accepts a specific number of components. The order in which the components are put into the chassis determines the resulting spell. Example, Fire+Fire+Air may do nothing but a standard Fire attack, fire attack, and air attack; while Fire+Air+Fire may create Balefire, an attack which does significantly more damage.

 

For those familiar with Legend of Legaia, it would be similar (in a very, very broad sense) to the combat system. The end result would be players trying various combinations and discovering what combinations result in powerful spells.

 

Now we come to to the actual point of my post... I'm trying to determine what forces to use as components. Naturally, elements are the first thing to leap to mind, but with this being a new magic system, I was hoping to break away from something so associated with standard magic. Runes, Glyphs, or even Kanji come to mind as well, though using a Rune of Fire is only slightly less overdone as using plain Fire.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions for good mystical or primal forces that would fit well into a component system?

 

Thanks for reading through to the end. I look forward to any suggestions/discussion!

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Depending on the technology setting of your game you could go for some alchemical recipes possibly from monster drops gathering cold based materials.. Air based for propulsion and have the resulting correct combination shoot an ice missile or something

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I came up with this idea while working on the concept for a Steampunk story.  This particular system wouldn't use anything physical for the components (I know...my "chassis" term makes that confusing), but rather combines some sort of force or power to create spells.

 

Most likely I'll have to stick with elemental magic for the components, (Earth, Fire, Air, Water, etc) or runes, although I'm hoping to avoid that. 

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so something that's not physical like fire and such but for a steampunk story, a couple words and phrases and just random bits and bobs that come to my mind are: Steam (of course you probably thought of that) or the heat of steam or some other word, I also think of maybe a soul of the machine (seeing as how machines are kind of like an earth element and strong and whatnot) but another word for the essence of a machine would work better (can't think of one), I can't really think of a "type" of magic that fits steampunk. You mentioned kanji which are neat (but that might be just because i remember reading a Magic: The Gathering book a long time ago) but it's kind of a foreign symbol so it could look odd, or look real good depending on how you use it. Lol I know my thoughts don't directly answer your question much, I just had some ideas and put them out there. I would think the ability to control or use steam in a steampunk game would be interesting and/or powerful, but you probably want more than that. Either way it sounds neat, and new stuff is always fun although can be hard to come up with since what we traditionally have is so established and...just basically good lol Good luck though:)

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Kanji is cool for eastern themes, but most steampunk I'm familiar with is European (even the japanese anime). Having a magic system based on Alchemical symbol combinations would be good. It would be cool to use the symbols Brandon Sanderson made for magic in Elantris and his Mistborn books (two different systems with different symbols, this guy's creative!) But you'd need his permission for a commercial game, but he does seem pretty cool.

 

It's really about knowing where to look for inspiration, I've been debating about skill names myself and having each character use different themes, like the elements, or Gemstones, or Phases of the Moon or Musical Terms. You can use any set of symbols with decent reasoning or even come up with your own unique ones.

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This actually brings to mind the magic system they had for Mint in Threads of Fate. She could put together a color rune and a type rune to unleash a particular magic spell, and not every combination worked (though most did). I could imagine something similar, where you could use one type of item to change a spell's element, another to change its scope, and a third to define its effect. For example, you combine a Water Bead, a Focus Charm, and a Power Bauble and you get the Aqua Orb spell, which deals Water elemental damage to a single enemy. Switch the Power Bauble for a Healing Bauble and you get Healing Rain, which heals a single ally's HP. Or if you switch the Focus Charm in that first combo for a Spread Charm to get Flood, dealing less Water damage than Aqua Orb but to all the enemies on the screen. Or swapping that Water Bead for a Blade Bead will get you Sword Summoner, which deals Physical elemental damage to an enemy. However, you may not get a spell if you combine Blade Bead with Healing Bauble.

 

Actually, it might be an interesting idea to have the player craft a charm bracelet for their mage, allowing them to equip a certain number of beads, charms, and baubles to develop a skill set. They may only be able to have one bauble but a lot of beads, allowing for a wide variety of elements but a small number of potential effect types. Or they might have only one bead and a lot of baubles and charms to let them have a large number of skills in a certain element.

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I think that kanji in a steampunk setting would be kind of weird. Not to be a rainer-on-parader (or a stereotypical jerk, for that matter), but I associate kanji with a nice Eastern ground with tatami mats and stuff.

Though I do like the runes idea. 

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If it's set way into the past: Maybe alchemy? If you could find a script that replaces MP with items, like Secret of Evermore: Lava rocks + water = steam elemental attack, or something like that? That's the only thing that really sprung into my mind.

 

Standard fantasy setting: Dragon Quest has dug this setting into a rut.

 

Modern: Guns. Exploding ammo, force ammo, grenades...

 

Future: Maybe a new type of science has been found. If it's fitting with your game. Like Final Fantasy 6.

 

There are lots of different variations. It all depends on setting and plot. For example: In a more modern game, the elements Bash, Bullets, Toxic, ect elements might be more fitting than people conjuring fire and throwing it at people.

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