View Full Version : Elemental magic system

2013-04-21, 12:58 PM
I am creating a magic system around 6 “elemental paths”, this is not an original idea, but I am not satisfied with the variations I found, and am trying to create one for my homebrew setting. And though there are spells which require a particular path or combinations of path, many are common to multiple paths, but a given path can grant secondary effects for spells.

For example, You could cast “magic attack” using any path. but if you use “fire”, they have a chance to ignite the target, causing damage overtime.

This is just a rough outline and I would like to ask the forums opinion on the descriptions, if they are clear enough, or if anything seems off, before detailing it further(don't think it is finished enough to warrant a PEACH yet, but please comment if you have anything to contribute).

This is for a Computer game, so mechanics that would be too clunky/complicated for tabletop are not a problem, since the software will do all the heavy lifting.

It goes like this:

Earth Spells: Are more stable having longer duration, and are harder to dispel, longer cast times and is the only primary path that can create physical barriers(e.g.:Rock walls).

Air Spells, Are invisible(this path includes sound spells), have added reach bonuses, but they are less stable than others and they have shorter duration and are easier to dispel

Water Spells Are mutable, they allow some effects to be changed on the fly(Ice is a special variation of this path).

Fire spells can ignite things, inflicting Burning Status, have higher damage and higher cost.

Light Spells Are instantaneous, light attacks are pretty much undodgeable(will function like hitscan weapons), though they can be deflected(The last one is actually an advantage for well-prepared casters), This path allows the creation of simple visual illusions.

Darkness Spells Are extremely hard to detect, or ward against, penetrating undetectably wards and magic circles.

Two non-opposed paths can be combined into a secondary paths that combine the effects of the two primary paths or create a new one as follows(opposed paths are marked with a simple “no"):

Earth + Air = no

Earth + Fire = Magma: combine earth´s permanence bonus with fire´s damage over time

Earth + Water = Mud: Combines some of earths stability with some of waters flexibility

Earth + Light = Crystal Allows earth spells to create materials that are harder, sharper, and have some light-interaction properties

Earth + Darkness = Dust/Corrosion, Dust Spells apply debuffs that lower the target's attributes

Air + Fire = Lightning, spells can ignite fires and are quicker(Both in movement and casting time), they can also cause

Air + Water = Mist/fog, Mist Spells offset some of Air´s instability and have some of water´s flexibility

Air + Light = Mirage, takes some of light’s precision with larger Areas of effects. By controlling both the light and the medium through which it travels, casters can create Mirages that function like illusions with less definition but greater scope or lower cost

Air + Darkness = Void dispels enchantments, can also create some “black hole” effects that attracts things to a spell’s affected area.

Fire + Water = no

Fire + Light = Sun Allows to empower other spells

Fire + Darkness = Ashes spells give energy to the caster whenever they destroy something

Water + Light = Elixirs, allows for healing spells, and buffs that enhance a target´s attributes.

Water + Darkness = Poison, inflicts poison and negative "over time" effects

There are spells that require more than 2 paths, but they are more complex and specific(e.g.: most necromancy involves earth, water and Darkness) So i won´t be detailing them in this post.

Thank you for your time

2013-05-09, 08:49 AM
Do you plan to include elemental affinities in any way? For example, someone attuned to fire cannot learn water, and they are more resistant to fire and weaker to water magic.

I could see that working well for races, if you plan to have different races. Or just have it be that a person knowing fire cannot learn water, and if you get high enough ranks in fire, you start getting resistance to it and weakness to water.

Do you level up/spend xp/whatever just on the base six paths, and the combined paths are your average (or some other calculation) based on those? For example, at Earth 3, Water 2, I have Mud 2 since that of the two needed paths, my highest rank is 2.
Or do you buy them seperately? For example, to get Mud, I would have to buy up Water and Earth to a degree, then start investing in Mud.

I would prefer the combined paths to naturally manifest as you master the base ones, but I can see either depending on how you want the system to work mechanically and what the metaphysics are for the setting.

Edit: adding new question.
Would 'Sun' spells be buffs you cast that augment your magic or more spells you can cast as a 'free action' along with other spells, sort of like metamagic from D&D?

I could also see them being passive benefits just applied to spells, but that takes away from them being a class of spells all their own.

Would Light and two other schools create a 'Holy' path or some such that opposes necromancy? It seems odd to have sun not hurt undead, but it makes sense given the base elements. (And that could be remedied by having undead be weak to Light and Fire attacks, since anyone good with Sun would be good at those.)