How do you handle Elements in your game?

Bernkastelwitch

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All RPGs are different here so I am curious how people manage Elements, if it is a (No pun intended) element and mechanic in your game? And how do you think others should do it?

I may as well start with mine. In my RPG Maker project, there's twelve main elements that reside in the world. Lore-wise, people are born with one, rarely two of them. Mechanically they function a bit like Pokemon in that they're all stronger and weaker against others instead of a 1:1 "Opposing" element. And symbolically, most elements represent different character traits or occupations.

For me, my element list is:
Fire
Water
Electric
Ice
Earth
Poison
Light
Dark
Wind
Metal
Cosmic(Essentially Space)
Time

I do know some are a bit easier to write than others. Cosmic and Time are a bit hard to do but are extremely important since two of the strongest deities in my game are each element. They are quite rare so while they oppose each other, it is rare to do it. And lore-wise they are a bit rare for the basic elements. Some of them I picked for being unconventional from the usual RPG trope and there's actual mythological meaning behind some of them, which would work well for my game.

Some people may think its too many or I should go with more conventional/basic elements but that's how my game is here.

But that is my example for elements in my game. How about yours? What do elements mean for you in your game? How many and what do you have? Are there any plot or lore purposes on them? I find these discussions all sorts of easy.
 

Razelle

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In my current project, there's 8 elements, being:
Melee
Ranged
Fire
Ice
Bolt
Wind
Nebula
Cosmos

Nebula replacing dark, but more space oriented, and Cosmos being light, or natural law/order in this case.
The main thing I made unique with my elements are that each one has its own status effect, and any of the elemental attacks have a chance of causing said effect. These elements are more than I'd usually do, as I like a more compact amount of them usually. My next project I'll probably play around with this idea more, and make elements something more than just a weakness, as it promotes the use of one element over another, when if someone wanted to specify one, that it's for a skillset reason more than what hurts the enemy more at the time.

It's cool that you're going the Pokémon route though, where elements already have an innate weakness/resistance. Makes the increased number mean something more than trial and error.
 
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Soulrender

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I have traditional classification of elements:
Physical, Fire, Ice, Earth, Wind, Light, Darkness.
 

Shiratsuyu

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I have primarily for magic:


Fire
Water
Electric
Ice
Earth
Poison
Light
Dark
Wind
Explosive
Blood
Sonic
Mind (Technically not an element since mind skills don't need their own attack element in my game, but it's still present nonetheless)

Blood being things like blood bending, sending swarms of leech after opponents, vampirism (HP draining), stuff like that.
Sonic are things affecting enemies' hearing, such as loud magical explosions and sound waves.

Mind (one of the rarer ones) are things like mind control and reducing or increasing cooldowns on skills.

For physical:

Physic (for attacks not fitting in elsewhere)
Blunt
Slash
Stab
Pierce

While technically not "elements", I do have physical ones since players can choose between different weapons and I want each weapon class to be more or less effective in various situations.

A few bosses may also have their own unique elements, such as Lust magic.

My game is very tactic orientated with the combat system. Elements can knock out each other or work together to deal higher damage.

Example:
If my paladin lits an enemy on fire and my mage then use water magic, the fire will be put out, basically decreasing damage over time.

Water magic increases an opponent's fire resistance for a while as well but also decreases their resistance to lightning and ice.
 

MoonBunny

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As is typical: Fire/Ice/Lightning/Water/Earth/Wind/Light/Dark (these may be renamed, however.)
Additionally, I have "Killer" type elements for various sorts of battler types, such as Human, Beast, Machine, Dragon, etc. Another element is a "Gravity" type of magic, that deals certain percentages of the target's current HP as damage. Since that element could easily be abused, many larger enemies have a resistance or immunity to it.
 

Animebryan

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I also run the default elements + 'Anti' elements such as Anti-Dragon & Anti-Golem. Some games also use weapon types as elements; Sword/Blade/Cut, Lance/Spear/Pierce, Club/Hammer/Blunt, etc.
I remember Final Fantasy Mystic Quest had enemies that were weak to weapon types, like Tree enemies being weak against Axes.

Edit: I should also mention that there are plugins that add a Elemental Boost, states or equipment effects that can boost the effectiveness of certain elements. Definitely worth using if your game focuses heavily on elements.
 

Milennin

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Mechanically, there are no Elements in my game, so there's no penalty for say using fire skills against fire enemies. The only purpose my Elements serve is for theming character/enemy skill sets, in which case there's just the basic ones: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Lightning, Ice, Light, Dark, as well as a non-Elemental type, mainly reserved for physical attacks.

The Elements do play a part in the background lore for my game's world, but I don't delve deep into them in the game itself. A basic rule, however, is that a person or creature naturally develops affinity for one of the Elements at a young age and their type gets determined by a combination of different factors, such as early life experiences and the environment they grew up in.
 

TheoAllen

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My usual template for damage elements are
- Slash
- Impact
- Pierce
- Heat
- Cold
- Arcane (magic attack)

Additional element if necessary (most of the time, it isn't)
- Shock (can be merged with Arcane)
- Corrosion

This template is based on what types of damage that left in the target. For example
- Slash = Cut
- Impact = Crushed
- Pierce = Penetrated
- Heat = Burnt
- Cold = Frostbite(?)
- Arcane = Left no mark, but disables the target
- Shock = Basically same as arcane, or heat (usually merged with either of them)
- Corrosion = Corruption, chemical reaction, poison

With that in mind, one character may have multiple damage elements. None can actually absorb damage. But one may be resistant toward another type of damage, just not fully resistant (except when a special mechanic is in place). So, you can fight fire with fire just fine. And an ice lance skill is not cold damage but piercing.

When multiple element damage is combined (for example, fire blade enchantment), two damage instance of damage is made. For example, 100% damage is slash and additional +20% heat damage.
 

freakytapir

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I have the basic basic elements (Fire, Ice, earth, Wind, Lightning, Dark, Light, Psychic ...), but with the twist that every element has its own attack formula.
Fire is MAT and ATK, Air is MAT and AGI, Earth Is MAT and DEF, blood magic is Max HP and Mat, Darkness Is HP% (The lower the better) and LUK (renamed Fate).

Same for the weapons. Daggers are AGI and Crit, Longswords are AGI and STR, Orbs are MAT and LUK, ...

Piercing ignores part of the defense, Bludgeoning deals more HP to Low HP opponents, slashing deals more if your HP% is high ...

Combined skills use the combined stats. So a longsword would be ATK and AGI against DEF, and a fire spell would be ATK and MAT versus MDF, so a fire word would be ATK and MAT and AGI against MDF and DEF. (The basic thing is that the offensive stats outnumber the defensive ones by one, so that generally, the geometric mean of the attack stats is the average damage)

Weaknesses are not based on elemental opposites but enemy physiology. Big creatures take less air damage, while a hairy beast would take more fire damage. A fire mage might just have ice resistance too. (You're hotter, so you're harder to cool down).

I also use Olivia's shield break system, so elemental weaknesses are a big deal. They're not just small damage boost, they turn the tide of battles.

Basically, what I want to do is make sure that the stats of a 'fire mage' and an 'Ice mage' look very different. Sure, raising MAT will improve your general 'Magic damage', but if you specialize in fire magic, an even spread between MAT and ATK is more optimal. A pushback against the 'generalist mage'. It also allows me to make different 'Mage' classes without any of them feeling like carbon copies. The earth mage and fire mage play very differently, and want very different gear. The fire mage wants to maybe dabble in weapons, the earth mage is looking to encase himself in some heavy defense boosting armor, while the ice mage is looking into some Healer multiclassing.

Because that's what I feel is missing in a lot of games. if I can swap the graphics and names of the spells around, and no one will notice, then why have elements? My holy spell should be different from my ultima spell. Elements are not window dressing, they are the core of a system.
Either do them well, or don't do them.
 

Arctica

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I use the default because that's all I need.
 

Tiamat-86

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slashing, bludgeoning, piercing are sub categories Physical types
earth, wind, water elements are all sub categories of Essences magic.
fire, lightning, ice are sub categories of Destruction magic.
spirit, void, force are all subs of Arcane magic.

every creature fall into 1 type of Arcane elements. angle, demon, undead would be spirit species. humans, material(elementals, golems) and real world creatures would be force. void would be demi-human(goblins, trolls), beastmen, dragon and other mythical(non-religious) creatures.
weakness to an arcane element isnt as potent as a weakness to 1 of the other elements but its an easy little circle to remember as long as know creatures type. force > spirit > void > force.
and there is no resistances to arcane elements.

Essence and Destruction magic is where it can get confusing and convoluted.
every creature could have 0-2 weakness here (0 is rare) and it can change on a creature to creature basis. 2 weaknesses would be 1 from essence and 1 from destruction.

healing is using the main categories as an element type.
most potent and most costly would be arcane based healing. (potions count as arcane also)
most common is essence healing is kind of middle of the road for cost and potency +hurts undead.
destruction based healing has a lowest cost but also comes with added effects. (decent potency would have negative added effects, low potency would have positive added effects)

physical types have their own system and "most" physical skills only have cooldowns with no cost.
"Physical" is not actually listed in the element types only the sub categories are.
physical element attacks fall into 2 skill types, weapon skills which use the normal attack traits
and martial skills which use a set physical element.

there is also an element type for each creature species. these are for the slayer type weapons.
(dragon slayer, demon bane... that kinda crap) and only exist for weapon skills.

im pretty sure im still missing some info related directly to my element types systems but i need goto bed. but i will finish off by saying that some of this stuff could only do the way i wanted because of plugins. and with that... g'night
 

gelboy

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I like designing elements simultaneously when I make enemies. There's always the fire beats flesh, but I like it when the element fits what the enemy does. Like using lightning on an enemy thats raising their polearm up high for an attack causes a shockwave when hit.

For the kinds of elements though, that purely depends on the setting. I like changing the elements and their colors depending on how in-game people see them for world-building.
 
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The element mechanic is the part I'm actually trying to work out now. Since it's more of a modern setting and less fantasy based, I'm trying to figure out the best way to work it.

Open to suggestions.

I thought about doing the traditional physical ones : blunt slash pierce

And then maybe the others based roughly on personality quirks.

For example I have one character in my game who is delusional so I thought a "delusional" element could be fun. But not sure if those are too abstract to really have a good function.

The character in question believes himself to be a wizard so I thought something like a skill called "ice?" Where he shouts "ice", throws a rock at the enemy and gives them a confusion status effect could be interesting. Maybe make "delusional" an element that inflicts a variety of buffs and debuffs.

Like maybe a skill called "false confidence" which buffs his stats temporarily, etc.

I dunno I'm still mulling it over.
 

Meowsticks

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Like a lot of aspects of my game I'm pretty influenced by FFX, so I borrowed that Element system. That gives me Fire, Ice, Water, and Lightning as the main four with crossing weaknesses. [Fire beats Ice, Ice beats Fire].

I opted to add another Element, Ground, to offer some more variety and also for storyline reasons.
Lastly there's the "Demon" Element or dark or w/e you want to call it. I added that more for gameplay reasons but that's later.

It's hard for me to say how important the Elements are handled in my game because they are integral to the plot, kind of, but they're also locked behind the main character. Being honest there's a small part of me that regrets deciding to limit the use of all Elements to 1 character, but I overall like it because of my wanting to give everyone a unique role. Control of the Elements gives them a unique role.

Plus I do have other methods of other characters using the Elements so it's not 100% locked to one character, but I think for my next major game I'm doing a proper Magic-Element system that everyone can use. Maybe.
 

Redeye

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I've been waiting a while to post in this thread, since one of the games in my backburner is heavily themed around the Elements. In the setting of that game, magic serves as the foundation for society, and the Elements play an important role in the lore. When a person is born, they are given an "Aethersign" that determines the element they use, based on their genetics. There are a total of 8 Aethersigns, based on the classic RPG elements:

Ignis, the Sign of Fire. Those born under Ignis possess the ability to create and manipulate fire. The strength of their flames is based on their fury, passion, and zeal. Not every Ignis is the same, of course. You have your Berserkers, who use their unbridled rage to imbue their weapons with the strength of a meteor and leave behind puddles of lava. You also have your Dervishes who channel the art of the Dancing Flame, causing widespread firestorms with their enchanting pirouettes. You also have those who channel the power of the Phoenix to heal and support others with divine flames. Flames also come in many colors; it is said that especially powerful Pyromancers possess the ability to cast Azure flames. Others may turn to profaned techniques in order to learn the art of the Black Flame. Essentially, there are a plethora of pyromancy disciplines to choose from. Those born under Ignis draw their power from the Wrathful Scion, Lahabaron.

Bruma, the Sign of Frost. Those born under Bruma possess the ability to control not only ice and crystal, but also famine, death, and disease. Due to this Aethersign's dark potential, Brumas are seen as untrustworthy in some cultures, and the practice of Necromancy is often taboo. However, Brumas possess the useful ability to create Crystals, which are often used to power machines and weapons. For example, one could crystallize an open flame, creating a Fire Crystal used in explosives and firearms. Wind Crystals are used to power airships, and so on. This ability gives Brumas a major hand in society. Of course, you have your Crystallographers who produce fuel for modern technology. You also have your Guardians, who conjure barricades of ice to defend their allies and hinder their foes. You also have your Skalds who use the power of the Voice to weave great snowstorms. And, of course, you have your Necromancers who use their icy powers to spread disease and famine. Necromancers can potentially raise the dead, but only as soulless husks animated by enchanted ice. Those born under Bruma draw their power from the Death Scion, Volsung.

Fulmen, the Sign of Energy. Those born under Fulmen possess the power of lightning and transmutation. Fulmens are often seen as wise and intelligent, and many of them go on to become master engineers and artificers. They can use their electric arts to power machinery and invigorate themselves and others. Fulmens also possess an enigmatic power known as Transmutation, the power to alter objects and living things alike. This power is incredibly volatile and is often used for less-than-respectable purposes, and thus the practice of this power is either kept on a tight leash, or outlawed entirely. When it comes to combat, you have your traditional Channelers who blast their enemies with bolts of lightning. You also have your Artificers and Technomancers who combine their electric abilities with machines, golems, and gunplay. And then you have your Transmuters who use their arcane radiation to warp the objects and people around them. Those born under Fulmen draw their power from the Mercurial Scion, Sutekhar.

Aqua, the Sign of Water. Those born under Aqua can, as the name implies, manipulate water. Aquas have several other dominions, as well. Aquas make for great sailors, and their powers are enhanced during the nighttime thanks to their strong connection to the Moon. They also possess the ability to manipulate Blood. Hemomancy isn't entirely taboo, as it can be used by Physicians to heal the wounded. It is a dangerous art that requires a great deal of responsibility. Their connection to the Moon also allows them to enchant objects and people with lunar magic, but take care not to indulge in the lunar arts, or else one may succumb to the madness of the Deep Sea and the eldritch horrors that lurk below. As for combat, you have your Swashbucklers who use the power of erosion to swiftly cut their foes with blades of pressurized water. You have your Wardens who can crush you under the weight of a tidal wave. You have your Hemomancers who use blood magic to heal and harm others. Finally, you have your Lunatics who enchant and hex others with the power of the moon. Those born under Aqua draw power from the Deep Sea Scion, Rhaleyan.

Terra, the Sign of Earth. Those born under Terra control not only stone and soil, but also plants and nature. They have a strong connection to nature and the elusive Fae. Terras are commonly divided between Druids and Geomancers. Druids use their fae magic to conjure plantlife, poisonous fungi, and springs that contain the restorative essence of life. Geomancers, on the other hand, use their tectonic powers to create barriers, fortresses, and unparalleled architecture. Venomists take the toxic aspect of nature to the extreme, brewing virulent poisons and conjuring beds of poison ivy and clouds of noxious spores. Those who dwell in the desert, commonly referred to as Bedouins, may also animate and weaponize the sands around them. Those born under Terra draw power from the Jungle Scion, Nequametl.

Ventus, the Sign of Wind. Those born under Ventus have dominion over wind, weather, and song. Like Aquas, Venti also make for great sailors, as their control over the weather allow them to propel their ships without the aid of natural forces. Meteorologists make frequent use of their weather magic in order to preserve local ecosystems. Powerful Aeromancers can weave great storms and disasters to decimate their foes. Some Venti weaponize the winds in other ways, such as Dragoons who take to the skies and smite their fearsome foes with wind-powered lances, or Tricksters who use the winds to evade enemy attacks and strike back with perfect accuracy. The winds are also home to the power of Sound, utilized by Troubadours to invigorate others with musical enchantments and punish foes with dissonant wails. Those born under Ventus draw power from the Storm Scion, Arashinza.

Lumen, the Sign of Light. Religious fanatics often believe that those born under Lumen are gifted with the divine power of God, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Light is an illusion. A trick. While some use their radiant powers for righteous means, others use it to deceive others. Magicians utilize the Light to create illusions and deadly apparitions. Magehunters use the deceitful nature of Light to cast counterspells and anti-magic wards. Holosmiths use their powers to conjure weapons made out of solid light. Skilled Holomancers can use the power of colors to alter the elemental properties of objects and people. Alternatively, they can solidify the light around them to create hard light barriers and laser beams. These Lumens are often known as "Abjurers". In some rare cases, powerful Lumens have been known to alter one's perception of time. Unlike what the legends tell you, the Light possesses no Angelic qualities whatsoever, although cunning clergymen are very good at making it seem that way. Those born under Lumen draw power from the Radiant Scion, Hegemon.

Umbra, the Sign of Dark. Darkness is a perplexing concept that few people truly understand. Those who do not understand end up fearing the power of Darkness, which is why Umbras are often ostracized in society. In truth, Darkness is the essence of the human soul. It is neither good nor evil, but rather a state of being. One could say that Umbras are the embodiment of humanity itself. Umbras possess the ability to tap into the human soul and manipulate it to their heart's content. Psychomancers warp the souls of others in order to alter their mental and emotional state. On the other hand, Empaths draw power from their own emotions, such as joy, love, sorrow, anger, etc. in order to employ various enchantments and hexes. Mediums have the ability to directly communicate with the human soul, and are supposedly able to speak with the dead. Some Umbras like to manipulate the Darkness in a literal sense. Your Shadow is a reflection of your true self, and thus Shadowmancers are able to blend with the darkness and conjure living shadows to attack their enemies. Finally, Nihilists utilize their inner despair, the dregs of humanity, in order to evoke bursts of pure destructive energy, returning everything in their wake to oblivion. Those born under Umbra draw power from the Abyssal Scion, Chernobog.

So yeah, with that massive lore dump out of the way, I now have a basis for my game's characters and gameplay mechanics. You've got 8 main characters, one for each Aethersign. As much as I'd love to create even more party members to fit all of the little niches of each element, that would also bloat my already-pretty-large cast of characters astronomically. So I decided to stick with 8 party members, with the possibility of giving them branching skill trees that the player can customize.

When it comes to the actual elemental system, I'm a little torn. I can't just go with a traditional elemental rock-paper-scissors thing due to the story's structure. The story involves you going across the world and fighting 8 god-like elemental beings, one by one. In a traditional RPS system, that would mean that the team's Ignis will be rendered completely useless during the arc where you fight the forces of the Fire Scion, and the team's Aqua will basically be a permanent addition to your battle formation for that portion of the game. I... don't want that.

Instead, I'm thinking of keeping elemental strengths and weaknesses extremely subtle. Like, a Fire Spirit will only be about 20% weak to Water damage, and 20% resistant to Fire damage. The real gameplay here would be to use your skills to inflict buffs and debuffs to alter one's elemental affinities. So perhaps that Fire Spirit will have a spell that gives itself an Anti-Water shield. Or perhaps your Ignis user has an attack that severely burns the target, making them weaker to Fire damage. Maybe the Water user has a "Soak" skill that makes the enemy weak to both Frost and Energy damage. Or I could just opt to remove elemental damage as a concept, and have each character defined by their skillsets and equipment choices (although, for a story where the Elements play a huge role in a character's identity, the lack of elemental damage would feel very jarring to some players). I'll have to brainstorm this idea more, since I'm not totally sure about what I want to do with the battle system yet.
 

Saireau

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In Wildsilver, it's
  • Normal
  • Fire
  • Ice
  • Earth
  • Wind
  • Ether
  • Silver
  • Mana
In Game Master, it was
  • Physical
  • Fire
  • Ice
  • Electro
Game Master Plus added
  • Physical (Hit) and Physical (sharp) instead of just Physical
  • Bio
  • Dark
  • Holy
  • some Anti-Enemy-Type elements
LV99: Final Fortress had
  • Melee
  • Ranged
  • Fire
  • Ice
  • Dark
  • Holy
  • Anti-Heavy
  • Anti-Floating
  • Anti-Dragon
  • Anti-Boss
  • Anti-Minion
 

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