How do you manage Magi as general?

fireflyege

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As you know, Mage characters are kind of great as their primary role is doing damage with their abilities providing some support when needed. But the playstyle is too straightforvard for my liking and I want the guy to be pretty interesting. So I thought I must ask you people how do you manage your mage characters, and how do you make them interesting in battle?
 

Tai_MT

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Do you just mean a damage dealing mage? I could probably roll mine out if you're just looking for examples. I don't think of it as anything "special", just kind of "overdesigned".

Witch (from a race known as Elementals, you'll see why in a moment)
Wields the 6 basic elemental magic skills (doesn't know the other 3 elemental magics). Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Lightning, Ice. The skills themselves all inflict a specific state on an enemy at specific percentages (and sometimes levels of state). Their skills "level up" with the newer version of the skill absolutely replacing the older version. You're offered a choice of how each skill levels up (the choice is between a better chance of inflicting the state/leveling up the state and simply having the spell itself be more powerful). This is really not the interesting part of the Witch.

The equipment is what makes my Witch a little bit different. First of all, the staggering amount of equipment helps the player decide what to do with them.

--The Witch can equip a Dagger that has a high chance to inflict a state on an enemy, but the lowest ATK damage in the game.
--Short Swords come in "elementally enchanted" varieties, for when you just want to have a Battle Mage that can inflict serious physical damage as well as some elemental damage. Short Swords aren't all that great (they're like third from the bottom in terms of power), but they're the highest attack you'll get out of a Witch.
--Wands do about as much damage as a Short Sword, but they lean heavily on the "Magic" element in my game, meaning they're more effective against certain enemies than a short sword would be. The other thing a Wand does for my Witch is inflict a "Weakness To X Element" state as a percentage chance of each hit. Each wand inflicts a different elemental weakness (and can even make enemies weak to physical strikes like Piercing weaponry). However, the most common form of these wands just makes enemies weak to one of the six elements the Witch can use. So, you could make an enemy weak to Fire... and then cast Fire on them for more damage.
--Books (shield item :D ) are best paired with Wands because of their effect. A book offers no stats what-so-ever to the Witch. But, the reason you equip it is that it negates a specific elemental damage done to the Witch. This could be anything from Strength attacks to Blunt Weaponry to even other elements. It makes that specific damage a big fat 0 to you. Better versions of books negate more than a single element, or negate whole types of elements (like all physical elements or all magical ones).
--Staves are portable magic generating devices. They simultaneously increase the MP you can hold as well as increase Magic Attack by a good amount. They're a two-handed weapon, however, and moderately useful as a Blunt instrument.
--Orbs are two handed weapons that inflict elemental damage. They are a Magical Weapon that can inflict elemental damage on enemies using the Attack stat. They're useful mostly because they're a fantastic backup if you run out of MP to use. In effect, they're a "Use no MP elemental attack". Also, some of the better Orbs come with a chance to actually reflect magic. They do raise the Magic Defense stat and the Magic Attack stat. They're a more defensive item than offensive.
--Casual Clothes are an armor type that offers no stat bonuses. What they do offer, however, is percentage increases to Max HP, Max MP, or sometimes both. Some Casual Clothes can also increase Pharmacology rate as well as increasing TP Gauge Charge Rate. Using these effectively requires a significant investment of stat points into HP or MP, however (meaning you can turn your Mage into a quasi-Tank, provided you've invested enough stat points into Max HP to begin with).
--Cloth Armor is a type of armor that usually just includes things like Witch Robes and such. The stuff offers resistance to Speed elemental attacks, offers bonuses to the Luck stat (which is used as a defensive stat in some Skills), offers bonuses to the Agility stat (allowing you to act much faster) as well as bonuses to the Magic Attack stat. It can also sometimes offer a bonus to the Magic Defense stat, but that's far more rare.

So, you've got a lot of options. A lot of ways to build your Witch however you want. If you like the straight elemental DPS, there's a couple items that let you do that, and you can level up your Skills to do just that. If you want to be a Control Wizard, there are options to inflict states all over the battlefield (some of those elemental skills even hit multiple enemies). You can even take a couple of the items in order to maximize the ability to inflict states all over the battlefield. If you'd like to build a "Magic Warrior" type, there's options in there to do just that as well... maybe even turn them into a Tank that can cast spells. You could even play them as Quasi-Support and have them hitting enemies with "Weakness to X" attacks, where your party then follows up and deals a ton of damage to them while they're weak. You can even equip the "reflect magic" orbs and then equip a Relic (Relics in my game work like Traits in Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas... up side... and down side) that makes the target rate of your Witch go up against magical enemies so you can effectively lightning rod all the spells to you... and then fire them back at the enemy.

My other "mage" types aren't nearly as versatile, but they serve different niches in combat. My Witch is meant to have a lot of options because all of their skills are "damage skills".

I hope that gives you some ideas. You can really do a lot to define a character or a class/job in your game just by what kinds of equipment you give them access to... and what that equipment actually does.
 

CleanWater

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My game have no Mage characters, instead, magic is equipable through the super original MaComBa System (not related to Materia system by the way... ¬_¬' ).
 
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EstevaoG

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It will be interesting if the mage's skill could affect the enemy in more creative ways, more than just giving damage or status, but for example, lets suppose you create an enemy with an Fire Armor, then you can use your mage's water skill to "break" his armor. Basically, when the magic have more interactions it turns out much more intersting, hope you could get my idea.
 

Frogboy

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I plan on developing a number of out-of-battle spells for my different Mage and hybrid Mage classes. In battle, they'll be fairly straight forward and, of course, have the ever useful AOE spells but the thing that'll really make you want to have them in your party is the things they can do to help while you are out and about exploring.
 

Rogue Milk

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I agree with @EstevaoG .
Another implementation of this would be to create a skill/magic "Fissure" that would create a weakness in a enemy's armor or shield that then a more physical oriented hero can take advantage of.
 

fireflyege

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Well I had a couple of ideas myself.

FIRST IDEA: Arcane Cataclysm
So this character's signature move is supposed to be Arcane Cataclysm, which is a huge AoE silence dealing tons and tons and tons of damage to people, and the best nuke in the game. You are meant to start the fight with it, and use your skills to reduce cooldowns. The spell had 24 turn cooldown and you had two types of spells.
-Elemental: Elemental spells reduce all Arcane spells' cooldown by 1 turn, and have no cooldown on their own.
-Arcane: Arcane spells reduce Arcane Cataclysm's cooldown by 2 turns. The only used Arcane spell is Words of Power which has a 2 turn cooldown itself. Oh, and no creature resists arcane neither are they weak to it unless a buff or debuff effects them or they are a special case that they must be weak or resistant to it but those examples are very rare.
So the general idea was to weave elemental spells with the Arcane ones, when the character had 100 TP, it entered Unstable Magic form for 3 turns, in which Arcane spells hit %15 more and exploiting elemental weaknesses doing %25 more damage, with the character having a spell of every element, you get the idea what he must do to be effective. Also you are meant to use debuffs that make the enemy weak to Arcane, or making you more powerful.

SECOND IDEA: Unleashed Power
So this character's moves are all single target, generate 35 TP and apply some states or have other benefits depending on their element. When this character reaches 100 TP with using 3 spells, he has an alternate skillset that his elemental spells cost TP instead of MP, are AoE and deal more damage, and their benefits are increased even more.

I do not want the character to only has offensive abilities though. Because you know, offensive abilities are a little too similar. I do not want that character to be excelling in defense either, him boasting the highest MAT in the game which is the offensive mage stat. I do not also need pure support spells because a wasted turn is a wasted turn. I am looking for more offensive options but I do not want it to be just deal damage or anything. I will look for random target moves or something I guess. Any advice is welcome.

@Tai_MT I also had orbs and scythes for my Witch. She has two primary battle styles, debuffer and damage over time.

DoT build uses Orbs because Orbs give magic attack, and you are supposed to weave DoT's with your other abilities to deal more damage.

Debuff build uses Scythes because they give spirits, I thought it would be reasonable and a neat thing is the Reaper has a scythe and harvests spirits so even though Scythes are offensive I thought it would be great to make them a defensive option, if you see crippling people as defensive. The build stacks debuffs and spreads them.

She gives her health over time for huge mana regeneration. It is the only form of mana regeneration she has on her kit, but she can get items that also help with that but if she does not use her big damage moves all the time she is totally fine. Well, health drain move of hers have a magical attack ratio based on her magic, and the health drain increases with her missing health and ignore enemy resistances, the health drain is supposed to be reaching up to %300 of its usual amount, so %2 more drain per %1 health missing forcing her to play a little agressive and not rely too much on safety.

I am thinking her life drains having higher life drains when the enemy had one of her debuffs but that would be absurd, so I am planning to make her elemental direct hit spells that are supposed to prolong those DoT's deal more damage if she has those DoT's, or will tie an elemental weakness to those DoT's. Then I will make a torment based move that hurts more when the enemy has one of the Witch's debuffs or will make a way for the Witch to ''harvest'' those debuffs somehow.
 
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Kes

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@fireflyege Blue text is reserved for the use of Mods. Please edit your post to remove it.
Thanks
 

fireflyege

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@Kes if blue text is only reserved for mods, then why is it enabled for us as well? Not trying to argue or being sarcastic, just asking. I edited it and removed the colors though.

You are most welcome. I am happy to solve the problem. ^^
 

SamJones

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Because disabling it (or rather only enabling it for particular users) is more hassle than it is worth and it has more legit uses than blueing all the text. And users are expected to have enough impulse control to refrain from using it.

ObOnTopic: It is easy enough to limit their spell repertoire to non-damage-dealing ones. Apply states creatively to foes and allies alike, change stats, even switch out one enemy for another... All possible if you start thinking beyond "hit it with a fireball".
 

kirbwarrior

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primary role is doing damage with their abilities providing some support when needed
I don't think I've ever made my mages like this. That's usually something a physical class does in my games. Then again, I also don't really see a mechanical difference between mages and nonmages from a designer POV, only assigning what those differences are in game. You could take any role and make it mage or non-mage pretty simply.
As for specifically what I have done;
"Witch" is the class that combines damage with status ailments on single target enemies.
"Pirate" has abilities from other classes, being the pseudo "red mage" class, and only has the element Water, but the other classes don't have it.
"Nekarmor" have area spells that do large amounts of damage and instant death ailments (KO, Petrify, Stop, etc) but have no cheap or repeatable spells, relying on attacking for normal circumstances
"Sky Clan" are people from the cloud city (all of them are capable of this) who use "white magic" as per Final Fantasy, but replace Holy with Osmose (MP drain) and "Reverse Fate" that drains damage from all enemies and heals the party (including dead members) with the healing split among them.
 

fireflyege

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I guess I am just trying to get it interesting enough compared to others, which are actually interesting.

Healer is supposed to change between two stances to be effective. Light stance has heals with purify and dark stance has shields with revival. When she changes between them her mana replenishes.

The Witch has 4 schools which are Occult, Necromancy, Elementalism and Enchantment. She must create a circle first to use those spells. She also drains her own health for mana passively, uses mana for TP and uses TP for draining health back. I explained above she can rely on DoT's or debuffs.

My Archer changes between seasons which are Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Each stance provides a different skillset and stat boosts. She also has physical attacks so she is like an archer one with nature supported by the forces of nature. She is supposed to switch her seasons once in a while though. When her TP reaches 100, her basic attack is transformed into a nuke for one use.

Paladin has 4 auras which he can switch once in a while, each aura providing some support for his team. He also attacks and draws aggro from people most of the time but his true strenght comes from his versatility in defense.

Bard has a song for each stat. Normally they last 3 turns and there is 6 songs, but she have a small AoE heal Crescendo which extends those durations. She weaves Crescendo with her buffs, but she also has other skills. After stacking all buffs she begins weaving Crescendo with her other support abilities.

So as you can see, all my mages designs feel inferior to them at the areas of versatility and enjoyable gameplay. I do not have anything that would keep the class away from being that simple.
 

kirbwarrior

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@fireflyege All the non-mage classes you brought up look like mage classes to me. Especially the archer sounds like a class that focuses on damage with a plethora of secondary traits.
 

fireflyege

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Archer's case is actually very interesting. From the wievs of many, the Archer is the most interesting class by far compared to others and seen as some kind of mage by many.

Still, designing a mage is by far the most difficult since all other classes rely on their abilities, and black mages are supposed to be the one of the most straightforvard of classes. But I want to add diversity to him too. I am out of ideas, really.
 

kirbwarrior

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and black mages are supposed to be the one of the most straightforvard of classes.
Do they have to be? If yes, then find new avenues on them focusing on damage. They can do MP and TP damage alongside HP damage. They can blast down defenses or give debuffs to HP. They could increase their own attack scores. There could be a spell that equips them with a powerful magic weapon that's attack bonus is equal to their Magic Attack so they can deal with high magic defense enemies. However, if you want them to be absolutely straight forward, then I'd suggest letting them have some spells that do "normal" damage for free. The Fighter from Dragon Quest 3 was the simplest class (no abilities, few equipment options) and yet it was still a worthwhile class.
 

Backwardskey

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You could take a page from Bravely Second.

First magic-based class in the game is the Wizard. It uses Spirit Magic as opposed to Black Magic - spells that deal low damage to all enemies by default, and one for each element (Spirit Fire, Spirit Gale, etc). You then have the option (for a little extra MP) to apply a secondary effect to the spell that adjusts both the spell's targeting and damage. EG:

Dart > Damages one foe and executes first in turn order.
Needle > Damages enemies identical to the target.
Mist > Applies DoT in the spell's element.
Hammer > Damage dealt is converted to physical.

Among several others. You're essentially allowed to craft spells to fit the situation.

The second magic-based class acquired is the Bishop, fitted with healing magic. The Bishop's passive effect is Good Measure, which doubles the potency of any spell cast in succession. Thus, Heal followed by Heal would become 'Heal Heal'.

The plot thickens. Should any character have enough proficiency in both classes, they may utilize Bishop's Good Measure in combination with Spellcrafting to further the hilarity: Heal Heal Mist, Lightning Lightning Needle, Shadow Shadow Hammer. And these are only two of the 8 magic classes provided in Bravely Second. Imagine the damage of Thundaga Thundaga Blast with a 60% increase from Black Resonance.
 

fireflyege

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I think I will design him in a way that he will concentrate on one type of spell at the same time and changing his focus if need be.

All my magi has different stances which completely change their abilities, so they do not have 30 skills, but let's say they have 3 seperate skill trees which they have 10 each but they cannot use all those trees at the same time, so they change if needed once in a while.

So far my Diviner has her Morality system, and my Witch has her Circle system. I think I will make my Thaumaturge enter Trances to work properly.

When he enters the battle, he will have an option to enter one of these trances with an instant skill. Then he will have to use a turn to change between them or changing will be instant but with a long cooldown.

Normally the healer refills her mana with changing stances, because I want her to do different things and not spam one skill all the time. With the Thaumaturge I will not have this problem so I guess I can make the stance change instant but with a considerable cooldown.

Elemental Trance

-He will use Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Ice and Thunder.
-This trance is the most straightforvard trance he has, and the player is expected to annihilate his enemies with exploiting its elemental weakness.
-This trance is particularly powerful against most enemies because most enemies are weak to at least one element from this trance.

Moral Trance

-He will use light, darkness and blood magic.
-This trance trades elemental flexibility for more safety via healing with blood magic and the player is expected to weave his attacks and healing.
-This trance is useful for situations when an enemy is either dark or light, and can be useful when a party needs additional safety.

-I am planning to give some water based healing abilities here too though.

Ethereal Trance

-He will use Aether, Mental, Temporal and Arcane magic.
-This trance trades the usual elemental options for debuffs and support abilities. The player is expected to do damage with getting support from debuffs.
-This trance rarely exploits weaknesses from the enemies due to how rare the elements he is using is, but comes with strong support effects with the fact that his spells are unlikely to be resisted by the enemies.
 
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M.I.A.

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@Backwardskey I've used Heal Heal Mist type combos as a way to kill off Undead bosses.. :)

I've thought about recreating the Spellcrafting mechanic in my current project, but I'm not sure it would balance well..
-MIA
 

fireflyege

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I actually liked the mechanic, but that would not be like my mage because he would rely too much on single abilities. How I fashioned him in my image was like he would cast 2 minor spells as a fair warning, and then unleash the big bomb.

So I thought his minor spells getting him a stack of his own elemental buff, for example Gathering Fire is for fire, Tide Spirit for water and Gathering Storm for thunder. When he has 2 or 3 stacks his third spell transforms to an AoE (he gets an invisible effect that makes him forget the single target version but learn the AoE version) so it will kinda be good.

I thank you guys all, but I am not yet complete. I will post any details I make though. So please get ready for perfecting him. :)
 

M.I.A.

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One thing you could consider @fireflyege , is using a plug in that replaces one skill with another after a certain number of uses. Even making it single use replace could give added benefits.

I have a Fire spell that is weak on it's own for a single use, but when used four times on the same enemy for four turns, it becomes a nuke!
1) deals no damage, leaves the enemy with the Burn state(for 3 turns)
2) deals no damage, creates a Fire weakness on the enemy (for 2 turns)
3) deals heavy fire damage, the next Fire element to hit the enemy will Crit (for 1 turn)
4) deals massive Fire damage
... and then it resets to 1.

If the process is stopped by the battle ending, then the skill is reset back to 1 as well.
Excellent skill to use against bosses.. terrible skill to use against encounters.

Hope you find this helpful n some way. :)
-MIA
 

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