How Much of a Skill Resource (MP, etc) For Party Members?

How much MP do you allow your party, overall?


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RachelTheSeeker

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EDIT: As suggested by @TheoAllen, changed the thread name for a more accurate description.

By now, I'm safe to say that I like discussing JRPG theory. Thread about the numeric scale of stats and damage, and what the roles of healers/support characters should be like, inspired this idea.

How much max MP do you allow your party members? Heck, how much MP do you prefer to have in a game you play? For all intents and purposes, any renewable resource for abilities counts as "MP" here -- SP, TP, PP, Vancian spell slots a la D&D, Ace/MV-style Tech Points, Mario RPG's Flower Points, and even consumables in place of Magic Points. For sake of argument, I'm also making the distinction of "the whole party gets X level of MP" and "only dedicated ability-users (mages) gets notable MP".

I can see arguments made for the ones provided, and I left a "something else (comment pls)" option available. I feel different amounts of MP work differently for the tone and mechanics of each game. That said, here's some examples of the answers I'll pick after I post this thread.

Plenty, For Mages Only is commonly seen in old-school JRPGs, notably older Dragon Quests and newer Final Fantasies; I'll use Dragon Quest 3 as my example. Only Heroes, Mages, Priests and Sages had any MP; every other class didn't have combat skills. In remakes of DQ3, there are spells that Merchants and Thieves can use outside of battle that cost MP. Otherwise, a Warrior's "magic" was to equip most weapons and armor, including heavy-duty weapons; a Martial Artist's "magic" was to score critical hits more often than others; et cetera.

Given random encounters and varied spells for the four main casters, a caster with good Wisdom (which they should have, as it affects MP growth and spell-learning) should be able to cast spells often. Random fights are used to deplete resources and add gameplay. If you know there's a boss ahead, or that a dungeon's monsters are particularly rough, it's possible to run dry by the end. That said, MP is usually more lenient for your survival; especially true when MP couldn't be reliably restored in those titles. Because Mages are pitiful with weapons and Priests not ideal for tougher physical combat, they'll need all the MP they can get.

Also? lawl, MP-stealing spells.

Decent, For All Characters is a staple for games where MP is needed for all special abilities. I feel Tales of Symphonia does this, with varying levels of TP if I recall correctly. While Lloyd might not have all the Tech Points in the world to perform Demon Fang variants, Genus or Raine had plenty for elemental blasts and white magic. If casters are still scrawny in physical fights, they'll still need good MP levels to truly give their arcane advantage. I feel MP-recovery resources are useful for this method.

By proxy, most Mario RPGs that use the Flower Points system (Super Mario RPG, both Paper Mario JRPGs) also feel "decent", as everyone shares the same MP resource. Luckily, regular attacks and the occasional bomb item are viable for Mallow and Peach (Black Mage and White Mage respectively) to use; also, Mario and Geno's specials are purely offense (save for Geno Boost), and Bowser is better-suited toward physical fighting altogether.

Little, For Mages Only is seen in old-school JRPGs such as the original Final Fantasy, as they mirror tabletop RPG inspiration. In the FF Origins remake, the three Mages only get 2 MP for their first-level spells at the start. Heck, spells are pricey to learn for most of the game. By the time you learn newer tiers of spells, especially for Fire/Blizzard/Thunder and Cure/Heal/Dia, older spell levels seem to become obsolete -- the viable options start becoming few and far between. And with no MP recovery outside of an inn stay, sometimes it's better to have a BM shank something, or a WM swing hammer. At least Red Mages can use swords.

For my games, I'd like to use a variant of "Little, for all characters". All "Awakened" characters in the setting have varying levels of MP to tap into, with amounts of superhuman and supernatural powers relative to their MP amounts. The goal is to force players to think about where and when to use skills; even for dedicated mages, weapon attacks are still viable. MP consumables can be purchased, but are more expensive than HP goodies and don't give a full recovery. On top of that, I'm tempted to include "Aether Motes" to restore small MP doses in dungeon crawls; think the Magic Butterflies of Earthbound, or the Mako Shards of Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

So, what do y'all think? Lemme know in the poll and comments; thank you for reading this far, if you have. :p
 
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Soulrender

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I love simple and classic solutions, so warrior-type classess have small amount of MP (185 - 235) and spellcasters have bigger pool of MP (around 285 - 340), and that amount on uneven levels (3,5,7,9) increases by 25 and on even levels (2,4,6,8,10) is increased by 15 (same approach like blizzard did in Warcraft 3 in 2002), however I gave all party members small hitch, meaning whenever skill is used on battle, a successfuly used (spells can backfire), MP cost is increased by some value, depending on various things, but total MP cost cannot be greater than 80% of Max MP for specific party member.
But I'm thinking on slight modifications of that, but I didn't come up with something... "Original".
 

TheoAllen

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For all intents and purposes, any renewable resource for abilities counts as "MP" here -- SP, TP, PP, Vancian spell slots a la D&D, Ace/MV-style Tech Points, Mario RPG's Flower Points, and even consumables in place of Magic Points.
Then you might as well as rename "MP" to "Skill Resource" because to prevent confusion in the thread title. Just in case someone didn't read this.

----
Now to actually answer the question, it is not exactly about a quantity. I will just use the term "MP" for this topic. So ...

Character A: 100 MP but the skill on average eats up 50 MP cost. So they could only use skill two times.
Character B: 30 MP but the skill on average eats up 3 MP cost. So they could use skill ten times.

So the number is pretty inconsistent.
You could make character B as a mage and have little MP pool but cheap skill cost. Right...
The only time when it mattered is when you could lose your MP in another way like MP damages. So if the character B loses 12 MP by getting MP damage, they lose 4x chance to cast a skill while character A could still use the skill.

So, I made a standardized skill cost. 15 for average damage dealing skills. 20 for decent damage dealing skills. 30 for an ultimate. And I made all character has the same amount of MP. It is easier to balance this way. If a character has 20 ~ 30 MP cost skills only, then the character is a nuker. They will have fewer times to cast skills. If a character has 10 ~ 15 MP cost skills, then it means the character is spammer or utility provider.

It is easier to distinguish their role and balance each character this way. And all of them have an equal ground. So I don't exactly know which poll I should go by. Plenty? not really. Decent? maybe. Because what limits them is the skill cost, not how much mp pool they have. And no, mages have an equal ground with a physical attacker.
 

Milennin

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I have low MP pools on all, but make MP regeneration/refunds on skills and passive abilities a common mechanic, so characters can keep on casting every battle without requiring consumable items or resting at restore points to regain MP.
 

RachelTheSeeker

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Then you might as well as rename "MP" to "Skill Resource" because to prevent confusion in the thread title. Just in case someone didn't read this.

[...]

So, I made a standardized skill cost. 15 for average damage dealing skills. 20 for decent damage dealing skills. 30 for an ultimate. And I made all character has the same amount of MP. It is easier to balance this way. If a character has 20 ~ 30 MP cost skills only, then the character is a nuker. They will have fewer times to cast skills. If a character has 10 ~ 15 MP cost skills, then it means the character is spammer or utility provider.

It is easier to distinguish their role and balance each character this way. And all of them have an equal ground. So I don't exactly know which poll I should go by. Plenty? not really. Decent? maybe. Because what limits them is the skill cost, not how much mp pool they have. And no, mages have an equal ground with a physical attacker.
Insofar as renaming "MP" to Skill Resource, that makes a lot of sense. Edited the thread name, as such. And honestly, your idea's not far off from what I'd prefer to do. Skills in my game either cost 3 or 5 MP; with a base Max MP of 15, that means five 3-MP skills, or three 5-MP skills. Skill cost will vary with a character's shtick, or how potent a skill is. A monk's self-healing move might cost 3 MP, and a qi-fireball that's usually twice as damaging than her normal attack would cost 5 MP.

I'm tempted to allow MP Cost modifications, around ±30%, be readily available with armor types. "Mystic Armor" would give a discount, changing a 3/5 MP value into 2/4, respectively. For 15 Max MP, this doesn't change much for 5-MP skills (three uses for 12 MP total), but gives more utility to 3-MP skills (up to seven uses at 14 MP, or getting to use a 3/2-MP skill if you spam all three uses of 5/4 MP skills).

While 15 is the default Max MP at the start, a dedicated caster might get 20 MP, and a non-skill-focused character might get 10.
 

Trihan

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I haven't decided on pools yet, but in my game the resource costs are basically decided by the players. There are no set spells; you have spell components that you can combine for as many or as few effects as you want, and the cost is determined by the number of things it does and how powerful it is.
 

Kupotepo

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I use about 300-500 MP for the mages when they reach level 50. Also, many people here create specialized magicians like a summoner, an elementalist, or a necromancer.
Also when I feel annoyed with the mp stat balancing, I use Yanfly Limit Skill Use plugin to just count how much I want players to use.

My magic users are specialized. For example, the necromancer can drain hp and the Elementalist can drain mp. A summoner can summon a monster to help the summoner. Everyone have their role-playing lol.
 
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HumanNinjaToo

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In my current game I'm working to keep the MP pool low, single digits and teens for new characters. The only way to increase the MaxMP is to equip armor that raises MaxMP. Skill costs are low but have cooldowns, so there is no need for hundreds of MP for a character. The best MP gear in the game would probably get a character to just below 100 MaxMP. Each character has a specialized kit for battles, but there are no real differences in how much skills cost. For example a basic damage skill costs 4 MP, while a basic heal skill costs 5 MP. Since I'm handling HP and MP gains with equipment, the player is free to increase the MP pool as they see fit. All characters have skills that cost MP, but they also have skills with no cost; therefore, Mp is not necessary but it can help.

I feel like if I provide a big enough MP pool for the character to cast basic skills 2-3 times, and the more powerful skills 1-2 times, then I've given the player enough of a taste to decide if they want a character to be equipped to cast more magic skills or just rely mostly on the free to use/cooldown skills.
 

Oddball

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My opinion on this? Just enoguh that the players can use the skills in a long battle, but scarce enough that they have to play smart and think about how they want to spend there resources. You can have charecters have a really small amount of MP in a system were MP regenerates over time. having small amount of MP that regenerates can get the benifets of both a small amount of MP and a large amount of MP
 

RCXDan

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My method's a little bizarre.

See the characters all have regenerating MP, and the costs for skills are also percentage based. This is to guarantee the player is able to use their skills in any given fight, since regular attacks are only meant as back up moves when MP is too low.

Mages have a higher regen count than physical fighters (20% vs 10%, for example).

Instead of MP count, I focus on the usefulness of the moves themselves and how the enemy can sabotage you. (There's a Curse status that drains your MP, for example)

Plus, certain skills also have cooldowns (usually 1 to 2 turns max) so if they're especially useful expect to not be able to spam it. The time spent in individual turns tends to be especially vital in my games.

TP accumulates through actions in battle and gives solidly defined amounts like 5, with the max being 400. I got the idea from super meters in fighting games.
 
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Oddball

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Basic attacks in my game do have an MP cost, but it's equal to what you would regen (each charecters has their unuiqe basic attack and basic guard) Basic guards do a variety of different things and restore a little MP, and are free
 

duty

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The amount given to the characters should match the pacing of a dungeon at an appropriate level.

We'll go really small scale on this example: but let's say you have a dungeon with an average of 4 mob encounters before a final boss fight - and we're only optimizing the MP total for a single magic-using character.

Half of the mob encounters are larger enemy troops with lots of low HP foes, and those encounters are specifically designed to be cleared by a character's "hit-all" magic spell.

The boss encounter is designed to be a 10 turn battle. The boss has enough HP to absorb 10 turns of the party's anticipated maximum damage output. The boss's attack is high enough that it will also deplete the entire party's anticipated combined maximum HP in 10 turns.

So, at whatever level the character should be for that dungeon, the appropriate amount of MP is the amount to cast the "hit-all" spell twice on the way to the boss, and then 10 castings of that character's highest damage spell.

You can then extrapolate this for the other party member's, as well. How many heals should the party healer have to perform to complete the dungeon? How many resource consuming attacks should the fighter use? Etc.
 
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Aesica

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How much max MP do you allow your party members?
Not every party member gets MP, or at least a resource that behaves like classic MP. I like to (try) to make each party member's resource and management of it feel unique:



(That's Energy, Rage..Points I guess? I just needed a second letter to make it uniform, Classic MP, and Faith Power)

In this example though, the two "castery" types (MP and FP) have higher totals that grow as they level, while the two melee types (EN, RP) never change.

I should also note that I'm not a fan of the traditional way MP is used, where you have to spend it carefully or you starve and run out in the dungeon. To sum up how each of those resources works:
  • ENergy: Abilities are high cost, but about 30-35% of it refills after every turn.
  • Rage P(points/power? I still don't know!): Fills from taking and dealing damage.
  • Magic Power: Pretty much classic MP, however the character has a few skills they can use to partially refill it mid-combat. A chunk of it also is restored at the end of battle.
  • Faith Power: Some abilities consume it, others restore it. The strength of these abilities also depends on how much (or little) is left.
  • Edit: Limit: Limit is just TP reskinned, everyone has it, and it's reserved for extra-powerful limit break "supermoves" so to speak.
 

cthulhusquid

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It really depends on the game. In Battle Castle, each character has 50 MP, no exceptions. Spells range from 10 MP to 50 MP, so you have to be careful with what you have.

In The Wastes, MP has a dual function. The first is Mutagen, which fuels your Mutagen Skills (functionally the same as mana). The second marks how much radiation you've absorbed. You can have up to 1000 Mutagen total, and when you hit 1000 currently absorbed radiation (Mutagen) you die. However, before that you will get two mutations (positive or negative), radiation poisoning, and Acute Radiation Syndrome. Trust me, you don't want radiation poisoning.

In The Cube Trail, certain characters start with different amounts. Charles, a Warrior, starts with 1, Sophie the Rogue starts with 5, and both George the Mage and Clair the Healer starts with 10. Spells typically range from 2-5 mana.
 

xsmittyxcorex

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It really depends on the battle system. For example, are there frequent circumstances where the game forces players to make use of magic and others where basic attacks work just as well or better (so, a lot in that instance. At least for mages) or is magic kind of this special, almost (or completely) OP thing that needs to be meticulously managed for it to be interesting? (Very little for everyone).
 

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