What's your opinion of such a mechanic?


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Frostorm

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You know how certain games like Tactics Ogre have you pick a birthday, and depending on your choice, you're granted boons to certain elements? I was thinking of doing something similar, but I have 8 elements, and there are 12 months of the year...what do?

There's a Wikipedia page that I used as a starting point, but it focuses on the 4 classical elements. What do you guys think of mechanics like these? I was personally annoyed by them, but that was because the game didn't tell you what it did or what bonuses were conferred. Assuming the player is given the proper information, would it be a good idea to implement this? I can think of situations where the player might want to input their own B-day but are turned off by which bonuses are given, etc...

I mentioned I have 8 elements, while the astrology thing features 12 zodiacs and 4 elements. The 8 elements I have are: Earth, Fire, Holy, Ice, Lightning, Water, Wind, & Shadow. Not sure how to split this accordingly...

Edit: Maybe I should create a fictional calendar w/ 8 months instead of 12? Or maybe I should exclude Holy/Shadow so that there are only 6 elements and thus I can cleanly divide it so there are 2 months or zodiacs for each element? But I'd have to create some other method of accessing the Holy & Shadow trees. Oh, did I forget to mention that the "elemental boons" aren't boons or bonuses at all? Instead, I plan on these Zodiacs being the sole method of unlocking certain elemental skill trees. Assuming each Zodiac gets 2 elements, and the character also gets to choose a Weapon "class", that adds up to 3 skill trees per character, as I originally hoped & intended.
 
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ShiraCheshire

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I think it could be fun if the difference is largely aesthetic. Like is a holy snd a fire spell are equally powerful and having one over another won’t lock you out of any playstyles, it could work. Not sure it would add a lot though.
 

kirbwarrior

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IIRC Final Fantasy Tactics is the spiritual successor to Tactics Ogre. And when I first saw the title, I assumed you'd be using the zodiac as elements like it does. The big thing you want to ask yourself is; do you want elements to be balanced across all birthdays?
Assuming yes, then you need to come up with the number of possibly combinations;
One each - 8 combos. Not enough for 12. Doubling up isn't actually a bad idea in case you want certain boons to show up more often among npcs.
Two each - 28 combos. Not divisible by 12
Three each - 56. Again, not divisible
Four each - 70. Nope.
Five each - 56. Hmm.
Six each - 28. Definitely looping back.

There's no good set of combos for everything to mirror perfectly. However, 8 and 12 do have a common multiple of 24. That means you can just hand pick 2 elements per zodiac and make sure each element is picked 3 times. Possible example;
1 - Fire, Water
2 - Fire, Ice
3 - Fire, Wind
4 - Lightning, Water
5 - Lightning, Ice
6 - Lightning, Shadow
7 - Earth, Water
8 - Earth, Wind
9 - Earth, Shadow
10 - Holy, Ice
11 - Holy, Wind
12 - Holy, Shadow

Note there's a lot of "opposing" elements in there. I just made a grid of 8 x 12 and made sure the right amount of overlap happened. If you want less overlap, you could replace Lightning with Ice and Holy with Shadow.
 

Frostorm

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Hmm, that's an excellent idea, although there really should be 28 combinations in total. For example, Water+Ice is missing, which would be a very nice combo to have. But the chart you made definitely helps me get started, thx! Alternatively, if I reduce it to 6 elements by omitting Holy/Shadow, it comes out to 15 combinations:
  1. Earth, Fire
  2. Earth, Wind
  3. Earth, Water
  4. Earth, Ice
  5. Earth, Lightning
  6. Fire, Wind
  7. Fire, Water
  8. Fire, Ice
  9. Fire, Lightning
  10. Wind, Water
  11. Wind, Ice
  12. Wind, Lightning
  13. Water, Ice
  14. Water, Lightning
  15. Ice, Lightning

Which, of course, isn't cleanly divisible so I'm thinking, instead of dividing by months...what if I divide by a certain number of days instead? If I go back to the 8 elements, and thus 28 combinations...365 days almost cleanly divides by 28 into 13 (and a bit of change). So basically, every 13 days on the calendar corresponds with a certain element combo.

Or do you think such a system is better served in the form of personalities/natures or similar?
 

MarxMayhem

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The thing about calendars is that those are used as a subsystem designed to keep track of time. Games that uses them well reward players for applying time management in playing. If your only purpose of using this system is to apply a bonus to characters, I would personally discard the birthday part and choose something else to base the bonuses on.

If you do plan on making more use of a calendar, then there's a different discussion to be had there, and I'll reserve myself until you say you'd like to proceed with it.
 

kirbwarrior

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Hmm, that's an excellent idea, although there really should be 28 combinations in total.
As I pointed out, 28 (and any combination of 8) doesn't allow for every possibly combination. You're effectively just picks 12 out from the 28/56/70.
Which, of course, isn't cleanly divisible so I'm thinking, instead of dividing by months...what if I divide by a certain number of days instead?
You can also just have 15 months. That won't work if you want to use the traditional zodiac system (because it has 12 or now retroactively 13), but it would work with your own new zodiac system.

Side note; I like the combinations when you omitted Shadow/Light. I also like the idea of a "special" day that is Light/Shadow. You can then use that for specific NPCs (or just one) and the player can choose that day if they want to work against the grain.

Or do you think such a system is better served in the form of personalities/natures or similar?
EDIT: Zodiac IS just a personality/nature system. I'd be all for your own system of them.
 

Frostorm

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If your only purpose of using this system is to apply a bonus to characters, I would personally discard the birthday part and choose something else to base the bonuses on.
Good point, I currently don't have anything planned that has anything to do with the calendar, so I might just forgo the Zodiac thing. But what do you think I should use in its place? Maybe various Deities, each representing an element? But if I did that, would every character "worship" 2 Deities by default? Cuz gameplay-wise, I do want them to have access to 2 elemental schools. But it feels strange if everyone worships exactly 2 Deities, no more, no less...quite odd, huh?
 

xabileug

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each zodiac belongs to one of the four - earth fire wind water.. holy, dark, lightning, and ice, are variations.. other elements are neutral / physical, celestial / cosmos, poison, and metal. so that makes 12. you could check pokemon or ragnarok online.. shadow / ghost / undead are separate elelements from dark / void / abyss..

oh there's also spirit and ether as another element.. i'd just try to extend the elements to 12. its easier.

customization is fun, i mean most players like to get the most of damage.. even if it adds +1 ATK or +1% ATK.. gender, title, equips bonuses.. if you check online games, there are lots of sources for stat bonuses, and players try to get all of them.

found this plugin here?
 
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MarxMayhem

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But what do you think I should use in its place?
You can use virtually anything you want. If your setting has lore that can support it, use it, or make a new one up if not yet.
Maybe various Deities, each representing an element? But if I did that, would every character "worship" 2 Deities by default? Cuz gameplay-wise, I do want them to have access to 2 elemental schools. But it feels strange if everyone worships exactly 2 Deities, no more, no less...quite odd, huh?
You don't have to imply that characters strictly only worship 2 deities. It could be that the society only permits enrollment in 2 schools maximum, or a person is only capable of getting 2 elemental bonuses at a time. Or a person is predetermined by the gods to be better at 2 specific elements for no other reason than they felt like it.

Game mechanics do not have to be 1 to 1 with lore. Feel free to mess around with this idea.
 

Frostorm

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oh there's also spirit and ether as another element.. i'd just try to extend the elements to 12. its easier.
Definitely not easier...I'd rather not have to create 12 skills trees, cuz that's what I'd have to do if I included that many elements...:kaoswt2:
 

alice_gristle

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Oh I loved that bit with the zodiac in Tactics Ogre! It always felt sooo mysterious and cool... and then I promptly forgot all about it once the game started proper, and I never thought about it afterwards. :kaoswt: But it wuz nice for flavour, I guess?

Soo, um, I didn't read all of the thread, 'cuz my brain shorted out on all the numbers, buuut... @Frostorm, didn't ya game have summons for each element? Could you mebbe have these summons as totems, guardian angels, spirit animals, etc. for each character?

E.g. my dude grew up on Fire Coast, he burn his face as a baby and earns a living bein' a fisherman. So his guardian spirits are, like, Ifrit and Nereid... or summat. :kaoswt::biggrin::biggrin:
 

kirbwarrior

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Maybe various Deities, each representing an element? But if I did that, would every character "worship" 2 Deities by default?
The other way around probably makes more sense, these two deities care about this person because of [date of birth] (replace the brackets with... anything).
 

Frostorm

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The other way around probably makes more sense, these two deities care about this person because of [date of birth] (replace the brackets with... anything).
Oh yea, that makes way more sense, lol! Hmm, I think I'll need to brainstorm for the "replace the brackets with... anything" bit.
 

kirbwarrior

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Oh yea, that makes way more sense, lol! Hmm, I think I'll need to brainstorm for the "replace the brackets with... anything" bit.
My immediate thought is each deity has some sway over some amount of people. Maybe in their creation, maybe in where they are born, maybe in their destiny, maybe something as simple as deciding which souls come into the world and picking based on their personal likes. Or the reverse, maybe every deity that had no effect on you jealously takes their powers away from you, denying you their section of the universe/magic/destiny, etc.

If the deities are less powerful or nonsapient, then maybe these people are their lifeforce. Every given child is a tiny piece of this deity, and thus the power of this deity is weakly* in that person. Or each of these people are collectively this deity as ants are to the hive.

Further, the exemption of Shadow and Holy** itself has meaning. They are separate for some reason. Maybe those two are too distant. Maybe they don't need people to physically exist. Maybe they reincarnate as people and thus the 'unique' zodiac.

*The amount of power in a 9 volt battery is nothing compared to the sun.
**Having an element called Holy that is unrelated to deities raises interesting questions.
 

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