Your favourite magic?


#1

One of the most enjoyable aspects of any game to me is a fun “magic” aspect. Almost nothing is more fun to me than creating chaos with supernatural abilities. Summoning massive elemental storms in Dragon Age, hurling devastating lightning bolts in Dark Souls, or even going full Darth Sidious in Destiny.

Conversely nothing can be more disappointing than boring magic. So let’s focus on the good. What games, video or otherwise, have your favourite magic and why? Note: I’m using magic as kind of a catch all, I also consider Biotics in Mass Effect and the Force in Star Wars as magic.


#2

I really like the idea of what the magic in Tyranny was going for with the whole sense of it being a kind of language where you combine symbols with accents and whatever to make your own spells out of these widely defined but experimental sources. Anything that gives the sense of being a wizard nerd experimenting around with this weird ritual linguistic stuff rather than just equipping stuff other people made is exactly my shit.

It mostly translates into schools of magic each having a cone spell and a shield spell and a single target spell etc with modifiers you can attach to them and I’m not entirely sure how else something like this could work out but I love it for trying to give me that feeling anyway.


#3

I’m really fond of Pillars of Eternity’s magic system(s). I play on easy, so I’m probably not experiencing it to it’s fullest, or something, but the spells feel useful, interesting, and I like how each magic-using class has its own flavor of magic, with some even having slightly different mechanics.


#4

Dragon’s Dogma springs to mind almost immediately. Spells were made to have a real weight to them, to feel wholly different to using conventional arms but still use the same kinds of feedback, only turned up to 11. None of the rubbish “press a button and something will happen” rubbish.

Though I do like quite a lot of Dark Souls’ better spells. It’s got it’s fair share of boring magic missiles etc to pad it out, but the dynamics between Sorcery, Miracles and Pyromancy were always really fun. I really liked that in DS1 and 2 Pyromancy didn’t have stat requirements, so anyone could have a go, made it an excellent way to introduce folks to the system when they don’t have a build made for other stuff. I can see WHY they added stat requirements in DS3, but I do think it’s a shame. Plus the best spells are really awesome, if not necessarily very effective. Farron Flashsword in DS3 is incredible, but it’s also well shit.


#5

Grandia!

It started as pretty standard elemental magic but as you leveled up your spell elements they would combine to make new spells. Level up Wind and Fire, for instance, and you get a sweet Lightning spell.

It was kind of tedious to level, but it made it made me feel like a real badass to finally unlock the insane high-level spells.


#6

Seems kind of obvious, but I always enjoyed the magic system in Magicka a lot. The fact that you have to actually construct spells, even predefined ones. It felt like I was actually going out of my way to be a wizard. And you really learn how ridiculously easy it is to break a magic system once you find the one combination that works for everything. Something that I think is sort of indicative of magic as a concept in general.


#7

Also Chrono games!

I love, have loved, and always will love the Dual/Triple Techs in Chrono Trigger. There’s nothing cooler than teaming up with your party members to unleash unique, dope-ass attacks on your enemies.

Side question: does any modern party RPG have a similar system? Nothing comes off the top of my head but I would love if more games implemented something like that.


#8

Don’t want to start out on a downer but for a long time I just avoided the heck out of magic systems in games. I just didn’t want this whole other thing to have to manage, often with its own kind of inventory, and resource.

But that means that I do like one thing in this ballpark which is any magic system that gives me a lot of passive abilities. I can’t think of a specific one right now, but I am all about getting magical bonuses I don’t need to worry about activating but still have a noticeable effect.

I guess stuff like auto blocking shots with a lightsaber in Jedi Knight games, or stuff where it opens up dialogue options in an RPG because of my magic persuade powers or something.

When it comes to the action, I’m very much prefer being nimble and stabby (or pistol-y) if given the choice.


#9

I’m going to cheat a bit and say the magic system in the Mistborn novels. I’ve always been a fan of fantasy stuff, but at the time I picked up those novels my interest was dropping off in a major way. Mistborn made me fall in love with the genre again, primarily because I loved how novel and interesting the magic system was. It’s also made me very picky about what fantasy I’ll bother engaging with these days; I don’t have much interest in your run-of-the-mill Tolkienesque fantasy anymore.

To make this qualify for this thread, Mistborn has a roleplaying game (that I’ve never played, despite desperately wanting to).


#10

That’s really interesting because, until I was an adult, I never wanted to use any magic that wasn’t an active spell. I don’t think I really groked how powerful and fun it could be to stack a ton of buffs/passives and go nuts


#11

topical due to the session currently being run in the forum but i do adore the way magic works in Unknown Armies. a lot of the default branches they give you are really interesting ideas about worship and obsession (and some of them are less than respectful frankly but hey, that’s what the GM is for) and all the effects are generally accepted to be self-destructive or otherwise harmful in some way. they also give you a good starting point if you want to try and build a school of magic yourself


#12

Tyranny is by far the most fun I have had with a magic system. I enjoyed mixing different effects together and felt that I was creating a unique and useful spells that were tailored to how I wanted to build my character.


#13

When someone said “favorite magic” I immediately thought of Mistborn and that author’s other works, before I realized the topic was about video game magic, not book magic.

Though maybe, one day, those topics will merge and we’ll get the Cosmere video game we deserve


#14

Magic in Divinity: Original Sin is insanely, comically overpowered but there’s nothing quite like chaining elemental and environmental effects to own the shit out of enemies like 5 levels above you without them being able to do shit.

Also, while every other aspect of the game was dog shit, i really liked the way Fable 3 let you combine spells.


#15

God, I hope so. Glad to see another Sanderson fan here at least :slight_smile:


#16

Honestly one of the things I like most about magic is explaining how it works in universe. Allomancy in Mistborn is such a thing entirely hoo

Since I have the ffxiv lore book, there’s whole segments on aetherology and stuff on schools of thought dividing the magicks and civilizations based on their magicks I love that so much


#17

i enjoy the mesmer magic in guild wars 2 because it’s something that i feel like is somewhat unusual to have for a class in an mmo - at least in my (admittedly limited) experience. also it’s just really fun confusing your enemies with your clones and phantasms

other than that i don’t feel like i’ve touched magic in a lot of the games i’ve played? which is weird because i love magic systems and the lore surrounding them. i guess the fiction surrounding magic is more fun for me usually than the actual fiddling around with spells. i’m not a mage player in dragon age, for example, even though i find the lore surrounding mages in those games to be super interesting. i’m a rogue player at heart, unfortunately

also re: the side conversation about sanderson’s books, i’m a huge fan of the magic systems that author creates and if a game took inspiration from those novels i’d be very pleased


#18

Yo the magic system in the Old Kingdom trilogy of books was extremely my jam as a fourteen year-old. The idea of necromancy as this sort of fine walk that the Living take between the literal realms of Life and Death where one uses super powerful tools (tiny bells!) to bind the Dead to the Living was such a fucking rad take on what had become a really fucking boring type of magic to me a kid.


#20

Stolen magic, of course! There’s something about the Blue Mages, Mimes, Rubicks, Dark Archons,Terran Ghosts, and Zerg Infestors that clicks with me so intuitively and satisfyingly. It’s like the game opens more of itself and its world to you in the process.


#21

Planescape belief as an intrinsic law of the universe is my favourite.

On a non-gaming front I love Bending from Avatar the Last Airbender because of how intensely physical it was. Muscle wizards!