This is a giant list of all the spell effects from all the games I could find. Only unique effects are listed. Since there's an "Elemental Damage" effect, there's not going to be "Air Damage", "Earth Damage", "Fire Damage", and "Water Damage" effects listed. Effects are only listed if they're different in some significant way. Many games have similar effects that only have different names and different graphics. This list only lists effects that are actually different from eachother.
This list is intended to inspire game developers to create games with a broader set of spell effects. Feel free to use anything you find on this list however you like in any of your games.
This list is purposely designed to be generic so that the list can be used to inspire a wide variety of games. Spell components, spell costs, spell histories, etc. aren't listed as they are game-specific.
The spells are divided up by the sorts of effects they have, which isn't necessarily the sort of division you would see in a game. In a few cases, there are effects with the same name in different spell types. This is simply because there's no better name for either effect.
World of Spells is only a list of possible spell effects, nothing more. To learn more about designing magic systems, read World of Magic.
Disclaimer: Magic is, of course, fictional. This page isn't affiliated with any sort of whackjob cult that thinks that magic works.
This kind of magic produces an ally that can help you in some way. There are alot of different ways this can happen, and they are all covered in this section. It's especially cool if you have alot of control over designing the character, rather than just casting the spell and having a character appear.
Allies may be either temporary or semi-permanent. Temporary allies remain either for one task, a set duration, or for as long as you expend spell points to maintain them. Semi-permanent allies remain until sent away. When allies are semi-permanent, there should be some sort of semi-permanent cost to them as well. In the Geneforge games, your essence (which is essentially one of two spell point statistics) is reduced so long as your created allies are with you.
What allies can be produced varies widely depending upon the game. There are several broad classes of allies that can be produced:
Aside from what type of ally it is, there's also the question of how it's produced. Many methods produce similar gameplay but have a vastly different feel. Some methods of producing allies are listed below:
Next is a list of various specific allies.
These spells simply combine the effects of other spells. Typically, the resulting combination spell is hard to acquire and may have a higher price (in spell points or whatever) than the total cost of all the spells. Usually, it just takes one turn to cast, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Any group of effects could conceivably be combined into a new spell, though some combinations would be stupid. You are encouraged to experiment. A few common types of combinations are listed below:
There can also be spells that have different effects when used in different situations (e.g. some spells have different effects depending upon whether they're used during combat or not). These are usually better described as two different spells. One genre where this would actually be useful is the collectible card game genre. A card that you can use in two different ways is much better than a card you can only use in one way given that you only have a limited number of cards at a time.
These spells are all related to communication in some way or another. They have varying degrees of usefulness. Some of these effects may work better as "always on" abilities in some games. For instance, rather than getting a "Speak with Orcs" spell, a character might just learn the Orc language.
"Communication" can mean alot of things, so this section may seem like a mish mash of different spells.
A convenient way to use Telepathy or Divine Communion would be to get new quests from your superior. This would avoid the hassle of traveling back and forth to headquarters to get new quests.
This is any kind of magic that damages one or more targets. Effects that cause harm of some kind to an enemy but don't cause damage aren't listed in this section. See the sections Death Magic, "Stop Attacking Me" Magic, and Weakening Magic for harmful spells that don't cause damage.
Different types of damaging effects are listed below:
An important aspect of damaging magic is who it affects. Granted, this is important for all spells, but it seems particularly relevant for damaging magic. Refer to the World of Magic for more details.
It is often appropriate for damaging magic to be combined with effects from other hostile spell groups. Some of the effects listed above are so coupled.
This magic instantly kills the target. In most cases, the target has some chance to resist. This chance may be a set percentage, something that varies depending upon the relative levels of the caster and the target, or may depend upon the target's resistance statistics. In any case, the following spells instantly kill a target:
Divination spells determine some fact. There is a wide variety of what divination spells can be used for. Some are more appropriate for video games than others because many of these effects are inspired by pen-and-paper RPGs.
Some possible divination spells are listed below:
Enhancement magic increases a target's abilities. Typically, the spell is terminated after a brief period of time. Alternatively, the spell might cost additional spell points over time until the spell is canceled by the caster. Enhancement spells might be effects of items (possibly items creatable within the game) or "equipable" abilities (such as materia in Final Fantasy 7).
In many games, these spells are referred to as buffs. The most interesting games tend to combine several effects into unique spells, possibly with limitations that add more strategy to spell selection.
This section is split into several parts due to the large number of effects.
This kind of magic enhances a target's defensive abilities. Some examples of defensive enhancement magic are as follows:
This kind of magic enhances something about the target, but the enhancement doesn't fall into any of the other categories. Some examples of miscellaneous enhancement magic are as follows:
This kind of magic enhances a target's offensive abilities. Some examples of offensive enhancement magic are as follows:
This kind of magic enhances a target's defensive and offensive abilities. Some examples of this type of enhancement magic are as follows:
Any magical effect can be extended to affect the environment rather than a particular target. In some cases, such spells are permanent or at least long-lasting. In some games, the player can cast these sorts of spells, but it is far more common to find areas that are already affected by them when the player arrives. Some special environmental effects are listed below:
Additionally, environmental magic can establish an area where any non-environmental effect occurs everywhere within that area for the duration of the spell. Here are some examples:
This kind of magic heals the target. In addition to effects that restore hit points (HP), this section also includes affects that cure a variety of adverse magical effects. There's more variety to this than one might expect.
Healing effects include:
In addition to this list, there is a "Drain" effect under Damaging Magic that drains HP from the target to restore the caster's HP.
Illusionary magic causes a character to feel, hear, see, smell, and/or taste something that isn't there. In games, the most common use of illusion is to create an illusionary ally. This is mentioned in the section on Ally-Producing Magic.
In some games, a character can try to disbelieve in an illusion. The chance of success should be base upon an intelligence statistic with modifiers based upon the effectiveness of the illusion. If a character doesn't believe in the illusion, it doesn't affect them.
One possibility is to have an illusionary version of other spell effects. The illusion is typically easier to learn and costs less to cast. The downside is that the illusion can be disbelieved, rendering it ineffective. There could be an illusionary version of any other spell effect on the entire list. Crafting such spells can be tricky because they have to be effective yet be different in some way from causing the effect to actually happen.
If an illusionary spell causes damage, it might be "illusionary" damage. Illusionary damage can knock a target unconscious but can't kill it. Illusionary damage is restored to the character when the illusion is disbelieved or destroyed.
This kind of magic affects items, rather than characters. The primary example of this can kind of magic is item creation. Usually, players have to collect various resources, which they can combine into items. There are cases where players can make objects out of nothing, which is cool in its own way.
The following are magical effects that can be used on items:
Note that many of these effects can be either temporary or permanent.
A metamagic spell affects a spell rather than a more conventional target. Spells that improve other spells are usually made irrelevant by statistics that raise the effectiveness of spells when they're high enough.
The following are some metamagic effects:
Mind magic spells affect the mind of a target. Some "mind" spells, such as charm effects are included in other sections instead. This section contains the "leftover" mind spells.
Some examples of mind magic are as follows:
Various spells are only useful for noncombat purposes and don't fall into any specific category. Some examples of such spells are listed below:
This isn't magic so much as improved combat skills. The caster uses the skill to attack someone and receives a bonus to his attack. Some possible bonuses include: attacking one enemy multiple times, hitting multiple enemies simultaneously, increased accuracy, increased critical hit chance, increased damage, increased defense until the next turn, and inflicting an injury upon the target. In some cases, "increased" accuracy or critical hit chance is actually 100% accuracy or critical hit chance.
Similar effects can also be caused by enhancement magic, but it's usually more entertaining to have "special attacks" rather than more spells.
Additionally, some games allow characters to do some sort of meditation that increases their ability scores temporarily. And some games may allow characters to craft special weapons (which may be temporary) that cause spell effects.
One of the most interesting types of magic is shapeshifting. It allows the spellcaster to turn into something that he or she usually isn't. Depending upon the game, the spellcaster can change other people and objects as well. "Polymorph" spells are often used to weaken enemies by changing them into sheep or frogs.
The primary consideration is how the system determines what the caster can turn into. Some options are as follows:
When shapeshifting, the system may have the shapeshifter use the new form's statistics, use the old form's statistics, or use the old form's statistics with some sort of modifier derived from the new form.
Take any effect from any other branch and make it affect spirits (or be cast only by spirits). Presto! A "Spirit Magic" effect appears. Some important effects are listed below:
The primary effect of some magic is to cause targets to stop attacking. This sort of magic enables the caster and his allies to mount some sort of offensive while the enemies aren't attacking. Spells that fall into this class are listed below:
These spells allow the caster to travel or assist with traveling. Spells of this type are listed below:
Weakening magic weakens a target. This can make enemies much easier to defeat.
Reverse an "Enhancing Magic" effect to get an additional kind of "Weakening Magic". Some forms of Enhancing Magic aren't reversible in any sensible fashion.
Some weakening spells are listed below:
These are effects that exist in pen-and-paper RPGs, but are mostly useless in video game RPGs. Some of them are the sort of effects that would be useful in one situation but not in any other. Some of them are hard to imagine in a video game except, perhaps, in some high-tech 3d masterpiece that's just about as complicated as real life.
It would, however, be possible to use many of these spells within the scripting of the game. For example, you're talking to some guy, and you cast Heat Metal on his sword. This makes him drop his sword and attack you (angrily), starting combat but causing the battle to be easier because he doesn't have his sword.
To find more ideas, go play some video games! Books and pen-and-paper Rpgs are also good sources. Don't restrict yourself to fantasy material only. Sci-fi material may be appropriate even for fantasy games. Generally, all you have to do to adapt an effect for a different game is change the name.
Ideas for this article came from a wide variety of sources.
Copyright (C) 2005-2009 Steven Fletcher. All rights reserved.