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Arent you tired of the cliche Arcane Elements?  

59 members have voted

  1. 1. Are you tired of the cliched offensive arcane elements like fire, ice and lightning?

    • Yes
      26
    • No
      33
  2. 2. If yes, would you like something more exotic like:

    • Telekinetics (Ex: Shockwaves, Implosions, Attraction/Repulsion)
      32
    • Dimensional Manipulation (Ex: Stay mobile through or hide inside pocket dimensions)
      20
    • Control Matter (Ex: Radiation fields, particle beams, structural disruption)
      28
    • Metamorph (Ex: Grow lethal appendages, armor skin, spit digestive enzymes/poison/acid)
      30
    • Other (Post own ideas in comments)
      20


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I am. A new element to branch out of would be a great way to add replay value and something new to the genre. Fire, water, ice, earth, lightning have seen its fair share of use since the ancient greeks first go the idea they made up the cosmos. Well, now that its 2013, how about we draw some information from more current sources understanding? Biology, particle physics, quantum mechanics, there's a great deal of awesome fields of knowledge to draw inspiration for! Why isnt anyone trying something new like this? The setting doesn't necessarily demand it, theres no rule saying a fantasy rpg has to stay with old tropes, neither does it preclude the use of modern science-inspired elements, you can always rephrase them in a way that aligns them with the rest of the arcane world.

 

Yes, i realize some of the "elements" might best be suited as individual skills, but you get my point.

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I am not tired if it's done correctly. In Guild Wars 2 as a mage you have ONLY spells from 4 elements, yet it can still be quite interesting (waving a whip of lightning, morphing into a tornado, breathing fire, burning ground you walk on, conjuring up a rotating shield of rocks, which you can also hurl at enemies etc. )  It all boils down to design. I'm almost sure that guys at Obsidian are not limited just to the arcane elements, so it perhaps may be possible to build a wizard that doesn't use them. I wouldn't strike arcane elements off just because they were uninspiring in other titles. Having said that, I'm all for new ideas, provided that they are cool. Maybe will post later some of my own...

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I prefer magic not to have too much resemblance to modern technology; it should have a bit of mystery.

 

The use of the elements for magic, while heavily used, does have the benefit of allowing nice visual effects. I don't see a reason to avoid using that mechanic. But there are some possibilities for making it more diverse and unusual.


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I prefer magic not to have too much resemblance to modern technology; it should have a bit of mystery.

 

The use of the elements for magic, while heavily used, does have the benefit of allowing nice visual effects. I don't see a reason to avoid using that mechanic. But there are some possibilities for making it more diverse and unusual.

 

Not saying we need to avoid them, just put in some other ones as well. I just think PE should try new things as well.

Edited by Gyges

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Temporal manipulation. Shadow magic. Spells designed to manipulate passion and cause madness. Drug magics! (Well, magic of addiction and/or hallucinogenic substances.) Magic themed around a "corrupted" version of the classic four elements! The possibilities are endless! (And include probability manipulation, too!)

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You can have abstract concepts (or even not so abstract concepts) be part of your elemental system

Growth and Decay, Heat and Cold, bound to the senses (sound, light, pressure) Or you can have the elements be bound to the seasons, the stars. (Doesn't Astrology essentially do this. Tie things to the position of the stars, aren't they the elemental starting point in that theory?)

 

I don't expect this will happen, but I certainly would consider it refreshing to see something different in that sense.


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Hm. I get tired of things like "fireball" and "icebolt", that's for sure. It's not so much the element (damage is damage) but that such attacks don't feel that different from shooting an arrow. Or that if I'm a master of Water, I can't call up tidal waves and drown huge armies if they're near a coastline...just rain hailstones on their head. Doesn't seem like a true master of Water that way. Usually I don't think about it too much, however. ;)

 

But I wouldn't mind other effects, or "schools of magic" that are a mix of two elements/other elements in some way. Or stuff that's more like curses vs. direct damage. Something with more unique or combo-strategy effects vs just burn DoT or frozen/movement delay etc etc. The more the merrier.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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I actually like the classic elemental stuff, but I can see a reason to expand beyond them too.  But equally I don't really care for magic that is either too sciency or too "trying to be cool" like say manipulating radiation for the former or shadowmagic for the latter.  

 

What I'd suggest is that perhaps fireballs and lightning bolts are basically considered to be the fairly crude tools of a low level mage who is still learning, ie. anyone can do a simple magical equation to make things burn, as that's something they can do without magic anyway.  More advanced stuff would be things increasingly refined and abstract - having a spell inplace that would function as a static gattling gun for rocks from the floor to cover your parties flank, absorbing energy damage others throw at you and redirecting it as a focused beam, locking with a target and slowly trying to rend apart their magical defenses and so on.  

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I think - and it seems to be the general consensus - more creative implimentation of the basic elements is what we really crave.  Something like the [Drown](http://nwn2.wikia.com/wiki/Drown) spell is certainly more creative use of the water element. 

 

Personally I've always liked the idea of introducing quantum mechanics as a magic into fantasy rpgs.  What I didnt realise though is this is had literally always been the case.

 

Stop and think about it for a second.  Where does that fireball come from?  How does a wizard just conjure up a fireball out of thin air?  Well first he'd have to turn part of that air into something flammable.  Once he's changed the molecular properties of the portion of the air in front of him, then he must create a spark behind the flammable air (again molecular manipulation) before it dissipates to create the explosion of flame.  Even after he's created the explosion of flame he still has to funnel it towards his target or it'll just blow up infront of him.  I gather this is not a thought that goes through the mind of your average rpg gamer, after all the laws of physics and magic aren't things often thought of as co-existing.

 

So I assume learning different spells is essentially learning different combinations and ways to manipulate atoms.  Thus the mages power is limited.

 

One thing I've thought about, though, is; if construction and manipulation of atoms can be learned then why can't the decontruction of atoms be learned too?  Think Scar from Full Metal Alchemist - if you've seen it (if not, you probably should, anime fan or no).  Not sure how this could be used in game without being incredibly over-powered.  Perhaps it could be tiered in such a way like:

 

Molecular deconstruction - iron.

Molecular deconstruction - steel.

Molecular deconstruction - mithril.

Molecular deconstruction - adamantine.

 

This could be used to deconstruct a piece of enemy equipment, disable a Golem or even destroy the lock on a door.

 

It would certainly need limits.  Again I'm not sure how you could limit it enough to keep it from being over powered or on the flipside limit it to the point of being underwhelming.

 

Certainly an interesting concept though.

 

Lastly - Gravity magic is always fun.  I think it would be a hard thing to implement into an IE engine style game, though.  Displacement itself requires a full set of animations to everything susceptible to it so as to make it visually appealling.  Knockback you can get away with as it's not a huge displacement.  It's not hugely noticable.  However if you were to fling an enemy from one side of the screen to the other without the appropriate animation I'd look aweful and destroy immersion.  Things like a slow mini blackhole (slow pull effect to a central point) could work without need extra animiations to be created.  Either way I can't see it being implemented unless it's done correctly and if it is to be done correctly it'd be a big job and unlikely something obsidian is willing to put fund into considering all the other priorities.

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You're just taking the few recurring arcane elements from other games but are forgetting what we had before in the DnD universe as a wizard?

 

We already have had different damage types;

- force (magic missile)

- acid (melfs acid arrow)

- positive and negative energy damage types

- divine (i think flamestrike was half-divine, half-fire?)

- sonic 

...

(here's a list: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=139529 )

 

buffs and debuffs;

- mind-affecting spells like tasha's hideous laughter

- prismatic spray (a bit of a random status effect)

- sleep

- (lesser) globe of invulnerability

- 'stat damage' (spells damaging  str, dex, con and stuff like that)

...

 

utility spells;

- knock (opening locked doors)

- invisibility

- detect invisibility

- dimension door

 

summons etc etc etc

...

 

Nevermind the priest, ranger & druid  spells...

 

Most of these if not all were in the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale games... Even temporal manipulation as mentioned by aluminiumtrioxid was already in BG (remember timestop? Yeah it was overpowered as hell.) When I play a wizard in Pathfinder or DnD 3.5, I personally found this to be quite enough and the explanation and workings on them were pretty extensive. I am happy with how it was with the BG and icewind dale games and I find that games like Dungeons of Dredmor which have silly, parodical names for the spells and abilities (like a mustache golem) to be a bit too off-putting for a more serious game like Project Eternity. 

 

Some of these suggestions even get closer to a Sci-fi feel rather than a Fantasy feel. When i see things like "molecular deconstruction" and "Radiation fields, particle beams, structural disruption" I feel conflicted and not in the right place in that world. It's mostly because I feel like I'm not playing a fantasy game but rather that it's something set in the future with implants and I'd feel conflicted to see guys still running around with swords. If they'd understand the concepts of matter, radiation, and molecules, why would they still use swords? For me these suggestions would make less sense than the elements plus whatever else they were having myths or tales about back on whenever it was based on.

 

So yeah, I voted no because there is enough variety and voted other because the poll forced me to still pick one from the second row -.-

Edited by Waswat

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Oh, totally. As some have said, I'd honestly even be cool with the typical elements only, as long as more entertaining things were done with them than Fireball and Lightning Bolt. Even simple crap like creating an ice floe underneath an enemy so they trip on it is better than Magic Missile But With Fire/Ice/Lightning.

 

One of the most tremendously irritating things about basically every fantasy cRPG is that the offensive spells always boil down to a few Fire/Ice/Lightning AoE spells and a few Fire/Ice/Lightning Hit A Single Enemy spells. Where are the spells that make an enemy's blood literally boil, or the spells that warp enemies into pocket dimensions made of anguish, or the spells that create combat igloos for characters to hide in? It's magic, for God's sake! Go nuts!

 

I get that melee and ranged characters have to be roughly equivalent to magic users in terms of effectiveness, but that too often translates to "Give everyone roughly the same abilities, but give magic users sparkly particle effects to make it look like they're not doing what the other two archetypes are doing." Each class should stand out, not blend in, dammit!

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Elemental magic should be in the game with the different effects for different types of magic. That alone is not enough though. There should be instead many 'classes' of magic like damage, buffs/debuffs, summonings, enviromental stuff, telekinesis, ...

 

What I'd like to see is magic that alters the flow of the battle. For example summoning/throwing a rock/stalagmite that stays on the battlefield as a blockade, pushing and pulling enemies and friends, enviromental hazards like water and lava, that you can push enemies into, creating a tidal wave if you are near water, summon a lava elemental if you are near lava, summoning a storm/wind/heat/rain/snow, that alter your attacks and the attacks of the enemies, an ability like earthquake that lets you destroy other barriers (like the rock that you summoned),...

 

Imagine the possibilities; your party is facing an opponent in a somewhat narrow hallway. Your mage summons rocks/a hole that leads to hell or your fighter throws some stuff that lies around the battlefield to create a chokepoint. Then you block the choke with your warrior and your other mage prepares a massive aoe attack, that hits right after you pulled your fighter back with your telekinesis char. 

 

That seems much more fun to me then the difference between an arrowshot and a magic missle.

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I'd also add to my earlier thing that "elemental" types like water, wind and earth are sorely underrepresented compared to fire, and are probably more tactically interesting as you can do more with them than burn things and blow them up.  I always vaguely liked the idea of an enchantment that'd briefly enchant a weapon with the power of a big wave, giving you one colossally powerful hit that'd knockback even huge foes, spraying seafoam from it as it impacted.

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If you're looking for some examples of non-classical elements, there's a Japanese light novel series called "Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei" (Something like "The Poor Performing Student of a Magic High School") that categorizes magic by what you do to get the effects rather than the actual effects themselves, but it does mix a LOT of techno-magic explanations and magitek.

 

For a techno-magic explanation example, what would be considered "Cold" magic could be viewed as a "Deceleration attribute Vibration System" magic because you're slowing down molecules to create the freezing effect, but it can also apply to "Speed" magic because "Speed" magic in the series works by converting heat energy to movement and vice versa, so the faster something's moving from magic, the colder it is (if you don't apply other magic to deal with the cold).

 

For an example of magitek, virtually all spellcasters use a technological device called a "Casting Assistant Device" or "CAD" to cast spells because it pre-programs magic into electronic sequences to drop the casting time of magic to almost nil. They don't have to use it to cast magic, but it's a case of whether pressing one to three buttons is faster than making gestures and chanting.

 

Some of the explanations (and names) get a bit strange, but it is pretty consistent.

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I prefer magic not to have too much resemblance to modern technology; it should have a bit of mystery.

 

The use of the elements for magic, while heavily used, does have the benefit of allowing nice visual effects. I don't see a reason to avoid using that mechanic. But there are some possibilities for making it more diverse and unusual.

 

Not saying we need to avoid them, just put in some other ones as well. I just think PE should try new things as well.

 

Oh sure: animation, vivimancery, nephomancy, sapromancy, dueling magic, hedge magic, null-magic, ...


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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New Element Types:

 

 

Dairy - Behold, the power of cheese!

 

(Seriously, though)...

 

Light - What if you could actually manipulate light itself? As if it were water? Throw up a barrier around some enemies, and it's pitch-black within. Or maybe you have to physically create/block light sources, then draw from the pool of shadow/light in order to evoke effects. *shrug*

 

Metal - Maybe it could be separate from Earth, or just a branch within it? You could rip that torch-sconce off the wall and form it into a hawk, having it swipe literally razor-sharp talons at your foes for several minutes (or until they cease your channeling). OR, draw ores from the rocks to erect barriers to provide your party cover from ranged attackers.

 

Portal - You can link surfaces and spaces, to an extent. You could teleport some foes into a field of traps, or have their arrows -- coming at you -- end up striking those who fired them. Etc. Drop people through the floor/ground, and into a pit of lava 30 feet to the west.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I like the ancient Chinese elements.

 

The thing about "classical" elemental offensive attacks that we see in most fantasy settings is that these are very accessible to human understanding per their expected effects, which means from the gaming perspective, they're easier for players to quickly grasp. I'm fairly neutral about it overall, though. Animations may be problematic for fancier concepts.


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@leo:

 

I think most of us get that. But a Kickstarted game is a perfect test bed for weirder, wackier spells, because it doesn't need to satisfy Joe Lowest Common Denominator to be successful.

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I am. A new element to branch out of would be a great way to add replay value and something new to the genre. Fire, water, ice, earth, lightning have seen its fair share of use since the ancient greeks first go the idea they made up the cosmos. Well, now that its 2013, how about we draw some information from more current sources understanding? Biology, particle physics, quantum mechanics, there's a great deal of awesome fields of knowledge to draw inspiration for! Why isnt anyone trying something new like this? The setting doesn't necessarily demand it, theres no rule saying a fantasy rpg has to stay with old tropes, neither does it preclude the use of modern science-inspired elements, you can always rephrase them in a way that aligns them with the rest of the arcane world.

 

Yes, i realize some of the "elements" might best be suited as individual skills, but you get my point.

The "alternatives" you listed aren't "elements." And in the classical sense, ice (a phase of water, recognized even by ancients, Latin has a word, CONGELATIO, which means "freezing" or "to freeze," for instance,) and lightning aren't elements. Lightning isn't an element in reality, obviously. It's a phenomenon brought about by one of the four fundamental forces of the universe in the Standard Model: electromagnetism, gravity, the strong atomic force and the weak atomic force. And of course, there are no elementary forces in RPGs. What I'm tired of is a nonsensical set of "elements" in which one or more "element" isn't an element.

 

In the Western (Hellenic) tradition, the elements are air, water, fire and earth. In Chinese tradition it's fire, water, earth, wood and iron/metal. In Japan it's air, water, fire, earth and void. In Hinduism, it's air, water, fire, earth and akasha, which translates to "aether."

 

At any rate, back to my first point: none of your poll "alternatives" are elements. They're concepts and actions, not component materials. An element is a fundamental component material of the cosmos, not an action or a concept or a technique. Shapeshifting is not an element. Telekinesis is not an element. How can a world be made of shapeshifting?

Edited by AGX-17
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Cyphers will bring mind control with them....and will probably be the only class I ever play. Still I am fairly certain Obsidian will go well outside of the realm of everything that's been done before with this game....at least with the story. There are no greater storytellers out there than Obsidian(except maybe inXile) so when they say they want to keep the story completely under wraps until the game ships you know it's going to be mind blowing.


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"New" elements?

 

MEh, there's a reason these are classic. It's relaly hard to justify "polymorph" as an element..


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