Magic (gaming)

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A mana bar or magic bar, used to keep track of a character's magic points (MP) in a video game. Mana bar.PNG
A mana bar or magic bar, used to keep track of a character's magic points (MP) in a video game.

Magic or mana is an attribute assigned to characters within a role-playing or video game that indicates their power to use special abilities or "spells". Magic is usually measured in magic points or mana points, shortened as MP. Different abilities will use up different amounts of MP. [1] When the MP of a character reaches zero, the character won't be able to use special abilities until some of their MP is recovered. [2]

Role-playing game Game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting

A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Magic in fiction magic depicted in fictional stories

Magic in fiction is the endowment of characters or objects in works of fiction with powers that do not naturally occur in the real world.

Contents

Much like health, magic might be displayed as a numeric value, such as "50/100". Here, the first number indicates the current amount of MP a character has whereas the second number indicates the character's maximum MP. In video games, magic can also be displayed visually, such as with a gauge that empties itself as a character uses their abilities. [3]

Health (gaming) gaming-related attribute

Health or vitality is an attribute assigned to entities such as characters or objects within role-playing games and video games, that indicates their continued ability to function. Health is usually measured in hit points or health points, shortened to HP which lowers by set amounts when the entity is attacked or injured. When the HP of a player character or non-player character reaches zero, that character is incapacitated and barred from taking further action. In some games, such as those with cooperative multiplayer and party based role playing games, it may be possible for an ally to revive a character who has reached 0 hit points and let them return to action. In single player games, running out of health usually equates to "dying" and losing a life or receiving a Game Over.

History

The magic system in pen-and-paper role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons is largely based on patterns established in the novels of author Jack Vance. In this system, the player character can only memorize a fixed number of spells from a list of spells. Once this spell is used once, the character forgets it and becomes unable to use it again. [1] [4] [5] [6]

<i>Dungeons & Dragons</i> Fantasy role-playing game

Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR). The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997. It was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system. D&D's publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.

Jack Vance American mystery and speculative fiction writer

John Holbrook "Jack" Vance was an American mystery, fantasy, and science fiction writer. Though most of his work has been published under the name Jack Vance, he also wrote 9 mystery novels using his full name John Holbrook Vance, three under the pseudonym Ellery Queen, and one each using the pseudonyms Alan Wade, Peter Held, John van See, and Jay Kavanse. Some editions of his published works give his year of birth as 1920.

"Mana" is a word that comes from Polynesian languages meaning something along the lines of "supernatural power". The concept of mana was introduced in Europe by missionary Robert Henry Codrington in 1891 and was popularized by Mircea Eliade in the 1950s. It was first introduced as a magical fuel used to cast spells in the 1969 short story, "Not Long Before the End", by Larry Niven. It has since become a common staple in both role-playing and video games. [1]

Mana Polynesiain spiritural practice

Mana, in Austronesian languages, means "power", "effectiveness", and "prestige". In most cases, this power and its source are understood to be supernatural and inexplicable. Its semantics are language-dependent. The concept is significant in Polynesian culture and is part of contemporary Pacific Islander culture; it came to the attention of Western anthropologists through reports from island missionaries. Its study was included in cultural anthropology—specifically, the anthropology of religion.

Polynesian languages Language family

The Polynesian languages form a language family spoken in geographical Polynesia and on a patchwork of outliers from south central Micronesia to small islands off the northeast of the larger islands of the southeast Solomon Islands and sprinkled through Vanuatu. Linguistic taxonomists classify them as a subgroup of the much larger and more varied Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family.

Missionary member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism

A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.

Mechanisms

Because skills and abilities are not usually lost, a game designer might decide to limit the use of such an ability by linking its use to magic points. This way, after using an ability, the player is required to rest or use an item to replenish their character's MP. This is done for balancing, so that each skill does not have an infinite casting ability with equal results every time. [7]

Player character fictional character in a role-playing or video game that can be played or controlled by a real-world person

A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.

"Magic" may be substituted with psychic powers, spiritual power, advanced technology or other concepts that would allow a character to influence the world around them that is not available in real life. Magic is often restricted to a specific class of character, such as a "mage" or "spellcaster", while other character classes have to rely on melee combat or physical projectiles. [8] Other character classes, such as those that rely on melee attacks, may also have a "magic" bar that limits their special abilities, although they are usually called something different, such as the Barbarian's "Fury" in Diablo 3 .

In role-playing games (RPG), a character class is a job or profession commonly used to differentiate the abilities of different game characters. A character class aggregates several abilities and aptitudes, and may also detail aspects of background and social standing, or impose behavior restrictions. Classes may be considered to represent archetypes, or specific careers. RPG systems that employ character classes often subdivide them into levels of accomplishment, to be attained by players during the course of the game. It is common for a character to remain in the same class for its lifetime; although some games allow characters to change class, or attain multiple classes. Some systems eschew the use of classes and levels entirely; others hybridise them with skill-based systems or emulate them with character templates.

In video games, MP can often be restored by consuming magic potions or it may regenerate over time. Status effects are temporary modification to a game character’s original set of stats. A character may cast a spell that inflicts a positive or negative status effect on another character. [8]

In role-playing games

In both tabletop role-playing games and role-playing video games, magic is most usually used to cast spells during battles. However, in tabletop RPGs, unlike in video games, magic has many uses outside of combat situations, such as using love spells on NPCs to gain information. [8] [9] Some games base the strength and amount of a character's magic on stats such as "wisdom" or "intelligence". These stats are used because they are easy to keep track of and develop in pen-and-paper RPGs. [2]

Some games introduce a separate point system per skill. For example, in the Pokémon games, each skill of each fighting character has its own "Power Points" (PP). If the PP of only one of its skills are depleted, that specific Pokémon still has three other skills to choose from. [10]

In god games

In god games, the player's power is usually called mana and grows along with the number and prosperity of the player's worshipers. Here, the population size influences the maximum amount of mana the player has and the rate at which their mana restores itself when it is below that maximum. Using "godly powers" consumes mana, but such actions are necessary to increase the number and prosperity of the population. [8]

See also

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References

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  4. "Vancian". Archived from the original on 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
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