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Physical, Mystical, Technological

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A variant of Three-Stat System which expands the Magic Versus Technology dichotomy by adding Charles Atlas Superpower to the mix: instead of learning magical spells or building crazy gadgets, you can just as well perfect your own body to reach equal levels of personal power.

The "strength" character/faction may symbolize people with low-to-mid technology and looking more down-to-earth compared to the magic and tech characters/factions. In a work that employs multiple (humanoid) races, the "strength" people tend to be normal humans, while elves often represent the "magic" faction, and dwarves, the "tech" faction.

Also included are Power Trios of characters who each represent one aspect of this trichotomy, without the latter necessarily being expressed in the Game System. Compare Fighter, Mage, Thief, which can overlap with this trope if the thief in question relies more on tech gadgets than on dexterity and back-stabs.


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  • In Dragon Ball Online, these are the three classes available for the human race: the physical-based Martial Artist, the magic-based Mystic, and the technology-based Engineer.
  • RF Online: the three playable races/factions are nicely put this way - Accretian Empire are all robots and uses (mostly) high tech equipments, Holy Alliance of Cora are Space Elves-like race with lots of mysticism, and the Belato Union are normal-ish short people. The last one can be geared towards either tech or magic depending on their class choice, however.

    Role-Playing Video Game 
  • The Mass Effect series has three main skill sets for Shepard and Ryder to develop: combat, tech, and biotics. Combat skills revolve around using common weapons more efficiently while taking more punishment than a normal person could; tech is all about hacking and building multi-purpose drones; and biotics are essentially space magic. This is particularly noticeable in the first Mass Effect, where each player class and each companion have a rating in each each of these three parameters, visible on the party selection screen.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura: The main gameplay divide is between tech and magic (using one greatly limits the other), with physical ability supporting either one.
  • The canceled Western RPG Project Resurgence would have been set in a post-apocalyptic world whose inhabitant tribes take conflicting approaches to rebuilding their world: some rely entirely on science and technology, some go for the newly-emergent magic (which nobody still quite understands), and some reject both in favor of perfecting their combat and other physical skills. The player would have been able to choose any of these approaches and even mix them, if they wanted to.
  • Torchlight has three classes: the Magic-based Alchemist, the Strength-based Destroyer and the Tech-based Vanquisher.
  • The central Power Trio of Chrono Trigger consists of the Master Swordsman Crono, the White Mage Marle, and the Gadgeteer Genius Lucca.
  • In 7th Dragon, most classes are focused on physical or magical damage. Then there's the Hacker and Agent classes from the Tokyo-based games, who have low damage output but provide tactical support by "hacking" enemies to debuff them, inflict status effects, or sap Mana from them.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Blades in the Dark has a strict Single Phlebotinum Limit and everything in the setting is powered by electroplasm, but there are different in-universe approaches to using it: spectrology, rituals, and arcane enchantments take a more mystical stance, while alchemy, spark-craft and plain-old industrial engineering champion the scientific approach. The seven available playbooks break down (almost) neatly into three equal groups: Lurks and, particularly, Whispers have mostly magic/arcane powers; Hounds and Leeches rely heavily on tech; and Cutters and Slides are largely all about the physical (whether violence or personal charisma). (Spiders sit comfortably in the middle of the net, without any truly superhuman abilities except foresight and management skills.)
  • The gameplay divide in early editions of Shadowrun was Street Samurai (strength), Mage/Shaman (magic), and Decker (tech). Later editions added more archetypes that blurred the lines like the Rigger, Technomancer, and Adepts.

    Other Genres 
  • In Stellaris' Utopia expansion, you are able to take on Ascension Perks (special modifiers that grant you a huge boost in certain aspects, such as a massively-increased military limit, or a boost to border size). There are six ascension perks, split up into three groups of two that are mutually exclusive to each other and which fill this purpose. Psionic Theory fills magic ("Mind over Matter" and "Transcendence"), allowing civilizations to gain telepathy and other supernatural abilities, which allows them to communicate with the otherwise-unintelligible endgame crises, as well as pierce the shroud and gain powerful modifiers. Gene Tailoring ("Engineered Evolution" and "Evolutionary Mastery") fills Strength, allowing you to modify your any species within the empire to remove negative traits and replace them with positive ones, with the second-tier Ascended Trait adding special options for gene modding that no one else can access. Synthetic Evolution ("The Flesh is Weak" and "Synthetic Evolution") fill tech, as civilizations may choose to convert their entire citizenry into synthetics/robots, meaning they will never die of natural causes, and do not need food to survive, giving you one less resource to have to worry about.
  • System Shock 2 begins with the player choosing a career as a Marine specialising in weapons, a Navy agent capable of hacking into technology or an OSA agent specialising in Psychic Powers.
  • Starbound's endgame armor features such a branch: The Accelerator (Aegisalt ore) path is the technological path, where ranged weapons like guns receive a damage boost and an efficiency boost due to high energy restoration; the Manipulator (Ferozium) path is the magical path, providing the highest bonuses to staff and wand users; and the Separator (Violium) path is the strength path, providing health and melee damage bonuses when equipped.
  • Kingdom Rush and its sequel fit this in regards to the four tower types. Archers and Barracks are the Physical towers, doing melee damage and in the latter case spawning soldiers to block enemies and attack them with swords. Mage towers are the Magical units, whose attacks deal magic damage and are effective against foes with high physical armor. Finally, the Artillery towers are the Tech units, who specialize in physical Splash Damage via liberal use of explosives, and/or electricity.
  • Iron Marines has three categories of deployable troops. Army, which are base humans wielding guns and armor and closest to the "Physical" units, Empyreans, which are psionic aliens and the "Magical" units, and Mechs, which are Mini-Mecha with high-tech weaponry and drones and are the "Tech" units.