In nearly every Role-Playing Game, whether it be eastern, western, or tabletop, there's magic (and where there isnt magic, theres usually a functionally-nigh-identical substitute, such as Psychic Powers, alchemy, Supernatural Martial Arts, or advanced technology). And because there's magic (or something that functions like magic), the first thing you need is a set of combat-oriented spells that help your party of playable characters win battles.
Either due to a case of Strange Minds Think Alike, or a case of following a tried-and-true way, a lot of RPGs have a lot of the same spells. The base set generally includes offensive magic, curative spells, status buffs, and status ailments. Like all patterns, there are always exceptions; these are just the most common ones.
OffensiveOffensive spells tend to be elemental in nature, with the most common setups typically being Fire, Ice, Lightning or the Four-Element Ensemble. Oftentimes, they are all included in a collection of other elements. Many games give fire as the initial elemental spell, with the player gradually gaining the other elements along the way. Several RPGs also have Non-Elemental spells, which are often acquired late-game, completely excluded from Elemental RockPaperScissors, and possibly more powerful than the elemental spells.
Most RPGs have offensive magic come in multiple "levels" of strength. In general, higher-level magic tends to deal more damage per casting than lower-level magic, but at an increasing cost of Mana/MP. Higher-level magic is sometimes less MP-efficient in terms of Damage per MP than lower-level magic, with the trade-off being more damage per turn.
Several games also have offensive magic as being the most effective way to hit all enemies at once, and some include the ability to choose whether to attack a single target or multiple targets, with the multiple targets option generally splitting the damage between them.
- Elemental Powers
- Poisonous Person (occasionally an elemental attack)
- Herd-Hitting Attack
- Mana Burn
- Mana Drain
- One-Hit KO
- Percent Damage Attack
- Status-Buff Dispel
- Summon Magic
Curative/RestorativeThe first type of curative magic seen across all RPGs is the type that simply restores HP. Much like offensive magic, this type of spell often comes in multiple levels, with higher levels restoring more HP than lower levels but at a higher MP cost. The second type is the revival spell. When a character is KO'd in battle, revival spells allow another character to bring the first out of the KO'd state so that he can keep fighting. In most games, however, they often only revive a character with only a portion of their full HP restored, occasionally with stronger versions that revive the character with more HP restored at the cost of using more MP. Several games have an Auto-Revive variation that automatically revives a character when he or she is KO'd.
The third type is the spell that removes status ailments. Depending on the game, one spell can remove all ailments, or each spell is specialized to remove a specific status ailment. Spells that remove "magical" status ailments can also be used to remove positive status effects (described below).
Status Buffs and debuffsStatus buffs and debuffs directly affect the parameters that calculate damage done (attack and defense), hit chance (accuracy and evasion), or priority. They temporarily increase or decrease the numerical values of the stats, with the new numerical value being used as in damage calculations until the end of the battle. These types of buffs and debuffs generally have the ability to stack on top of one another, but there is often a cap above which or below which stats can't go higher or lower respectively. Games with this type of buff often have a "neutralizer" that returns the stats of all characters in battle to normal.
Positive Status EffectsSimilar to status buffs, they affect the various stats that affect gameplay, but they tend to be simpler in their calculation, usually doubling or halving damage done or outright completely nullifying damage, for example. The most common type is the shield, which most often halves the amount of damage you take. In some cases, there could be more powerful shields that completely nullify the damage taken. In many games, there are two types of shields: one that shields from physical attacks and one that shields magical attacks.
Another common type of positive status effect is the "brave" or "valor" spell, which increases (most often, doubles) the amount of damage dealt, often only applied to physical attacks. These types of spells tend to wear off after the first use.
Games with this type of magic tend to classify it in the same boat as Status Ailments to make one pool of Status Effects. Often, these can be removed by the opponent with a spell that specializes in removing status effects.
Status Ailment-causing magicSee also: Standard Status Effects
While the exact effects of ailment-causing magic is explained on the page above, the methods of causing them are also a pattern among RPGs. Some RPGs have status effects being caused by otherwise non-damaging spells, while others have them as a chance-based side-effect of damaging moves, and still others have them as a 100% effect of damaging moves. Sometimes RPGs can have all three types.
In general, Fire, Ice, Lightning spells tend to be part of the second type. A common pattern is that Fire spells cause the burn status, Ice spells cause the freeze status, and Lightning spells cause the paralysis status. Poison spells also tend to do damage and cause the poison status, either as a 100% attack or as an occasional side effect.
Status ailments that are often relegated to the first type (non-damaging moves that immediately cause the ailment) include confuse, silence, and immobility.
- Baleful Polymorph
- Charm Person
- Harmless Freezing
- Static Stun Gun
- Taken for Granite
- Turn Undead
- Universal Poison