What do you like in low power mage battles?

Discussion in 'Author Discussions' started by Fishy_MC_FishMan, Feb 27, 2021.

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What do you like in low power mage battles? (select all that apply)

  1. Defensive magic is good.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Dodging is good.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Counters spells are good.

    1 vote(s)
    8.3%
  4. I preferred weird magic like hiding in the shadows.

    1 vote(s)
    8.3%
  5. Escape, and/or special movement, spells are good.

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
  6. He who strikes first wins.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Staying hidden, and sniping the enemy, is the way to go.

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  8. Melee components are important even for mage battles.

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
  9. The best thing isn’t included above.

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. Fishy_MC_FishMan

    Fishy_MC_FishMan The Fishiest of Fishes

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    So I’m writing a story with a low power (at least for now) mage MC, and I’m thinking about how to make his fights interesting. So what type of fighting style do you think is good for magic users who aren’t too op? Is just throwing spells (such as fireballs) at the enemy good enough, or does there need to be some kind of melee component?

    One issue I’m having with this is how avoidable should magic spells be. If it is too easy to escape the effects of magic spells then they seem worthless (which is bad since my MC is a magic user), but if spells are always effective it’s also kind of boring (who wants every fight to end quickly with a few fireballs).

    Well, maybe some of these problems would be lessened if I focused more on group fighting. That seems like a good way to add complexity to low power battles without having to think too hard.

    Anyways, if you feel like it please share your thoughts about this matter.
     
  2. Hamski

    Hamski Well-Known Member

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    I don't really like when two people stand across from each other and lug spells at each other. It's kind of boring. If you want to spice it up, you can add melee combat. What I like the most though is technicals and a hard magic system. Getting into the nitty gritty of how magic works and perhaps some specialization will really make things more interesting. This is the most entertaining but also the most difficult choice.

    You could also take away that option of characters being able to control fire, water, etc magic in its entirety and replacing that with them only knowing specific spells. This way they cast specific spells for specific actions, allowing the reader to better envision combat while also making fights more tactical and entertaining. Perhaps complete connection to an element could be the endgame. Please don't have them yell out or chant spells though :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  3. Darius Drake

    Darius Drake A poster of verbose posts

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    I chose "not even included in the list", as what I prefer in low-power mage battles is interesting utilisation of spells. This is things like the layering of weak spells to make a stronger effect (eg. casting water spells followed by a freeze spell to freeze an area), using spells that have "missed" to set up, or just activate, traps, and using magic alongside known items to create a specialised effect. Most stories just make the protagonist a "Melee Mage", someone who utilises weapons & spells that imitate weapons to fight in close quarters while they're using their spells, usually without explaining how they can easily go toe-to-toe with someone who's supposedly their equivalent in power but focused purely on physical prowess and weapon use. Hint, they shouldn't be able to, but broken MC is broken because story.

    As for how "avoidable" spells should be, I recommend making it a variable. That is to say, spells don't have anything like an "auto-tracking" function, but can include a "remote control" function... at a notable cost to power output. Speed of the spells should also be affected, with them having a constant movement speed in their simplest, most powerful, utilisation, while the "remote control" methods requires the controller to control the speed. As for defensive spells, particularly the most story-prevalent full-cover barrier spells, if you make it so that they work both ways, it will generally mean that the caster can't use spells to counter-attack while their barrier is up. If you make it so that this only affects spells and spell-effect residue, those simple full-barrier defensive spells could even be the single spell that most non-mages learn to defend themselves against mages, as they aren't affected by it in combat (and, often, outside of combat).

    To simplify the second paragraph, my recommendation on avoidable spells is to make fairly easily avoidable "Powerful Spells", potentially hard to avoid "Weak Spells", and "Defensive Spells that mostly benefit those not fighting with spells by neutralising Weak Spells and weakening Powerful Spells". How you specifically have people utilise spells is up to you, but I agree that yells/chants is one of the most silly ways, just a bit better than the "simply believing is enough to affect the rules of reality" cop-out.
     
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  4. cryum

    cryum Well-Known Member

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    Try reading Frieren at the Funeral
     
  5. Darius Drake

    Darius Drake A poster of verbose posts

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    That doesn't have any low-power mage battles. Those are high-power mage battles, particularly when Frieren fights. I mean, how the story showcases the development of combat magic through time by utilising the Unsealing of the Demon General is a good thing, but it doesn't fit this conversation.
     
  6. cryum

    cryum Well-Known Member

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    Considering the flow of the conversation in this thread, I think the development of combat magic and the theming for specialization and learning capacity is very much relevant for "fighting styles", whether it's low-power or high.
     
  7. Feng Tian

    Feng Tian Well-Known Member

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    The difference between low-power and high-power is fairly small anyway. The same rules apply, just that in one case someone throws a pebble and in the other a house gets casually nuked by a shockwave. Rule of thumb: What a magic can do does not matter all that much. What it can't do is what determines the entire thing.
     
  8. MidstNost

    MidstNost 【Boss Lan's Simp】

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    There's more room for violence, a battle of attrition. The fight scenes in Azarinth Healer is a prime example of that, It's not just one-hit-go-boom which makes the fight scenes more grittier and brutal.
     
  9. Feng Tian

    Feng Tian Well-Known Member

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    That would assume the high-powered mages don't have buffed defenses. Highly unlikely. What would change is how battles develop around them.
     
  10. Darius Drake

    Darius Drake A poster of verbose posts

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    There's several notable differences between high powered magic battles and low powered magic battles. The main one being that most high powered battles are treated as one-hit-wins, while low powered battles are treated as street-side scuffles. This does happen with other high-powered fights, but it's more prevalent in mage battles than any others.

    The way low-powered mage battles are often handled, most of the time it's a case of finding a route to victory, or at least escape, and exploiting that route before the other person realises, ending the fight with both parties alive. The way high-powered mage battles are often handled, when they don't make the Mage MC an all-rounder who's most used combat spell creates a weapon for them to fight with, is that they seek to overpower their opponent's defences while maintaining their own. Sure, they throw counter spells or neutralise their opponents spells, particularly when it's powerful enough to actually threaten their defences, but the main bulk of the mage battle is devastating the landscape throwing one-hit-wins at each other...regularly while the melee characters fight in the middle of the devastation trying to kill the enemy mage so that their own mage ends the fight. Alternatively, the mage is fighting some sort of giant (be it Monster, Machine, or otherwise), and is playing distraction as the only weapon able to damage said giant.

    In other words, at high-power, non-all-rounder Mages (usually MC all-rounder Mages in OP Protagonist Stories, though they do pop up in other story types) are treated as glass cannons who can't take a hit, but generally don't need to because they can one-shot most enemy's if they get their spells off. If you want a thrilling fight, the mage is always neutralised, be it by becoming a damsel in distress, or by having an equally threatening enemy mage countering them. This is, of course, only when the mage in question is considered high power in the context of the magical world that they are in. Harry Dresden of the Dresden Files, for example, is not a high-power mage simply because mages are so significantly outclassed by the various supernatural horrors his world has, many of which have magic themselves, regularly matching, if not surpassing, Dresden's own. And that's among the relatively mook-level supernatural beings & races.
     
  11. Feng Tian

    Feng Tian Well-Known Member

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    And your lose line one with a fallacy. You simply assume for no reason that a high powered mage does not have equally absurd defenses. Most of them do, for that matter. And low-power mages can instakill most opponents. As long they have a way to bypass the enemies armour, be it straight up bypassing or piercing, the enemy also is likely to die in a single hit. What you are talking in the second part about is low-power vs high power, which is another matter alltogether.
     
  12. Uselessdead23

    Uselessdead23 Member

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    Their fighting style should depend on their personality as well please don't forget, it's what made them a Character, it will be great if you can explain on why is the MC like that, what is the reason/logic behind that?, Everything is connected and have a reason after all.

    If it's just the start and the MC is still weak, show his flaws in his fighting style.
    Just give it a pro and con, you can do anything with magic, if you already know what kind systems of magic they used, then this is gonna be easy. As everything is clear, the limitations and possibilities etc. You should probably focus more on world building so you won't get confuse later on, idk just my opinion.
     
  13. Darius Drake

    Darius Drake A poster of verbose posts

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    I was talking about how most stories present high powered mage battles against how they present low powered mage battles, so you're outright wrong. I'll clarify in the next paragraph. And that's ignoring the fact that you make a statement at the end that says that I'M talking about something different all together than what we're talking about, while calling it the SAME THING WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. Please be more clear in how you word things, because I'm going to ignore your last statement there until you reword it to something that makes sense to me. Because "We're talking about low-powered and high-powered mages, low-powered and high-powered is another matter" is contradictory.

    The reason why you're outright wrong is because, while a Mage's defences do improve with their power, it is usually treated as notably slower than their offensive growth, and less than the offensive and defensive growth of those comparable to them in other areas. Using RPG-like levels to set an example, a level 5 Warrior and a level 5 Mage can be reasonably comparable in offensive and defensive potential. A level 50 General Warrior has about average offensive and defence for their level, while a level 50 Mage has incredible offensive, and some defence, not even reasonable defence, for their level. To clarify further, the level 50 Mage is often treated as if they have offensive power equivalent to a level 60 (if not higher) Warrior, and defensive ability equivalent to a level 35 to 40 Warrior. That difference leads them to be treated as someone who, if hit in a reasonable fight, will auto-lose, while if they get a good hit in, should auto-win. This statement is, of course, only paying attention to "Pure Mage's", and thus ignores the Mage-Fighter Type, who fights in close with either weapons they buff with spells, conjured, or otherwise showcase the fact that they are supposed to be a "Mage" despite the fact that, when facing opponents of similar level to them, they usually fight in close combat.

    These are great recommendations, shame the amount of people who actually do this in their writing are few and far between. Sometimes it's because the character's supposed to have learnt their fighting style over years of training, but it would still have flaws, personal quirks and other openings.

    Actually, while this doesn't apply to mage battles, there is a Real World Martial Arts example that I can give. You know the terms "Defence is the Best Offense" and "Offense is the Best Defence"? Well, there's real world examples of how this can be displayed, based on how some of the Martial Arts Teachers in Japan used to encourage others to fight, and fought themselves.

    Defence is the Best Offense was displayed in the popular way most decided to respond to a straight-line punch. That was to step to the side, deflect with one arm to ensure you don't get hit, and strike with your other arm in an now open target (before moving onto something else, because you're in a street fight and stopping just because you landed a good hit is stupid). That is to say, using defence to create openings to exploit for offence.

    Offense is the Best Defence was displayed by someone who rejected that method and presented their own way to respond to a straight-line punch. And that was to respond with your own straight-line punch, one that pushes your opponent's punch out of the way as you punch them in the face (again, before following up with other things, because street fight). You can step to the side, and may need to in order to angle your punch to deflect correctly, but the point is to attack and defend with one motion.

    Unfortunately, there is no standard of this in how magic is usually presented. The closest would be either neutralising an attack spell with another attack spell, usually of it's opposing element, or creating a defensive wall either as the basis of trapping an opponent, or as a platform from which to launch additional attacks (Ice Walls creating Ice Spikes in a relatively common example). I have seen one recently where, in a VRMMO story I'm reading, a person raised an ice wall expecting their enemy to smash through it, only to cast a wind spell to turn the shattered ice wall into a blizzard of shards and harm their opponents with that. I mention it purely because that type of writing is rare. Admittedly, the person in question was stated to be a top-10 player world-wide, and was fighting dozens of players that are top 1000+ at the highest players and it was thus a high-powered mage fighting swarms of comparable mook characters, so I can't call that a high-powered mage battle, but still, it's an example using Defensive Spells for Offense.
     
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  14. Uselessdead23

    Uselessdead23 Member

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    If there is no standard then create one.
    You are the author afterall. Basically the God lol.
    That's why I said to do the world building first so you know what you are doing and that you won't get confused.
    I do karate, taekwondo,and arnis my sensei is all in one and I'm favored by him so i basically learned it all for free.

    And I agree with you, I'm the type of person who always attack first as I am an impatient person and I don't like waiting.
    I believe in the offence is the best defence. I like to bombarded my opponents with attacks after I strike them first, and so while I'm doing that, I'm advancing with every steps and attacks so I'm pushing them slowly out of the ring.
    Since they don't have time to rensponse,and i always take advantage of that. And since it's just really a competition and they have rules i just do that lol, it will just take seconds in real life if that took action. I know it kinda sound unfair but that's just how the world works
     
  15. Feng Tian

    Feng Tian Well-Known Member

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    If I lerned one thing from martial arts it is that the one who strikes first with the least mercy wins. Often right there. Its how self defence works and you rarely need to hit a third or 4th time with taekwondo. A normie is gone with the first hit. No idea how to minimize the damage they will receive and most martial arts can and will send people to the ground very quickly.

    In regards to magic that is a poor concept tho. Obviously you can turn your magic into whatever you want, and so I see no reason why the previous poster would instantly assume he only has the oneshot options. But why a oneshot fest? Never understood why people would do that with high end magic since the big shots could and would simply stat check anything weaker than them by firing large aoes and/or precision attacks with homing capabilities. In my own story the power ceiling can oneshot a city, but most of the time they are actually a threat due to their bfc and defense. Battles will likely develop around them in an attempt to drain the opponents energy first.