It just needs a little Magicka

Today we continue with our game design challenge and look at health, magicka, and stamina.


Health, Magicka and Stamina

This wouldn’t be an Elder Scrolls game without Magicka and Stamina. This begs the question, how are we even going to cast spells?

The RPG doesn’t have a stat for magic, but it does have 2 health values. Health (obvious) and strain.

Strain is a mental exhaustion. It’s easier to take strain (you can do so voluntarily to take an extra maneuver each round) but it is also much easier to recover.

Stamina seems like the equivalent to strain. In Skyrim you can sprint and power attack, consuming stamina for extra speed or damage.

How about Magicka now? I think we’re going to need a new stat so let’s just call it Magicka. We will give our spells a cost and players must have enough Magicka to cast them.

Since stamina and Magicka regenerate during the course of a battle it feels like we’ll need a way to easily represent them. Tokens seem like an easy way to do this.

When you cast a spell or power attack you remove the required amount of tokens from your character. Perhaps each round you restore some of them, depending on your characteristics.

Now we have a resource pool of stamina and Magicka, I’ll leave health out for the moment. How do we decide how much each player starts with?


Tying things to characteristics

I really like having things tied to characteristics. It makes sense that your Magicka ability would be linked with your natural affinity for magic.

This also allows simple stat changes to alter how a character plays, and their characteristics flow through all the mechanics.

We originally split our characteristics into 3 groups. Brawn and Agility for combat, Willpower and Intellect for magic, and Cunning and Dexterity for stealth.


Let’s sum these together to get our max stamina and Magicka. So if our character has :

  • Brawn 3
  • Agility 2
  • Willpower 2
  • Intellect 1
  • Cunning 2
  • Dexterity 1


Max stamina = brawn + agility = 3 + 2 = 5

Max Magicka = willpower + intellect = 2 + 1 = 3


What about stealth?

This seems to make sense but stealth seems left out. I Would like the game mechanics to be somewhat uniform. I also don’t want certain stats to have more weight, or just be inherently better.

Stealth is interesting because you’re not really using physical or magical resources in Skyrim. Really you just use patience and move slowly to sneak.

I guess it’s more of a mental talent really. Let’s say Focus? That seems like a good mental resource name.

We’ll give our character a max focus of 3, calculated the same as stamina and Magicka but using the stealth characteristics.


Our next step is going to be figuring out how our characters regenerate resources. I’ll tackle that in the next post!


Thanks for reading,