Brief Overview of Magic in L’Astra Vojego

Tonight I want to briefly describe the magic system for L’Astra Vojego, the game I’ve been working on for a couple of years. Despite being a shmup it has a number of mechanics from the role-playing genre, and magic is one of those. However, we—i.e. my teammates—wanted to avoid the typical classification of spells that you see in so many games. I must admit that I was personally inspired by Dark Souls and how it divides spells into Sorceries, Miracles, Pyromancies, and Hexes, as opposed to something like Fire, Earth, Water, and whatever else Captain Planet and the Planeteers used.

L’Astra Vojego takes place in what we call the ‘Astral Plane’, and in that place is a number of ‘Celestials’. Some are so powerful that their sheer willpower and essence shapes the environment around them. This is the fundamental idea behind the game’s magic system. The following is from our internal wiki:

‘Magic‘ in the Astral Plane is not magic in the classic sense of wizards and warlocks. Instead magic is a concrete manifestation of emotions. For example, some people, when confronted with a life-or-death situation may evoke a defensive barrier around themselves. That would be the result of extreme Fear affecting the surrounding world. Fundamentally this is the same concept and phenomenon by which certain Celestials shape their environment based on their personalities and feelings. It is not known whether or not all humans have the capacity to use magic in the Astral Plane, but research has shown it is possible for people who either possess carefully refined emotional control, or who are reacting to extreme duress.

The notes mention Fear because all magic has its roots in six emotions:

  1. Anger
  2. Disgust
  3. Fear
  4. Happiness
  5. Sadness
  6. Surprise

Example magical manifestations of each:

  1. Immolation
  2. Polymorphism
  3. Deflection
  4. Restoration
  5. Miasma
  6. Disorientation

Some spells can also be ’hybrids’, having multiple roots. Concerning the actual gameplay mechanics, as the player becomes stronger she will be able to invest ‘points’ in these emotions, which represents her developing control over them and thus the ability to harness them into more powerful spells.

We hope gamers will find this to be a more interesting magic system than the standard role-playing game fare. I’ll be posting more details as we continue to develop the spells themselves. If you have any questions or thoughts, good or bad, please post them in the comment field below.

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2 thoughts on “Brief Overview of Magic in L’Astra Vojego

  1. That is an awesome idea. I know you’re planning on having branching story paths; will the player’s choice of emotional focus affect things like dialogue, or even options for actions during gameplay? I am very excited to see this system implemented; I can’t think of another magic system that uses emotional roots like this.

    1. Affecting story paths is certainly something to be considered. Ideally it would go both ways, i.e. certain story choices may increase Anger while having a certain amount of Anger would open up specific story choices. Although not all of those choices would be obvious. Something I’ll write about in the future is the idea of some story choices being made automatically without the player being presented with a menu or anything, where those choices are automatically mde based on previous actions. The idea being to avoid the scenario in many RPGs where you can play a good character for much of the game but then arbitrarily do some evil shit at any time, e.g. Mass Effect.

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