All right. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I think I’ve got my god powers nailed down.
Basically I wanted god powers to be split into different schools which the player would then improve over time. I rejected the “classic four” of earth, fire, air and water since they are beyond cliché at this point; anyone who uses them deserves a quick nun-style whack on the knuckles.
Magic: The Gathering’s five schools of magic are extraordinarily well done, but I didn’t want to rip them off directly. Plus I wanted at least three powers in each school, which would have meant fifteen powers. That would have been hard to do while keeping to my second rule – that each power be distinct.
Populous 2 had six schools, but several of them are weak and all the “good” powers could be easily consolidated down to four schools.
So that’s what I did. There are four schools of magic in Planitia:
Yellow – Earth effects
Red – Fire effects
Blue – Sky effects
Green – Plant/growth effects
Now, let’s get back to the second rule. I wanted each god power to be distinct and have its own role. So I made a list of what god powers can effectively do in Planitia:
Damage or kill units
Throw units around (important because units take additional damage from falling and can be knocked int water or off the map, plus looks cool)
Uneven terrain (requires the opposing god to smooth it out before it can be used again)
Ruin terrain (requires the opposing god to improve it before it can be used again)
With that in mind, here’s what I’m thinking:
Yellow School (Earth Effects):
Flatten – Flattens terrain, fixes earthquakes, allows villages to grow
Earthquake – Land unevener, unit thrower
Red (Fire Effects):
Flame Column – Moves around randomly, ruins land, burns building and instakills units – Powerful but uncontrollable
Green (Growth Effects):
Bless – 3×3 cell area – Fixes ruined land, allows villages to grow faster (the bless wears off, but the ruin fix is permanent)
Swamp – Any unit walking into it dies, lasts 1 minute or until it sucks up three people – Area denial
Blue (Sky Effects):
Lightning – Single unit instakiller
Lightning Storm – Area denial – hangs over an area and zaps anyone (FRIEND OR FOE) who comes into it, lasts 1 minute or so
Now we come to the BIG effects, the ones that can end a game quickly. In order to get a major effect, you must max out two neighboring schools of magic.
Yellow + Red = Volcano. Creates a mountain of ruined land, damaging anyone in the affected area over time. The volcano will spew fireballs which create Flame Columns when they hit the ground for one minute, then the volcano will go inactive. The volcano cannot be fixed until it goes inactive. Since an army can quickly run away from it, it’s better used on villages than armies.
Red + Blue = Meteor. A meteor descends from the sky on the targeted area, badly damaging every unit it directly hits and throwing any units nearby a long way. Does not ruin land and does not affect buildings, so it’s better used on armies than villages.
Blue + Green = Healing Rain. Creates a cloud of healing rain that hangs in the air for one minute. Any friendly unit that comes into the affected area is instantly fully healed. Can really take the edge off a meteor or volcano.
Green + Yellow = Golem. A massive earth golem is created that immediately heads for the nearest enemy unit and attacks it by kicking it. When that unit is dead it heads for the next one, etc. One golem can take on an entire army and villagers are pretty much defenseless against it, but once you create it you cannot control it. (It won’t attack your units, though.)
Max All Schools = Armageddon. Clicking this button turns every unit on every side into a Barbarian and causes them to seek out and attack the nearest enemy unit. When the fighting is done the side that still has units is declared the winner of the game. Enemy players can still use god powers, but since army units do not regenerate mana once they run out they won’t get any more. Do NOT cast unless you’re damn sure you not only outnumber the enemy, but that he doesn’t have a Meteor or Golem up his sleeve.
CURRENT PROBLEMS WITH THIS SYSTEM: I’ve only got one fire effect. (Honestly, how many different ways can you burn things?) The two Blue effects are too similar. “Bless” and “Flatten” are absolute necessities so it seems kind of mean to force users to waste their experience points buying them.