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How do you call "spells" in sci-fi? (SOLVED)

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Templar-kun
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In fantasy world, "spells" can do anything - attack your opponent, give you 4 mana points or change two yellow cubes to a one extra die.
What is equivalent of spells in sci-fi? I'm sure there is a word, I just can't figure it out.

SOLVED!
Here are all the words from all contributers:
Powers, Technologies, Tech, Abilities, Weapons, Upgrades, Items, Actions, Modules, Retrofits, Subsystems, Enhancements, Modifier, Tactics, Commands, Strategies, Science, Research, Skill.

Cyberpunk or magical:
Spike, Slice, Implant, Hack, Code, Binary, Software, Malware,
Psychic, Psyker, Technomancy

My original post:
Is it "technology"? But "I use technology to deal 3 dmg" doesn't sound as good as "I cast a spell to deal 3 dmg". I can't name "weapon" or "blaster", because not every "spell" deals dmg.
I want to use in for enhancing robots or space ships.
The way I will use it is - I will have a list of items that a player can gain every round, it will stay open on the table, so that a player can use it to make his robot/spaceship act better. Best thing I came up with is "upgrades". But as an example above - "I use this upgrade to deal dmg" doesn't sound good. But maybe I'm wrong...

Edit: Here are random examples of items you can get:
*Hologram: pay 2 energy to swap two units.
*Energy beam: pay 3 energy to deal 2 dmg.
*Supercharge: gain 4 energy.

X3M
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Take a look at starcraft. The

Take a look at starcraft.
The "mana" is often called energy.
Sometimes the energy has a name, psycic energy for a psycic storm. Or it is named by the ability only, "consume".

Templar-kun
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X3M wrote:Take a look at

X3M wrote:
Take a look at starcraft.
The "mana" is often called energy.
Sometimes the energy has a name, psycic energy for a psycic storm. Or it is named by the ability only, "consume".

I already use "energy" as a replacement for "mana", this one is easy. What I need is replacement for "spells".

polyobsessive
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Actions?

Sounds like you are talking about "actions" or something like that.

What is your rationale for thinking about actions in a SF setting in terms of spells?

Steve Broadfoot
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Psychic/psyker powers are

Psychic/psyker powers are common as seen in Warhammer 40K. If you wanted it to feel more magicky you could call it cosmic power/energy, mutations, warp abilities or some mix of those.

To really get a feel for the best name I'd say it'd be worth figuring out the source of the power in your universe.

Templar-kun
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polyobsessive wrote:Sounds

polyobsessive wrote:
Sounds like you are talking about "actions" or something like that.

What is your rationale for thinking about actions in a SF setting in terms of spells?


Actions are not going to work for me. Because actions describe the flow of the game. And I need something more like an "items".

Steve Broadfoot wrote:
Psychic/psyker powers are common as seen in Warhammer 40K. If you wanted it to feel more magicky you could call it cosmic power/energy, mutations, warp abilities or some mix of those.

To really get a feel for the best name I'd say it'd be worth figuring out the source of the power in your universe.


I see I completely forgot to mention this in my description. I will use it for mechas. "Psychics" sound great, but doesn't fit what I need. Sorry for misinformation from my part.

polyobsessive
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List

Why don't you make a list of all the things that you can do, and see if someone can come up with a term that might adequately describe them all?

Templar-kun
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polyobsessive wrote:Why don't

polyobsessive wrote:
Why don't you make a list of all the things that you can do, and see if someone can come up with a term that might adequately describe them all?

Good idea, wrote some in a edit.

FrankM
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Name follows context

The theme-appropriate name will depend on the context.

Are these cards usable once (like a D&D spell or MtG sorcery) or repeatedly (more like an "item")?

Are these cards dealt/chosen once at the beginning of play (a "fixed" trait), or only at well-marked phases (an "upgrade"), or drawn and discarded constantly?

Personally, I'd prefer cards that are drawn and discarded constantly to represent the random opportunities and constraints of combat... which lends itself more to actions, maneuvers and take-that obstacles. Magic-themed games can make up some BS about what is possible at any given moment, so it could work there, too. But a card like Energy Beam seems a bad fit for sci-fi because it represents something that ought to be an obvious physical part of a mecha.

Just seems like big metal bolt-on mecha modules should be more-or-less fixed for the duration of a combat, and furthermore should generally be face-up on the table. Switching these up between battles is fine (MechWarrior did this with OmniMechs). Things that could plausibly be hidden work fine as a hand of cards (e.g., special ammo, higher-performance engine, maybe jump-jets), and there's no reason you couldn't have both in the same game.

Steve Broadfoot
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Technomancy.

Technomancy.

questccg
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I think it depends on "context"

For my game "TradeWorlds", I am using "Tactic" cards and they are obtained from the "Research Facility". They work much like Magic "Instant" cards. And usually played during a Space Battle to alter the outcome of the battle in some way.

But then there was the need for "Special Abilties" for Starships, so I came up with the name "Retrofits". Meaning that the "Ability" is configured onto the starship AFTER it has been built. Much like a "Car-Mod", this is a "Starship-Mod".

So I think you need to work with the context of each "Space-related" card.

There is no absolute like "Spells" in Sci-Fi games. Spells by definition belong to Fantasy themed games. And I guess in Sci-Fi, they are ALL a type of "Technology" even if you want another term.

Maybe since your game is about Robots, how about "Robotics"? Just an idea...

Just wanted to give you some "context"...

Also you can have a "Basic Attack" and an "Advanced Tactic" per robot... These terms might also be more suitable - not sure. You're welcome to use them if you think they apply...

Corsaire
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For a robot, I'd call those

For a robot, I'd call those subsystems.

Alternatively Anime will often invent an exotic power source in the lore and refer to that when engaging extra systems. "Quanto power ready." "Using the unobtanium hologram projector." Or relatively mainstream : Dilithium... Tachyon, etc.

tikey
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If you're looking for a

If you're looking for a generic name, much like 'spells' I'd simply go with plain ol' "Powers" which is broad enough to cover everything while still being clear.

mwlgames
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How about cyber punk words like

How about cyber punk words like spike; slice; implant; hack.

MAR
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"Spells" for sci-fi

Well, as stated before, this really depends on if you want a literal magic or mystic feel, or if this is simply some kind of temporary power or ability. If the former, there are literal examples of "space magic" like the force in Star Wars, but I don't think that's what you are thinking. For temporary combat modifications or abilities, you could call them powers, enhancements, tech, upgrades, modifier, ability, code, binary, software, malware, command, strategy, science, research, skill, etc. Or you can center it around something like a scientific magic feel like a tesseract or something. It really depends on the feel of the game and what the source of the power is: thr robot's hardware, software, skill level, or an external source. Hopefully something here helps :)

-Austin

Templar-kun
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FrankM wrote:The

FrankM wrote:
The theme-appropriate name will depend on the context.

Are these cards usable once (like a D&D spell or MtG sorcery) or repeatedly (more like an "item")?

Are these cards dealt/chosen once at the beginning of play (a "fixed" trait), or only at well-marked phases (an "upgrade"), or drawn and discarded constantly?


I need something like "items". Once you get, you can use it many times.
You should be getting one item every round.
Sorry, my fault for not putting enough of description.
Also, I do like "modules", it may be just what I need.

Steve Broadfoot wrote:
Technomancy.

This is magically and sci-fisticly, sounds great.

questccg wrote:
For my game "TradeWorlds", I am using "Tactic" cards and they are obtained from the "Research Facility". They work much like Magic "Instant" cards. And usually played during a Space Battle to alter the outcome of the battle in some way.

But then there was the need for "Special Abilties" for Starships, so I came up with the name "Retrofits". Meaning that the "Ability" is configured onto the starship AFTER it has been built. Much like a "Car-Mod", this is a "Starship-Mod".

Also you can have a "Basic Attack" and an "Advanced Tactic" per robot... These terms might also be more suitable - not sure. You're welcome to use them if you think they apply...


According to your description, Retrofits sounds exactly what I need. My game also have heavy emphasis on space, so everything you wrote suits perfectly.
But what I really liked is - "Tactics" (or "Advance Tactics"). This is so simple, but for some reason this my brain skipped this word. And, it doesn't have to be Instant card, you can use good tactics all you want :)
I think this is the best so far. Thanks!

Templar-kun
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Corsaire wrote:For a robot,

Corsaire wrote:
For a robot, I'd call those subsystems.

Alternatively Anime will often invent an exotic power source in the lore and refer to that when engaging extra systems. "Quanto power ready." "Using the unobtanium hologram projector." Or relatively mainstream : Dilithium... Tachyon, etc.


Subsystems sounds very good. This one definitely in my top peak. Thanks!

tikey wrote:
If you're looking for a generic name, much like 'spells' I'd simply go with plain ol' "Powers" which is broad enough to cover everything while still being clear.

This is so true, "Powers" is a the generic word for "Spells". Also it can work for anything. Thanks.
I bit too generic for my case, but I'm still clueless how could I forgot this word.

mwlgames wrote:
How about cyber punk words like spike; slice; implant; hack.

While cyber punk won't work for me, it sounds great. Thanks.

MAR wrote:
Well, as stated before, this really depends on if you want a literal magic or mystic feel, or if this is simply some kind of temporary power or ability. If the former, there are literal examples of "space magic" like the force in Star Wars, but I don't think that's what you are thinking. For temporary combat modifications or abilities, you could call them powers, enhancements, tech, upgrades, modifier, ability, code, binary, software, malware, command, strategy, science, research, skill, etc. Or you can center it around something like a scientific magic feel like a tesseract or something. It really depends on the feel of the game and what the source of the power is: thr robot's hardware, software, skill level, or an external source. Hopefully something here helps :)

-Austin


While naming it "spells", I actually want anything that have nothing to do with magic. I guess I made it confusing with my title :)
Thanks for all the words! Really liked: Tech and enhancements.

It's very strange how I think "Technology" won't suit me at all, and "Tech" all of the sudden sounds like perfect fit. Magic of shortening :)

Templar-kun
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Thanks again everyone for

Thanks again everyone for contributing!
I think I have a lot to choose from.

I posted everyones answer in my original post. Maybe it will help someone else who is having the same dilemma.

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