Those damage types do affect various opponents differently, though, so it makes sense to have a resistance value to describe the relative vulnerability to each elemental attack (it has to be there in some form, though it could be partly hidden for your character). In principle you could have these spells doing physical damage, but with a damage bonus (or penalty) based on the type of opponent. Either way you would effectively have the same situation, but using resistances is easier than adding an additional combat subsystem for certain types of spells.
Agreed. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> In that case using resistances for the job would make humans have an extremely high resistance against both water and earth, uhm, damage; since being in contact with either of the substances is by itself not harmful for us. Partly hiding these stats for humans would make sense to me. It occurs to me, though, that even such a sistem would not be well suited to describe how boiling water will cause burns on a human, but deal cold damage to a fire elemental. Introducing a partly hidden temperature stat for each water based spell would be taking the whole issue too far... In the end I would just like the resistance system to make sense like in <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/div.gif" alt="" />. I haven't played <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beyond.gif" alt="" />, so I don't actually know how the elemental issues are handeled there, but I have yet to see a game which includes "elemental" resistances and makes them work in the way described by Raze. Where they have a water resistance stat it is plain normal for humans to take water damage from certain spells. If the rain spell is actually supposed to be acid rain or nitrogen rain, then IMNHO the game should include acid and cold resistances instead.
As for the additional combat subsystem- let me make a separate wish from that. I would like to see a magic system in which it is not overly simple to judge the true value of a spell. Some properties could be kept hidden and would only be revealed to the player if the character learns enough about the magic type or particular spell in question. If fatigue
causes –3 to agility and web
causes –3 to both agility and dexterity then the web spell is a simply superior in terms of effect. If a spell system is easy to dissect and understand in under half an hour that degrades fatigue
from a potentially useful power at your disposal to a simple –3 agi debuff as you know exactly what you can expect from the spell in this battle system. Yet if it you were to find out that it is possible to counter web
with a wind attack; tearing it or even blowing it into someone else, then you would suddenly all see spells in a different light; it could reduce prejudice towards spells based on numbers and encourage experimentation. While the "web" example would be hard to code, it may be easier to add some different "special" properties to various basic spells (which might then later be custumizeable in certain ways like in <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beyond.gif" alt="" />). Adding "sound based" to a mind-controlling song could make it susceptible to some wind spells, etc. The risks in setting up such a system, though, are to miss something gamebreaking and more oppurtunities for bugs. A "deep" spell system would really be a nice feature, as long as it doesn't make a mess of the game.