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Magic points (MP; also called mana) are units of magical power that are used in many tabletop role-playing games, role-playing video games and similar games as an expendable resource that is needed to pay for magic spells and other abilities, such as special attacks. Thus, magic points can be considered a specialized type of action points that are renewed slowly compared to other game events.
A character in such games will usually have a number of magic points based on his or her level and character class, among other things. Thus a mage will have more MP than a fighter and an experienced mage will have more MP than a novice. When a character uses a magic spell, a number of MP will be deducted from that character’s available MP to pay for the spell (more powerful spells generally cost more MP). If a character has too few MP, the spell cannot be cast. This system makes players choose between casting a few powerful spells, or many weaker ones.
In some games, MP replenish slowly over time, while in others a character must rest to recover MP. Other possibilities include stealing or absorbing them from other characters or from the ether, or by eating food or drinking magic fluids. In general, losing all of one's MP in a game does not do the same thing as someone losing all of their HP (dying, fainting, etc.), though a few cases (Star Ocean 3, for example) will cause a character to faint if their MP reaches zero.
Many alternate names are used in different games. Magic points are also referred to as
- Ability Points (AP) (Breath of Fire)
- Antenna Power (AP) (The "DENPA" MEN: They Came By Wave, The "DENPA MEN 2: Beyond the Waves)
- Antimatter (Sins of a Solar Empire)
- Bros. Points (BP) (Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga)
- Capacitor (EVE Online)
- Endurance (City of Heroes and its derivatives)
- Energy (E) (Guild Wars, StarCraft)
- Essence (Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, Exalted)
- Ether Points (EP) (Xenogears, Xenosaga)
- Fatigue (Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Harvest Moon)
- Flower Points (FP) (Paper Mario games and Super Mario RPG)
- Force Points (FP) (RF Online)
- Gnosis points (Werewolf: The Apocalypse)
- Jutsu Points (SaGa Frontier)
- Magicka (The Elder Scrolls)
- Magic Meter (The Legend of Zelda)
- Magic Points (MP) (Final Fantasy series)
- Mana (Clive Barker's Undying, League of Legends, Populous, Diablo, GURPS, World of Warcraft, MapleStory, Fable and others, most commonly in Real-time strategy and Role-playing games)
- Mojo/Muscularity/Mana Points (MP) (Kingdom of Loathing)
- Nerva (The Void)
- Orgone or Ruach (CthulhuTech)
- Potential Psychic Energy (P.P.E.) (Palladium)
- Parasite Energy (PE) (Parasite Eve)
- Plasm (Geist: The Sin-Eaters)
- Psychic Points (PP) (EarthBound series)
- Psynergy Points (PP) (Golden Sun)
- Power (PW) (Nethack, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar)
- Pyros (Promethean: The Created)
- Skill Points (SP) (.Hack, Persona 3, Persona 4)
- Spell Points (SP) (The Bard's Tale, Might and Magic, Heroes of Might and Magic II)
- Special Points (SP) (Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and Mario and Luigi: Dream Team)
- Stamina Points (SP) (Ragnarok Online)
- Technical Points (TP) (Tales series)
- Technique Points (TP) (the Phantasy Star series, from Phantasy Star 2 on)
- Vitae (Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem)
- Voodoo (Pirates of the Caribbean Online)
Other terms designate units of psionic, or otherwise supernatural, power equivalent to MP:
- Bioelectrical Energy (Deus Ex series)
- EVE (Bioshock, Bioshock 2, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea)
- Force Points (FP) (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
- Inner Strength Points (I.S.P.) (Palladium)
- Mist Points (MP) (Final Fantasy XII)
- Power Points (PP) (Dungeons & Dragons Psionics Handbook 3.5, In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas, Pokémon, RoleMaster and many others)
- Psionic Strength Points (PSP) (The Complete Psionics Handbook, from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition)
- Salt (Bioshock Infinite excluding Burial at Sea)
In traditional RPGs, magic points remained entirely in the realm of magic spells or psionic powers, while fighting skills and abilities were never under such a restriction. Many newer games, however, have introduced similar skill-limitation systems for fighters:
- Spirit Commands in the Super Robot Wars series of video games (1991) include a variety of exceptional feats used by expending Spirit Points (SP), while attacks are used by expending Energy (EN).
- In the World of Darkness (1991), and Exalted, supernatural creatures must expend some resource, such as Blood Points, Gnosis, Rage, Quintessence, Vitae, Essence or Mana to fuel many of their powers.
- In the Pokémon video games (1995 and later), Power Points (PP) are used to limit the number of times a Pokémon can perform each type of attack.
- Super Mario RPG (1996), as well as its spiritual successors Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door use Flower Points (FP) to fuel special moves. Both characters on the field draw FP from the same pool.
- In Diablo II (2000), all character classes (magic users as well as fighters) each have access to a unique and exclusive set of skills, and many of the skills in each set are powered by mana as if they were spells. In Diablo III,though, only the Witch Doctor's skills are powered by mana. The other skills are as following Fury (Barbarian), Hatred/Discipline (Demon Hunter), Spirit (Monk), and Arcane Power (Wizard).
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (2003) has Brothers Points (BP) which the two titular characters use to perform special team-up attacks.
- City of Heroes (2004) eschewed traditional auto-attacks altogether. Instead, all attacks and active abilities drew from the same pool of 100 Endurance points.
- World of Warcraft (2004) uses Rage for Warriors, or Energy and Combo points for Rogues, Runes and Runic Power for Death Knights, as well as Focus for Hunters and their pets. Casters such as Mages use Mana.
- Everquest II (2004) uses a Power pool to “fuel” combat arts as well as spells.
- In Star Ocean 3 (2004), MP was used as a second 'life-gauge'. Certain attacks reduced the target's HP and MP or may only target MP entirely, and characters die when their MP reach 0 as well. Enemies also follow this and the player can decide whether to kill them by attacking their HP or MP.
- In Guild Wars (2005), energy powers most skills, even non-spell ones. Certain skills use adrenaline, which is increased by attacking.
- "Gameplay - Game Guide - Diablo III". Eu.battle.net. Retrieved 2013-05-13.