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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.
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. For example, 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.
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.