I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found Skyrim somewhat lacking in the Status Effects department. It always seemed a bit simplistic that ice spells were there default warrior-killers and shock spells were the go to spells for fighting wizards. Now, I’ll admit, I may have gone overboard with the Status Effects. I do elaborate a bit on why in Status Effects and Attributes below, but do keep that in mind. Some trimming might be necessary.
While this doesn’t relate directly to combat, it does affect some status effects, and by extension the Illusion school of magic. The way I approach this is to have 3 stats: Hope, Fortitude and Aggressivity. These individually have a range of -100% to 100% and can trigger status effects as you can find directly below when someone nearby performs certain actions or if they take damage. Something like a high Aggressivity will make an NPC more likely to be hostile to you if you strike them, though it doesn’t directly affect whether they will attack you on sight; this is more the province of a faction mechanic.
Only one negative Mental Status Effect (see below) can operate at a time on a character. They may, however, overwrite one another, but only if the disposition for one is stronger than the other. For example, DESPAIRING can trigger when a character has negative Hope, and FEARED can trigger when a character has negative Fortitude. If a DESPAIRING character with -50% Hope also has -70% Fortitude, DESPAIRING may get replaced with FEARED.
Positive Mental Status Effect may co-exist without overwriting one another. They will, however, replace negative Mental Status Effects that are their opposites like SERENE and BERSERK.
I’m a fan of systems that feel logical, so I tried to cover all possible situations that may arise… unfortunately, I might have gotten ahead of myself and made too many of those Status Effects. Nevertheless, while the skein of Status Effects may seem over-complex, I tried to make them reflect scenarios that may arise organically in a fight. For instance, a person that is on fire may go into panic mode, which is an outcome one would normally expect of such a situation.
Keep in minds that some spells themselves are their own Status Effects. This mostly applies to things like armour spells or regeneration.
BURNING – The target is set on fire and will take 2% of its maximum health as Fire damage per second. Does not stack, but the duration is reset if re-applied. Target gains 20% Frost damage resistance. Every time a target takes Fire damage during BURNING, there is a chance that PANICKED will also be applied for 3 – 6 seconds regardless of a character’s Hope and Fortitude levels. DRENCHED will replace BURNING and COLD and FROZEN will cancel it out.
COLD – 50% MOVE and ACTION SLOW. Target gains 30% Fire damage resistance. When COLD ends, applies DRENCHED for the same amount of time, unless otherwise specified. COLD is cancelled out by BURNING. COLD slows Stamina regeneration by 10%.
FROZEN – Full disable. After FROZEN ends, COLD is applied for the same amount of time, unless otherwise specified. Target gains 50% Fire damage resistance, 30% Slashing and Piercing damage resistance. 30% vulnerability to Impact damage. BURNING cancels out FROZEN, which automatically downgrades to COLD. FROZEN slows Stamina regeneration by 20%. Upon expiring, applies 2 stacks of STALWART.
DRENCHED – 25% Electric damage vulnerability. BURNING replaces DRENCHED. DRENCHED becomes FROZEN if a target receives COLD.
SHOCKED – deals Electric damage over time. Does not stack. Re-applying SHOCKED will extend the duration or has a chance to apply STUNNED for 4 seconds. Every new re-application increased the chance that STUNNED will be applied every second by 3% up to 15%. SHOCKED slows Magicka regeneration by 15%.
STUNNED – Full disable. 20% Physical damage vulnerability. Upon expiring, applies 2 stacks of STALWART.
STAGGERED – Short-term full disable with a set time and brief recovery period. Applying STAGGERED to an already STAGGERED target has 15% chance to apply KNOCKED-DOWN. Upon expiring, applies 1 stack of STALWART.
KNOCKED-DOWN – Full disable with a set time and moderate recovery period. Applying KNOCKED-DOWN to an already KNOCKED-DOWN target has a 20% chance to apply STUNNED for 4 seconds. Upon expiring, applies 2 stacks of STALWART.
DESPAIRING – Mental Status Effect. DESPAIRING may occur when a character’s Hope is in the negative (-1% to -100%) each time they take damage from a hostile character. In this state, characters will give up fighting and will let you strike them freely. Every attack on a DESPAIRING target increases their Hope based on the damage inflicted. Upon expiring, applies 2 stacks of STALWART. Lasts 10 seconds or until the target’s Hope is no longer in the negative.
BRAVE – Mental Status Effect. BRAVE may occur when a character’s Fortitude is in the positive (1% to 100%) each time a nearby hostile character executes an attack or casts a spell. BRAVE characters inflict 25% more Physical damage and cause any UNFOCUSED stacks they may have to decay twice as fast. Lasts 10 seconds.
FEARED – Mental Status Effect. FEARED may occur when a character’s Fortitude is in the negative (-1% to -100%) each time a nearby hostile character executes an attack or casts a spell. FEARED characters inflict 50% less Physical damage and have a base 30% chance to fail spell-casting. Upon expiring, applies 2 stacks of STALWART. Lasts 10 seconds.
COMPOSED – Mental Status Effect. COMPOSED may occur when a character’s Hope and Fortitude are in the positive (1% to 100%) each time a nearby hostile character executes an attack or casts a spell. COMPOSED characters regenerate Stamina and Magicka 20% faster and cause any UNFOCUSED stacks on them to decay twice as fast, or four times as fast if the character also has SERENE. Lasts 10 seconds.
PANICKED – Mental Status Effect. PANICKED may occur when a character’s Hope and Fortitude are in the negative (-1% to -100%) each time a nearby hostile character executes an attack or casts a spell. Characters lose control and will attempt to run away from any hostile character but will fight back if cornered (for instance if their pathing algorithm cannot find an escape route that doesn’t pass near their attacker). They gain 20% Physical damage vulnerability and have a base 30% chance to fail spell-casting. Upon expiring, applies 2 stacks of STALWART. Lasts 10 seconds.
SERENE – Mental Status Effect. SERENE may occur when a character’s Aggressivity is in the negative (-1% to -100%) each time a nearby hostile character executes an attack or casts a spell. SERENE reduces a character’s Stamina and Magicka costs by 15% and causes any UNFOCUSED stacks on them to decay twice as fast, or four times as fast if the character also has COMPOSED. Lasts 10 seconds.
BERSERK – Mental Status Effect. BERSERK may occur when a character’s Aggressivity is in the positive (1% to 100%) each time a nearby hostile character executes an attack or casts a spell. Characters deal 20% increased damage (from any source) but take 40% more damage overall. Upon expiring, applies 2 stacks of STALWART. Lasts 10 seconds.
BLIND – Ranges from 0% to 100%, will affect a character’s aim and ability to detect sneaking targets in their line of sight. At 100% a target cannot detect sneaking creatures that are even directly in front of them. On player characters, BLIND manifests by blurring, darkening and doubling or even tripling their vision depending on its intensity. In combat, BLIND will make an NPC strike randomly around a point. Creatures like Falmers by default have permanent 80% BLIND.
STALWART – 10% chance to resist to STUNNED, STAGGERED. FROZEN, PANICKED, FEARED, BERSERK and KNOCKED-DOWN. Stacks up to 10 times and lasts 8 seconds. All stacks are removed at the same time. New stacks increase the overall duration of STALWART by 2 seconds rather than refresh it completely.
BRITTLE – Debuffs that reduce armour rating are 30% more effective if target also has HARD MATERIAL.
DECAYING – 5 Chemical damage per second. Stacks up to 25 times per 1000 health points. Stacks are removed 5 at a time, each set lasting 4 seconds.
BLEEDING – 0.25% health and stamina reduction per second, or 0.5% if target is moving or performing an Action. Stacks up to 10 times per 1000 health points. 1 stack lasts 8 seconds.
POISONED – 0.5% health reduction per second and 5% MOVE SLOW and ACTION SLOW. Stacks up to 5 times per 1000 health points. 1 stack lasts 5 seconds.
UNFOCUSED – 5% chance to fail casting a spell. Stacks up to 25 times. If chance is above 100% (21 – 25 stacks) then the caster will always fail spellcasting and take damage equal to the amount of Magicka spent, and 1 stack is instantly removed with its remaining duration transferred to the next one. Successfully casting a spell removes 2 stacks automatically. 1 stack lasts 2 seconds.
STILLED MAGIC – Prevents UNFOCUSED stacks from decaying. Duration varies on spell. Does not stack and duration cannot be refreshed. Cannot be applied if target already has existing stacks of UNFOCUSED.
AETHER SICKNESS – Reduces up to 10 Magicka regeneration per second. If target regenerates less that 10 Magicka per second, simply prevents Magicka from regenerating. Duration varies on spell.
BURNOUT – Weapon spells and Magic weapons deal 50% reduced damage.
FATIGUED – Physical attacks deal 50% reduced damage.
MOVE/ACTION SLOW – Movement and Action (Attack, Spellcasting, etc) speed reduction. Stacks indefinitely and each stack has its own separate duration and value. Value and duration depends on spell. Overall value cannot go over 80%.
IMMOBILISED – Completely disables movement.
GROUNDED – Disables a target’s ability to fly.
INSULATED – Resistance to Frost, Fire and Electric damage. Replaced CONDUCTIVE. SHOCKED cannot be applied while a character has INSULATED.
CONDUCTIVE – Vulnerability to Frost, Fire and Electric damage. Replaces INSULATED.
UNKILLABLE – The health of characters with this Status Effect cannot drop below 1 hit point.
Attributes differ from Status Effects in that they usually exist by default and stay permanently on the character or object. They can be added through spells (for example IMMATERIAL could be added by some sort of banishing spell) but are meant mostly to describe the nature of an object.
SOFT MATERIAL – Vulnerability to Piercing damage. See Light Armour (Armour Material).
HARD MATERIAL – Vulnerability to Impact damage. See Heavy Armour (Armour Material). Increases the chance of Arrows, Bolts and Thrown Weapons to break by 10%.
MASSIVE – Immune to certain spells and Status Effects.
CONSTRUCT – Immune to POISONED, BLEEDING and DECAYING. Immune to Life and Death damage.
UNDEAD – Immune to POISONED. Healing spells (Life damage) reduces health. Death damage will heal instead.
LIVING – Life damage restores Health. Death damage will harm.
IMMATERIAL – Ghostly targets. Immune to all forms of physical damage, except if said damage comes from Silver or Daedric weapons.
NONCOMBUSTIBLE – Immunity to BURNING status.
FIERY – Immunity to BURNING. COLD, FROZEN and DRENCHED are removed twice as fast.
GLACIAL – Immunity to COLD and FROZEN. BURNING and DRENCHED are removed twice as fast.
ELECTRIFIED – Immunity to SHOCKED. DRENCHED is removed twice as fast.
WATERY – Always has DRENCHED. Immunity to BURNING and 50% resistance to Fire damage. COLD turns to FROZEN.