This is content I cut from my GYG Lounge revolt piece — it didn’t fit, mainly because it’s redundant to the point of that post, but this information is still important overall. This may be helpful for any new Persona or Shin Megami Tensei players.
It’s not mind-shattering information, but I think I would have had an easier time if someone had written this down for me. So here’s a crash course on the SMT skill language.
EDIT: A nice bloke on r/PERSoNA pointed out an issue with the cores of the buff names. It makes sense, too, as most skill names tend to have two syllables (except for skills introduced in Persona 5 — again, P5 wants to be special). I’ve updated this guide accordingly. Thanks again, u/NinjaDaLua!
Persona 3 made me do it.
P5 spoiled me. Not only did I never have to learn the name of any magic or physical skills, but I could also breeze through it without having to learn the support mechanic. For the record, this is not a testament to P5‘s “ease”. But my ignorance of the importance of these particular skills certainly left me at a disadvantage for P3.
The first thing I used my notepad for was jotting down what “Taru“, “Raku“, and “Suku” meant. If you’re unaware, they’re the attack, defence, and hit/evasion skills respectively. The names will change depending on whether you’re targetting enemies (“nda“) or your own party (“kaja“).
Having your characters actively using language specific to gameplay assists players in learning the mechanics of that game. It’s old-fashioned, yes, but it’s also pretty effective. When I think about P4 and P5, I can’t recall any of their navigators suggesting a spell by name. You’ll frequently hear Morgana shouting “This enemy is weak against fire!”. Rise can be quoted as saying “That one’s weak against wind.” Because of this, I never made the connection between fire and “Agi”, or wind and “Garu”.
Meanwhile, here’s Mitsuru rocking up with “Use Bufu”. And it turns out, Bufu makes Mabufudyne. The long words actually mean stuff! Boy did I feel like an idiot.
Cue me writing down the names of the affinities into my notebook.
I’m not exactly fluent in the SMT language, but here’s at least a beginner’s guide.
If you leave here with anything, please leave with these memorised.
- Agi (fire)
- Bufu (ice)
- Garu (wind)
- Zio (electricity)
- Hama (light or bless instakill)
- Mudo (dark or curse instakill)
- Kou (bless)
- Ei (curse)
- Frei (nuclear)
- Psi (psychokinesis).
- Dia (heal)
- _Patra (ailment recovery)
- Suku (hit/evasion)
- Taru (attack)
- Raku (defense)
- Deku (refers to de-buffs)
These are all affixes. They typically connect to the following:
- “Ma” (magic) referst to all enemy targets.
- “Me” refers to all allies.
- “Re” (support) refers to one downed ally.
- Cannot be used with “Me”
If you leave this page with anything, please leave with these memorised, too.
- “la” and “ga” refer to a medium-damage attack.
- Not applicable to Hama/Mudo.
- “dyne” and “on” refer to a heavy-damage attack.
- Be aware: definition changes to medium chance in reference to Hama/Mudo.
- “kaja” – buffs ally.
- “nda” – debuffs enemy.
- “hama” refers to half-health. (Used with “Dia” only)
- “rahan” refers to all-health. (Used with “Dia” only)
Example with definitions
- Magarudyne: All targetted, wind attack, heavy damage.
- Mediarahan: All targetted, heal, all health.
- Bufudyne: Ice attack, heavy damage.
- Me Patra: All targetted, ailment recovery.
Like any language, there are slight variations in spelling but the core construction remains the same. Agi and Psi change spelling slightly, depending on how they sound.
- Agilao: Fire attack, medium damage.
- I guess Agila sounded strange?
- Maragi: All targetted, fire attack, light damage.
- I agree, Maragi is better than Maagi.
- Psio: Psy attack, medium damage.
- Better than Psila/Psiga.
Persona 5 wanted to be special.
Persona 5 decided it wanted to be fancier than the other games and gave Ei and Kou a suffix for each level of damage: “ha”. If you’ve been playing Persona since the first game (in which case, wtf are you doing here??), this will contradict what Persona 1 taught you. I’ve never played it, but supposedly “ha” means heavy damage in Megami Ibunroku Persona. But we’re not worried about P1 today.
To clarify, “ha” appears to mean “light damage” only for Persona 5 Ei and Kou skills.
Redundant steps to some heavy attack names
While not a big deal, I feel the need to point out some heavy attacks also include the suffix for medium attacks, most notably in Persona 5 affinities. For these skills, if translated literally, heavy Almighty, Psy, Bless and Curse skills look like:
- Megidolaon: Almighty attack, medium damage, heavy damage.
- Psiodyne: Psy attack, medium damage, heavy damage.
- Maeigaon: All targetted, curse attack, medium damage, heavy damage.
- Kougaon: Bless attack, medium damage, heavy damage.
(These skills don’t include stacked damage, just in case that needed to be clarified.)
This guide doesn’t include all of the game’s bits of words (mirrors/reflects, for example), but this is at least enough to hopefully set you up to determine what a skill means without having to keep going through the skill details.
I’m doing some research for my own writing, and I really like how you laid it out here. I want to build my own entomology for skills in this fake game I’m building, so its nice to see how Persona does it neatly laid out here.