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boomwolf
2014-05-11, 11:07 AM
Trying to figure out a system for elemental magic for something I have noticed that I ran into a brick wall with some elements, not knowing what to do with them-while others came to me instantly, and it got me thinking of why some are easy, while some are nigh-impossible, so I started looking at games, comics and other fantasy materials look for answers, and found the following- some elemental magic seems to be far more...elaborate and expanded then others, for example when we look at the prime four plus "arcane" as a fifth we have


Air-well, we have wind magic, movement and the likes, pull, push, levitate, etc. great at ranged effects.
Arcane-basic "magic" element, detecting, countering, ect.
Earth-shaping the terrain, brute force attacks, defensive shells, mostly point-blank effects.
Fire-the element of destruction mainly in form of AoE, usually short-ranged attacks.
Water-well....huh!? self-buff? something? the was hard, but water ended is all about "gathering it up" starting it slow, but getting stronger as you keep going, with a stronger inclination towards defense then offense.

Already "water" magic seems off, and lacking, while the others are really everywhere and you can't NOT have an image of how a wizard focused on said elements works.

However, when you start combining them, not in the mixing sense of "it has them both", but it the fusion sense of "is a bit of both"-some other things also pop into mind right away:

Air+Earth=??? (currently suggested "dust", but I still don't see it)
Air+Fire=Lightning, "fire of the sky" long ranged precision strikes.
Air+Water=??? (After discussions it became "Mist", the element of crowd control, vision obscuring and generally delaying while slowly doing his thing.)
Earth+Fire=Metal, "forged earth", mostly earth turned to no terraforming in favor of more pure combat.
Earth+Water=Ice "stonewater", learned this one from dominic deegan and once I knew it-it seemed so natural. fits a damage/debuffing element.
Fire+Water=Acid "liquid fire" damage-over-time effects.
Arcane+Air=Void, the "less then air" element, teleportation tricks, barriers, etc.
Arcane+Earth=Nature, "living earth", tree-magic, focuses on "terraforming" style magic
Arcane+Fire=Radiance, "pure energy", light magic in essence.
Arcane+Water=??? )Discussions lead this to be "life", neglecting any offense, for pure defensive and healing magic._

Again, some are so instant, so obvious, yet others are far harder, or even stared completely blank.

So this leads me to the following being problem elements:

Water: what does it DO on its own? healing? buffing? is SHOULD be a "passive" magic style, but it needs to be doing something after all.
Air+Earth: even more opposite then fire and water, just what kind of "element" draws of them both?
Mist: is it even a proper element? is there a better fit for air+water?
Arcane+water: just what happens when you combine the pure energy nature of arcane with water?


After that one can only wonder what happens when you start further fusioning elements, but I fear trying to do THESE combinations will lead to nothing but pain for whoever tries XD


So, what do you think?
How can the "problem" elements be handled properly?
Any elemental fusions you disagree with? anything you think is blatantly missing?

Kid Jake
2014-05-11, 11:16 AM
When I was putting together a martial arts setting with a fighting style centered around the elments I made Earth= Brute strength/toughness and Water=Movement, defense and countering. Earth+Water=Wood which combines the two philosophies into a versatile defensive style that may bend, but will never break.

Air+Earth could be Life. Since we're often said to be 'dust of the ground with air breathed into us.'

Red Fel
2014-05-11, 11:19 AM
So this leads me to the following being problem elements:

Water: what does it DO on its own? healing? buffing? is SHOULD be a "passive" magic style, but it needs to be doing something after all.


Well, let's start from this. Unless your elemental magic consists of conjuring the element itself (e.g. "fire" magic means throwing a fireball, "earth" magic means throwing a rock, etc.) the element becomes a structural element, but not the core of your spell.

I will explain. Suppose we have three types of magic - offensive magic, healing magic, and empowering magic, just to keep things simple. The element can then be imposed over the base magic type to produce an effect. Thus, a Fire Offensive spell would be a fireball, an Earth Empowering spell would give someone strength or endurance, etc.

From this perspective, Water, as an element, has great potential. It is arguably the most versatile of the elements. Water can strike with the force of stone, can sooth with its cooling presence, can erode structures over time or nourish living things. If you can't think of something you can do with water, you're hardly trying. Moreso once you impose it over a magic-type latticework. Even if you're doing elements-as-their-own-magic, Water-users get the most to do. Fire basically destroys things and cauterizes wounds, that's about it. Earth moves rocks and makes things harder. Air blows. But Water does everything. (Here's where I plug Avatar: the Last Airbender as a great means of illustration. Seriously, go watch it.)


Air+Earth: even more opposite then fire and water, just what kind of "element" draws of them both?

Dust? Basically, solid particles that blow in the breeze.


Mist: is it even a proper element? is there a better fit for air+water?

Mist is a possibility. Or "tempest," perhaps.


Arcane+water: just what happens when you combine the pure energy nature of arcane with water?

Life, perhaps. Water is generally a source of life, necessary to the preservation of living things. If Arcane means "unlocking the inner or negative essence," then Arcane + Water is the stuff of life itself.

Gildedragon
2014-05-11, 11:42 AM
Water: focus it on the mind, illusion and domination effects. Also the liquefying of things

Water and air: obscuring of sight, mists fogs most weather effects

Air + Earth: force effects, invisible hard things, your walls of force, magic missiles, telekinesis

Arcane + Water: could be healing


Also don't be scared to drop an element, fuse two, or add others.

Alternatively think of a few sets of general abilities or descriptors
Offense-defense, external-internal and combine them

Fire: external and offense (damage)
Water: internal and defense (buffs and resistances)
Earth: internal and offense (debuffs)
Air: external and defense (shields, terrain manip)
Magic: miscellaneous

A debuff that also does damage is earth fire, a healing spell that drains others of hp is water and fire
A spell that trips others while protecting you is air earth

boomwolf
2014-05-11, 11:43 AM
Well, in my mind, the elemental magic DOES consist of conjuring the element itself, but its not purely that.

Meaning, while an earth magic user will conjure earth for his spells, he can't quite do anything with it, it still adheres to the "structure" of earth magic, meaning the element is twofold, the "core" and the "structure", but not the "shape" or "power" of the spell.

You cannot heal with fire, just as you cannot do pure damage output with air, but on the other hand your fire spells still listen to fire principles (range issues, nearly always destructive in nature-even on the defense, instant non-lasting effects, etc) while the air listens to its own (range is not an issue, manipulative indirect attacks, etc)



Now for water, while I know water, as a force of nature, is quite versatile-I really DO prefer to give it it's own niche rather then having it do pretty much anything. being destructive when you want to, but fully capeable to be used for defense, movement, etc-you are threading into the realm of "anything you can do I can do better" world, a bad one-or the "jack of all trades" world, who is also an issue when you consider most others are specialists who are fused to get special effects.

Its not hard thinking of something water CAN do, its hard figuring out just what water is SUPPOSED to be all about.


Dust-while is obvious a mix of both, one must ask-what does dust DO in a magic sense? what kind of spells you pull from it? what kind of spells use dust as their main ingredient?

Life as an arcane-water fusion sounds tempting, but I fear to step on the toes of arcane-earth's nature magic, though with a common ancestor on one side, and non-opposites on the other then having some similarities will not be surprising.
Though in case of life, a clear line should be drawn on where life works, and where nature does.


Air+earth baing force effects rather steps on the realm of what I thought "void" would do. giving "force" to air+earth means void needs to either be replaced, or expanded.

Red Fel
2014-05-11, 01:40 PM
Dust-while is obvious a mix of both, one must ask-what does dust DO in a magic sense? what kind of spells you pull from it? what kind of spells use dust as their main ingredient?

What does dust do? You mean other than breaking encounters (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/cursedItems.htm#dustofSneezingandChoking)?

Dust can cause sneezing and choking. It can conceal within a cloud. It can pepper the eyes and batter the skin. Have you ever been in a sandstorm? Basically, dust is the ultimate irritant and distractor - it ruins plans and concentration, it spoils the harvest, it drives people away, and it's virtually impossible to fight.

As for what kind of spells use dust as their main ingredient... What kind of spells don't? Powdered this, ashes of a that, sprinkling of salt here, and so forth. Some form of granulated something is fairly common.


Life as an arcane-water fusion sounds tempting, but I fear to step on the toes of arcane-earth's nature magic, though with a common ancestor on one side, and non-opposites on the other then having some similarities will not be surprising.
Though in case of life, a clear line should be drawn on where life works, and where nature does.

Simple idea, then. Arcane + Earth concerns the land and nature. It's broad, macro-scale reconstruction, such as terraforming, or engulfing a palace in a thicket of briar, or having a city reclaimed by nature. Arcane + Water concerns individual examples of life; animals, plants, and such. It's micro-scale reconstruction, such as soothing wounds, nourishing the sick, or restoring health and vitality on a more individual level.

boomwolf
2014-05-11, 01:44 PM
Yes, that would be a fine way to different "life" and "nature" magic.

Dust still baffles me.
Yes, thats ONE kind of spell, one. hardly enough to base an entire element consisting two dozen or so spells around.

What I means by ingredient is not material you use to incant spells, but spells who are made out of dust, and other then being a chocking hazzard, I hardly find anything of note there (other then obscuring vision, but that's mist territory, isn't it?)

Kariccia
2014-05-11, 02:11 PM
Its not hard thinking of something water CAN do, its hard figuring out just what water is SUPPOSED to be all about.

One thing about water is it isn't passive; it is slow. It likes to linger. You don't have a slow element that wears it's enemies down over time. A water mage could be hard to take out, and do damage all that time. But he/she can't launch a fierce attack out of nowhere. One always sees water coming, but may not be able to do much about it. Also, maybe water could recycle other water spells? Like that last water spell didn't just go away, it's still there waiting for the right moment to cause more problems. Buffs are an option for having the water "linger." Absorbing spells might work too; weaken the enemy to gain a self-buff, etc. Kinda plays off the concept of water being the universal solvent by having it "dissolve" the strength of those that go against it.

endoperez
2014-05-11, 02:12 PM
Water fills an empty object and takes its shape, topping it off with a perfect surface. Water-magic can be used to heal, change ones shape and to remove scars, warts and such.

Water can wash away dirt and grease and all kinds of things. Water-magic can be used to remove sickness, ailments, curses, hexes, to dispel magic and to clean things up.

Water is the river, the natural highway that moves ever on, and water-magic can be used to travel quickly across long distances.

Water is the ocean's waves beating down on mountains and creating sand, the river eroding ground into canyons. Water-magic can be used to give superhuman strength and endurance and stamina, to destroy things or to break things apart.

Water is the tides, which are of the moon, which is the night. Water is the darkness of the night. the silvery glow of the moon, and water-magic covers everything that is hard to see, that wants to stay hidden, all the mysteries and secrets, the madness of the human mind, and love, and death.

Water is the poison of the great snake Jormungard, and covers all things poisonous. Or something. Why not?

Water is the element of beer, and controls all emotions.
Water is the spring rain, and brings life.
Water is the changing of the seasons from dry to rain to humidity to ice.
Water is the grave, the world of the breathless who breath, and creates the undead.
Water is the unknown chaotic abyss, and can barely be controlled.

Just pick an explanation. Your Arcane is a context that doesn't make sense to me, since I don't know what you mean by it.

BWR
2014-05-11, 02:44 PM
L5R uses elemental magic (4 classical elements plus Void), and Water is the strongest element. Serious buffing (rerolls, extra actions, ability increases, etc.), movement and healing spells. Fire is the weakest element, at least as far as mechanics are concerned (fluff is a bit different). I suggest looking at that, in any edition (R&K or d20, from Magic of Rokugan) if you want ideas.

Gildedragon
2014-05-11, 02:51 PM
Also nots you needn't stick to the classical elements
You could have
Light
Life
Motion
Force
As your set of elements and have them charged positive neutral or negative
Light and force are fire spells and their ilk for example
Anti-light anti-force cold based debuffs

Calen
2014-05-11, 03:03 PM
Water also can equal Ice you don't have to tie the most mutable of the elements into a single phase.

JHShadon
2014-05-11, 04:13 PM
Here's an idea for Air+Fire and Air+Water, heat and cold, you would be using the essence of fire and water to affect the temperature of the air, the spells could be used for damage over time, debuffing, and helping keep comfortable in a cold or hot environment, you could also use either on normal water to boil/freeze it.

Fiery Diamond
2014-05-11, 04:25 PM
When I use elements in stories, I tend to have a handful of different possibilities. I usually use the classical 4, but sometimes I do combinations, and sometimes I just add others as additions. I had this thing I wrote a while back for a story based around summoning spirits, which were all tied to a single element and/or concept. If I remember right...

Fire: Overwhelming destruction. The Elemental Master Spirit of fire, Salamandra, can focus attacks to burn things to ash or melt things to slag. In terms of defense, it is based on the principle of "fight fire with fire" or "the best defense is a good offense," with its destructive power going head to head with another and the more potent one winning out.

Water (+Ice): Offensive protection. The Elemental Master Spirit of water, Leviatha, can deflect or absorb physical and elemental attacks with water, but pierce defenses with precision power strikes with ice. Water defenses are always flowing, wrapping around whatever they protect. Ice cannot be focused on continuous like fire, nor can it be used to shove or move things, but it has great one-time per attack penetrating power.

Earth: Wide-scale destruction and barriers. The Elemental Master Spirit of earth, Urdgrand, can cause earth-splitting, localized earthquakes, and other similar battlefield-scale destruction as well as generate defensive lines against assault. Unlike fire, which simply destroys as a matter of course, or water(ice), which penetrates defenses, earth offense can cause damage through effect - blunt trauma, being crushed, falling from a newly-made cliff, etc. Additionally, its defenses are not based on blasting back offenses (fire) or redirecting them (water) but simply bringing a barrier into place which has defenses surpassing the potency of the offense against it. This could be creating a wall, a shield, or even armor.

Wind: Action through motion. The Elemental Master Spirit of wind, Quetzyl, can imitate many of the effects of other elements based on how the wind is used. Defenses can be based on deflection, similar to water, or power-vs-power, similar to fire, depending on what is being defended against. Offenses can be brute force, in which case they don't cause damage as a matter of course bur rather through effect like earth - blasting someone across a space and into a surface, for example. Offenses can also be piercing and brief like water(ice) by creating sharpened blades of wind. Wind is never still of passive, and the way in which it is used must always be consciously chosen - unlike the other elements, which have a single mode, wind pays for its versatility by being difficult to switch between modes while still at full force.

Lightning: Pure power. Basically, it combines fire attributes with ice attributes, can be spread to focus on more than one target with equal intensity (an earth and wind attribute), and has the fastest speed. The downside? No defenses at all, not even power-vs-power.

Light: Hadn't really developed this much.

Dark: Or this.

Plant: Or this.

Null: The magic-cancelling magic. 'Nuff said.

Sound: Effects the senses and mind. Can have any number of effects. Ranges from sonic damage (shattering things) to causing deafness to disturbing internal rhythms to charming to inspiring and buffing.

boomwolf
2014-05-11, 05:15 PM
I find some interesting concepts here, though I'd rather stick with "classic+1" setup, and keep ice away from pure water magic...

What to do with water also seems alot solveable now, though I'd still keep ice as his own "earth+water" element, I rather like the concept of water being for lasting, or even stacking effects, with some focus on the defense.
While water is non-threatening at first and being forced into the defensive (where it will be decent enough), it will accumulate and become more and more dangerous as things go on, both defensively and offensively, making it the "long run" element, in contrast of fire's "quick destruction" style.

Then Water+Arcane really DO become life magic, where even the offensive accumulation factors of water are neglected into raw, defensive and regenerative power. life will not destroy you, but they will not let you destroy them (or their allies), this will mean life alone will get you nowhere, but a life mage on the backfield support is a force to be reckoned with.

Also with water's nature as a "long run" element, water+air, "mist" also become clearer as a controlling element, in the sense of crowd control, obscuring vision, and generally making it hard for the enemy to operate while you slowly take care of him, "ice" sits right home with it as a debuffer element, as it combines the water's "stacking" nature with earth's "alteration" (of body and surrounding) nature, and acid's "damage of time" also fits right in, as a mix of fire's "raw destruction" with water's "long run" methods.

Yep. water is fixed.


Now only "dust", or another contender for the air+earth fusion remains a mystery.

zagan
2014-05-11, 05:39 PM
I've just found this thread and this discussion is very interesting, I have a few suggestion for air+earth:

Dust was already proposed, blindness was already suggested but it could be expanded to cause various statut effect, like slowness, paralysis, deafness, etc...
If you think that the name dust doesn't fit you could rename it Poison.

On a completely different track air+earth could mean moving earth, in that case something like summoning minion or golem could be appropriate of various size and ability. It mean lot of versatility compared to other element but with some limitation like duration, range, or even the need to concentrate on them to controle them it could work.
It could be called Sand perhaps ?

da_chicken
2014-05-11, 06:29 PM
Personally, I think the Inner Planes from the default 1E/2E cosmology covers this fairly well, IMO.

The major Elemental planes are as follows:

Air
Water
Earth
Fire
Positive
Negative

The elemental planes are positioned surrounding the Prime Material plane (and the Plane of Shadow) formed at the center where all six planes meet. The Ethereal Plane connects all the planar regions of this area, and is coterminous with the Prime Material. The coterminous portion of the Ethereal Plane is often called the "near" Ethereal Plane. As you move away from the PMP, you enter the "deep" Ethereal.

At the borders of the planes are the secondary Elemental planes. Between the four classic elements are the four Paraelemental Planes of Smoke (Fire + Air), Magma (Fire + Earth), Ooze (Earth + Water), and Ice (Air + Water). Between each of the four classic elements and the twin Energy planes are the eight Quasielemental Planes of Lightning (Air+), Radiance (Fire+), Minerals (Earth+), Steam (Water+), Vacuum (Air-), Ash (Fire-), Dust (Earth-), and Salt (Water-).

Combining Earth + Air, Fire + Water, or Positive + Negative cannot be done gainfully. The opposed elements naturally neutralize or annihilate each other (not necessarily explosively). The elements can be mixed, but that's not the same as combining them into something new, as is the case with the Quasi- and Paraelemental planes.

http://i.imgur.com/PvHC1h7.gif

A somewhat better labelled picture:

http://i.imgur.com/IsIg4ut.jpg

In this elemental structure, magic merely serves as a conduit or mechanism. A catalyst, rather than a reactive element. One could easily, however, assign the schools of magic to the Positive and Negative Enegry planes:

Positive (that which pushes, builds or creates; "Yang"):
Conjuration
Evocation
Illusion
Divination

Negative (that which pulls, consumes or destroys; "Yin"):
Abjuration
Necromancy
Transmutation
Enchantment

Some schools and spells don't fit entirely well, but that's fairly close, I think.

Jay R
2014-05-12, 08:49 AM
Don't neglect the removal of an element as a tool. Remove the air, even for a few seconds, and the fire goes out. Remove a 10x10x10 chunk of earth under the enemy's feet.

But a truly vicious spell is to cast Remove Water on the enemy's body - which is primarily water - and it leaves behind a pile of dust, or a dessicated corpse.

TriForce
2014-05-12, 06:45 PM
here is my suggestion:

make water + air "ice"
make water + eath "wood" or "nature"

and the last one, a bit of a stretch

make arcane + earth "fate"
the fate/destiny angle is a side thats not really included into your current elements, and it would suit as a sort of magical, unalterable destiny

Eldan
2014-05-13, 02:58 AM
I like the idea of Arcane+element being sort of basic concepts. How about:

Arcane+Air: impermanence. Air changes all the time, it never stands still.
Arcane+Water: Adaptation. Water fills spaces.
Arcane+Earth: stasis
Arcane+Fire: destruction

Adoendithas
2014-05-13, 07:42 AM
I like the idea of Arcane+element being sort of basic concepts. How about:

Arcane+Air: impermanence. Air changes all the time, it never stands still.
Arcane+Water: Adaptation. Water fills spaces.
Arcane+Earth: stasis
Arcane+Fire: destruction

I like this. But fire doesn't have to be just destruction, if you think about it the oxidation reactions in our bodies that let us stay alive are a sort of fire (burning complex molecules like sugars to create energy). I would have the essence of fire be either "chaos" (in the modern sense) or "life".

Impermanence and adaptation also seem rather similar, I might change water to ice and have the essence of it be order/death.

Eldan
2014-05-13, 07:49 AM
Air and water change themselves. Fire changes other things. Something along those lines, maybe? I'm not sure how to differentiate air and water, here.

TheMiningDwarf
2014-05-14, 10:29 AM
I always thought of having 6 elements with arcane and life being opposite each other. Arcane is damage, Life is healing so water and arcane might be poison.

Gildedragon
2014-05-14, 10:44 AM
One could also adapt the mtg color pie:
light-life-fire-death-water and neutral off to the side
And put spells as combinations of those elements.

Jay R
2014-05-14, 11:04 AM
You could go back to the original classical elements, and use those propoerties.

Fire is hot and dry.
Earth is cold and dry.
Water is cold and wet.
Air is hot and wet.

So an air/water mix is purely wet, neither hot nor cold - fog, etc.
An earth/water mix is purely cold. I'd put ice spells there.
An earth/fire mix is purely dry - dessication, sand, etc.
A fire/air mix is purely hot.

Also, by this system, water and fire cannot mix, and earth and air cannot mix.

Also, don't forget that the language has changed. These aren't elements in the current use of the word. It is more accurate to call them states of matter - solid, liquid, gas, and free energy.

Fiery Diamond
2014-05-14, 03:47 PM
You could go back to the original classical elements, and use those propoerties.

Fire is hot and dry.
Earth is cold and dry.
Water is cold and wet.
Air is hot and wet.

So an air/water mix is purely wet, neither hot nor cold - fog, etc.
An earth/water mix is purely cold. I'd put ice spells there.
An earth/fire mix is purely dry - dessication, sand, etc.
A fire/air mix is purely hot.

Also, by this system, water and fire cannot mix, and earth and air cannot mix.

Also, don't forget that the language has changed. These aren't elements in the current use of the word. It is more accurate to call them states of matter - solid, liquid, gas, and free energy.

Regarding your last comment: Unless this is set in the real world, that's pretty much irrelevant. There's no reason, for example, that elements as we scientifically use the word need to be real things in a given fantasy setting at all. And even if they are, magic could be an entire realm of reality that's a half-step to the side of the normal one, with its own rules and principles that don't necessarily reflect the normal world's.

Jay R
2014-05-14, 05:26 PM
Regarding your last comment: Unless this is set in the real world, that's pretty much irrelevant. There's no reason, for example, that elements as we scientifically use the word need to be real things in a given fantasy setting at all. And even if they are, magic could be an entire realm of reality that's a half-step to the side of the normal one, with its own rules and principles that don't necessarily reflect the normal world's.

Sure, but why restrict that to my last comment? It applies equally well to the whole post, and to any other attempt to base anything in D&D on any real-world legend, idea, or principle.

But that's what I tend to do - create game ideas from real-world legends, ideas, and principles. I had a game in which the major plot was based on the notion that the planets were in fact wandering stars, and they included the moon and the sun, but not the earth.

Yes, using real-world ideas is not required, but it's a great source of ideas already worked out.

Remembering that Water in this context means the essence of liquids, not merely a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, opens up more of the possibilities the original poster was asking about.

Geostationary
2014-05-15, 03:18 PM
I always thought of having 6 elements with arcane and life being opposite each other. Arcane is damage, Life is healing so water and arcane might be poison.

This is literally the system used in the game Magicka. Which would result in a great/terribly lethal system were you to directly adapt it.

Fiery Diamond
2014-05-15, 10:23 PM
Sure, but why restrict that to my last comment? It applies equally well to the whole post, and to any other attempt to base anything in D&D on any real-world legend, idea, or principle.

But that's what I tend to do - create game ideas from real-world legends, ideas, and principles. I had a game in which the major plot was based on the notion that the planets were in fact wandering stars, and they included the moon and the sun, but not the earth.

Yes, using real-world ideas is not required, but it's a great source of ideas already worked out.

Remembering that Water in this context means the essence of liquids, not merely a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, opens up more of the possibilities the original poster was asking about.

Because saying "remember that (X)" sounds, at best, like a strong recommendation, in the vein of "oh, and to do this properly, you have to keep (X) in mind." Believe it or not, I actually interpreted what you said as being a restricting thing, not a freeing one. I suppose it's because I approach things from a different angle than you do - I never use real-world factual principles as a basis; I'll use myths and legends, but not actual scientific principles. So to me, saying "Water=liquid (element doesn't mean element, doncha know)" is restricting water: for example, if you do things by state of matter, wouldn't Ice be part of Earth? Ice isn't a combination of liquid and solid, so it can't be water+earth by that thought process, and ice isn't a liquid but a solid, so... Likewise, what about molten rock? Which element should that be? Thematically, if you were to use elemental combos, it would be earth + fire, but state of matter-wise? Water, or Water+Earth, depending on your opinion of viscosity and how it affects things. Oh, what about lightning? Plasma, right? So it has to be associated with fire? But many stories associate it with air. And so on. Tying the "fantasy elements" to state of matter isn't actually any better than tying it to chemical compounds.

jseah
2014-05-17, 11:57 AM
Here, I have a very old bunch of spells I wrote for an elemental magic system. They were meant to be a Standard Book of Spells so it focuses more on the basic stuff than combinations. The elements may not match your system, but the 'standard 6' are probably there in some form. Balance was later renamed to Chaos, just so you know where it was coming from.

Feel free to use it. I never finished it, so alot of the details are missing or just not there. It also doesn't use the d20 system, so just ignore the stats and stuff.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vg2w36libs7g9xd/Intralis-old%20Standard%20Book%20of%20Spells.rtf

ReaderAt2046
2014-05-17, 06:17 PM
In A.L. Phillip's The Quest Of The Unaligned, each element had one or more secondary powers in addition to the direct manipulation of their element.

Fire had inhuman intelligence and Haesh's Trace, a burst of magical knowledge and inspiration about some topic they were considering.

Earth could heal and promote growth of plants, animals, and even people.

Wind could grant flight, speed, and teleportation.

Water could manipulate the mind, allowing water mages to influence people's thoughts and emotions.

erikun
2014-05-19, 02:08 PM
I have a big ol' conversation that I typed out on this. It might not be relevant, so I put it in a spoiler, but I didn't want to just let it go to waste.

As for Air+Earth, it could be chaos or destruction. Chaos, as such two conflicting elements require random interactions just to stay together, or destruction, as trying to tie two such elements together ultimately causes the whole thing to fall apart catastrophically. Similar ideas are in the spoiler, below.

Elements can be whatever you want them to be, from objects to planets to emotions. You can have as many as you want. They can incorporate as much or as little information as you want, and be as relevant as you'd like. As such, there's a lot of open interpretation availabel when trying to design elements by yourself. There really isn't a wrong way to do it, because your rules and limits will be perfectly valid.

Just as example, water is commonly referred to as the "element of life" in a lot of modern references, thanks to the modern knowledge of just how important water is to life. A lot of classic references make fire to be the element of life, though, treating fire as a driving force or "soul" of a person (and the flames of a fire the release of a life). Many video games use earth as life, bringing up the connection to plants and the ground. And there are a lot of references to air being life, via breath and the necessity to keep moving air into and out of lungs to survive.

Anyways, if I were to make it based on the classic four elements, I'd probably be looking at some eastern or other national influences to derive properites for the different elements. Here's my ideas:


Air - The element of freedom and movement, air is everywhere but almost impossible to pin down. It is the lack of restraints, and the ability to move anywhere. Air tends to avoid direct attacks and go around obstacles. Air is ambiance, or something that is everywhere.
Water - The element of yielding and adsorbing, water is immersive and difficult to harm. Most attacks from water tend to invade from multiple angles at once, and attacking water will cause it to part and deflect. Water is about change and shifting.
Earth - The element of unyielding resistance, earth stands its ground. It is about endurance and striking with overwhelming force. Most attacks against earth fail to phase it, and attacks from earth bring continuous pressure until an obstacle snaps. Earth is permanence.
Fire - The element of rapid and sudden change, fire is an extremely dangerous weapon. Defensively, it is rapid evasion and avoiding an attack with a sudden movement. Offensively, it deals a lot of damage and is very aggressive. Fire tends to be indescriminate in it's damage, and tends to involve attacks that quickly burn themselves out when left on its own. Fire is by definition temporary.

I'm not sure why you would need another element. There is frequently a fifth element like Aether or Void, but these tend to be the middle-stuff or lack of any element, or the presense of an element itself. Aether by itself would be something like Metamagic, along the lines of Dispel Magic and similar spells. Something like Aether + Water would either be redundant, because any sort of Water magic by definition involves Aether, or contradictory, as Aether is by definition the lack of Water (and any othe element.)

As for combinations:

Water + Earth - Unyielding permanence with transcendent change, Water + Earth represents something that shifts around a target but holds it in place. Common materials representing Water + Earth would be mud, sand, clay, and in a more modern sense cement. Permanent transmutation would be a Water + Earth type of magic.
Water + Fire - Shifting and change with dangerous aggressive attacks, Water + Fire involves getting around defenses and causing harm. It involves moving unpredictably and acting dangerously. Poisons, acids, and alcohol all embody Water + Fire. Rather appropriately, so does drunkenness.
Water + Air - Being everywhere and constantly shifting, Water + Air involves an almost inactive approach to attacking. It is almost impossible to hit and almost impossible to stop. Storms are a good representation of Water + Air, and snow might be a good physical example. Illusions are a good type of Water + Air magic.
Fire + Earth - Something sedimentary but highly dangerous is a good example of Fire + Earth. It is an object that might do little by itself, but becomes highly dangerous when toyed with. Magma is the classic example, although the more modern blackpowder and explosives are the perfect Fire + Earth weapon.
Fire + Air - Something that is everywhere and very hostile is Fire + Air. Deserts are perhaps the best example, being actively dangerous to stay in. Sulfiric fumes or clouds of acid would also be Fire + Air examples.
Air + Earth - Air + Earth is an odd sort, being something that is stable normally but unpredictably dangerous. An unstable rockslide or sudden collapse could be Air + Earth. In general, it means something risky or dangerous. It is unpredictability, or in a more modern sense, dystrophic entropy. Glass would probably be a good example of Air + Earth: a substance that is normally stable and safe, but can explode into dangerous shards if damaged.

As a bonus, if you wanted a "Void" element as in lack-of element, you can have:
Water + Void = Cold, or numbness restricting the ability to move around.
Earth + Void = Weakness, or the inability to resist a force against you.
Air + Void = Paralysis, or the inability to freely move around.
Fire + Void = Death, or the inability to continue to do as you choose.