Middle Class White Guy
Contact me
Wine SLuRP Gadgets Poetry Stuff Galleries About Me
The World

Elemental Magic


When people talk of magic and mages, it is the Elementalists that grab the limelight. This is the magic that gets results, that grabs the attention and the glory, that inspires awe and fear. If fireballs and lightning bolts are your idea of what magic should be about, and you simply cannot be arsed with Hermeticism, then Elementalism is for you.

All this glory comes with a downside however: politics. The Mage's Guild guards its secrets tenaciously, and any young novice must serve an apprenticeship in near slavery before any real knowledge will come his way. The more arcane, and powerful spells are reserved for the top ranks of the Guild hierachy, who will not release their grip on power for anything short of death.

They release their grip with perhaps alarming frequency.

Although Elementalism does not require the rigid adherences of the priesthood, or the devotion to study of the more complex Hermetic magic, they must still join the Mages' Guild, and the Guild demands loyalty. Certainly, betrayal of the Guild will not cost you your powers, but you have to ask yourself if you really think you can escape their retribution.

The Rules

Elementalism uses the Intellect list-multiplier.

You must join the Mages' Guild. They won't teach their spells to just anyone, so if you want to be a mage, you must join the Guild as an apprentice and learn the most elementary (Elementary? Geddit?) spells. Once you have shown the initiative to research a spell of your own, you will be promoted to the rank of Novice, and you can start learning the more useful spells.

You must buy spell points. Unlike skills, you can use any single spell multiple times in one day, but only as often as your magical capacity (and time) dictates. As an apprentice, a single spell will drain you completely, while as a master you can chuck around fireballs all day without worry.
The base level of a spell component determines how many spell points it takes to cast (1 to 10). When combining components, the highest cost is used.
Spell points cost 1ep each. Spell points recharge fully after a full night's rest. Partial rest means partial recharge.

Verbals : As a guideline, you need one line of verbals (a couple of seconds' worth) per spell level. The verbals should give a fairly clear indication of what elements are being used, and how they are being put together. Anyone who hears the vocals should be able to guess what is about to happen. Of course, you are encouraged to dress it up in lots of flowery pretentiousness.

After the flowery bit you must clearly anounce the word SPELLCASTING, followed by the name of the spell, and then any specifics of effect that may be appropriate (damage, duration, target, etc.).

For example, the level one spell Ignite (aka Create Fire) might use the verbals I summon force unto my hand the power of the eternal flame, spellcasting ignite, this manuscript.

Some terminology:

Your standing within the Guild (Apprentice to Grand Vizier)
One of the fundamental spells from which all others are built.
The cost (and relative difficulty) of a spell component

Spell Components

All Elementalist's spells are based on the same components. These are such things as Conjure Element; Shape Element; Resist Element etc. From these components, all Elemental spells are composed.

Access to spell components is determined by your standing within the Mages' Guild, and a hierarchy of prerequisite requirements. There is no such thing as a 'fifth level mage' for example, but things may be referred to as "high level" or "first level" for illustrative purposes. The level of a spell component only states its cost to cast.

To learn a spell component costs level2 eps.

The components are as follows: -

  1. Create element
  2. Form element
  3. Transform element
  4. Control element
  5. Project element
  6. Elemental summoning
  7. Elemental storm
  8. Elemental form
  9. Elemental portal
  10. Elemental mastery

For more details, consult the spell components summary table.

Element Combinations

Many Elementalists are happy just to use spells based on single components. After all, Form Earth will create a solid wall, Control Air can create a tornado, Project Fire is a Fireball. Elementalism does however have significant scope for creativity through the combination of multiple spell components into one spell.

For the purposes of combos, the elements can have both their literal and metaphorical properties. Thus Earth is structure, form, solidity and rigidity; Air is space, distance, disorder and freedom; Fire is force and energy; Water is movement, change and fluidity. It is by combining the properties from a variety of the elements that more complex spells can be researched.

Here follows a table of combinations of element. With a different line of reasoning, any of the combos could produce a different result, so don't consider the list definitive.

Combo Result Reasoning
Air + Earth Force (telekinetics) Imparting solidity to air
Air + Fire Light or Electric Energy acting through space
Air + Water Kinetic (or steam) Motion through space
Earth + Fire Volcanic/Tectonic Destructive force in earth
Earth + Water Ice Giving structure to water
Fire + Water Tidal Energy in water

Important things to note

As Air represents space, so it represents distance. Thus adding a range to a spell requires a component of air.

As Earth represents structure, any spell involving a construction more complex than a wall requires a component of earth.

As Water represents motion, a component of water can be another way to give a spell range. However, an air component will cause a spell to take effect at a distance, while a water component causes a spell to come into being at the caster and travel to its target, thus requires a phys-rep and can be more easily dodged.

Combinations are only necessary if you want to a spell component to behave differently from the standard. To cast Fireball you need only Project Fire - you do not need to combine it with a component of Air or Water to provide the range or motion. However, to cast "Guided Fireball" does require a combo. In this case a Water component to represent motion.

Spell Research

Spell research is as follows:

  1. Make up a spell
  2. Check that it obeys the Laws of Magic.
  3. Work out what spell components are required to cast it (and at what magnitude)
  4. Check with a GM.
  5. Buy the spell at normal cost (i.e. cost in eps equal to the level of the highest component used)

This gives us, the people who should be writing up the spells, an excuse not to bother.

The Laws of Magic

  1. Elemental spells must utilise the elemental spell components.
  2. Elemental spells can only produce physical effects.
  3. Elemental spells can NOT effect living (or once living) matter.
  4. Elemental spells can NOT effect a creature's mind, or mental faculties.

Always remember that the elements are METAPHORS. They are more to do with the States of Matter (solid, liquid, gas, energy) than the actual substances.
eg. Conjure Water can be used to conjure ANY liquid, including acids and poisons, PROVIDED the character has sufficient knowledge of that liquid to duplicate it.

See also : Hermetic Magic
  : Spell Components Table
Creative Commons License
Except where stated, this site and its contents are copyright ©2021 Alec Harkness and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.
Contact me