magical elements system.

existing systems:

four-element system:
  • earth, fire, wind, water
  • fire, aqua, wood, elec
  • fire, water, sky, + shadow
five-element system:
  • metal, wood, water, fire, earth
  • earth, air, fire, water, aether
color-element system:
  • red/Ruby, white/Weiss, black/Blake, yellow/Yang
  • red/mountain, green/forest, white/plains, blue/island, black/swamp
  • black/steel, red/fire, green/forest, blue/water, yellow/stone
  • red/Keith, blue/Lance, green/Pidge, pink/Allura, yellow/Hunk, black/Sven
  • or, like, any color-coded protagonist team ever (see: every set of Power Rangers)
15, no, 17, no, 18-element system:
  • normal, fire, water, electric, grass, ice, fighting, poison, ground, flying, psychic, bug, rock, ghost, dragon, dark, steel, fairy
some stuff from D&D
  • acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic
  • bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
  • sacred, profane, axiomatic, anarchic
  • dessication(?)
  • lethal, non-lethal
  • force, positive, negative
  • abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, illusion, necromancy, transmutation, universalist
some stuff from Castlevania:
  • physical: slash, strike
  • magical: flame, ice, thunder, light, darkness, earth, wind, plants, stone, poison, curse

some stuff from final fantasy

  • fire, ice, lightning/bolt, water, wind, poison (status effect?), stone (instant death?), gravity? (calculated damage), air (some weird nonsense from ff4 for affecting birds)
  • white magic (mostly healing), grey magic (status or time/dimensional), black magic (mostly attacking)
okay, lemme try this myself.  i'm going to shamelessly steal from pokémon as a base.

Magical elements system.
  1. non-elemental magic.  generic magical energy, basically.  not particularly efficient, but not much tends to be weak to it.  not actually all that common; you tend to get this if you intentionally study magic, as opposed to coming up with it from other sources of inspiration and life experiences.
  2. fire.  magic that infuses things with thermal energy, heating and burning them.
  3. water.  magic that imparts properties of watery flow and affinity to water.  some movement spells, a handful of magical damaging spells, and also water-breathing spells.  the last kind is differentiated from underwater air pocket spells from the air element.
  4. electricity.  magic that causes the flow of electrons.  can jumpstart circuits and has other unusual effects; may cause burns without starting fires, for example.
  5. plant.  tends to be more enhancement spells and physical spells that deal lesser damage while controlling the battlefield.  wood-based defensive spells as well.
  6. ice.  magic that removes thermal energy, chilling and freezing things.
  7. force.  this magic manifests as a physical force, but one capable of affecting supernatural creatures.  (in other words: ghosts not immune to fighting when it's magical fighting.)
  8. poison.  magic that disrupts the life-force, often by initially weak but lasting effects.  includes radioactivity.
  9. ground.  magic that is normally confined to the ground but allows manipulation of dirt, stone, mud, and other natural ground features.  generally deals physical damage.
  10. sky.  magic of flight and flotation, defiance of gravity.  largely movement magic, including magic that allows high-speed attacks from above.
  11. psychic.  magic of the mind.  has attack spells that notably ignore magical defenses.  also, enchantments and illusions, and some telekinesis.
  12. arthropod.  magic of primitive, hard-shelled creatures with a knack of survival.  an odd set of spells, including exploration/surveillance, injury reduction, status effects, battlefield control, and more.  weak at directly attacking, though some spells may be able to do more damage when cast in succession.  these spells tend to be more useful when used cooperatively.
  13. (unused) *
  14. spirit.  the magic of spiritual energy and incorporeal creatures.  may include psychopomp-like abilities, as well as ways to cross the divide between the living and the dead.
  15. draconid.  magic related to fearsome creatures of legend, such as dragons and dinosaurs (though some might say it's more like humanity's understanding and imagination of them).  there is some debate to how common this is, but it seems that humans with a particularly strong sense of imagination may be able to recreate spells of this element on their own, suggesting that this element pertains more to fantasy in general rather than a specific type of creature.  may be opposed to star. *
  16. darkness.  magic of shadow, concealment, and trickery.  often though not necessarily associated with evil, and "profane" or "unholy" magic is often of this form.  some spells are enchantments that cause despair.  naturally opposed to light.
  17. metal.  magic with defensive and reflective properties.  attack spells have an unusually effective ability to draw blood.
  18. air.  movement, flow, and physical manipulation magic.  can be used to breathe in another fluid, by creating a bubble.  includes wind magic that can move others, resulting in a physics-based telekinesis.
  19. sound.  magic of pressure waves, as well as of music.  enchantment spells, as well as area-of-effect damaging spells that deal physical damage ignoring physical defenses.
  20. light.  magic that produces light and revelation, uncovering secrets and discovering truth.  often but not necessarily associated with good, and "holy" or "sacred" magic is often of this form.  some spells are enchantments that provide hope.  naturally opposed to darkness.
  21. star.  an unusual and rare element.  seems to be a specialized form of magic (mainly without elemental interactions), but with some connection to cosmic forces.  also may be associated with legendary creatures that inspire positive emotions, and as such may be opposed to draconid.

* alternative formulation interpretations:

13. fortune.  magic of manipulating luck.  little ability to directly affect things, but seems to work by channeling emotions of hope and dread.  some divinational abilities as well.

15. herpetile.  magic that relates to the abilities of reptiles and amphibians, including legendary creatures of this sort, such as dinosaurs and dragons.  abilities include manifestation of multiple forms of energy from other elements, as well as gaining physical/movement abilities such as flight and clinging to surfaces by means of enhancing one's bodily capabilities.

Comments

  • i just spent like several hours reading about taxonomy and other topics on wikipedia just for that 15th element
  • edited 2016-05-07 07:09:17

    i actually kinda like this fortune element, come to think of it.  i think i will go with that.

    there's a possibility i could split herpetile from draconid.
    and then add other elements like fungus.
  • also, "arthropod magic" sounds way cooler than "bug type"
  • edited 2016-08-14 10:03:28

    QuickCast: a non-elemental spell that allows one to suddenly cast more than one (other) spell at once. Very mana-intensive.

    SwarmCast: an arthropod-elemental spell that allows one to stock several castings of one (other) spell together to take effect at the same time. Does not shorten casting time.
  • I think basically the idea behind all of this is that this sort of magic is essentially a manifestation of imagination.

    The way we as humans typically imagine the world has frequently, throughout history, been shown to be different from the scientific principles that actually govern it. This is why we have myths that get debunked. The world isn't structured and doesn't act on the basis of what things mean to us humans. But what if that "mythological" understanding of the world actually had real meaning?

    What if you actually could literally burn with passion? What if you could speak to the dead? What if you could learn to fly by thinking hard enough about it? What if you could rip through steel if you just willed it strongly enough? What if shiny crystals weren't just pretty decorations, but had actual wondrous properties? What if you could shoot laser beams from your eyes? What if you could will projectiles into hitting your intended targets?
  • “His thoughts were red thoughts, and his teeth were white.”
    I would intensely simplify this. These seem like categories, which is fine, but basic elements or principles should be far simpler and more essential in nature. Having fewer than three somewhat defeats the purpose, but more than ten, let alone in excess of twenty, lacks the mythic quality that you would be looking for in such a system. Many subsets and variations, that makes sense, but the basics should be few in number and very abstract.
  • edited 2016-08-27 20:07:29
    Top Borb
    Honestly, I agree, but still find myself curious where Glenn might take it because I find him doing this how I would not.
  • I wanna know what Heapers think my element would be.
  • edited 2016-08-28 02:19:43

    Vriska said:

    I wanna know what Heapers think my element would be.

    You like spiders, so element #12, arthropod, would certainly be one.  If you feel a strong affinity toward another one, feel free to pick I guess?  I don't know enough about Homestuck trolls but they might count as non-elemental (if they are just sorta "generic magical"), darkness (if they are into trickery), or star (if they are otherworldly), depending on what aspect you want to emphasize.

    I would intensely simplify this. These seem like categories, which is fine, but basic elements or principles should be far simpler and more essential in nature. Having fewer than three somewhat defeats the purpose, but more than ten, let alone in excess of twenty, lacks the mythic quality that you would be looking for in such a system. Many subsets and variations, that makes sense, but the basics should be few in number and very abstract.

    Well there are 118 and counting in real life. :P

    This list is basically like, different "categories" of magic, that are all on the same level as each other.

    Magic, as I would like to envision it, is like, "what would science be like, if humans got to say how the world works, from our perspective".  Rather than taking any specific few-elements system from any existing mythos, which can easily lead increasing levels of complexity trying to figure out the right combination of elements that "explains" any given phenomenon or desired effect, I instead took inspiration from the Pokémon series and tweaked it in the direction of "identity definers".

    Like, you'd use my elemental system in order to say "this is what my life is about", rather than trying to boil it too far down to "fundamentals" that need tons of secondary qualifiers to further connect to things.
    Crystal said:

    Honestly, I agree, but still find myself curious where Glenn might take it because I find him doing this how I would not.

    I've been a bit of a fan of those things where people develop, use, and specialize in things based on where they grew up or where they live, or what they do as a job, or what they study, or what they really like, or something like that.  It's both a sense of identity and a sense of one's place in the world (geographically and otherwise).

    These ideas are often explored in fiction.  Often they are done somewhat ham-handedly -- such as proposing that eskimos play basketball with a snowball.  Furthermore, just as in this very example, this stuff doesn't work in real life because the laws of physics and chemistry don't work along the lines of how we humans would like to understand them.  (Which is why they're often ham-handed.)  Sometimes it's less ham-handed, such as that sushi-selling guy in MMBN using Sharkman.exe as his navi.

    But what if magic actually followed those lines of human understanding?  What if the guy who makes sushi could actually summon sharks?  What if the girl who studies robots can create automatons from thin air?  What if someone who really likes volcanoes can actually magically produce lava, and becomes more tolerant of high heat?  What if someone who grew up blind instead developed a limited ability to discern the future?  What if someone who really admires how geckos can walk over everything one day discovers the ability to conjure gecko pads on their hands and feet?  What if an airplane pilot, from years of experience with flying machines, actually develops the ability to fly on their own?  And to use my earlier example, what if those eskimos could actually magically fashion a bounceable ball made of ice?
  • It's possible for one's elements to change over the course of one's life, depending on what comes to define a person.
  • D&D and its ilk have positive and negative energy types as elements themselves.

    I'm a little disinclined to keep that arrangement.  It feels a bit arbitrary and dependent on predetermined notions of how the world should or shouldn't work.

    Instead, how about we tie them back to the notion of meaning to humans, and redefine them as subtypes of each element?

    So positive energy is defined as something that builds, constructs, repairs, or heals.
    Negative energy is defined as something that destroys, deconstructs, takes apart, or harms.

    Each subtype can be used for good or evil purposes.

    Incidentally this means that so-called "necromancy" would be positive energy, since it would be infusing some sort of presence into bodily remains.
  • 0 nonmagical (follows default physical laws)
    1 generic magic
    2 fire
    3 water
    4 electricity
    5 plant
    6 cold
    7 force
    8 alchemy
    9 ground
    10 avian
    11 psychic
    12 arthropod
    13 fortune
    14 spirit
    15 herpetile
    16 darkness
    17 metal
    18 air
    19 sound
    20 light
    21 cosmic

    i should reorder these a bit
  • edited 2017-02-17 16:22:31

    non-magical
    physical elements: fire, water, electricity, cold, ground, air, sound, light, cosmic
    biological elements: plant, avian, arthropod, herpetile
    created elements: generic, force, alchemy, psychic, fortune, spirit, darkness, metal

    If there is a "legend" or "fairy" element then it'd go in the "created" category.
  • edited 2017-02-20 22:08:50

    Should revise "plant" element to include plants, algae, and fungi, and use some sort of umbrella term for them.  Maybe "botanical"?  Would be consistent with the origin of magic being human-centric understanding and imagination of things.

    Meanwhile, acids and bases fit into the "alchemy" element.  As does pretty much all of modern chemistry lol

    non-magical
    physical elements: fire, water, electricity, cold, ground, air, sound, light, cosmic
    biological elements: botanical, avian, arthropod, herpetile
    created elements: generic, force, alchemy, psychic, fortune, spirit, darkness, metal
    • red/Keith
    I completely spaced on the Voltron reference for a second and thought you were throwing forward the idea that This Guy Named Keith should be an element or something.
  • edited 2017-02-20 20:17:57

    Bee said:

    • red/Keith
    I completely spaced on the Voltron reference for a second and thought you were throwing forward the idea that This Guy Named Keith should be an element or something.
    Haha I'm glad someone picked up on it.

    Always found it funny that some of them had suit colors associated with their lions but others didn't.
  • Sup bitches, witches, Haters, and trolls.
    also black is Shiro
  • image Wee yea erra chs hymmnos mea.
    things i know about voltron:

    the original season was a golion adaptation
    it has robots
    pidge
  • Calica said:

    also black is Shiro

    ?
  • Sup bitches, witches, Haters, and trolls.
    shiro's the name of the black lion's pilot
  • Sup bitches, witches, Haters, and trolls.
    not sven
  • Which is silly because Shiro means white.
  • Calica said:

    shiro's the name of the black lion's pilot

    Black Lion's pilot, who wears red, is Keith, whose Japanese name is Akira Kogane.
    Red Lion's pilot, who wears, blue, is Lance, whose Japanese name is Isamu Kurogane.
    Green Lion's pilot, who wears green, is Pidge, whose Japanese name is Hiroshi Suzuishi.
    Blue Lion's first pilot, who wears black, is Sven, whose Japanese name is Takashi Shirogane.
    Blue Lion's second pilot, who wears pink, is Allura, whose Japanese name is (Princess) Fala.
    Yellow Lion's pilot, who wears orange, is Hunk, whose Japanese name is Tsuyoshi Seido.
  • edited 2017-02-20 22:01:17

    Crystal said:

    Honestly, I agree, but still find myself curious where Glenn might take it because I find him doing this how I would not.

    Right now I'm thinking of writing up some lists of magic spells of each element.  Including examples of how different elements do similar things but in different ways.
  • edited 2017-02-21 20:03:36

    Wondering if I should add "music" as an element.

    Meantime, @Crystal, how would you do this differently?  Just curious.
  • edited 2017-02-23 03:11:30

    I realized, the "generic magic" element in fact ought to be the element of myths and legends, if the stuff involved doesn't fit into any other element.

    Magical elements, in this system, are not so much some set of fundamental forces of the cosmos (as it often is in the case of classical elements).  Rather, they are classifications of understanding as it relates to the imagination.  Magic, in this system, is imagination given manifestation by force of will.  The more you dream, and the stronger you believe in your dream, the more magical capability you have.
  • Wondering if I should add "music" as an element.

    Meantime, @Crystal, how would you do this differently?  Just curious.

    I've not answered this because, when not forgetting, simply not having an answer given that the most prominent magical system I've had in my mind is something that's still knotty and contradictory to me.
  • Crystal said:

    Wondering if I should add "music" as an element.

    Meantime, @Crystal, how would you do this differently?  Just curious.

    I've not answered this because, when not forgetting, simply not having an answer given that the most prominent magical system I've had in my mind is something that's still knotty and contradictory to me.
    Fair enough.

    FWIW this is sorta my attempt at something like a "universal" system to accommodate magical abilities (though not elemental understandings) from other works I've seen/read.
  • I have cut a caper with the dancing mad god
    image
  • edited 2017-02-23 07:51:49

    Gecko Pads [Herpetile]
    Your hands and feet become coated with a material that allows you to adhere to any surface (with some possible exceptions). Each single extremity's pad can support half your weight, so you can climb a surface with just two pads, as easily as you can walk/run. Using more pads increases your traction and makes it more difficult to throw you off balance.

    Hover [Arthropod]
    You gain the ability to become airborne. While airborne, you can move freely, through not (typically) exceeding your walking speed. However, you retain very fine and precise control over your movement, and have increased ability to ride out strong winds, compared to avian flight.

    Fly [Avian]
    You gain the ability to fly. Your airspeed can greatly exceed your ground speed, up to being three times as fast.

    Breeze-riding [Air]
    You become entrained in the flow of air and can direct the pocket of air that surrounds you to move around. The ease of doing so depends on what winds, if any, are present, and feels similar to swimming, but with much less viscosity. In still air, you can move as fast as your running speed (given the same amount of effort).

    Fire Blast [Fire]
    Emit a wall of fire, roughly the size of your body but shaped however you wish, in a given direction. If it hits nothing, it dissipates after some distance.

    Regeneration [Botanical]
    Your body's natural rate of repairing physical injuries is greatly enhanced. Light wounds close up as soon as they form, and heavy wounds take on the order of minutes to hours, without medical attention. A severed limb can potentially be reconnected if done so while this spell is in effect; if not, a stump will form in its place. This spell does not prevent being outright killed, such as by dismemberment, crushing, suffocation, or magical disintegration effects.

    Comforting Shade [Darkness]
    When you cast this spell on an anxious, fearful, or otherwise agitated person, they feel a sense of comfort, as light dims around them and they get a feeling that someone is gently enveloping them, such as in a hug. This usually has the effect of destressing and calming the person, at least for a little while.

    Stone Spire [Ground]
    You direct a column of stone, a little wider than yourself, to rise from the ground, up to about 30 feet away from you, in an attempt to disrupt and throw off and/or impale anyone who is in the location where that column arises (and does so pretty fast). You can choose the shape of the spire, though more complex shapes may take more concentration and time to visualize and create than simple shapes such as a cone or cylinder.

    Burrow [Ground]
    Dig into the ground for a limited time. Move up to about half your running speed (again, given the same amount of effort), to swim through dirt. Cannot drill into bedrock using this spell; BYOD. You have a limited ability to see ahead of you in the ground, seeing about five feet around you as if you can see through dirt and as if you are carrying a small light source such as a flashlight.

    Water Walking [Water]
    You can walk on water for the duration of this spell; the water's surface feels to you like a similarly-textured solid ground surface. At will and effortlessly, you can treat any interaction with the surface as normal water, so you can scoop some up and splash it on yourself, or even dive into it; if you choose to do so, the surface around that interaction behaves as normal water for as long as you are intersecting with it. Turbulent water may be difficult to walk on without losing your balance, but you will not be submerged if you fall, unless you let yourself be submerged. This spell does not provide underwater breathing means.
  • Vriska said:

    I wanna know what Heapers think my element would be.

    <-------


    also

    Shadow Artistry [Darkness]
    With your ability to cast shadows where they don't belong, you can depict simple sentences, shapes, transparent images or stencil-styled art carved from shadow itself. You can project it in mid-air, or against a surface (which is far easier). While the artistry depicted cannot actually harm anyone and can easily be dispersed with the stroke of a hand or the wave of a torch, it can be used to create ominous messages in the sky, lovely artwork for a city, trading secrets in silence and stillness, to create false tattoos and sigils, or in many shadow artists leisure, to leave their signature.

    Whispers [Sound]
    You recollect a phrase, as long as you want, and mentally transfer it to a target of your choice capable of hearing and understanding languages. With this trick, the target will constantly hear whispers derived from that phrase, or a unintelligible barrage of words that you recollected. Generally this causes paranoia, lack of focus, and disrupts the targets current actions, making them unable to rely on hearing to aid them in battle, or in their current line of work. However, if left cast upon a target, it can cause death by lack of sleep, paranoia-induced suicide, having the target self-harm to cease the voices.

    Weaponized Ascension [Sky]
    With this ability, you don't grant yourself the power of flight, but an unwilling subject. Regardless of their weight, the victim will be able to suddenly shoot skyward, rising farther than they could normally jump themselves, however, they will have no control over it. They will rise upwards until you decide to release the spell. Whether it casts them directly into outer space in a never ending line, or you release the spell, and let them come crashing down, is up to you.

    Cryophonic Touch [Ice]
    A weaponized touch spell used mainly against living creatures. Anything touched by this will have the contacted cells freeze and die. Short-time exposure will freeze the skin black, while extended exposure can send ice-crystals into the blood stream, or freeze the fluids and bone completely solid. The freezing will not spread sporadically to an entire living organism, but only the local area the hand touches. 
  • ^ Those are some neat spell ideas.

    Also I don't think I know you well enough to assign elements to you.  Well, hmm.  I dunno.  Maybe darkness for one element, and possibly a second?  What would you pick?
  • So it's generally popular to make Fire and Ice two separate and contrasting elements, even though they're basically both manipulation of thermal energy.

    Maybe it could be possible to organize elements by a sort of "energy format".

    Thermal - heat and cold
    Mechanical - movement, kinetics, physical impact
    Electromagnetic - electricity, magnetism, light
    Chemical - acids, bases, other chemical reactions
    Psychic - thoughts, telepathy, enchantments
    Sonic - sounds and music
    Spiritual - beliefs, morality, divinity

    there are probably others
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