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Khas

How should we proceed with the elements of magic?

How should we proceed with the elements of magic?  

3 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Wood and Metal be their separate elements?

    • Yes! They should.
    • No. They should remain split among Earth & Water and Earth & Fire, respectively.


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My brother and I were working on a magic system for a Tabletop RPG, and we hit a little snag.  When discussing spells regarding plants and metal, we weren't able to decide if we should make Wood and Metal their own elements, or if we should have it so that some plant spells would fall under Earth, while others would fall under Water, and that some metal spells would fall under Fire, and others under Earth.

 

So, do we go with a 5-element system (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Spirit) or a 7-element system (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Wood, Metal, Spirit)?

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Basically what's going  on is this: my brother's trying to revamp Dungeons & Dragons' magic system, so that each magic-using class (Cleric, Paladin, Druid, Sorcerer, Necromancer, and Wizard) uses different classical elements for their magic.  Right now, we're stuck between choosing a system that uses five elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Spirit), and one that uses seven (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Wood, Metal, Spirit).  If we go with the five element system, the spells for plant-based magic get split up - with some plant spells ending up listed as "Water" magic, and others as "Earth" magic.  The same rules apply to metal-based magic, only with Fire replacing Water.  If we go with a seven element system, however, all plant spells will fall under the element of Wood, and all metal spells falling under the element of Metal.

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I think keeping plant-based spells under Wood (a living thing that can be manipulated after it's dead) and metal-based spells under Metal (a mineral separate from Earth that is never alive but can flow like a liquid if heated, unlike earth which mixes readily with water, whereas metal doesn't fully mix with water, or something something etc.) is best ^^;

So, what about flesh-based spells like transformation/size change/healing/blood/bone/organs like eyes and ears, etc.?  Blood can be the rare mix of Water and Metal (iron), but a simple Enlarge/growth spell would involve flesh, bone, blood, organs, the whole gamut working in concert to increase a creature's size (may also involve Spirit)

Also, how would Light and Darkness be classified? I can imagine Light being a subset of Fire (even cold chemical light like fireflies), and perhaps Darkness too (absence of light, plus ashes/soot being a product of Fire)? I dunno...

Finally, electricity (lightning bolt, chain lightning, St. Elmo's Fire, etc.) could be a subset of Fire I suppose, although the way it travels through Metal is unique (fire could use metal as a conductor, as in heating one end of a piece of metal, but it's not as efficient as electricity). Also, electricity can melt metal if hot enough, so definitely related to Fire there. Yet, electricity not only burns flesh, but causes paralysis by shorting the nervous system. An active nervous system is a required in most forms of life, therefore one could extrapolate that life is a subset of Fire, therefore Raise Dead/Resurrection type of thing might be related to "restoring the fire of life"? :p 

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My brother wants to keep things simple, and prevent the number of elements from spiraling out of control.  He's doing seven elements at the most, so I'm not entirely sure what he's got planned.  I'll ask him tomorrow after work.

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Well, and this is just my opinion, but specifically having a plant/wood element and a Metal element in addition to the more traditional Air/Wind/Fire/Earth types I don't know...somehow strikes me as counter-intuitive.  Oddly specific while everything else is more of a broad, general classification. 

For whatever it is worth, I think staying with the five-element system is better if you prefer to keep things simple and workable. But admittedly I'm not much of a Tabletop RPG guy, other than Call of Cthulhu, so I may be wrong in my summation. 

Anyway, best of luck regardless.

-Respectfully, Commodore Krevin

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Well, Wood and Metal were considered elements in the Chinese element system (which was Fire, Water, Earth, Wood, and Metal), so we're still discussing whether or not to combine the European and Chinese element models or not.

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1 hour ago, Khas said:

Well, Wood and Metal were considered elements in the Chinese element system (which was Fire, Water, Earth, Wood, and Metal), so we're still discussing whether or not to combine the European and Chinese element models or not.

Ah...didn't know that about the Chinese element system. Ultimately it will be up to what you and your brother find the most "fun" to play. Myself I'm inclined towards the more traditional Western system but that's me.

If the seven element-system comes more naturally to you, my advise would be to pick it.

-Respectfully, Sonofccn

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Ok, I dumbly voted before reading the thread...

Sue me! 

(Don't sue me, it's a figure of speech)

so, you say you want to keep it simple, yet you have "some plant based spells in earth, and others with water"...

How the heck is that simple?

ok, let's keep it at 6 elements:

Earth (everything that has to do with the earth and its minerals), Fire ( self-explanatory unless you are a complete idiot 😝), Water (see Fire), Air (see previous two entries), and here where it gets to be fun:

All spells related to living matter, are from the Life domain, including plants. Spells like Alter self, polymorphe self, cure, etc...

All spells related to dead things, like animal/humanoid skeletons, and... get this, dead plants, like tree skeletons (I.e. Wood planks), are part of the Death domain (also including all necromantic spells)...

 

6 domains, relatively easy to class, and there you go...

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