The Elementalism System
- Elementalism is magic cast by manipulating the energy of the elemental planes.
- Mages use a ‘focus’ to channel the power of the elements to cast spells.
- Mages have an amount of ‘mana’ that determines how many spells they can cast per day.
Elemental Magic uses the power of the Elements to produce effects in the World. Elemental spellcasters are typically called “mages”.
Mages require mana and a focus – a small trinket – to channel the power of their element and so cast spells.
The list of spells and the description of their effects can be found here.
The Elemental Planes
- There is one plane for each of the elements.
- Each plane is ruled by an elemental Lord.
The Elemental Planes are inhospitable dimensions outside the material world which each contain a single Element. The act of casting a spell draws a small amount of elemental power through the casters focus, which he then shapes for the desired result.
Grey magic is cast by calling on all the elements, and does not have its own plane or Lord.
The Elemental Lords, who rule the Elemental Planes, are on par with the Gods in terms of power and influence. However they do not require any service in return for a mage’s power.
The names of the Elemental Lords are commonly known and are notably called upon in the ritual for creating an Elemental Focus (see below).
- To be a mage, you must buy ‘Elemental Skill’ at least once.
- ‘Elemental Power’ determines how much mana you have.
- ‘[Element] Lore’ gives you access to spells of that element.
- Individual spells are bought as skills.
‘Elemental Skill I’ gives your character grounding in the theory required to manipulate Elemental Energy. This includes the ability to attune to a focus and the ability to Recognise Magic.
To advance as a mage, you will need to keep buying the skills ‘Elemental Skill’ and ‘Elemental Power’. These may not be bought above your level. ‘Elemental Skill’ determines your ability to cast without taking damage. ‘Elemental Power’ determines how much mana your character has, according to this progression:
You will also need to buy ‘[Element] Lore’ in order to cast spells of that element and level. For example, to cast 1st level fire spells, you must have one level of ‘Fire Lore’. To cast 4th level Air spells, you must have four levels of ‘Air Lore’. You can buy as many lores as you like, and they may be double-bought.
Your levels of ‘[Element] Lore’ also determine the level of spells of that element you may purchase. Spells are bought as skills, and you do not need any spells of a given level to purchase spells of higher level, with the notable exception of Dispels, above.
- Mana is the resource that mages use to cast spells.
- If a spell is cast when the mage has insufficient Mana, they die.
Mana is a resource which allows a mage to cast spells. Mana is spent when spells are cast.
The amount of Mana a Mage has is determined by their level of Elemental Power, as above.
Mana replenishes at dawn.
Attempting to cast a spell with insufficient mana causes the mage to die in the process, as he is sucked bodily into his focus. The spell still works. This is called ‘Over-Casting’. It is impossible to accidentally Over-Cast.
- In order to cast a spell you must have a focus and sufficient mana.
- To cast a spell you must roleplay appropriate vocals and gestures.
- Spells cost mana equal to their level.
- Spellcasting fails if you take damage or are interrupted in any other way.
- Touch spells may be ‘charged’.
In order to cast a spell, a mage must be in contact with their focus, speak an incantation (the ‘spell vocal’) and spend some Mana. The mage also requires a ‘free hand’ – this means a hand that is not actively using a weapon or shield or being used to maintain another spell or miracle. This does not apply to Elementals casting spells.
Spell vocals are IC phrases used to invoke a spell. See the section on Spell Vocals, below.
Spells cost one point of Mana per level to cast. Cantrips use an insignificant amount of power and therefore cost no mana to cast.
If you take damage whilst casting a spell, even if the damage does not penetrate your armour, then the spell fails. The mana that would have been used in the spell is not spent. The Fracture spell as well as any effect which prevents movement or incapacitates the target will also interrupt spellcasting.
Touch spells are able to ‘charge’ – the caster may cast them in advance, ad-libbing the vocal to extend it if necessary – and then once they have cast the spell, they have ten seconds to touch their target, at which point they should call out the name of the effect. The spell is lost if the caster is hit whilst saying the vocal, but not if they are hit in the intervening ten seconds. Should the caster not touch their target, nothing happens but the Mana used to cast the spell is still used.
- A mage must have a focus to cast spells.
- They are created by a short IC ritual.
- Foci are indestructible and magical.
A focus is a small trinket that a mage has created. It is attuned to them and to the elements. Every mage is assumed to possess one at character creation. It is impossible to cast a spell without a focus.
A mage may only be attuned to one focus at a time, although they may own more than one. It is a major downtime action to attune to a focus. This process automatically removes attunement to any other focus upon its completion.
There are various kinds of foci, and different foci affect spell-casting in different ways, mostly by limiting the maximum level of spells that may be cast of a given element.
|Element||Phys-Rep||Any level of||Up to level 7||Up to level 5||Not at all|
|Fire||Red trinket||Fire||Grey||Earth, Air, Light, Darkness||Water|
|Water||Green trinket||Water||Grey||Earth, Air, Light, Darkness||Fire|
|Earth||Brown trinket||Earth||Grey||Fire, Water, Light, Darkness||Air|
|Air||Blue trinket||Air||Grey||Fire, Water, Light, Darkness||Earth|
|Light||White trinket||Light||Grey||Fire, Water, Earth, Air||Darkness|
|Darkness||Black trinket||Darkness||Grey||Fire, Water, Earth, Air||Light|
|Grey Magic||Grey trinket||Grey||All others|
A focus is a magical item that responds to rec. magic with its primary elemental and a level equal to the attuned mages elemental skill.
Example: Oriana has a Light focus (white) and Elemental Skill 3. Her focus is therefore Magic, White Three for purposes of rec. magic.
A focus must be phys-repped by a trinket which may have some personal connection to you or your element. Refs must be informed of what your focus is.
- If you cast a spell of a level higher than your level of Elemental Skill, you will take casting damage.
If you cast a spell of a level higher than your Elemental Skill, you immediately suffer damage as follows. This damage ignores all armour and defences. The spell still works normally even if this damage incapacitates or kills you.
1 above = 3 hits to the torso
2 above = 4 hits to the head and torso
3 above = 5 hits to every location
4 above = impossible to cast
Elemental Elves count as having Elemental Skill one higher than normal, which applies to casting damage.
- You must speak the spell vocal loud enough for nearby people to hear.
- You must refer to the relevant element(s) for the spell.
- All vocals for spells above 1st level must be at least 8 words long.
- Spell vocals above 1st level must contain at least 8 words, call upon the relevant element, and be appropriate to the spell’s effect. The vocals are followed by an activation phrase which clearly informs the target(s) about what has happened as a result of the spell being cast. This will be listed in the spell description.
Example: a possible vocal for the spell ‘Barrier (Self)’ could be: ‘By my power over the element of water, Barrier’
For spells which cause direct damage, the activation phrase should include a damage call at the end, as noted in the spell description.
Example: Svetlana casts Fireball. Her player calls: ‘By my power over the element of Fire, Fireball, FLAMING THREE’
Note that the spell vocal and the initial part of the activation phrase are both considered IC speech, whilst any damage call, and other obviously OC calls such as ‘TIME FREEZE’ or ‘CONE’, are OC utterances.
When the target of a spell is not immediately clear, it is useful to state the name of the character or player you are targeting at the end of your spell vocal. You may need to repeat the spell’s activation phrase if they did not hear you originally; you do not need to cast the spell again.
Cantrips (level 0 spells) and 1st level spells, except Dispel I, only require their activation phrase to cast.
- Dispels are particular grey magic spells which cancel ongoing magical effects.
- You must have all previous levels of Dispel to purchase the next level.
- Dispels may be used to counter a spell being cast.
- Dispels can damage Elementals and Elemental Elves.
A Dispel cast on a character or item will remove all spells of level equal to or lower than the Dispel currently affecting the target. Dispels cast in this way should always use an eight-word vocal, even in the case of Dispel I. Only spells with a duration may be removed; the effects of instant spells are not counteracted.
Example: Boris is currently under the effects of Glue (level 4), Entangle (level 3), and Barrier (Other) (level 3). Natascha casts Dispel IV on him, removing all of these spells from him. This does not heal Boris of the three points of magic flaming damage he suffered from a Fireball (level 4) earlier, nor does it restore his sword that was hit by Shatter (Touch) (level 3).
If a specific spell is known to be affecting a character, you may specifically target it with a dispel. You may also target ongoing area-of-effect spells such as ‘Mudslick’ or ‘Imbue area’.
Example: Vlad casts Entangle (level 3) on an enemy mage who is under the effects of Plate Self (level 4). Vlad then dispels the Plate Self, and calls: ‘By my power over all the elements – DISPEL FOUR, THAT PLATE SELF’, leaving the Entangle intact.
Alternatively, you may cast a Dispel to counteract another character casting a spell of equal or lower level to the Dispel. This use of Dispel does not require a spell vocal, simply the activation phrase. For the spell to be successfully countered, you must cast the Dispel immediately upon the opponent completing their spell vocal. Any delay causes the Dispel to fail, though it still costs mana. This form of Dispel works on any spell, even those of instant duration. This is not an interruption; the target still spends the appropriate mana.
Elemental Elves and Elementals take damage from Dispels cast against them. If an elf has any ongoing effects then these are simply dispelled as normal. If the elf is not under the effect of any spells then they take damage equal to half the level of the Dispel.
Elementals take damage equal to three times the level of a Dispel cast against them and are instantly destroyed by any Dispel equal to or higher than their own level.
Armour and Magic
- Physical armour acts as a barrier to spellcasting.
- Attempting to cast whilst wearing too much physical armour is extremely hazardous.
Heavy physical armour restricts a mage too much for them to be able to cast spells effectively. If a mage attempts to cast whilst wearing any 3- or 4-point armour, or more than one location of 2-point armour, then the spell-caster loses all their current mana, taking a point of damage per point of mana lost in the process, and the spell fails. This damage is distributed across locations according to the player’s choice and ignores all armour.
Mages are not impaired by wearing 1-point armour at all, regardless of how many locations are covered.
Mana Stores and Empowered Weapons
- Some mages can create mana stores and/or empower weapons.
- These are additional skills that must be purchased with XP normally.
The skill ‘Empower Magic Weapon’ allows the mage to empower a single weapon, which must be of at least Mastercrafted quality. An empowered weapon does magic damage and is resistant to magical destruction effects (e.g. the “Shatter” spell). Magical effects may also be channelled through a magically empowered weapon.
Powerful mages can create mana stores, which may be filled with mana that can be used by any mage attuned to the store. A mage may only be attuned to one mana store at a time, and only one mage may be attuned to any mana store at a time.
Elementals are beings from the associated elemental plane, and are composed entirely of that element. They can be embodied using the Embody Elemental spells. They come in two sizes: Small and Large, which correspond to the sixth and eighth level Embody Elemental spells, respectively. They have the following attributes:
- Elementals cannot speak, except for Light Elementals when using the “Talk to Sentient” spell.
- Small Elementals have ten global hits, and can call “SINGLE” with ambidextrous weapons of up to 42”. They may cast their non-Cantrip spell once.
- Large Elementals have twenty global hits, and can call “DOUBLE” with ambidextrous weapons of up to 42”. They may cast their non-Cantrip spell twice.
- All Elementals take +4 degrees of damage from damage with the “COLD IRON” descriptor.
- Elementals are immune to ingested potions and venom effects.
- Blows to the weapons of an elemental do not count as damage to their global hits.
- Elementals respond “PING” to Detect Magic, and respond to Rec. Magic with their element and “Rank [6/8]” for Small / Large Elementals, respectively.
Example: a Large Air Elemental would respond “Air, Rank 8!”
- They take double damage from damage of the opposite element, and are immune to damage from their own element.
- If a “Dispel” is cast on them, they take damage equal to three times the level of the Dispel. If an elemental is hit by a Dispel of its own rank or above, it is immediately destroyed.
- Elementals take damage from “Mana Drain” and “Mana Steal” equal to three times the caster’s Elemental Skill level, e.g. an elemental would take 9 points of damage from a “Mana Drain 3”. The caster does not gain any mana from casting “Mana Steal” on an elemental.
- “Extension” spells extend the duration of an embodied elemental, and do not heal any damage it has taken.
- Elementals may use the following spellcasting abilities from their caster’s mana, based on their element:
|Element||Name||Non-Cantrip spell||May Cast at will|
|Water||Undine||Plate Self||Create Water|
|Light||Alkar||Talk to Sentient||Light|
|Darkness||Shade||Cloak of Shadows||Extinguish|
- Elementals do not require a free hand or vocals to cast spells: only the activation phrase is needed. This may be Fractured or Dispelled as normal.
- Elementals are immune to all miracles and spiritual effects (including spiritual damage), and do not respond to any form of spiritual detection.
Runemetal is known to exist. It is capable of holding up to its total number of units in levels of spells. It does not require a commitment of mana and refreshes daily. Runemetal has an effect on Geomantic rituals.