Elemental Magic

This is for those who do more than just your average card tricks. Artificers, Wardens, Diviners, Healers and more reprehensible types, welcome!
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Elemental Magic

Post by IamLEAM1983 »

- users of this specific School are called Artificers

- elemental magic is probably the most widely recognized School, and the most popular one
- probably because it falls in line with what the public thinks magic is all about. Whiz-bangs, fireballs, lightning bolts, etc.
- that popularity means it's the easiest and most widely covered of all areas of expertise
- practical, defensive and offensive applications of elemental magic are practically endless

Basic History
- largely tied with basic survival and sustenance. How do you go about making a cooking fire if you're out of flintstones and firewood or kindling?
- also tied with warfare and general aggression. We've been enchanting spears and arrows with fire or lightning since forever. Compound bows and guns won't change that
- artificial gales of wind could smooth someone's fall or push incoming fires away. Finer control can substitute telekinesis - if you're not afraid of making other things fly or of making a mess
- we've always found a use for elemental control. Without mages, people like Ben Franklin, Tesla or Edison probably wouldn't have been quite so inspired

How Does it Work?
- as always, willpower is involved, but also a deep and personal understanding of the element or elements you're looking to harness
- this means Elemental Mages tend to specialize in one or two forces - not all four. Unless they're Archmages, but that's ridiculously rare.
- in the modern days, this means you might be a fisherman or the main designer for a water treatment plant, if your chosen focus is water. An electrician or pyrotechnician or firefighter if you've chosen fire, etc.
- a lot of "core" Elemental Mages aren't just practitioners. They have a day job that allows them to stay "attuned" with their favorite element
- some background in physics can help, but you need to have experienced things like water currents, or electrical arcs or backblasts, etc.
- you need some kind of deep, subconscious awareness of what your element "does". What its "temperament" is, metaphorically speaking

- after that, the details are cultural but the basics are the same. You have to force raw arcane power to be converted into your chosen element and for that store of power to be ready for you to use
- Western culture has plenty of old books, codexes and grimoires left by other Artificers who wanted to preserve their personal mnemonic associations, their hand gestures and their chosen words
- Eastern culture has its own share of scrolls or orally transmitted techniques. Unsurprisingly, the gesture-based elements are more developed in Asia
- in practice, this means you can try your luck at "bending" elements à la Avatar - *if* you happen to be a gifted martial artist on top of it. That's pretty rare, though (see Shen Long)

a) The Quick and Dirty Way of Doing Things
- energy being a "thing", most Western Artificers tend to work with fireballs or electric currents projected from their arms and hands. Bolts of congealed ice, sometimes.
- Earth doesn't seem to be regularly tapped into by most of them. Causing earthquakes or opening small crevices seems less useful, especially if you need to kill something ASAP
- there's a certain danger in attempting the old fireball or Rod of Zeus trick. Even if you control the element perfectly, it's still very, very close to your hands
- plenty of young mages have lost their hands and arms to badly dosed self-defense. Caution is especially warranted.
- it's fairly easy to stay protected, nowadays. Line gloves with protective spells or find yourself gloves from an asbestos suit. Or use a dangling magnet charm on a wrist to ground excess electricity away from yourself

- enchanting a bow of any make or model is fairly easy, since you're not really tampering with a complex weapon - only the arrows are modded
- again, some control is needed. Shunting raw elemental fire through a carbon fiber arrow or bolt seems cool - until your entire bow goes up in flames
- enchanting a gun? Fairly easy, but Artificers are all severely discouraged from attempting to focus literal fire or lightning through a firearm.
- if you dose this wrong - and guns are *extremely* sensitive to internal heat and pressure - you run the risk of setting off your gunpowder or gas reserves. Bad news for the gun-holder...
- considering, firing ice-based shots seems to be the norm. Enough control over cold can actually be beneficial to weapons - overheating problems can be negated if you don't freeze your piece accidentally

- taken the other way around, focusing fire through *someone else's* gun tends to resolve sticky situations quickly, if you're the one who's held at gunpoint... Results can be grisly and/or dangerous, but you're out of hot water, at least

b) The Long, Hard Road
- you can try and imbue a weapon on a more permanent basis. This takes at least a week of work for simple weapons, much more time for complex items like guns.
- this is the only way to fire actual electricity or fire-based shots safely. You have to dismantle your weapons entire, down to the very screws, and imbue *everything* separately
- this creates a situation where the total object is made to consider its fire-carrying state as the norm. Gunpowder physics will be unaffected (if you did this right), and future clips will all become enhanced
- months are required for firearms, though. It's a long, tiresome, demanding process. This is why most mages prefer staves or bladed weapons. Even old bolt-action stuff takes forever to render "fireproof"

- carving a staff or "tempering" a blade with repeated exposures to via is much easier and much less demanding
- via flows better through largely untampered materials, and wood serves that purpose well. Simple metalworks too
- a single week is all you need to create an enchanted blade or staff, but the best ones aren't just enchanted in one week and toted around-as is.
- focus being an important part of magic, preparation rituals can help Artificers to focus more and more power into the task before actually imbuing the weapon

- taking a factory-built Bowie knife and making it searing to the touch takes a week. Creating a personalized weapon that's going to follow you throughout your thousands of years as an Archmage can take mortal lifetimes
- why? Because the Ritual is key. In this case, the Ritual involves making the blade or staff from scratch. Researching for best wood essences or best smithing techniques, producing test copy after test copy...

- considering, some Artificers used to be blacksmiths for a living, in previous centuries. Pounding out customer orders allows you to research the properties of iron and steel without consciously working on it
- this more or less integrates the Ritual into your job. That way, once you *are* ready to make your magnum opus, you haven't wasted several decades
- potential examples: Masamune and Muramasa
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