March 24, 2017, 07:12:14 PM

Author Topic: Elementals  (Read 102 times)

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Offline Vyse

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« on: January 30, 2017, 01:04:33 AM »

In the time before time, when Eldanar was still formless and chaotic, the elements that combine to form the basis of the physical world raged uncontained and without abandon in the separate realm known as Aitheri; the Realm of the Elements. For all anyone knows this realm has existed for all eternity, shielded from the prying eyes of interlocurs by its immensely hostile nature, inhabited only by the deific manifestations of water, wind, earth, and fire. Not gods like Aldaron or Maedhros, but literal physical manifestations of the untold power of each element. While they later became known to mortals by many names and variously associated with different attributes and concepts, they remain in truth the same monstrous, majestic pillars of the world that they have always been.

When the realms were separate and distinct these energies could run free with no consequences, no boundaries beyond the realm itself. Spurred by a cause forever unknown these realms that had once been disconnected began to bleed into one another, causing the elemental energies that had previously been naturally contained with Aitheri to flow outwards. Despite the enormity of their power these beings were unable to completely contain their boundless energies within their realm's now blurred boundaries. This change threw the elemental realm greatly out of balance and threatened to cause great damage to the very fabric of the world at large. To curb the outflow of these wild energies the four elemental manifestations created their first progeny: the Primordial Elementals. Connected directly to the energies of Aitheri but physically bound to Eldanar, they acted as dams to hold the outpouring of energy back and return the realms to a more stable state.

If the original four elemental manifestations were mountains, the Primordial Elementals were naught but ants. Even still, such is the enormity of their progentiors that the Primordial Elementals towered above the common folk by a comparable magnitude. Furthermore, their existence relieved some of the enormous burden on the original elemental manifestations which in turn reduced the chaotic release of elemental energy across Eldanar. In this environment the world flourished and life spread rapidly across all corners of the globe. While the original elemental manifestations remained almost completely inscrutable to the inhabitants of Eldanar, the Primordial Elementals were not so inaccessible. Many a settlement sprung up near the abundant waters left in the wake of a Primordial Water Elemental, and early farmers knew that the most fertile lands could often be found near the resting places of Primordial Earth Elementals. Gods they were not, but they were worshipped in much the same way by the mortals who desired their favor. It remains unknown what, if anything, the Primordial Elementals understood of this dynamic, for their minds were not of mortal ilk and their thoughts utterly alien to those who stood in their shadows.

For many years this dynamic remained unchanged, even as the population of Eldanar grew and the Primordial Elementals remained as few as they ever were. However, this tranquil state of affairs was not to last. Much as their almighty progenitors had been unable to fully contain the energies within them, the Primordial Elementals began to leak more and more of their power into the world around them. Maybe it was the many battles of Gods and Men that upset their internal balance, or perhaps the elements simply resist being contained no matter the circumstances, but even once again the realms of Eldanar were beset by streams of unleashed elemental power that began to wreak havoc on the world around them.

In the face of this mounting catastrophe the Primordial Elementals looked to emulate their much larger ancestors and route of their energy into smaller containers in an attempt to stem the flow into Eldanar at large. However, they lacked the power to create such containers from scratch as the original manifestations had done with them and so they were forced to use what was available to them. A select group of mortals, many more than there were Primordial Elementals but many less than total number from which they were drawn, were chosen to be the vessels from which these new containers of elemental energy would be created. The criteria by which these beings were chosen remains utterly elusive despite many attempts by scholars to decipher them, but what is not in dispute is that this group of mortals would become the first Elementals as Eldanar knows them today.

Transferring their power in this way exacted an enormous toll on the Primordial Elementals. No longer could they roam Eldanar freely as they once did, they were forced to permanently fuse with the physical world in order to prevent the energy that remained within them from bursting out uncontrollably, a circumstance that would almost certainly have been more destructive than the state of affairs they were trying to correct in the first place. From this process many of the great landmarks of Eldanar were born, the husks of the Primordial Elementals providing the skeleton from which the world's skin could grow over and hold back the elements within them. In much the same way the original elemental manifestations had towered over the Primordial Elementals, the Elementals born of these events were but pale imitations of their creators, smaller in scope and power. Still, they were much more than they had been prior to their ascension, and they were far greater than all but the most powerful denizens of Eldanar.

That being said, these new Elementals were once mortals of Eldanar and were very much tied to the realm as such. Their power still came directly from Aitheri but in a much more limited magnitude than the Primordial Elementals that had preceeded them. As a result of this they possessed neither the ageless nature nor the nigh invulernability that had characterized the Primordial Elementals during their time on Eldanar. It became clear before long that they could be damaged, weakened, or even destroyed, though not without enormous effort. Between this and the fluctuations caused by the shifting contact between Aitheri and Eldanar the ranks of the Elementals have occasionally needed bolstering in order to maintain the tenuous balance of the realms. For now this remains the state of affairs in Eldanar, with the chosen few of the elements becoming the new conduits through which the power of Aitheri flows. And so the cycle continues; for now...
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 01:35:33 AM by Davin Ragal »

Offline Vyse

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Re: Elementals
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 02:02:12 AM »
Becoming a Elemental

To become an Elemental your character must have a pre-existing affinity for a specific element. An affinity of this sort is more than simply liking swimming, or enjoying being near the warmth of a fire; it is much more fundamental and core to someone's being. A farmer tilling the earth doesn't just appreciate the soil, he depends on it for his livelihood. A sailor cannot hope to complete his or her voyage without aid from the oceans and the wind. From these sorts of connections a true affinity can be born.

The process to become an Elemental usually starts unintentionally, with the person in question continuing to become ever more intertwined with their elemental affinity. There is no set path that must be followed, but both breadth and depth are required. It is not enough to merely make use of an element for one's work, it must be more. An experienced mountain guide who can feel subtle shifts that might lead to avalanches, a forge worker who knows exactly how long the metal must be subjected to the heat and flame without having to check, and a sailor who can feel the winds shift before they happen are all examples of small ways this process can begin.

Elementals are the direct and primal manifestations of their elements. Becoming one is a massive transformation that radically changes the one who undergoes it, and it cannot be undone by any means. As such, it requires a tremendous amount of existing elemental power that only exists in a limited number of places. The transformation can also be initiated by another elemental, but such an occurrence is much less common than the alternatives. Some transformations are triggered by a life-threatening event involving the element the mortal has bonded with, while others become so magically attuned to their element that they are able to trigger the transformation by absorbing elemental energy from a powerful natural font. There are innumerable possible catalysts so these examples are by no means exhaustive; each Elemental follows their own path to this destination.

Traits of a Elemental

Elementals are afforded many boons upon completing their transformation, some of which are obvious and some of which are quite subtle.

  • Physical Form: Simply put, an Elemental is their element. They do not have "true" forms in the sense of having one base appearance. The closest approximation to one would be a sentient, moving mass of their element. Elementals do have the capability to shift their forms into an imitation of their former selves, but any such imitation will be influenced by the traits of their element. For example, a former human who became a fire elemental would have much more vividly colored hair, eyes, and likely some traces of flames about them despite having shifted their form.
  • Elemental Dominion: Any and all manifestations of the elements are the domain of the Elementals. Weather patterns and other natural phenomena are inherently linked to the existence and power of Elementals. Much of this occurs on a subconscious level as Elementals release some of their tremendous power automatically unless they are deliberately suppressing it, but it can also be done on purpose. A vengeful Elemental can bring the wrath of their element down upon those who have stoked its ire via brutal ice storms, raging fires, mud-slides, or tornadoes, while a benevolent Elemental could instead bring nourishing rain, cleansing forest fires, fertile soil, and favorable winds. Mortals praying for favor with an element hope dearly for the latter.

    More generally, any and all feats utilizing their element are within the capabilities of an Elemental given enough effort. This is different from the magic of mortals and even Ancients in that it is simply an extension of the Elemental's being. When an fire Elemental calls forth a burst of flame to incinerate an enemy they are using a part of themselves as a weapon. Smaller scale exertions of this sort are close to automatic, but calling forth a firestorm in an attempt to engulf a city would require considerably more effort, in addition to leaving the Elemental greatly drained after the fact. To do this the Elemental must actively draw power from Aitheri, a process that is neither simple nor entirely safe. It is even possible for an Elemental to dissipate their physical forms for a time if they attempt to perform a feat too great in scope. If this occurs the Elemental will eventually reform, but they will be greatly diminished for an extended period of time afterwards.
  • Physical Impermeability: If you swing a sword through a stream what happens? The water parts around it. The same concept applies here; unless your weapon could normally harm the element in some way the Elemental will be less affected by it than a normal entity. That is not to say that Elementals do not feel pain due to physical impacts, but they must be greater in scope or magically influenced to impart any lasting damage. Attacks that exploit the weaknesses of an element, using electrically charged attacks against a Water Elemental for instance, will find more success than mundane alternatives.
  • Zone of Extension: Elementals naturally collect energy flowing out from Aitheri, pooling it within themselves to prevent these forces from running rampant across the realm around them. However, they cannot completely contain these energies without effort. As such, unless an Elemental actively suppresses it, some of this energy will leak out into the world around them. It is only a tiny fraction of the total power that remains otherwise contained but it is still enough to affect a region around the Elemental. People in this area will feel they are in the presence of something abstractly "large", though only the more magically attuned among them will be able to discern the cause. The physical environment around the Elemental is also warped slightly by this phenomena, becoming more reflective of the nature of the Elemental causing it. For example, a Wind Elemental's immediate surrounding region would begin to experience gust level winds before long, while a Fire Elemental would cause temperatures to rise and eventually small fires might break out nearby. The size of this zone varies from Elemental to Elemental depending on their individual power and exertion, but is typically no bigger than 100 meters in diameter. It is possible for an Elemental to suppress this effect, but it requires active exertion and cannot be maintained indefinitely.
  • Primal Mind: The process of becoming an Elemental fundamentally changes the mind of the one who goes through it. While many aspects of their mortal minds do remain, they become firmly intertwined with will of Aitheri and the deific elemental manifestations. One consequence of this modification is that it makes it impossible for psionic magic to have any effect on an Elemental unless the wielder is both exceptionally powerful and highly familiar with the mind of the Elemental being targeted. Even a powerful psion unfamiliar with the mind of an Elemental would find it eldritch and bizarre in nature, unable to separate the mortal aspects from the Aitherian, while those with knowledge but insufficient power would find their attempts too feeble to penetrate the powerful magic surrounding an Elemental.

Not all that glitters is gold, and becoming an Elemental exacts some tolls upon any that complete the process.

  • Singular Existence: Tremendous power within the domain of their element comes at the cost of any access to other elements or other forms of magic. A Water Elemental cannot use fire magic under any circumstances, even if they were fully capable of it prior to their transformation. Most would be adversaries will not have the sheer power necessary to take advantage of this, but sufficiently powerful and cunning opponent could make use of the limited scope of an Elemental's powers to attack their weaknesses (e.g. using potent water magic to assault a Fire Elemental).
  • Loss Of Self: As Elementals age they naturally lose touch with their former selves unless they take deliberate steps to prevent this. There many ways to stave off the slow loss of individuality, but because Elementals naturally become much less like their former mortal brethren it can be very hard to maintain connections to the world at large that might otherwise help an Elemental retain their sense of self. Additionally, if an Elemental is forced to dissipate their physical form due to either overexertion or severe injury this effect is greatly accelerated to an almost irreversible degree.

    Furthermore, upon becoming an Elemental beings will lose touch with some of their past motivations and desires as a result of the changes to their minds. Someone who may have sought the transformation for the sake of gaining more power might well lose interest in their original motivation for seeking that power in the first place, and other mortal desires may start to seem trivial or ersatz. Particularly deeply held goals and desires will most likely be maintained after the transformation, but even they will be twisted by exposure to Aitheri and the deific elemental manifestations' power.
  • Environments: While Elementals are never cut off from their element due to their constant connection to Aitheri, they will be less powerful when in an environment bereft of their element. It is much easier for an Elemental to manipulate an element that is already present near them then it is for them to summon forth great amounts from Aitheri, so starving an Elemental of supplemental "fuel" can restrict the scale of feats they would be capable of. Valleys with restricted air currents for Air Elementals, deserts with little to no water and nothing but sand and dead land for Water and Earth Elementals, and wet or otherwise fire-retardant environments for Fire Elementals are some examples of this.

Restrictions to becoming a Elemental

  • Racial: Any mortal race can undergo the transformation into an Elemental, with the exception of those afflicted with lycanthropy or vampirism.
  • Class: There are no class restrictions to becoming an Elemental.
  • Faith: Those who are exceptionally devout are much less likely to be able to form the bonds necessary to initiate the transformation into an Elemental. It is not explicitly impossible, but it is exceedingly difficult to do without diminishing ones devotion to the Gods in some form or another.

Additional Information

  • For the sake of clarity, it is outright impossible for an Elemental to be harmed by an attack based in their own element. No matter how powerful the attack might be, whether it be from an Ancient or an Avatar of Jherad, an Elemental's dominion over their element is so absolute that any attack of that ilk will fail to cause any damage. Furthermore, because the power of an Elemental is drawn directly from Aitheri their energies cannot be used by others to fuel their own spells, and any who try would be in grave danger of injuring themselves due to exposure to the otherwise unrestrained energies in Aitheri.

  • Original Concept and Write-up: Vyse
  • Revised Edition: Vyse
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 01:38:01 AM by Davin Ragal »

Offline Vyse

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Re: Elementals
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2017, 02:38:53 AM »
I believe this is now ready to go.

Offline Davin Ragal

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Re: Elementals
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 01:40:28 AM »
Made a couple of tweaks, but looks good to me