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Article - 'An Expanded Elemental System' by Loki

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

A good gamemaking article by Loki on adding more to the classic four elements in your RPG- Earth, Fire, Water, and Air/Wind.

Body

In nearly every RPG, regardless of seating even sometimes, we find magic. We also find elements. Be it four, seven, nine, five, whatever, always elements. The purpose of this short article is to give you ideals to give a bit of flare to your elemental systems, other than “water beats fire, earth beats water, etc” types of systems. Maybe you could even categorize healing, protective, and support spell all in into different categories? How about skills? I mean, sword, bow, spear, they can all have elemental correspondences. Feel free to make up you own associations, or change them around. Also try subdividing them into even more elements, such as ice, or rock. The four elements I am covering come from the great magician Pythagoras, who is know mostly for his mathematical talent, but who also ran an underground coven of magick practitioners. It is believed he visited Ireland, were he learned more of Celtic magick practices and incorporated the four elements of Celtic magick into his own. This makes sense, as his four elements, and those of Celtic magick are very similar.

Earth (Feminine)

Earth is linked with not only the physical earth itself, but stability and growth. Celtic, as well as other societies saw earth as the mother of us all, a concept today that exist with mother earth. Magically, Erath was associated with money, dance, love (especially motherly love) harvest, animals, and defense.
Associated Items: Disk, Stone, clay, salt, gems, Shield, Wheel, trees, bows, bronze.


Water (Feminine)

Water represents the dream worlds, physic perception, and emotions. It was a live giving element, and was associated with children, and fertility. It is also stands for purification, and loving emotions. This element was also the symbol of healing in many magic systems, but also death, and possibly reincarnation depending on one belief.
Associated items: Cup, Chalice, Bowl, wine, and silver.

Air (Masculine)

Air represents the traveling and life giving area that is the human mind. It represent ideal, which is the first step to creation. Magically speaking, it is clear, uncluttered, and a tool of change. It is related to the intellect, communication, music, and weather type spells.
Associated items: Staff, spears, incense, feathers, brooms, leaves, and smoking pipes.


Fire: (Masculine)

Fire is the realm of passion! Strength, banishing, sex, magic, work, divination, personal energy, and a bunch of other cool crap.
Associated items: Candle, blades of all kinds, wands, igneous stones, flint, and gold.


Other associations of the elements:

Compass points:
North: Water
South: Fire
East: Earth
West: Air

Day Correspondences:
Air: Dawn
Fire: Midday
Water: Dusk
Earth: Midnight

Alchemical Symbol Correspondences:
Air: Mobility
Fire: Transformation
Water: Purification
Earth: Stability

Colors:
Air: Yellow
Earth: Green
Fire: Red
Water: Blue

A lot of this info came from to books, “Celtic Myth and Magick” by Edain McCoy and “Earth Power” by Scott Cunningham. Also note that most of this information came from European, especially Celtic, sources.