1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Element: Sky (yes, another thread on elemental magic)

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Devor, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,714
    3,232
    313
    I'm thinking about incorporating elemental magic as a piece of my WIP. It's based in an Asian-themed setting, and elemental magics are common and popular in these settings. I also have a system for how the magic works that will be easy enough to incorporate without it overrunning the story.

    But if I use elemental magic, I want it to feel foreign, and not be limited to the standard European 4, earth, fire, wind and water. That means adding elements like wood, metal and void. I've mostly got a good grip on those.

    I just can't find a precedent for Sky as an element and what that would mean. It's included on a number of elemental lists from real life belief systems, but I don't have any idea as to what it would mean as a form of magic.

    Does anyone have a thought as to what a "Sky wizard" might look like? Is there a precedent, maybe in gaming, that I'm just not aware of? I'm hoping to find a way to define Sky as opposite of Void, rather than as another word for wind.

    I searched for and pulled up about a dozen old threads on elemental magic before posting this - none of them mentioned sky as an element.
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  2. Azza

    Azza Scribe

    49
    11
    8
    Hi Devor,
    Forgive me if I'm interpreting what your asking for in the wrong way and this doesn't actually make sense. In Japanese philosophy, Ku means the sky and is also known as 'void' or 'heaven'. It represents our ability to think and to communicate, as well as our creativity. It can also be associated with power, creativity, spontaneity, and inventiveness. If you are searching for an image and generic idea for a "sky wizard" then perhaps something akin to the stereo-typical angel, fair skinned, curly hair, attractive, (even possessing white, dove-like wings if you fancy it).

    "A warrior properly attuned to the Void can sense their surroundings and act without thinking, and without using their physical senses."

    Hope this helps in some way.
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie and Devor like this.
  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    1,969
    1,132
    163
    From my reading of what you're saying, it sounds like "void," "heaven," and "sky" might be interchangeable, or at least tightly interconnected. Is that a correct interpretation?
     
  4. Scribble

    Scribble Archmage

    983
    283
    63
    In thinking about what we attribute to the "sky", we've got air and wind and light. The sky is really is a sea of air, and the keys to manipulating it would appear to be the control of pressure and currents and temperature.

    Atmospherics:

    Control of the "weather". At the low end of skill, manipulating air pressure and currents to create effects such as wind or mist, and at the high end of control, clouds, storms, lightning. Think about Storm of the X-Men for some ideas.

    Weather forecasting.

    Atmospheric optics:

    Control of atmospheric optics. This is still manipulating air pressures and currents, but specialized in the use of light to create illusions: rainbows, false moons, red moons, red sky (or other colors). Auroras. Perhaps even more elaborate illusions at a higher level of mastery.

    Manipulation of air, gases:

    By manipulation of pressures and currents, drain the oxygen out of an area to make a kill-zone.

    Create a "blanket" of lighter gases to lift heavy things, or even to create a sort of flying carpet effect (helium captured in a bubble of sorts.

    Temperature control:

    Heat and cool the air rapidly... combine with wind control to create at high levels a "furnace wind", which might ignite dry leaves or branches, or a "glacial blast" which could freeze.

    HTH
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie and Devor like this.
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,714
    3,232
    313
    I think that is what he's saying.

    A lot of Asian cultures have a concept for the "fifth element" that uses similar terms, and each understands it a little different. In some ways what I'm hoping to do is divide that fifth element into separate areas.
     
  6. Azza

    Azza Scribe

    49
    11
    8
    Yes I think you are right, its a term that can be any one of those three things, sky, heaven and void.
     
  7. Spider

    Spider Sage

    262
    97
    28
    Maybe there could be different types of sky wizards... or their appearance and powers could change as the day passes by. During the day, they could be an embodiment of light, and as it gets darker they resemble more of a night sky wizard? I think it would be cool if their skin was actually the sky's pattern. When the day is cloudy, they are grayish in color, when it's nighttime they're a deep blue/black with glowing stars. Or it could be the other way around-- the sky could change depending on their mood. If they're really angry, they can create huge thunderstorms!
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  8. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    1,947
    957
    113
    For myself, a "sky" as an "element" makes no sense to me. The sky is a place, a location, not a substance or element. Also "void" as an element seems problematic to me. A void is a space containing nothing. How do you work magic with nothing?
     
  9. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    1,097
    269
    83
    The manga Reborn uses Sky as an element, along with such things as mist, sun, storms, thunder, and so on. However, sky in that setting is something of the alpha element, so instead of having its own niche it could do all the things that the other elements can do, so it might be what you're looking for. Let's look at sky as a concept. When you think of the sky, particularly as used in fiction, what does it commonly symbolize? The idea of the blue, blue sky makes me think of "Freedom" or "Infinity." The starry night sky makes me think of "Secrets" and "Mystery," and in a similar vein, the idea of the Akashic Records Akashic Records - Television Tropes & Idioms is named after the Sanskrit word for sky or space, so you could go with "Knowledge," and finally, if you want it to be the opposite of void you could have it be creation / conjuring magic and invoke a lot of cloud imagery with how clouds appear out of nowhere (well, they appear due to water condensation but we can't see that, so for symbolic purposes clouds are created out of nothing) as well as how staring up at the clouds / looking for shapes in the clouds is connected with daydreaming and from that to creativity.
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie and Devor like this.
  10. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    5,454
    2,464
    313
    I'm hesitant to use the word "element" to describe sky. Sky is too wide a concept to fit into the idea of a single element or building block.

    I know you're basing it on an Asian-themed setting, but if you have western readers they will bring with them their western expectations and associations which may not react favorably to sky as an element. Better words in my opinion would be groupings, such as Realm, School or Domain.

    So, anyway...
    The sky is an ever present part of life, unless you're indoors or underground or under water, but even then you know it's there. The sky is also intangible. No matter how high you climb you will never be able to touch the sky.
    Not even when you fly can you touch the sky. You will be in the sky and it will be all around you, but you still can't touch it. You're only touching air, or wind, or birds, flies, clouds or rain - not sky.
    Other things that are equally ever-present (with exceptions) are our senses. As such Sky magic can be used to enhance or delude the senses. A master of Sky magic can make you not just see illusions, but also make you feel, taste and smell them.
    Sky magic can also be used to enhance your senses. Seeing far, smelling gas or tasting poison may all be useful applications.
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie and Devor like this.
  11. Akira444

    Akira444 Scribe

    30
    8
    8
    You know, you could just make Void that binding element that connects the other elements together. Something that regular people can't harness but are aware of. From what I've seen, you're doing a six element magic system, right? Fire, water, earth, air, wood and metal? I could be totally wrong about this, so just bear with me. I myself have had a bit of a problem trying to figure out what void magic would look like in an Asian-inspired magic system, so I just figured why not make it a divine element that mortals can't access without divine influence?

    Or if you do choose to make it an element used by humans, then try to make void a spiritual element. Void magic can involve abilities related to the mind and soul, something that can't be seen only felt. Things like psychic abilities, illusions, talking to spirits or astral projection, something along those lines. Just a thought I wanted to throw out there.
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,714
    3,232
    313
    One of my own threads brought back from the dead. I feel honored.

    I’m not working on this story, sadly, for while it was awesome, it was much less fun to write than my current WIP.

    I left out the details of how I was using elemental magic. The idea was that some characters would seek out elemental gemstones and have them fused to their bodies over their chakras. This would let the element flow inside their internal energies and empower them. Very few people would have more than one or two stones. The villain needed seven earth stones as a small part of his plan. It was intended to be the flashy part of an otherwise philosophy driven magic system.

    I never did settle on anything for what sky meant. I think I was thinking about dropping it.
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  13. Akira444

    Akira444 Scribe

    30
    8
    8
    That's a shame. I too had a magic system that uses the elements from both Japanese and Chinese philosophy and running into this thread was a pleasant surprise. It was nothing special, just elemental magic that draws power from the six elements-Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Metal and Wood.
     
    Devor likes this.
  14. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,714
    3,232
    313
    In my current WIP I'm dealing with fairy magics, and at one point I listed out what the elements would be to a fairy:

    Flutter, Kindling, Dew, Soil, Blossom, Crystal, and Skylight.

    So far I'm not doing anything with that list though.
     
  15. Akira444

    Akira444 Scribe

    30
    8
    8
    I feel like they'd be more attracted to elements of the natural world, like the sun, moon and earth. Or the seasons. You know, I think fairies would be more connected to the seasons than the elements, but that's just me.
     
Loading...

Share This Page