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Magic and Elementals

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Lvl20wizard, May 15, 2015.

  1. Lvl20wizard

    Lvl20wizard Sage

    Hey folks, so I'm in the process of cementing my magic system for my current project. It involves spirit-like creatures I've obted to call Elementals.

    The main idea is that these Elementals are the source of natural disasters: Earthquakes, blizzards, forest fires etc.

    A very certain ore, called Aetherstone, can actually trap these Elementals, if refined and imbued to a human being. The Aether, often referred to as "the fifth element", works as a medium to bind the Elemental to a human. Thus, if the person's willpower is strong enough, one may harness the Elemental's power through the stone after a binding ritual.

    This power can be furtherly controlled by forging or embedding the Aetherstone into a certain object. Tools or weapons are often chosen, as such instruments carry with them a certain intention of function, a psychic affection of their creator, that can direct the often destructive force of the Elemental to a certain purpose. These items are called Artifacts.

    Needless to say, this magic is very unstable, and both the process of binding and forging the Aetherstone into a magical Artifact can very easily go awry. The owner of the Artifact is also in turn bound to his or her item.

    So what I'm stuck on is: how does the binding occur? How would you imagine the process of taming a natural disaster with a magical stone?

    Last edited: May 15, 2015
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    One thought that comes to my mind is that if you're trying to seal the essence of a physical power into a physical stone, maybe it has to be because the stone has a more specific, physical connection to the elemental. Maybe the stone has to be from the place where the elemental first formed, or maybe when the elemental uses its power it leaves fragments of its essence behind woven into the landscape (bits of the right mineral, ash or snow, etc) and the binder has to gather up and refine that material to make the binding object. Both of which are risky processes: when you confront the spirit you're betting your life that you've found the first place the elemental appeared, or figured out how much material you need to hold it.

    And, it might not be a stone, for many elementals. Ash, snow, water... the binding object might be a jar with it inside (which sounds about right to bind a spirit anyway; maybe you open it a crack to use its power), or the material might transmute into something more stable when it was ready. I can see ash turning back into wood, but some of the others are harder to define (how do you capture air, besides a jar that actually holds air?). Maybe you do need some to change to stones or crystals after all.
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  3. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    Ice is obvious, it is water made solid, perhaps it is never melting ice. Water might be a sponge or other very porous material found in water. Geodes might be good for air, since some have air (comprised of gases i would think) within as they form, and they look like a rock too, so much the better.

    Perhaps ash collects into something akin to charcoal, pressed and formed by the summoning of the creature.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Sympathetic magic and locations of past disasters.

    Want to bind a water elemental? You do so by traveling to the site of a past flood, and use a sample of the water there as a proxy. Via ritual, that water becomes tied with the elemental in question. Might also be a 'true name' or 'naming' element, by giving said elemental a name, or learning its name, the magician gains power over it. This would be part of the ritual.

    All this implies the existence of at least minor magic outside the elemental system proper.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    Honestly I would skip the Aetherstone aspect and just have them being bound in objects or people. I can't imagine very many things that you can do by having Aetherstones that you can't do with directly binding them into people or objects and it might help avoid the odd uncomfortable comparisons with Pokeballs.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  6. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

    The elemental have a personality, how long do they live?
    Maybe an normal elemental only lives for minutes. (like, an earthquake) and by binding the spirit into Aetherstone, you unnaturally prolong it's life causing it to grow up and develop self awareness.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  7. Lvl20wizard

    Lvl20wizard Sage

    Interesting inputs.

    That's actually not a bad idea. Gonna keep that in mind. I imagined that it is not very clearly known how long a life-span they have, since natural disasters are by definition temporary. But I actually played with the idea of having great Elementals that could last for months or years even, disasters that just isn't put out and moves around the map. As for now, I do not imagine the Elementals to have very human-like personalities, they are pretty alien and destructive.. Though I have thought of having some Elementals that are other forces of nature than 'disasters', and I won't cancel out the idea that there might be more sentience to them than otherwise thought.

    "BLIZZARD, I choose YOU!" :D

    Nah I'm probably not going to skip it. One of the reasons I have it is to make magic dependant on a finite resource - and have something that the magi are interested in salvaging. I also like to imagine this ore to have come from meteors or the like, some sort of semi-alive essence, a bit like the dragonage lyrium drift. But I'm still in the stage of sketching, so who knows? Might be the binding Aether takes the shape of something else than a plain stone. :)

    It's not a bad idea, but I don't think I'm going to make it that elaborate. However I do like the idea of salvaging "pieces" of the Elemental to bind it, and that could definitely be something I'll use! And yes, I do want the binding process to be risky and require the binder to get up all "close and personal" with the beast, which isn't very nice if it leads to prospects of getting crushed, torched etc.
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
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  8. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    If the aetherstone is taken from a meteor or something similar, perhaps it has to be mined and forged into some kind of object. Perhaps a statue or totem of sorts, something small that can be carried but also has some symbolism in reference to the type of elemental that is bound to it.
  9. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

    I see it as siphoning a bit of the energy from the disaster. It can be done either while the event is taking place or soon after the disaster is over, as long as the area has not been disturbed by humans. You would need to set a distance of interference and a time scale relative to the disaster. You could have one type of stone used for all disasters or have each one be unique- diamond for earthquakes, amber for forest fires, etc.
  10. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee New Member

    If you worried about making look to much like Pokemon you should look at Jim Butcher "Codex of Alera" series. He was challenge to write a book based of too idea of Pokemon and lost Roman legion. So if you change the look and feel you can use the concept of capturing elementals and keeping them aetherstone.
  11. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    I like your aetherstone idea. My thought would be that the stone has a natural ability (not sentient obviously) to resonate with certain types of magic. So the idea would be that you take the stone to the sight where a natural disaster has or is just occurring, and let it absorb the magic. The stone changes it's structure a little so that it matches the elemental force at work, and little by little the elemental force becomes bound to it. Sort of like magnetism. Being exposed to a strong magnetic field often makes a lump of iron magnetic itself.

    Then to use it you presumably fashion the stone into specific objects.

    Cheers, Greg.
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