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The Eye
2017-06-07, 07:53 PM
So I'm working with this new elemental system and I wanted some help.

Basically each element in this system has a sub-element that they are able to control. The main elements are: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Wood and Metal.

The sub-elements are: Earth -Magma, crystal, sand. Air- wind, weather and cold. Fire - smoke, ash, embers. Water - Ice, steam, salt. Wood- Life, plants, acid. Metal- Magnetism, poison, gold.

I'm starting to work on the forth sub-elemental for every single school, and I was planning to use the lightning sub-school... But I don't know where to put it. Fire? Air? Water? Metal? Earth?

What do you guys think? What main elemental school best represents lightning?

Rockphed
2017-06-07, 08:02 PM
Well, let us consider:

Water, earth, and metal all have a natural tendency to be a grounding place for lightning. Of the three, metal with its sub-school of magnetism is really the only one that might control lightning.

Lightning is very hot, meaning it might go well with fire. However, lightning is typically a result of thunderstorms, which while they happen in the summer typically drop the temperature by a lot. You are going with a very literal fire domain here, so I wouldn't put lightning in it. On the other hand, you already have weather in with air, a perfect place to put lightning.

On the other hand, you have cold with air and ice with water. You could do a similar split between fire and air where air has weather and fire has lightning.

Razade
2017-06-07, 08:10 PM
So I'm working with this new elemental system and I wanted some help.

Basically each element in this system has a sub-element that they are able to control. The main elements are: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Wood and Metal.

The sub-elements are: Earth -Magma, crystal, sand. Air- wind, weather and cold. Fire - smoke, ash, embers. Water - Ice, steam, salt. Wood- Life, plants, acid. Metal- Magnetism, poison, gold.

I'm starting to work on the forth sub-elemental for every single school, and I was planning to use the lighting sub-school... But I don't know where to put it. Fire? Air? Water? Metal? Earth?

What do you guys think? What main elemental school best represents lighting?

Why isn't Lightning in with...weather. Let me write these out for a moment.

Earth

Crystal - Makes sense
Magma - Is this where Earth and Fire overlap?
Sand - Makes sense

Air

Wind - Why isn't this just native to Air itself? Fire doesn't have a Fire subsystem so why should Air have an Air subsystem?
Weather - LIGHTNING GOES HERE. LIGHTNING IS A PART OF WEATHER
Cold - What does this have to do with Air and you already have Ice under water. How does Cold and Ice differ

Water

Ice - See above. Cold and Ice on two different lists. Why?
Steam - Makes sense.
Salt - Makes sense

Fire

Smoke - Smoke, Ash and Embers are practically the same thing. Surely there's more you can do with Fire than just these three?
Ash - Smoke, Ash and Embers are practically the same thing. Surely there's more you can do with Fire than just these three?
Embers - Smoke, Ash and Embers are practically the same thing. Surely there's more you can do with Fire than just these three?

Wood

Life - Makes sense I suppose
Plants - Are plants not just already sorta put in with Wood? Same thing with Wind with Air and Fire with Fire. Why have a subsystem when this is already covered in the main system itself. Makes no sense.
Acid - Wha....surely you mean like...venom or something? Not to mention you have Poison on Metal. How are they different?

Metal

Magnetism - Makes sense.
Poison - Makes no sense. How is Poison related to Metal and how is it not just the same as Acid?
Gold -lolwat? Gold as opposed to....any other metal? Why is gold special?


So...there's already so much weird overlap. I've added my thoughts to the list at large. A lot of this reeks of "it needs to be special" and "I needed three things so I just put them on the list without much thought".

The Eye
2017-06-07, 08:21 PM
Poison - Makes no sense. How is Poison related to Metal and how is it not just the same as Acid?

It was just an idea. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_toxicity)

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-07, 08:24 PM
I've seen games where lightning was a kind of fire.

I've seen games where lightning was a kind of wind.

I wouldn't find it outlandish for lightning to be a kind of metal.

I think what matters is that you just put lightning somewhere that makes sense *to you* and go with it. If it makes sense to you, it will make sense to other people.

Razade
2017-06-07, 08:25 PM
Yes, I'm aware of that. It's still really rather strange. Why isn't poison more aligned with Wood? Venom, Poison...both are natural things produced by life.

As I said, it just seems you were looking for three separate things to throw on a list.

scalyfreak
2017-06-07, 09:02 PM
In most systems that deal with elemental magic, lightning spells fall under the air element.

Which makes sense. Moving air of contrasting temperature is how lightning and thunder are created.

Razade
2017-06-07, 09:24 PM
In most systems that deal with elemental magic, lightning spells fall under the air element.

Which makes sense. Moving air of contrasting temperature is how lightning and thunder are created.

That's...not true...lightning is generated by as an electrostatic discharge inside clouds as ice particles in the upper parts of thunderheads pass larger hail. Clouds create natural charge separation and the atmosphere acts as insulation. Thunder is a byproduct of lightning, it's an expansion of air similar to a sonic boom.

Cluedrew
2017-06-07, 09:27 PM
Question: are these the raw elements of nature, or are these elements just used as labels in schools of magic? (You seem to refer to both in your post.) I just think a bit more detail on the system would help. Because I don't quite understand the logic behind the current sub-elements and that makes it a bit hard to say anything with confidence.

Although without that, generally I would say air, but looking at this system I want to say fire for some reason.

scalyfreak
2017-06-07, 10:28 PM
That's...not true...lightning is generated by as an electrostatic discharge inside clouds as ice particles in the upper parts of thunderheads pass larger hail. Clouds create natural charge separation and the atmosphere acts as insulation. Thunder is a byproduct of lightning, it's an expansion of air similar to a sonic boom.

Sure, if youwant to be all particular and detailed about it.:smalltongue:

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-06-07, 11:19 PM
This suggestion is a little off maybe, but you could consider making categories with a secondary element. Lightning is fire (hot destructive plasma with spectacular visuals) born from the sky, so it's sky-fire, main element fire. Glass (if that's a thing in the setting) is sand infused with properties of air, air-ground, main element ground. Plastic is wood with water like properties etc.

Toxins could be the destructive fire-like side of life, making it fire-wood. The fact that so many other substances are poisonous may have to be ignored. Either that, or poison is not in any element but a derivative effect of elements clashing, any other element can be poisonous to wood, if humans even count as wood under the finished system, rather than something like the ideal mix.

I like elemental systems, there's something very satisfying about them, but making them match anything like our reality can be a bit of a headache.

Gnoman
2017-06-08, 12:02 AM
Add bridges between elements, with lightning as the bridge between Air and Earth.

Nifft
2017-06-08, 01:02 AM
Just use different elements.

Sun - Fire, radiance, plants, healing, anti-undead stuff.

Storm - Wind, lightning, thunder, rain; conductors like silver & copper & gold.

Stars - Cold, radiance, divination, cold iron ("starmetal").

Stone - Metal, creation, earth, rocks, adamantine.

Sea - Rain, water, acid & poison & other liquids.

ahyangyi
2017-06-08, 02:06 AM
Just use different elements.

Sun - Fire, radiance, plants, healing, anti-undead stuff.

Storm - Wind, lightning, thunder, rain; conductors like silver & copper & gold.

Stars - Cold, radiance, divination, cold iron ("starmetal").

Stone - Metal, creation, earth, rocks, adamantine.

Sea - Rain, water, acid & poison & other liquids.

This set of elements makes people who wants to discuss elements with their initials (A/E/W/F for air, earth, water & fire, for example) crazy :D

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-06-08, 02:28 AM
This set of elements makes people who wants to discuss elements with their initials (A/E/W/F for air, earth, water & fire, for example) crazy :D

You can just call them fire air earth water and something mystical for star if you like.

Kardwill
2017-06-08, 02:49 AM
Basically each element in this system has a sub-element that they are able to control. The main elements are: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Wood and Metal.


So a mixup between the chineese 5 elements and western big 4? Could be tricky since they don't put the same symbolic signification behind the same element.

The "Avatar : The Last Airbender" fan in me tends to put lightning in "refined fire" ^^ (since we're not looking into a scientific classification, but a magical/mystical one), especially since it's sometimes called "fire from the skies" in my country

Deliverance
2017-06-08, 07:03 AM
So a mixup between the chineese 5 elements and western big 4? Could be tricky since they don't put the same symbolic signification behind the same element.
Western big 5: earth, air, fire, water, and aether, the first four terrestrial and the last celestial.

You have to go back to the Ionian philosophers of the 5th and 6th century BC to find four in the classic western view (with Hera****us answer of one (1) element, that being fire, being the outlier in the discussion), and after Plato and Aristotle in the 4th century BC the 5-element split was the accepted western worldview until the advent of chemistry, only interrupted by medieval alchemists suggesting more esoteric solutions such as 6 or 8 element setups.

---

Anyhow, don't waste time inventing a new system - go with Aristotle. His system was capable of coping with everything save the scientific method, so it should be more than adequate for a fantasy game.

To quote Aristotle's Meteorology, book 3, "When there is a great quantity of exhalation and it is rare and is squeezed out in the cloud itself we get a thunderbolt."

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/meteorology.3.iii.html

This is the dry type of exhalation compounded of Air and Earth, which gives us the answer. (For details types of exhalations, read book 1 of the Meteorology.)

Cluedrew
2017-06-08, 07:13 AM
I like the bridges idea, actually the first thought when I saw this thread was an old magical system I knew where lighting was 2/3 wind + 1/3 fire. I think that having "bridges" or any sets of relations between the elements really, helps flush them out a bit compared to a simple list.

Still, with six bases you are going to need 15 bridges, which actually means cutting down on the number of elements in this system. And that does mean redoing or reorganizing all of the existing sub-elements.

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-06-08, 07:31 AM
Still, with six bases you are going to need 15 bridges

Or 30 of them, if you make a distinction between 2/3 fire 1/3 air = lightning and 2/3 air 1/3 fire = smoke. (Or the other way around, as smoke is generally more closely associated with fire.)

That opens up some interesting options for power sets as well. A fire mage can use lightning and the other fire majors well, but smoke and the other fire minors are more taxing, yet they form a more diverse set.

I did some thinking on a similar idea a while ago. I basically used the Chinese "elements" as if they were western elements, because that combination works so well. In that idea every substance consists of basically atoms consisting of 3 "elementals" (or some name for the basic particles) each. Either 3 of the same element, or 2:1. The major element decided how much "not valence electrons" the particle has, which helps explain a lot of the materials properties. Air atoms (so this includes a 2 air : 1 something else particle) did not bind at all, hence they're gasseous. Water particles have 1 binding spot, so they clump together in pairs, making the particles heavy enough to be fluid. Metal had 2 spots, forming long chains that form solid materials yet can always shift their positions when necessary, hence metals can be forged, bent and hardened. (2 metal : 1 something else particles would also be the DNA of this setting. Yes, the setting had DNA, it was supposed to be some sort of close alternate of our own world.) Wood binds to 3 other particles forming sheets (including the equivalent of cell walls) en crosslinked chains, and ground would form sturdy rosters by binding to 4 neighbors. Fire wasn't an element, but I was toying with the idea of letting it reduce substances to their pure forms, burning down a living tree into elemental particles (atoms with 3 the same elementals), including lots of elemental wood.

I ended up ditching the idea because I couldn't think if ways to make it more interesting than the real world. But maybe it helps someone here.

Cluedrew
2017-06-08, 07:46 AM
On Thirds: Oh, I wasn't think of porting the full thirds system to this. I mean you could, but then you would also add the 1/3+1/3+1/3 elements. I'm not sure if you would want to do that or just stick to the bridges, because that adds another 20, by my math, for a total of 6 main & 50 sub elements in the system. Still, it allows for things like weather is fire+water+air, which makes sense.

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-06-08, 08:25 AM
Or the 1/3+1/3+1/3 substances are unstable "forbidden" elements used for the most mystical of magics, like creating an artificial kind of counterlife, creatures from the darkest depths of our imagination that will flood the earth if someone ever manages to mess with the universal atomic constants.

Either that or you can just ignore them. :smalltongue:

(And yes, 20 should be correct, 6*5*4/3*2*1.)

Shamash
2017-06-08, 11:09 AM
The only place I see lighting as being part of fire is Avatar.

We normally associate lighting with the "Cloud-to-ground lightning" but the opposite also happens, a lighting is an electric discharge where the positive energy of the sky connects with the negative energy of the ground, or the opposite, so it makes a lot of sense for it to be either earth or air.

https://media.giphy.com/media/rralrzeUuCF6U/giphy.gif

Metal is also a possible candidate since it attracts lighting and is the best conductor for it.

Thor is both the god of thunder, lighting and trees... so wood?

Anything but Water, fire, would be valid, in my opinion.

Mastikator
2017-06-08, 11:29 AM
Lightning is plasma. Fire is plasma. Lightning is just another type of fire.

Also you should reconsider having "sub elements". Make complicated things composites. Poison is a combination of earth and water, it's not its own thing.
Clouds? Water and Air.
Magma? Earth and Fire.
Any life form ever? All the elements.

Grod_The_Giant
2017-06-08, 11:30 AM
I'd say air, just because that's the standard trope.

Shamash
2017-06-08, 11:31 AM
Magma? Earth and Fire.


Magma\Lava is just melted rock it has nothing to do with fire.

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-06-08, 11:40 AM
Magma\Lava is just melted rock it has nothing to do with fire.

Although in a fantasy world you could make a whole theme out of it. Steam is water and fire, ice is water and metal (because we needed the other option for ->), mud is water and ground. They could be elemental mixtures.

A main problem might become that you're left with too few sub elements for other stuff you really want in there.

Mark Hall
2017-06-08, 12:37 PM
I tend to agree that, with the system you have worked out, lightning makes most sense as an air element effect.

2017-06-08, 08:27 PM
I just noticed that your system has always three sub-elementals and each sub-elemental is solid, liquid or immaterial.

Why don't you keep this patter and add energy as a fourth sub-elemental category? This way you won’t have to add lighting to a specific school, you can add to all schools.

Fire -Plasma or maybe heat since you have cold.
https://media.giphy.com/media/VaCR8hXny6HBe/giphy.gif

https://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11117/111174799/4379638-supermanheatvision.jpg

Air - Storm, summon a cloud and smite your foes.

https://media.giphy.com/media/qqBPjUluUYcMg/giphy.gif

Earth - Lighting, shoot lighting out of your fingertips like Palpatine.http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ln26j7Opp21qlvy6wo1_1280.jpg

Metal - Electricity, yellow like Blanka or Pikachu.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-78GqzXvrDM4/VQmqlhe56TI/AAAAAAAAN2I/3OAcJlZw3Bs/s1600/Blanka%2B8.gif

Wood - Sun rays.
https://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/thumb/6/6f/Trip_Serperior_SolarBeam.png/800px-Trip_Serperior_SolarBeam.png

Water - Cold as the energy and add liquid(all forms of liquid) as another sub-school.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-t7MPk3UP4QI/VlLTGaB3t1I/AAAAAAAABOI/o0HtJr1_4EU/s1600/1640773-bigthumbnail.jpg

Also why don't you add sound as a major school?

Sound - Vibrations, thunder and music\melody.

veti
2017-06-08, 08:51 PM
Lighting is tricky. What sort of windows does your room have? Is there direct sunlight? Is there a privacy issue, with anyone else able to see in through your windows? Either of these would suggest it might be prudent to assume curtains will be used a lot of the time. I would suggest sticking to neutral/"warm" whites, rather than trying to spice things up with fancy colours. Dimmer switches, strobes etc. could be powerfully useful for for special effects, but don't overdo it. Once you've got something like that available, there's a strong temptation to use it every session. Resist it.

For "where to put it", "ceiling" is classic for a reason. One or more free-standing lamps behind the players could work, and particularly behind the GM it could add to your aura of authority, as well as helping you to read your scribbled notes. Desk lamps are to be avoided - they take up too much room - and anything hanging low over the table is also likely to be more distracting than helpful.

Hope this helps.

Bohandas
2017-06-09, 01:12 AM
I'd like to chime in and say that classically D&D placed lightning at the juncture between air and positive energy (you did mean "lightning" and not "lighting" yes? Because lighting would be the juncture between fire and positive energy)

2017-06-09, 10:47 AM
I'd like to chime in and say that classically D&D placed lightning at the juncture between air and positive energy (you did mean "lightning" and not "lighting" yes? Because lighting would be the juncture between fire and positive energy)

But the OP don't seem to have a positive energy element.

Kami2awa
2017-06-09, 03:45 PM
I think it depends what science your world runs on. Scientifically, lightning is associated with air and water (and metal, through conductivity and earthing) but this association would be alien to a lot of peoples' view of the world, especially in the past.

The ancient Greeks thought lightning was burning wind, so that's fire and air. Fire is likely to have a strong association with lightning in most people's minds, even though in the modern day we know lightning has nothing to do with fire whatsoever (apart from occasionally starting it).

HidesHisEyes
2017-06-09, 03:47 PM
Where are all these categories and definitions coming from? In other words, what is your aim with this system? Fun and balanced gameplay? Or a unique and interesting conception of "magic". In either case I think I'd need more context to really comment on how successful it's likely to be.

Mastikator
2017-06-10, 03:42 AM
I think it depends what science your world runs on. Scientifically, lightning is associated with air and water (and metal, through conductivity and earthing) but this association would be alien to a lot of peoples' view of the world, especially in the past.

The ancient Greeks thought lightning was burning wind, so that's fire and air. Fire is likely to have a strong association with lightning in most people's minds, even though in the modern day we know lightning has nothing to do with fire whatsoever (apart from occasionally starting it).

Scientifically lightning is associated with static electricity, air and water is but one out of many conditions where lightning can occur.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/rVBn8R4qzYQ/maxresdefault.jpg This volcano is not using air and water to produce lightning, it's using soot and smoke.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Plasma_globe_60th.jpg/220px-Plasma_globe_60th.jpg This plasma ball uses magnetic induction.

Scientifically these are all the same phenomena. In fact the thing that you see is almost indistinguishable from actual fire.

Cluedrew
2017-06-10, 07:07 AM
That is the most evil looking volcano I have ever seen. If the smoke cleared and a demon came out, I would only be mildly surprized.

Bohandas
2017-06-10, 11:20 AM
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/rVBn8R4qzYQ/maxresdefault.jpg This volcano is not using air and water to produce lightning, it's using soot and smoke.

In classic D&D, which yes I know this isn't, smoke is the combination of elemental air and fire

Mastikator
2017-06-10, 02:47 PM
In classic D&D, which yes I know this isn't, smoke is the combination of elemental air and fire

My reply was in relation to science, not classic D&D.

Scientifically Fire and Lightning are the same thing. They are plasma. One is caused by a chemical reaction and the other is caused by static electricity, but they're both the same result: plasma.

Hell, you could simplify the elemental system into gas (instead of air), liquid (instead of water), solid (instead of earth) and plasma (instead of fire). Now you're in the deep end of the modern science pool.

Orcus The Vile
2017-06-10, 06:46 PM
Hell, you could simplify the elemental system into gas (instead of air), liquid (instead of water), solid (instead of earth) and plasma (instead of fire). Now you're in the deep end of the modern science pool.

That sounds cool.

Cluedrew
2017-06-10, 06:53 PM
To Mastikator: I did something like that, once, except there were also energy/light and crystal/ice. The crystal thing came from stuff I heard about super-cold atomic structures having another state transition. I don't know if it is true or not but I liked the idea.

Mastikator
2017-06-11, 01:37 AM
To Mastikator: I did something like that, once, except there were also energy/light and crystal/ice. The crystal thing came from stuff I heard about super-cold atomic structures having another state transition. I don't know if it is true or not but I liked the idea.

Are you talking about a bose-einstein condensate? Because those only exist in lab environments. Even the vacuum of intergalactic space is much too hot for that and the effects are too subtle and complicated to be useful in a game anyway.
Don't bother with quantum physics in RPGs in my opinion.

Talakeal
2017-06-11, 01:46 AM
My reply was in relation to science, not classic D&D.

Scientifically Fire and Lightning are the same thing. They are plasma. One is caused by a chemical reaction and the other is caused by static electricity, but they're both the same result: plasma.

Hell, you could simplify the elemental system into gas (instead of air), liquid (instead of water), solid (instead of earth) and plasma (instead of fire). Now you're in the deep end of the modern science pool.

That is how I handle it.

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-06-11, 02:35 AM
Hell, you could simplify the elemental system into gas (instead of air), liquid (instead of water), solid (instead of earth) and plasma (instead of fire). Now you're in the deep end of the modern science pool.

At the same time the Chinese "elements" map onto the most important types of matter (on earth) based on micro and mesostructure (hence it's such a shame that they're not actually meant to be used that way).

Air is noble gasses and elemental molecules (like oxygen and nitrogen as they make up most of the air). Water is small mixed-atom molecules (including water and any product of fire but also for instance most medicines, water based healing magic seems to be popular enough to make that a funny coincidence). Earth is ceramics/minerals (like all types of stone and sand) and glasses based on them (the same substances with less of an ordered atomic or molecular roster). Metal is self explanatory and wood is polymers, long molecular chains, usually in an (at this level) unordered glassy state (including wood itself of course, as well as most of the things that make life life, like proteins and DNA). This might go too deep for a fantasy setting, but it really is an elegant system that let's you class most things pretty easily. The biggest thing left hard to explain is probably non-ceramic crystals and glasses, including diamonds and other gemstones, which you would normally put in earth, and which fit quite well there, and ice, which also fits there quite well based on its properties, but which turns into water so easily that it almost has to be lumped in with water. Either that, or freezing and thawing are some sort of naturally occurring alchemy.

Twizzly513
2017-06-11, 01:08 PM
I would put lightning under fire for the sole reason is that in Avatar the Last Airbender, lightning was a thing firebenders did. It just makes sense to me

Bohandas
2017-06-11, 03:55 PM
My reply was in relation to science, not classic D&D.

Scientifically Fire and Lightning are the same thing.
I think you mean flame and lightning. I don't know if there's plasma in a smoldering fire.

CharonsHelper
2017-06-13, 07:30 AM
You can easily justify several of them.

Go with the one which gives the best game balance.