Some weeks ago when I last talked about my World of Ere D20 project, I promised to do a thing on the race mechanics. And while I intend to still do this, I got a request from a couple of fans in the comments to talk about how the various ‘energies’ found in the World of Ere setting (where you can find Rune Breaker, and my new short story, Rakne’s Tale) work, or at least what they represent and how they’re used.
So that’s what we’re doing. And I’m behind on my writing this week, so we’re just going to plunge in, starting with the physical elements:
Akua is a pretty damn versatile element. Obviously, it controls water, but in a more general sense, it controls most forms of matter tha are fluid at room temperature. That’s how the Core Four work on Ere: akua is liquid, ere-a is solid, vin is gas, and flaer is plasma. Ferif actually controls magnetic force and vox manipulates energy states.
Yes, I am a science nerd who writes Fantasy. How did you guess?
Anyway, with various levels of this command over liquids, akua has some interesting tricks up its sleeve. By altering the shape of airborne droplets, it can create lenses and prisms to bend and alter light into visual illusions. And by very carefully affecting the cell walls or organisms, akua can affect physical shapechanges or perform very quick and dirty healing.
The clever bit is that while akua can ‘solidify’ water into something reasonably rigid, it needs flaer to remove the heat from it to make true ice. Permanent shapechanges require ere-a, and long-lasting illusions need vin (to keep the ‘lenses’ in the air.
See, while it can do a lot, akua is not an element for permanence, seeing as it flows to take the shape of its container unless acted on. For the long term, you want…
See, because the world is called ‘Ere’, so their ‘earth’ element is called… I’ll shut up now.
At first, the fatal flaw of ere-a seems to be the fact that wood and metal exist in modern (even for Ere) buildings, and certainly things like airships,limiting the places ere-a masters can be useful. This is true to a point, but with enough power, you can punch through all at pesky metal or wood with a pillar of stone.
Pure ere-a is about building structures: barriers and shields to protect, earthworks to hinder, spikes and slabs to attack. Whenever an ere-a master uses a spell in combat, there’s a good chance they leave a permanent mark on the battlefield, and in day-to-day life, they’re always prepared: able to make simple stone forms of practically every non-textile they might need. They also make excellent craftsmen, mappers and trackers, as they can discern the contours and design of stone, clay, dirt or sand.
The true power of ere-a comes in admixture. Buy forming and suspending solid particles in liquid, it can create magical acid, or by suspending a fine layer of particles over a target, it can create tactile illusions (such as making visual illusions ‘solid’. Giving solidity to vin allows the creation of force effects like mystic shields, force weaponry, or an Ere version of a DnD favorite, the invisible floating disc/platform. It also combined well with vox, anchoring the ephemeral forces commanded by that element.
Ere-a is a ‘stabilizer’ along the energies, making it easier to make something last longer, withstand better, or be more ‘real’ by reenforcing the base spell. For this reason, it’s one of the most-used on Ere because ere-a arrays can be handy add-ons.
The exact opposite of course is…
The energy that commands the flighty and fickle gasses, vin spells are mostly on and done tricks that move great quantities of air from one place or another; conjuring wind to deflect, push or with exceptionally high skill, slice. It’s one of the least lethal elements, lacking the force or staying power to deal grievous wounds. It’s also one of the least useful in other applications on its own, as it lacks the fine control of moving things vox allows.
Ironically, it is at its most versatile as combat magic, allowing swift, sudden movement, split-second deflections—not to mention flight. Because it manipulates how air behaves, it can also create auditory illusions by blocking or faking sound waves passing through the air.
When combined with other elements, vin is a destabilizer, keeping the element form behaving as normal. Akua spells can be suspended in air longer and move it faster and more efficiently. Whipping air into flaer arrays makes them burn hotter and longer while keeping them from spreading uncontrolled. Ere-a is scattered by vin, allowing lighter, more agile and mobile structures to be created. Vin also combines with vox to conduct lines of vox through the air, making magical sensors possible. Using vox to separate opposing charges in air currents also allows the vin master to conjure and control lightning.
We all know the basics here. Fire burn.
When it comes to Ere magic, flaer controls plasma and also heat energy. By that I mean, it can move heat around: concentrating it to cause things to burst into flames, or removing it to freeze. This allows flaer users to affect temperature-based changes from melting, to catalysing, to making objects brittle form cold.
Like vin, flaer is quick, sudden and bereft of natural staying power, though with its ability to trigger chemical/alchemical reactions, it can cause some spectacular and strange effects. For example, it is flaer generating reactions that generates taste and olfactory illusions.
Flaer is powerful in battle magic, but not nearly as varied, even when combined with other elements. It can be used to freeze water or flash it into steam with akua, can heat ere-a and ferif into more malleable forms, and add energy to vin arrays to make the wind more forceful, but for a spellcrafter or civillian wizard, only low powered flaer spells are worth it.
Flaer is also more difficult to come by as an element. A certain amount is sent to Ere by the sun, Ola and is then absorbed by the ground and water to be released at night, and great amounts of it mix with era-a in magma and lava, but only small amount exist naturally in living things or as an ambient presence like the others.
Ferif is the energy of metal, a classical element from Chinese mythology. In Ere terms, it commands magnetism and electron flows, giving it affinity and control over ferro-magnetic and diamagnetic metals Among the ‘elemental’ energies, it is the weakest, as only very powerful masters can create more than small bits of metal at a time. It is usually sued in conjunction with weapon skill, molding and altering weapons.
More knowledgeable masters understand magnetism better and are able to use the energy for more impressive tasks, such as sensing living things, orienting with the magnetic poles of the world, and actively altering and damaging the magnetic fields of things, causing disorientation and damage.
A ferif master also makes total use of the ability to control metal, transforming their armor into a magic-powered strength enhancer as well as a means of protecting from more than just physical attacks.
Like ere-a, ferif can strengthen structures, but the process of doing so is more time consuming and requires available metal for all but masters.
Another classical element from another culture, this time Japan. Vox on Ere is the power of void, which in this case means changing energy states: the ability to convert one type of energy to another. This can come in the form of conveying kinetic energy to an object, converting and directing the other spell energies, and creating new waveforms, such as long-distance frequencies.
Vox spells can do a great deal, but they usually need other energies to make them work. One of the most powerful uses is connecting one object or place sympathetically. This can mean transferring damage or transferring energy or matter—like teleportation or spying over long distances.
Vox arrays can trigger other spells or store them in potentia until they need to be used. They can even concentrate and focus other spells. Interestingly, vox arrays are sometimes naturally occurring, resulting in objects and locations that inherently enhance or hinder magic.
There are few vox masters, as a more diverse spellcaster gets more out of it. Those who do master vox alone are telekinetic masters who can tear apart, sense and reconfigure all spells around them. Despite his penchant for shapeshifting (and akua power), Ru Brakar is effectively a vox master, being able to hold and control so much energy, he can use vox to convert one form into any form he wants to without caring about how much is wasted in the process.
Psi is pretty damn straight-forward. It’s controls the mind, thoughts and memory—but NOT emotion. Using psi, you can create far more elaborate mental illusions, but they have to overcome the target’s mental fortitude rather than being something they really are experiencing only fake. Ps-masters can rework people’s entire mind, creating new memories wholesale.
The weakness of psi is a lack of emotion manipulation. You can call up terrible memories, but if you create them, they won’t hold anymore fear than what actually happens in the rather than the emotional impressions of real memories. For example, you can rewrite someone who has fallen into despair’s memories, but they won’t make themselves happier thinking about them.
Combining psi with anima can link mental processes to physical ones, causing things like imgined injuries becoming real.
Anima (Life and Entropy)
Anima has two linked sides to it: vitae, the animating force of life and nekras, the consuming force of entropy. Vitae is the spark that makes life what it is. Nekras is the slow degeneration that drives life to stave it off. Life as the people of Ere know it wouldn’t exist without both in balance.
Vitae can be forced into objects to create the semblance of life and into living things to promote healing. Left unchecked, it overstimulates healing into cancerous growth and empowers viral and bacterial organisms into explosive growth and evolution. Disrupting the natural stores of vitae with short pulses can overwhelm the body, sending it into shock.
Nekras can also be forced into object to create an imperfect semblance of life, albeit in a less stable, but simpler form tan with vitae. It can also be applied to living things to weaken them and damage organs, or turned on object to decay them. Left unchecked, it cancels out vitae until living things die, doing so too quickly for the spirit to escape its metaphysical connection to their body and the world, creating ghosts, revenants and other undead.
While many people see one as good and one as evil, they are two sides of the same living engine, and in fact, the most efficient curative for disease is a light burst of nekras to kill the harmful malady.
Neither mixes well with other energies well, usually being the primary in most spells. Anima masters often choose one or the other side to focus on, but only a fool wouldn’t know a bit of the other side just in case their spell runs wild and needs to be countered.
Discarnate energy is the underlying, fundamental magic upon which all other magic and even matter and mundane energy are made. Its raw form springs forth from the well of souls and manifests itself as spirits; both the living spirit of a mortal being and the spirits of the land.
As the fundamental energy, discarnate can be channeled into the form of any other element, but converts most efficiently into psi, anima and vox.
Command of anima requires an extremely cosmopolitan mindset to understand the metaphysical shape of it, or a deep connection to it that comes from being born with discarnate rather than elemental energy in reserve. Children so born find themselves incapable of doing more than menial magic with other elements, finding it difficult to see the trees for the forest as it were.
The unique power of discarnate energy is the manipulation of emotion at the basic level. A discarnate practitioner (there are no true masters, not even Loremen and Loreladies) is capable of creating emotion in a target out of nothing or locking out the ability to feel a given emotion, such as joy. It can even misdirect the target of an emotion, such as offsetting someone’s sexual attraction toward different genders, races, species or even objects. This last technique is considered highly immoral, which means that there are many temporary versions passed around by young bards with few scruples.
At very high levels of skill, discarnate casters can simply create whole, complex objects directly out of their imagination or cast spells without study or knowledge just by willing the discarnate energy into the form they wish.
The drawback of discarnate energy is that it requires greater study and thought, meaning discarnate spells tend to be less powerful all around against spells of the same general level. Bards compensate for this by learning far, far more spells.
And so there you have it, loyal fans. All about the energies of Ere’s magic system.
Before I leave you, I would like to remind you that Descendants Basic Collection #4, A MagiTech Crisis is now available for $2.99 from many fine retailers: Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo, Scribdand Page Foundry.
With your help, I just know one day I’ll have that diamond backscratcher like I always wanted—or at least get my car the steering rack and brake line needed to fix it so I can drive places again.
Oh, and Street Team members, expect an email soon with your edited copy.