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Path of the Elements

Source: M. A. Lloyd

The Path of the Elements manipulates the basic stuff of the physical world - the wind, fire, the weather and geology. Flashy effects occur in some tales, but the penalties should be high enough to keep fireballs rare while still allowing the occasional summoned storm, eternally clouded tower, or maiden surrounded by a ring of fire. There is some overlap with Nature, but I see Elements as forced control and raw power as opposed to a more organic subtlety of Nature.

Overview

Rituals
Bind the Winds: Path of the Elements -0
Cloak: Path of the Elements -0
Fireproofing: Path of the Elements -2
Kindle: Path of the Elements -4
Paradise: Path of the Elements -6
Rainmaker: Path of the Elements -5
Wizard Fire (Mountain Flame): Path of the Elements -6
Mysteries
Bolt from Heaven: Mystery of the Elements
Enchanted Blade: Mystery of the Elements and Spirits
Subsidence: Mystery of the Elements

Sample Rituals

Bind the Winds: Path of Elements -0
Nonstandard area. Nonstandard duration.

Controls the winds in the area. They may blow from any direction, form columns of rising or falling air, or go still (which will also calm rough seas). Up to twice the success margin can be added vectorially to the wind's Beaufort number (see VE30). Numbers less than zero can even still convection currents. This can extinguish fires and limit gas flows to diffusion (millimeters per hour! the 'diffusion' demonstration involving opening scented bottles at the front of the classroom is a fake, the transfer mechanism there is bulk flow). The winds rarely shift quickly enough to produce hazardous shear, but with a little planning this effect can seriously threaten ships or aircraft. The modifier is for the minimum area, an acre, and minimum duration, 1 minute.

Cloak: Path of Elements -0

The target cannot be harmed by ordinary weather. He can walk barefoot in the snow, remains comfortable in desert heat, and is immune to sunburn, glare, wind chill, and the harmful effects of precipitation or blowing dust. He still gets wet or dirty, but is at worst mildly uncomfortable.

Fireproofing: Path of Elements -2

An area protected by this ritual is less susceptible to accidental fires. Subtract the success margin from rolls to ignite anything not intended to burn - this includes fuel fire numbers, spell skill rolls and chances of secondary fires from explosions. For every two points of success margin the damage done by flames is reduced by 1, which reduces the chance a fire spreads and increases the chance it goes out (see VE p194).

Kindle: Path of Elements -4

The target object bursts into flame. Candles, oil lamps, loose paper, dry thatch or grass ignite normally. More difficult material, such as firewood, cloth bales or house walls require a success margin of two. The traditional water soaked pile of wood requires a margin of four or better. Kindle can be used as an area effect to ignite multiple targets, if all of them are intended to burn - candles, lamps, laid out hearths.

Rainmaker: Path of Elements -5
Nonstandard onset. Nonstandard area.

Alters the weather. As VO p76, except the area is the smallest region a natural weather system delivering the effect could occupy. To cover a larger region, roll at -2 x radius in miles. Any sort of weather can be encouraged; dry sunny spells, dense fogs, calms and severe storms are nearly as common as rain. For very rare effects, the GM can set the base odds below a 3 on 3d, requiring a margin of success to have any chance at all. Odds of 3 indicate something happens about twice a year, set rarer events one point lower per factor of 2 less common. For example if a hurricane hits an area about every 30 years, six doublings raise this to twice a year, so a margin of 6 raises the odds to 3 on 3d. Weather that never occurs in the area cannot be created with this ritual.

Paradise: Path of the Elements -6

Arrests the passage of the seasons. The weather and even the day-night cycle within the area can be different than the surroundings, thought the GM should keep them as similar as possible while preserving the seasonal differences. Perpetual spring or summer gardens are the usual use, but entire countries locked in one season are common themes, if beyond the ability of most magicians.

Wizard Fire (Maintain Flame): Path of Elements -6

Allows a flame to burn without consuming fuel. The flame is otherwise normal, and it can ignite secondary fires. Applied to a flowing fuel system like a gas jet it effectively doubles output, as the gas flow is ignited as it passes through the Wizard Fire. Wizard Fire can be extinguished only with difficulty (always requires a quick contest) and will re-ignite given any excuse as long as the duration is still running.

Once the principles of combustion are understood it is possible to maintain a flame without consuming oxygen instead of fuel, or in a reducing atmosphere, underwater, in vacuum, or in the presence of radical scavengers.

This ritual can also be used as a model for the various kinds of unnatural fire (cool, light-less, black colored...) found in modern fantasy.

Mysteries

Bolt From Heaven: Mystery of the Elements
Hostile. Resisted by Will.

Calls down a bolt of lightning (or beam of light, or pillar of fire, exact appearance varies with tradition) which blasts everything in the target area for 30d damage. If the area includes an intelligent being, this counts as hostile. A backlash is usually less visually dramatic - a bright flash and the mage is incinerated. Evil mages suffer such a failure at the climatic confrontation in many tales, accompanying odor of brimstone optional.

Subsidence: Mystery of the Elements

A target area is wracked by powerful earthquakes and sinks into the ground. Structures with less than TL7+ earthquake/nuclear reinforcement are destroyed automatically. This allows the mage to level mountains or sink islands into the sea, and is reversible for those times you want to raise R'lyeh from the depths or need a land bridge across the Red Sea.

Enchanted Blade: Mystery of Spirits and the Elements.

This Mystery enchants an edged weapon. It will inflict normal damage on incorporeal spirits or other entities immune to weapons. Those that lack hit points suffer fatigue or lose will instead. Enchanted blades will not break on a parry, and automatically resist accidental breakage, rust or other random hazards, but are no more resistant to deliberate abuse than before the enchantment.

--Construction Zone--

Neccessary Expansions

Walk on water, landslide, earthquake, ring of fire, flaming sword, open fissures, thunderbolt/elfshot, create spring.

--End Construction--

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