Saturday, April 14, 2018

Four Elements

On each of the inhabited continents, the same four elements were distinguished as building-blocks for all the substances that could be observed: earth, air, fire and water. Within the game world, it is accepted that these four elements exist, and that they represent the Four Elemental planes. However, science indicates clearly, even in the Dungeons and Dragons world, that science dictates the existence of many more elements than four, and that tradition practices as followed in Earth's history were a load of rubbish.

To be sure, to retain the effects of magic and the presence of elemental beings, both science and elemental theory must be true ~ with the latter explaining many of the magical effects that science cannot explain. Examples of elemental influence on reality would include the following:
  • Many of the monsters in the game are too massive to survive; they ought to collapse under their own weight. However, we may postulate that these creatures are composed of "earth" in a manner that enables their structure to retain integrity while the creatures remain active.
  • Numerous creatures are composed of materials that science would consider impossible; yet they generate heat, have both physical and non-physical properties, sometimes intermittently, and are able to move in ways that belie an internal structure of an kind, such as oozes, jellies, ghosts and many other undead, creatures composed of water or air, creatures unaffected by the fire they breathe or having immunity to the elements themselves ~ all of these things suggest that earth, air, fire and water can be transmuted to make both scientific elements and forms that cannot be explained by the periodic table.
  • The manipulation of magic, too, implies effects that are explainable by an elemental system of reality but not by science. Magic proposes, also, that each elemental form exists both in a "real" capacity and in a "magical" capacity. For example, "real fire" vs. "magical fire" ~ which possess many of the same qualities but also possess qualities that are distinct in their effects upon other things. magical fire does not always have heat, for example (see Faerie Fire); magical fire may be kept from spreading and may be adjusted to move from place to place without necessarily setting the ground ablaze.
  • It may be postulated that there are also other examples of this: magical earths may explain many healing substances and magical ointments, paints or malleable structures, such as boats that can fit into a player's pocket. Magical waters may be the basis of potions and also of the birth of monsters, since it has always been held in mythology that all creation arises from the combination of earth and water. Finally, magical air remains an uncertain substance: perhaps the basis of the astral plane or gates between the planes? Perhaps that which keeps impossible things afloat, such as castles, islands, air ships and so on?

We may presume that alchemy, as opposed to scientific chemistry, with which it will bear many similarities, is a means of mixing elemental "humors" ~ which may in turn have influence from the gods, many of whom are set in authority over the various elements: gods of fire, gods of air, gods of earth and gods of water. The process of "fixing" magic into items may very well be much more complicated than merely collecting a bunch of ingredients and pouring them together. It may be more a matter of isolating the various essences, or spirits, of each element, of which there may be hundreds. I suggest "spirit" because the end product may very well be a portion of the eternal substance from whence comes the outer planes: the corporeality of the gods, the material of all the planes, not just the elemental planes, and even The One Tree that comprises all things. The will of these beings and places may come into play. Additionally, as the elements are ruled by the tempo of the seasons, by the configuration of the spheres in their orbits, by the refraction of light and endless other possibilities, time may also be relevant in when or how a spirit is obtained. The comprehension of the elements and therefore the creation of magic is an incomprehensibly difficult thing ~ which is why most spellcasters just keep using what they learned from their mentors.

It isn't just a matter of throwing money at a problem. The players must obtain vast amounts of knowledge and then juxtapose that knowledge with further investigation, a matter we call adventure. But while the scope of the problem may be enormous, it should also be realized that the potential for anything to be possible is also most certainly there.

See Mythology

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