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Elementalists are practitioners of an ancient and dynamic form of magic referred to hereout as Elementalism as a generalization, but in actual practice there are (and once were) multiple mystical arts and philosophies that incorporate elemental concepts, with differing understandings. The root of elemental magic is a belief that the fundamental building blocks of nature are the primal elements of earth, water, air, and fire. Some traditions extend the four basic elements with a fifth existential element, variously referred to as spirit, aether, or void.

Generally speaking, elemental thinking was dominant in pre-scientific ages, and formed or influenced the many ancient cultures and belief systems, ranging from classical Greek philosophy, to Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and the Godai of Japan, as well as permutations such as Chinese Wuxing (which replaces air with wood and metal).

Elemental magic rather obviously concerns itself with thematically relevant abilities that have something to do with one or more of the classical elements, such as manipulating existing bodies of liquid or dirt, influencing the wind or open flames, and so on. More skilled practioners can tap into other dimensions strongly aligned with one of the elements to summon and / or control Elemental entities. The most powerful have near-total control over the elements, and can create or summon forth elements from nothing.

In the modern era of the Here There Be Monsters setting, elemental based Mystics tend to be culturally diverse but less represented in Accords-abiding lands due to the highly obvious nature of elemental magic...particularly more advanced uses which summon extradimensional Elementals. Thus violations of the Secrecy Accord are difficult to avoid, and while the practice isn't overtly oppressed (unlike infernal, daemonic, and necromantic based arts), it is discouraged wherever the Accords are actively enforced. If an Elementalist is careful, or avoids first world nations that enforce the Accords strongly, they can avoid Sanctioning. Otherwise, even well meaning practitioners may end up with a bounty on their head.

Note: the Hermetic practices of Europe emerged (at least partially) from the classical Greek elemental perspective, and thus the arts of Wizards, Spellbinders, Alchemists, and Mysterians all have some echoes of elemental concepts. Indeed, while most traditions of Wizardry abstract away from fundamental concepts such as base elements, a few of the oldest traditions still explicitly incorporate elemental beliefs and practices both in their magic and their associated esoterica and have much in common with non-Hermetic Elementalists. Similarly some Mysterians learn the mysteries of the basic elemental forces (Air, Fire, Earth, Water), and some Spellbinders bind one or more of them as well.

It is perfectly reasonable for a player to represent an elemental themed mystic using one of the Hermetic practices as the character's base and then reorient them in an elemental direction via application of Signature Exploits, traits, and SFX. However those who wish to play a non-Hermetic Elementalist, particularly one with a non-eurocentric cultural inspiration, should follow the Elementalist guidelines herein instead.


The basis of Elementalist practice is represented on a character by taking the Elementalist Vocation at a step appropriate to the character's level of mastery. An apprentice would take the Elementalist Vocation at a d4, a journeyman at a d6, a master at a d8, and a grand master at a d10.


Elementalists practice an ancient and powerful form of magic tied directly to the elements of Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and /or possibly a fifth concept referred to variably as Void, Spirit, or Aether. While other spellcasters may work magic that involves these elemental notions, Elementalist engagement with and mastery of such magics is extreme. Some Elementalists develop their abilities more or less equally across all of the elements, while others specialize in one or a few.

The Elementalist Vocation allows the following special Exploits:

  • Exploit: When using an elemental Ability trait during an Action Scene you may step that trait up for one Panel, allowing you to justify an action that is normally beyond your capability.
  • Exploit: During a Transition Scene, you may meditate to balance your humors; clear either of your Stress tracks or step down a Trauma.
  • Exploit: You may step up an Elemental servant represented as an Asset that you control, for one Scene.

Vocational Variations

It is very common for Elementalists take one or more Signature Exploits for their Elementalist Vocation to represent personal quirks or affinity with a favored element. This option offers an economical (in terms of Advances) and fun way to differentiate and add nuance to a Elementalist; some thematically appropriate examples are provided below.

Signature Exploit: You may cancel (1) die of Body Stress or Trauma you would take from heat, fire, or an explosion.
Signature Exploit: You may land safely from a fall of any height.
Signature Exploit: You may breathe water for the remainder of the Session.
Signature Exploit: You may sense the footfalls of everything in your zone and adjacent zones for the remainder of the Scene.

Ability Sets

The bulk of an Elementalist's capabilities are defined in Ability Sets; all Elementalists have at least a Mystic Ability Set and an Elementalist Ability Set.

Mystic Ability Set

Elementalists are first and foremost Mystics, and thus all Elementalists without exception have a Mystic Ability Set, in which various Ability traits and the Supernatural Aura Limit that is common to Mystics are contained. Though individuals vary in the exact composition of their Mystic Ability Set, the most common basic Mystic Ability Set is provided below.


Senses: d6
Stamina: d6
Warding: d6
Willpower: d6

Limit: Supernatural Aura: You have a supernatural aura that is detectable by those with special senses. Gain one (1) Plot Point when this becomes a Complication for you.

Internal Mastery

An important aspect of many elemental based traditions of magic is philosophical introspection and a sublime understanding of the world as the confluence of primal forces as represented by the various elements. This is particularly true of the versions of elemental study that incoporate the notion of Void / Spirit / Aether; practitioners of such traditions often develop considerable internal magic. Extended lifespan, the ability to sense the supernatural, and to protect one's self from supernatural forces are commonly developed, as well as more esoteric self-enhancements. These kind of developments can be represented by taking additional Ability traits and / or SFX in a character's Mystic Ability Set.

Elementalist Ability Set

In addition to the Elementalist Vocation and a Mystic Ability Set, a Elementalist character must also have another Ability Set that includes at least one of Air, Earth, Fire, and / or Water traits, and by default usually also includes one or more of the Burnout, Elemental Affinity, and / or Risky Limits. Some traditions of elemental magic command all the elements equally, but it is not uncommon for a practitioner to specialize or have special affinity (i.e. a higher stepped die) for one element rather than equal mastery of all four basic elements.

Generally speaking, the traits in an Elementalist Ability Set should never be more than one step higher than the character's Elementalist Vocation step. An example is provided below for a baseline Master Elementalist Ability Set, demonstrating a down the line generalist. However, in practice many Elementalists with multiple elemental traits have an uneven distribution of dice steps (such as Air: d8, Earth: d4, Fire: d6, Water: d6).

Master Elementalist

Air: d6
Earth: d6
Fire: d6
Water: d6

Limit: Burnout: For two (2) consecutive Panels you may step up or double any of this Ability Set's traits; at the end of the second Panel shut down this Ability Set. You may roll against the doom pool to attempt to recover this Ability Set during a Transition Scene if it was shut down in this way.

Limit: Elemental Affinity: This Ability Set's traits are individually shut down when there is a lack of the appropriate element within your zone or an adjacent zone, or when thematically appropriate. Gain one (1) Plot Point when this becomes a complication for you. Traits shut down in this way are automatically recovered when the appropriate element is no longer lacking.

Elementalist Ability Set Variations

In practice, many Elementalists diverge from the baseline Ability Set and there is ample design space to play around in. Due to the strong influence elemental beliefs had (and continue to have) on real world cultures and religions, there is considerable opportunity to take direct inspiration when modeling a mystical tradition for a given Elementalist to be a practitioner of.

[ Aero | Geo | Hydro | Pyro ]-mancers

From a mechanical perspective, an obvious variation are practitioners who focus on a single element; for instance a Master Elementalist who specializes in Fire might take something like the following Ability Set. Ideally, single element practitioners should further represent their particular affinity with their chosen element elsewhere on their character sheet, such as in their Distinctions and / or Milestones to anchor their concept.

Master Elementalist (Pyromancer)

Fire: d10

SFX: Area Attack: When taking an attack action using one of this Ability Set's traits you may target multiple opponents; for each additional target add a d6 to your dice pool and keep an additional effect die.

Limit: Burnout: For two (2) consecutive Panels you may step up or double any of this Ability Set's traits; at the end of the second Panel shut down this Ability Set. You may roll against the doom pool to attempt to recover this Ability Set during a Transition Scene if it was shut down in this way.

Limit: Risky: When using this Ability Set's traits and SFX, both 1 and 2 on your dice count as opportunities (but only 1's are excluded from the results).


It is also possible to abstract away from the basic elemental traits as long as thematic relevance is retained. For instance, an elemental tradition that specializes in only summoning and commanding Elementals, eschewing personal magic, could reasonably take the Summoning trait and limit it to Elementals Only...such as is demonstrated by the following Ability Set.

Master Elementalist (Jainist)

Summoning: d10

SFX: Bound Servants: You keep one or more summoned servant Asset(s) bound to your will and prepared to appear rapidly when you require them. You may have up to one such servant per step of your Tier, and you must give each such servant an individual name. You may put such a named servant Asset into play when a Scene starts, or when forming a dice pool to which their Asset die can be added. If such a named Servant is forcibly removed from play, they become unavailable for the remainder of the Session unless you recover them during a Transition Scene by rolling against the doom pool.

Limit: Elementals: This Ability Set's Summoning trait can only summon and control Elementals.

Limit: Grudging Servants: The Elementals summoned using this Ability Set's Summoning trait serve grudgingly; the GM may activate an opportunity offered by you to have one of your controlled Elementals `misinterpret` a command, cause collateral damage, or otherwise undermine you.

The Fifth Element

There is also quite a bit of design space to get creative for a practitioner using the idea of Void / Spirit / Aether to spice up the classic four elements. The general advice is to handle such ideas as representing internal mastery and justifying various improvements via traits and SFX in an Elementalist's Mystic Ability Set, but it is also possible to interpret it more broadly. Void might justify taking the Counterspell trait, Spirit might justify taking mentalism based traits or alternately literally interpreted to interact with departed souls, and Aether might be interpreted to justify Teleport, and so on. As long as such interpretations are narratively on point, they are totally fine.