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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 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.

Hermetic Elementalism

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 should generally 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.

Signature Exploits

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.

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.

Elementalist Differentiation

All Elementalists must have an Elementalist Ability Set with at least one Ability trait that has something to do with an elemental interpretation of magic.

This might take the form of the classical Western notion of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. Taking one or more of the corresponding Ability traits allows a character to directly manipulate those elements, summon elementals to do their bidding, and so forth.

However, it would also be on theme to make a practitioner of a style of magic with an Arabian twist, who manipulates Sand, Sea, Flame, and Wind or who is focused on making deals with djinni. Or perhaps a practitioner of a Wuxing based understanding of elementalism...Fire, Water, Wood, Metal and Earth. Or even a more esoteric interpretation such as a style of magic based on manipulation of the Phlegmatic, Choleric, Sanguine and Melancholic notions of the Four Humors...and so on.

There is also design space to incorporate the idea of Void / Spirit / Aether which sometimes shows up as a variant spin on the classic four elements. Void might justify taking the Counterspell or Suppression traits, Spirit might justify taking the Mentalism trait or perhaps might be literally interpreted to interact with departed souls, and Aether might be interpreted to justify Teleport or something else entirely.

Elementalist Ability Set

An Elementalist must have an Elementalist Ability Set with an overall elemental theme and at least one Ability trait or SFX in it. Generally speaking, the Ability traits in an Elementalist Ability Set should never be more than one step higher than the character's Elementalist Vocation step. But beyond those very loose guidlines, anything thematically justifiable is fair game.

However while that sort of concept oriented open-endedness is enticing to some, examples are given for three concrete kinds of elementalists; the Classicist, the Mancer, and the Sha'ir.

The Classicist

A practitioner of a magic tradition that adheres to the classical Greek and Roman elemental beliefs should take one or more of the Air, Earth, Fire, and / or Water Ability traits in their Elementalist Ability Set.

By default such an Elementalist Ability Set would also include one or more of the Burnout Limit, the Elemental Affinity Limit, and / or the Risky Limit. However, this is optional.

The following Ability Set provides a default example, but individuals might have fewer Ability traits, and / or might have the Ability traits at different steps.

Master Elementalist

Air: d8
Earth: d8
Fire: d8
Water: d8

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.

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).

The Mancer

A practitioner of a magic tradition that focuses exclusively on a single element simply takes one of the Air, Earth, Fire, and / or Water Ability traits in their Elementalist 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 and / or Signature Exploits to anchor their concept.

Those who focus solely on Air are often called Aeromancers. Similarly, those who solely study Earth are called Geomancers, those who study Fire are called Pyromancers, and those who study Water are called Hydromancers.

For instance, a Master Elementalist who specializes in Fire might take something like the following Ability Set.

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).

The Sha'ir

A practitioner of a magic tradition that makes deals with djinn or other elemental entities may represent that by taking the Summoning trait and restricting it with the Elementals Only limit. Something like the Grudging Servants limit might also be taken to indicate that the entities put to task are not enthusiastic about being used in such a way.

Master Elementalist (Sha'ir)

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 Only: 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.