Table of Contents
There are 4 fundamental elements that are said to comprise all things at their most basic level - fire, water, earth and air. Elementalists are those who dedicate themselves entirely to one of these primal elements as though it were a school of magic, devoting themselves to it. Of course, the four elements are far older than the schools of arcane magic, and elementalism is widely considered to be the oldest form of high magic. The elementalist schools that persist today are usually old and rooted in ancient traditions. Practitioners of more modern magical practices tend to think of the elementalists as archaic mystics who hold an almost religious reverence for magic. Elementalists, on the other hand, see modern mages as uncouth barbarians butchering the beauty of magic and trying to turn it into a science - with no respect for its awesome might.
As specialist wizards, all elementalists gain certain abilities and restrictions. No elementalist can use spells related to the opposite element; fire elementalists cannot use spells of water or ice, earth elementalists cannot use air or electricity, and so on. All elementalists gain a +2 bonus to saving throws against spells of their element, and suffer a -2 penalty against the opposite element. All elementalists gain a +25% bonus to learn spells of their element, and a +15% bonus to learn spells of the other two elements they may cast. However, they suffer a -25% penalty to learn all nonelemental spells. Finally, as with all specialists, elementalists gain an extra memorisation slot for each spell level, which must be filled with a spell of their element.
Each school of elementalism also confers other abilities related to the discipline and philosophy of the order, and these are detailed below.
Sometimes known by their Kyujitai name, Kiu-Shanat, the Boreal Sages are a monastic order of Kyujitai that live on the slopes of Hidden Mountain, somewhere in the Sea of Flails. According to the legend, a group of disillusioned Teisei were wandering Leng, no longer certain that bodily perfection through hand-to-hand combat was the true path to enlightenment. The legend tells that they were ready to give up, and committed themselves to reed boats on the Sea of Flails, to let the wind carry them where it may. Miraculously, they were not separated, but after 3 days and nights were carried by the wind along secret currents to the shores of Hidden Mountain. There on the slopes of that secret edifice they found Vagur the Great Wolf, son of the North Wind.
No longer a beast of fury and mayhem, Vagur had met his match atop the mountain and become buried beneath an avalanche of rock. For a time he was too weak to rouse himself, and relied only on the power of the wind - birthright of his father - to survive. Over time, though his strength waxed anew, he learned humility and peace from his imprisonment. The wind carried the message of harmony and tranquility to him, and by the time he had gained strength enough to free himself he chose to remain buried for fear that rousing himself would reawaken the beast of old. When the Teisei came to his resting place, he gladly used his power over the wind to assist those who wished to leave, but many chose to stay instead. They were fascinated by his tacit acceptance of his fate, and awed by the solemnity and dignity he carried. The highest conventional rank a Teisei can attain is "Master of the North Wind", and no title was more fitting for their new master. Though Vagur resisted initially, the monks spent 3 days and 3 nights in silent, motionless vigil, moving as little as Vagur did himself, and their dedication swayed him. Thus the Temple of Four Winds was established.
The Boreal Sages are split into two groups. The larger group still follow the original ways, training their bodies in martial combat. However, unlike the old Teisei, they do not train their bodies for the sake of combat; in fact, they eschew violence at all costs. The majority of their focus goes into the "judo" style and they use grappling, redirection and fluidity of movement to render their opponents harmless. Mechnically, they are identical to the Teisei, with one key difference: they do not gain the abilities that Teisei usually receive. Instead, they receive powers identical to those gained by their elementalist brethren. Furthermore, instead of starting with proficiency in all four styles, they begin with a specialisation in judo, a proficiency in blocking, and a final proficiency in either karate, tae kwon do, or a martial arts talent that they qualify for. The warrior-monks of the Kiu-Shanat are known as Senshi.
The smaller of the two groups, as indicated above, are air elementalists, known as Arashi. Although fewer in number, most Boreal Sages encountered outside of Hidden Mountain will be of this variety, as their ethos compels them to gather and research new magic. Like their Senshi cousins, they believe in peacefulness, redirection of hostility and the keeping of the balance. They are a little more liberal in their interpretation of certain aspects of this, however: the Arashi have been willing to intervene in cases where they considered that the balance would be significantly unrighted, though if there is a way to solve the issue by misdirection rather than bloodshed they will always select it. Likewise, though the primary focus of their arcane research is based around taking advantage of the winds and the air and using it to redirect and control the world around them, they are not above developing wind-based magics that are more direct. Such spells are only to be used when the need for them is great, of course.
Through their adherence to Vagur's ways and their dedication to the school of Elemental Air, all Boreal Sages who choose the path qualify to become air elementalists (with all the associated bonuses and penalties of being a specialist mage) as long as they have a Wisdom of at least 13. Their particular affinity to the wind affects the potency of their magic, however: they are incapable of casting spells while any part of them is submerged, enclosed or restricted from free movement - whether they are sunk to the ankles in mud, shackled hand and foot or swimming in water. However, in times when they are close to the essence of wind - in the midst of a storm or near the peak of a tall mountain - their effective level is increased by 1d4 when casting spells. They can also receive this bonus by using a Fly spell or similar to ascend to at least 300 feet.
The dragon disciples are an order of monks that originate in Black Rock, a volcanic island at the very northern edge of the Boiling Ocean. There are other cloisters in Blackreach and Jotunnheim. Black Rock is presided over by a neutral-aligned elder red dragon by the name of Astarot, who is the founder of the order. The other two cloisters are headed by younger red dragons, said to be the twin sons of Astarot. The dragon disciples learn fire elementalism in the Draconic tongue; this makes their spells powerful and deadly. Though they are powerful, the disciples are also monks and scholars of theology. Their philosophy and teachings are intertwined with the draconic way - primal, ancient histories that are rich with prophecy and meaning.
They teach that the dragon is the perfect realisation of all four elements, and that the will of the four elements is to be combined and realised. Fire provides the catalyst for this to happen - it is energy in the purest form, and the other elements cannot change or evolve without fire. They preach that the flame represents entropy and change in all things, whether destructive or constructive. The duty of the dragon disciple is to seek the very enlightenment that comes naturally to dragonkind - the realisation that through change, entropy and destruction, purity can be reached. The ever-swirling flames form a constant cycle, even though they may seem chaotic and without pattern. This cycle of death and rebirth is the core of life and ultimate purpose of the soul. Those who master these teachings, it is said, will purify their own souls, turning the dull embers of their hearts into dragonfire, and ensuring that when they die their flames will join the great Elemental Fire. Those who have reached enlightenment can be found in every dragon's breath, it is said, for they have become the essence of fire itself.
Like most orders of elementalists, the dragon disciples have a special power that is unique to them. To them, mastery of fire is not simply a course of magic - it is the cultivation of the dragonfire within. Those who are skilled in the art may release this power in the form of dragonbreath. This may be done only once each day and is intensely exhausting - once it is done, the elementalist becomes immediately fatigued and their spells have a 15% chance to fail until they rest. The dragonfire they breathe is a searing cone that is 30 feet long and 10 feet wide at its base. A disciple's dragonbreath deals 2d6 damage at level 1, with a saving throw for half. Each time the elementalist gains access to a new spell level, this increases by 2d6 damage.
Sons of Myrkul
Most of the servants of Myrkul are priests, but the Sons of Myrkul are an exception. Dedicated to the cultivation of sacred fire, they do not view Myrkul as a lord and master, but view him the same way many magic-users see Azuth - as a patron and benefactor. After all, Myrkul presides over the sacred flame without thought of good or evil - he is the Keeper of the Fire, pure and simple. The Sons of Myrkul revere the flaming god and follow his teachings, but they are mages through and through. They cultivate the power of fire while teaching that it should be respected, but never feared.
Their dedication to Myrkul gives the sons divine providence over fire, as long as they stay in his favor. The +2 bonus to saving throws granted to specialists apply to all forms of fire, not just spells from the school of Elemental Fire. Furthermore, by concentrating on something within their area of influence, they may do one of the following per round:
- Reduce the size of an existing flame. A fire up to campfire-size may be instantly extinguished; other flames will be reduced by about this amount. Note that a reduced fire can spread and grow as large as it was before.
- Increase the size of an existing flame by as much as a campfire's worth. If there is not fuel to accommodate it, this flame will shrink to its original size after 1 round.
- Hold in their hand a ball of flame of up to torch-size. A smaller flame or even a momentary spark can be instantly grown to this size. This flame can be thrown as the 2nd-level priest spell, Produce Flame. One flame can be held in each hand.
- Freely move and manipulate flames within the area of effect. In one round, an amount of fire equal to a large bonfire can be moved anywhere within the area of influence. Shapes and patterns can be formed, though certain complex endeavours may require checks on the part of the mage. Note that attempting extremely complex maneuvers (such as splitting a flame into five different places or forming a cage of hovering flames) may require concentration checks or risk losing control of the flames.
The area of influence is equal to a five-foot radius for each level of the spellcaster. Those struck by flames will take damage according to the size of the flame. A candle-sized flame will do little unless the victim is extremely flammable, inflicting 1 point of damage at most. A torch-sized ball of flame should be treated as the priest spell, Produce Flame. A campfire-sized flame should be treated as a 3d6-damage fireball with a 1 foot radius. A bonfire-sized flame should be treated as a 4d6-damage fireball with a 5 foot radius. A particularly large bonfire may deal 5d6 damage and have a radius of 10 feet.
College of the Deep
The College of the Deep is an institution of water elementalists found on the floor of the Kharolian Ocean. Surface dwellers are rare amongst its membership due to its submerged position, but it holds magic-users of many of the undersea humanoids - mermen, tritons, and sea elves make up most of the college. Besides these, there are a few locathah, selkies and even some sahuagin. As long as the rivalries and feuds of the ocean are left at the door, all who seek tutelage in the ways of Elemental Water are welcome in the college. Order is maintained under the strict observation of a small army of water elementals that patrol the halls and towers of the college and quell any disputes. These same elementals are what protect the college from invasion, though none but the master know how so many powerful elementals could have been induced into servitude on the material plane.
Water elementalists of the college are strongly attuned with the powers of water, and in particular with the ocean. They are surrounded by it and call it their home, and like all creatures that live beneath the waves, they are subject to its cycles. The ebb and flow of the tides have as much effect on their magic as they do on all creatures of the sea; during the three day period when the moon is full, all water spells are cast as though the elementalist were 1d4 levels stronger than they are. On the three nights of a new moon, however, all water spells are cast as though the elementalist were 1d4 levels weaker than they are - if this reduces their effective level to 0, the spell fails. Though not quite an ability, it should be noted the Deep Sashelas has been known to take an interest in wayfaring students of the College of the Deep, and many in the college speak of the "Voice of the Deep" that sometimes speaks to those of significance.
- Elemental Air: Levitate, Fly, Wraithform, Rainbow Pattern, Invisible Stalker, Shocking Grasp, Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning
- Elemental Water: Ice Knife