Elementals: A Major or a Minor Focus?

I just had an idea for a character, but I think I would need a focus in Elementals. Would you call this a Minor or a Major focus?

I would go with Minor. Elementals are a subset of magical things, which themselves are a small subset of all magical animals/humans/things/plants/spirits. Spirits are a much bigger part of that, and including spirits from all four realms keeps it within Major. So we're looking a far less than 1/4 of a Major's breadth.


If the player wants minor, it's minor. If the player wants major, then a lot more villains command elementals. You get to tailor a bit through story design.

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Elementals as in ROP page 132? I'd say Minor, it's small subset of magic things, although the description also refers to them as magic creatures...but I don't think this matters. The important thing is they are not spirits and they represent a small subset of 4 Forms. My vote is for Minor.

An idea? Please do tell.
I've always found this fascinating yet impractical. Does it involve the Elemental Magic major virtue? I've always wanted this to be cool, but had a hard time finding ways to make it useful.

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It's not really a full concept, just a rough sketch of an idea.

Basically, I'd use Cr** rituals to create paired elementals, inside prepared circles.
I'd then use Spirit Binding (TMRE) to use one of these elementals to lock the spell to control the other.

Since this requires 2 rituals, I was looking at Mercurian Magic to make the whole thing cheaper.

As-written, Elemental Magic is an excellent minor virtue.

...yeah, I know.

the following spell concepts are based off of the ward described in Covenents, which explicitly lists multiple separate effects, all combined into a single spell. (Covenents, pg. 104, "ward against mundane intrusions"). Thus, it's perfectly legal to combine multiple guidelines into single effects, if you've got the lab total to pull it off.

  1. Use the expanded character creation rules to spend 1 xp a season in all 60 seasons of your apprenticeship (or as many as you can - probably only 57, technically). That'll get you to just over lvl 10 in each of the four elements.
  2. Elemental Wards: relatively low-level wards that protect against all 4 elements. (Probably lv 15 base, +2 circle/ring, +0 for other elemental requisites.)
  3. Elemental (the creature) spells: single spell to create one, control one, or destroy one, have them affect all 4 elements.
  4. Elemental attack spells - choose an arbitratry level, and have it do 4x as much damage with the other 3 elements.
  5. Elemental Intelligo spells: stack 'em on top of each other to learn lots of stuff about an object.
  6. Elemental Perdo spells: again - stack 'em to destroy whatever it is you're pointing at.

But I do agree that those are kinda boring. With Troupe approval, I'd recommend you declare the integration of the guidelines for Hedge Elementalism. Or alternately, declare that the "if there's a relevant guideline in one TeFo, you can port it to another TeFo as appropriate" affects the elemental affinities for Animal/Corpus/Mentem. So, you could use Fire to summon predators, water to affect the cholic(?) humor, etc.

Ah so you'll have an elemental under your permanent control, using a spell fuelled by another elemental back home?
Clever , but expensive in rituals. Mercurian Magic seems the better choice here.

I think one should really define what one means with "Elementals". Note that:

So, if by "Elementals" you mean only the magic things described in RoP:M and produced by rarefication of elemental matter (thus excluding airy spirits associated with the elements, elemental faeries etc.) it seems a minor focus should definitely covers them.

Bound into a container somewhere, yes. I was thinking about wearing the container as jewelry, but it could be almost anywhere.
And yes, It's kinda what Fortunata did.

It does, doesn't it.

Well, depending on how difficult the rituals are, you could take Imbued with the Form of (X), if you wanted to specialize in a certain type of elemental. Combined with Mercurean Magic, you could be cranking those suckers out on a daily basis! :slight_smile:

Imbued with the Spirit of Form does have the side effect of making beings associated with that form hate/be afraid of you. Of course, if you're mostly just binding said being into circles whilst you're draining them for vis, you might not have much to lose there.

The Imbued virtue is rare, however as anyone seen that fear/hate aspect come into play? It feels fluffy as written and if it said -3-6 to all interaction rolls it might have more weight.

That was mainly my thought: if most of your experiences with (say) fire elementals is "I created you to torture you, and then destroy you", you're probably not going to have all that much in the way of positive rolls anyway.

I would argue that it's the GM's job to ensure that it comes up in at least one major story arc. I've seen one person take it, and the negative modifier has never come up...mainly because I don't think the character in question has ever interacted with the appropriate form (Aquam) spirit. However I do agree that it sounds moderately fluffy. If it was taken out, does the virtue seem overpowered? Personally, I don't find it to be.

Very true, fair point. It's very character dependent in value, where PVS is probably better for a wide variety of characters. If imbued is stacked with some of the Mercury virtues and withstand its potentially powerful for the right build.

There's the above idea-sketch. I still have 3 virtue 'slots' left, so I could take Withstand Casting Twice and Imbued with the Spirit of Terram (eg), meaning that (combined with Mercurian Magic, already present), I would be able to cast level 30 Terram Rituals at the cost of just a single Fatigue level.

Cute, but not the path I'll be taking, I think.

I think you guys are misreading Withstand Casting. Certainly, it doesn't work how Tellus is assuming. If you use it to protect yourself from the Fatigue loss of Imbued with the Spirit of (Form), then you lose the benefits of that Virtue and might as well have just spent more Vis. But, yes, you can make some big armies this way.

As for control, there is also training for magical creatures, and elementals are creatures. I would run it by the SG for approval anyway, but it would probably be accepted since elementals are creatures with cunning, they just don't reproduce and the like. If you have a Minor Magical Focus, your Rego-Form lab total should be pretty high so you might well be able to train a bunch in a single season. Then you don't have to worry about losing control via dispelling. Just another thought.

Callen: Could you give me a page reference for this? I think you're correct, but I'd like to look up the full argument.

I suggest TMRE page 36 where withstand casting is described, the part labelled "Life Boost and Life-Linked Spontaneous Magic" - it says virtues that use the magus's life-force to power the spell (like life boost and LLSM) and if you apply withstand casting to such a spell, you lose the benefits from the withstood levels. By extension, using Imbued with the spirit of X only counts if you actually suffer the fatigue loss. Likewise Holy Magic.

Excellent. Thank you for indulging my laziness.

In this case, Withstand Casting is abolutely useless for this character.

In contrast, Hermetic Sacrifice may (or may not) be, depending on if anyone can have a convincing argument that animal sacrifice is a legitimate way to summon an elemental. (I'm thinking no, but I'd be willing to hear a creative argument.)

Certainly Earth Elementals like to suck the moisture(?) out of living things, so....maybe? As a GM, I would be willing to have an equivalent virtue that used 'sacrifices' (such as incense and wood) to summon a fire elemental, and whatnot.