Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 6 – Interactions with Water and Liquids

A water elemental swimming near the ocean floor.

A water elemental in natural form swims near the ocean floor. Image copyrighted ©2013 by Eposic. All Rights Reserved. Rendered using DAZ Studio 4.6 Pro. No postwork. Click on the image for a larger version.
 

 
It’s been a while since my last blog post. I was sick for about three weeks, but I’ve also been so focused on my debut fantasy novel, I’ve let this blog slide. And slide. And slide. Three months. Ugh. At least I’ve finished my third draft and the fourth rewrite of the ending. Next up are the edits needed throughout the novel that I made notes about while rewriting the ending. Then I’ll make a few editing passes through the whole thing. Once I’m satisfied with my edits, I’ll be looking for beta readers.

But this post is not meant to be about my novel….

In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses how elementals can interact with water and liquids.

Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments.

Interactions with Water and Liquids

All elementals can swim in hot, warm, or cool liquid surroundings.

Water elementals naturally swim fast in water, regardless of the temperature of the water, as long as the water is in liquid form. They swim slightly slower in other types of liquids. The thicker the liquid, the slower the water elemental can swim through it. They cannot survive on an extended basis in very hot liquids thicker than water. For instance, a water elemental could survive indefinitely in a hot springs but not in a lava flow. Continue reading

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 5 – Interactions with Solid Objects

A stone elemental in humanoid form walking through a wall as though it wasn't even there.

A stone elemental in humanoid form is seen walking through a wall as though the wall were not even there. Image copyrighted ©2013 by Eposic. All Rights Reserved. Rendered using DAZ Studio 4.6 Pro. Postwork performed with Serif PhotoPlus X5. Click on the image for a larger version.

 
In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses how elementals can interact with solid objects, including traveling over or through them. While most of this discussion concerns earth-based solid objects, Khayd’haik also addresses interactions with ice-based solid objects.

Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments.

Traveling On Solid Surfaces

All elementals can travel across horizontal solid surfaces, such as the ground or a floor. However, elementals that can fly will typically be able to cover a distance faster by flying rather than walking. If walking, an elemental’s movement depends on the shape it takes. An elemental in the shape of a human would walk about the same speed as the average human. If it formed longer legs it could walk faster. If it took the shape of a horse, it could move about as fast as a horse can gallop. A sizable elemental that took on a roughly spherical shape could roll down a grassy hill more quickly than it could walk or run down the hill in humanoid shape.

A shadow elemental in two-dimensional form can travel quickly across a solid surface, whether it be horizontal or vertical, provided the surface is not brilliantly lit. If the elemental can be seen, it may appear to be the shadow of a flying creature. A two-dimensional shadow elemental traveling across a partially lit or unlit solid surface can move as quickly as a wind elemental can fly through the air or a water elemental can swim in the water. A three-dimensional shadow elemental cannot traverse a vertical surface.

Other elemental types, including stone elementals, cannot travel along vertical surfaces without handholds or some way to grip the surface. Continue reading

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 4 – Appearance

Wind Elemental In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses the appearances of different types of elementals, and how their appearances might be altered to make them look like something other than elementals. He gives historical examples of what some wizards have done with regard to disguising elementals, especially in attempts to make elementals look human.

Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments.

An elemental appears as a form constructed from its associated element. Depending on the type of elemental, this form may or may not be solid or appear solid. Continue reading

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 3 – Shape

Image of water elemental In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses the shapes elementals often take. Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments.

Elementals do not have a definitive shape, but can take on any three-dimensional form that suits their needs. Any three-dimensional form an elemental takes must occupy its given volume. Typically in its natural state an elemental will take a serpentine shape, sometimes with a face or limbs, but just as often without either. Some elementals, especially stone elementals, are said to prefer large humanoid shapes, giving them the appearance of giants or trolls, often confusing observers who are not particularly observant.

A summoned elemental will take whatever form the summoning wizard wishes, subject to the constraint that the form must occupy the elemental’s fixed volume.

Only shadow elementals can take two-dimensional forms. A two-dimensional form is achieved by the shadow elemental collapsing onto a surface. The shadow elemental loses its volume when it does this, and is defined only by its projection onto the surface. If the surface is uneven, the shadow elemental will follow the lay of the surface, but at any given point the elemental will have no thickness.

Note that other elementals can take what is nearly a two-dimensional form, by making themselves extremely thin. The difference is that a shadow elemental is a projection of its three-dimensional form onto a surface, which means the area covered by the shadow elemental can be relatively small, depending on what form the shadow elemental had when in three dimensions. Other elementals taking a nearly two-dimensional form will have to spread out and cover a large area, because they must maintain their given volumes.

Think of it like this: Suppose we have a shadow elemental and a water elemental of the same volume, say the size of a small ice cube. Take a small ice cube out of your freezer and set it on a large plate. The portion of the ice cube touching the plate is the size the shadow elemental would be if it took two-dimensional form.

Now let the ice cube melt. The water will spread out around the base of the ice cube. Depending on the size of the ice cube and the plate, it’s possible the melted ice cube will cover most or all of the surface of the plate once it is thoroughly melted, especially if you move the plate around some to break the tension between the water and the plate. The area covered by the water from the melted ice cube is the size our water elemental would be if it spread itself thin.


In the next installment, Khayd’haik discusses the appearances of elementals in more detail, according to elemental type.

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 2 – Creation

Any spirit could possibly be reincarnated as an elemental

Any spirit could possibly be reincarnated as an elemental

This installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals discusses their creation. Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it.

Elementals do not reproduce. Rather, some volume of pure elemental substance is granted sentience through the incorporation of a spirit into the volume of elemental substance. This spirit is one that has for some reason become attuned to the elemental substance in question. How this attunement comes about varies from case to case, but the spirit is never an undead one, such as a ghost, but rather a reincarnated spirit. An undead spirit has too much of a connection to something other than the element in question for the spirit to be attuned enough to the element to become an elemental.

For instance, the spirit of a bird that died peacefully while soaring through the sky might be reincarnated into a small, gentle wind elemental. Or a bird might have died in a tornado, surrounded by nothing but raging winds, and passed its spirit to the tornado to create a larger, more energetic elemental. Each bird’s last experience before death is being one with the wind.

Any creature that knows fear or hatred at the time of death cannot be reincarnated as an elemental. As you might guess, the conditions that give birth to an elemental are not that common.

Though sentient, elementals are not created with brains as such. Each elemental has some trace of the personality of the spirit that animates it. While any spirit could possibly be reincarnated as an elemental, most elementals are not born from the spirits of humans or other creatures of emotional complexity. Most of the time, elementals behave as emotionless creatures, driven by instinct and impulse.

It is possible for an anguished spirit to be reincarnated as an elemental, as long as the dying spirit is free of fear and hatred. A spirit that animates a flame elemental, for instance, might come from a sleeping creature that died in a sudden, intense burst of flame. Likewise, a water elemental might be animated by the spirit of a creature drowned during a flash flood. But even when the deaths of the reincarnated spirits are traumatic, elementals are unlikely to behave antagonistically unless provoked.

When a reincarnated spirit animates an elemental form, the spirit commands some fixed quantity of the associated element. This quantity does not change over time. An elemental retains its initial volume until it perishes.


In the next installment, Khayd’haik discusses the shapes elementals often take.

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 1

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Khayd'haik, a Trolf Wizard, half Troll, half Elf Khayd’haik the Trolf Mystic, aka the Troll Mystic, half troll and half elf (a trolf), is a walker of the dimensions, a traveler of the multiverse. He is collecting his observations of magic, whether of spells or items or creatures or other magical phenomena, into a tome entitled Codex of the Troll Mystic. Portions of the Codex are to be shared here! Specific examples of magic and magical phenomena in the world of Pharas will be included.

In this first installment, Khayd’haik begins a series on Elementals.

Elementals

Elementals are sentient creatures constructed entirely of a particular element—such as stone, water, flame, wind or shadow—and do not need food, breath, or blood to survive. An elemental will typically live somewhere rich in the type of element from which the elemental is constructed. For instance, a stone elemental might live in the heart of a mountain, while a fire elemental might live in a vein of lava beneath a volcano, and a water elemental might live in the depths of the sea. An elemental needs to remain in close proximity to a significant amount of its associated element, or the elemental will deteriorate and cease living, converting into a lifeless mass of its associated element.

How long an elemental can exist when separated from its associated element depends on the size, strength and age of the elemental, but most elementals will survive for at least an hour if conditions are not too adverse. In an extremely adverse environment, an elemental might not survive for even a few seconds.

Wherever there exists a significantly large area (a mountain range, an ocean) consisting primarily of one type of element, the chances are good you’ll find at least one elemental of the associated element living there. The larger the area, the more elementals it’s likely to hold. Elementals are territorial, and the larger they are, the more territory they claim, but even the largest elemental is not likely to claim an entire ocean or a whole mountain range. Continue reading

Fire and Magic

Some of my visitors have seen this essay before. It is posted on writing.com, but I’ve added to it since the last time I mentioned it to my fellow Tunnels and Trolls fans, and some people who have started visiting The Troll Mystic more recently may not have seen the original essay. I post the updated essay here in full. Though it is written from the perspective of a fiction author, designers of role playing games and adventures might also find it of interest. Enjoy.

If you are writing a fantasy short story or novel that includes Magic, have you thought much about its nature, or is it just something that is there to be used whenever you need it? If you have a clear picture in your mind of how Magic works in your fantasy setting, it will help give your writing that consistent feel that readers expect. With this essay, I put forth one possible view of Magic, not necessarily for you to emulate, but with the hope that it will spark some creative flame within you to devise your own concepts of Magic.

I view Magic as akin to Fire. It isn’t there until the conditions are right for it. The wizard knows how to bring about those conditions. The right conditions might also happen accidentally, whether it be nature starting a random Fire or creating a random outburst of Magic. The careless handling of Fire can be dangerous, just as can be the careless handling of Magic. Continue reading