Page 1 of 3

Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:00 pm
by Alicorn

There are twelve!

Adamant: Metal. Sense magnetism. Warding/defense. Usable as an artifact base.
Air: Air. Sense scent. Weather; insubstantiality. Usable for healing very specific respiratory ailments.
Earth: Life (and dirt). Sense life. Usable for healing generically if you can do your own detail work.
Fire: Fire. Sense warmth. Usable for healing infection and for prolonging youth (but not life).
Glass: Glass. Sense: vision (distance, small things, around corners). Breaking things. Usable as an artifact base.
Ice: Cold. Sense: states (solid, liquid gas) including through things and behind oneself. Usable for healing via stasis.
Lightning: Electricity. Sense: enhanced hearing. Sound; speed. Usable for healing as anaesthetic.
Shadow: Darkness. Sense: shadow-scrying. Shadow-walking. Only element usable neither as an artifact base nor for healing.
Shine: Light. Sense: scrying. Invisibility, illusion. Usable for total, instant healing at great expense.
Stone: Rocks. Sense: tremorsense. Weight. Usable as an artifact base and for healing by increasing longevity.
Water: Water. Sense: water-sense. Weather. Usable for healing dehydration and poison.
Wood: Plants. Sense: plant matter. Usable for healing malnutrition and as an artifact base.


Elementals appear spontaneously in the world at a rate that keeps them roughly in proportion with the flesh-person population (1:10,000). They are of one or two elements each; hybrids are about five percent of all elementals and any of the sixty-six possibilities is viable. They appear in places at least loosely appropriate to their element; the populations of each single kind are close (likewise each hybrid kind) but not necessarily in lockstep. Elementals look like pretty young adult flesh people of their world, with similar distributions of features to those they appear near, but with wings appropriate to their element (wood feathers, Lapis Lazuli type water wings, invisible glowing wings, that sort of thing). They can also extend or retract a halo, which is a full body (or arbitrary subset thereof) aura of the appropriate type (leafy vines, metal fuzz, glass scales, that sort of thing). Elementals have a lot of power in their elements. Hybrids have different wings and halos but otherwise have all the powers of both component types, drawn from a single shared "mana pool" (for lack of a better word, I'll probably think of something) of the same size as regular elementals'.

Elementals appear as adults, knowing every language that is spoken on their planet at the moment of their appearance. They don't have much factual knowledge but do have plenty of procedural knowledge to move around and use magic and such. They are immortal - they recoalesce if really wrecked but otherwise heal in a roughly flesh-person-like fashion. They don't have to eat, sleep, or breathe to be healthy, though they do need the latter two to be comfortable (in smaller quantities than flesh people). They don't really go in for names and are generally just addressed by their type, with numbers if necessary. They know what kinds they are. They are usually interested mostly in flying around, playing with magic and things appropriate to their variety. They may become curious about things they are exposed to and develop a taste for them. Elementals recover from empty to full tank of mana over a little less than a day if they don't do magic during that day. Halos are costless and elementals are very efficient at the use of their magic senses.


Mages have 3-12 elemental affinities and can't use the elements they don't have without elemental help. Having an affinity means you can use the sense, although if it's not a good affinity you might be clumsy or inefficient with it; one can improve with practice. Your best affinity is always as good as the next guy's best affinity - you can use the sense cheaply enough to be deploying it at whim or in the background if you're not saving up "mana" for something else, you can do anything but the very flashiest examples of the element's use. (Flashy things you just cannot do on human mana even once include shadow walking, turning insubstantial, and Shine healing.) Everyone has one best affinity and some arbitrary but usually mixed distribution over their others:

0: Can't use this element at all alone. (e.g. whatever you do, no Water for you till you go poke an elemental.)
1: Can use the sense a little but not much past that. (e.g. can enhance your hearing with Lightning.)
2: Can use the element in an artifact without help. (e.g. can combine Shine with other elements and get a lantern.)
3: Can do other things with the element without help. (e.g. can perk up your garden with Wood.)
4. Best affinity. (e.g. can go around with ridiculous super-vision via Glass all day long and do things with literal glass and use it in artifacts and break shit.)

Using a sense accustoms you in a subtle way to the element's use in general, and you'll usually be better at things involving elements you have even if you're using an elemental, just from having practiced with the sense. Mages can tap any kind of elemental by touching them or through an amulet and use the elemental(s)'s "mana" like it's their own. Mages, unlike hybrid elementals, track "mana" separately across elements (a tapped hybrid can be used as either or a combination), which means a mage with more and better affinities has more total juice but can't mix and match freely. Except sort of with...


Artifact creation requires the use of at least three separate elements. This means elementals can't make them and all humans can. Elements usable as artifact bases allow you to make an object to store the magic as part of the artifact creation process; those artifacts are prettier. If you can't do that you need to start with an object; you can also do that if you want to use something that isn't a piece of glass, metal, wood, or rock (or want to use one of those that you don't have). They don't all have to strictly have to do with what you're making, but you do need any elements that are necessary for the effect. Like, you could make a lantern out of base + shine + literally any third thing, just a skosh; or out of shine + a thing + another thing + a physical object that you just found on the ground. But if you want to make a singing humidifier you need water + lightning + (base OR (random element + physical object)). And your singing humidifier would be better if you had some Air in there. A mage does not need to personally have affinities for all incorporated elements; elemental tapping works fine and is necessary, even in quantity, for higher power artifacts. Once an artifact's activation cost is paid it self-generates enough (untappable) mana to do its thing 24/7. Destroying artifacts requires touching them and applying magic; otherwise they can recoalesce like elementals when damaged.


So there were some humans having themselves a Bronze Age; and there were some elementals flying around and licking snails and messing with weather and hooking up and sleeping in lakes and stuff; and then the humans invented writing. The new elementals after that point popped into existence able to read, and eventually mentioned it to older elementals, who were like, "That's new," and some elementals went to civilization to see what was up. Elementals had been distantly occasionally visible in the past, but on the level of "unusually well-substantiated fairy tale". Then they were all over the place, being total weirdos. Mages were a rarity at the time but not unheard of, maybe a tenth of a percent; they started investigating magical collaboration, tentatively, with the suddenly more accessible elementals who were starting to be interested in stuff like bricks and linen and small children and beer.

Then some asshole invented elemental amulets. These are typically glass + element(s) of target + adamant + stone concoctions, but you can make substitutions if you don't have what you need; any mana'd-up mage can catch any elemental. Amulets are sort of the maple sap model of tapping an elemental; it stabs right into their mana without permission and parks there and then you can get at it by touching the amulet even if the elemental is far away. With an amulet you can also control the elemental's every move, and make them do magic as long as you're capable of steering or coercing the detail work. You can't make them look at things, blink or not, or keep their halo any particular way. You can make them shut up but you can't make them talk. In addition to the micromanagement, an elemental cannot attempt at any remove to affect the location or handling of their amulet - can't grab it, can't poke it with a stick, can't try to break it - and can't harm the holder or do incidental halo damage to things. The asshole inventor of amulets got in on the ground floor of elemental-hunting, hunted up a shit ton of elementals, and was insanely powerful because there were hardly any other mages and he had all these elementals he controlled totally. He set about empiring.

Then somebody had four kids all of whom were mages and boy was that fascinating. Various experiments revealed that it seemed to be the mother's habit of eating a lot of seaweed. Seaweed got really really popular and domesticated and exported and the proportion of mages shot up in a very short time. When some of those were old enough to do serious magic (you're still in the "fumbling around with your basic capacities a la motor skills" stage till you're like 8) they caught their own elementals and had rebellions, lots of teeny rebellions all across the empire. The emperor had more elementals and magic experience than any of the rebels but he couldn't be everywhere at once and had not been prioritizing the nonmagical army side of things, so he was not well equipped to deal with a war on 3,000 fronts. Some of his elementals convinced him that they would go independently handle his rebellions for him if he let them go. He let some go and died messily. The rebellions all succeeded by default, some of his elementals escaped and others were recaptured (or their intact amulets taken up by others), and a whole bunch of little countries fuller of mages than ever before started to do the country thing. Mage schools sprang up, social experiments and radical new ideas found footholds, and everybody was totally and implacably at peace with the idea that elementals were impersonal slaves.

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:13 pm
by Kappa
singing humidifier <33333333333333

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:24 pm
by DanielH
Without an amulet, does tapping require consent?

Could a mage have one 4 and a bunch of 1s? I thought so, but given that you said any mage can make amulets it sounds like you get another element which is at least a 2.

Do you have a list of named hybrids?

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:54 pm
by Alicorn
Ish. Sort of like grabbing someone's nose requires consent - it doesn't but it's hard to do without it.

All mages could still do it even if they weren't guaranteed to have a couple 2s but they'd need elementals and I said they don't; yeah, bare minimum is 4-2-2.

There's a chart but some of it's tentative and some of it's empty.

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:25 pm
by pedromvilar
What exactly is the thing that kills people when elementals are freed? Is it purely a matter of emotional backlash, can it be avoided if the elemental really really doesn't want to kill the human, is there something magical involved in how hard it is to resist killing the human?

Is there any way for an elemental to not be enslaved if a human tries to? Like can they kill the human or flee or anything like that?

What is it that causes a universe to start sprouting elementals/mages, other mages or other elementals? That is, if Maurabel had come to Amenta but not brought any elementals with her, would Amenta have started producing its own elementals/mages? And if Penumbra had arrived alone, would that have happened?

Do you have an idea what the mysterious element present in seaweed/clams that causes babies to be born mages is? Regardless of the answer to that that, why does the magic care about that particular element? Does it care about how often the pregnant mother consumes it? Is it always an 80% chance of it turning a baby into a mage or does it depend on other factors?

Once a universe starts getting elementals, is elemental magic a background fact about this universe, or is it spread in some specific way/at the speed-of-light/in clumps, or does it become a fact about sapient beings in particular or something else altogether?

If an artefact had its mana completely drained (by, say, a Galatea metamancer), would it be destroyed?

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:04 pm
by Alicorn
It can be avoided if the elemental unconflictedly has never wanted the (particular) human dead, or even if they used to but have come around, but not if they just all-things-considered wouldn't prefer it. (Original Cosel makes this a pure choice on the elemental's part but tbh in the scenario of thief in the day Maurabel would have tried it if it seemed like that.) Even if the elemental is far away the amulet creates a connection sufficient to kill the human.

Making an amulet is fast and doesn't require contact with the elemental but with superior reaction time sure, there is a range limit.

Details of this may vary between continuities but in thief it was elementals causing both. Penumbra alone would not be enough elementals, you need a few of each.

Something something ocean minerals something iodine?? something. Sort of like getting enough calcium or folate or whatever. If you don't get enough you have the "birth defect" of not being a mage. There are other deficiencies that can cause this defect but for 80% of people the one thing is enough to solve it; with exactly the right supplements you could get it to 100%.

May vary between continuities.

An amulet would. Most artifacts would just sputter and then generate more.

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:17 pm
by pedromvilar
If an amulet is destroyed this way (as opposed to the person holding it wanting to free the elemental or something) does the death thing still happen?

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:22 pm
by Alicorn

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:27 pm
by DanielH
But the person who drained the amulet would have some protection of probably not being the person who enslaved the elemental, and the protection of any actual mages not necessarily being near the amulet or elemental.

Re: Cosel (Bronze Age Edition) Worldbuilding Info

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:35 pm
by DanielH
I expect the answer is “continuity-dependent”, but in like a thief, Afen has not discovered aliens, so the Amentan elementals do not speak alien languages. Does this mean there aren’t any aliens?