Under a Sunless Sky
Air and fire; metal and wood; hydrogen and uranium: matter and primordial energies all bend to a Geomancer’s will. The schools of Geomancy are among the oldest schools of magic in the world, as they predate the cataclysm that extinguished the sun. Each school takes the elements that shape the world and manipulates them to their individual ends.
Geomancy falls into three distinct schools, each with their own style: Classicist manipulate and create the raw forces and material of the elements of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. Neo-Classicist expand on their control over Earth and the things that live on it, giving them dominion over the elements of Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Plants (Wood). Periodic mages eschew the manipulation of Air, Fire, Water, and Plants, and expand on their control of Earth and Metal. They can manipulate any of the 90 recognized natural elements, such as hydrogen, iron, or uranium.
The section below outlines how each school views their control over the elements, as well as some ways that they manipulate those elements.
The Classical School
Students of the Classical school tend to stick to a single element, preferring to refine their understanding of and ability to manipulate an element rather than attempting to learn a bit about every element.
Air: Students that manipulate the element of Air can fly on updrafts, knock their enemies over with blasts of wind, and freeze metal and stone solid enough to shatter with a solid hit. They are able to use whatever passes for air in their environment, and sometimes create air where none existed before.
Earth: Students of Earth can cause the ground to quake, belch forth a volley of razor-sharp spikes, and throw up a protective barrier at will. Geomancers of this school that manipulate earth have the strongest ability with working with large amounts of earth, but do not possess the finesse required to manipulate individual components of the earth around them like their Neo-Classical and Periodic cousins.
Fire: From lighting a candle to melting rock into a pool of magma, Classical fire mages can manipulate flame and heat in many different ways. Mages, both of the Classical and Neo-Classical schools, that control this element are well-respected, as they bring light and heat to an otherwise cold world.
Water: Liquid water is a hard to come by commodity on Laekkao. Most of the surface water is locked up in massive sheets of ice where the world’s oceans used to be. Classical water mages can turn this ice back into water, making it usable for drinking. They are also known to manipulate the ice itself, controlling water in its solid form in some of the same ways that Earth mages use rock and soil.
The Neo-Classical School
Neo-Classical mages emphasize calmness and control in their magical workings. Whereas mages from the Classical school prefer large, flashy effects in their manipulation of the elements, Neo-Classical mages prefer more subtle, precise uses of their magics. Some of the ways in which the two schools differ in their use of common elements is shown below. Note that, for a shared element, mages of both schools can produce many of the same effects; the difference will be in how the effect is described (and, to a certain extent, the Aspects that describe their spells and those applied via maneuvers).
Earth: Neo-Classical earth mages work with non-metallic earthen materials in many of the same ways as their Classical counterparts. While a Classical earth mage may knock an enemy off his feet by creating an earthquake, a Neo-Classical earth mage will create a similar effect by causing the rock in an area to break down rapidly, changing the composition of the ground under their enemies’ feet and giving it an almost liquid consistency. Neo-classical mages also shape the earth into useful objects, and, for more powerful mages, buildings.
Fire: Fire mages of the Neo-Classical school work more with heat than with huge gouts of flame. They are more likely to cook an enemy from the inside with intense heat than turn said enemy into a walking pillar of fire. When they do use pinpoint fire effects, they tend to take the form of a thin beam of concentrated heat, rather than a ball of flames.
Metal: Many metal mages are also artisans who use their mastery over the metallic elements to form and strengthen their creations. Because metal tends not to be as abundant on the surface of Laekkao as most of the other elements, metal mages either learn to create metal on the spot or manipulate the metal in their own, or others’, bodies. For this reason, some metal mages stud their bodies with metal ornamentation, both as a fashion statement and as a ready source of workable material in combat.
Water: Water mages of the Neo-Classical school prefer to work with this element in its liquid and gaseous states. Their precision with this element allows them to pull all of the water out of a target, or force ambient water into every crack of an object or cell of a person’s body, causing them to explode from the force.
Plants (Wood): Mages who practice this type of magic control the forces of life on Laekkao. They are well-respected for the work they do with growing food crops both on the surface and near the underground settlements. In combat, they can turn clouds of spores into a deadly myconid infection in seconds, causing their target to sprout mushrooms all over their bodies and bringing them to their knees. Plant mages are also the only Geomancers who can directly manipulate the Yuzhao Plague, causing bacterial blooms both in their own and others’ bodies.
The Periodic School
Periodic mages manipulate the elements of the Periodic Table, a set of all 90 of the known natural elements. They can control existing quantities of an element that they have studied to, for example, remove all the oxygen in the air from a room, throw a cloud of chlorine at their enemies, or form a sword from a bar of pure titanium. They can also combine elements that they have studied to form compounds or take said compounds apart. In this way, they are like the chemists of old and modern alchemist, in that they seek to understand how the elements of the world behave and relate to one another.
That being said, when playing a character that uses this power source, it helps to have a basic understanding of chemistry (or look up a bunch of compounds and isotopes while playing PbEM or before showing up to a tabletop game).
Mechanics: The Geomancy Affinity Abilities Group
The powers that Geomancers purchase are called spells. Spells are specific applications of the powers found in Strands of Power, described in a way that is consistent with their wielder’s chosen school. All Geomancy powers must follow these guidelines:
- Powers selected to represent Geomancy spells must always have an activation difficulty, and stress from a failed activation roll is always directed towards your Physical stress track.
- Powers selected to represent Geomancy spells must be associated with the Geomancy power source and are used in conjunction with one of the 10 Geomantic affinity abilities, divided by school (e.g. Classical Fire, Neo-Classical Fire, Periodic Geomancy). During character creation, Geomancers receive the first rank in their primary school and element free, and may purchase ranks in other Affinity Abilities within their school with experience (gained via the Experienced Heroic Advantage). Until a Geomancer raises his primary AA to 5, all of his secondary AA’s must be below his primary AA’s rating.
- Geomancers of the Classical and Neo-Classical schools may learn spells from the other elements within their school, provided they have the required Affinity Ability for it. Periodic mages start with a single element for free, and may purchase additional known elements as shown below.
|Primary Affinity Ability Rank||10 xp|
|Non-primary AA Rank (C or NC Geomancers, maximum ranks equal primary AA -1, unless pAA = 5)||15 xp|
|New periodic element (Periodic Geomancers)||5 xp|