Tuesday 7 February 2017

More on the Elementals

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Anathema, Spectrum, Azure (source unknown, maybe?)
Anathema , Spectrum , Deep (Zdzisław Beksiński)
Anathema , Spectrum, Verdigris (Gareth Pugh, Fashion In Motion, 2007)

Anathema, Spectrum , Stark (Jean Tinguely Le Soleil)
Anathema, Spectrum, Slurring (“spacehunter: adventures in the forbidden zone” (1983)

Anathema, Duality, Teragen (photo from here)

Anathema , Duality, Entropy (Spider embryo from here)
Fire, Blasphemy , Conflagrating Muse (Jean Paul Gaultier spring 2007)

Earth, Blasphemy, Monsterwomb , sculpture by Maximo Pedraza)
Air, Blasphemy, HysteriaWinds (Francis Bacon)

Water, Blasphemy, Remembering-Seas ( Epimeria larsi , Stefano Schiaparelli click for source)

Usurper Wood (Hyperolius spp. )

Usurper Flesh (found here, ??)

Zdzisław Beksiński
Usurper Fungus (Zdzisław Beksiński)

I got caught up (I'm directing a play, google Limbo Cabaret Wellington Fringe) and can't remember where the fuck I was going with this, but here's some replies to questions people had on g+ regarding the previous post here

- Volcanos and lava:

there's no "molten core" but there are magma lakes. A complicated deal between Earth and Fire mean fire have provided the heat to melt stone , providing a liquid sled, so Earth can crash around mountains easier. So teutonic drift is a thing , but it's potentially a lot faster and the faultlines are way more erratic. 
Going down it's caves and deep time all the way down.
The elementals found in herding and corralling the lava are "legally" earth elements, though technically a mongrel element. They don't realllly see themselves as Earth elementals and simultaneous held in high regard for their aid in moving continental plates and looked down on because their mixing with fire and it's potentially a volatile situation  .

-Why does Earth care where continents are ?

time share agreements between the August and Gross aspects mean any patch of earth needs to be periodically cycled between them. So mountains raised up and then eroded down , then compressed and pushed up again. 
The status of various elements means different priorities on how fast it's done. An Elemental not in command of a section of earth means it has less status so it's a complicated situation when they hand terrain over and when they hold onto it.

Holding on it too long means there corresponding aspect will also hold onto to stuff and the ideal situation is to arrange for someone else's terrain to get cycled early in exchange for yours to be delayed.

-Does Fire have a Terrain?
the sun yo. It's smaller and closer that we would assume. The surface is cool enough to walk on though, it's just the corona that's super hot.  Some stars are smaller , weirder suns (like fringe political groups or hippy universities) others glowing eldritch trash , aeon old eggs, gem prisons, space whale spoor etc.

-What other mongrel elements?
Magma and mire would be the biggest, most coherently identifying. Magma chaffing under their "honorary Earth" status and Mire being near pariahs , with barely concealed cabals with Wood and Fungal Heresys . Mire are swamps , bogs and marshs and are difficult and unpleasant to access for the other Elements. It's like .. small towns , way off from any highway or railway, running on some drug economy. 

Other things that could be seen as combinations , such as deserts or cloudscapes are firmly Earth or Air respectively , though a young gauche elemental might identify as Sand or Cloud.

-Why does Weather?
because it's interesting . As in interesting stuff happens if you keep watering land , and both Air and Water like interesting things and so have this arrangement to make weather.
This why stagnant empires wind up in deserts, less weather happens in boring places.

-What is the mind of Fire?
Fire likes purpose and direction and energy but doesn't really care what or why , only that someone is very much doing it.  They can be capiarious fire and also deeply focused slow burn fire.
Fire doesn't like or even really understand passivity or indecisiveness . Do the thing and if it's the wrong thing just do the other thing next.

Fire likes purpose and direction and energy but doesn't really care what or why , only that someone is very much doing it. They can be capiarious fire and also deeply focused slow burn fire.

Fire doesn't like or even really understand passivity or indecisiveness . Do the thing and if it's the wrong thing just do the other thing next.

Fire has no crimes outside of the sun.

The thrill -junkies and experience seekers and sensates will descend from there and woe to those that catch their eye.

Destruction and Consummation is often considered the height of appreciation.

However what is gauche and inconceivable is passivity or indecisiveness . A gauche fire elemental is indifferent, unmotivated and if they really feel like pissing off the Sun-Courts , Making a Point about it.

Which should be more understandable but it's even more infuriating to the Courts.

A Gauche fire elemental deliberately act against themselves, burn things down that they don't really care about, merely observe

-What do they look like again? Like not just fire but all these dudes
Well lose the Elemental need to made solely of an element thing and have Elementals look like anything that would be cool for that Element. So a Water Elemental could be a Coral Shark festooned with skulls. Elementals look like a range of weird shit, think classical uses of terms like fairy or demon. The actual stats and abilities of any elemental are going to vary greatly as well

-Speaking of Water , what's something that they do that would make them and the players paths collide?

crime  (I swear that this wasn't thought up to make a shitty "crime-wave" pun) 
Water demands tribute and respect by those that move or feed from it, and punish with storms, drownings, tidal waves etc.

A criminal water elemental would be one who is destroying stuff without care about tribute, one who is skimming tribute and not paying their tithe to the Sea Kings

Basically the ocean is a giant protection racket teeming with both larger operations and small independent operators trying to get an edge

so a Water Element could be going from village to village demanding tribute right under the nose of the established operators and then they have to fuck off inland pretty quickly

Tribute is anything people care about, the elementals don't really care what is exactly, they just care that you care about. There's a certain amount of potency they gain from it but it's more for display of status to other Elementals and status corresponds to territory and lobbying power

So yes an Elemental would pay someone to rip off another Elemental tribute stash, especially if said stash was stored not in the ocean

Earth :
The Parliament of Earth's are extremely concerned with the procession of terrain moving from August to Gross aspect. A criminal one*is not into this and is very into something else. Some get into being something else, a mass of cracking rock and dustfalls pretending to be cow, a walking tower,a colony mind of mud children .

Some get into gardening even growing things on themselves. A garden is not remotely limited to plants, entire towns can be carefully curated as a garden by a rogue earth elemental, "weeds" removed, buildings "pruned" , interesting new features forcibly added, like a couple of lions in the town square
The rogues tend to still be fascinated by cycles though.

*okay only a criminal if it starts acting against or ignoring Parliament Earth decrees .

How do they  get along with each other?:

None of them are officially enemies , it's far more petty and vindictive than that. 
Earth's August and Gross aspects are like a seelie unseelie court but if they were also politicians and stockbrokers , so even if they are complete alien to each other , they are so heavily entwined in each others interests , they get along like a dangerous family.

Earth has a long term deal with fire for the maintenance of magma lakes which greatly add the Progression. In exchange the magma lakes act as embassy for vacationing Fire elementals . August Earth regards everyone else beneath them (ironically?) and barely acknowledges they even exist , while Gross Earth has creative , sometimes heated exchanges with Air and Water outliers , like proponents of various art schools and left wing philosophies arguing fiercely but admiringly?

Fire in its August aspect is in the sun, while the Gross in the poles. Gross Fire is moody and weird and Gross Water is there and they are moody and weird together.

Fire basically claimed the upper sky all to itself and Water and Air have been extremely passive aggressive about it ever since. They tolerate and pretend to humour Fire touching down but it better not get comfortable.

Water concerns itself mainly with bullying people for tribute, with the weirdos engaging with Air (as the Weather) and Gross Earth .

Air is the most interest in people for the sake of them being interesting, and it's not accident that a stagnant empires are often in deserts. The weather stops showing up regularly to where it's dull .
Gross Air is weird and hidden all over the place being very interested in things happening very slowly , though sometimes one will just flat out kill an entire town , and then roll back into the bottom of the lake it spend the last 30 years watching sediment fall.

Air is like academia but if all the canon works were written by manic pixie dream girls.
Which is terrifying when it's the justification for a hurricane .

The Sun-Courts are def a decadent aristocracy and keep back handedly reminding everyone that they have near sole domain over the outer sky.
Water and Air pretend to be polite , friendly and interested but you know it's going to rain torrentially anytime the Fire Courts make the mistake of telling them their plans.

The weather cycle actually does not involve evaporation anymore , Water got that petty. Clouds just form from the action of wind on the sea.

(August) Earth resolutes refuses to acknowledge everyone except Fire , while (Gross) Earth is constantly co-authoring weird shit with all the fringe elements of Water and Air.

Earth's primary interest is the Progression in which territory is passed from August to Gross and back.
Fire's primary interest is stimulation , consummation , and trends in court
Water's primary interest is exploiting offering reasonable rates to insure safe travels
Air's primary interest is studying and experimenting on anything below them but in a "free spirited poetic way"

so Elementals are made up of elements but not all elements are elementals.

They have "coherent gestalt of central agency" aka a soul , but calling it a soul is actually joining in with any number of religious arguments 

Ice is water in its gross aspect, gross fire is an easy way to convert water to gross aspect, however technically here ice doesn't need to be cold and categorically salt crystals, ice, various participates, limestone are all kind of the same thing.

(Note : think of the elements like nation states. While they make sense as broad entities, they make less and less sense the smaller you go)

Magma are , legally, earth elementals, but have an uneasy relationship with the Parliaments of Earth

Lightning is august air, and a lightning elemental would just be August Air Element, but a hyper focused one.

Dust is classic Gross earth

Further More:
the underlying logic is similar to the underlying logic behind categorys like Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
As in it's more deeply invested power interests, a long bloody history, xenophobia and some coherent landmarks and differences.

So there's 4 elements because it kinda makes sense, and the people (Elementals) with the most to lose with it not making sense are utterly willing to crush any threat to it.

So there's no logical limit to usurper elements and if they gain enough belief and physical territory , the nature of reality will actual shift (possibly even retroactively) to line up with them.

It's possible that a new hegemony wouldn't both with the August & Gross aspects (the elemental blasphemy are an attempt to established a further aspect to the elements that makes the ruling party's uncomfortable, so it's wrong and bad. The 4 humours would also be an elemental blasphemy but no-one has dreamed that up yet)

The Usurper Elements have Gross and August aspects?
 at a guess August wood would be actual wood and Gross would be anything herbalicious i.e green floppy stuff. It could be easily be argued the other way though.

August mind would prob be Introspection and gross ; Empathy. Again depending on what Mind elemental winds up being on top could be the other way.
The thinking being anything that opens the mind to others also threats to dissolve it while Introspection cements the individual entity but risks isolation and stagnation.
So which is the "bad" one depends on how much you prize individualism vs collectivism

Flesh : the 2 aspects I guess are "growth and mutation" vs "coherence , structure and specific adaptation" so Womb and Bone maybe

ARe golems elementals? Skelemans?
 So the theory that there was an "animating spark" in the base physical nature of a body , the thing that made a dead frogs leg twitch, is basically true here.
So Coral golem animated by elemental force is basically animated by something like elemental-soul-skinflakes.

However the smarter you want that golem the more complicated the animating force you need to put in it. At a certain point it risks have a runaway cognitive loop strong enough to awake it into consciousness.

Elementals can "bud" like sea-anemones so it's a real risk it might just be growing smarter by itself.

And generally you don't need to have controlling magics in a simple golem, it doesn't have enough awareness to not want to do what you tell it. Controlling magics are a significant invest of time and power and many wizards won't bother.
Many wizards then keep investing more elemental essence to make their golem less dumb when they get frustrated with it walking through doors or getting stuck on corners or otherwise acting like bad AI and then one day it goes full "I'm Sorry Dave I can't Do That" on them.

A skeleton or a zombie is just turning up the remaining animating spark inside a body so it does what you want it to do but a motile corpse without a soul is like an empty building with open windows but instead of pigeons you get hungry ghosts and malign spirits showing up