Elemental control spells

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ChrisDDickey
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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Elemental control spells

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:30 am

I have some questions about the 5 spells that gather/control/move/disperse and extract elements. I am unsure of the differences and when you would use them. How most spellcasters would find them worth knowing. In particular, control confuses me a lot.

Lets assume a caster is Rank 6 and has access to all 5 spells.

I think "Disperse Element" is simplest, The examples tell exactly what happens if you disperse a bonfire, and says you can disperse water for firefighting. I assume dispersing water is also a way you could water your crops or lawn. I can imagine what dispersing Earth would do, though I can't think of any reason it would be very useful. Could it be used to spread manure or till land? I assume Disperse Air does not really do anything except make a loud noise. I mean if you move some air, other air is just going to immediately move into that space. Or I suppose if you cast it upon a chimney it would make a room lightly smokey. Anybody have any other ideas for how this spell is useful?

I also think "Move Element" is simple, versatile, and useful. Assuming I wanted to dig a tunnel, could I cast move Earth and cause a volume of earth 6 times my size move from exactly where I want the tunnel to somewhere else nearby? And this would work on earth, cut stone and tunnel through solid rock? How about bricks? I assume I could also have some water move into some barrels or a cistern. Moving fire away from it's fuel would put the fire out, or moving part of a fire burning a house to a neighboring house would cause that to burn as well. Again not really sure what good moving air would do. This seems like the all around most useful of the elemental spells. Any novel uses?

Extract Element seems to be solely for Elemental mining. So I assume it has no use except for that very profitable activity.
The one thing I am uncertain of is that it seems to CREATE the elemental kernels (it says it compresses and extracts). It says the number of kernels produced depends upon the number of successes on this test and the gather element test. There is no mention in the spell that it only works on the rare ore/air/water/lava that has the true element in it to start with. Can that be true?
Just to reiterate my question, Page 423 of the players guide has rules for gathering and mining true elements and both these methods require that you find places that have elemental kernels, Mining them requires teams of workers and specialized equipment. Spells are not mentioned. Gathering them requires a lone person to make a magic theory test that takes one day. Nether of these two methods seem to match what this spell describes. So how does this spell relate to page 423? Is the extract spell a way to manufacture kernels of true elements? Or is it a 2nd way to gather kernels that already exist (uses two quick spells rather than a full day magic theory test)?

Gather Element seems a bit straightforward. All the element within Rank Yards Sphere gathers together and moves where you want it within Rank Yards. This needs to happen before Extract Element is cast, and the casting can be used to gather stuff together for Move Element or Control Element. So this sounds like it could put out fires, move water, and again, I can't imagine what good it would do to gather air unless you want to refill some SCUBA tanks. But putting out fires and moving water is probably better done with the Move element spell, so I don't see why anybody would want to use it for that if you had the move spell. At first glace it looks like you could use Gather Earth to dig a hole or tunnel, except that it seems to gather all the Earth in a Rank Yards Sphere, and move it to one point within Rank yards, and earth is not compressible, so if you think about it, it is very inefficient to use it to dig a hole since it can only pile earth up within the sphere where it gathered it. Which is to say, if you gather a 6 yard sphere of earth at one edge of the 6 yard radius, then when the spell ends, half the earth is going to fall back into your hole, and only half will fall out of it. Once again, the spell says that you CAN cast Move Earth on the gathered earth to move it farther away, but the Move Earth spell does not say that it is NECESSARY to gather the earth first, so why would you bother to gather it rather than just cast the Move spell directly? So once again, except for the very major requirement of this spell being a required precursor to Extract Element, I don't see that this spell does anything that Move Element does not do better. Discussion?

Control Element I can see very, very little use for at all. It does not allow the caster to reshape the element. It only effects elements gathered with gather elements. It's duration is not any longer than gather elements. It does not seem to be required as a precursor to Extract Elements. The only two uses I can see is that since the element moves with the caster, you can use it instead of the move element spell. Also, if you want to extract some elements, but for some reason don't want to do so immediately after gathering them, you can use this spell to delay the extraction for up to Rank Rounds. Other than those two narrow cases, one of which is just a substitute for another spell, I don't see any use for this spell at all.
Discussion?

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Andrew1879
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Re: Elemental control spells

Post by Andrew1879 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:59 pm

ChrisDDickey wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:30 am
I think "Disperse Element" is simplest, The examples tell exactly what happens if you disperse a bonfire, and says you can disperse water for firefighting. I assume dispersing water is also a way you could water your crops or lawn. I can imagine what dispersing Earth would do, though I can't think of any reason it would be very useful. Could it be used to spread manure or till land? I assume Disperse Air does not really do anything except make a loud noise. I mean if you move some air, other air is just going to immediately move into that space. Or I suppose if you cast it upon a chimney it would make a room lightly smokey. Anybody have any other ideas for how this spell is useful?
Correct, Disperse Water could be used for irrigation. It could also be used to wet down a bed of coal or other dusty substance to prevent dust from rising. A cavalry unit could use it on a dry trail to keep a dust plume from giving away their position. Disperse Earth could be used for construction. Have a plot of land that needs leveling? Disperse the hill across the surrounding area. Disperse Air isn't necessarily restricted to the general atmosphere. it applies to any gas. You could use it to disperse the cloud of chlorine from a chemical-weapons shell, rendering it annoying but relatively harmless.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:30 am
I also think "Move Element" is simple, versatile, and useful. Assuming I wanted to dig a tunnel, could I cast move Earth and cause a volume of earth 6 times my size move from exactly where I want the tunnel to somewhere else nearby? And this would work on earth, cut stone and tunnel through solid rock? How about bricks? I assume I could also have some water move into some barrels or a cistern. Moving fire away from it's fuel would put the fire out, or moving part of a fire burning a house to a neighboring house would cause that to burn as well. Again not really sure what good moving air would do. This seems like the all around most useful of the elemental spells. Any novel uses?
Yes, Move Earth could be used similarly to the classic Dig spell. Bricks don't count as Earth because they've been modified too far from their natural state. You could use Move Earth to cut a hole in a stone wall, but not a brick one. Banks are already putting brick walls around their safes. Moving air could be used to create a partial or complete vacuum if you closed the valve quick enough. See above regarding gases that count as air. Any naturally occurring gases, which includes anything on the periodic table normally found in a gaseous state, counts as air. You could theoretically reachout and grab a passing Giffard by the hydrogen in its gasbag.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:30 am
Extract Element seems to be solely for Elemental mining. So I assume it has no use except for that very profitable activity.
The one thing I am uncertain of is that it seems to CREATE the elemental kernels (it says it compresses and extracts). It says the number of kernels produced depends upon the number of successes on this test and the gather element test. There is no mention in the spell that it only works on the rare ore/air/water/lava that has the true element in it to start with. Can that be true?
Just to reiterate my question, Page 423 of the players guide has rules for gathering and mining true elements and both these methods require that you find places that have elemental kernels, Mining them requires teams of workers and specialized equipment. Spells are not mentioned. Gathering them requires a lone person to make a magic theory test that takes one day. Nether of these two methods seem to match what this spell describes. So how does this spell relate to page 423? Is the extract spell a way to manufacture kernels of true elements? Or is it a 2nd way to gather kernels that already exist (uses two quick spells rather than a full day magic theory test)?
Extract Element pulls the essence out of the element, in the form of elemental kernels. However, if you use it, you basically strip the bed of its essence. There needs to be an errata item that says you can only do this once for any location, and that it takes a number of years to recover equal to the number of kernels extracted. Using the longer method, of gathering kernels that already exist, taps a renewable resource. The page 423 method allows you to continue harvesting from the same bed, as new kernels form naturally. I'm adding this to the errata, which should be going up in the next day or so.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:30 am
Gather Element seems a bit straightforward. All the element within Rank Yards Sphere gathers together and moves where you want it within Rank Yards. This needs to happen before Extract Element is cast, and the casting can be used to gather stuff together for Move Element or Control Element. So this sounds like it could put out fires, move water, and again, I can't imagine what good it would do to gather air unless you want to refill some SCUBA tanks. But putting out fires and moving water is probably better done with the Move element spell, so I don't see why anybody would want to use it for that if you had the move spell. At first glace it looks like you could use Gather Earth to dig a hole or tunnel, except that it seems to gather all the Earth in a Rank Yards Sphere, and move it to one point within Rank yards, and earth is not compressible, so if you think about it, it is very inefficient to use it to dig a hole since it can only pile earth up within the sphere where it gathered it. Which is to say, if you gather a 6 yard sphere of earth at one edge of the 6 yard radius, then when the spell ends, half the earth is going to fall back into your hole, and only half will fall out of it. Once again, the spell says that you CAN cast Move Earth on the gathered earth to move it farther away, but the Move Earth spell does not say that it is NECESSARY to gather the earth first, so why would you bother to gather it rather than just cast the Move spell directly? So once again, except for the very major requirement of this spell being a required precursor to Extract Element, I don't see that this spell does anything that Move Element does not do better. Discussion?
You may need to Gather water from the area into a sufficient blob before Moving it to where it's needed. There's a short story in one of the books where a military mage Gathers the water out of the British trenches into a huge wobbly blob, then rides an airship up over Samsut territory and drops the whole thing into their trenches. She used Gather, then Control, with the airship carrying her faster than she could walk, and the water moving with her. Earth is not compressible? Having been a farmer for several years, I disagree. Dirt packs down. You could use Gather Earth to strip the topsoil from an area, then Move it to a wagon to be hauled away for use someplace else, and start digging into the subsurface for the basement of your house or the pit entrance for your mine or whatever.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:30 am
Control Element I can see very, very little use for at all. It does not allow the caster to reshape the element. It only effects elements gathered with gather elements. It's duration is not any longer than gather elements. It does not seem to be required as a precursor to Extract Elements. The only two uses I can see is that since the element moves with the caster, you can use it instead of the move element spell. Also, if you want to extract some elements, but for some reason don't want to do so immediately after gathering them, you can use this spell to delay the extraction for up to Rank Rounds. Other than those two narrow cases, one of which is just a substitute for another spell, I don't see any use for this spell at all.
Discussion?
This is partly a way of extending Gather Element. Once you've Gathered your water or whatever, you can toss a Control Element to maintain a hold on it for another Rank rounds. The original intent was to require Control Element before using Move Element, but that got too complicated, with Gather, Control, and Move all in sequence just to haul water from one place to another, and we dropped the idea. The spell remains in the list with the idea that it'll be more useful down the line. At some point, we'll revise it to allow for reshaping, or redirecting the flow, or somesuch. That's going to be a second edition thing though, as it's too much of a revision to handle in errata.

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 513
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Elemental control spells

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:37 am

Thanks much! I understand the spells better now!

Slimcreeper
Posts: 736
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Elemental control spells

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:37 am

Thanks for asking this question – I was also unsure in this stuff.

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