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🎨 Creative [Setting Riff] Elemental Currents

amechra

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The Greeks used to recognize four elements - Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. The Chinese would have disagreed - there are five processes that comprise the world (Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Wood). The Japanese? Five elements as well - take the Greek set and slap on Void, and you've (mostly) got it.

We've all seen settings where one of those "sets" was correct. What about one where all of them are?

You actually have something closer to seven elements. It's just that they aren't evenly distributed - neither in time nor in space.

Over in the blistering deserts, the world is comprised of Air, Fire, and Earth. The people there do not need to drink water, and their alchemists shape stone with precision of a blacksmith. In the forests, a civilization is adapting to the sudden loss of Metal and introduction of Wood - those weren't forests a decade ago, and now they have to make do with the fact that metallurgy stopped working. Or maybe they have to deal with a ravening horde whose founding tribes opened a gate they should not have, causing pure elemental Hate to enter their ancestral lands (along with the attendant Hate-sciences, as advanced as any pyrurgy or hydrology)?

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Game-system wise, I could see a lot of crazy Flamepunk-esque technology, built off of manipulating a particular set of elements that might not exist over those mountains over there (or twenty years down the line). You've got ancient ruins with "useless" technology, bizarre cultures to hang out with and trade with, and a shifting world to discover.

Any other ideas?
 
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