The elementals of Aterrizar differ from the standard fantasy elemental in that they have permanent genders, and five genders at that. Composition, and general rules of summoning and control still apply to these elementals, but they are more fixed in their form, aside from the ability to interect with their native elements, or assume the form of those elements for a limited amount of time.
The six basic elements are Air, Fire, Metal, Stone, Wood, and Water. Air, Water, and Fire form the ephemeral elements, with Stone, Wood, and Metal forming the terrestrial elements.
Male - These are the craggy, and least humanoid of the elementals, and consequently have the most raw power. Shifting masses of roaring stone, and towering bonfires are their physical shapes, and are the most recognizeable. Most magi summon the male of the elementals for these reasons, though there is a trade-off as the male elementals are the least intelligent and more bestial of the courts. Male elementals can mate with any of the other four genders, and are often referred to as Kings, Lords, or by unique titles.
Amale - These elementals are counted as weaker than the male, but are still powerful in their own right. They can assume a human form and pass among humanity with some ease, but still have strong elemental tells, such as the smell of smoke, or dripping water where ever they go. Amales can reproduce with semales, females, and umales.
Semale - Similar to the amale, these elementals manifest in female forms, with the dryad being one of the best known. Hedonistic mages will summon semales as concubines and pillow toys. Semales can breed with males, amales, and umales. For most mortals, telling the difference between a Semale and an Amale is difficult and most lump both genders together and in some instances, lump both with the female gender.
Female - These elementals are the physically weakest, but possess the greatest knowledge, on par with the demon princes and celestial little gods. They are passive in the extreme are very hard to find. It takes the raw power and single minded determination of the strongest males and rare amales to find these elusive beings. Females can breed with any of the other four genders and are referred to as Ladies, Queens, or other unique titles.
Umale - these are the strangest of the elementals, often existing as a pseudopod of their associated element. They have no humanoid features other than an occassional face, though usually there is some flaw such as too many or too few eyes, misplaced sensory organs and the like. Umales are the most manageable of the elementals and serve some sort of elemental ‘sanitary’ disposal function in the courts. Umales can breed with any gender, including other umales, though they are attributed a pariah status among other elementals.
The male and female genders rarely change in their posture and active demeanor, with the male element being violent and aggressive while the female gender tends towards being peaceful and receptive. This is only a generalization as a female elemental, when properly provoked can be as destructive as any male and and male elemental can be persuaded to intellectual discourse.
The Amale, or Near-Male gender becomes subordinate in the presence of a Male elemental of the same elemental type. On an essential level, the genders are predisposed to recognize the superiority of the male and female genders over the intermediary and hermaphroditic Amale and Semale genders. If exposed to a female, Amales will quickly assert masculine roles, which in turn will cause Semales to assert feminine roles.
Things become violent when an elemental population is reduced to males and amales, as reproduction becomes a violent contest rather than basic mating. This is coupled with the fact that the closeness in gender between the two results in about a quarter of all offspring produced from such force-breedings, the gentlest thing such encounters can be called, end up stillborn. In addition to this cauldron of hostility, the males whil begin stalking to find more females or semales to instinctively balance the local court.
Contrarily when the population is reduced to Semales and Females, the elementals move into a sort of reproductive hibernation. While semales and females can breed easily, to offspring are rarely more than more females and semales. Such moribund elemental courts often send emissaries to bring back more masculine essence to reinvogorate their courts. It is also the female aspected courts that are much more likely to bring in non-elementals to kindle their courts, creating half-breeds, mortal races with elemental blood. Such things do happen on the masculine side, but such couplings are rare and tend to be traumatic and often fatal for the mortal involved.
Amales and Semales have a unique position. If the male and female genders vanish from a region, the remaining amales and semales will start breeding at a staggering rate. This is partly from a lack of gender dominion, and partly as an effort to keep said genders in the minority if they do reappear, or if a random coupling produced one.
Lastly, the Umales, the most primitive and least intelligent of the elementals are cross-fertile across their gender. Oddly Umales are also able to self-fertilize, something that neither Amales or Semales can do, despite having both sets of reproductive organs.
The Husk Attribute
elements do not have a natural shape, with the exception of the wood element, the form of the tree. The rest are highly mutable in shape. Yet more than two millenia of regular interaction with a magic unsing humanity has given the previously formless elementals a form to copy. Their skill at immitating this form is the Husk Attribute.
O - The Elemental is a rough humanoid form, but is very obviously an elemental, such as a slithering water tendril with arms and a head, or a roaring bonfire than has molded itself into the shape of a humanoid. This is the only husk level for umales, and the most common for males.
OO - Retaining a humanoid shape is more natural, though fine details are impossible, two arms and two legs are yes, but creating eyes or fingers is not quite possible yet. Most wood elementals have this as their lowest husk level, and most fire have it as the highest.
OOO - The elemental can create the appearance of being a certain race, though their elemental nature remains. A granite spirit can look like a human man, but will still have skin as rocky and rough as granite.
OOOO - The elemental can assume a humanoid organic appearance, and if very cautious can hide the fact that they are not organic at all. Said elementals will leave tell-tale signals that they are not what they appear to be, such as smoldering footprints for fire, or excessive weight for stone or metal.
OOOOO - The elemental is effectively whatever race they chose to appear as, and while tell-tale signs remain, they are very rare and obscure, rather than cinematic. A Stone elemental princess might leave sand behind in her bed, rather than destroy it for weighing several hundred pounds. This level of husk mastery has not been seen since the end of the Old World leaving OOOO as the current highest rating.
Given the proper husk attribute and elemental auspice, elementals, and demons and little gods for that matter, are able to breed with any of the organic races. Breeding with a fire elemental is obviously a dangerous affair unless said spirit has strong control over it’s form. Not surprisingly, the greatest number of elemental blooded offspring come from the elements of wood, water, and stone. Air and fire tend to remain aloof and distant from the material world of men, and Metal is generally to vain and arrogant to see beauty in anything but its own kind.
The half-breed’s race remains the same as their organic sire, but gains elemental attributes. Longevity, immunity to illness and other resistances are quite common. In the time of the Old World, it was quite the vogue thing to have half-breed children, so long as said children recognized the importance of social decorum and etiquette. Later, during the reign of the Empire of Nahach, also named Nahar, elemental blood was considered a sign of royalty. During the time of Hamare, elemental blood was considered a sign of evil.
Powers gained from heritage are based partly on the gender of the elemental, and party on the determination and willpower of the child in question. Male and Female pairings offer stronger abilities, Amale and Semale offer mediary ability, and umale (insert shudder) offer the lowest. The morphability of the living soul is able to take these powers and expand them, refine them and make them more that what they were. A impulsive and willess child of a human female, male elemental has more starting potential than the bastard child of a human female and a Umale, but if that bastard child devotes itself to beomcing the -mancer of it’s innate element it can easily become more powerful than it’s rival.
Elementals are a constant and usually unseen companion in Aterrizar. Like custodians or servants behind the scenes most tend their affairs unnoticed. Following the creation of the world and its ordering, this is how things are supposed to be. This order was upset after the Promethean deity brought magic to the mortal races and they learned the summoning of elementals and learned of their courts and ways.
Nahar the Mariner - Perhaps one of the best known, Nahar was human man who sought outside aid to bring an end to the ceaseless warring of his time. He gained a ring of wonderous power and once his kingdom was secure, he astonishingly returned the ring to the RiverKing who had granted it to him. In exchange, the RiverKing gave Nahar a wish, and Nahar wished for a wife as wise as the RiverKing and beautiful as the waters of the Spiritus River. From that water emerged Deneb, the shining daughter of the RiverKing. The female Water Female bore Nahar an astonishing 14 children, 7 sons and 7 daughters. These children, following the eldest son, Nahach son of Nahar forged the alliances between the Pralendian petty kings and queens that laid the foundation for the Empire of the Old World. The blood of Nahar, then sullied and weak from generations of frenetic breeding and inbreeding was ended during the cataclysm of the Nightmare War. Winsome lasses are still seen beneath the waters of the Spiritus River, but they remember all to well the glory of what was and the pain of its fall and thus now shun all men and women.
Hamare the Fiend - While Nahar is celebrated in certain circles, commoners will spit and ward themselves when Hamare is spoken of. It was Hamare who tested the Defence of the Capital with her coalition of fire mages. The sole offspring of the corrupt elemental Firemane, Hamare entered this war screaming and covered in blood. such would be the theme of her life. During her bloody crusade against the Empire tens of thousands died and a dozen cities were razed to the ground. Without mercy she threw herself against the capital and only by the grace of the Paling Towers did the city hold long enough for the Empire to fight a brutal battle and squeeze out a pyrric victory over her and her forces. Hamare was not captured but instead was exiled beyond the boundaries of the material world. It was during the Nightmare War that she is most famous. Nearly 700 years after her exile and presumed death, Hamare emerged at the head of a warhost of elementals, pariah demons and thousands of their corrupted offspring. Aberthol was laid to ruin, the ancient cities of Ekron, Ekoleth, and Karoth were all crushed under her boot. Her forces remained even after the Nightmare War ended. Her Kingdom survived for only a few decades before collapsing on itself. It is rumored that it was none other than the Lady Leshach who stopped Hamare’s expansion.
Anjet, daughter of Thorns - Quite rarely, a female elemental will bear a mortal child, such was the pairing that created Anjet. Her father was a cunning and wily druid, her mother a dryad. Anjet was raised in the druidic paths, and lived as a forestal for nearly two centuries before the failing of her mortal blood.
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? Responses (6)
This is a good way to take the rather tired '4 elements' of classical alchemy and recast them to make them fresh again. It has convincing details and works well, without adding needless complication.
What he said!
I am a little confused of the genders, but I guess that is the purpose of the exercise. :D
The genders, the Husk attribute, some notable halfbreeds, and interesting details and history bits dispersed throughout... mmm, delicious. One gets a good feeling of their complicated politics which are rarely noticed by outsiders. Well done!
Brilliant. I really enjoyed this and could easily find it very useful.
One minor niggle: males can breed with all four other genders, but amales can only breed with semales, females and umales. Isn't this a contradiction? There is the same problem for females and semales.
Basically I created a Punnet Square for these elementals, and unlike humans who can only attribute one sex gene, X or Y, to a child, an elementals pass on two, XX, XY, or YY.
Male - XY/YY
Amale - XY/XY
Semale - XX/XY
Female - XX/XX
Male and female function normally, but the Amale and Semale are basically hermaphroditic, but can only function as one gender at a time, IE no self fertilization. An Amale is predominantly male, but has the ability to procreate as a female, and a Semale is predominantly female, but has the ability to fertilize females. The Umale isn't listed because their genetics are dominant, and whatever they breed with produced more Umales.
Amales can breed with themselves, Semales can breed with themselves.
Twisted, but in a good way!