White Russian Elementalism

Roger Burton West
21 October 2013

Table of Contents


These are the game mechanics for White Russian elementalists (volkhvy).

1. Basics

Everyone expects a volkhv' to have Precognition. He actually achieves this by conversing with elementals, but some points in Fortune-Telling never go amiss.

Spirit Empathy (p. B88), often with Specialized (Elementals), is a really good idea.

Ritual Magic (White Russian Elementalism) is not required, but is also a really good idea.

Hidden Lore (Elementals) is helpful in working out what to expect an elemental to be capable of, or willing to, do.

1.1. Elemental Talents

Elementalism in game terms is primarily power-based, and cannot be used without Medium plus at least one Elemental Talent. There are four of these: Elemental (X) Talent (5/level), where (X) is Air, Fire, Earth or Water; they apply to rolls made when controlling that element, but having any of them opens up all elemental powers for acquisition. (I.e. if you only have Elemental Fire Talent 1 you can still learn Detect (Earth).)

The first Elemental Talent cannot normally be acquired in play; it's innate, and believed to concentrate in certain Russian families. It can be improved, and other Elemental Talents added, during play.

1.2. Power Modifier

The Elemental power modifier is -20%. Not only is this power mana-sensitive, each ability requires a minute's ritual preparation before use, and without it only works at half effect (where this is sensible; where it isn't, it doesn't work at all).

Greater power can be obtained with longer preparation. If you prepare for ten minutes, you need to make a Ritual Magic roll to complete the ritual, but gain 1/3 extra power (if it matters, consider this as extra points added to the basic power's cost). With one hour of preparation, make a Ritual Magic roll at -1 and double the effective power; with eight hours, roll at -2 and multiply by 8/3.

Example: Vilen Arturovich has Control (Weather) 9. Normally, his area of effect is a circle of 0.9 miles radius, and he can generate a +/-3 to things that happen within it. With an hour's preparation time, he can work with Control (Weather) 18 - doubling the radius, and giving +/-6 on effects. With eight hours, he'd be up to 24.

To activate any power that doesn't normally have an activation roll (e.g. Shapeshifting), roll Ritual Magic (White Russian Elementalism); this is subject to mana modifiers (-5 for Low), and to whichever is the applicable elemental talent.

Powers may be subject to further limitations. Gaining them in play requires a role-played negotation with an elemental spirit; the higher the power, the higher its Will. It's not entirely clear what elemental spirits get out of the business, though "human contact" is one theory.

With sufficient negotiation, a spirit may agree to be bound into an item; this will usually be fairly expensive. This allows the corresponding power to be purchased with a Gadget limitation.

2. Elemental Powers

Powers are learned with a -20% Elemental modifier. Each power is restricted to a single type of element; if you want to control multiple elements, take multiple versions of the power. (Not all powers are available for all elements; see individual power notes.)

2.1. Affliction

(dazzling fire-bursts, irritating sandstorms, etc.)

2.2. Allies

(elemental creatures), with Summonable;

2.3. Binding

2.4. Control

(an element, usually Common);

2.5. Control (Weather)

Air, Water or Fire power only.

2.6. Create

(forms of an element, typically a Medium or Small category)

2.7. Detect

for elemental phenomena

2.8. Doesn't Breathe

2.9. Enhanced Move

2.10. Filter Lungs

2.11. Flight

2.12. Infravision

2.13. Innate Attack

(elemental blasts)

2.14. Medium

This is required for speaking with elementals. It's normally learned as -50%, elementals only, with the usual power modifier.

2.15. Neutralize (Elemental Powers)

2.16. Obscure

2.17. Permeation

2.18. Pressure Support

2.19. Shapeshifting

Bestows the various Elemental Meta-Traits; see p. B262. As normally with Alternate Forms, pay for the most expensive body you've learned (90% of the cost difference between it and your standard racial template, +15 points), +15 for each cheaper one.

Individual Bodies may be improved over time, but these improvements aren't switchable: once you've improved your Body of Fire, it continues to be that improved version (which may be recognisable to your elementalist peers).

2.19.1. Body of Air

36 points. Often improved by reducing the ST penalty and HP bonus and removing No Manipulators. May even add Payload.

2.19.2. Body of Earth

175 points. Often increases DR.

2.19.3. Body of Fire

6 points (or more)

2.19.4. Body of Ice

99 points. Learned as a Water or Air effect.

2.20. Body of Metal

175 points. Learned as an Earth or Fire effect.

2.21. Body of Stone

140 points. Learned as an Earth effect.

2.21.1. Body of Water

175 points

2.22. Speak Underwater

Water only.

2.23. Telekinesis

(elemental forces)

2.24. Temperature Tolerance

Fire (to extend the high end), Air or Water only.

2.25. Terrain Adaptation

Earth, Air or Water only. (In the latter two cases, only useful with Walk on Air or Walk on Water.)

2.26. Tunneling

Earth only.

2.27. Walk on Air

Air only.

2.28. Walk on Liquid

Air or Water only.