I wanted to post some more information about Elemental Affinities, partly because the Magus document was a little unclear and partly because in the 2 years since I originally created that document, I’ve changed my mind about a few things.
If you read the whole section on creating a Magus, you might remember that I went off on a bit of a tangent in the Rituals section about how your Elemental Affinities affected how you did things. This section needs clarification. Also, the descriptions of the Fire and Air elements are pretty much just wrong.
In addition to control of a Classical Element, your Affinity also gives you control over one of a fundamental aspect of thermodynamics. Everything in the world eventually comes down to thermodynamics (or quantum) so this control over an aspect of thermodynamics means that it’s basically possible for your mage to do anything within the realm of physics and a whole bunch of stuff outside of that. Chemical reactions, manipulating matter or energy and much much more are all options for your mages. The only question is how much energy will it cost.
In the example in the ritual section, I wrote out some of the ways the different Affinities could accomplish the same task, but never really explained what the basic concepts you were manipulating. I’ll do that now.
In addition to direct control combustion and fire itself, the Fire Element holds domain over Kinetic Energy (Please note, this is different than what’s in the guide. I’ll edit that later) Fire Affinity mages can transfer kinetic energy between reactions, effectively moving heat, to slow or accelerate those reactions. They can also draw heat energy from warm objects to help enhance spells. Fire mages are good at Evocation
Water Affinity allows a mage to manipulate most liquids, including many of the body’s components. They can also control the state of matter, and can shift solids to liquids, liquids to gasses ect. The further an object is shifted from its resting state, the more Prana the mage has to expend to get it there. Making a rock into gas is much harder than making water into ice. They can also apply this fractionally, taking advantage of things like ice being at its densest at near-zero degree temperatures. Water mages tend to be good at Transmutation.
The Earth Affinity is more abstract than some of the other ones in that it deals with the storage of prana in physical objects. While all mages can accomplish this feat with some training, Earth mages are much better at it, and they’re even better at getting the Prana back out again. They can also use that stored energy much more quickly. Unlike Mystic Codes, which require rituals to prepare and create, Earth mages can embed and extract Prana on the fly, which has lots of combat applications. Earth mages are naturally talented at Alchemy.
Air is the Affinity of motion and space. Air mages are less adapt at direct interference with reactions but do have a significant advantage over other Affinities. Air mages can control motion vectors of objects (also different), or even of small particles if it comes down to it, but don’t have broad control over volumes of space in the same way that a Fire mage might. They’re advantage comes being able to transmit magical energy over longer distances, through the air itself. Air mages are multi-talented, but are strong in the field of Illusions.
Void is the affinity of Conjuration. The creation of matter or raw energy from Prana. While all Affinities can control energy to some extent, only the Void mage can create it from nothing but his will. Void is an incredibly taxing element that requires more Prana to accomplish many of the same things as the other Affinities, but the payoff comes in terms of increased direct control and a low rate of secondary effects. Void mages are, obviously, good at Conjuration, though that may not extend to the healing aspects of that school.
Hopefully that helps clear things up. If I’ve screwed any of you over horribly, message me.