Monday, April 18, 2016

A&A Quickstart Guide: Fury of the Elements

So far we've talked about weaponry, a bit about armor and plenty about spells but in order to round out proficiencies we need to look into Elementalism, the focus of the game.  You may recall that like Magic the Elements respond to the lyrical tones of your voice whether it be a monk's chant, poet's verse or a bard's song.  Earlier we talked about the Elemental Crescendo, an all-purpose elemental attack option.  It is the gout of flame extending from your flying kick, the razor wind from your spinning staff, the jagged rocks sent skyward by your falling heel strike and the water mirroring your swaying and whipping arms.  It is unrefined, but it is effective.  Now we talk about the Fury of the Elements, that requires the training of a Channeler to call upon.

To call down an Elemental Fury you must have reached the requisite circle of power for that element.  You are considered to have an internal 1st Circle of Power of your personal element, the environment begins at zero and to raise the Circle of Power you must Channel Mana.  The only caveat being that for the Third Circle of Power you must take control of a Mana [Upwelling] on the battlefield which can be quite perilous.

To do this make a Channel roll, which follows most other rolls in the game.  Roll your Critical die (d20) and add +/- 5 dependent on whether the element is channeled somewhere favorable or unfavorable, success is met at 10 or greater.  For example if you are Channeling water mana in order to raise the environment to the 1st Circle of Water, you would have a +5 bonus on the high seas but a -5 penalty in the desert.  Naturally, with any d20 roll you may add Intrepid dice to bolster the roll.  If your total Channel roll is 20+ you raise the Circle of Power and unleash a Fury at the same time.

Once the Circle of Power for that element has been achieved it stays there and is usable by anyone capable of using that element.  This means that if your Fire Origin Avatar is facing off against another Pyromancer, should you raise to the 2nd Circle of Fire your opponent is also able to use the "Ballad of Coming Dragons" just as you are, not to mention both of your Fire Crescendo's have been boosted by one damage die for each circle.  While both sides may take advantage of the increasing power available it also means that a team of Channelers with the same element are a force to be reckoned with.

Raising the Circle of Power tends to have very obvious effects on the environment, howling gales, trembling rocks, water spurting out of the ground and pine needles spontaneously combusting tend to happen as you increase in power.  Now then let's take a look at what elements are available.

While designing each element was given a focus; wind was chosen for offensive support, earth for defensive, water for restoration and fire for all out destruction.  For each element a terrain style piece was added at Level 1 to give enterprising Geomancers some ability to shape terrain rather than direct assaults.  On the other side of the spectrum each 3rd Circle Fury was meant to be extraordinarily powerful as it required quite a bit of work to even reach it.

Wind's first two powers are excellent supports, one bolsters the entire party like a classic Bard, the other offers a windwall to shield someone from the plight of archers.  The 2nd circle allows you to force an emergency landing of any (non-wind) flying creature while the 3rd provides direct damage and the ability to seal off future spellcasting and elementalism.  If you will recall from the spell section, both magic and the elements respond to the lyrical tones of your voice, meaning someone deafened has temporarily had that power removed.

Earth starts off knocking people off the steady ground and allowing for immediate combat advantage, it's terrain slows down the foes with thorny brambles, either way escape will be difficult.  It's 2nd Circle provides strong protection just like the barrier spell from Warding and the 3rd Circle has the capacity to to wipe out a legion of lesser men.

With Fire you can expect to burninate the countryside from 1st - 3rd Circle.  It's terrain is a double edged sword, like with classical magic you need to see what you are targeting in order for it to work which means that concealment or worse, being blinded, will prevent you from doing that.  Unless of course you're going for some collateral damage in which case the 2nd and 3rd circle have you covered.

Water allows for some of the few sources of healing in the game restoring HP lost this round up to 5 or 15 points depending on the Circle.  Acid pools provide a strong incentive to avoid while the 2nd Circle allows you to wash away all the pesky terrain effects from other Elements.