Encyclopaedia Arcana #41: Earth Magic

The last of the four basic elemental types, earth is the element of strength and stability.  Earth magic revolves around manipulation of matter (especially stone and earth) and reinforcement.

Forgotten Earth

Earth magic tends to be one of the less talked-about types.  Earth mages don’t get much publicity, are rarely featured in mage stories, and don’t have a particularly strong reputation one way or the other – most members of the magical world just tend to ignore them.  If pressed, people might describe them as reliable, or tough, or boring, but even that’s unlikely.  It’s far more common for mages not to have any strong feelings about them at all.  Earth tends to get treated a bit like the magical equivalent of mashed potatoes – it’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that no-one finds it all that interesting.

It’s hard to say exactly why earth magic has the reputation it does.  It’s extremely useful to have around – earth mages are very good at what they do – but for whatever reason, as a magic type it gets mostly ignored.  On the plus side, this does mean that earth magic doesn’t attract a bad reputation either, as many of the other magic types do.

Earth and Stone

The most basic use of earth magic is its ability to reshape matter, and this tends to be what most earth novices start off with.  An earth mage can manipulate the structure of earth and stone, sculpting it like clay, although the substances they can affect are limited – they have trouble shaping worked stone or artificial building materials like brick and concrete, and metals are generally out.  They can also extend their senses through solid substances, analysing their composition or sensing vibrations with enough accuracy to navigate without sight.

Their reshaping abilities make earth mages one of the two primary types of mage that specialise in engineering.  Even without tools an accomplished earth mage can build an entire structure from scratch, and once they combine their abilities with modern technology they’re even better.  An earth mage can fix a damaged building better than new, or reconstruct it to a new design, or both, and it’s common for earth mages to support themselves building huge elaborate houses to the specifications of other mages.  Having a mansion ‘earth-built’ is a mark of prestige among mages and, at the higher status levels of magical society, houses built by earth mages are the most common residence.

Battle Ground

Although earth mages don’t have the reputation for destruction that fire and death mages do, they can fight when they have to.  Earth battle-magic usually focuses on enhancing and reinforcing, and tends to be short-ranged – an earth magic user is less likely to throw blasts of energy and more likely to beat their opponent unconscious with supernatural strength.  Earth mages are particularly good at self-protection and tend to be very hard to hurt.

Probably the most intimidating ability of an earth battle-mage is their ability to petrify.  Earth mages can turn fabric, wood, metal, and even flesh into solid stone, causing enormous damage to whatever they target, and at higher levels of skill they can transmute a human into a statue with a single spell.  There are stories of mages who keep whole collections of petrified subjects in their homes, using their ex-enemies as a highly lifelike art collection.

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