Elements

Overview

There are ten elemental properties in Final Fantasy Zero. These elemental properties are associated with abilities and effects, and various feats and traits key off of different elemental properties.

For instance, the Pyromania feat enhances the fire damage you deal to enemies.

The elements come in a heirarchy, from low to high. Certain elements tend to oppose each other, which is useful for fighting monsters, most of whom have some elemental weakness and a few of whom have powerful elemental protections.

The Elements

Gravity

Opposes Cosmos
The Gravity element is the force of attraction, unification, and crushing pressure. It is most strongly associated with the Astrologer, due to their use of the Gravity family of spells. Most Gravity-element effects follow the model of those spells: they do a specific amount of damage determined from criteria outside of the power of the caster or the resistence of the target. Because of this, gravity effects are oftne useful for piercing high defenses on enemies.

Shadow

Opposes Holy
The Shadow element is sometimes known as "dark," "necrotic," or "poison." It is basically the force of entropy — death, decay, rotting, and disolution. It is associated with necromancy and the dead, and many shadow-element effects have quite sinister overtones. Part of this is because many undead reverse shadow effects — shadow damage heals them. Mist is often associated with the Shadow element as well.

Earth

Opposes Wind
The Earth element is the "heaviest" of the physical elements. It is represented in soil, stone, metal, earthquakes, and many plants. The Earth element is strongly associated with physical damage (beating things with rocks isn't always inherently tapping the elemental energy of Earth), and are also likely to be defensive.

Water

Opposes Lightning
A physical element that flows on top of Earth, water embodies the sea, the rivers and lakes, the force of the tides, the pressure of the deep sea, and even the simple push and pull force of liquid. The moon is considered associated with water, and it is the element that reflects time and chronology most clearly. It is usually considered introspective and medetative, and can be used to purify, with an array of healing effects, but it can also turn into insanity, jealousy, and vengeance, without any regard for moral code. Water is usually considered the element of fertility, being quite necessary for life itself, and is usually described as the closest element to mortal life. Occasionally, it acquires the properties of a piercing weapon, focusing great force into tiny droplets and using them to pierce armor.

Ice

Opposes Fire
Ice is a physical element that floats on Water. It embodies the force of cold, freezing, and lethargy. It is the element of glaciers and snow, of ice crystals and frigid mountaintops. Ice is considered logical and exclusive: it permits nothing to sully its pure geometric beauty. Ice is a bare purity, the element of isolation and exclusivity.

Wind

Opposes Earth
Wind, also known as "air," is a physical element that flows over everything beneath the clouds. It is the force of a hurricane or tornado, the push and pull of wind and breezes, and the slashing potential of a honed scythe of wind. Wind occasionally deals slashing damage, cutting enemies like knives and swords. It is associated with clouds, and also with birds, and weather itself, carrying ice and water with it around the world. Air is considered flighty and unpredictable, an element of wilderness, unfettered and free.

Lightning

Opposes Water
Sometimes referred to as "thunder," or "bolt," lightning energy is electricity itself. It is the power of sudden, dynamic change, of an uncontrollable overflow, of a violent exchange, of speed, and of knowledge and intelligence. Lightning plays a key role in many mekanika, and is associated with the violent storms of the plains. War is lightning's domain, but so is fear, and lightning is also associated with academics and invention.

Fire

Opposes Ice
Fire is the energy of heat and dryness, of wrath and anger and destruction, but also of revolution, rebirth, and even the soul. It is the warmth of a hearth and the simmering inferno of hellfire. It is one of the most fascinating of elements for mortal peoples, who have learned to marshal and control it (and who are trying to do the same with lightning and holy, as well). Fire is most commonly a simple damaging element, the most common element of Wizards and others wishing to tap elemental energy for destructive potential.

Holy

Opposes Shadow
Holy is the energy of life and growth, of purity and light, of recovery, health, and order. Holy energy is what makes you feel good to be alive, though it does have a wrathful side in the destructive purification that obliterates anything as base as normal flesh to subsume the essence of life into itself. Mortal life was born of holy energy, and the Safe Crystal is the most practical application of it today.

Cosmos

Opposes Gravity
Cosomos is the energy of the mind, of space, of time, of the pulling stretching infinity of distance beyond all known worlds and space. Cosmos is the power of dimensional shift, the dangerous power of Void, the wonderful power of travel between worlds. Almost nothing is truly native to cosmos, though cosmos effects tend to be transformational in space — they teleport, stretch, twist, and expand in order to achieve their goals.

The Substance of the World

FFZ assumes that your campaign occurs on a vaguely Earth-like planet in the respect that it has a surface, an atmosphere, liquid water, plant and animal life, and the other trappings of our home world. This isn't necessary, of course, but what such a world would look and play like is mostly up to the GM willing to try such an unusual game.

All of these elements exist on this vaguely Earth-like planet. However, not every stone is made of elemental earth — there is a difference between pure elemental force, and the daily elements that most creatures experience. Raw elemental force [I]creates[/I] these elements — generates stone or heat or wetness itself. This is why skystone enables airship flight, for instance: it creates the wind that airships can fly on. This is also why Safe Crystals exist: they are elemental Holy, generating life itself (based on models it has been imprinted with). Most of the world is a mix of various elements, and it is said that this mix is the only context in which mortal life can exist: by making use of all of the elements, without belonging to one or another.

The purest form of these elements are considered to be magicite — physical embodiments of the elemental force. The "Great Crystals" of the world are reportedly simply large chunks of magicite — perhaps the ogirinal sources of all elements.

The elemental energy of FFZ is not a science. It's more a description of things that exist in the assumed setting. Messing with the model shouldn't be a major problem, and many games have used different quantities or qualities of elemental energy (such as Chrono Trigger's Fire/Water/Lightning/Shadow system). What's important is that it serves the needs of your game. The scheme below should serve the needs of most games, even if you get rid of most of the elements below.

The Heirarchy

The elemental heirarchy is usually best seen as going from inside the planet to the outside. The core of the planet is defined by Gravity, that place in the center we are all attracted to. On top of that sits the darkness of death and Shadow, and above that is terra firma — the Earth element. Water floats amongst Earth, and above Water, Ice floats. Air surmounts the highest icy peaks, but lightning comes down from the clouds that float on the air. Above this is Fire, which generates lightning, and which surrounds the world in feiry aether. The heavens are above this, with Holy energy, and outside of even the heavens exist the great emptiness of Cosmos.

Physical & Energy Elements

"Physical" elements are those that naturally occur and last in areas that humans frequently travel in — Earth is embodied by the ground beneath our feat, Water is what we swim in, Air is what we breathe, and Ice is something we can touch. Not every bit of soil is full of true elemental Earth, but these elemental forces are generally closer to the "mortal" experience (which is considered a middle ground in the heirarchy — floating in Water, but buried under Ice)

"Energy" elements are those that are unstable. Fire will go out once it burns its fuel, Gravity runs out of suction quickly, lightning only flashes, and Holy energy flows. Generally, these are more common in their "pure" elemental form than in others (you can find a substance like Coldfire that isn't truly elemental fire, for instance, but it is rarer than normal fire).

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