Prime Traits: Elements

In Development, Mechanics by Req

The second Prime Trait set for the Sands of Destiny Roleplaying Game is that of Elements. The five Elemental Traits are inspired by the Five Classical Chinese Elements.


At the character level, these represent the character’s raw connection with the individual elements. These Elements have a duality to them however. They represent both how potent that Element is for your character and how they manifest in your character. Player’s will create a Statement that expresses how that Element is reflected by your character’s body, mind or personality.

When selecting the Element to include in your dice pool you can refer to either the core of the Element or an Element statement. This can actually allow certain characters to use Elements that would not normally be relevant in a situation, as long as the Statement would work.


Wood

Wood is the first phase of the cycle of elements. It begets Fire through friction and also fuels it’s longevity. Wood overcomes Earth by binding it with roots and drawing out it’s nourishment. It is, however, overcome by the sharp edge of Metal. Wood months embodies rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal , resurrection and regrowth.

Core Characteristic: At its base, the Wood element is the Element of Physiology and the Body.

Physical Characteristics: When the Wood element manifest physically it can be the most noticeable of all of the elements. It can manifest as physically mighty appearance but also a fit and lithe one as well. It can lend itself to a healthy and youthful appearance as well. This element represents the physical health and fitness. It’s also tied to the sense of Sight so can also manifest in that way.

Mental Characteristics: The mental manifestations of this element can include the values of Altruism, Cooperation, Idealism, Generosity, Liberty and Patience. It can also manifest emotionally as Anger, Envy, Hope and Optimism.

Example Wood Statements
Eagle Eyed
Ox-Like Brute

Forever Young
Kind and Generous

Trust in a Higher Power


Fire

Fire is the second phase of the cycle of elements. It begets Earth by reducing things to ash, which become part of the earth again. Fire overcomes Metal by melting and allowing it to be forged. Water overcomes Fire as it dissipates flames. Fire provides heat and warmth, however, an excess can burn.

Core Characteristic: At its base, the Fire element is the Element of Presence and Personality.

Physical Characteristics: When the Fire element manifest physically it typically does so in aesthetically pleasing ways. This element can make a character more alluring and attractive. In addition, it can directly manifest as making someone warm blooded or generally giving them a naturally higher body temperature. It can also manifest by making someone more energetic or hyperactive. The sense associated with this element is that of Taste.

Mental Characteristics: The mental manifestations of this element can include the values of dynamism, creativity, glory, enthusiasm and passion. It can also manifest the emotions of hate and joy. It can be volatile and emotional.

Example Fire Statements
Unearthly Beauty
Quick to Temper

Fiery Personality
Boundless Energy
Artistically Inclined


Earth

Earth is the third phase of the cycle of elements. Earth is capable of damming or absorbing water, overcoming it. It begets Earth hardens into minerals which begets Metal. Earth is overcome by Wood as the roots dig into and cover it. The Earth element is centering, stabilizing and conserving.

Core Characteristic: At its base, the Fire element is the Element of Genius and Intellect.

Physical Characteristics: When Earth manifests in a character physically it generally does so as stamina and the ability to push the body past it’s limits. It can also give a character an increased physical stability. Earth is also tied to the sense of Touch.

Mental Characteristics: The mental manifestations of this element can include the values of devotion, justice, thoughtfulness, practicality, and hard work. The emotions it can manifest are worry and happiness. Earth can also be stubborn and ambitious.

Example Earth Statements
Inquisitive Intellect
Responsible for Everything

The Direct Path is the Right One
I Can Do this All Day

Justice will Overcome


Metal

Metal is the forth phase of the cycle of elements. Metal is capable of trapping focusing water from sources into larger concentrations. It is overcome by Fire, as fire burns and smelts it. Metal overcomes Wood by with its sharpness by cutting and toppling it. The Metal element is focused, sharp and cold.

Core Characteristic: At its base, the Metal element is the Element of Focus and Control.

Physical Characteristics: When Metal manifests in a character physically it generally does so as manual dexterity and control over one’s body. A body manifesting metal has a natural precision to its movements and has a high degree of discipline. Its associated with the sense of smell.

Mental Characteristics: The mental manifestations of this element can include the values of mastery, control, focus, self-reliance, tenacity, patience and purity. The emotions it embodies are grief and sadness. The Metal element is usually driven to succeed and future facing.

Example Metal Statements
I Don’t Need Anyone Else
Mastery is the Only Way

Never Back Down
Bearlike Sense of Smell
Cat-like Grace


Water

Water is the fifth phase of the cycle of elements. Water is capable of dousing fire as nothing puts out a fire quicker than water. It is overcome by Earth, as it is absorbed. Metal engenders Water by collecting and concentrating it. Water is flexible, adaptable and flowing.

Core Characteristic: At its base, the Water element is the Element of Awareness and Adaption.

Physical Characteristics: Water manifest’s physically in the form of finesse and fluid movement. The physical body can become flexible and adapt to a variety of situations when it manifests this element. The sense tied to Water is that of Hearing.

Mental Characteristics: The mental manifestations of this element can include the values of truth, wisdom, compassion, intuition and contemplation. The emotions linked with Water are fear, anxiety and calm.

Example Water Statements
Goes with the Flow
Empty Mind, Clear Path
Driven by Fear
Perceives all Angles
The Ears of an Owl


We’ve covered two of the three Prime Sets of The Sands of Destiny Roleplaying Game. The next Dev Blog will cover the third: Affiliations.