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Elemental Magic

Elemental Magic

The ancient magics of elementalism predate the days in which Teclis came from Ulthuan and taught humanity the rites of Colour magic. During the Age of Wars, around the years 1260-1280 IC, when the Empire lacked any central authority and anarchy stalked the land, a hedge-wizard by the name of Gunthar the Wise spent twenty years traveling the Old World, talking to scholars and sages, trying to come up with some overall theory of magic that would make teaching and the invention of new spells easier.[2a]

In Nuln, Gunthar was befriended by the alchemist Berthold Fessbinder, who taught him the alchemical theory of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Everything, Berthold said, was made up of these four elements combined in varying degrees. Gunthar deduced that in some way magic too must follow this law. Thus, he reasoned, magic must likewise be divided into four elements; the common spell types must draw a little from each of the four types of magic in order to work on the corresponding four elements in the physical world.[2a]

It was a simple theory, but it was better than any other wizard had at that time. What is more, it was surprisingly close to the theories Teclis would elaborate on some years later. Experimenting with this notion, Gunthar soon discovered he could create 'purer' and more powerful spells than the hedge-wizards, who simply progressed through aimless trial and error. Others heard of his success and came to learn his methods. Soon a small but thriving school for wizards was born in Nuln, founded and run by Gunthar.[2a]

In those early days the Old World was a much wilder place. The forests were greater, the mountains unchallenged by humanity, and the pockets of humanity were widely scattered and isolated. Much of hte magic developed by the new-fledged elementalists related to this natural, untamed world. As they became more entrenched in its disciplines, students of elementalism began to move further and further away from the squalor and crowding that was prevalent in the towns and cities. Those who remained looked on in suspicion, accusing their brethren of abandoning civilized practices and 'going native'.[2a]

An early surprise for the elementalists was the discovery of the strange creatures known as elementals. At first the wizards thought they had discovered a new type of being, but they soon came to realize the truth was nowhere near so straightforward. In fact they found that they were allowing the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water to manifest corporeally through the application of magic. Each of these new forms acted as a kind of avatar, epitomizing the qualities with which the element was imbued.[2a]

For many years, elementalism was the main and most respected form of magic in the Empire - although in truth this wasn't much of a claim, compared to the level of power that Imperial wizards are capable of producing today. When Magnus the Pious invited the High Elves to come and teach magic to humanity, many elementalists were incensed, believing he had spurned their wisdom. The truth is that Magnus had respect for the elementalists but did not believe that their magic would be powerful enough to defeat the Chaos hordes. He did not think they were disciplined enough to work as part of an army, and worried about the strength of their loyalty to the Empire.[2a]

When the Chaos Incursion of 2303 was finally driven back and Teclis began the founding of the Imperial Colleges of Magic in Altdorf, some elementalists went to join them. Others hung back, still smarting from Magnus' slight and remained suspicious of this new theory propounded by inhuman beings. They also felt ill at ease with the establishment of congested buildings in the grime and bustle of the largest city in the Empire.[2a]

Teclis was genuinely impressed by the elementalists' theories and congratulated them in getting so far in theoretical magic without the knowledge of the High Elves. However, he also told them quite plainly that their theories were wrong. This was the final wedge driven between the two factions. Those convinced of Teclis's wisdom joined the Imperial Colleges, glad to learn the true nature of magic. Others stayed in and around Nuln, nursing their imagined grudges, and determined to keep the theories of elementalism alive.[2a]

As the years passed, it became increasingly obvious that the magic taught at the Imperial Colleges was primarily to use in battle. Little of it related to the natural world that the elementalists could manipulate so well. With the threat of Chaos subdued, this preoccupation with violence drove many of the more sensitive wizards to the elementalist school in Nuln. As time passed and the Empire introduced licensing in order to control wizardry, the school in Nuln (then calling itself the Elementalists' Guild) came under the watchful eye of the witch-hunters. Members were questioned and sometimes tortured in an effort to find some evidence of corruption or allegiance to Chaos, but little was uncovered. Eventually, the witch-hunters conceded that although the elementalists had no great love for the Imperial Colleges, they were neither evil nor Chaotic. In 2420, the college was finally granted its charter and was allowed to issue licences. However, even to this day politics between the elementalists and the Imperial Colleges are strained, and members of the different traditions shun and scorn each other.[2a]

In addition to the school in Nuln, specialist colleges have since been set up under the Imperial charter, each of which has been tasked with the investigation of elementalist magic. Whilst the Colour Colleges are supported in order to advance the military might of the Empire, these elementalist colleges are are encouraged "for the betterment of society and knowledge". The minimum funding they require is all but irrelevant; to the elementalists, the Imperial sanction is seen as small recompense for being passed over in favour of the raw destructive powers of the colleges in Altdorf.[2a]


Elementalists are able to manipulate the four elements (or life forces) of air, earth, fire, and water. Elemental magic allows them to summon short-lived personifications of these forces - creatures known as Elementals.[1a]

A Edit

  • Ageing - This spell causes the target to age ten years in ten seconds. If the victim is a child, he will gain in physical stature, but will retain the mental age and capabilities of his original age. If the victim is already mature, this may lead to some reduction in characteristics. The victim suddenly has 10 years' growth of hair and extremely long finger and toe nails.[2f]
  • Animate Water - Using this spell, the caster can animate any single body of water within 48 yards. The maximum area of water which may be affected is a 6-yard radius circle, but this may be part of a much larger body of water such as a river or lake, the bulk of which will not be affected. The animated water will manifest up to 12 pseudopods, each up to 24 yards long, with which it may make up to 12 attacks.[1e]
  • Assault of Stones - A caster using this spell causes an assault of stones to burst upon any individual or group of enemies within 48 yards.[1a]

B Edit

  • Banish Elemental - This spell allows the caster to dispel a single Elemental within 24 yards.[1c][1d]
  • Become Ethereal - The caster can use this spell to enter an ethereal state. Once ethereal, the caster cannot use magic, meditate, attack in combat, or use missile weapons, but may, however, move through solid objects (such as walls) and cross obstacles or difficult ground, including water, without penalty. An ethereal individual can also become visible or invisible at will. Individuals may remain ethereal for as long as they like. Clothing and immediate possessions all become ethereal, but not other creatures - including those touched or mice secreted in pockets![1d]
  • Bind Elemental Slave - This spell is used by elementalists to create a familiar, using whichever element the elementalist wishes to bind into the familiar. This ritual cannot be learned, but must be performed while referring to the correct scroll or book.[2d]
  • Blinding Flash - This spell causes temporary blindness in all creatures within 12 yards of the caster. The spell takes effect immediately. Blinded individuals may still move, but in a randomly-chosen direction at quarter pace.[1a][1b]
  • Breath of Life - This spell can be cast on any individual on the brink of death in order to give them a second chance at life. The caster draws into himself the vital and quickening powers of air, and by pressing his mouth over that of the target, can pass these rejuvenating powers into the injured body. If the target is unconscious, they will come round immediately. Internal bleeding will stop, and all normal blood loss (e.g. from critical injuries) will be reduced to its minimum value. Anyone who has suffered respiratory damage through drowning, suffocation, poison gas or fumes will recover half of the damage that they had before the spell was cast. This spell is unusual as it can be cast on target who would normally be considered dead, but only has chance of working if cast immediately after the fatal damage. Anyone who has been decapitated, cut in half, pulverized or whose body is otherwise incapable of sustaining life will revive only for a few moments of excruciating agony and mental torment before they slip away for good. During this time, they will be in no fit state to talk, pass on vital information or help in any way. Targets who are not severely wounded (or worse) will be unable to cope with the power of this spell, and will immediately take mage irrespective of their magical or armour defenses as the energies pass out of control through their body.[2h]
  • Breathe Fire - The caster gains the ability to breathe fire three times during the rest of the day. Fire breath can be aimed at a group or individual within 24 yards. The breath is cone-shaped, 24 yards long and 4 yards wide at its widest point.[1d]
  • Breathe Underwater - This spell may be used on the caster or another individual by touch. It allows the individual to breathe in any atmosphere, under water, or even in a complete vacuum. Airborne poisons have no effect on the individual. The spell lasts until daybreak the following day.[1b]

C Edit

  • Cause Fire - The caster can cause any one source of flammable material within 48 yards to burst into flames, including a flammable creature such as a Mummy.[1b]
  • Cause Rain - This spell allows the caster to create a sudden torrential burst of rain, even in underground settings or inside buildings. Fire damage is reduced, long range missile fire becomes impossible, and short range missile fire is made with difficulty. Fire-based magic is instantly dispelled, whilst any flaming magical weapons are nullified for the spell's duration. Gunpowder weapons cannot fire during the rain and have a small chance of becoming waterlogged and unable to fire until dried out.[1c]
  • Change Weather - This ritual can change the weather of an area within a diameter of ten miles, centred on the caster. It cannot change the weather completely, but it can cause small changes, such as clouds to light rain, and vice versa. It can also be used to shift the quarter from which the wind is blowing. It can be cast several times to create a drastic change in the weather. Each casting will slowly take effect over the course of an hour, and once each ritual's effects halt, the weather will slowly slip back towards 'normal' weather for the region at the rate of one step per hour.[2e]
  • Clap of Thunder - The caster causes a loud clap of thunder, audible over a great distance - at least 2,000 yards above ground, somewhat less if underground or in an urban environment, causing fear to low-intelligence creatures and those subject to stupidity.[1c]
  • Cloud of Smoke - This spell creates a cloud of smoke with a radius of 6 yards, centred on the Elementalist. The cloud does not move with the caster, but remains stationary. Creatures in the cloud cannot see out of it or through it; people or creatures outside cannot see into it or past it. Creatures inside must move at half pace or else wander around randomly within the cloud.[1b]
  • Control Lightning - This spell can only be cast during a thunderstorm, and allows the caster to call down a bolt of lightning from the clouds to strike any individual or object that is outdoors.[2c]
  • Create Chasm - This spell allows the caster to create a chasm 5 yards wide, 10 yards long and 20 yards deep in any outdoor location. The chasm opens suddenly, and anyone standing on ground where it appears will fall in. The chasm is permanent, and will start to flood slowly if it reaches down as far as the water table.[2f]
  • Create Geyser - With a rumble and a sudden unearthly scream, a jet of boiling water and steam jets up out of the ground, 50 feet into the air, throwing those beneath it into the air and causing damage from the scalding spray and its intense heat to those it hits. After ten minutes the geyser dies away and the ground returns to normal.[2h]
  • Create Quicksand - The caster can create an area of quicksand with a radius of 6 yards, anywhere within 48 yards. The quicksand may be created underneath groups of people if desired.[1d]
  • Create Spring - This spell temporarily creates a spring of fresh water where none existed before. The caster must touch the point where the spring is intended to appear. Immediately, fresh, clean water will bubble out of the ground, no matter what the terrain. The water will flow naturally downhill if it can, or will pool if it is in a dip or hollow. Any water created by the spring will remain after the spring disappears.[2b]
  • Create Vegetation - This spell causes a mass of tangled vegetation to grow over an area 12 yards in diameter. If there are seeds in the ground, these will sprout and grow to full maturity quickly, tangling anyone in the area and possibly lifting them out of a bed of spreading verdure. The plants that appear will be whatever is natural in the area. A bare field will grow crops if seeds have been planted or weeds if they have not; a wild area will likely grow grasses or bushes.[2e]
  • Crumble Stone - After casting this spell, the caster can crush stone bare-handed or affect any stone or brick building, statue, and so on, as follows. A statue may be destroyed with just a single touch, while each touch on an 8 yard long section of wall inflicts significant damage.[1d]

D Edit

  • Dispel Elementals - The caster can use this spell to dispel all Elementals within 48 yards.[1e]
  • Draw Down Lightning - This very dangerous spell can only be cast during a thunderstorm. The caster must stand outside, holding a lightning rod above their head while casting the spell. The caster's magical potential is increased to their full limits, then doubled beyond them temporarily.[2d]
  • Drop - This spell can be cast on any individual within 48 yards, as long as they are outside. Immediately after the spell is cast, the victim will shoot 20 yards straight up into the air. The victim will then hang there for a few seconds before plummeting back to earth.[2e]
  • Dust Storm - This spell allows the caster to create a Dust Storm with a radius of 6 yards, centred anywhere within 24 yards of the individual. The Dust Storm may be moved by the caster. The Storm may move over creatures and is not slowed by difficult terrain.[1d]

E Edit

  • Earthquake - This very powerful spell is difficult to perform. Its principal ingredients are a pint of dragon's blood, mixed with earth from the spot at which the spell will be cast. The blood and earth must be be shaped into a figure resembling a dragon while the ritual is performed, which takes an hour. If the preparations are performed correctly, the spell creates a severe earthquake with a diameter of 5 miles centred on the caster. All man-made structures in the area stand a chance of falling down completely. Caverns and underground tunnels have a lower chance of collapsing[2f][2g]
  • Erupt - This little-used ritual causes a dormant volcano to erupt catastrophically, burying large areas under lava and hot ash and filling the sky with smoke. The exact effects depend upon the size of the volcano. This spell should be used with great care: volcanos may explode with sufficient violence to instantly incinerate the caster. Needless to say, anyone thinking of casting the spell will have to think of a very effective way of avoiding its effects. Thankfully, volcanoes are few and far between in the Old World.[2f]
  • Extend Flight - This spell allows the caster to fly for long distances at normal running rate, and at any height - although problems with high winds and low temperatures may occur at high altitude. The elementalist must keep moving at a minimum of their cautious move rate or they will fall to the ground. The caster knows when the spell will expire but if he is still in the air when the spell stops working, he may take a normal amount of damage from the fall. A flying wizard may attack others in the air or on the ground, with his attacks acting as though he is charging. While the caster is flying, they may not cast any additional spells.[2g]
  • Extinguish Fire - This spell can be used to try to put out fires, such as burning buildings. This spell can be directed against any one section of a burning building or at burning individuals within 200 yards. The fire is immediately extinguished.[1c]

F Edit

  • Field of Lava - The spell causes a piece of ground 6 by 6 yards to turn into hot molten lava. Anyone standing in the area takes immediate fire damage to the feet. Leather armour quickly burns away, and metal armour becomes too hot to provide protection.[2g]
  • Find Mineral - This spell shows the caster the direction and rough distance of the nearest specified material. The material can be any naturally occurring rock type, e.g. granite, iron ore or gold.[2b][2c]
  • Flame Sheet - Elementalists travelling on foot can use this spell to lay a wall of flame behind them as they walk along. The flame sheet is 2 yards wide and follows the course of the caster. Any creature within the fire path or attempting to cross it suffers fire damage.[1d][1e]
  • Foul Air - The caster can create a pocket of foul air with a radius of up to 12 yards, centred anywhere within 48 yards. All creatures in this area suffers the effects of 1 dose of the toxin which is most effective against that type of creature. In other words, the foul air has the effects of all known toxins and works on all non-magical animals with the same potency as spider venom.[1e]
  • Fountain of Life - As the elementalist casts this spell, he must touch the ground. As he does, water wells up from the depths of the earth and bubbles up at that place in a small, unimpressive fountain. However, anyone tasting the water, feels immediately invigorated and refreshed, including physical damage and temporary relief of their current psychological effects. Once someone has drunk from the fountain, subsequent draughts have no effect. The caster cannot dispel the fountain, nor create more than one at a time.[2h][2i]

H Edit

  • Hand of Fire - This spell causes the caster's weapons to burn with a flickering flame.[1b]
  • Heal Vegetation - This spell will make a patch of vegetation 12 yards by 12 yards recover from drought, poisoning, blight, the Wilt Vegetation spell and so on, in three to eighteen minutes. However, if whatever is causing the plants to suffer is not removed, then they will begin to wilt again the following day. Using this spell will also drive off any plant parasites and cure crop diseases. It will work outside the plants' usual growing season or environment, but cannot be used to create new growth in plants that are already dead.[2c]
  • Hedge of Thorns - This spell enables the caster to create a hedge of thorns anywhere within 48 yards. The hedge will instantly spring up from the ground, filling an area in a 2 x 24 yard strip or a circle with a radius of 6 yards. The hedge can be made to grow up in front of, around, or even on top of groups of creatures if the caster wishes. The hedge is made of magic thorns which grow so quickly they can easily trap and kill anyone whom they touch.[1e]

I Edit

  • Icy Ground - This spell can be cast on a patch of ground up to 12 yards by 12 yards, covering it with a thin layer of ice, and causing people to slip and fall. Any vegetation within the affected area will be withered as if by a heavy frost.[2c]

M Edit

  • Magic Light - This spell produces a magic light from the caster's hand, which will illuminate an area with a radius of 15 yards. The light lasts until dispelled or until the caster grasps an object. A magic light can also be thrown a distance of up to 12 yards. Once thrown, the light lasts for a short time and then dies. The light can be thrown at a single individual target within 12 yards, hits automatically, and blinds the victim temporarily.[1b]
  • Move Object - This spell can produce aerial drafts, enabling the caster to slam shut door or move light objects, such as parchments, curtains, and so on. The Elementalist can open or close any unlocked or unbolted door within 24 yards or move any unsecured lightweight item a distance of up to 12 yards.[1c]

N Edit

  • Navigate Underground - This spell will let the caster determine the quickest route out of any underground system of passages, whether natural or constructed. The spell does not show the direction the exit is in, but it allows the caster to judge accurately which passage to take when reaching a junction. As long as the exit is within a mile of the original casting point of the spell, it will always be big enough for the caster to get through.[2f]

P Edit

  • Part Water - The caster may employ this spell against any river or body of water up to 8 yards wide within 48 yards. The river will instantly part, producing a gap of 8 yards width which can be crossed on foot. The water will remain parted until the caster dispels it (which can be done at any time) or until the caster moves more than 48 yards away.[1c]
  • Plague of Lice - This spell may be cast on an individual or group within the caster's line of sight and not more than 24 yards away. It causes the target(s) to become afflicted with lice, causing them to instantly strip off their armour and scratch frantically.[2c]

R Edit

  • Resist Fire - Elementalists may only cast this spell on themselves. It protects them against damage from fire or flaming weapons for a limited time. Any fire-based attack, including Fire Balls and magical weapons with a flame attack, have no effect at all.[1c]

S Edit

  • Scourging Wind - A fierce wind picks up, wreaking havoc all around the caster (who is left standing but disheveled in the midst of it all) within a radius of 48 yards. Loose objects up to the approximate size and weight of children are thrown several yards, crashing into the each other, the floor, and anything else in their way. Larger objects are tossed over and roll along in the torrent, and both larger individuals and fixed objects take damage, the former potentially losing their grip on what they are holding. This spell can only be cast outside.[2g][2h]
  • Summon Elemental - This spell will summon a single Elemental of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water to appear within 6 yards of the caster.[1e][1f]
  • Summon Elemental Horde - The character can use this spell to summon a group of Elementals of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water. The Elementalist may only summon Elementals of one type at a time. The Elementalist may well end up in a situation where some of the Elementals are controlled while some are not.[1f]
  • Summon Swarm - This spell allows the Elementalist to command natural creatures. The Elementalist can summon a Swarm of either beetles, snakes and lizards, spiders, rats, frogs and toads, ants, ticks, scorpions, or bats. The Swarm appears within 6 yards of the summoner and will follow simple instructions.[1f]
  • Sunburn - This spell can only be cast during the day, when the sun is not covered by clouds. The heat of the sun is concentrated onto an individual or group, causing instant severe sunburn to all exposed skin, and heating up metal armour at an unbearable level. A victim will be temporarily blinded by the sudden glare, will be injured by the intense sunburn, and must spend time removing ho armour or suffer more damage from heatstroke.[2c]
  • Swell River - The caster can cause the level of a river to rise or fall temporarily over a one mile stretch. The result of this will depend on the surrounding terrain - if the river is a fast-moving torrent in a steep chasm then there will likely be a raging deluge, which will wash away anyone foolish enough to be standing on the bank, tearing down bridges and damaging water-mills. If the river is slow-moving and in a broad flood-plain, the river will be less forceful, but is likely to spread over a wide area, flooding fields and houses. The river will return to its previous level an hour after it reaches its highest level.[2h]

T Edit

  • Tornado - This spell cauls a tornado to appear from a clear sky, pick up an individual or group, whirl them into the air, carry them a number of yards in a random direction, and drop them.[2g]
  • Tunnel Through Stone - This spell allows the caster to tunnel through the ground or walls, without needing to use tools. The tunnel thus created is magically stabilised, will not collapse, and causes no damage to buildings. The caster may even tunnel through soft sand or mud using this spell, or may move through sold rock at normal pace, creating a tunnel wide enough for a single person. Other characters may follow the path, but have to form a line behind the Elementalist. Once the tunnel is completed, the caster may dispel it at any time - instantly killing anyone inside.[1f]

W Edit

  • Walk Earthquake - This spell makes the target immune to the psychological and physical effects of an earthquake or any similar violent ground movement. However, they are not immune to falling buildings or other side-effects of the tremor.[2f]
  • Walk on Water - This spell allows the caster to walk on water. It takes effect as soon as the individual steps onto the water and is dispelled as soon as the individual steps onto dry land. The spell also allows the individual to traverse marshes, pools, and so on, easily.[1b]
  • Wall Shaker - The caster can use this spell to cause all building sections within 24 yards to collapse.[1f]
  • Walls of Rock - This spell causes earth and bedrock to shatter, bond and rise, creating structures that lift themselves free of the ground. The ground then draws itself together beneath the emerging structure to form a solid foundation. Loose earth will fall from the structure as it rises, and will be drawn back into the ground. The caster can raise any volume of material within a radius of 24 yards, to a maximum height of 8 yards. they can create walls, bridges, arches, even a ceiling - the only restriction is that they cannot create spaces within which the loose earth would be trapped. That includes windows, rooms with both a floor and ceiling, and so on. The resulting structure is a stone building.[2g]
  • Ward of Arrows - When this spell is cast, any missile fire directed against the caster or any friendly creature within 12 yards of him have difficulty hitting their targets and deal less damage. The spell protects each creature on which it is cast until they enter hand-to-hand combat, but does not give protection against enchanted arrows other magical missile weapons, or spells such as Fire Ball.[2c]
  • Wave of Destruction - This spell can be cast on any large body of water within 24 yards of the elementalist. The size of the body of water is important, since the larger it is the more powerful the effects of the spell will be. When the spell takes effect, the body of water will begin to draw itself up to form a huge, churning wave, which then crashes down in a direction chosen by the caster. When the wave breaks on the shore it travels inland, its force slowly ebbing the further it goes. The amount of damage, decreasing the further inland the water goes, is determined by the size of the body of water used to create the spell.[2i]
  • Wilt Vegetation - This spell makes a patch of vegetation 12 yards by 12 yards square wither and wilt in a time frame between two and twelve minutes, as if exposed to a long drought. The vegetation does not die, and will recover if provided with enough water and a good dose of manure, or the Heal Vegetation spell.[2c]
  • Wither Vegetation - The caster can use this spell against any section of vegetation (trees or bushes) within 48 yards. The spell affects an area 8 yards by 8 yards (larger areas require two spells). The affected section instantly withers away to nothing.[1c]

Z Edit

  • Zone of Hiding - This spell creates a magical Zone with a diameter of 6 yards, centred on the caster. All creatures inside the Zone assume a chameleon-like appearance, merging with the surrounding terrain. So long as they remain stationary, they are impossible to see at distances of above 12 yards and, below this range, are difficult to hit with missile weapons.[1b]
  • Zone of Temperate Weather - This spell creates a magical Zone with a diameter of 6 yards, centred on the caster, in which the effects of adverse weather will have no effect. No matter how hot or cold, wet or windy the conditions outside, the air in the zone will remain at a comfortable temperature, the air dry and still. The zone protects those inside against sunburn, no matter how hot the sun outside. This spell will also protect against unnatural weather effects such as the Sunburn or Windblast spells, but will not provide protection against indirect effects, such as torrents of water, falling branches, lightning bolts or anything similar.[2e]


  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED -- Core Rulebook
    • 1a: pg. 166
    • 1b: pg. 167
    • 1c: pg. 168
    • 1d: pg. 169
    • 1e: pg. 170
    • 1f: pg. 171
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED -- Realms of Sorcery
    • 2a: pg. 62
    • 2b: pg. 199
    • 2c: pg. 200
    • 2d: pg. 202
    • 2e: pg. 203
    • 2f: pg. 204
    • 2g: pg. 205
    • 2h: pg. 206
    • 2i: pg. 208

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