Praxian elements

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In my continuing attempts to create a version of the Everway rules for use in a Praxian context, I re-examining the Praxian metaphysics and cultural background. I have two main objectives in doing this: firstly, I want to create a playable version of Everway tailored for Praxians; secondly, I want to explore the Praxian culture from the Praxian point of view, hopefully making them psychologically more distinct.

This process is completed with the Praxian fortune deck.

In Everway, characters are described in terms of the four hermetic elements: Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. Different scores in these areas represent different abilities. However, these elements have different meanings and associations from the traditional Gloranthan/God Learner ones. In addition, the Praxians don't have the same God Learner influenced heritage of the Orlanthi, so there is no reason for the Praxians to pay any real attention to the 'standard' Gloranthan five elements.

The Elements

Instead, I decided to start from the basics of their world view and asked what the Praxians thought important. These things are represented by their gods. This gave the following basic descriptions:

God Element General meaning
Waha Authority Authority, intellect, coldness
Eiritha Beast Resilience, nurturing, stubborness
Storm Bull Storm Activity, energy, uncontrollability
Daka Fal Spirit Magic, intuition, whimsicality
  • Eiritha is the source of all bounty and wealth. She survived the God's War by staying.
  • Storm Bull came and changed things, just because he could.
  • Daka Fal understands the mysteries of the other world.
  • Waha shows us how to control this world, and shows us what is right.

The elements are normally portrayed in a circle (representing the cycle of Rebirth and Death), divided into four parts:

Authority
Spirit Storm
Beast

Beast is at the bottom, as all things rest on the herds. Spirit is on the left, betraying a draconic influence from the EWF. Storm is on the right, as it is the right hand that performs actions. Authority is on top, as a man rides atop a beast.

Each of these elements governs a particular type of ability and is associated with a particular personality type:

Element Actions Personality
Authority Perception, deduction, willpower, martial arts Analytical, calm, taciturn, intellectual, distant, perceptive, dispassionate
Beast Resistance, endurance, physical robustness Honest, dependable, trustworthy, stubborn, frank, reliable, comforting, tough
Storm Physical activity, gumption, passions Active, violent, energetic, impatient, erratic, impetuous, (over-)confident
Spirit Intuition, magical perception, empathy Sensitive, intuitive, emotional, diplomatic, whimsical, sentimental, maudlin, idealistic

Implications of these Elemental choices

While these qualities for the elements are close to the standard Everway hermetic version, there are a couple of things to note.

The first of these is to do with combat, which betrays a Kralori influence on the Praxian mindset. Waha imposes his will, his intellect, on the world. Killing, whether of beasts or men, should be an unemotional activity, merely part of the cycle of Life and Rebirth. Mental discipline is required to demonstrate the skills of the butcher. This attitude has lead to the development of formalised weapon techniques, almost becoming martial arts. This is most obviously recognised in the Morokanth, who have greatly developed their unarmed combat techniques in this way. This also acts as another reason why Storm Bullies are despied: they give in to their passions during combat, and cannot achieve the inner calm that is required by the Wahahim.

Charisma, communication, and diplomacy rely on the Spirit. High Authority makes Khans capable but taciturn leaders. Khans would make good generals if they organised themselves in anything bigger than a clan.

The Waha Spirits of Law become Spirits of Authority. They lose their specialisation against Chaos, and instead can be used against those that have broken the Covenant of Waha (see why Chaos is a cop-out for why I made this change).

Combinations of Elements

Combinations of the elements also have meanings for a character, showing how different parts of the psyche act together.

  • Storm and Beast together represent Power, the ability to make changes in the world. Storm makes the changes while Beast carries them through.
  • Authority and Spirit represent Wisdom, the ability to judge which changes should be made. Authority shows the way of Waha, while Spirit shows intuition.
  • Beast and Spirit show the Passive side, how changes are dealt with. Beast resists change, while Spirit adapts.
  • Authority and Storm are the Active elements. Authority is the imposition of one's will on the world, while Storm does new things.
  • Authority and Beast, the vertical axis, represent conservatism, stability, and peace. This is generally considered Good.
  • Storm and Spirit, the horizontal axis, represent innovation, eccentricity, and change. This is generally considered Bad.

Miscellaneous implications

The association of elements can also be taken further, and each of the Great Tribes can be associated with an element:

Element Tribe
Authority High Llama
Beast Bison
Storm Impala
Spirit Morokanth

The tribe associated with each element emphasises that element more than the others. For instance, the Impala tribe (particularly the bachelors) embody the Storm qualities of violent, uncontrolled activity. The Sable tribe does not emphasise an element, as clans try to maintain a balance between each of the elements.

This has some implications as to how the differences between the tribes come about.

Morokanth are labelled by the God Learners as darkness related, as they focus on the spiritual aspects of the world. Through this, they fell foul of the God Learners' equivalence between spirits and darkness. However, they are astute enough to exploit this supposed correspondence, and tend to have an increased facility with Darkness spirits and magic in God Learner influenced areas.

The High Llamas take pride in their intellect and perceptivness, which is why they are also haughty. In combat, they rely on superior tactics to make up for their lack on numbers.

The Bison tribe, not Sable, is matriarchal. Sables rule with committee, with Eiritha queens generally dominating the discussions, as herd welfare is normally paramount. It also explains why Bison riders are so tenacious in combat.

The Impala tribe will have a greater proportion of Storm Bullies than listed, particularly among the bachelor males.

The Sable tribe emphasises balance and harmony between elements, and hence were more susceptible to Lunar advances than other Praxians (of course, the chance of being on the winning side at Moonbroth also helped).

The correspondence can also be extended to the Three Feathered Rivals (though less convincingly):

Element Rival
Authority Sun Hawk
Beast Condor (though not so much since Eiritha was buried: being buried makes life difficult for a bird)
Storm Thunderbird
Spirit Raven

and perhaps also parts of the body:

Element Rival
Authority Head, eyes
Beast Body (liver?), genitals
Storm Right arm and side
Spirit Left arm and side

Want to know more?

More information about Prax and the Praxians can be found in the Lhankor Mhy Research Library, particularly:

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