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My magic system involves groupings of elements called domains which have a unique property not specific to either element in said domain. As the title implies I'm looking for a element to be paired with light. So far I've been using "aether" as a kind of vaguely defined place holder as the second element in the grouping with it's definition being a strengthening lifeforce that can make things burn brighter or hotter as well as make an item more durable. At first I thought it worked since the opposite domain would be of darkness and void with void being an absence or negation of certain properties and aether being the enhancement of said properties. But I've started to reject that idea of aether because its definition encroaches on the unique property of the domain it's in, specialization. The ability to share Phantasia(the base energy of my magic system) with others to "specialize" in certain benefits. Often in the form of healing or support skills like buffing stats in a video game. I worried it made what would otherwise be a generic property for either element a specific definition for the one element.

With this in mind what's a good element to pair with light that fits the unique property I've established?

Also just so people don't suggest elements I've already put in other domains, the elements I already have are:

  • Fire and poison.

  • Animal life and plant life.

  • Earth and metal.

  • Water and ice.

  • Darkness and void.

  • Wind and electricity.

As can be seen with the grouping of fire and poison together, I don't need the element suggestions to match perfectly in substance with light. Just the overall theme of the domain and its unique property. In the case of fire and poison it's the ability to inflict lasting damage or status effects. While the domain light is in is a more supportive role as already mentioned but can still deal heavy damage if needed. As the energy shared will return multiplied exponentially.

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  • $\begingroup$ So your pairings are of similar things, not opposites? Darkness is far from the opposite of light in terms of mechanics (in a lot of ways they are the same). Is this meant to be some sort of circle of opposing and related elements? Heat, I guess. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Jun 27, 2021 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ Similar in some sense yes but not necessarily in substance like with the fire and poison grouping. The reason darkness is in it's own grouping is because 1 it and light are usually seen as opposites and 2 the theme of the grouping or domain that darkness is in is kinda needed it to fit. $\endgroup$
    – Qasav
    Jun 27, 2021 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ I can only really see some of these pairings if you think of your elements as part of a three-dimensional sphere, with elements lying parallel but in different dimensions. Like a light paired with heat, but with a steam lying between water and fire, while light might also be adjacent to lightning, etc. It gets complicated really fast. Kind of like the elemental/para-elemental arrangement from AD&D multiverse. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Jun 27, 2021 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ I see. well what if we set aside the idea that each grouping some how counters or interacts with each other for now. Does that expand the list of ideas for elements to pair with light? $\endgroup$
    – Qasav
    Jun 27, 2021 at 15:08
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    $\begingroup$ How about "Space", like outer-space, that contains dark matter. $\endgroup$
    – V.Aggarwal
    Jun 28, 2021 at 6:46

18 Answers 18

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  • Crystal was the first that came to mind. Crystal and glass, because either can be used to refract or focus light.
  • Illusion was the second because light IS what we see and how we see.
  • Light is also associated with knowledge in a TON of cultures, so there's that.
  • And truth. Light can show us what's true. So revelation, prophecy, far sight all that jazz.
  • Scientifically light and sound are both waves. I am sure you can go down that rabbit hole...
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    $\begingroup$ I was just going to say "sound". Thinking of the dual nature of light (particle and wave), you might play off that and have light pair with sound. That could open up some very interesting uses - sound as a weapon (we have that in the real world in various forms), improved hearing, negating sound (possibly even the shock wave of explosions), throwing your voice, producing sound illusions, echolocation (character uses sound to "see" even though they are blind), etc. $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2021 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ re: sound (continued) - you could even have a character run the thing in reverse. Instead of using the magic to produce sound, you allow the absorption of sound replenish the magic (similar to feruchemy in the Mistborne series). $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2021 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ Sound is not a transverse wave. It doesn't matter for the pairing, but you may want to rephrase what is similar about the two phenomena. $\endgroup$ Jun 29, 2021 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ almost everything that will qualify as earth, as well as many metals are crystals. Sand is usually just tiny chucks of quartz crystal. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 30, 2021 at 3:16
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Epígno̱si̱

Ancient Greek

or sýn in Old Norse (technically a Kenning of the word for sight, sign).

Meaning insight, awareness.

To me it seems to pair well with light, not only because its practical use may be to provide a clue to the meaning of more arcane writings, but of situational awareness, where an awareness of danger in the environs is vital, and insight because of its value to give help with understanding of another's emotional or physical state. Taken to an extreme, it might seem almost like mind-reading, prescience or remote viewing of a brother/sister, friend or companion's situation, or even the power to see through another's eyes such as in the possession of an animal's body to view or scout. (Or an adversary's)

It also seems to be opposite to the empty void which is pared with darkness (at least superficially, without knowing your use for it).

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Sharpness.

Edges are sharp. Thoughts are quicker, and less considered. Intentions are clearer. Joy is brighter and less tempered with regret. Pain hurts worse, unleavened by hope. Gray trends towards the black, or the white. Definition, clarity and action prevail over nuance, implication and consideration.

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I think that Light and Magnetism could go well together.

  • Fire and poison = things that cause lasting harm
  • Animal life and plant life = things that grow
  • Earth and metal = things from the ground
  • Water and ice = states of matter
  • Darkness and void = absence of things
  • Wind and electricity = things that move?

but honestly, if I were to make a suggestion, it would be to pair Wind and Magnetism for pushing and pulling, and Light and Electricity for energizing/revitalizing. Those seem to be better themes, to my mind.

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  • $\begingroup$ light and magnetism are literally the same thing fundamentally, light is an electromagnetic wave. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 30, 2021 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ @John True, mostly, though there is a bit of a difference. I liked this answer: physics.stackexchange.com/a/41681 $\endgroup$
    – AndyD273
    Jun 30, 2021 at 18:26
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Knowledge

More generalized than insight and so broadening the domain. Light allows you to see and gain knowledge. Knowledge lets you target light to greatest effect with least damage.

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Gravity/Mass

Light and gravity (and relatedly mass) interact in some interesting ways (e.g., black holes, gravitational lensing), which could make for some cool ways to use the two magics in a complimentary manner (faster than light/time travel, some sort of ability to warp light and see the future). Additionally, it could be positioned to fit with the supportive role that light is intended to play, for example making things (or others) lighter or some sort of gravity shield.

It has the potential to be very over powered, but if this is something you want to avoid you could emphasize the consequences of meddling with gravity too much. Like sure making a miniature black hole might suck up the entire enemy army, but it's also not going to discriminate when it comes to not sucking up your army as well. Or it could be extremely difficult/rare to be able to tap into the more powerful aspects of gravity manipulation.

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  • $\begingroup$ gravity is also one of the few things that can effect light. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 30, 2021 at 3:15
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Time

A support-but-still-powerful pairing for light could be time. It is a support element, in that you can use it make your enemies slower, your allies faster, help wounds heal quicker, and so on.

It can be used as a powerful offensive tool too: Powerful application of this element can cause large structures to crumble into dust, enemies to grow old and weak. It can perhaps even make the strongest users immortal, but it's upto you how balanced or unbalanced you want it to be.

On the passive, ability-sharing side of things, it can perhaps grant passive bonuses to speed, or increase the speed of perception, or make food last longer, or let the elements which apply long-lasting damage to have an even more lasting effect, or rather, shorten their effect but increase the damage. It can perhaps make the plant life magic grow faster fire spread faster, ice melt slower, and so on.

Thematically, while Time doesn't fit as well with light as say, heat or electricity (my first thought before I saw the list, as light is an electromagnetic wave), it still fits quite a bit. Light is the fastest thing in the universe. Faster than light travel is famously the cause of time-travel paradoxes. Going near the speed of light causes time to run slower, and so on.

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Vitality

Essentially, the essence and energy of continued existence. In other words, this is (in various forms) the stuff that makes living things alive, makes undead come back to life, and the kind of ‘force’ that connects all living things.

Bolstering the vitality of something in exactly the right way gives you all kinds of options for supportive magic, ranging from healing all the way to things like temporary poison or disease immunity, improved endurance, boosted strength, enhanced agility, and even curing things like paralysis.

Overcharging the vitality of something lets you do damage in inventive ways, such as literally exhausting the target at the cellular level (this is actually a thing in real life, some people with particularly high metabolisms end up feeling exhausted when affected by stimulants because their cells run through all of the ATP they have stored up) or causing runaway cellular replication, resulting in the target literally exploding and being ‘healed to death’ (essentially cancer, but turbocharged).

Sapping the vitality of something lets you directly damage and/or exhaust the target, interfering with their normal biological processes. I could easily imagine an especially skilled mage specialized in this aspect of vitality magic being able to quite literally stop their opponent’s heart (or induce any of numerous other types of acute organ failure).

Infusing vitality into something that’s dead would let you give it a false semblance of life, creating zombies, skeletons, or other such corporeal undead.

This also ties in thematically with light in a couple of ways. Physically, almost all life is dependent on the light of the sun in some way. Metaphysically, almost all religions which had/have a sun deity also prayed to the sun deity as a generic lifegiving deity. Similarly, light in and of itself can both heal (exposure to sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D, and also helps regulate your circadian rhythm) and harm (sunburn, cancer, disruption of circadian rhythms, etc).

Thematically, I see this as distinct from the animal/plant life domains. They deal in much greater specifics (for example, I would expect the animal life domain to include some summoning and possibly transformation magic that fits thematically, while plant life might have support magic but it probably specializes in things that plants could do), and likely cannot logically do some of the things vitality could (maybe they have healing, but not as good as vitality can provide, maybe they can wither or kill, but not as directly as vitality can).

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Spirit or Soul

Not sure how/if you handle religion in your world, but a good counterpart to light in many Earthbound faiths would be a connection to the soul or spirit. It would fit in with a kind of "Paladin" or "Cleric" mentality to pair the two together (to use two common fantasy RPG tropes).

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How about Heat?

It's intimately connected to light: make something hot enough and it will emit light, shine enough light on something and it will get hot.

It's not too different from the others! Animals eat plants, which in turn grow in dung and dead animals. Earth, given the right conditions, produce metal (or so it seems). Whether produces lightning, etc

Of course there's also interactions, as fire consumes life, fire produce light and heat, light annihilates darkness, water is needed for life, and so forth. It's quite beautiful actually. Plant life needs light, animal life produce heat.

I like it!

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Let's call it Simultaneous Duality (proper name pending).

It's a difficult concept to understand. The top mages have come up with a particular example of how it works: the Cat in the box. As long as you do not open the Box the cat is both alive and dead. The mages found that this system influences many things, and is even integral in the release of light in many ways.

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The first thought might be to pair light with wisdom, but light may already be wisdom by itself. On a second thought it could be paired with the opposite because light might be used to create confusion:
Light and Shadows

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Creation or Substance

Going by your other pairings, you've paired up Darkness and Void, and it's easy to see how these things are related. With Light being the traditional opposite to Darkness, you could pair it up with the opposite of "void". Which would mean something along the lines of "existence/substance". If we expand the meaning of these elements beyond their physical concept (e.g. 'fire' includes 'burning'), then 'Creation' as a process and the act of 'filling the void' might be just right. If "creation" isn't element-y enough you could use "Substance" instead of creation.

Alternatively, I suggest pairing poison up with something else (disease?) and pairing Fire and Light, which seem to belong together traditionally because for a long time, fire was the primary light source available.

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Magnesium

One of its well known properties is that it burns very brightly (so you've got your light association there), and has the added bonus of actually being an element!

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Phlogiston

This was thought (in the 17th/18th century) to be a substance that is contained in flammable things and leaves when it is burnt / enters when it is heated.

It was also thought to leave metals when they oxidize, organic matter when it decomposes etc.

So in your world phlogiston is thought to be some sort of life-force in a material, giving it strength and life (hardness and shininess to metals, life to living things, etc.). It pairs nicely with light (or fire) due to burning/oxidizing being when it leaves, and reduction processes being when it enters. It doesn't really matter that it doesn't exist, or maybe in your world it actually does.

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The Prism Domain & The Astral

A Prism divides white light in the 7 colors of light. There are 7 chakras in astral body (apparently... I think).

It works well with Earth to Metal, Water and Ice, etc. because of the refinement of light into colored light. I'd call it the Astral with the prism domain (no idea if they have names). I also got a few options for powers.

The Astral

  • The Eye, able to sense who or what something is and get some extra info.
  • The Aura, able to use energy attacks or refract energy, a defense.
  • The Projection, able leave body a scout around using the eye and aura

The Light

  • The Blindness, acts flash bang without the bang and more flash.
  • The Flame, Consumption of surrounding Phantasia or blast most Phantasia.
  • The Call, summon inner flame to attack, reanimate the dead, or consume the living.

This was fun, I hope you find it useful.

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Radiation

Light is just electromagnetic radiation. So why not pair it with other forms of radiation? Gamma ray is already a type of light. How about alpha ray?

Weak Force

So far, we believe that electromagnetic force and the weak force are the most close-related of the fundamental forces. Also, the weak force is responsible for some radiations.

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Magnetism

light and magnetism actually are the same thing. They are both forms of electromagnetism. the two are literally inseparable. of course then you will have to think about why electricity is not included.

Alternatively

Space

Just for the perfect opposite to darkness/void. Space magic is often for things like teleportation and bags of holding like effects.

honestly light and fire would be a better fit since heat is often transferred as light, infrared light. the heat you feel from a fire IS light.

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