A group of humans were teleported to another universe filled with dangerous creatures. Many died at first. But as time went by Aveda begins to develop powers slowly giving them control over the elements (fire, earth, water, air and lightning). They use these to fight the strange gigantic creatures that inhabit this new world.

Since every person can control at least one element: why would society start developing weapons a few generations after their arrival?

Limitations on the magic: Magic, like any other action, requires energy, continual use of magic will draw on your stores of energy much like strenuous exercise does. Magic is also limited for anyone by their line of sight. An exception being if someone knows exactly where you will be and everything in between you and him can use Magic against you, even if he is miles away, for you are behind some kind of barrier.

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    $\begingroup$ How does magic function in your world? What are its limitations and drawbacks? Do they obey the laws of science as we understand them? Where does the energy come from to perform these acts and how easy is it to use? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre obviously there are some differences or else there wouldn't be Magic, but except for the hand waves necessary to make magic exists in this new world laws of physics stay the same $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ @@Frostfyre11 I'll add more details about the magic system just a second. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Who's Aveda? Is it the fantasy equivalent of Alice and Bob? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ Why would they develop weapons: "Hey dude, I've been trying all day to kill that creature that keeps peeking around the corner there and avoiding all my fire attacks. Wouldn't it be nice if I could kill it without expending all my energy, even when it hides around the corner? $\endgroup$
    – Pieter B
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 9:49

8 Answers 8


In a world where everybody can control at least one element, weapons will probably evolve differently. They will make use of the elemental power of people.

For example, gunpowder based weapons made for people who can control fire may be built without a trigger. Cannons for earthbenders may use shaped rocks for ammo, and so on.

Why would a regular weapon still be developed? Because everyone can control at least one element, but not everybody can control all of them. If I can't control fire, for example, then I need a trigger on my revolver.

Also, probably, some or all of the monsters may have elemental resistances or immunities, i.e.: you don't shoot a fireball into a fire elemental. Therefore people who can only control fire may need a regular waterhose to fight against efreets for example.

  • $\begingroup$ Agreed on the different weapon forms... but the effects of the skills go further. Even if you can control fire yourself, if you might be up against someone who can control fire, you don't want to be holding a revolver, or indeed anything that uses ignitable explosives. If your opponent can control solids, then you don't want to be wielding percussive explosives. If they can control water, your explosives can't be affected by damp. Depending on the abilities of the people, combat as we know it might not even exist - everything could be done by remote sensing and assassination. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 5:26
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    $\begingroup$ @DewiMorgan Isn't it more like, if they can control solids, you don't want to be standing on ground. If they can control fire, you don't want to be in an oxygen atmosphere. If they can control water, you don't want to have any drinking water with you, and it better not be raining. My point is, unless you put some heavy limitations there, things turn silly really quickly. $\endgroup$
    – hyde
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ Good point, @hyde! :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ What the freet is an efreet? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 20:13
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    $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon - Basically a Fire Elemental $\endgroup$
    – Malady
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 2:19

There are many different reasons why people would come to realise that weapons are still very much needed.

1: Now that they've etched out a home base, they want to explore the rest of this strange place they know so little about, therefore encounter creatures they didn't know anything about and need a new means to combat them.

2: Because their magic can 'run out', they need a means to continue fighting or risk dying anyway.

3: Now that survival isn't as pressing an issue --against the 'monsters' at least-- politics start back up. This leads to infighting, and they need a different (i.e. stealthy) means of 'dealing with' their competition.

4: New circumstances lead to new motif to adapting in order to survive. For example: A group of sentient (or at least smart enough) 'monsters' decides hunting them is a good idea.

There are dozens of reasons why they'd need it. What makes the most sense to you?

  • Condition Management : If you are a mage that shot fire, maybe you are carrying around a bunch of napalm to dispense at a moment's notice. Or you carry a powerful super soaker if you control water, because you are in a desert. If the magic requires certain conditions, you best well make sure those conditions are always within a fingertip.
  • Consistancy : If you are running a organization, be it a police force or a army, maaayyybbeee having your agents running around with explosive magic would do more collateral damage than meeting your goals. Sometimes you just want to do a little damage, versus whatever the heck your people are running around with. Bonus PR for not torching/drowning/crushing criminals.
  • Equalizer : Guns were made because not everyone can fight with swords, and animals run much faster than us. In this world, not everyone would have the ability to perfect such a skill, such as tradesmen or diplomats. Such people would have plenty of motivation to make sure some young apprentice won't just shake them down for all they're worth.
  • Fallback : You state that your mages can become tired after expending their magic for too long. Rather than being a sitting duck, they might keep another weapon around that will at least do the job if they are fighting another of their ilk.

Magic in your case is a power weapon, quite literally. It's common in video games to have such things, like a rocket launcher for instance. You may have only one shot with it, so when you pick one up, you make sure you use it wisely. That's just pragmatism, you only use has much force as necessary and conserve your firepower for when you'll actually need it.

Weapons tools made to kill other things, animals, humans or otherwise. And that are specifically designed to make this as easy as possible. By the way you describe it, it will always cost more energy to kill someone with a fireball than to kill someone with a weapon. So save energy, use guns*.

*Note: This is terrible advice out of context.

In a modern setting, it's guns all the way. You know you've heard once in your life that guns don't kill people, and really that's true, the gun isn't sentient, it's just a tool. But it does make killing other people bloody easy. You barely need any training. It's so easy a kid can do it and that's sadly true.

It doesn't mean magic doesn't have its uses. It's also a tool, but a different one. A very powerful, very costly tool. If you have to blow a hole in a wall in a hurry, it's useful. If you can use lightning to zap a vehicle's systems out, it's useful. It could be use to intimidate your enemy, or it could be used as a replacement for a grenade. There's a cost to using magic, just like there's a cost to using your rocket launcher ammo on that one guy. Sometimes it's worth it, possibly because you can't win otherwise. Sometimes it's not, and bullets are just a more effective solution.

In a lower tech setting, crossbows and bows are acceptable substitutes to firearms, although it would make magic would be comparatively even more powerful and less expensive. To the caster though, it will cost the same regardless, but the reload time on a crossbow is significantly higher than with an assault rifle, so it may be just slightly faster to throw magic rocks than it would be to reload a crossbow, aim and fire.

There's nothing a knight in heavy armor could do to stop a wizard from cooking them with a fireball, save for getting their sword inside said wizard fast enough. Generally speaking, I think it would be a good idea to stay in melee range. They can't use AoE magic against you (like fire, because convection), and if it takes time/focus to cast a spell, they can't really afford that cost when there's the imminent threat of a sword coming for their spine.

People in a medieval setting may also be very impressionable, so using magic might convince them to just run the eff away and not look back.

In your case of fighting against giant monsters, you'll probably need powerful weapons. Not knowing anything about those creatures, I'd throw everything I got. That includes magic, but that also includes tanks, trebuchets or other siege/artillery weapons. Always consider good ol' blunt force.


Elements are a powerful force, and very hard to control. Using them against those dangerous creatures is important because those creatures are powerful, too. But using them in fighting less powerful, normally dangerous animals (think the analogue of wolves or lions) would be like using nukes on unreliable missiles against them. So the people reserve the use of the elements to fighting only those powerful creatures where they have no other options, and fight against normally dangerous animals with normal weapons.


To use on each other.

One can assume that after several generations (probably even in the first generation, given the nature of humans) society will start to split up into different groups (different geographical regions or different cultures, whatever the reason), and each of these groups will want to look after its own interests. Also, there is no way, especially after the whole monster situation stabilises, that you won't find some groups of bandits/thieves/whatever trying to take advantage of other humans, so we also have criminals.

Now, the "magic" mentioned might be very powerful, but if everyone is a wizard, then no-ones a wizard. Humans will need some sort of edge over each other. These weapons are quite likely to incorporate these magic powers anyway, enhancing or exploiting them. Leaders will want the edge over criminals for peacekeeping reasons, so will develop weapons, and criminals will illegally acquire these weapons. Different regions will want to protect themselves with some sort of military that is superior to an ordinary human and will also develop weapons.

So, tl;dr: Human nature means that at some point someone will require or desire a superiority over other people, which means developing a weapon with a considerable edge over the "natural" magical abilities. The other side will match, and try to outdo this, and it should lead to a typical arms race as seen on earth.


Avatar casus: - Look at me! I can control water!
- Control this you shot him in the face with an arrow

  • I can control metal!
  • That's why my dagger is made from obsidian.

Also controlling elements don't mean you are not vulnerable to assassinations and other surprise attacks.


In a way, you already some answers:

  1. Magic, like any other action, requires energy, continual use of magic will draw on your stores of energy much like strenuous exercise does.

They develop weapons, so it's less tiring to fight. They will probably skip weapons like swords or clubs, because it's to much work to fight with them.

  1. Magic is also limited for anyone by their line of sight.

So they will invent weapons for indirect attacks, like bows and arrows or mortars.

  1. every person can control at least one element

A person who controls only one element, might come into situations, where this one element is not available or not suitable to fight with.

And then there is another thing:

  1. Uniformaty

For military tactics, the individual combat skills are often less important, than the uniformity of the solders, so the commanders can send 1000 men without having to analyze the individual skills of everyone of them. Standardized weapons reduce the individuality of the solders, so it may not be important if one of them is only able to conjure a small spark and another can make roaring flames, if the weapons they use just need a spark.


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