Elements of Caerlorn
Caerlorn is bound more tightly to magic than other worlds, for magic is the driving force for its creation and sustenance. Magic is bound to the six elements: Air, Dark, Earth, Fire, Light, and Water. Each of those elements are bound to one or two sources of energy: Electricity, Shadow/Negative, Acid, Fire, Radiant/Positive, and Cold. Through these forces, element and energy, all things live and all climates are controlled. Unlike other worlds in the Material Plane, Caerlorn’s climate is not based on physics but rather on elemental convergence; for example, the Shalthim Desert is an area where the elements of Light, Fire, and Earth have converged, but there is a particularly strong convergence of Water there that sustains the Agentar and Inbrox Rivers. Conversely, the Wastes of Nallaag are bound almost exclusively to Dark, which is why it is so difficult for any living thing to exist there, for all living things need a little of every element to survive.
Due to this, the elements form a lifeblood for Caerlorn and everything that lives there. This lifeblood can be accessed by any that can use magic, whether inherently, by study, or by faith. Mages call this lifeblood of magic ley lines, and they access this power in order to use their powers. Practically every spell uses some element, whether singly, jointly, or in some integrated fashion. Many spells that do not seem to be connected to any one element are actually an integrated collection of elements. When all the elements are integrated together, that creates force, and force is a driving force for most spells. Its opposite, void, is a complete absence of element and is far more rare and difficult to control, usually only seen in powerful spells such as disintegrate. Sonic is a by-product of the elements, so every spell that uses sonic has some other display of another element, such a small bolt of lightning or a piece of ice that shatters.
The elements serve as the foundation of all that happens in Caerlorn, and the people take comfort in that fact. Control of the six elements is what true magic is, whether is control by faith, by knowledge, or by blood. Though some may search for deeper truths in the elements and their composition, most do not have this philosophical bent and simply accept what is.
One special phenomena that has occurred because of this infusion of the elements in Caerlorn is arcent stone. Arcent stone is a magical inhibitor that can be refined to be a magical conductor. Unworked arcent stone draws all elemental power to itself, hindering magical use around it. For most places, this is a minor hindrance, causing a most a -3 penalty to concentration and Spellcraft checks, but in areas where it is concentrated—such as Aldebar and Theldrún—it can actually stop the use of magic altogether; in areas like these, a concentration check is required to even cast a spell. On the other hand, if arcent stone is properly refined and worked, it can enhance a spellcaster’s ability. It may either cancel the penalties from being in a arcent-concentrated area, or it may grant a +3 bonus to all concentration and Spellcraft checks of the spellcaster who carries it. Every arcent focus is different and created personally by the spellcaster that uses it for the cost listed; there is no Craft check, no raw material cost, and the spellcaster him/herself creates the item by channeling magical energies to do so. A normal arcent focus costs 100 gp and weighs 1/2 lbs., while a masterwork (more refined) arcent focus costs 500 gp, weighs 1/2 lbs., and grants an additional +3 bonus to all concentration and Spellcraft checks (meaning it gives a +6 bonus when not in an arcent-concentrated area). A masterwork arcent focus can only be crafted by a spellcaster that can cast 3rd level spells. A spellcaster from either Theldrún or Aldebar receives a normal arcent focus for free, much like a wizard character receives his/her first spellbook for free.
Arcent stone is also useful in crafting magic items and binding outsiders. When used to craft a magic item, arcent stone lowers the raw materials price by 1/4 (in other words, the crafter only needs to pay 3/8 the total cost in raw materials) and adds a +5 bonus to the skill check to craft the item. The amount of arcent stone required to accomplish this costs 10 gp per pound of weight of the finished item. If he is using it to bind an outsider, he gains a +5 bonus to his opposed Charisma check to bargain with the outsider; the amount of arcent stone needed to accomplish this costs 2,500 gp.
Raw arcent stone costs 100 gp per pound; refined arcent stone is not traded, as it is personally refined by the spellcaster who will be using it.