The Basic Concept of Air Magic
To use air magic in roleplay is to have a character make use of charms, runes, and spells to supernaturally manipulate the elemental force of air. At its most intuitive level, a magician using air magic has the ability to move air around at his will so long as he has the runes and physical energy to continue. As with most magics, there is a direct correlation between the experience/skill of a magician, the quantity of air he can control at once, and the intricacy with which he can control it. So, a mid-level air-magician could either roughly control a large mass of air or could delicately control a small mass of air.
The ways to combat an enemy with air magic are really only limited to the creativity of the player and his character. That being said, there are three common techniques for attacking with the air. These include pushing, abrading, and sawing.
"Pushing" is perhaps the most intuitive use of air magic. The idea for this technique is that the air does not actually do the damage, but rather delivers the combatant to what will. The magician uses the air to pick his enemy up and throw him somewhere harmful (against a wall, over a cliff, into a sword rack) or to pick something harmful up and throw it at the enemy (a blade, a rock, an arrow). Pushing is dangerous in a similar way to a tornado; the wind doesn't actually hurt the victim - what hits him along the way is what really does damage.
"Abrading" is exactly what it sounds like - the magician uses the wind at excessive speeds to gradually wear away the defenses or, more dangerously, the skin of his opponent. This offensive technique is not as quick as the others, but is much trickier for a victim to escape. By running streams of air around a victim at high speeds, the friction of the air against the victim becomes so much that it actually begins to scrape away the surface layers of whatever it touches. For weaker mages, targeted abrasions would be much easier and more effective - so, say, a weak mage would try to wear the skin off of his enemy's face or hands.
"Sawing," then, is a hyper-focused variant of the abrasion technique. In this method, a mage would accelerate air into a disc-like cyclical motion. Given the abrading traits of air, this disc of air would function much like an electric circular saw does today. The mage would launch this air-saw at his enemy like a projectile and upon contact it would start to drill into his defenses in the same way as a slashing blade, dispelling when it had experienced enough friction with the victim's body or shield to slow down and be ineffective.
"Suffocating" would be the process of removing a sufficient amount of air from the target's space, thus preventing them from taking in oxygen as their body needs. Alternatively, one could resort to a Strangulation version in which the mage would condense the air around the target's neck in order to halt their breathing in a more forceful manner. These techniques may prove futile if attempted by an amateur mage, as deep concentration, focus, and power are needed to sustain these techniques for long periods of time. The slightest interruption could render the entire process a waste of time.
Environmental factors can come into play, as air magic can be used to kick up sand or dust, or break rooftiles from above your opponent's head, to give some examples. Manipulating your environment makes you a more comprehensive magical combatant and gives you more skill in fighting your opponents.
Defending with air magic is just like attacking with it - the possibilities are limited only by creativity. Three basic ways to defend against an assailant pushing (again), boosting, and veiling.
"Pushing," as before, is the most intuitive approach to defending a mage with air magic. Like in offense, the magician would use the air to push his assailant or his weapons to a safe distance. Large gusts of air could push a melee enemy back or even knock him over. They could also be used to blow a shield or sword out of the enemy's hands and to knock an arrow into a different trajectory. If the enemy and his weapons can't reach the mage, he remains safe.
"Boosting," then, is when the mage uses his control over the air to advance his own abilities. He could step out of the way and accelerate the movement faster than he he normally able by pushing himself forward with a burst of air and moving the air out of the space he intends to fill, creating a vaccuum effect. He could also use the air to help him reach places that would otherwise be difficult to access (and much harder for an armored assailant) by perhaps leaping and boosting himself up farther than he would normally go. This method, like most others, is flexible given the environment and circumstances.
"Veiling" is a sort of debuffing tactic to use against an assailant. The premise of veiling is to somehow throw a veil over one of the enemy's senses. For example, if he had wind constantly rushing in and around his ears, his hearing would be rendered useless. It's rare to come across a fighter who can keep his eyes wide open in the face of heavy winds that pull tears, and so inflicting this on him would drastically limit visibility and peripherals. It could blow scents away from a werewolf and dull a touch by taking up nerve attention with the friction of the air.
Defending Against It
The key to staying safe to air magic is to either disable the mage, dodge the spell, or prevent it from hitting you. Disabling the mage is a basic idea - if he can't cast the magic spells, you won't be harmed by them. The way to go about disabling him depends on your combat style. Dodging spells works mostly for projectile-type fighting methods, particularly "sawing" attacks and "pushing" attacks that throw dangerous objects at you. The simple answer for these is to get out of the way or out of range. The "dodge" equivalent of "pushing" that throws you around is to hold your ground by planting your feet or bracing against a sturdy object. If all else fails, though, prevent the spell from colliding with you by using some kind of barrier method. Put another element - especially water or earth - between you and your enemy air magician. Jump under water or behind a building or rock. Wooden or ceramic shields work well against air magic, and any kind of leather armor will weaken the effects of a magical spell or, even better, cancel them entirely.
Air magic has a number of practical uses outside of combat. The following is a list of potential ways to use air magic in everyday or commercial life.
- A strong air mage would be very useful to sailors or a navy. He could produce gusts of wind to propel ships even on days where the air is still.
- With the right equipment, an air mage could fly. While this would be an exhaustive magical effort for a bare, plain human, the use of a glider, balloon, or similar apparatus could make flight very much a possibility.
Common MistakesThis category addresses traits that players, often new ones,give their air mage characters but that aren't actually legitimate or acceptable traits in users of air magic.
- Just because you can use air magic doesn't mean that you can use all of it effectively in every way. A 23 year old human would be competent if he had committed a lot of study to the one elemental magic, but the realm of expert is not yet within his grasp. Remember, if everyone is a prodigy, no one is a prodigy, and what not.
- Typically, role players accept generating one level of spell per turn. That means an air spell the size of a wind strike would be at full power immediately. In contrast, to build up to a wind wave, your magician would have to avoid the enemy for a few turns in order to operate it at full power.
- As with most magics, metal conducts air magic. Air magic that comes into contact with an enemy in metal armor would most likely accelerate through the armor and continue on its trajectory.
- Also like most magics, leather weakens air magic. Air magic that comes into contact with an enemy in leather armor (especially dragonhide) would lose a lot of its power and do much less damage than it otherwise would have.