Elemental Uses: Earth Can Be Fun

Jura from Fairy Tail

The last of this element series is one that doesn’t get as much attention as the others because it has a lot of limitations.  Earth isn’t an element that can be rationalized very easily if it comes from the human body.  Water and wind can be considered components of the wielder and fire is associated with emotions or body heat.  Earth requires using what is around a person, so it’s almost entirely manipulation of pre-existing materials.  That means an earth user will have areas that prevents them from operating such as the open ocean, the sky, and things composed entirely of ice.  So, I’m going to start by showing a way that these weaknesses can be countered.

Bags of Dirt

Seriously, this is something that such a person would consider.  If the bag is enchanted to hold an incredible amount then that’s even better.  You can also have multiple bags with different minerals like dirt, iron shavings, and gemstones.  Only a few works let metal and jewels fall under this category.  Even then, they’re typically extensions or powerful variations that are only known by a few.  Yet, these don’t fall under any of the other element categories.  There isn’t even a crossing over like magma/lava being both fire and earth.  Anyway, someone who specializes in this could very well bring their medium along to avoid getting caught defenseless.  One could also refuse to bathe and use the dirt from their body, but that’s fairly gross.

Offense and Defense

This element lends itself to brute force pretty easily, which is why you see the standard boulder hurling and creating pillars from the ground.  On a grander scale, a character can create earthquakes, landslides, and sinkholes.  You also have those who will create weapons and armor from the earth around them.  These can get more interesting if you allow the manipulation of metal and gems.  For example, an earth wielder can create a sword from the nearby rocks, but add a diamond edge to it.  Weight is something that can be played with too here.  If they are able to control the material then it’s possible for them to be swinging a giant sword by their power more than their physical strength.

Defenses are your typical shields and walls, but one that is rarely used is weapon and armor destruction.  These tend to be magical or physical strength abilities, but earth wielders can feasibly do these as well.  Metal armor or at least the metal clips can be sundered with a blow.  Swords and spearheads can be shattered as well as the tips of incoming arrows.  This can range from breaking to turning the item into dust, which makes this character even more dangerous.  They become a threat to one’s gear as well as one’s life.  Not easy to get a new suit of armor or weapon in the middle of a fight.

Transportation

Like wind wielders with flight and water wielders with waves, those who manipulate earth can move people around.  It could be as simple as having a chunk of the ground lift and float along, but they can also be more subtle.  Maybe create beasts of earth that carry the group or, in a modern setting, control a car by manipulating the metal parts.  This does make it sound like magnetism falls under this element, which is entirely possible and up to the author.

Daily Life

The list of jobs that this power could help with is pretty long.  Construction is probably the easiest choice since you can make buildings without help.  Of course, this requires training and research to make a stable structure.  Betting we’d love a crew of earth wielders to fix bridges and eliminate pot holes too.  Aside from that, I can see some uses in any job that requires metal tools.  This can range from staplers to kitchen knives.  Other uses can be with jewelry and pottery.

Outside of a career, this power can be used to help with yard work, gardening, and home repairs.  Imagine being able to create or alter a stone patio whenever you desire.  You can keep it looking like new by using your power to protect it from the weather as well.  There’s also a sensory aspect that we’ll get into.

Vibrations and Weak Points

By being in tune the element, an earth wielder gets a similar ability to the wind and water ones.  As long as something is touching the ground, one can pinpoint their direction, speed, and possibly even the weight.  They could get a better picture if you say that the steps create a bridge of vibrations that allow one to pick up a heartbeat and movement of the bones.  This would require a lot of concentration and practice.  In the same vein, one would be able to find the weak points in structures.  This can be done to destroy a building or make repairs.

So, a lot of the earth advice revolves around including more than dirt, mud, and generic stones.  If you include metal and jewels then the versatility of this element grows ten fold.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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37 Responses to Elemental Uses: Earth Can Be Fun

  1. I like this one and am surprised they don’t get more action. City walls wouldn’t offer much protection against them, and jails wouldn’t hold them. Of course, part of the art here is to not give characters too much power.

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  2. L. Marie says:

    Another great post. And of course I think of earthbending in Avatar. I’m also reading a book called The Fifth Season, which involves a woman who is an earthbender of sorts. She can create earthquakes.

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    • Avatar is one of the reasons I think earth usage has become fairly limited. I remember being both impressed and disappointed in how it was used. Most times, it felt so bland when compared to the others.

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  3. I’m back. I’m surprised there isn’t more action here. These element posts are golden opportunities for conversation. Many paranormal style stories involve elemental magic and these conversations are useful. One cool trick in the writing is to create space for the sake of shock value. An innocent little girl who goes through a rough patch then suddenly causes sixty foot crystals to pierce the castle walls with the accompanying earthquake might come across well. Maybe she makes the mud on a tidal flat swallow an entire armada of ships. You could even have fun with a windless sandstorm, she isn’t an air user, but she can throw a lot of sand.

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  4. I have enjoyed this discussion and the subject of Earth as a force and defense.

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  5. Very interesting. I hadn’t ever really considered the pros and cons of Earth powers, thanks for the information.

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  6. I could see an Earth mage breaking a siege by creating a tunnel straight through a wall. Or maybe creating empty spaces in the earth that could cause a tower to collapse.

    Actually, I think in one of my books a group of magi brought a wall down by changing its state from solid stone to sand.

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  7. Pingback: Elemental Uses: Earth Can Be Fun — Legends of Windemere – MobsterTiger

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