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The Art of War:
The Role of the Elements
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Nature and the Elements
The energy that governs all things is divided into eight discrete types. An understanding of these types of energy is a step towards understanding anything in our world. Even in the heat of battle, such knowledge can point the way to victory.

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The elemental composition of magic spells, those indispensable parts of any battle, is well known.

The moon changes color nightly as energy flows between earth and moon, changing the dominant element of the land. At least that's what one alchemist says.

If you believe his story, then we are always under the influence of subtle energies--whether we know it or not.

While the distant moon cannot be compared to our world, energy does run through our atmosphere.

Rain, snow, lightning, and all the assorted forms of weather are products of the various types of energy.

These elements permeate all of creation and affect all that exists.

More and more adventurers are coming to the conclusion that understanding this relationship is even more important than the layout of the battlefield.

The Weapon Skills

There are eight elements that make up our world. We can see their energy with our eyes and feel it on our skin. Those who truly know their own weapons often have revelations about these elements.

Those who dedicate themselves to the use of a single weapon and wield it as if it were a part of their own body discover new techniques.

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These mysterious techniques are called "Weapon Skills."

Those who grasp these techniques have sharpened their reflexes to a point where they can bring concentrated energy forth from their weapons.

The energy released by weapon skills is best thought of as being culled from the surrounding air, which carries a weak energy field.

Of course it is hard to believe that something in such low concentration can be made to flare up in such a fashion, but even weak energy fields can hold strong destructive power when focused.

And that's exactly what a weapon skill is.

However, it is not entirely understood why such effects exist.

What is certain is that the key component to weapon skills is actual combat experience with the weapon.

Most adventurers have been making good use of weapon skills as of late. Just as magic users rely on magic, other adventurers rely on their weapon skills.

The Flow of Energy

The elements that govern all of creation are divided into eight types. Under specific conditions, in the same way that gunpowder explodes when provided a simple spark, the latent elemental energy of Vana'diel coalesces into great destructive power. When this happens several times in a row, the power released is greater than the sum of its parts.

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This is called a "skillchain." But why do skillchains cause such powerful energy to be released?

The answer is that nobody really understands a great deal about skillchains, aside from the fact that adventurers learn how to use them in the course of their adventures.

However, new facts regarding the use and effects of skillchains have come to light. Energy brought forth by skillchains builds on magical effects of a similar type to bring forth more power.

If, for example, you use a fire-based weapon skill such as Red Lotus Blade and follow it up with a Fire spell, the effects will combine to release extra fire energy, creating an amazing attack.

This particular effect is called a "Magic Burst," and its use among adventurers is growing.

Creating these effects is not something one can simply do alone; it takes great practice and heroic teamwork to create skillchains and magic bursts effectively.

It's not something that happens overnight.

To that extent, many consider the successful application of skillchains to be the "essence of battle."

It is now standard practice for parties of all levels to incorporate elemental attacks into their battle plans.

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Taken from: Vana'diel Tribune Issue No. Extra I

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