FIRE and ICE
The Elemental Companion
Designers: Robert J. Defendi and Lyn Mortensen
Reviewed by Brent Knorr, 2002
Rolemaster Fire and Ice, The Elemental Companion is the first new product to be released by ICE since it was revived in late 2001. This is a complete reinvention of the Elemental Companion, not a rewrite of the original Elemental Companion. The original Elemental Companion is considered by many to be one of the most unbalanced books to ever be produced for Rolemaster Second Edition. By comparison, this new Elemental Companion seems very well balanced and the professions and spell lists in this book should fit in well with any existing game.
The first section of the book covers definitions of the Elements and the theory of how they interact. There are six basic Elements, these are divided into two complementary triads, each with an energy component, a fluid component, and a matter component. The first triad consists of Fire, Water, and Ice, the second of Light, Air, and Earth. Each triad can be cycled in either direction, one direction is a cycle of creation, the other direction is a cycle of destruction. There are also two additional Arcane Elements, Nether, which can be created if both triads cycle in the direction of destruction, and Aether, which will be created if both triads cycle in the direction of creation.
As it states in the book, much of the theory is intuitive, but much of it is counter intuitive as well. It’s an interesting theory which is well explained, but still takes some getting used to. Once you get the hang of it, I think it works quite well.
Next, there is a description of the various Planes, including a brief discussion on Elemental Lords and Elemental Gods. The Elemental Lords get a more detailed treatment later in the book.
This is followed by sections covering the Elemental Professions and Training Packages, along with the Spell Lists that go with them. The first profession is the Elementalist, a pure spell user. This is divided into six specialties, one for each of the basic elements. All the Elementalists have three base spell lists in common, then have three additional spell lists that differ according to their specialty.
The other professions are the Elemental Champion, a semi-spell in the realm of Essence, and the Arcane Elementalist, a spell user who understands the flows of all the elements, rather than being restricted to one element.
The Spell lists are well done, the authors did a good job of giving them an individual feel, I think they achieved their stated goal of giving each of the Elementalists a unique feel.
The next section is Elemental Beings, which updates some of the Elementals which are listed in Creatures and Monsters, and presents several new creatures as well. This is followed by a section on Elemental Corruption and Poisoning. This covers the effects of exposure of mundane material (such as Player Characters and their belongings) to pure or nearly pure elemental material. Some of the effects can be quite interesting, my personal favorite is under “Missile Deflector”. “Air currents eddy and flow around the being, constantly whipping light objects about if not secured… Most people (especially librarians) and animals will shun a being with this trait.”
A related topic is covered last, Elemental Item Enchantment, which is basically a process of corrupting an item with elemental material under controlled (or mostly controlled) conditions.
Overall, this is a very well written book that should fit well into an existing Rolemaster Campaign. An errata sheet for the book can be found on the ICE Website at http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?action=tpmod;dl=item252 . There is also an Elemental Addendum available that has additional material that wasn’t included in the book because of space reasons (http://store.ironcrown.com/detail.jsp;jsessionid=aaagyAQoCxeOVz?itemId=6880&category=2039 ).
Both of the authors are also active on the ICE Forums, the Guild Companion forums and the Rolemaster Mailing list and have been more than willing to answer questions about the book. And, as is pointed out in the Introduction to the book, and bears repeating here, to clear up a common misconception, Lyn is a guy, so please be careful with your pronouns if you’re asking him a question 🙂
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