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Nightmare Elements

by Rodger Burns

Been thinking about the Nightmare elements recently (which are Blackflame as Nightmare Fire, Terro as Nightmare Earth, Vischor as Nightmare Water, and Miasma as Nightmare Air) and thought that an interesting twist on them might be to have them be less 'pure' than their Normal Dimension counterparts. Specifically, there's not as simple a chain of Dominance as the Normal Dimension has; for Nightmare elements, you have to have two specific elements paired up to gain dominance over a third. (This is normally accomplished by a native of one elemental plane wielding a weapon forged from material from a second plane, though the diaboli and other 'Prime' spellcasting races have developed means of melding two elements together especially for battling Nightmare Elementals). Exact pairings would be as follows:

- Blackflame combined with Terro dominates Vischor.
- Terro combined with Vischor dominates Miasma.
- Vischor combined with Miasma dominates Blackflame.
- Miasma combined with Blackflame dominates Terro.
- Terro and Miasma are in opposition.
- Blackflame and Vischor are in opposition.

Stuff I think this would do for the Nightmare Elemental Planes: It'd shake them up a bit and make them a more freewheeling, commingled place since you have to buy weapons from a neighbor to acquire dominance over your other neighbor. The treasure hordes of elemental beings become more interesting, since there's a real reason for that Miasma elemental to have a sword of blackflame or three. If you're a Nightmare elemental and being invaded by an enemy who has dominance over you, steal or sabotage his equipment and you've got a level playing field. For each of the 'opposition' pairs, both sides have the potential to get dominance over the other (at the same time) by acquiring the right arsenal, making for short and bloody (and thus probably obnoxiously formalistic and distasteful) wars.

So does this actually make since to anybody other than myself, or strike anyone else as a good idea? Any related suggestions to spice up the mix or make it clearer?