Author Topic: The four elements in Chrono Trigger and being the stuff of the universe.  (Read 1112 times)

Scintillating_Void

  • Earthbound (+15)
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • I don't know.
    • View Profile
I am developing this theory for a fanfic, and I want to know if it actually makes sense, both by itself and in relation to CT canon. 

I must note that it is full of bad science.

Spekkio says that the universe is composed of four elements: sky, fire, water, and dark.  Of course this is rather different to most other element systems in fiction and lore which often include "earth" and "air".  One could see the more common element system (fire, earth, water, air) as metaphorical to plasma, solid, liquid, and gas-the four states of matter.  There is the matter of the Chinese system that uses "wood" and "metal" in place of "earth" and uses "earth" in place of a combined element, but I won't get into that.

So the way I am interpreting Spekkio is that sky, fire, water, and dark are metaphorical for deeper fundamentals of the universe. 

Sky- Sky spells that we see Crono cast involve lightning, light, and even "life"(though the character being revived is likely not actually dead but just knocked out). I would take "sky" or "heaven" to mean energy.  Energy is the currency of the universe and is present in the flow of elections and photons. 

Water-This is very tricky.  Water can be casted as is, or as ice.  Water also can be used for healing since hey, much of the body is water and water is fundamental to life as we know it (and Robo for some reason, because he can be healed too but okay its just the game).  Water does not mean much to the universe as a whole, yet water does have a lot of interesting properties.  Water is the combination of two elements, which alone are gasses, water dissolves a lot of substances which become suspended within it, water molecules also adhere to each other very well.  I would say that water represents some kind of force of cohesion, or even stability.

Fire-Fire is much more straightforward in CT, it's well, fire.  Fire is combustion, and the same forces that make fire possible are also responsible for even some biological processes.  Things like fire, or at least reminiscent of fire exist in outer space as things like supernova, stars, and solar flares.  I would relate fire to thinks like transmutation, change, energy, radiation, heat, etc.  Fire perhaps could be radiation(such as thermal energy) or instability, which nicely contrasts with water.  However there is a lot of overlap here with sky.

Dark-This is said to be a combination of the three elements above, or is it?  If it is, then it would not be an element.  It could however, be a shadow of these elements?  What would support that case if the spell names accurately tell what the spell does, would be the Dark Matter spell.  The other dark spell names include Black Hole and Dark Mist.  Black hole seems actually look like something sucking others into somewhere else.  I am somewhat tempted to call "dark", "entropy" or even "gravity", some kind of force in the universe that in a way is the "pull" away from energy that us also fundamental to it?  I am not sure but at least I vaguely seem to know what I am looking for. 

Still this is very tentative and probably needs a lot of bad comic book science to work.  Something that confounds me is that Marle seems to learn slow and haste, which are related to time.  Maybe this could be handwaved to actually speed and slow metabolic processes.  Or maybe Marle picked up a few things from going through gates a lot. 

Which also brings me to time.  Time could be the combination of all elements?  Maybe time and space are made from all the elements.  The happy "coincidence" that the CT party contains element users of all four types could be some kind of metaphor of unity/working together. 

The sprites of Crono and Frog casting show them to be releasing a force within themselves.  Marle looks like she is concentrating or praying.  Lucca looks like she is actually chanting something when she is casting.  Magus's casting animation is very different-he makes complex gestures and does not float as he casts.  I get the impression that Crono, Marle, Lucca, and Frog are channeling their element, acting like a conduit to it and releasing it.  Magus on the other hand is a trained mage, so he knows how to wield magic rather than just release it, this gives him more variety in casting, hence how he can cast spells not of his element and do things like fly, levitate, turn people into anthropomorphic frogs, and summon Lavos. 

In D&D terms the other party members are like sorcerers and Magus is a wizard.   Another way to put it is that it's like shouting vs. singing.  However it seems that perhaps maybe from Spekkio's power that Crono, Lucca, Marle, and Frog quickly learn to refine their magic to do things like healing and revive members, or it could be born from the fact they are learning by fighting.

I think that it is possible for someone to cast beyond their element, but it takes a lot of experience and knowledge to do so.  After all, the elements of the universe do not exist in isolation but fundamentally require each other to exist. 
 
Although the terms sky, water, fire, and dark are mostly metaphorical, when such forces of the universe are harnessed via magic, in their rawer forms do appear as their literal names because they are being channeled through the planet's power, hence having a relationship with the Dragonian elements of CC.  The natural phenomena themselves also contain that element of the universe more than others.

So what do you think?

xcalibur

  • Architect of Kajar
  • Chronopolitan (+300)
  • *
  • Posts: 382
    • View Profile
Re: The four elements in Chrono Trigger and being the stuff of the universe.
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 09:57:37 pm »
I'd like to make a couple points here.

First, you can combine Fire/Water/Heavens to create Dark (e.g. delta force), or you can combine just Fire/Water to create Dark (e.g. antipode does shadow damage). At no point do you combine Heavens with just one or the other.

Second, in the battle with Dalton Plus aboard the Epoch, he retaliates to your spells with the opposite type of magic (e.g. he responds to fire with ice2). If you use shadow, he casts lightning2.

We can deduce from this that Heavens/Dark are opposites, just like Fire/Water. It also seems that Heavens/Dark is the more powerful of the two pairs.

Based on the spells and overall character of the elements, its possible to speculate further. It seems to me that both pairs are a bit like the Yin-Yang. Fire is energetic, aggressive, bright, masculine, etc. while Water is soft, yielding, dark, feminine, etc. Likewise, Heavens is the Yang while Dark is the Yin.

To put it another way,

Heavens = light
Dark = matter
Fire = combustion
Water = cohesion

In addition to the Four Elements, there are other kinds of magic in CT. Lavos seems to have his own brand of magic, and then there's non-elemental magic (e.g. Poyozo Dance). Are non-elemental and Lavos magic the same thing, different, or overlapping? And how does this relate to the Four Elements?

I could see spacetime as being the combination of all four elements.

This post was a mix of facts and speculation, but this is the best I can come up with for now.

eta: I was thinking about how Heavens stands apart from the others, and Dark is more of a composite. I think this chart describes the elements well:

...Heavens
........|
FireŚ|ŚWater
.....\..|../
.......\|/
......Dark
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 11:21:28 pm by xcalibur »

Acacia Sgt

  • Radical Dreamer (+2000)
  • *
  • Posts: 2403
  • Forever loyal to the Acacia Dragoons
    • View Profile
Re: The four elements in Chrono Trigger and being the stuff of the universe.
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2017, 01:44:46 am »
First, you can combine Fire/Water/Heavens to create Dark (e.g. delta force), or you can combine just Fire/Water to create Dark (e.g. antipode does shadow damage). At no point do you combine Heavens with just one or the other.

Well actually, I'm pretty sure you can.

Final Kick and Gatling Kick cause Shadow/Dark damage. But Final Kick is Lightning II, Ice II, and Tripple Kick. While Gatling Kick is Lightning II, Fire II, and Tripple Kick. So Heaven can combine with just Ice or Fire to create Dark.

xcalibur

  • Architect of Kajar
  • Chronopolitan (+300)
  • *
  • Posts: 382
    • View Profile
Re: The four elements in Chrono Trigger and being the stuff of the universe.
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 02:54:39 am »
First, you can combine Fire/Water/Heavens to create Dark (e.g. delta force), or you can combine just Fire/Water to create Dark (e.g. antipode does shadow damage). At no point do you combine Heavens with just one or the other.

Well actually, I'm pretty sure you can.

Final Kick and Gatling Kick cause Shadow/Dark damage. But Final Kick is Lightning II, Ice II, and Tripple Kick. While Gatling Kick is Lightning II, Fire II, and Tripple Kick. So Heaven can combine with just Ice or Fire to create Dark.

you're right, I had overlooked those exceptions. so Heavens/lightning isn't really a 'standalone' element after all. I still think the elements are two pairs of opposites, but it seems that Dark really is the most powerful and advanced of all.

so it should be:

...Heavens
....|...|...|
....|...|...|
FireŚ|ŚWater
.....\..|../
.......\|/
......Dark

Scintillating_Void

  • Earthbound (+15)
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • I don't know.
    • View Profile
Re: The four elements in Chrono Trigger and being the stuff of the universe.
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 03:55:04 am »

First, you can combine Fire/Water/Heavens to create Dark (e.g. delta force), or you can combine just Fire/Water to create Dark (e.g. antipode does shadow damage). At no point do you combine Heavens with just one or the other.

Well actually, I'm pretty sure you can.

Final Kick and Gatling Kick cause Shadow/Dark damage. But Final Kick is Lightning II, Ice II, and Tripple Kick. While Gatling Kick is Lightning II, Fire II, and Tripple Kick. So Heaven can combine with just Ice or Fire to create Dark.

you're right, I had overlooked those exceptions. so Heavens/lightning isn't really a 'standalone' element after all. I still think the elements are two pairs of opposites, but it seems that Dark really is the most powerful and advanced of all.

so it should be:

...Heavens
....|...|...|
....|...|...|
FireŚ|ŚWater
.....\..|../
.......\|/
......Dark

Thanks for the input.  The element combo thing is something I didn't remember well from the game, but gives a lot to chew on.

I'm looking at that chart and to me it seems almost like Heaven is well...light and Dark is...heavy.  As if it's not just opposites but a process.  Things are created in the energy of light, then go through the process of cohesion/combustion/transmutation and then end in the dark.  Perhaps dark is some kind of force resulted from a sort of decay/transmutation of other elements?

Reminds me of the heat death of the universe sort of thing.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 04:01:56 am by Scintillating_Void »

xcalibur

  • Architect of Kajar
  • Chronopolitan (+300)
  • *
  • Posts: 382
    • View Profile
Re: The four elements in Chrono Trigger and being the stuff of the universe.
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 05:04:26 am »
Thanks for the input.  The element combo thing is something I didn't remember well from the game, but gives a lot to chew on.

I'm looking at that chart and to me it seems almost like Heaven is well...light and Dark is...heavy.  As if it's not just opposites but a process.  Things are created in the energy of light, then go through the process of cohesion/combustion/transmutation and then end in the dark.  Perhaps dark is some kind of force resulted from a sort of decay/transmutation of other elements?

Reminds me of the heat death of the universe sort of thing.

I was going to say that Heaven seems light, rarefied, noble etc. while Dark seems heavy, composite, and worldly; but I wasn't sure if that made sense or not.

Personally, it reminds me of mixing primary colors of paint to create a black color.

ThatGuy

  • Guardian (+100)
  • *
  • Posts: 141
    • View Profile
Maybe the fact that a physical attack is present makes some of the combinations shadow magic. Which brings us back to shadow type equating to matter while lightning type equates to life.

And then, again, if you combine all three types of energy in antipode, you again create matter. Or fire and water, being opposites, gives matter. (So maybe fire/water overrides lightning with all three.)

So the only two that don't combine are lightning and shadow, but shadow can emerge from them because of either the combination of fire/water, and/or the inclusion of a physical attack.

Also note that volt bite is lightning and physical, and does lightning damage. So, maybe lightning doesn't ever combine, to change, or only does so with physical and water or fire also present.