[[quoteright:333:[[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Opening_Avatar_World_Map_5686.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:333: [-[[MakingASplash Water.]] [[DishingOutDirt Earth.]] [[PlayingWithFire Fire.]] [[BlowYouAway Air.]] [[OpeningNarration Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony.]] [[MemeticMutation Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.]]-] ]]

This is when the process of defining nations in {{fantasy}} settings is to have each group be under the domain of one kind of magic. The main appeal to this is, naturally, the easy convenience of being able to define who is from what nation, since they'll have the appropriate [[ElementalPowers elemental affinity]] to go with it, and the trappings of the culture itself will be clearly delineated by that element as well. This is often paired with tropes like SinglePaletteTown in order to get the full effect. On the downside, this can sometimes result in a PlanetOfHats situation on a small scale, since all members of a specific nation must, by definition, fit into the general archetypes of their nation's element.

Taken to extremes, the nation can fall prey to the problem of PoorPredictableRock.

Compare ElementalPlane.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* The Five Great Shinobi Countries in ''{{Naruto}}'' are the Lands of Wind, Earth, Water, Lightning, and Fire (the last being the homeland of the main cast), all of whom tend to produce ninja with a corresponding elemental affinity. However, it's subverted in that many, if not most, ninjas can use abilities that do not correspond to their respective national affinities; in fact, Naruto's own main affinity is wind, while most of the main cast his age specialize in NonElemental abilities and don't use ''any'' fire techniques.
** The names of the ninja villages play with this a bit; they ''do'' correspond with the names of their respective nations (Sand goes with Wind, Stone with Earth, Mist with Water, Cloud with Lightning, and Leaf with Fire), but they're also associated with abilities their respective villages are famous for; for example, the main founder of the Leaf was renowned for his [[GreenThumb wood-based]] abilities. The names also are a pretty clear indicator of the kind of environment each village is situated in.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'', though it's more of an Elemental ''Worlds'' thing there.
* ''Literature/TheBannedAndTheBanished'' series of books have a variety of different tribes/races associated with different elemental magic forms. Dryads and Earth, Elves and Air, Mountain tribes and Rock.
* Employed by the ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' series.
* In ''TheGreatTreeOfAvalon'' trilogy, each of the seven elemental realms has at least one race specifically attuned to the element, even though they usually aren't its sole inhabitants (this depends mainly on how inviting it is to other races; you won't find many humans willing to settle in Shadowroot or Waterroot for example).
* In Creator/SergeyLukyanenko and Creator/NickPerumov's novel ''Literature/WrongTimeForDragons'', the living part of the single continent of the [[MedievalEuropeanFantasy Middle World]] is largely split between the lands of the four Elemental clans. While most people living in the clans' territories are [[{{Muggles}} ordinary folks]], each Elemental clan is a [[TheMagocracy magocracy]]. The [[TheArchmage most powerful and experienced mage]] of each clan is in charge. Even low-ranking mages are automatically afforded more respect than non-magic folks. To be fair, though, there is every indication that the mages are not tyrants, and most genuinely care about their people and lands.
** The Water Clan is the most powerful, and its lands never experience drought. Their jewel is the city of Hundred Fields full of fountains, canals, water mirrors, and other wonders. Every night, a refreshing light rain washes all the grime and dirt into the river.
** The Air Clan rules from a mountain peak called the Fang of the Four Winds, although the actual administrative center is the nearby city of Horsk. The winds whisper to the Air mages of things happening all over the world and, sometimes, beyond.
** The Earth Clan has the most fertile lands and the most profitable mines. Their capital of Feros is not exactly beautiful, though, being a largely industrial city. Like their element, the Earth mages are fairly passive.
** The Fire Clan has the best combat mages, and their capital is unique in that it lacks any defensive fortifications, relying exclusively on Fire mages for protection. It's also the wealthiest clan, but it has little to do with magic and more to do with trade. Their capital of Oros is [[VolcanoLair almost entirely underground]]. Specifically, under the former center of power for the overthrown [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Winged Masters]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''MagicTheGathering'' does this fairly frequently. Aligning tribes with certain colours or colour combinations, which in different blocks can be associated with different elements.
** Taken to extremes in the Odyssey block (and the Onslaught block, which took place in the same setting) where the entire map was created simply by superimposing two colour wheels on the spare continent outline they had lying around.
** And the 5 Shards of Alara were elementals worlds; Alara broke in to 5 pieces, one for each color of mana, accompanied by the two allied colors. The design of each of the shards was based off a world with only 3 colors of mana (Bant is super organized and caste based, as it lacks the chaos of red or the jockeying for position of black, for example).
* The main setting in ''{{Exalted}}'', Creation, has the Elemental Poles of Fire (south), Water (west), Air (north), Wood (east) and Earth (center). The closer you get to the pole, the more prominent the element becomes; the south is a vast desert and then volcanoes, the west opens to a vast ocean, and the east is thicker and thicker forests. The people naturally try to adapt.
** Played with regarding the largest nation in Creation. [[TheEmpire The Realm's]] ruling caste, the Dragon Bloods, is made up of people who embody the various elements, but who aren't actually elementals (those are a separate thing). The played with aspect comes up in that they aren't divided politically by which element they embody; their divisions are based purely on politics.
* TabletopGame/DuelMasters has five civlizations that each had a distinct elemental theme: Light, Nature, Water, Fire and Darkness (think the colors of MagicTheGathering with the alignments of Green and Blue switched).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Toys ]]

* Used by the ''Toys/{{Gormiti}}'' toys and [[WesternAnimation/GormitiTheLordsOfNatureReturn TV show]].
* ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'': Mata Nui and Metru Nui were each divided into seven regions, six of which corresponded to the elements of Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Stone and Ice (the seventh was a neutral zone in the center). Voya Nui and Bara Magna mix things up a bit: Voya Nui has similar regions but all the inhabitants share a single settlement; while Bara Magna has the regions and color-coding, but none of its peoples have innate elemental powers and most do not have cultural traits unique to their regional tribe (those that do, the Rock and Sand tribes, can attribute their traits to being led by a different race rather than being from a certain region).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' uses this for all the defined nations. Though "magic" figures largely as a game mechanic, the cultures are all clearly influenced by the kinds of moonstones to which they have access: Valua has a strong industrial sector powered by electricity, Ixataca has lots of trees, and Yafutoma has ships that can fly unusually high. Nasr mostly just has sand, but its people manage. [[spoiler: The silver civilization were a race of nihilists.]]
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games, forest residents (Deku or Kokiri) have the Forest element; Gorons have the Fire element; Zoras have the Water element. This has more to do with their temple and artifacts than their magical abilities, since spellcasting isn't common in these games.
** Other races connected to elements (some of which are more abstract than anything) include the Gerudo (desert/[[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway spirit]]), Yeti (ice/snow), the Wind Tribe (air/wind), the Sheikah (shadow), and the Twili (Twilight).
* ''WorldOfWarcraft'' has the Elemental Plane, another dimension (or dimensions, it's not clear) dominated by elementals of certain types. The Firelands, for example, are inhabited by hellhounds, fiery scorpions and turtles, magma elementals of several shapes, sizes and levels of intelligence, and so on. While that doesn't exactly fit this trope, in the Cataclysm expansion, the elemental place(s?) have begun to intrude on Azeroth, setting the scene for elemental invasions and stuff.
* The Adept clans of ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' fall into this, particularly the [[PlayingWithFire Mars Clan]] of Prox, the [[MakingASplash Mercury Clan]] of Imil, and the (functionally-extinct) [[BlowYouAway Jupiter Clan]] of (vanished) Anemos. Lemuria would also qualify, being exclusively Mercury, though it doesn't identify as such as readily as the others. There's no sign of where or who the [[DishingOutDirt Venus Clan]] was, and Adepts of all four elements have been known to exist elsewhere.
** ''Dark Dawn'''s massive twist is that [[spoiler: Adepts exist outside the known elements... but we're promptly introduced to the [[CastingAShadow Umbra Clan]] of Tuaparang]], so this trope ''still'' applies.
* All of the faiths in LordsOfMagic, where each faith worships a different type of magic. (Includes the four standard elements, order, chaos, life, and death.)
* ''VideoGame/PokemonConquest'' features seventeen Kingdoms, each of which is associated with a Type from Pokemon. Amongst these are traditional elements, but also more "out there" types like Ghost and Dragon.
* ''TotalAnnihilationKingdoms'' the Kingdoms and their monarchs are based on the elements they control. Elsin and Aramon are earth, Kirenna and Veruna are water, Lokken and Taros are fire, Thirsha and Zhon are wind, The Sage and Creon are steel.
* [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]] is arguably an ice culture, the place itself is characterized by tundra, taiga and glaciers, the native Nords are resistant to it, some of the wildlife like the trolls are resistant to it but are vulnerable to fire, and the undead and Falmer favor frost spells.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' features this prominently. Elemental "bending" is limited to characters from the appropriately named nation that engages in use of that element. Moreover, the nations themselves are easily defined by those elements. The Air Nomads, when they were still around, largely lived in high-up temples to which only they could glide. The Water Tribe lives at the poles (where they are naturally surrounded by water), except for one offshoot that lives at a swamp (which is mostly surrounded by water). The Fire Nation is mostly close to the equator and has an inordinately large number of active volcanoes in its territory. The Earth Kingdom, in addition to being a massive landmass, is very rocky and mountainous with lots of caves.
** It's played with by the time ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' comes along though. Due to the complications caused by having the Fire Nation colonize part of the Earth Kingdom for a hundred years, with all the resulting cultural blending, those colonies developed into a fifth nation called the United Republic that's a mix of people from the Fire, Earth, and Water nations.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Explicitly averted by five powers of Literature/{{Lambda}}, mostly so it doesn't end up looking like Avatar with {{Magical Girl}}s, and also to avoid PoorPredictableRock.
----