There are several common forms the system as the whole can take:
- Opposites: In this style, elements are arranged in pairs in which the members defeat each other. In most common cases, Fire beats Water/Ice and vice-versa, and so do Light and Darkness towards each other. As the result, the advantage is usually on the side that makes the first move.
- Cyclical: Following the rules of RockPaperScissors more closely, this is when a work has three elements or more that interact with one another in a way that their advantages all form into a close loop. For example, in Wu Xing, Fire melts Metal, Metal cuts Wood, Wood binds Earth, Earth absorbs Water and Water quenches Fire.
- Combinations of the above: It is not unheard of for a work to feature separate groupings of elements where each group employ one of the above styles. If a work uses this arrangement, usually Light and Darkness are grouped in opposition, while the rest are arranged in a cycle.
- Assymetrical: In this arrangement (if you can call it that), one element is advantageous again another, but there is another element that's strong against two. One element has three weakness, another has four. Rather than a clear cycle or lines with each of them having two elements on opposite ends, all you see is a messy web. Squint closer and you may be a cycle here or there, but unless established within the game's lore, it's coincidental. Unless the inferior element has a compensating quirk, unbalance within the elemental system is inevitable and players would just go for the best for an easy win.
Common Effectiveness Among Elements
Below are the list of elements and their usual strengths/weaknesses against other elements and/or classes:
- Darkness (Alt. Name: Shadow)
- Against Light — Light and Dark are conflicting forces who are strong against each other, but weak as a defense. Therefore, just as how Light is usually effective against the undead and other evil beings such as demons, Dark is effective against "good" beings such as angels and divine beings, especially when they are rather antagonistic.
- Against Fire — Earth is sometimes strong against fire as dirt is one of them ways to smother the flames out. However, if it is grouped together with Plants as Nature in general, it would be weak to fire instead.
- Against Ice — Usually weak
- Against Lightning — Earth is usually strong against Lightning as they can ground electricity.
- Examples of earth being strong against lightning: Pokémonnote
- Against Water — Earth is usually weak against water as it can be slowly eroded away by the river flow. On the flip side, earth can be strong against water instead and the land absorbs water for plants to grow on. This is doubly so when Earth is grouped together with plant powers.
- Examples of earth being strong to water:
- Examples of earth being weak to water: Pokémonnote
- Against Wind — Earth is sometimes utterly ineffective against wind as attacks from underground cannot reach targets flying high in the sky; and like water, it can be gradually eroded away by wind blows. Other times, the two elements are seen as polar opposites like light and darkness.
- Examples of earth being strong against wind:
- Examples of earth being weak against wind:
- Mixed examples: Pokémonnote
- Against Ice — Fire is typically strong against ice as they melt under the heat. At worst, Ice would, in turn, be also strong against fire; as coldness deprive the fire from heat to stay alive; making the two Mutual Disadvantage against each other. However, there are cases where ice is treated as water. In these cases, fire would be completely weak against ice instead.
- Against Lightning — Normally, fire is neutral against lightning, but in a few case where are few elements available (such as in the form of Fire, Ice, Lightning) and they all form into a cycle, fire's effectiveness to lightning goes either away depending on Fire'e effectiveness against the third party.
- Against Plant — Fire is typically strong against plant, as wood easily burns.
- Examples of fire being strong against plant: Pokémon
- Against Water — Fire is usually weak to water, as fire gets quenched off. In the best case scenario, fire is treated as water's opposite, and it'll be simultaneously strong against water through its heat evaporating the volume off.
- Against Wind — Fire is typically strong against wind as oxygen blown is fueled in.
- Ice (Alt. Name: Cold)
- Light (Alt. Name: Holy)
- Lightning (Alt. Name: Electric, Thunder)
- Against Plant — Lightning is not very strong against plant as it can be grounded through its roots. It can even be weak against plant when the latter is grouped together with earth.
- Against Water — Usually strong
- Against Wind — Sometimes strong
- Plant (Alt. Name: Grass, Nature, Wood)
- Against Water — Usually strong
- Wind (Alt. Name: Air)