Tiny invisible helpers! Yay.
Constructs are quite simple in concept, and quite often simple in methodology as well. They are masses of energy which have been molded into a specific shape in order to carry out a function. Depending on the level of a construct, however, they may not be quite so simple. They can range anywhere from a mere sphere of energy which is assigned to energy gathering, to a fully-thinking, fully-conscious, independant entity. They are not restricted to just energy-gatherers, nor are they always intended to do highly specific functions. Their uses can be more general as well.
You begin with a mass of energy (the size of which will depend on the level of complications involved in the chosen construct), and you form it into a shape of your choosing. You then need to "program" it. Programming is really nothing more than telling the energy what you want it to do. It will follow your orders, generally without argument.
For example, if you want a construct to gather Earth energy for you, you would create a construct (you can choose the form as you wish), and think to it as you create it, that you want it to gather energy from the Earth. However, as a logical step to make things easier on the construct, you would place it near ground. This would make it easier for the construct to gather the energy from the source it was told to.
To make a construct to gather Fire energy, you would create a construct (again, in the form that you wish) and think to it that you want it to gather energy from fire. The easiest way to do this is to tell it to gather, more specifically, from heat. (Fire is not always an easy source to find - Candles left alight will burn out, or pose a threat of falling over and causing a housefire, for example.) Heat is in everything above 0 degrees Kelvin, so you will even be able to gather heat in the dead of winter. Just not as much.
Alternately, if you wanted to make an EFFECTIVE (though somewhat complex) construct to gather directly from actual fire, you would be best off making two. A seeker and a vessel. The vessel would be a construct which would sit somewhere and would generally be the container for the energy. The seeker would be required to store energy as well (or else it would not be able to deposit the energy into the vessel construct), though it would not be the primary storage unit.
The seeker would have to be designed for traveling (wings, legs, wheels, ability to fly...whatever form you wish), and a cloaking feature (or if you do not know how to do this, an instruction to hide itself well) would be highly advised to keep wandering eyes from seeing it and destroying it under the false assumption that it is a threat. It would require the ability to travel because, as a 'seeking' unit, it would be the one which would go out and find active sources of fire, absorb from them, and then return to the vessel construct, and deposit the energy there. It would also be advisable to tell the vessel construct to create more seeker units. The more gatherers you have, the more rapidly energy will build up.
Also, the Seeker unit would likely be considered a 'thinking' construct. It would be required to have at least basic instincts, as far as finding the sources and absorbing them. There are also more advanced
types. They are often called 'Drones'. They are the ones which are generally assigned to guarding a person, though they have many more uses as well.
However, this is merely a tutorial - Using someone else's techniques word-for-word is like wearing someone else's underwear. It is a good idea to figure out your own uses for such things, or else you will not develop your own ways of doing things.
Though, I have recieved a request for a more in depth tutorial on drones, as well as one for weapons, so why not?
Drones are rather simple, though they can at times be somewhat difficult to deal with. They are generally very agreeable with the ones who create them, though that does not mean that rebellion is to be ruled out. Whenever creating a drone, no matter the level of complexity, power, or anything else, you must always keep the thought in mind that the drone will never rebel against you. It is normally in your best interests to include this in its instructions as well.
They can take on any form you wish. They can be of humanoid form, or anything else. Feline, bird, canine, dragonic, or any other form that you can think up. Also keep in mind that, just because you are restricted to a mere one or two elements, that does not mean that they are. It is rather low to think of them in such a way, but it is an unavoidable fact - Most drones which are used for combat end up dead. Not all, but most. Therefore, before they are hit by the negative effects of using multiple elements, they will likely end up dead.
NOTE: IF YOU ARE MAKING A DRONE WHICH YOU BELIEVE IS PREDESTINED FOR DEATH (GENERALLY A BATTLE-DRONE), PROGRAM IT TO HAVE MORE INSTINCT AND LESS INTELLIGENCE, OR MAKE IT NOT TECHNICALLY 'ALIVE', BUT ACTING MERELY ON REFLEXES AND SUCH.
To do otherwise is quite cruel.
The ability to use multiple elements, even if they do not necessarily agree with one another, is highly useful for a drone. They are able to pull out elements which are highly unexpected, with little to no warning. If an enemy sees it using fire and air, then it will expect it to continue using those two. If it suddenly begins using another element, for example, water, then they will be surprised and will not have the proper defenses built up for such a thing. Alternately, it may choose an element which is more effective against their current enemy, instead of being tied down to one.
Another thing to consider is that you can also give them any sort of gear/weaponry that you want them to have. A sword? Sure. A rocket launcher? Why not? And hell, if you created it as a basic human, nightvision/infra-red goggles may even be of some use.
Something very useful which you can add is a cog (refer to The 11th Dimension page for more information), but program the cog to follow your instructions. You can add cogs to the drones to give them more ability, and if they begin to rebel for any reason, you can pull the cogs and reduce its ability level enough for you to destroy it.
You can also add weaponry to its arsenal. Which leads us to our next subject...
Many of you may not need this section, depending on the sorts of magic you do. Most of those who I know that read my site do not do actual battle-magic to get rid of 'evil spirits' (more appropriately, attacking spirits - 'evil' is a relative term), but instead prefer soul trapping and such, if they deal with them at all. However, some people do use this sort, so I shall include it anyways.
Weapon creation, in my opinion, is quite simple in both concept and methodology, though it is sometimes extremely difficult in specifics. For example, I find it easy to tell other people how to do it, and I find it easy, as well, to create weapons of my own. However, it's the technicalities of the weapons which slow me down.
It's quite a simple thing to simply create a blade during combat, but it takes some serious thinking to create a weapon which you would want to use for an extensive period of time. You might want to take into account, things such as...What is your primary element? What do you do most often? What are your weaknesses? You may want a weapon which is attuned to your elemental choices. If you are slow, you may want a light weapon. If you are weak, you may want a lighter weapon with a sharper blade. If you are strong, and want a weapon with a more crushing blow, make a larger one. Etc. If you require large spell effects, but do not have enough energy most of the time, then you may want to consider an energy-siphon, which will absorb from the enemy every time you cut them. The possible effects list would go on for miles, if I put them all down.
Once you have decided on a definite weapon which you will use for a long time, you may want to add certain other features, such as the ability to recall it to you whenever you want. This can be done by naming it. Call its name to summon it, for example.
The one thing which you definitely want to do is solidify it. This is done by adding more energy to the blade, to make it more compressed, and thus harder as well. To explain in short, when two objects clash, the one with the most density is likely the one which will survive the encounter. If two energy-based swords clash, then the one with the most energy put behind it (or the most energy density inside of it, as well) is the one which is less likely to chip/crack/snap in two. It is highly possible to crack another sword straight in two with a single swipe, if you've solidified yours well enough.