4
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Battle me, if you dare:
I can have four copies (some argue five),
Or over a hundred.
I am essential to many things,
Yet you can be set without me.

What am I?

Hint:

'The over a hundred' things are distinct (and each have names).

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5
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You are:

the Elements

Battle me, if you dare:

battle the elements as in the weather

I can have four copies (some argue five),

traditional elements (fire, earth, water, wind and in some cultures wood)

Or over a hundred.

modern (the periodic table of)

I am essential to many things,

Traditional, Modern or in reference to the weather, we need these to live

Yet you can be set without me.

Only one I'm not sure of...

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is the correct answer, however some of the reasoning is still a bit different to mine. "I am essential to many things" referred to the context 'elements of a play/story etc.' The last line, was just a mathematical pun I threw in, referring to the standard definition of an element (or member) being part of a set. Of course it is equally fine for a set to be defined without that element. $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 3 '16 at 4:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ah. I see (I think). $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 3 '16 at 5:14
1
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Are you the

Weather

Battle me, if you dare:

Fight against the treacherous weather.

I can have four copies:

The four seasons, the extended weather (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring)

Or over a hundred:

There are plenty of different weathers

Yet I am essential to many things:

Lives depend on the weather and seasons. Wars can end during bad weather. Economies are affected by the weather.

Yet you can be set without me

If weather did not exist, it would matter much. (Summer all the time)

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  • $\begingroup$ It's not weather (having the answer in the title would be a little too easy). Your reasoning for the first line is close enough, the second line could be considered relatable to the actual answer. The last three lines are quite far off. $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 3 '16 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ It was split between seasons and weather. Is it the season? $\endgroup$ – jaydm26 Jun 3 '16 at 2:38
  • $\begingroup$ No, not seasons either. (Hope this hint isn't TOO big), but: The word/object I'm looking for CAN mean weather in the title and first sentence, but the other lines refer to another use of the word/object. $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 3 '16 at 2:43
  • $\begingroup$ Also note the edit of the second line, which I hadn't really considered originally. $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 3 '16 at 2:54
0
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It may be

clouds.

Battle me, if you dare:

raising any kind of weapon (particularly metallic ones like swords) to thunderstorms invites lightning strikes.

I can have four copies (some argue five),

Taking 'copies' to mean 'types', we have the basic ones: stratus, cumulus, nimbus, and cirrus. Not sure about the fifth.

Or over a hundred.

Here are some combinations / permutations: cirrostratus, altocumulus, etc, but there are numerous (certainly over a hundred) distinct cloud formations.

I am essential to many things,

Clouds are an essential part of the water cycle, which is "essential to many (living) things".

Yet you can be set without me.

For those who prefer sunny weather, they're 'all set' on a fine (cloudless) day.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nope, not clouds either $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 3 '16 at 3:50

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