On the Ecology of Elementals

"The earth itself stood against us. Fire walked. What can we do against such enormity?" -Cadrene Sergeant Allanso Illon, shortly before his execution.

Nomenclature: Elementals, Mephits, Primordials, Weirds, Furies, atronaches, Daedra, Genie, Reactionals, Eternals

Description: Raw motive elemental energy

Things that are known:

  • They are made entirely of their elemental material
  • Except when they are not
  • When summoned they may turn on their creators
  • They are immune to their own element and resistant to all but enchanted weapons
  • They may be kept at bay using magical circles of protections
  • They do not eat, sleep, or breath; or not at least as we understand it

Rumors and other whispers in the dark:

  • There are core planes. They are Wood, Water, Fire, Metal, and Earth. The para-elemental planes are Flowers, Mirrors, Liquor, and Paper.
  • That isn't true. The core planes are obviously Earth, Water, Air, Fire, with para-elemental planes of Mud, Dust, Smoke, and Magma, and the quasi-elemental planes of Lightning, Steam, Radiance, Mineral, Vacuum, Salts, Ash, and Dust
  • The elemental realms are far-off and inhospitable places in the material world
  • Elementals come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and types, from animal forms to alien dukes, princes and kings.
  • Elemental spirits can be summoned to bring the elements in question to motive life. They are bound by ancient pacts they long to be free from
  • Elementals can control the substance of their element. Fire can be cool or many different colors, or it can be solid. Earth can be transparent or liquid. 
Artist Unknown
  • The elements are suits that extra-dimensional spirits wear
  • Elements are before us, and remember themselves from that time. It is matter that is enlightened and understands itself
  • All elementals come from a single contiguous source that touches our plane in different places, but it all comes to our realm from the same place
  • Fire and Earth are allied. Earth shelters fire and fire allows earth to move
  • Water and air are allied, creating weather. They only allied in response to the alliance between air and earth
  • Gnomes are actually the element of earth that has decided to live, walking the earth as wizened stooped things
  • Salamanders are the form fire takes when it wishes to live
  • Sylphs are the spirits of wind and Undines are the spirits of water
  • Air and water were stymied, unable to take form due to how fluid they were. Until they stole dust from the earth and heat from fire and together crafted flesh
  •  Elementals affect your humors, making you sanguine (Air or Blood), choleric (Fire or Yellow Bile), melancholic (Earth, or Black Bile) or phlegmatic (Water or Phlegm)
  • The 4 planes are integrated in some byzantine complex cycle of renewal linking them all together. Although incomprehensible, it does mean that each elemental plane is not purely made up of only its element
  • Earthquakes, volcanoes  tornadoes and tsunamis are actually powerful elemental creatures that come to the material plane to retrieve what they need to reproduce.
  • They are aliens from another planet known as elementron. They have visited our planet and taken the form of the elements that they found. Now they battle for an esoteric energy source known as elementergon that only they can understand and use. They only desire to collect it, return to elementron and continue the only thing they care about, their endless war
  • Aliens from elementron are sometimes known as deceptimentals and autorocks.
  • Planes overlap. Under certain circumstances, you might find yourself shifted between them
  • The elements create certain feelings in people. Fire generates all consuming hunger; Water is fatigue, exhaustion and a wearing away; Earth feels like growth, tingling crystalline growth; Air feels like a chaotic place of sound and motion
  • The elementals personify those characteristics
  • They are alien and their motivations are impossible to parse
  • Elemental planes don't exist. Magical energy is invisible and casters clothe them in an elemental to provide functionality. Like a prisim splits light, they take the energy of magic and split out an element
  • Djinn and efreet are adventurers from elemental planes exploring ours
  • The planes are the divine cosmic energy, split from the world by the gods. They were expelled in all directions, if the world were healed the prime would again be whole
  • The elementals are "hired" out to spellcasters, because each elemental on the prime material plane serves as an anchor. If enough of a certain type of elementals existed on the prime, perhaps a single elemental realm could remerge
  • A single elemental realm re-merging would be a disaster of incalculable proportions
  • Elementals are actually animus spirits that inhabit all objects
  • The gods before were slain by trickster demons. The current gods are quite vigilant against their return. To avoid their pogom, the trickster demons split themselves among many small shards at a time, placing a tiny sliver inside an elemental. Every time an elemental is summoned or used a small piece is left behind. The tricksters are smuggling their way into the prime, one small shard at a time
  • The elementals are physical manifestation of the unraveling in the world
  • Elementals are the ghosts of dragons
  • Elementals are the pure creative divine energy of a dead god
  • Upon death, your soul diffuses into the world. Casters strip out slips of your soul and animate them ahead of schedule
Svetlin Velinov
  • Proto-creatures unable to wait until the world was finished entered it too early. Spell-casters attempt to snatch them up and re-purpose them until the lazy gods finish the leftovers. This may damage the overall pattern.
  • Elements vary on local culture, based on what people believe the world consists of. They are made of various conflicting groups. 
    • Mutare (Change/Birth/Rebirth)
    • Continuitas (Tradition/Unlife/Death)
    • Mentem (Dark/Mind/Knowledge)
    • Puera (Feminine/Cunning/Beauty)
    • Lumen (Light/Joy/Physicality)
    • Vir (Masculine/Directness/Utility)
  • Elementals are the spirits of men who have died from those elements, suffocation, burning, drowning or being buried
  • Real elementals take a shape and stick to it, Hellhounds, Djinn, Mephits. Those elementals that wizards summon are just unformed raw material known as hipster elementals, who were raw material before it was cool.
  • Mages thin the boundary. Firmament, raw creation, enters our realm and lives. This creates both elementals and undead
  • Elementals are from certain types more frequently because pure sources are easier to draw magic from
  • Weak mages who thin the boundary indiscriminately create trash, sewer, or blade elementals. Rural sorcerers might conjure ents or shambling mounds.
  • Necromancers do this intentionally to raise the dead, however few are as skilled as they believe. They downplay the numbers slain by uncontrolled undead.
  • Strange elementals formed from the space between what is and could-be are sometimes formed, being smarter and more unique then their siblings
  • Dragons will kill all those who weaken boundaries between worlds
  • Elementals are the organs of dead gods. Air comes from lungs, stone comes from bone, water comes from blood and fire comes from nerves
  • Elementals that retain their form eventually grow in sentience
  • Elemental planes are actually just demi-planes created by creative pseudo-mortal gods who were masters of wizardry  What you summon may not be what you expect, a horned snake with bark scales with eyes that beam moonlight or an organic mechanical hybrid that shudders in its movements and bleeds oily black ichor
  • They have no souls, its soul and body form one singular unit
  • There are also elemental planes of good and evil, meaning that demons and angles are nothing more then elementals of those planes
  • This means that there are no fewer than 16 different combinations, good and evil interacting with each plane. (Fire, earth, air, and water; cold, mud, magma and dust; barren, pain, darkness and endings; light, pleasure, fertility and beginnings
  • Elemental planes are just like material planes but rich in material and magic
  • Elementals are the foundations of the universe, the building blocks of reality itself
  • Elementals only exist for what states matter can take. Earth is solid, water liquid, air gas, and fire plasma
  • Elementals are the constraints on infinity itself. Without elementals home planes belonging to the inner, infinity becomes troublesome, loses definition and you find yourself simply one among uncountable billions of billions
  • Known alignments are not the only kinds. There are elemental alignments, held by animals and raw elementals
    • Air alignments travel, leaving when things no longer suit. Herd animals are examples
    • Earth alignments wait, patiently out-waiting whatever trial assults them. Hibernating animals and animals that trap or ambush their prey are examples
    • Fire alignments consume, devouring and using all they can reach. Lions and wolves are examples. They are also prone to anger and rage
    • Water alignments hoard and steal. Rats, crows, and small monkeys are examples of creatures with a water alignment
  • They have a hankering for currency, but not of the material sort. . .
  • The plane of air is said to be filled with a Djinn Sultinate, huge airships, and piracy among the floating isles
  • The plane of earth is filled with slaves who endlessly toil in mines for their masters. These factions are in constant, endless war. In these lawless lands, coin is to be made among old mining towns, forgotten cathedrals, or lawless freeholds
  • An endless desert filled with sultanates of brass, fire, sand and steel, the plane of fire is a realm filled with obsidian planes, silt seas, and the deadly forces of the sultanate
  • The undersea city of glass is a mecca in which all that matters in the plane of water transpires. Guilds, factions, whole cities and betrayals lie within its walls
  • There are archomentals, known as the princes of evil
  • Extremely powerful wizards can summon swarms of elementals
  • Some elementals are amalgamates, mixtures of two types a burning tornado, or a freezing earthen beast
  • In fact, the basic types are only the basic ones in the broadest types. There are actually thousands of different types.
    • Air: Blizzard, zephyr, storm, south wind, pestilence, fog, howling, gust
    • Earth: Plains, dirt, desert, mud, graveyard, dungeon, sand, mountain, crystal, metal
    • Fire: cinder, lava, forge, pyre, tinder, hearth, flare
    • Water: ice, bog, river, sweetwater, blood, whirlpool, sewer, geyser, bile
    • Wood: thorn, forest, fungal, rose, gallows, moss, vine, rot
  • There are four classes of elementals
    • Lesser (Summoned by Staff): 8HD, AC 2, 1d8 damage
    • Greater (Summoned by Devices): 12 HD, AC 0, 2d8 damage
    • True (Summoned by Spells): 16 HD, AC -2, 3d8 damage
    • Legendary (Summoned by Ritual): 20 HD, AC -4, 4d8 damage


  1. Excellent gathering of elemental lore and information.

    But I really like these elemental you present "The para-elemental planes are Flowers, Mirrors, Liquor, and Paper." Booze Elementals, yes.

    Here are some thoughts on elementals from my campaign: http://wp.me/pylJj-162

  2. https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CourtneyCampbell/posts/iUKMxwZPj5z


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