Parent Pages: Rules : Monsters


Elementals are creatures composed of a single element, either material or energy. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are many types, with the most common being Air, Earth, Fire and Water.

They're most often encountered as summoned creatures.

The Elemental Vortex

To properly understand elementals, you've got to understand what an elemental vortex is.

These are naturally occurring inter-planar portals to the Inner Planes. They take place in areas filled with a single element. For example, there are portals to the Plane of Air high in the sky, while brief portals to the Plane of Lightning form inside the most powerful electrical storms. Dig deep enough and you may end up digging your way into the Plane of Earth without knowing it. Volcanoes sometimes have portals to the Planes of Fire and Magma. Of course, the depths of the ocean contains portals to the Plane of Water.

Elementals themselves each have a vortex inside their body. This is what gives them the ability to create a portal to their home plane at will. If they decide to go home, they simply expand the vortex and move their body through. Shortly after, the vortex collapses. Every time they're pulled away from home, a new vortex forms in their body.

You could summarize by saying that elementals are walking extensions of their home plane.


Most elementals hate being summoned, finding the experience painful. This will normally result in quite insane behavior for the duration, as they become filled with irrational rage.

Their actual personalities vary from individual to individual, just like anyone else, but they all behave about the same off their home plane.


Technically speaking, lumping all elementals together as a race is incorrect, because they aren't related. They merely share parallel characteristics. However, for the sake of brevity, they're presented here as a single race.

There are many categories of elemental, including the common pure elementals of air, earth, fire and water, para-elementals, that combine two of the pure elements and quasi-elementals that combine a pure element with either positive or negative energy. There are also creatures composed of pure positive or negative energy known as positive or negative fundamentals. Finally, there are some that simply defy proper classification for one reason or another.

Pure Elementals

The elementals composed of a single element are the most common.


Para-elementals are somewhat less common, except for ice, which is quite easy to summon.


Quasi-elementals are fairly rare and often difficult to summon.

Positive and Negative Fundamentals

Almost entirely unheard of, these creatures do exist, but are amazingly difficult to summon.


There are a few types of exotic elemental that are either very strange or theoretically impossible. Some are composed of non-bordering elements and/or combinations of more than two elements.

The mere existence of some of these creatures suggests that other exotic elementals are possible. Since some alternate cosmologies present wood as a basic element, it's possible that other exotic elementals from these cosmologies do exist. It's also possible that these exotic elementals are actually composite elementals, like the Tempest Elemental, or border dwellers, like the Acid Elemental.

Acid Elemental

Acid elementals live in the border area between the plane of ooze and the plane of water.

Blizzard Elemental

This is a rarely seen composite elemental composed of air, water and ice.

Blood Elemental

These are Water Elementals that have been corrupted by summoning them into a pool of blood instead of water (the standard spell for summoning Water Elementals will not work this way). The corruption of the elemental results in it becoming starved, with a constant craving for more blood.

This is normally the work of a twisted necromancer.

Shadow Elemental

This is a theoretical type of elemental that combines equal portions of positive and negative energy, probably along with some stabilizing influence. No instance of a shadow elemental has ever been recorded, despite the fact that the plane does exist.

Spirit Elemental

Spirit is a basic element from some alternate cosmologies. Where these elementals actually come from is a matter of heated debate, because they're only ever seen as the result of critical failures summoning other elemental types. They may not be elementals at all.

These creatures are entirely intangible and only seen through the effect they have on inanimate matter. They animate objects simply by being near them, briefly imparting life to the lifeless.

These creatures may actually be a form of positive energy elemental or even a combination of positive energy and the essence of the ethereal plane, but their plane of origin has not been determined, much like Wood Elementals (see below).

Tempest Elemental

This is a rarely seen composite elemental, composed of at least three elements, including air, earth, water and possibly a measure of lightning. It's effectively a living electrical storm.

Tornado Elemental

Tornado Elementals are a variant of Air Elemental. They show up in the place of regular Air Elementals about 2% of the time when summoning.

Wood Elemental

Resembling a large tree, these rarely glimpsed creatures have only ever been seen as the result of a critical failure when summoning another elemental type. It's possible they're not elementals at all. No one has ever successfully summoned and controlled one.

It's quite likely that with proper research, these creatures could be summoned like any other elemental. This would require actually locating and visiting their home plane and would be quite an arduous task, because in theory the plane of wood shouldn't even exist.



The elemental planes do have animals on them. The native examples often take the form of animal-shaped elementals. It may be possible to find or research variants of the Summon Elemental spell that can summon them.

Starved Elementals

The circumstances that bring this about are unknown, but every once in a while, an elemental will lose it's vortex and thus, it's connection to home. This drives them quite a bit more insane and leaves them with a powerful need to absorb vast quantities of their element or the fuel to produce it, just to stay alive. In all cases, they'll seek to find another way back to their home plane, at which point they return to normal.

Starved material elementals will grow smaller over time, losing mass as they shrink. The lost body mass seems to be transformed into the life energy needed to sustain them.

Starved energy elementals will usually grow less intense without proper feeding, until they waste away to nothing.

The best known example is a starved water elemental. These creatures are extremely dangerous, as they gain the ability to drain water from living creatures just by touching them.

Slightly less well known is a starved fire elemental. These run around consuming anything flammable, with a preference for flammable liquids and explosives.

They just get stranger from there. Starved ice elementals continually produce a powerful aura of heat and touching them can result in serious burns from the combination of intense heat and cold in close proximity. Starved radiance elementals produce an aura of darkness as they absorb the light all around them.

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