Air Elementals as player characters

Published 2000 & 2003.
The Book-House: Find 3.0 Edition products, Find 3.5 Edition products.

Moderator: Blacky the Blackball

Post Reply
User avatar
willpell
Black Dragon
Posts: 3179
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm
Gender: male

Air Elementals as player characters

Post by willpell » Tue May 08, 2018 8:16 pm

Anatomy of the Air Elemental

An air elemental's body consists of three "tissues", loosely equivalent to a flesh-and-blood creature's skin, muscles, and brain (due to the No Discernable Anatomy trait, it has nothing resembling bones or organs). The "skin" is a semi-solid layer of highly compressed air, known as the envelope; even the most immaculately clean elemental absorbs a small amount of particulate matter into its envelope, and thus they are usually visible to the naked eye. Within this, an ever-moving volume of cloudlike matter and wind currents, known as the interior, forms the elemental's main "body"; the relative "emptiness" of this air is precisely the point of the elemental's existence, and any significant contamination of this air results in a feeling of sickness. In the approximate center of the otherwise-pristine interior, a small cluster of tightly whirling particles forms the "brain"; this is not in fact formed by the particles themselves, but rather the positional relationship among them as they move continuously. While capable of exerting physical force to the limit of the elemental's Strength score, the envelope is not fully impermeable, and any contact with solid matter (of greater density than smoke or fine dust) disrupts the interior in a way which the elemental perceives as pain; it can even be killed simply by repeatedly battering at the envelope, or (with much greater difficulty) by striking through to the "brain". A slain elemental dissipates into vapor and usually drifts away on the wind, although capturing the remains for various unsavory purposes is possible, with the correct devices or spells.

An air elemental's state of mind is produced by the relative movement of the thousands of minute particles of its "brain"; as the positional relationship of every particle to every other particle changes microsecond-to-microsecond, small electrostatic discharges among the moving molecules produce the neural activity of the elemental's thoughts, which feed back into the particle cloud and alter its pre-existing movement patterns. Individuals with proper training can learn to observe the "brain's" rough shape and the most broadly-visible motions within it, and thereby gain a degree of insight into the elemental's feelings or attitudes, similar to how a humanoid may be "read" by their facial expressions and body language (a -20 penalty applies to Sense Motive attempts against these alien beings, but may be reduced to as little as -4 with appropriate education). Elementals speak in a sighing, whistling, sing-song language of rushing winds and slight thunderclaps, known as Auran; a humanoid throat can approximate the language, with the equivalent of a horrendous accent, and the languages of air-subtype Outsiders and other pseudo-humanoids, notably the Djinn, is effectively a highly refined "dialect" of Auran which is useful for skilled communication with both humanoids and elementals. (Due to the efforts of the Gray and Gold elves, Auran is also sometimes spoken by certain birds and mountain-dwelling animals, notably the Gwaihir or Giant Eagles, in the same fashion that Sylvan is familiar to most woodland creatures, even if their intelligence would not otherwise permit language use; the Speak with Animals spell allows translation of this primitive communication, though the creatures typically still have little of merit to say.) Elementals can learn the Speak Language skill in the same way as any other creature; they produce words by "shaking" the air of their bodies, and their speech sounds distinctly odd, seeming to issue from empty air and with a pronounced reverberating quality.

NEW FEATS (all are Monstrous feats with the prerequisite "Race: Air Elemental"

Clear Air
Having kept your envelope particularly free of contaminants, it is nearly transparent, rendering you almost perfectly invisible in clear conditions. You appear as only a faint outline, like a wisp of cellophane twisting in the breeze, making you very difficult to pick out from afar. (Your "brain" remains visible, although its small size renders it unlikely to betray your position; the removal of this "brain" and replacement with a more subtle form of intellect, which is not visibly apparent, is thought to be one step in the transformation of a standard air elemental into an Invisible Stalker, making it unsurprising that the two races do not view each other kindly.)
Effect: You receive a +4 racial bonus on Hide checks. If you receive concealment due to poor lighting conditions (darkness or shadowy illumination), that concealment is improved by 5% (typically to 25% or 55%).
Normal: An air elemental appears as a churning, cloudlike mass, constantly shifting in shape.

Pure Air
You have carefully avoided absorbing trace elements from your surroundings by more carefully purging your envelope (equivalent to frequent bathing for a humanoid); as a result, you have no discernable odor whatsoever. You are still visible, since your body is largely made up of water vapor equivalent to high-altitude cirrus or cumulus clouds.
Effect: You cannot be tracked by creatures with the Scent ability. You remain detectable to both vision and hearing, subject to Hide and Move Silently checks as normal. Additionally, it is impossible to identify you as distinct from any other elemental with this feat; only another air elemental can tell the two individuals apart. You are effectively disguised as a different air elemental (+10 bonus to Disguise checks), and may deny your own identity with a +5 bonus to the Bluff check.
Normal: An air elemental has a distinct smell, although what exactly it smells like varies radically depending on its preferred environs (for instance, one that inhabits a pine forest will carry the aroma of pine needles, while one that dwells in a desert absorbs the essence of sun-baked sand). Most elementals dwell on the Elemental Plane of Air, whose mix of particulates is sufficiently diverse that it is difficult to describe concisely, but it is recognizable enough to scent-trackers, since it varies distinctly from any natural or unnatural combination of odors found on the Material Plane.

Thunderhead
Your interior carries a particularly high static charge, and is visibly colored with a great deal of particulate matter, resembling a cumulonimbus cloud. Your speech, in Auran or any other language, is a menacing rumble, and you often flash visibly with lightning throughout (this conveys no resistance to electrical damage, nor ability to deal it with your attacks).
Effect: You have a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks.
Note: An elemental cannot take this feat if it has either of the preceding feats, and vice versa.

User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
Posts: 18604
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Gender: male
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: Air Elementals as player characters

Post by Havard » Tue May 08, 2018 10:35 pm

fascinating idea! I have been interested in the culture and society of elementals since reading about them in the BECMI rulebooks and the Hollow World adventure (HWA) trilogy where they go into some detail on them.

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.

User avatar
willpell
Black Dragon
Posts: 3179
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm
Gender: male

Re: Air Elementals as player characters

Post by willpell » Tue May 08, 2018 10:48 pm

Havard wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:35 pm
fascinating idea! I have been interested in the culture and society of elementals since reading about them in the BECMI rulebooks and the Hollow World adventure (HWA) trilogy where they go into some detail on them.

-Havard
Sadly I have few ideas for any of the other elements. Most of these ideas came out when I created an Air Elemental character (he's on this site if you can find him, his name is Pinwheel), and had to deal with the basic mechanisms of how an Air Elemental functions. Air was the hardest one to explain by default, but I really like what I was able to come up with to fix that, and for the others, I have no such inspiration.

Post Reply

Return to “D&D 3rd Edition”