What if one were to abandon the classical 4-6 element fantasy universe and instead consider the real elements in their place? For one thing, you open up the possibilites for a lot of different types of ‘elementals’.
A Mendeleevian Elemental is composed entirely of a single element as normally encountered at standard room temperature and pressure. Some highly reactive elements will appear to perpetually react and so will resemble fire elementals, etc.
It is suggested that when two Mendeleevian Elementals react with eachother, the resulting compounds should be non-sentiant and non-magical, resulting in the destruction of both elementals. For this reasons, they will always seek to avoid each other, regardless of any form of command.
This Scroll/codex is intended to introduce this idea, and to allow for the collection of related ideas all in one place.
GM’s could reasonably limit summoning elementals to element types they would be reasonably aware of.
Also, for game balance, assume that all but the most common elements dissipate when slain - otherwise everyone would try to summon Gold elementals and try to kill them…
Try and avoid ‘compound’ elementals, since they are not, by definition, elementals. Chemantals perhaps :)
Additional Ideas (11)
One of the Gas elementals, the oxygen elemental is invisible, unless they form a whirlwind, picking up debris and the like. They are more noticeable by the effects they can have on objects and materials.
They have completely erratic, unpredictable personalities, as reactive as their component element. In their presence, even minor static discharges will start fires, should anything burnable be nearby. Iron and other metals will oxidize rapidly, causing weapons and armor to rust. Being so concentrated, they can silently and invisibly envelope oxygen breathing creatures and cause intoxication, lung damage and eventually, death.
The Oxygen elementals are generally excited by fire and rejoice in causing infernos. Materials with exotic behaviors are appealing to the Oxygen Elementals and can be used as offerings when summoning.
It should be noted, that as a supernatural entity, the elemental is able to 'oxidize' normal matter without losing mass. This does not hold true if it reacts with another Elemental - both elementals lose mass as they react, possibly destroying both if the reaction proceeds long enough.
It is for this reason that Oxygen elementals will avoid other Mendeleevian elementals.
Also a Gaseous elemental, these beings have very indistinct forms, ranging from simple clouds to forms roughly that of various creatures. In all cases, they appear with a greenish form and always impart a distinct chlorine smell.
These elementals are highly dangerous. In addition to being highly reactive, they are both poisonous and corrosive to most organic beings. They can form a whirlwind like all of the gaseous elementals, and simple contact will raise blisters. If they envelop a foe, massive damage to the skin, eyes and lungs will result, and will eventually destroy them.
If Oxygen elementals are erratic, then Chlorine elementals are outright hostile. They understand the effects they have on most life and revel in their power. Little is known about what these Elementals desire - they are usually simply summoned to cause havoc, the summoner making a speedy exit.
One of the Solid Elementals, the Iron elementals appear in a wide range of forms and appearances. They take froms ranging from vaguely humanoid lumps to anachronistic forms resembling machines. They can appear as pure, grey iron, or apparent hulks of solid rust. Their eyes appear as points of heated iron, ranging from deep red,orange,yellow to brilliant white.
As combatants, they rely on brute force - either blunt or edged as their form dictates. There is little in existance that can stand up to the force they can bring to bear.
They have indominitable personalities ("Iron Will"), but like iron, are both flexible and strong. They respond fairly well to summoning, eager to serve as either labor or in war. Sacrifices of other precious metals, or even fine works of iron and steel appeal to these beings - the latter often being added to their own masses.
One of the few liquid elements, Mecury Elementals are quite spectacular to see. Being of varying forms - humanoid, blobs and otherwise, the brilliant silvery forms are beautiful to see.
As a liquid, they can move through very small openings. Being extremely heavy, they can strike a foe with tremendous force, though are a little slow. Their very touch is dangerous - the elemental mercury being toxic and readily absorbed through the skin. The supernatural nature of the being further increases this effect, resulting in dementia and madness from even brief contact.
Their personalties are defined by the term mercurial - quick and changeable in temperment. This makes then unreliable at best - they are not even assured to cause havok when summoned for that purpose - they may simply wander off.
It is not known what the best attractants are for these elementals - each is different from the next, and their tastes are always changing. Summoners are advised to seek more predictible elementals, or failing that, provide a 'buffet' of possible offerings.
These appear in one of two colours, glowing green or slate grey, and appear in humanoid lumps. Even standing near one of these things for too long is dangerous, unless protected by powerful magic or leaden armour. Their touch on bare flesh causes small burns and much worse, cancer. They are generally hostile beings, with explosive temprements, but unlike the Clorine elementals they can be spoken to.
They greatly like respect, and offerings of gold. They like being called to battle, but find low grade carrying work insulting. Lead weaponry can harm them seriously and burns them with it's touch.
One of more common elements, Carbon elementals can manifest in multiple forms will still remaining pure. Forms of Graphite, coal and even Diamond are possible. One might even encounter Carbon elementals taking fullerene forms, though this would be rare in the extreme.
Their personalities are as varied as their forms, and reflects the same diversity as humanity.
Compared to other elements, the Carbon Elementals are benign, lacking toxic affects and not having the raw power of the Metal Elementals. They are flammable, perhaps with the exception of Diamond types, and so can assume a flaming form. Due to their supernatural nature, no mass is lost while burning, so they can burn indefinitely without harm.
Carbon elementals have as varied a range of desires as Mercury elementals, but individuals tend to be quite stable in their choices.
As a rather common element, their summoning is less difficult then the rarer ones, and are not so powerful as to be hazardous to the summoner.
I'll just drop it here, no reason there can't be several views on one:
Carbon Elemental, alternative view:
A Solid Elemental, Carbon is highly malleable in shape and combat potential. It can be soft, and utterly malleable; but it can be fiendishly hard as well, deep black, or crystal-clear are the colours of his both extremes. Luckily, it changes between these two modes very slowly, so it often keeps both components in even ratios. The creature has surprising immunities to many effects, only fire can cause it substantial wounds, and even that slowly. It usually assumes a shape similar to their counterpart, and can even learn their weak and strong points quickly.
For these reasons it is often summoned as a soldier or bodyguard.
The problem is, they can be quite hard to motivate (see val's view on their personality).
Lithium elementals are calmer then most elementals and appear in a circular form, that can extend arms or tentacles if needed. Their touch can in the short term at least, heal many forms of madness. Like all elementals they should be treated with respect. If wounded a few times by one of these, a human will lose the will to fight and will slump to the ground, helpless, until killed or rescued.
The Krypton elemental is barely noticable at first. A thing of wisp and of no shadow, if its place of rest is undisturbed, it is completely colourless, odourless, andd makes no sound. If ever disturbed, it will energise to create shapeless shimmer. Being completely unreactive and formless, its only attack is to smother the PCs and deprive them of oxygen. This isn't very hard to combat, since one can pass through the elemental at will, so simply wakling away will prevent the problem. (if some Krypton has been inhaled, The PCs get a high pitched voice in the same way as inhaling helium)
This elemental becomes incredibly dangerous when reacted with two different things:
1. Firstly, attacking this elemental with a frost spell would be the last thing that an adventurer would do. Once attacked, the elemental would form small crystallised shards of Krypton, at -157 degrees C, these shards will cause incredible frostburn should they make contact with skin. These shards would slowly dance around the elemental until it decided to attack, and send them towards the unlucky adventure's exposed skin.
2. If attacked with lead weapons or in contact with lead, the magical energies animating the elemental lower the nuclear reaction energy, and the two elements would fuse, and immediately decay from instability, leading to the legendary (and very ephemerous) Ununoctium elemental, as well as radiating vile energies (neutron radiation) on the adventurers, causing burns and consumption of the skin and internal organs. Often, this is a slow and painful death, difficultly curable by magic or lore.
If hit by lightning, the elemental glows a bright orange/red, hinting at the exotic energies within. This does not affect it.
One of the nastier elementals, the sodium elemental is normally enveloped by searing yellow flame. As well, caustic sodium hydroxide vapor will billow about, making the air both poisonous and corrosive. If they are encountered somewhere with little to no oxygen, they appear as a grey metal figure.
Their personalities are aggressive and condescending, on those rare occasions that they choose to communicate. They find rare crystals interesting and find salt an acceptable offering, but they require rather large amounts to gain a positive reaction.
Since their presence is very damaging - both through fire and corrosive gases, they see little use apart from guardians and agents of destruction. If they come into contact with water, they will erupt into violent bursts of more flame and gas, but are themselves unharmed.
This distant cousin of the Krypton elemental is just as harmless, and can sometimes occur naturally in caverns rich in both magic and xenon. These elementals are peaceful and docile, and will sometimes occur naturally in caverns rich in both magic and xenon. Mages often summon them to neutralise other elementals, since being 'noble' they refuse to mingle with the other elements, so can form a shroud around the opposing elemental and stop it from reacting.
If struck with a lightning spell, however, they will give of a violent flash of bright white light, quite enough to permanently damages someone's vision if they were in close proximity to it. But beyond the light, nothing much will happen.
However, if this elemental is struck by a frost spell, lo and behold, for the terrible Quick-Xenon (Xenon trioxide) elemental will be created. This furious beast is the bane of elemental mages. Incorporeal, it will ignore physical attacks. However, if it makes contact with water, it will imediately turn the water to a highly acidic mix, easily capable of dissolving flesh, as quickly as a lump of sugar melts away in boiling water. If in a moist evironemnt, Quick-Xenon's touch will cause severe acid burns. This is why to attack, Quick-Xenons force themselves into the victim's repiratory tract and dissolve them from the inside, burning the lungs to uselessness resulting in quick demise. Some might think that this is quite enough for such an elemental, but no. Quick-Xenons can ignite flammable substances with a simple touch, and rust metals as fast as oxygen. Indeed, Quick-Xenons are so reactive that they will sometimes explode in contact with almost anything, from oil to wood. If it encounters a phosphorous elemental, the reaction is commonly known as MOAE or Mother Of All Explosions.
As a gaseous elemental, the Fluorine Elemental takes one a wide variety of forms, but all are variants upon billowing clouds of yellowish-brown gas. They are one of the most dangerous of elementals, fiercely reacting with pretty much anything, and are surrounded by a haze of hydrofluoric acid - an acid so strong as to dissolve glass, metal and even stone. In addition, the acid is toxic, and even small quantities are lethal.
In combat, they are a weapon - a single strike will, in addition to buffeting, will cause ridiculous damage as the victims flesh burns, dissolves and is dosed with toxic hydrofluoric acid. One had better have strong magical defences before dealing with these creatures.
The Fluorine elementals are not as aggressive as Chlorine elementals - destruction is simply too easy for them. However, their dreadful lethality makes interacting with them dangerous in any case. As a result, they are usually summoned for destructive purposes. In truth, the fluorene elementals are fascinated with all things, but perpetually denied contact, as few beings or objects can survive their touch. Who knows what mysteries they would share with those immune to them?
The preferred antidote is Calcium Gluconate, applied directly to the burn site, then a calcium based solution is administered intravenously. Even then, a victim of such an elemental is probably going to die. It's that bad.