Posted by : David Guyll July 23, 2013

The first look at elementals pertained to generic elementals and genies. I said way back then that I disliked how some of the elementals had a combination of two eyes, a mouth, and/or a humanoid shape. Genies were equally confusing, if for different reasons: apparently they can all fly, create objects, and are "cunning merchants".

Who knew?

Anyway this week we take a look at just a pair of elemental-ish critters, the salamander and xorn (the Sea of Ash gets an honorable mention).

Taken from the article salamanders are both cruel and nasty elemental creatures that look like muscular humanoids stacked on top of a snake. Their entire body is covered in wisps of flame that "rise from their skin like spines", and they wield spears that conduct the heat from their bodies, probably making them deal fire damage, or bonus fire damage. Basically a sufficiently monstrous monster that players can kill and rob without the slightest twinge of guilt.

Just like baby kobolds!
They are good smiths, hate azers, and are sometimes enslaved by efreeti (which is a love-hate relationship). Though I am generally not a fan of races being universally good at something, the latter two bits of flavor I guess could be handy for adventure hooks, but given that azers are probably just as bad I am not sure who I would side with in a fight between them, and I really cannot see anyone being sympathetic to freeing a bunch of salamander slaves.

The most interesting thing in the article about them is that wizards will sometimes summon one in order to force it to craft a metal object. I can see this being a necessary step in making some fire-based magic items, so hopefully we get something more in depth, instead of a boring, instantaneous summoning spell. Shadowrun has rules for conjuring and binding spirits, so just do something like that. It is a lot more interesting than an infallible, highly specific spell.

Of course they are utterly immune to fire, as well as for some reason resistant to non-magical weapons (though strangely, genies lack this resistance). Bleh.

If salamanders come from the Sea of Ash, I would envision them being made from igneous rock or charcoal. Maybe something like a combination of rock and lava, having them solidify in an area that is "too cold". Instead of wisps of smoke that look like spines, I would have just be something like obsidian blades. They would not be evil by default, because there is no reason for them to be evil by default. Chaotic works out fine, as it fits the destructive fire-theme.

I make it a point of mentioning it every time I see them, I am not a fan of complete immunity and with how resistances work in Next. I would give them a high, granular fire resistance and remove the weapon resistance. As they get older their fire resistance would increase, and they could also start gaining weapon resistance.

Xorns are strange-looking critters that I inexplicably have three minis for. They spend their time "swimming" through the Plane of Earth, eating metal and gems. They can elect to leave tunnels when they burrow, which are somehow used by other creatures as living places even though they are only Medium-sized. I like how the article describes the Plane of Earth as "mountainous", as it means that it may not just be an endless expanse of dirt.

Pictured: Nothing of interest.
Like salamanders they sometimes get enslaved by dao, who make them build things. Maybe we should add slavery to the list of genie traits? At any rate it is interesting that they can mold stone like clay. Gives them something to do besides eat. It would be nice to see this ability as inherent, instead of just "x/daystone shape". Not allying themselves with Ogremoch, yet being able to be coerced into service is also nice, as it allows you to include them as a kind of misunderstood monster.

Strangely they are immune to fire and cold, and resistant to lightning and slashing damage. Not sure why, except that this is what they had in 3rd Edition, maybe even 2nd Edition. Unlike 3rd Edition they are kind of vulnerable to a slew of very specific spells like stone to flesh, rock to mud, and passwall. Why can they only can be somewhat affected by spells that affect rocks, but are still fully affected by spells that affect living things?

I also wonder if other earth-themed creatures will share any of these vulnerabilities, or if they will just be arbitrarily assigned when a writer remembers them.

Like the crystal skull's magnetism.

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