|Rock Raiders monsters (left, center) and Ultimate Flama (Nexo Knights, right)|
The classic form for air elementals is a vortex of wind or smoke, but they also often appear in bird-like forms or as misty humanoids.
Earth elementals often appear as crude humanoids made of rock, soil, or crystal, but can also appear as terrestrial animals made out of those materials.
Fire elementals can be large upright flames or serpentine forms made of smoke and flame. Some prefer shapes that resemble humans, fire giants, or demons.
Water elementals typically adopt wave-like forms, sometimes with smaller waves as limbs, though some take the form of aquatic creatures made out of water.
In addition, elementals of mixed origins also exist: ice, lightning, magma, and mud. This column, however, will be focusing on the four basic types above.
|"NRG" Zane, Cole, Kai, and Jay (Ninjago)|
- Castle: Ghosts can serve as air elementals.
- Elves: These elemental-themed elves are suitable for the "planetouched" or "geniekin" races (ifrits, sylphs, etc.).
- Legends of Chima: Phoenixes and other flame-empowered heroes make good fire elementals.
- Minifigures: These collectible characters include two Genies (Series 6 and 12). The Gargoyle (Series 14) makes an excellent mephit or (minus wings) Small earth elemental.
- Nexo Knights: The lava-themed villains (Flama in particular) make good fire and magma elementals.
- Ninjago: The four main characters are perfectly color-coded to the four elements. (Jay is technically electricity and Zane ice, but their blue and white costumes work nicely for water and air, respectively--and Jay's thundercloud insignia looks a lot like an octopus.) I usually keep their "NRG" versions' minifigures, minus their ninja hoods, on hand as my default for Medium elementals.
- Rock Raiders: This old theme included a number of monsters that make wonderful earth elementals, particularly the "big figure" Rock Monster.
- Star Wars: Blue- and green-skinned characters (Aayla Secura, Cad Bane, Oola) can be used as water elementals or undines.
- Superheroes: Some characters (like Electro) have elemental powers, making them obvious choices for elementals of the matching type.
Brick-Built ElementalsBecause elementals have mutable forms, and because they rarely have well-defined facial features, a brick-built model does not necessarily need a great amount of detail. In fact, the model's blockiness can help emphasize the fact that the elemental spirit is only temporarily inhabiting this crude form. In a pinch, a rough pile of bricks of an appropriate color and size will do just fine. I typically use white or light gray bricks for air elementals, red or orange for fire, brown or gray for earth, and blue for water. (See "Building the Bestiary #3: Giants" about size categories.)
Earth and water elementals are the easiest to build, as their forms are usually crude and chunky.
For an air elemental, use round pieces of differing diameters to suggest the form of a vortex or funnel cloud. 1x3 or 1x4 bricks can be used to build a cylinder, as shown below. For a larger whirlwind, use larger bricks to build a broader cylinder. The hexagonal model below is built solely with 1x2 and 2x4 bricks, which are among the most common sizes.
|A Huge magma elemental, |
from the "Gorilla Island" adventure
in my Freeport campaign
Mixels are also a good source for unusual elemental models. Some sets already have an elemental theme (Series 1 and 2 included fire, earth, electric, and frost "tribes"), and others provide appropriate palettes for other types.
Appendix: Past "Building the Bestiary" Columns#1: Humanoids
#2: Underwater Races
#5: Tiny Creatures
#6: Four-Legged Friends
#8: Spell Effects