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Elemental Embodiment and Embodied Elementals

by Carl Quaif

Elemental Embodiment
Level: 7
Range: 20'
Duration: permanent
Effect: Locks Elemental being in humanoid form
This powerful and unique spell was first devised by Yrac Romuru, a solitary Wizard whose home was located in the Northern wildlands which are now part of Norwold, roughly 600 years ago. A noted Elemental Mage, he habitually used summoned Elementals to act as servants and soldiers - they were cheaper, more reliable and easier to acquire than human or humanoid servants. The difficulty of maintaining them safely (and permanently) on this Plane, however, was one to which he devoted much time, eventually arriving at an elegant solution; by encasing an Elemental in mortal-seeming flesh, he could create a servant of far greater usefulness.

Casting Elemental Embodiment requires the Mage to build a summoning-chamber - if a suitable room is not already available in his/her stronghold or tower - and to carve and inlay a permanent Binding Circle (a pentagram is most usual, but other configurations are possible) in the centre of the floor. The inlay, which must be inserted into grooves at least 1" deep, varies depending on the type of Elemental to be summoned; marble for Earth, red gold for Fire, white gold for Air and crushed sapphire for Water - total cost for constructing the Circle should be approximately 10,000 gp. The spell calls up a semi-intelligent, 3HD-Elemental of the appropriate type (unlike the standard Conjure Elemental spell, only a small sample of the element is required; a pebble, a bowl of water, a smouldering torch - air, of course, is easily available), who must then face the caster in a battle of wills. A Save vs. Spells applies for both caster and Elemental. The results are as follows:-

Caster and Elemental both succeed = both roll again.
Caster and Elemental both fail = the spell is ruined and the Elemental returns home.
Caster fails, Elemental succeeds = Elemental breaks free of Circle, attacks caster.
Caster succeeds, Elemental fails = spell is successful (see below).

If the spell succeeds, the Elemental is bound into a human or humanoid semblance, according to the will and imagination of the caster. This form may be male, female, young, old, human, Elf, Dwarf, Goblin - whatever the caster chooses. Once chosen, this shape cannot change, although additional forms may be applied to the same Elemental by successive castings of Elemental Embodiment - an Elemental with multiple forms can switch between them at (its master's) will. These subsequent castings do not involve a battle of wills, requiring only that the target stand within the Circle while the spell is cast.

An Embodied Elemental ("Embele" is the usual diminutive, although "Daemon" is often [inaccurately] used, since it sounds more impressive) is effectively a new species of being; it is no longer considered a "summoned" creature, since it now dwells almost entirely on the Prime Plane, although Protection from Evil/Good spells can still repel it (Dispel Evil merely banishes it to its home Plane for 24 hours). An Embele serves its master loyally - it has no choice - and any other being as its master directs, although its Alignment determines how well or faithfully it serves others. Embeles are sterile in humanoid form (although they can "mate" back on their home Planes) and do not age, although one may appear to do so if granted successively older bodies by its master. They can live for roughly 600-700 years, if not slain. The usual statistics for such creatures is as follows:-


Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3d6
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1 fist, 1 weapon, or special
Damage: 1d6, as per weapon, or special
No. Appearing: 1
Save as: F3
Morale: Unshakeable
Treasure Type: n/a
Intelligence: 9-12 (but see "Embeles as PCs", below)
Alignment: Any
THAC0: 17

Embeles have certain special abilities which they may use in the service of their masters:

- Firstly, each type has some form of special attack, although this has a cost in terms of vitality. Fire Daemons can release Firebolts, small bursts of flame with a range of 50' that cause 1d4 hp damage, up to 3 times each Turn; each bolt costs 1hp to produce. Water Daemons can generate a Waterspout from their mouths once per Turn, in a cone 20' long and 5' at its terminus, causing 2d6 damage (save vs. spells for half damage); 1d6 damage to the Daemon per use. Air Daemons may breathe out a Windstorm from their mouths once per Turn which lasts for 1 round, causing 2d6 damage to all within a 15' radius (again, save for half damage); likewise, they take 1d6 damage each time they do so. Earth Daemons can cause their fists to harden briefly once per Turn, allowing them to strike a Rocky Blow with each fist which causes 2d6 damage per successful punch - this effect lasts for 4 rounds, and costs 1d4 to activate. No (NPC) Daemon will use its special attack if reduced to half hit points or less.

- Once per day, at the command of its master, a Daemon can assume its original Elemental form for up to 1 Turn, with all the powers and restrictions that involves - except that the master need not concentrate to control or maintain the Embele.

- Embeles are immune to natural (non-magical) occurrences of their native element on the Prime; a Fire Daemon can walk through a burning building without harm, for instance, and a Water Daemon can remain beneath the sea indefinitely. Daemons do not heal naturally from wounds; they must rest while submerging themselves in their element (Air Daemons in windy canyons, Earth Daemons buried underground, etc) to heal as humans do, at a rate of 1hp per day. A Daemon can be healed by magic, as normal. Every 24 hour period spent on its native Plane heals up to 1d6 damage for the Embele. Note: a wounded Embele who switches forms will be wounded in all of them.

- Finally, once per day, every Embele can Gate either to or from its native Elemental Plane - converting automatically into Elemental form while it does so - usually to retrieve knowledge, run errands, or take a short-cut to some distant location. Again, they do this only at the command of their masters. An Embele can carry only a limited amount of excess material with it through its personal Gate, which must be immune to the native element; other living beings cannot use these Gates at all. Daemons on such missions are usually instructed to return within 48 hours - remaining on the Elemental Plane can weaken the control granted by the Embodiment spell; any Embele who remains on their home Plane for longer than 7 days is forever free of their former master's control.

Embeles are bound to serve for the lifetime of their master - or longer, if they are "traded" to a new master, who must cast an Elemental Embodiment spell of her own to take "ownership", granting a new form to the Daemon - unless freed by accident or design. Being intelligent creatures, most come to accept and even enjoy their new status - the Embodiment grants them true intelligence, which grows slowly the longer they remain on the Prime; the ability to exist as a "native" on either Plane; and the promise of freedom, retaining their unique abilities, either at their master's whim or upon his death. Daemons are able to progress and learn to be Fighters, Magi, Thieves or Clerics, if permission is granted and a teacher can be found (Juriela, a 5th level Cleric at Rathanos' temple in Thyatis, is actually a long-freed Neutral Fire Daemon. Though of low level, Juriela is much favoured by her Patron Immortal, since the spell used to Embody her is akin to the transformative spell he seeks).

Since Yrac's passing, in 487 AC, knowledge of Elemental Embodiment has spread (via former apprentices, colleagues, and adventurers) across the continent, and beyond. Although not a common spell, it is certainly well-known (or at least known of) in most Wizardly societies. Embeles in servitude to great Wizards, or even living quiet lives of their own, might be found anywhere by now - even in the Hollow World, as at least some Daemons were carried there along with Alphatia, although the HWs Spell of Preservation blocks their ability to Gate.

Note: since the advent of the Day of Dread, Embeles automatically take themselves off to their home Plane for the day, preserving both their existences and the spell's effects. How this effects those within the HW, who cannot escape in this fashion, is unknown.

Embeles as NPCs:

Instead of being treated as monsters (i.e. a set of statistics), Daemons might make good NPCs in their own rights.

A bound Daemon might conceivably be encountered under various circumstances - as a Mage's servant, a spy, a thief (or Thief!), etc; however, a freed Embele could literally appear anywhere, if it chose to settle down amongst normal people. Such an Embele could be a tavern-keeper, gardener, tinker, shopgirl, or harlot; with their spell-acquired shapeshifting powers, the same Daemon could be all of these! If the Embele has adventuring-class abilities, their potential for use is even greater - Could that scruffy young hired Fighter or henchman Thief actually be a centuries-old Elemental in human form? Only the DM knows for sure. A non-classed Daemon might well present itself to a Name-level hero as an apprentice, in order to acquire those skills.

Since they do live so long, Daemons might make good sources of information, as Sages or storytellers - and of course, there is no guarantee that a free Daemon will be helpful and friendly; an ancient, intelligent Elemental with Mage or Cleric powers might make a good and enduring villain for a PC party...

Embeles as PCs:

If the DM permits, Daemons might be considered suitable as a PC character "race". As noted above, the basic Embele can receive training in one of the four basic character classes as if human, whether the form(s) they assume appear human or not. To allow for their alien nature (and special abilities), Embeles require 50% more XP to advance to the next level, and are limited to 5th level as Mage, Cleric, or Thief, and 7th level as Fighter. The Rake class (to the same level as Thief) is permissible; the Mystic and Forester classes are not, nor any "alternate" classes (unless the DM chooses otherwise). A new Embele PC will have 3d6 hp, but will not increase in HD until their class exceeds 3rd level - at which point they begin to improve using the HD of their chosen class (i.e. 1d8 for Fighter, 1d4 for Mage or Thief). Armour of less than AC5 will not improve their natural AC, although they might wear it to disguise that aspect of their natures. Most other attributes (spell progression, Turning ability, Thief Abilities, Skills) go up as normal from 1st level. The majority of Daemon PCs will have been freed from control, either by the death of their master or because he allowed them to go, although playing a bound minion might make an interesting challenge.

NPC Daemons may have multiple humanoid forms; their PC kin should be limited to one, or perhaps two, forms. Likewise, although NPC Embeles have a wide range of knowledge, PCs should be restricted to normal starting Skills - perhaps they were recently embodied, or kept from learning about the outside world by their masters. Embele PCs tend to have average (9-12) scores in most stats, although Earth daemons are stronger than normal, Air Daemons quicker and more agile, Fire Daemons more intelligent, and Water Daemons wiser (+1 to Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence and Wisdom, respectively). Therefore, different types of Daemon are likely to be better suited to particular classes, although any Daemon may have free choice of class. Any alignment is possible for an Embele PC.