Thursday, April 25, 2019

OSR: The Elemental Courts of Water

And once more!  You can find the part 1 of this series here, where I talk about the Court of Fire, and part 2 is here, where I do the same for Earth.  Now let's talk about Water.


The world according to Water

The Ocean is the epicenter of the world.  The Earth Elementals will tell you that the land came first, but the Water Elementals will tell you otherwise.  They say that land emerged from out of the sea.  They also claim to be the eldest of the Courts, being newer than Earth or Fire.  Whether they came before Air is unknown, and a subject of fierce debate among Water scholars.

But back to Water's view of the world, the Ocean is the center of the world, but not all parts of the ocean are equal.  The open ocean is widely viewed as the center, the most important places for all Water Elementals.  Only the most prestigious of Water Elementals are assigned there, and only the strongest can hold their position there.  It is from here that all power flows, and where the Deluvian Emperor once held court.  We will speak about her in a moment.

The highest ranking position in the Water Courts is that of Deluvian Noble, who are the Elementals permitted to come to Court and who once served the Emperor directly.  They still perform this function, technically, in their service to the Gotokei.  The reason why the Deluvian Nobles are the highest position one can hold, and not Gotokei, or Emperor before them is because the Emperor (and now the Gotokei) are not viewed as part of the Court's hierarchy.  Rather, the Gotokei, and the Emperor before them are viewed as the parents to the courtiers, who are like the children of the Gotokei or the Emperor before them.  Then, descending further, from the open ocean on outward, the less prestigious a position becomes. So Water Elementals must be very careful, as the Water Courts are known for their savage intrigues, and failing in some gambit could easily mean being reassigned to some tiny outpost on the surface, surrounded by Earth to fight in the Tide War; or being sent Above to fight in the Cloud War.

What's this nonsense about multiple Courts?

In the ancient, primordial past, there was only one Deluvian Emperor.  Her name was Empress Panthalassa Moonloved, the First of her Kind, Ruler of the Seven Seas, Master of Tides, Lady of the Black Depths, Mistress of Lakes, Rivers and canals, Liege of all Water Elementals.  She is revered even today and Water Elementals never speak her name, except in the most hushed of whispers and most reverent of prayers.  Then, one day, the Emperor died, leaving no heir.  No one knows why she died, but there are many theories.  Most of these theories state that the Emperor was assassinated, but this need not necessarily be true.  Regardless, after the Emperor passed, one thing was clear- the Emperor had left no clear successor. This kicked off a succession crisis that spiraled out of control, leading to a civil war, and the unified court fractured into four courts, each one led by an Elemental who claimed to be the true heir to the original Emperor.  In time, a fifth contender for Emperor would emerge, but that's a story for another day. 

Regardless, to this day, the Water civil war continues.  This is part of the reason why the seas are often stormy and dangerous, when simple mismanagement isn't the cause.  Generally, if you are at sea and you run into a storm, either a God is angry at you or you stumbled into an Elemental battlefield.

Sidebar: On natural disasters and natural evil

The reason why Nukaria has natural disasters such as Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the like is simply because the natural forces of this world are largely run by the Elemental Courts, and Elementals are people.  They are flawed, they make mistakes and they doggedly pursue their self-interest above all else.  Natural disasters are thus, caused by them, either through mismanagement or deliberate action.  Earthquakes, for example, are caused by an act of the Earth Elementals' Parliament to relieve some of the tension on the tectonic plates.

Additionally, most Elementals will just ignore mortals and other living creatures.  They are simply apathetic to what mortals do.  For example, the Earth Elementals are barely aware of mortal civilization, as it were, and even if they did know, they certainly wouldn't care.  If you came to them and told them that an earthquake cracked your city in two, they'd tell you to not build on a fault line next time, then have you escorted from their office.

End Sidebar.

Base Water Elemental Statblock
HD Varies  AC Varies  Atk Varies
Mor 9  Saves Varies

Elemental: Elementals are alive, but not in the way that you are.  They do have bodily needs that must be addressed, but not in the way that you are.  In this case, Water Elementals do not need to eat or sleep, but they do need to drink and breathe.  However, they can only breathe water.  In atmosphere, they only breathe the humidity in the atmosphere.  Additionally, they need to drink or immerse themselves in water at least once an hour or they start evaporating away.  Doing this heals them 1d8 HP.

In their Element: Water Elementals, when immersed in water, are virtually unstoppable.  They can swim rapidly, regenerate 1d8 HP a turn, and get +1 to attack and damage rolls.  Water Elementals can also walk on the surface of water and on clouds.       

Evaporation: A Water Elemental who has been without water for an hour or more, or has taken fire damage takes 1d4 dehydration damage and cannot use any of their special abilities until they re-soak themselves.  Water Elementals also have difficulty breathing in areas with little humidity in the atmosphere and must take some time to adjust to drier air.  Additionally, if the air in an area was entirely dry with no water vapor to speak of, the Water Elemental would begin suffocating. 

Tactics:
- Vary depending on the Elemental
- See below

Elementals of Note:

The Deluvian Emperors

There are currently Five claimants to the Throne of the Deep, all claiming to be the best one to rule the Court of Water.   Until such a time as someone will mount the Throne of the Deep and be acknowledged by the majority of Water Elementals as the true master of the waves, the Water Civil War will continue and the Court will remain fractured.

Also, a note.  To aid myself, I am going to refer to use the title Gokotei to refer to these prospective Emperors for the rest of this article.  Gokotei basically just means "claimant to the throne" or "acting Emperor", as none of the Gokotei want to claim the title of Emperor until they are sure their position is secure.

The first of the Gokotei is Mirova, the former chief of security for the First Deluvian Emperor.  Supporters cite her large amount of experience as an administrator and commander, as well as her positive proposals, such as her declaration that she will seek to end the Cloud War and continue the original plans for the Tide War, which is to cover the land with water and return the world to how it was at the beginning of time.  However, opponents of hers, especially those who believe that the First Empress was assassinated in a palace coup claim she is unworthy of leading, as under her watch, their beloved Empress was killed.  Other then that, Gokotei Mirova represents basically an extension of the First Emperor's policies and is thought of as the safe option, as she is conservative enough to not scare off the traditionalists, but not so extreme as to alienate the reform faction in the Courts.

Pharisua is the yang to Mirova's yin.  He is the milk-toast reformer in contrast to her bagel and coffee traditionalism.  Pharisua is similarly lacking in charisma or a real strong following, but he is well spoken enough to have convinced a good chunk of the reform faction that he might be able to win this.  However, Pharisua has absolutely no pedigree and no experience commanding successfully, which has hurt him quite severely.  This gives Mirova a distinct advantage over him, but it is largely cancelled out by the fact that she is defending the old regime in its entirety, including its failed policies. Pharisua is promising change, namely in the form of ending the Tide War and escalating the Cloud War.  It isn't a very large change, but it is change.

Tethys is a former lover and friend of the First Empress.  He warmed her bed and commanded her army, two duties he excelled in.  His infamy as King-Consort is only exceeded by his fame as a commander.  Tethys was heaped in honors for many great victories, especially in the beginning of the Cloud War.  He played a primary role in breaking the armies of the Sky-King at the battle of the Cumulus and the Battle of the Geese and was honored for this.  His military successes, as well as his courage and stead-fast clinging to tradition are the primary reasons his supporters give for backing him.  However, detractors point out that Tethys was eventually rejected by the Empress for his jealousy and insecurity; and they often accuse him of wickedness, claiming he is a lover of violence.  This is an accusation that carries weight with some, considering Tethys' policies are to adhere rigidly to tradition and escalate all wars on all fronts.  These accusations, along with his inflexibility, mean that he is unlikely to win, unless he can outmaneuver and destroy his opponent's armies in the field.

Rheic is the radical reformer among the Gotokei.  He never occupied any powerful position or had any real prestige among the aristocracy, but through rhetoric and sheer ambition has clawed his way to the top of the heap, or at least, to the top of a heap.  If Rheic became Emperor he would immediately begin dismantling traditional institutions and centralizing state functions, as well as pulling back on military activities.  This, along with his passionate rhetoric has convinced many Water Elementals that he is not to be trusted, while hardening a small minority of the reform and peace factions around him.  This small minority has erected a cult of personality around Rheic, depicting him as the one true Emperor, as well as the only one who can save them from barbarism and violence.  His supporters are almost totally devoted in their loyalty, regarding Rheic as a deific figure.  His detractors and opponents, on the other hand, either claim that Rheic's policies would be a disaster, or they argue that he is just a wicked individual who wants power, and will say or do anything it takes to achieve it.

Thalassa is the last of the Gotokei and least likely to actually gain the throne.  He has an impressive pedigree as the son of the First Empress.  However, that is the only thing he really has.  He has no real experience in governing or leading soldiers and he never held any important position in Court while his mother was alive.  He's aware of this and while he usually manages to deflect or play off this fact, it is a source of shame for him, along with the fact that he couldn't do anything to help his mother.  Thalassa is also aware that it would be immensely difficult for him to actually claim the throne, as he is badly outnumbered.  Additionally, any Water Elemental who knows anything about politics know that the Empress snubbed Thalassa when she was alive and preferred her other children, though she never named an heir.  So they reason that if she did, it wouldn't have been him.  That being said, the Empress' other children are in hiding or dead.  So Thalassa's supporters argue that regardless of whether or not the Empress' would have chosen him, the law is clear.  Thalassa is the legal heir.  Of course, law doesn't mean much unless it can be enforced and as of now, Thalassa barely has enough troops to prevent himself from being captured and used as a pawn, or more likely, killed by a rival Gotokei.

Statblock Changes:

HD: 12

AC: 14

Saves: 14 or less is a success

Atk: (+4) Royal Weapons 1d12/1d12/1d12

Abilities:

Boiling Sea: The Deluvian Emperor can designate an area of water of up to 30 cubic feet as an action.  The water in that area starts boiling. This does 2d6 damage to anyone caught in this area per round.  The Deluvian Emperor may keep the water boiling as a free action for as long as they wish.

King of Cold: The Deluvian Emperor can, as an action, can freeze someone into a block of ice.  This ice has 2 HD, is immune to cold, acid and electric damage, and takes half damage from sharp weapons.

Tactics:
- Freeze someone into a block of ice
- Swim up to them
- Boil the water around yourself
- Kill whoever is left

                                                                by Nookiew
Deluvian Nobles

These are the ruling class of the Courts of Water, the true power brokers, the King Makers.  Many of the Nobles are as old as the oceans themselves, masters of the water realm.  They are among the elite of the Water Elementals, entrusted to act as commanders, chiefs and diplomats to other Courts.  They are regal and cultured, capable of speaking many languages or holding conversation on any number of high-brow topics.  This being said, do not trust their silver speech.  All Deluvian Nobles arrived at their position by being cleverer then all their opponents, usually accompanied by stabbing a few people in the back and laying waste to their enemies through machinations, rhetoric or assassination.  Even before the civil wars started, the Nobles in the Court of Water were no strangers to violence.

You're highly unlikely to ever see a Deluvian Noble, they usually only ever remain in the depths of the sea or in the open ocean.  However, if you do so, it is highly advised that you talk to them.  Fighting one of these creatures in any location besides in the water would be difficult, while fighting them in the water would be virtually impossible.  Use caution when near one, do not fight them and above all, do not trust them.  A Deluvian Noble is usually the type of person who would slit your throat for a cup of coffee.    

Statblock Changes:

HD: 5

AC: 13

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+0) Natural Weapons 1d8/1d8 or (+2) Ram 1d8 + Swallow

Abilities:

Undertoe: Deluvian Nobles can command the currents.  As an action, they can force one person to save.  On a failure, that creature is dragged in any direction the Deluvian Noble wishes.  The creature may make a save on its turn each round to be free.  While being dragged along like this, the creature gets a -4 penalty to avoiding attacks. 

Swallow: If the Deluvian Noble manages to ram someone, they can force that person to save.  On a failure, that person is swallowed and sucked into the Noble's mouth.  The Deluvian Noble may then do 1d6 sharp and 1d6 blunt damage to them as a free action each round as they chew on them.

Tactics:
- Use your Undertoe on someone
- Swallow them
- Swim Away, Chew
- Repeat as necessary 

                                                         by SARYTH
Abyssal Archon

Abyssal Archons are Deluvian Nobles who have somehow angered their Sovereign or proven their ineptitude, and thus must be punished.  Their fiefs in the open sea were taken from them and they were sent down and down and down.  The Archons rule over chunks of the abyss, attended to by pale, eyeless crabs and luminiscent jellyfish.  The Archons have two primary duties down here, both largely inconsequential.  The first of their duties is to keep watch on the ocean floor and make sure the Court of Earth isn't sending Elementals up through the ocean floor to aggress against the Courts of Water.  This is not something that's unheard of, but it is an extremely rare event.  As such, the Archons spend long periods of time patrolling their huge territories, looking for any sign of Earth Elemental intrusion, an extremely tedious task.

The second duty the Archons have is to act as Wardens for Air Elementals captured in the Cloud War.  In the early days of the Cloud War, during the reign of the First Empress, Air Elementals prisoners were kept in the Sky-Fortresses of the Court of Water.  However, this proved to be a bad idea, as it was far too easy for them to escape.  So the First Empress decreed that all Air Elemental prisoners were to be sent to holding facilities on the ocean floor, where it would be much more difficult to escape.  This decree was amazingly effective; and the prisons of the Courts of Water are quite secure.  The only real chance of an Air Elemental being able to escape from one of these prisons is if a group of Courtiers serving a rival Gotokei came and broke open a prison to embarass the Gotokei who controlled that prison, or if a group of outsiders with no knowledge or understanding of the situation they were intruding burst in and introduced a chaos factor into the system.        

Statblock Changes:


HD: 4

AC: 13

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+3) Bite 1d10 + Grapple

Abilities:

Glowing Lure: The Abyssal Archon can create glowing light that they can move up to 30' away from them.  Whenever you see this light, it touches the soul, revealing to the person what they most desire.  Upon seeing this, you must save or be compelled to move toward the light.  However, if you have ever been exposed to this glowing lure before, you get a +1 bonus to your save for every time you were exposed to it. 

Dazzle: The Abyssal Archon can cause its body to be covered by glowing and shifting colors.  Anyone within melee range of the Archon must save upon seeing this.  Those who fail their saving throw become dazzled and are unable to take any action on their last turn.  Those dazzled may make a saving throw to end the effect each turn, which ends on a success.  Additionally, if someone uses their action to slap or jostle the dazzled person, they may immediately make a new save against the effect. 

Tactics:
- Use Glowing Lure
- Attack from Ambush
- If that fails, Dazzle then flee

                                                              by DrManhattan-VA
Coast Controller

Coast Controllers are a certain class of Elemental Noble, entrusted to monitor the coasts.  The fiefs awarded with these duties are usually quite vast and profitable for the Coast Controller, who can expect a good deal of power and prestige from their position.  However, being a Coast Controller is also an unenviable task, as it is dangerous.  The Coast Controllers are not at the front lines of the Tide War against the Court of Earth, but they still have regular contact with Earth Elementals, as well as other Water Elementals.  The former are usually there to ensure that the Courts of Water do not advance upon the land any further.  So Coast Controllers need to be careful when in the shallows or on land, as an Earth Elemental ambush could be right under their feet.

This isn't the only danger, though.  Water Elementals from rival courts are also known to pass through coastal regions, as it is safer than traveling through the open ocean, where they might meet a contingent of bureaucrats and soldiers from an enemy court or a Deluvian Noble and their bodyguards.  Along the coast, all they have to worry about is a Coast Controller with whatever lesser Elementals they have to act as bodyguards or servants.  It is for this and other reasons that Coast Controllers who do manage to survive and carry out their duties are lauded and heaped with honors upon their infrequent returns to court, for one reason or another.

Mortals who live along the coast near the fiefdom of an active Coast Controller who doesn't just hide away somewhere on the continental shelf will usually misattribute their infrequent sitings of the Elemental to other things, such as waterborne monsters or invasion by the aquatic races, such as Gillmen or Mermaids.  So if you are an Adventurer and hear stories about the Crabman of Moonsliver Bay or the Trilobite Terror, or rumors of some drowned pirate king with a sunken castle full of treasure, exercise caution, as you might find nothing but a few unsigned documents and an irritated vassal of a Deluvian Gotokei. 
   
Statblock Changes:

HD: 4

AC: 14

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+1) Claws 1d6 + Grapple/ 1d6 + Grapple

Abilities:

Rogue Wave: The Coast Controller blasts a wave of water from its claws.  This hits a 30' cone and affects everyone for 15'. Anyone hit by this must save.  On a successful save, they take 1d6 FS damage.  If the person has no FS left, they automatically fail their save.  On a failed save, the person is automatically knocked prone and blown backwards.

Undertoe: Coast Controllers can command the currents.  As an action, they can force one person to save.  On a failure, that creature is dragged in any direction the Coast Controller wishes.  The creature may make a save on its turn each round to be free.  While being dragged along like this, the creature gets a -4 penalty to avoiding attacks.  Note that this ability only works if someone is at least partially immersed in water.

Tactics:
- Use Rogue Wave to blow people into water
- Use Undertoe to drag them out to sea
- Grab them with your claws and chop them into bits

                                                            by Murilo-Araujo
Cloud Father

Cloud Fathers are the first and second to last of the Nobles in the Courts of Water.  They are second to last because they are far below the Deluvian Nobles or the Coast Controllers.  Even the lowly Abyssal Archons out-rank them in terms of territory.  Yet they usually wield much more authority than most of those other Nobles, for one simple reason.  They are the front-line commanders and tacticians responsible for leading the forces of their Court in the battle against the countless Courts of Air. 

The Cloud War is the war they are fighting in, the same one that has waged since pre-Deluvian times.  The original origin of the War is hotly disputed; the courts of Air universally agree that the War began because of an invasion of their territory by the forces of the First Empress, a fact that Water Elementals of all stripes and courts dispute.  They claim that the First Empress was invited to enter the Air, only for the Sky-King's pride to cause him to attack them, despite their legal right to be where they were.  Some early manuscripts even claim that the First Empress was ordered to go up into the Air, or that some third party arranged the initial treaty, but these sources are generally considered either unreliable or mistranslated.  Regardless of the initial reason, that time was long ago and all the Elementals who would have known or cared are long since dead.  Now the Courts of Water and Air fight for only one reason- to win. 

Clouds are the forward bases of Water Elementals in the Air, the beachheads from where they assault the sky-castles and floating fortresses of the Courts of Air.  Cloud Fathers are the chief protectors of these fortresses, as well as the commanders of the Water Elementals sent to aid them.  Cloud Fathers lead from the front, leading important assaults and striking out against the Court of Air.  That being said, Cloud Fathers also have to know how to pick their battles.  Being a Cloud Father can be a source of great prestige and even promotion to a more advantageous post, but it is also quite dangerous.  Thus, Cloud Fathers tend to vary between the young and courageous and the old, cautious and alive.     

Statblock Changes:

HD: 4

AC: 13

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+2) Vapor Blade 1d6/1d6

Abilities:

Cloudsmith: Cloud Fathers have the ability to change and alter the clouds they have been granted dominion over.  As an action, they can open up holes in the clouds beneath someone's feet, create cages or walls out of the cloud, or create Nimbus Clouds.

Nimbus Cloud: Cloud Fathers all have Nimbus Clouds, which are small, colorful clouds that can easily support the weight of up to one large sized creature.  These clouds obey all orders, from the first creature to ride on them.  They can also be summoned by whistling a specific tune.    

Tactics:
- Open up holes in the clouds beneath their feet, assuming they can't fly
- Let them fall
- Mop up the leftovers

                                                                   by Veli Nystrom

Lake Lord

The Lake Lords are the lowest of the Nobles, barely counting as part of the aristocracy, given their pitiful reputations and usually embarassing amount of territory.  They are sent far from the Courts of the Gotokei, into the teeth of the Court of Earth.  Being a Lake Lord is a dangerous position to have, as it usually means one has few resources or retainers while being surrounded by enemies and far from help.  It is a position exclusively held by sinners or saints.        

The sinners are those Nobles who are too inconvenient, incompetent or disloyal to be entrusted with anything more serious. For while the Tide War is important, it is a slow war, usually characterized by swift attacks by Water and a gradual, moving defense from Earth.  As such, if a few minor lakes are filled with silt and a few lesser Nobles are drowned in mud, nothing of real value is lost.  On the other hand, Lake Lords can also be brave and heroic, holding back the tide of Earth and even making gains in one of the many theatres of the Tide War.  It is these strong-willed Elementals that prevent the Court of Earth from cutting off all rivers and draining all lakes, out of fear of retaliation.

Statblock Changes:


HD: 4

AC: 12

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+2) Barbed Spear 1d8/1d8

Abilities:

Bouyancy Control: One creature touched by the Lake Lord can have its bouyancy altered.  It will immediately sink like a stone, remain fixed at its current depth unless it exerts force, or it will become super-bouyant and be launched to the surface like a balloon held underwater.

Tactics:
- Use Bouyancy Control to make someone float back to the surface
- Use Bouyancy control to make anyone you particularly don't like sink
- Swim down after them and impale or drown them

                                                              by Naomi Savoie
Frog Princess

This entire series of Elemental posts are inspired by one post from Red_Kangaroo, specifically about these ladies, the Frog Princesses.  As such, I will let him describe the Frog Princesses, as he does it better than me.  Find the original post that started it all here.

Statblock Changes:

HD: 3

AC: 14

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+2) Licking Tongue 1d4 poison or Tongue Grapple

Abilities:

Glamour: Frog Princesses can weave glamours over themselves to give themselves clothes or human faces (their normal heads look like that of a giant frog).  These glamours can be seen through with a successful WIS check. 

Shapeshifting: A Frog Princess can shapeshift into a frog or a puddle of water.  Her stats remain the same in all forms, with certain exceptions.  For example, in her water form, she is invisible in a larger body of water and cannot be hurt by non-magical damage and when she is a frog, she is smaller and can hide better.

Venomous Saliva: A Frog Princess' saliva is venomous.  It does 1d4 poison damage and 1d4 CON damage on contact.  Additionally, drinking more water for the next 1d8 hours will cause 1d4 additional CON damage.  If the amount of CON damage equals or exceeds the total CON score, the poisoned person dies.  If water is avoided for this time, the poison will pass out of the body and all will be well.  Additionally, a Frog Princess' kiss can cure the poison.  

Tactics:
- Poison someone
- Then run away
- Be rather spiteful     

                                                    by Ericscant
River Dragon

River Dragons, like the Frog Princesses, are no Nobles.  Rather, they are glorified bureaucrats, entrusted to maintain rivers, those narrow channels through which Water Elementals can safely travel inland.  However, while a Frog Princess can at least count on some measure of safety, as only those who wish to harm their Mother, the Queen of Frogs, who is currently one of the wives of the Gotokei Tethys usually seek to harm them, River Dragons have no such luck.  Their is no guarantee of safety for a River Dragon on a long, circuitous patrol down an isolated waterway.  At least a swamp or bog usually leads to the ocean.  Rivers lead to the oceans too, but only after far too many enemies.  As such, River Dragons tend to be quite snappish and vicious.  They will attack anyone who irritates or could possibly threaten them.  Many a hapless fisherman has accidentally gotten chomped in half by a River Dragon who assumed they were an Earth Elemental.

River Dragons are one of the reasons why people build bridges, only ford the river at specific times and places, and always use great caution, even when a brook is only a couple of inches deep and clear as crystal.  River Dragons are also the Water Elementals you are most likely to meet.  Be careful of them.  The best weapon you have is to be vicious in response.  Do not attempt to flatter the River Dragon.  That's exactly what an Earth Elemental would do.  Contrary to what you might think, Earth is known for its gentle soliliquies and stirring rhetoric.  The beauty of sculpted rock faces and craggy cliffs demonstrates the innate love of beauty present in the Earth, and the Elementals spawned from the same are no expection.  As such, be swift and blunt in your speech, and do not give an inch.  If you negotiate, the River Dragon might listen, or it might take your arm. 

Statblock Changes:

HD: 3

AC: 13

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+3) Bite 1d10/1d10 or Bite 1d10 + Grapple

Abilities:

Sweep Away: One creature in the water must save or be swept downstream.  This ability may also be used on objects, which do not get a save.

Shapeshifting: A River Dragon can shapeshift into any creature that might be found in its river, from a minnow to a crawdad to a snapping turtle or a giant catfish.  It's stats remain the same, no matter what form it takes. 

Tactics:
- Attack from ambush
- Grapple someone and pull them into water
- Use Sweep Away to pull them downstream
- Shapeshift and hide

                                                                 by Erin Frye
Rain Man

Even in the world of the Elemental Courts, there exist boring and tedious jobs.  Among the Courts of Water, none are more so then the endless tabulation of available water in the atmosphere and the allocation of weather.  Managing, evaluating and approving the requests for precipitation is an endless, thankless task that few aspire to and even fewer enjoy.  Yet despite this, the job is absolutely essential.  For these reasons, the Rain Men are among the most respected and least understood offices created by the First Empress. 

The Rain Men's duties are simple- to control and manage weather.  Precipitation is a vital part of the Tide War against the Court of Earth, helping to reinforce vital areas and strengthen the forces in the area, as well as to remind the Earth that Water still claims the territory covered by lakes and rivers.  It is also used in major offensives which mortals mistakenly label "floods".  Unfortunately, the gains made in these swift assaults, due to the immense power of gravity, which was a magic invented by Earth Elementals and standardized for use among all their vassals since the Beginning.  Regardless, precipitation is vitally important. 

Rain Men also must work closely with Cloud Fathers, as well as the other classes of Noble to reinforce and reshuffle Water Elementals.  Their work is absolutely essential for the proper functioning of the Water Courts.  For this reason they are lauded, respected, and allowed to calculate their sums in peace.    

Statblock Changes:

HD: 3

AC: 12

Saves: 9 or less is a success

Atk: (+0) Bio-Electric Blast 1d10

Abilities:

When it rains: As an action, a Rain Man may create a small cloud over someone's head and cause it to begin producing any liquid the Rain Man desires.  It can produce water, blood, acid, wine, oil, or anything else the Rain Man can think of.  These clouds persist until the Rain Man dies or dismisses the clouds.  If the Rain Man commands the cloud to produce a harmful liquid, it only does 1d6 damage a round.  Additionally, if someone spends their turn running at full speed and doing nothing else, they can escape being rained on by the small cloud.

Nimbus Cloud: All Rain Men have Nimbus Clouds, which are small, colorful clouds that can easily support the weight of up to one large sized creature.  These clouds obey all orders, from the first creature to ride on them.  They can also be summoned by whistling a specific tune.   

Tactics:
- Form a cloud over someone's head and have it rain oil
- Shoot them with your Bio-Electric Blast and set them on fire with it
- Fly away, repeat as necessary

                                                                    by Zeronis 
Ice Queen

Working with water in its frozen form is a far more difficult process than water in its liquid form.  As such, to assist the Rain Men and bring the Tide War to the distant, thinly defended mountain ranges of the world, a new office was formed by the First Empress.  The Ice Queens work under the Rain Men, handling exclusively frozen precipitation and calculating the amount of snow that can be permitted to melt.  They are also known to negotiate with Fire Elementals sent from the Sun to time the arrival of Spring properly.  These negotiations can drag on for many weeks, which is why it sometimes take longer some years for Spring to come.

Ice Queens are known for their imperious attitudes and stern adherence to duty.  They are humorless, a fact that their masters, the Rain Men, do not notice.  Ice Queens are sometimes too effective in their duties, as occasionally they monopolize their offices, allowing the Rain Men to shirk their actual duties in favor of endlessly balancing the books and tracking minute changes in the amount of water evaporated; in lakes, rivers and oceans; or currently falling as precipitation.  This is a fate they try to avoid, as an Ice Queen who steps outside her allotted office can find herself banished to some snowy mountain top or frost covered tundra for various reasons, such as to spy on Earth Elementals, monitor perma-frost and etc.  These are always punishment details given out to bureaucrats who are too useful to dismiss but too ambitious for their own goods.

Sometimes, however, an ambitious Ice Queen can land herself a very important, albeit dangerous and thankless task.  This duty is to monitor and guard Earth Elementals captured in the Tide War.  At first, this was a duty primarily entrusted to those Water Elementals who captured their rivals from Earth, but this proved a poor solution, as Earth Elementals could pass through unworked stone like it wasn't there.  As such, break-outs were common and prisoners of war escaped to fight another day.  Yet if the Water Elementals took the Earth Elementals they had taken prisoner off the surface of the Earth, those Earth Elementals quickly died and crumbled to dust.  As such, valuable prisoners were either escaping or being killed, neither of which was a solution the Deluvian Emperor was inclined to accept.  Then, a novel idea was pitched.  What if this duty was entrusted to the Ice Queens?  Through the use of their dominion over frozen water, Ice Queens can freeze dirt and mud into thick tiles, which are used to pad the inside of an Earth Elemental's cell.  This allows Earth Elementals to be safely transported off the ground and into the clouds, where they are locked up in cloud-prisons, awaiting interrogation by Cloud Fathers or other Nobles who need information from them for the war effort.

Statblock Changes:

HD: 3

AC: 13

Saves: 9 or less is a success

Atk: (+2) Ice Blades 1d8 or Freeze Ray or Icicle Rain

Abilities:

Freeze Ray: As an action, an Ice Queen can fire blasts of freezing air that cover a 30' cone and hit everyone for 30'.  These blasts do 1d6 cold damage and 1d6 DEX damage to anyone caught in them.  If the amount of DEX damage taken ever equals or exceeds the affected creature's total CON score, that creature cannot move with any coordination until it gets a chance to warm up and makes all DEX saving throws as if it had a score of 3(-3).

Icicle Rain: As an action, an Ice Queen can designate a circle up to 30' in diameter.  Every creature and object in that area takes 3d6 damage, DEX save for half as Icicles the size of javelins fall from the sky.  Creatures in this area may save to avoid all damage if they have a shield or some other form of protection that could stand up to being pelted with giant chunks of ice.  This ability is only usable every 1d4 turns.

Tactics:
- Use Icicle Rain to soften them up
- Use Freeze Ray to weaken them
- Use Icicle Storm again
- Carve anyone left to pieces with Ice Blades

                                                         from DigitalArt_io
Flesh Minister

At some point, early on, a low-level bureaucrat in the First Emperor's court noted a small fact.  There appeared to be living creatures all over the Earth and in the seas that filled themselves with and later expelled water from their bodies.  This fact hadn't been noticed before, but apparently it had been throwing off the Rain Men's calculations since the introduction of Evaporation.  As such, a new office was hastily created.

Flesh Ministers are Water Elementals who have the sole duty of monitoring the water taken in and expelled by living creatures and correcting abnormalities.  They divide their time almost evenly between balancing the books and speaking to the Rain Men about the figures they've discovered and traveling to meet certain living creatures to speak to them about their abnormal water intake.  If you've ever seen a great, malformed mass wrapped tightly in kelp and muscular tendrils that politely enquired about whether you've drank enough water recently, you have encountered a Flesh Minister.

Flesh Ministers take their jobs very seriously, traveling far and wide.  They speak to castaways gargling sea water on scraps of flotsam and to travelers wandering alone in the desert and to sharks who haven't caught enough seals and to crows who prefer sipping tea to drinking ordinary water.  Additionally, Flesh Ministers have a specific disdain for Undead, who are guilty of breaking Water Court regulations by hoarding water and refusing to share it. 

However, there is a downside.  Flesh Ministers spend a lot of time near mortals, especially compared to other Elementals, so they tend to pick up some of their bad habits.  For example, most Elementals, if they saw a person dying on the side of the road wouldn't even look at them.  We are completely irrelevant to them, in the same way birds are totally irrelevant to most people, unless you plan on eating one or observing them.  Flesh Ministers though, they might actually stop to chat with the person and maybe even to help.  Of course, Flesh Ministers are still Elementals, so its idea of help might be a little weird. For as much as the Flesh Minister cares about you, it also likely has absolutely no idea what you actually might need.            

Statblock Changes:

HD: 3

AC: 10

Saves: 9 or less is a success

Atk: (+2) Giant Fist 1d8/1d8 or Grapple + Desiccation

Abilities:

Water Sense: A Flesh Minister can sense the water in a living creature's body, meaning they can only be surprised by a creature that has no or almost no water in its body, such as an Undead.

Desiccation: As an action, a Flesh Minister can drain water from a creature that it is touching.  This does 1d6 dehydration damage as it sucks the water out of the creature.  The Flesh Minister may continue draining from that creature each round as a free action. 

Tactics:
- Grapple someone, begin draining water from them
- Grapple someone else, do the same
- Use them as human shields while sucking them dry  

             
Spout Soldier

They are also called Cloud Knights, as they act as the sword of the Gotokei.  These Elementals are the tip of the spear, deployed against Air, Earth and Water, the Spout Soldiers crush all opposition beneath their ice-armored feet.  These soldiers were glittering mail of frozen water and carry huge, super-cold swords that can freeze a creature from the inside out.  This is particularly dangerous to other Water Elementals, but it is also highly effective against Earth Elementals, and mortals, if the occasion calls for it.

The Spout Soldiers are the shock-troops, the stiff iron to reinforce the armies of the Courts of Water.  They are known for their swift entrances and exits through the use of waterspouts, which allow them to quickly travel from the ocean's surface to a cloud in need of reinforcement.  So if you ever see a waterspout, use extreme caution, as you are in an Elemental war zone.

Spout Soldiers generally tend to fall into two categories.  Firstly, there are those who like to fight.  These ones are highly violent and unreasonable.  They will kill you if you stand in their way or look threatening enough, but it's more probable that they'll just ignore you.  Secondly, there are those Spout Soldiers hungry for promotion and power.  As for their kind, they will likely assume you are an agent of their enemies and ruthlessly interrogate you for information you couldn't possibly have.  The latter type are the far more dangerous kind.

Statblock Changes:

HD: 4

AC: 15

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+3) Super-Cold Sword 1d6 + 1d4 cold/1d6 + 1d4 cold

Abilities:

Stairway to the Sky: As an action, a Spout Soldier may summon a Waterspout from a body of water.  This Waterspout can be used to take them up to any cloud they can see.  Additionally, it can be used to take them from a cloud back down to water level.  If a Waterspout is created under someone, they must save or be sucked up into the air.  The Spout Soldier may only use this ability every 1d4 turns.

Freezing Slash: As an action, a Spout Soldier may unleash a streak of super-chilled air that strikes everything in a 30' line, doing 2d6 cold damage on a hit.  Every creature in the line must roll as if the Spout Soldier made a normal attack against them.  On a successful defense roll, they take no damage.  A Spout Soldier may only use this ability every 1d4 turns.

Tactics:
- Start with Freezing Slash
- If they're still alive, use Stairway to the Sky to push someone away from their compatriots
- Swim up the waterspout after them and finish them off while they're vulnerable  

                                                     by sweetdrawingwind
Kingfisher

If you saw one, you probably wouldn't think it was a Water Elemental.  You certainly wouldn't think it would be highly intelligent and capable of speech.  Yet it is all of those things.  Kingfishers are a small, modest office kept beneath the other bureaucrats.  The status from the position is negligible and the efforts required are often great.  Yet the Kingfisher is a duty that persists, for one simple reason.  For just as many Lake Lords and River Dragons eventually realize, the Kingfisher is so far removed from the Courts of Water and the prying eyes of their superiors that they can do whatever they want to.

A Kingfisher's primary duty is to evaluate the health of rivers and lakes, acting as a sort of census-taker for the Courts of Water.  They also have the secondary, and somewhat related duty, of recording the fallen in the Tide War.  This is a task that is gruelling and emotionally draining when it is not merely tedious.  Yet the job of Kingfisher also carries with it an unexpected bonus.  Due to the distance of their superiors, there is nothing stopping a Kingfisher from taking anything it finds in a river or lake, provided there are no other Water Elementals around, as there often aren't.

So the predictable outcome occurs.  Kingfishers begin stealing everything they can get their hands on.  They accumulate vast stores of treasures, shiny objects, bits of trash and other things they couldn't possibly use.  They grab whatever they find interesting and conceal it in underwater caches or store it in hidden locations.  These treasure troves are often the reason why Kingfishers meet their ends; either their superiors discover their extracurricular activities and they are reassigned to some place where they can be more closely monitored, or they are killed by Adventurers who want to steal their treasures.  Unfortunately for the adventurers though, while Kingfishers do collect coins and treasures when they can, they collect shiny rocks and broken pieces of rusty metal much more often.    

Statblock Changes:


HD: 2

AC: 16

Saves: 8 or less is a success

Atk: (+4) Razor Beak 1d6

Abilities:

Dive Bomb: As an action, a Kingfisher can leap off of high places and make an attack roll against a creature.  On a hit, the Kingfisher crashes into that creature, doing an additional +4 damage and pushing itself and the creature hit backwards.

Tactics:
- Attack from stealth
- Dive bomb someone
- Flee

Cirrus Servant

Cirrus Servants are the lowest of the Water Elementals, a class of servants meant to guard and attend their betters.  They serve in all functions, acting as bodyguards for Deluvian Nobles in safer fiefs to forming the bulk of any Water Elemental force whenever the Water Courts engage a foe to acting as chefs, valets and scribes.  They are multi-talented creatures, trained for any number of functions.  Some of them are even granted commands, albeit small and usually unimportant ones.  For example, cirrus clouds are named after them, as usually these small clouds only have one Cirrus Servant to protect them from Air Elemental assault.

Cirrus Servants tend to vary greatly in their personalities, depending on their posts.  Those assigned to attend the Nobles in the Courts are quite abnegating and docile, a trait they share with those of their class unlucky enough to sent down to the Abyss with their disobedient masters.  Those sent up to the coasts or to lakes and rivers tend to develop far more teeth, the stress and danger of their assignments slowly eroding the genteel mannerism they were trained to adhere to.  Yet even these tougher Cirrus Servants are weaklings compared to those sent Above to join the Cloud War. 

The Cirrus Servants who survive the brutal battles and endless guerilla warfare of the War Above harden into fighting machines, rivaling the Spout Soldiers in passion and desperate zeal, if not in power or skill.  The Cirrus Servants in the War Above tend to quickly develop martial skills along with the killer instinct needed to survive in a combat situation.  This can cause some of them to become fuller, more empowered people, but war is rarely so kind.  Most of them who don't die either end up traumatized and broken or paranoid and twitchy.  Many a wandering sky-traveler has been disemboweled by a Cirrus Servant who mistook them for a passing Air Elemental.            

Statblock Changes:


HD: 2

AC: 13

Saves: 8 or less is a success

Atk: (+1) Liquid Daggers 1d6/1d6

Abilities:

Water Whip: The Cirrus Servant may substitute one of its dagger attacks for making an attack with its water whip.  The water whip does no damage on a hit, but instead grapples and creates a cord between the Cirrus Servant and the creature.  This whip can only be cut by something that could remove water, such as boiling or freezing, then shattering it.  The Cirrus Servant may also dissolve the whip as a free action. 

Nimbus Cloud: All Cirrus Servants have Nimbus Clouds, which are small, colorful clouds that can easily support the weight of up to one large sized creature.  These clouds obey all orders, from the first creature to ride on them.  They can also be summoned by whistling a specific tune.   

Tactics:
- Use water whip to grapple someone
- Jump off of a high place
- Drag them with you
- Dissolve the Whip
- Use your Nimbus Cloud to catch yourself
- Wave good bye

2 comments:

  1. Great post, once again!

    An idea: Water elementals can't truly breathe air, but rather they breathe the humidity in air. Thus drier areas are like mountains to them, they need some time to adjust, or to bring a moistener. In a completely dry air, they would suffocate.

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    Replies
    1. Hmmmmm. Now that is an interesting idea. I think I'll add it.

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