Wednesday, April 17, 2019

OSR: The Elemental Court of Earth

I already did this once before, so let's do it again.  Find the first part of this series here.

Elementals are the spiritual aspect of whatever substance they represent- Fire Elementals are the spirit of flame personified, for example.  The same applies to all other Elementals.  Elementals also have a secondary purpose as well, which is to maintain the physical laws.  Fire Elementals, specifically through the Sultan of the Sun and his burning bureaucracy, govern all fire, along with combustion, ignition, oxygen consumption by fire and anything else relating to fire.  All fires, at least in theory, go through this system.  There are illegal fires, but generally the system is efficient and effective.

Now, let us discuss Fire's brother, Earth.

                                                                  by ChristopherOnciu

The world according to Earth

Patric Stuart thought of this first, by the way.

To Earth Elementals, The core is the center of the universe.  This is the center of everything, where all power is collected, where everyone who is anyone is.  This is the Imperial Capital, the Court of Kings, the Throne Room.  Here the Parliament of the Core meets to discuss all matters of state, from how much mountains should grow or shrink, to the strength of gravity in various regions, to the shifting of the tectonic plates, all these things are matter of debate in the Core's Parliament.  To be assigned to the Core is the most prestigious place an Earth Elemental can be assigned to, a sign of true importance and great authority.

From there, the higher up you go, the less important you are.  To be assigned to the Cauldron, the mixture of fire and earth around the Core, is still good, though not as good as working in the Core itself.  Then come the Veins of the Earth, which are a thoroughly unimportant region, a place defined by almost complete irrelevance.  The Elementals assigned to this place are generally only marginally talented, often corrupt and quite impulsive (by the standards of Earth Elementals).  The Veins is often a punishment detail, meant to keep those too wicked, foolish or ambitious away from the levers of power.  The Veins are also the primary place where Earth Elementals go to commit crimes, plot conspiracies, or to not be bothered. 

Finally, there is the surface.  Most Earth Elementals find the idea of not being surrounded by earth or fire at all times to be intensely distressing, so only the most daring or fool-hardy of their number dare to take these posts.  You would be wrong to think of a surface assignment as a punishment detail, though.  The duties on the surface are often surprisingly important for the maintenance and implementation of the Parliament's policies. 

So generally, surface assignments are reserved for the bold, the Veins for the ambitious, foolish, corrupt or punished, the Cauldron for those who are generally good enough to administrate but not to govern, and the Core is for the elite.

The Earth according to the Other Elemental Courts

The Solar Sultanate is a strong ally of the Parliament of the Core, with the two Courts having a strong, if occasionally fratricidal relationship.  This fact can be shown most strongly by the fact that you can walk on the Sun (assuming you can penetrate the Corona) and the fact that the Cauldron is as much fire as it is Earth.

Some of the Courts of Water are currently at war with the Court of Earth.  This is known as the War of Erosion, and has been going on for a long time.

Some of the Courts of Air are allied with the Court of Earth, assisting in various projects.  Other Courts of Air are at war with the Court of Earth, but in a rather uncommited way.  This doesn't say much, however, as there far too many Air Courts to count, with a number somewhere between 300 and too many on any given day.

                                                      by jbrown67

Base Earth Elemental Statblock
HD Varies  AC Varies  Atk Varies
Mor 7  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, Earth Elementals need to stay in contact with the Earth and spend at least 8 hours a day meditating.  They usually do this burying themselves alive and then digging themselves out later.

Earth Bound: Earth Elementals are bound to the Earth.  If they stop touching the Earth for any reason, they take 1d6 damage a round until they can make contact with the Earth once more.

Stone Shift: Earth Elementals can move through unworked stone and earth as if it was air.

- Varies, see below

Elementals of Note:

                                                             by Dimitar Bochukov

Peak Ambassador

The Court of Earth maintains strong relations with the Courts of Air.  Or at least, they think so.  The Court of Air are fractious and impossibly numerous, with little delineation between one Court or another.  But at the same time, maintaining good relationships with the Air Spirits is deemed essential by the Parliament of the Core, so it is done.  This unenviable duty is left in the hands of the Peak Ambassadors, or as they are occasionally known, the White Caps.  These Earth Elementals can be seen standing atop mountains looking up into the sky, listening to the winds.  Peak Ambassadors also have other duties as well, such as defending their mountaintop from Water or Air Elementals who assault them.  They also help to coordinate volcanic eruptions, building vital relationships with their brothers in the Court of Fire.

Of all the Earth Elementals here, they are the ones most frequently encountered by mortals.  They can be often be seen while traveling, standing so still they might be mistaken for statues.  Peak Ambassadors are also quite social however, unlike most Earth Elementals, possessing only a small amount of the usual truculence and unfriendliness of most Earth Elementals.  They are very slow to speak though, and conversations with them are known to last all day.  Adventurers often frequent their well maintained Embassies, which are usually just caves with swept floors.  There they will implore the Peak Ambassador to speak with them and reveal some of its information, which they will usually pry from the thick skull of the White Head by bribing it by offering to do it a favor, or with some unusual mineral, or perhaps simply by pestering them until its introverted tendencies come out and it promises them that it will do whatever they ask, as long as they leave it alone.  The reason for this is simple.  Peak Ambassadors know many things, as the winds love to gossip and the White Heads have large ears.  Their powers can also make them useful to the clever adventurer.    

Statblock Changes:         

HD: 2

AC: 16

Saves: 9 or less is a success

Atk: (+1)  Slam 1d6/1d6 or Boulder Toss


Gravity Control: By touching something with earth particles in it, a Peak Ambassador can cause gravity to cease affecting someone or something by temporarily severing its connection to the Earth.  This person immediately begins falling toward the ceiling.  If not stopped by something, such as a ceiling, a rope, or a spell, they will continue falling upward until they fly up into the Heavens, where they are likely to be shot down by a God, if they are lucky.  If not, they will continue falling, until they pass through the Constellations and enter the Darkness Beyond the Stars.  The Peak Ambassador can also cancel this effect at will.

Boulder Toss: Peak Ambassadors can throw boulders at people by toggling their gravity control.  They then fling a boulder at one person.  This person must save or be hit.  Anyone immediately adjacent to them must save as well.  On a failed saving throw, the thrown boulder does 3d6 damage, evenly divided among everyone who failed their saving throw.  On a successful save, you take no damage.

- Get under open sky
- Use Gravity control on someone
- Threaten to let them float away if the people attacking you don't stop
- If they don't stop, just run away

                                                                    by Davelgo

Geyser Guard

Geyser Guards are the lowliest of the Core's civil service.  They are the rank and file of the Earth Elemental Armies, trained to fight in pairs or trios.  They are deployed to the distant corners of Parliament's jurisdiction, to the bottom of the sea, to geysers, to coastlines, or to other places where the Earth's domain directly intersects with the other Elemental Courts, usually Earth or Wind.  They also act as bodyguards for low-level civil servants, occasionally accompanying Tunnel Tyrants and Peak Ambassadors.

Geyser Guards tend to be nervous, plucky individuals who are usually out of their depth, underfunded and overworked and very often over budget.  Some of them are very competent and likely to be promoted, but most are doomed to never rise any higher.  Some of them are aware of this.  Most are not.  Still, despite this fact, most Geyser Guards tend to be outward facing, unlike most Earth Elementals, and are able of holding a conversation with those around them.  They tend to be quite twitchy and sensitive, but they are quite reasonable.  Being so far removed from the politics of the Core and the Cauldron tends to make one less interested in the intrigues back home.  So they are quite friendly, if you manage to approach one without spooking them.

Adventurers often visit Geyser Guards, speaking to them and asking for their help.  Geyser Guards have extensive knowledge of cave systems and underground tunnels and can make an excellent guide.  The most common way to earn the help of a Geyser Guard is to bribe it with metal.  Geyser Guards eat metals of all kinds, from raw ore to worked stuff.  Some are very picky, but others will take whatever they can get.  These metal objects are not destroyed, however, but are actually stored inside the Geyser Guard.  This fact explains the second reason why Geyser Guards are often sought out by Adventurers.  Geyser Guards often have treasures stored inside them, and killing them is the only way to get them.  Be careful if you attempt this though, Geyser Guards tend to be quite violent, as they usually have only themselves to rely on, so if they think you're going to attack them, they will kill you without a second thought, or vanish without a trace.   

Statblock Changes:         

HD: 2

AC: 14

Saves: 8 or less is a success

Atk: (+2) Stone Sword 1d8


Metal Mash: Geyser Guards cannot be harmed by weapons made of metal or earth.  As an, they can cause any one weapon constructed of those materials used against them to fly out of the hands of the person who used it and attack someone else instead. 

Metal Absorb: As an action, Geyser Guards can absorb a metal object into themselves, healing themselves 1 HD.  These objects are not destroyed, merely stored inside.

Piggy Bank: When a Geyser Guard dies, they spill out 2d100 Copper coins, 1d20 Silver coins and 1d6 Gold coins.  They also have a 3-in-6 chance of containing 1d4-1 pieces of jewelry and a 2-in-6 chance of containing a minor magic item made of metal.   

- Let them attack you
- Steal Metal objects and eat them
- Burrow into the ground and come up behind the person you want to hit

Tunnel Tyrant
The Tunnel Tyrants are a class of civil servant responsible for maintaining the Veins of the Earth, as well as all other manmade tunnels and mines.  Their additional duties include monitoring the amount of minerals in each area, controlling nitrogen fixation, and several other duties.  If a sinkhole is needed, it must run through them.  However, they are a class of civil servants also known for being corrupt, lazy or just incompetent.  Tunnel Tyrant is a rather unimportant position, often used as punishment detail.  This is because the Veins of the Earth is considered the third world of the Earth Elemental cosmology, distant and basically ungovernable.  Nothing of real note happens there as far as the Parliament is concerned.

Thus, Tunnel Tyrants spend only about 50% of their time doing any actual work.  The rest of their time they spend smoozing with other local Elementals, accepting bribes and generally being sleazy.  Tunnel Tyrants are very often plagued with vice, making them easy to bribe.  And there are many reasons to bribe them.  If you want directions in the Veins of the Earth, ask them.  If you need a blocked tunnel opened, you know who to call.  If you need an open tunnel sealed, say no more.  But none of these things will come for free.  Tunnel Tyrants know they are in a position to make a good deal off of their under the table dealings, and most of them will utilize it.  What they want varies highly.  Some of them want rare minerals, jewels, jewelry, or worked metals.  Others want secrets, juicy rumors and vital information.  Some of them want something only a mortal can provide, such as food, religion or sex*.  Finally, some will contend with simply asking for a favor, with the expectation that you pay up in the future.  And you best- unless you want to spend the rest of your life never going underground again.            

Statblock Changes:         

HD: 2

AC: 11

Saves: 9 or less is a success

Atk: (+0) Granite Claws 1d6


Unseal: With a touch, Tunnel Tyrants can cause a blocked tunnel or passageway, assuming the walls, floor and ceiling of the tunnel are made of earth or stone, to unseal.

Explosion: As an action, Tunnel Tyrants can touch a rock and turn it into an explosive.  This rock detonates 1d3 turns** later, doing 3d6 damage to everyone within 30', save for half.  These explosions can also be used to blast shut cave mouths or tunnels.

- Use explosion to blow someone up
- Pop out of the ground and leave explosives behind, then run

*They may want to have sex with you, or they may just want to watch.  The first thing isn't impossibly, by the way, as while Earth Elementals aren't made of flesh, they're not as hard and rocky as they appear. 

**Turns, not rounds.  A round is the whole initiative ladder, where everyone gets to act at least once.  A turn is everyone's individual action.

                                                            by gerezon

Core Knight

The Parliament is currently at war, and wars do not fight themselves.  While the Parliament does have the Geyser Guards, these auxillary units are not strong enough to stand against the stronger Elementals among the enemies of Earth, namely Air and Water.  As such, the Parliament formed a new office, that of Core Knight.

The Core Knights are nigh-invulnerable Earth Elementals trained and sculpted into killing machines.  Unlike all other Earth Elementals, Core Knights will not simply sink into the Earth if they are in danger.  The idea of retreating to them is an alien concept.  They are proud and blood-thirsty, hungry for blood and battle.  For some of the Core Knights, their loyalty to Parliament is secondary to their desire to fight glorious battles.  Core Knights are most famous for fighting in the wars of Earth, but they do also perform other functions, such as leading Geyser Guards on important mission, rescuing besieged and beleaguered civil servants, or escorting the ministerial class on important forays to the surface world.

If you encounter a Core Knight, you are either an enemy of Earth or you are near her adversaries.  Utilize extreme caution around them- Core Knights are not known for their nuance or their mercy.

Statblock Changes:   

HD: 4

AC: 15

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+3) Basalt Blades 1d6+1/1d6+1


Landslide Speed: The Earth aids Core Knights, accelerating them and helping them go faster.  As a free action, a Core Knight may call upon the Earth to accelerate them and throw them forward.  This gives them +2 to hit and damage.  However, if they miss, the person who was missed may make a free attack against them.

Metal Master: Core Knights cannot be harmed by weapons made of metal or earth.  If successfully attacked by one of these weapons, the Core Knight can absorb the weapon into themselves, healing themselves for 1 HD.  These objects are not destroyed, merely stored inside.

- Sprint in
- Fight with honor, like a gentleman
- Retreat at the last possible moment

Stone Minister

Stone Ministers are the bottom of the ministerial class in the Parliament, the special assistants to the second-string Representative, the chiefs of staff for Vice-undersecretaries, the second chief bureaucrat in some long neglected Parliamentary graveyard, where civil servants are sent to toil away the eons, calculating the rate of sedimentation and measuring it against byzantine guidelines.  Yet are they bitter?  Surprisingly, no.

The Stone Ministers are usually incredibly proud of their own accomplishments.  After all, if they had been just a little less lucky or a little less hard-working, no one would have know they existed.  Instead, however, they stand at the epicenter of power.  Sure their roles might be menial and tedious, but the employee who scrubs the floors in the Core's Parliament is more honored than most other civil servants.  As such, Stone Ministers revel in their own accumulated honors, immensely pleased with themselves.

Additionally, their (relatively) low status means that their is not fierce competition for their jobs.  Unlike the higher ranks of Ministers, Stone Ministers have little in the way of rivals.  They are content to do their work and while away the hours watching their betters kill each other, metaphorically and occasionally literally.

Stone Ministers will only come to the surface to negotiate some kind of serious dispute or to help finalize some preparations for a cross-Court action, such as helping the Court of Fire prepare for a volcanic eruption or work with one of the Courts of Water to organize a flood or a mudslide.  They also appear in times of drought and monsoon to see if peace can be re-established.  They are known to be cheerful and self-satisfied, and occasionally a bit smug. 

Statblock Changes:         

HD: 2

AC: 10+1d6 [Equal to the number of Guard-Stones]

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: (+4) Pet Rock (Ioun Stone) 1d6


Crushing Cube: As an action, the Stone Minister can force one creature to save.  On a failure, a cube of stone appears around one of the creature's appendages or its whole body.  On its next turn, the Stone Minister may automatically do 1d6 damage to this creature, directly to their HP.  The cube has 2 HD and can only be damaged by things that could harm a boulder.  The Stone Minister may dismiss the Cube as an action.  

Entomb: As an action, the Stone Minister can force one creature to save.  On a failure, that person is buried up to their waist in earth.  On its next turn, if the person has not freed him or herself, the Stone Minister can bury that person underground; and on each subsequent turn, the Stone Minister can drag him or her 10' down, further into the Earth.  To free oneself, you must succeed a STR saving throw to break free.  Freeing yourself succcessfully, or even attempting it, costs an action.

Levitating Guard: The Stone Minister is surrounded by 1d6 Levitating Guard-Stones, which orbit around its body.  If attacked, the Stone Minister can sacrifice one of its Guard-Stones and take no damage.  This does not apply to Area-of-Effect abilities.  Once the Guard-Stone is sacrificed, it is gone, and the Stone Minister's AC decreases by 1 point.   

- Bury someone
- Trap someone else in a cube
- Use them as hostages
- If negotiation is impossible, kill those you do have hostage then escape

                                                                 by Lordigan


Among the Earth Elementals, one of their greatest prizes is a seat in the Core's Parliament.  To any Elemental who achieves the arduous task of taking ones of these seats, it will be an unimaginable boon, bringing wealth, power and status immediately.  And while having a seat is small potatoes in the grand scheme of Parliament, it is still the most vital of possessions, as it represents a stepping stone to the crown jewels, to the Executive Departments, where the true power of the Core's Parliament is concentrated.  The Elementals that fill these positions are comparable to the Pyrocrats among the Fire Elementals, making decisions and exercising powers like kings.  Elected kings, to be fair, but kings none the less.

However, to actually achieve that seat is a monumental effort, and one that Earth Elementals often fail at.  The Under-Councilor is one of those failures.  Whether this is the first or the innumerable time, they have failed again to win a seat during the last election.  They hate this, a fact made all too obvious by the simmering resentment floating off them.  By all rights, the Under-Councilors should not be so angry.  They have power and status and wealth, as well as whole cohorts of lesser Elemental servants to attend to their every need.  Yet it isn't enough for them.  They were so close to eternal glory, to immortality, and they fumbled.  They hate and blame everyone they can for this, to disguise the fact that they do the same to themselves.

Under-Councilors are very high in the Earth Elemental hierarchy, so logically, they should never have to leave the Core or the Cauldron.  However, they will, because they will stop at nothing to win.  Under-Councilors who travel to the surface or the Veins of the Earth are usually only there for unsavory reasons.  They could be either there to engage in some kind of illegal dealing or they could be there to sabotage a rival.       

Statblock Changes:         

HD: 3

AC: 10+1d8 [Equal to the number of Guard-Stones]

Saves: 11 or less is a success

Atk: Flintlock pistol 1d8  (See firearm rules here)


Cease and Desist: As an action, an Under-Councilor can target a creature made of Earth or containing Earth particles and force it to stop moving.  There is no save to avoid this.  However, the Under-Councilor may not move or act during this time as well, and must utilize their action each turn to keep the paralysis going.  This does not work on creatures made of things that do not contain earth, such as other Elementals not from the Court of Earth.

Writ of Dissolution: As an action, an Under-Councilor can target a creature made of Earth or containing Earth particles and force it to save.  On a failed save, that creature immediately takes 1d6 CON damage.  Each round, if the Under-Councilor can see or sense the targeted creature, it may cause the creature to take an additional 1d6 CON damage.  If the CON damage ever equals or exceeds the creature's total CON score, it dies as its body disintegrates into dust.

Levitating Guard: The Under-Councilor is surrounded by 1d6 Levitating Guard-Stones, which orbit around its body.  If attacked, the Under-Councilor can sacrifice one of its Guard-Stones and take no damage.  This does not apply to Area-of-Effect abilities.  Once the Guard-Stone is sacrificed, it is gone, and the Under-Councilor's AC decreases by 1 point.   

- Do not believe you can be harmed
- Fear nothing until proven otherwise
- If struck, fly into a rage

                                                           by dohonn ann


  1. Replies
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