Air Elementals are a staple of DnD that helps give it that special touch. What better way for your players to grow unreasonably mad at your villain than by flinging sapient storms at them?
Goblins, demons, devils, and fey give a D&D campaign plenty of fantasy spice, sure. However, you don’t often see the foundational elements of reality acting as natural feral beasts made entirely of their chosen element.
Elementals further give the lore that flavor of ‘Wizards really need to tone it down’ that every Forgotten Realms adventure needs. Lest we forget the extraordinary folly of Karsus’ Avatar. Welcome to a Air Elemental 5e Guide.
Air Elemental, Serenity Turned Storm
Air elementals are usually the first type of elemental, next to Earth’s boulder bros, that an adventuring party will encounter. They hold all the strength and debris of a storm. A storm empowered by the joy a DM gets telling them that the tornado is sapient, not friendly, and will take out all its suffering on them.
Built like a tornado found the evolution cycle, an Air elemental begins its life as a simple bit of mingling sapience born in the serene breezes of the Elemental Plane of Air. The swirling tornado type happens when this creature gets ripped from its Plane of birth and forced to fight some cocky magic user’s battles for them.
- Elementals do not like being taken from their home plane.
- Until a magic user is involved, an Air elemental is just a living breeze in the elemental Plane of Air.
- Different rituals will create other creatures out of an elemental.
- An Air Elemental functions like a living tornado. They can pick you up, bludgeon you, and spit you out to bludgeon your friend.
- If an Air Elemental can gather enough energy, usually through consumption or amalgamation of many separate elementals, an Elder Tempest is born.
- An Elder Tempest is a winged serpent made of cloud and lightning that is constantly at the eye of a horrendous storm it emits.
Basic Air Elemental
- 5e Monster Manual
- Large Elemental, neutral
- CR 5 (1,800 XP)
- Passive Perception 10
- AC: 15 Hit Points: 90 (12d10+24)
- Speed 0 feet, flying 90 (hover)
- Str 14 (+2) Dex 20 (+5) Con 14 (+2)
- Int 6 (-2) Wis 10 (+0) Cha 6 (-2)
- Dmg Resistances: lightning, thunder; Nonmagical piercing, bludgeoning, and slashing.
- Dmg Immunities: poison
- Condition Immunities: grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious
- Senses: darkvision 60 ft
- Languages: Auran
- Air Form: An air elemental can stop on an enemy’s square(s). If the air elemental chooses to stay in another creature’s space, consult Whirlwind in actions.
They can move through a space as narrow as an inch without being considered squeezed.
- Multi Attack: As a single turn action, the Air Elemental can make two Slam attacks.
- Roll to Hit: +8
- Range: Five Feet, Single Target
- Hit: 14 (2d8+5) bludgeoning
- Recharge: 4-6
- Save: DC 13 (Str)
- Range: Each target in the creature’s space. A Large creature is 10x10ft or the size of 4 squares.
- Save Success: Half bludgeoning damage, the target isn’t flung away or knocked prone.
- Save Failure: 15 (3d8+2) bludgeoning damage. 3 (1d6) bludgeoning dmg per 10 feet thrown to target and any struck by the target.
Any affected targets are then flung 20 feet in a random direction from the elemental and left prone.
Should a thrown target strike an object or surface, they take a further 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage per 10 feet thrown. In addition, the struck creature or object (if applicable) must succeed a DC 13 (Dex) or suffer the same extra damage.
An elemental on their home plane functions both as a form of life and part of the weave. They are self-aware; however, in their home plane of Air, they make up the elemental matter that the dimension is primarily composed of.
The breeze, majestic clouds, and crystal clear air are far more than just the atmosphere here. Sometimes they have souls as if they’re in a Pixar movie. In their natural environment, you’d be forgiven for never knowing elementals are inherent to the realm.
The image that springs to mind of an Air elemental, an amorphous section of congested torrenting wind with a shadowy face suspended in the upper storm, is just a forced form.
When an elemental is summoned to the Material Plane, this typhoon-with-a-face is considered its most basic, or pure, form. Other types of elementals can be made with the use of items such as specialized containers or armor.
When home in their element, Air Elementals are invisible. They mingle among the inert essence of the weave with only the occasional captured debris giving adventurers any sign they are there.
Some would allow themselves to be visible, choosing to become large humanoid clouds easily mistaken for their nonanimated brethren. Only the sapient and strong are capable of this feat.
In their home plane, before they are pulled from reality, Air Elementals do not have much personality. An Elemental is more a spark of consciousness in their natural habitat than a complete psychological system. While they hunt and move about, they can be seen more as invisible fauna than denizens of reality.
Like shreds of matter or the minuscule properties of life, the Air elementals mingle and collect. They weave together and unravel in separate directions. Sometimes, this leads to elementals devouring each other.
Sometimes, they devour enough power to become an Elder Elemental.
This does not make the Elementals brainless as much as primal. Instead, they act off of native instinct and drive, which spreads them out across the Plane of Air.
Some do grow more violent. As they stew and spiral around the memories of their time imprisoned on the Material Plane, the gentle elemental breeze can turn into an Invisible stalker. Their rage has been allowed to consume them until their only desire is to take that vengeance out on their prey quickly and effectively.
Creatures and villains in the monster manual may devise unique ways to pull elementals to their whims. But does that mean the average player has a chance to beckon this living weather phenomenon to their whims?
In my opinion, you’re better off summoning Fey or Devils. At least their contracts make some sense, rather than the magic equivalent of attempting to build a business partnership with a bear.
- Spell Level: 5th
- Class List: Druid, Wizard
The classic method of summoning an elemental. The trick here is concentration. The Elemental will only remain friendly to you and your party if the summoner concentrates on commanding the elemental. The upside is this is usually the case for any enemies you might face that are also controlling Elementals.
The other caveat is that the square you summon the Elemental on must be a large concentration of that elemental energy. So, for example, a Fire Elemental needs more than just a torch; you need a campfire at the very least.
Thankfully, in most cases, you will be capable of summoning an Air Elemental. They merely require a space of open air with even the gentlest breeze.
Bandits are notoriously spooked by somebody summoning a tornado that glowers at them.
When casting it as usual as a 5th-level spell, a caster can quickly summon a Pure Elemental. However, suppose the magic user can cast it at a higher spell level. In that case, they can call the deadly Invisible Stalker to hunt down that pesky prey.
- Spell Level: 6th
- Class List: Cleric
Don’t let the name fool you. If you use Planar Ally to summon an elemental, you will need to reason with a living storm with the intelligence of your average coyote. Progress might happen, but both parties will leave this exchange frustrated.
Summoning a Djinn might produce better results, but you still need to reason or bribe the creature. Elementals are good at looking for loopholes, but as a Cleric, this is your only real option. Unless you wanna go crystal balls to the wall on the matter. Then we’d summon a Gate.
- Spell Level: 9th
- Class List: Cleric, Sorcerer, Wizard
Now, this is just the epitome of a bad idea, but let’s be honest, any 9th-level spell has a lot of chances to be one rather than the miracle we envision. Using Gate to summon an elemental, while we will definitely classify it as an idea, is one that will just ruin everyone’s day.
And, to be perfectly frank, usually is only the idea of an evil wizard. So, of course, the players are going to possibly offer this as their grand plan.
Opening a gate to an Elemental Plane generally means a torrent of that element suddenly pouring out from the designated ‘front’ of the portal. So, for example, you might think the Plane of air means ‘a lovely breeze,’ but in reality, it is going to be like opening the door in an airplane 30k feet in the air while standing outside.
If you are using a 9th-level spell, you might as well go the whole hog and call for an Elder Tempest. This means this will also be in the middle of a storm, and a very uppity storm dragon will make its thunderous feelings known to the entire room.
You can try to reason with this elemental, but this spell does nothing to bind it to your will. As even a pure elemental will probably have wizard-induced PTSD, it’s better just to not. Unless, of course, you are making a Demon Lord regret being born. In such cases, summon the dragon of eternal storms by all means.
Species of Air Elemental
The Base Air elemental is simple the base form of the Air-lineage of the Elemental species. Classified as being born or assimilated to the elemental Plane of Air, several variants have been discovered and utilized by the magic users of the material.
Except for the genie, a variant elemental can usually be traced back to a wizard needing a hubris check. The floating cities the Arch-wizards made, which crashed down because one wizard out-played the lot of them in hubris, was not, in fact, enough of one.
Cr 5 – Dust Devils
As their name implies, they are full of dirt and terribly poky rocks and debris. These variants of the Basic Air Elemental can be found in a blue dragon’s lair. Its stat block is the same as the Basic Air Elemental.
It can be summoned with the 2nd level spell Dust Devil. This is a conjuration spell available to Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards. There isn’t much else different about them. Still, their name is alliterative, and they are perfect for those sepia tone-tinged settings.
Cr 6 – Invisible Stalker
Invisible Stalkers are, essentially, your assassin variant of an Air Elemental. The only sign of their presence is the suddenly shimmering air, much like the illusion hot asphalt has on the air above it.
Their defining and most terrifying talent is their ability to stay invisible in combat. They preferred to attack by pummeling their targets with gusts of wind.
Invisible Stalkers, in particular, loath being enslaved to a task. As a result, they are notoriously relentless in pursuing and completing their designated goal just so they can go back home.
This same habit needs to be kept in mind. Much like a Monkey’s Paw, the more extended and more vague your request is, the more likely it will warp your intended purpose.
Their origins are unknown. However, I believe that an Invisible stalker is birthed in the Plane of Air from a Pure Air elemental seething in the rage and hatred of what humanoids have done to them by using them as minions.
That or it is just spicy wind.
Cr 7 – Myrmidons
Say your basic Elemental is a bit too weak for you. Maybe you just got a theme your organization stringently sticks to. One you wish your new enslaved Elemental follows despite their notorious lack of fashion sense. Myrmidons are your solution to these two common issues elemental mages find themselves in.
There is a price to minion perfection, I am afraid. The construction of these special elementals requires using a unique foundry built in a powerful well of the elemental energy the user wishes to contain.
Special armor must be made in conjunction with a ritual. This combination of ritual magic and blacksmithing meant the forge itself often hardly looked like your typical one. Instead, a large portion of its space is dedicated to this process’s most dangerous yet fundamental part. The insane task of forcing a tornado to wear a suit of armor.
With an Air Elemental example, a forge constructed to capitalize on the elemental energy formed at the higher peaks of a mountain can easily be mistaken for a cultist temple to an air God.
Cr 11 – Djinn
A genie is born when a sapient soul is merged, one way or another, with the primordial energies of an Elemental Plane. Rarely would this birth a genie. This would create a Djinn if this happened in the Elemental Plane of Air.
Most of the Djinn are a separate species born of the Elemental Chaos, though still of pure Air. Unfortunately, thanks to the Djinn siding with the Primordials in the latter’s war against the gods, most Djinn have found themselves trapped in ordinary objects.
That’s right, this type of genie is THAT Genie. The trademarked Genie. Djinn are even typically blue!
The high majority of the Djinn who escaped this fate resides in the Elemental Plane of Air. They primarily appeared as humanoids, but have a high affinity for magic and have been compared to violent storms with benevolent minds.
Only the noble Djinn, a more powerful class who ruled the genie of air, were capable of performing Wish. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped many adventurers from getting tricked by a Djinn who claimed they were noble.
Legends are such tricky things. All it takes are a few fey whispers to get all of the material polishing lamps.
Not to be mistaken for an Elder God or Elder Evil, an Elder Elemental is the cream of the crop of the Elemental species. Each Element has its own personal Elder Elemental, a high-ranking type of elemental rather than a singular Patron.
The spells and rituals required to summon an Elder Elemental are housed in forbidden tomes. Sadly, the books often found themselves buried under the debris remaining from the last time someone had the bright idea of summoning one of these things.
Historically, thanks to the level of power and lack of foresight required to summon one of these legendary creatures, Elder Elementals were only brought into the Material Plane by the most heinous of evil Elemental cultists.
All Elder Elementals are the epitome of a storm-given beastly form. They will never retreat and are capable of Legendary Actions, with an Elder Tempest capable of some of the most deadly.
CR 23 – Elder Tempest
The worst storms you’ll ever meet are also shockingly beautiful. Many have mistaken them for serpentine dragons, with good reason.
An Elder Tempest looks like a gargantuan snake made purely of raining storm clouds, further defined by the thunderous flashes of lightning flashing arcing through its body. Like celestial beings, they sprout massive wings from various points along their large bodies.
Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning. An Elder Tempest’s presence will affect the atmosphere of an area 1d6+4 miles in diameter, creating an obscuring storm of rain, hail, or snow. In addition, arrows and even siege projectiles fired at it will be disadvantaged thanks to the powerful winds circling the creature.
Worse are its legendary actions. As a massive storm, it can send its torrents of winds or powerful bolts of lightning at a target when its not its turn. For reasons like this, Elder Elementals are often a bounty of Gods, Demon Lords, and Devil Princes to prove their might over the Inner Planes.
The Plane of Air
The Plane of Air is nestled on the Great Wheel map between the material planes and the elemental chaos. The four elements each have their designated Plane of reality which endlessly churns their essence into the material. Further, between these planes lie a set of para planes where the two areas meet.
Widely considered the most hospital and serene of all the elemental planes, the Plane of Air looks like many representations of heaven. A sky that itself is blue and vivid as the finest of gems, only broken up by serene floating islands and gentle clouds.
Even the dragon god hanging out here is chill; that doesn’t make it endlessly peaceful.
These patches of serenity are broken up by storms that would rival Jupiter’s eye, home to many a beautiful being with malevolent tendencies riding them like a wave. In the case of an Elder Tempest, acting as their moving center.
Even with this chaos, there is hardly a view that will beat the view of seeing a mighty deity or demon lord piercing that barrier between heavenly serenity and unholy storm to hunt one of the few beastly bounties worthy of its might.
The Plane of Air is intersected by the Fire and Water planes. A solid ice wall solid enough at its center to walk on makes up the bulk of the para plane Frostfell. Icebergs break off into the Plane of Water while the Plane of air merely has to deal with jagged pillars of ice, which occasionally break off to drift and melt in the Plane of Air.
Meanwhile, the border between the planes of Air and Fire is known as the Great Conflagration. Also considered the Plane of Ash or Smoke. This horrifying Plane of existence acts as an endless firestorm of blistering ash and burning smoke fueled by the winds of the Plane of air mixing with the magma and flames of the Plane of fire.
Thanks to this constant source of water and fertilized land from the rapidly cooled magma, the Plane of air is full of a scattering of floating islands covered in both plant life and civilizations.
This has led to the Plane of Air being home to several races, including Djinn and Cloud Giants. Divine beings of the Material Plane often like to set up shop in an elemental plane close to their domain. Bahamut, the dragon god of justice and chill vibes, is reported to have a citadel there. Essentially his summer home.
Question: Are Quasi-Planes Still Relevant in DnD 5e?
Short Answer: Dm’s Discretion.
Answer: Long Answer: For the unfamiliar, the Quasi-elemental Planes were the points where the Positive and Negative Energy-Planes met up with the Elemental Planes. This created eight Quasi-Planes with Positive and Air forming lightning. Meanwhile, Negative and Air formed the Vacuum plane.
This is an element of the ‘Great wheel Cosmology’, other Cosmologies such as 5e’s recent World Axis Cosmology formed after a stupid wizard caused the scary Spellplague incident.
After the Spellplague, these planes melted into the elemental Chaos surrounding the inner planes, while the Positive and Negative Energy planes are shown wrapping around the Outer Planes according to the grouped Plane’s alignment.
Question: How Does an Adventurer Reach the Plane of Air?
Answer: Temporary gates may randomly open between various planes, but various spells can also be used for a more direct approach. Astral Projection and other methods involving the Astral Plane require finding pale blue color pools. Rituals involving a tin fork tuned to the note of A could be used to create gates or plane shift into the dimension.
Question: What Books Can I Find Air Elementals In?
Answer: Your basic Air elemental and the Djinn are both found in the Monster Manual. Meanwhile, the Myrmidon and the Elder Tempest can be found in Monsters of the Multiverse.
An Air Elemental adds a certain air to a setting. The tone is a special sort when a tornado is glaring down on you while a wizard cackles for his crimes off in the distance. I reason we should capture more elementals from their home plane as, really, the Wizards must be doing it for a reason.
Not to mention all you need to manifest their presence is a stiff breeze. A fire elemental requires some pretty dire situations, and not everyone can afford a tower with a moat around it to field the patrolling Water Elementals.