View Full Version : Earth Elemental Questions

2007-03-04, 01:23 AM
From an IRC Battle of CR 5 creatures, I have 3 questions about Earth Elementals:

1. Can they see underground?
2. Are they able to earth glide through the roots of plants?
3. If they fight an intelligent plant such as an Udoroot and go after the roots from underground, do they hit? (keep in mind if two is correct they essentially phase through plants)

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-04, 01:30 AM
1. Though never specified in the rules I would have to say yes (otherwise how would they know where they are while Earth Gliding.

2. No. For numerous reasons. Roots aren't earth and the roots are part of a creature being the 2 main reasons.

3. No. It isn't something that they can do. They wouldn't phase through the roots (see above) but while underground an Earth Elemental doesn't really have a physical form and can't attack anything.

2007-03-04, 01:33 AM
I'd like to see a source for number 3.

2007-03-04, 01:33 AM
Wait, what? Earth elementals don't have a physical form underground? Do water elementals not have a physical form underwater?

This doesn't seem to have a definitive answer, so here's my opinions:

1. Sort of. They can see where the ground ends and gives way to tunnels, the surface, or other foreign objects, but I'd say they can't see much beyond that (i.e. onto the surface).

2. Nope, but they could make a Strength check to move them out of the way.

3. Yes. Depending on your ruling, the plant might get concealment, though.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-04, 01:36 AM
I was slightly wrong (misread something).

Although sense they are phasing through the earth its arguable that they don't really have a form (if they had a form then they would disturb the earth).

The earth elemental can attack the plant from under ground (but not its roots specifically) and it wouldn't be affected by any of the earth around those roots when attacking.

2007-03-04, 07:22 AM
Earth glide is essentially swimming through the ground. Just treat it that way, and everything becomes easier.

2007-03-04, 08:04 AM
It could probably uproot a Plant(or rooted Plant Creature) by gliding up from under it. Treat as a Push(as the Earth Elemental special ability, basically a Bull Rush) attempt. You can probably ignore the concealment, since the roots would tell the Elemental roughly where the main body of the Plant(or rooted Plant Creature) would be.

2007-03-04, 08:22 AM
Earth glide is essentially swimming through the ground. Just treat it that way, and everything becomes easier.

Does that mean they'd use the underwater combat rules? That would be screwed.

2007-03-04, 12:21 PM
Actually, using the fish-in-water analogy might be just fine for earth elementals in stone. Look at the rules for movement and combat underwater, and assume that the elemental has the "earth" equivalent of the Aquatic subtype (Terranic?). In the exceptionally unlikely event that the elemental ends up fighting something else that's also "swimming" in the stone (perhaps a wraith moving blindly through, for instance), it gives you a decent mechanic to start from.

And, unless time is of the essence, it's unlikely that a rooted plant will be able to survive the assault of an earth elemental, who could also just keep making slam attacks on the roots until it's dead.

2007-03-04, 01:23 PM
Why can't Earth Elementals see underground? Why weren't they given Blindsight or at least Tremorsense?

Earlier this morning I asked a similar question: why can't an Air Elementals sense anything that moves nearby, so long as it's connected to them by an unbroken path through air?

And then it struck me: the elementals were designed in 3.5 with an eye to the Druid's shapechange ability. Other elemental creatures have a more interesting mix of abilities but the primary elementals (Earth, Water, Fire, Air) were given a very limited set of abilities. The last thing we need is Druids shapechanging to gain tremorsense.

Of course in my campaign this isn't an issue because I nerfed the Druid's shapechange, part of an effort to deal with CoDzilla.