Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Mephit to My Madness

I like mephits. I don't know why, but I just do. They're impish little elementals with a nasty disposition who, if used effectively, can either be a real nuisance or downright deadly in a mixed group. Also, they're elementals, and I like elementals. So it probably comes as little surprise that I am writing up and planning to include the little buggers in my dungeons.

Now, I could post my write-ups, and I may just do that at some point, but today, I'm going to take a different tack. Today, I'm going to explain how mephits fit into my vision of the world.

Mephits are small, weak-minded, dimwitted elementals that faun over their masters in an attempt to ingratiate themselves to the most powerful entity in the room. This is their form of social climbing, since a big, powerful master means a big, powerful protector - not that any mephit would admit to needing protection!

Of course, this also means that larger foes may well have these winged nuisances on hand when adventures encounter them. This does not bode well for adventurers. In combat, mephits are masters of the hit-and-run. They make good use of their flight to stay out of range and use their elemental powers to inconvenience, if not incapacitate, adventurers. On their own, this is annoying, but when a big honkin' demon is trying to make macrame place settings from your entrails, things can go south really quickly.

And speaking of demons, I'm starting to flesh out four of their lords. They don't have scary-sounding, difficult-to-pronounce names yet, just epithets as working names. But these guys don't just use other demons as pawns. They command undead, elementals, and some mortal abominations, too. So is it any surprise that they have mephits in their employ? It shouldn't be!

Now if there is one thing most people know about mephits, it's that their variety is staggering. Elementals came in four (maybe five, if you prefer Chinese- or Vedic-inspired fantasy) flavors - Air, Earth, Water, and Fire. There are around a dozen published mephit types. I am maintaining that tradition by including the following list of mephits: Air, Ash, Dust, Earth, Fire, Ice, Lightning, Magma, Mist, Salt, Slime, Steam, and Water. And since that picture was labeled "Shadow Mephit", I think I'll add that in, too. That's a lot of mephit variety, but it suits these guys. And with their association with demons, I think variety is completely appropriate.

What have you done with mephits in your games?

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