From Azer to Djinni to Xorn: A Guide to Elementals in DnD 5e

Stray too far from the prime material plane out into the multiverse, and you may find yourself in a howling void of untamed wind, crushed beneath the black fathoms of bottomless oceans, entombed in glittering gemstone, or roasted to cinders by an inferno that towers higher than the sky (just picture Palm Springs in July).

In the brief moments before you die, you might meet an inhabitant of one of these planes of raw elemental energy; you might meet an elemental. 

Elementals are an interesting, slightly tricky category of creatures to pin down in Dungeons & Dragons 5e.

The term can refer to the beings of pure energy that writhe formless and intricately entwined with the fabric of their home planes, only to be summoned forth by powerful magic into the material world — usually bound to serve the whims of especially capable mages. 

“Elemental” can also serve as a catch-all term that includes the numerous other entities that hail from the elemental planes. Djinn, Azers, Marids, Mephits, and even Gargoyles all fall within this category. 

Then, there is a third category, encapsulating those elemental spirits that have been drawn out of their home plane and bound to service in the material one.

But, rather than a temporary summoning, these creatures have been trapped and permanently altered by the conditions of servitude. These entities include the Invisible Stalker and the Water Weird. 

From lowly Dust Mephits to the near-godlike Primordials, elementals are a unique group of creatures that can make for powerful enemies and invaluable tools — both in the hands of a capable spellcaster and a dungeon master.

In this guide, we’re going to give you a breakdown of the different elementals, grouped by their home plane. 

But first, because they’re a bit of a nightmare to categorize, a word from our sponsor: mephits. 

Mephits

Dust, Ice, Magma, Mud, Smoke, and Steam Mephits are small, imp-like elementals that combine the properties of two of the four elements.

All mephits have a breath attack — with effects that vary from straightforward damage, like the Magma Mephit’s fire breath, to imposing conditions like blinded (Dust Mephit) and restrained (Mud Mephit) — which recharges on a 6. 

When they die, mephits explode into a cloud of their constituent element, usually forcing a saving throw from anyone standing nearby to avoid the effects, which are usually the same as the creature’s breath weapon. 

In addition, some mephits have innate spellcasting abilities (all Smoke Mephits can cast dancing lights at will, for example), and each type of mephit has a summoner variety which, in addition to usually having some additional abilities, also have a chance to conjure even more of their kind from their home plane. 

Source: Wizards of the Coast

Elementals of the Plane of Air 

The Plane of Air is a vast, open expanse filled with winds and gasses in constant flux and motion. Like the plane itself, the creatures that hail from this place are capricious, flighty, and capable of changing positions in a heartbeat. 

As a side note, the Plane of Air is the original home of the Aarakocra — birdlike humanoids who sometimes become adventurers — although, much like the part-djinn Genasi, these people are not considered elementals.  

Air Elemental 

  • CR: 5 
  • AC: 15
  • HP: 90 (12d10 + 24)

Whirling clouds of air and fog with the semblance of a face, air elementals’ effect upon the land can be as a light breeze or a whirling cyclone capable of scooping up debris and hurling it for hundreds of feet or hoovering up entire villages if they get big enough. 

Djinni

  • CR: 11 
  • AC: 17
  • HP: 161 (14d10 + 84)

The classic lamp-dwelling, blue-skinned creatures of air. Djinnis are uniformly tall, well-muscled, and attractive, and they dress themselves in flowing silken garments.

Although they are sometimes bound to the service of powerful wizards (in lamps, jars, and bottles no less) and are capable of casting a variety of powerful spells, these entities cannot actually grant wishes. 

Invisible Stalker 

  • CR: 6
  • AC: 14
  • HP: 104 (16d8 + 32)

Powerful spirits from the Plane of Air, bound into the service of mages as unseen, relentless assassins. The sole purpose of these entities is to hunt down creatures and retrieve objects for their summoner. 

Utterly unflagging and resolute in their efforts to track down, slay, or retrieve the objects of their missions, Invisible Stalkers are nevertheless unwilling servants, and these completely invisible entities will return to their formless states beyond the confines of the material plane as soon as possible. 

Elementals of the Plane of Earth

A plane of crushing rocks and glimmering gemstone, quartz, crystal, and diamond, the Plane of Earth is a chain of mountains rising higher than any mountain range in the Material Plane.

It has no sun of its own, and no air surrounds the peaks of its highest mountains. Most visitors to the plane arrive by way of caves and caverns that honeycomb the mountains. This is also where most of its denizens dwell.

The elementals of the Plane of Earth are among the most diverse of the various classes of elemental.

Dao 

  • CR: 11
  • AC: 18
  • HP: 187 (15d10 + 105)

Cruel, materialistic, and obsessed with outperforming their fellow Dao, these earth genies dwell in the twisting gem-lined tunnels and caverns throughout the Plane of Earth.

When they fly, their lower bodies become columns of swirling sand. When they strike, they do so with brutal power and two-handed mauls carved from rock.

They are also highly effective spellcasters with spells that largely center around manipulating stone.  

Dao are best avoided unless you have a suitable bribe or gift. These genie are prodigious slavers and are ever looking to expand the ranks of their involuntary workforces that toil away mining precious metals from the earth around them. 

Earth Elemental 

  • CR: 5
  • AC: 17
  • HP: 126 (12d10 + 60)

Like a mountain on the move, Earth Elementals are rock, shale, mud, and earth animated by the power of the Plane of Earth.

Their club-like arms of jagged stone swing by their sides, and their eyes are sometimes picked out in gemstones.

They can also pass through solid nonmagical dirt and stone without disturbing it. They’re also one of the few creature types in D&D 5e with tremorsense

Flail Snail 

  • CR: 3
  • AC: 16 
  • HP: 52 (5d10 + 25)

Probably my favorite elemental, the Flail Snail is a large (like, small house-sized), deeply strange, multihued-psychedelic-antimagic-shelled snail with the power to dazzle and stun attackers and then beat them to death with its mace-like tail. 

These earth elementals slowly make their way through the Plane of Earth or sometimes the Underdark, happily munching away at anything in their path, including rocks, sand, and soil.

They even take breaks to savor crystal growths and other large mineral deposits. Their slime trails shimmer and quickly solidify into a transparent substance that is highly prized as a sort of naturally occurring glass. 

Galeb Duhr

  • CR: 6 
  • AC: 16 
  • HP: 85 (9d8 + 45)

Stumpy-legged with a body like a boulder and the craggy suggestion of a face, the Galeb Duhr is a stone-guardian elemental with the power to animate nearby rocks into miniature versions of itself.

While motionless, these creatures are indistinguishable from a mundane stone, and when they attack, they can roll themselves downhill to smash and disrupt their foes. 

Despite containing the spirit of an earth elemental, a Galeb Duhr is permanently bound to the Material Plane so that when it dies, it doesn’t return to the Plane of Earth.

These creatures have excellent memories and are more than happy to converse with creatures about their surroundings. 

Gargoyle

  • CR: 2
  • AC: 15 
  • HP: 52 (7d8 + 21)

Hulking, hideous stone monstrosities, Gargoyles lurk among buttresses, colonnades, and outcrops of masonry.

These malicious earth spirits are both the inspiration behind grotesque statues atop churches and other old buildings and their primary beneficiaries since they often use them as camouflage. 

Xorn

  • CR: 5
  • AC: 19
  • HP: 73 (7d8 + 42)

Bizarre creatures that swim through rock and earth like a fish swims through water, Xorn originate in the Plane of Earth but travel far and wide, including into the underdark.

They are the bane of mining operations and dwarven cities as they subsist mostly on gems and can sniff them out from miles away. 

Elementals of the Plane of Fire 

Warlike and cruel but also great builders and harnessers of their plane’s energy, creatures from the elemental Plane of Fire largely reside in the fabled City of Brass.

Above the city and the Plane as a whole, a blazing sun hangs at the zenith of a golden sky. Though it never sets, it waxes and wanes over the course of the day, shifting between white hot at noon and deep red at midnight. 

Azer 

  • CR: 2
  • AC: 17 
  • HP: 39 (6d8 + 12)

In many ways, an Azer looks more or less exactly like a dwarf someone set on fire.

These master craftsmen, builders, sculptors, miners, and artists shape the energy and matter of the Plane of Fire into powerful magic weapons and jewelry. 

Azer are not born; they are cast from bronze by another Azer who imbues their “child” with a spark of their own eternal flame.

From vast volcanic fortresses on the border between the Plane of Earth and the Plane of Fire, the Azer wage a bitter war with the Efreeti (fire genies) with whom they share an eternal enmity. 

Efreeti 

  • CR: 11
  • AC: 17
  • HP: 200 (16d10 + 112)

Creatures of fire and masters when it comes to creating it and wielding it, Efreeti are the most dangerous and warlike of the elemental genies.

They dwell in great domed fortresses made of black glass or in the City of Brass itself and often launch raids against other elemental planes or even worlds beyond.

Efreeti are powerful spellcasters who can manifest and hurl fire at those who displease them. 

Fire Elemental 

  • CR: 5
  • AC: 13
  • HP: 102 (12d10 + 36)

Raging columns of living fire, these elementals alternate between a vaguely humanoid shape and a raging firestorm.

They are the most dangerous of the four elemental types, but they also are the only one with such a glaring weakness. Pour water on a Fire Elemental, and it immediately begins to shrink away. 

Fire Snake 

  • CR: 1
  • AC: 14
  • HP: 22 (5d8)

The juvenile form of a Salamander, Fire Snakes radiate such intense heat that just standing close to one is enough to inflict horrible burns. They are vulnerable to cold damage however.

Left to its own devices, a Fire Snake will mature into a Salamander within a year. 

Salamander

  • CR: 5 
  • AC: 15
  • HP: 90 (12d10 + 24)

Salamanders are intelligent, snakelike half-humanoids who crave power and adore watching things burn. They dwell in the Sea of Ash in the Plane of Fire, writhing in the heat with sinuous coils and jagged spines smoldering.

Like their juvenile forms, they are both vulnerable to the cold and radiate lethal amounts of heat. 

Despite their domineering natures and love of power, the Salamanders in the Plane of Fire are almost universally enslaved by the Efreeti, who use them as warriors.

When they aren’t needed by their overlords, roving bands of Salamanders move nomadically across the Sea of Ash, raiding weaker groups for treasure and slaves. 

Elementals of the Plane of Water 

Rhythmic, repetitive change and the erosion of pain, anger, and memory — the Plane of Water is also known as the Sea of Worlds and is said to contain all other seas within it. 

Marid

  • CR: 11
  • AC: 17
  • HP: 229 (17d10 + 136)

Genies from the Plane of Water are said to be the most wondrous of all genie-kind — at least, according to any Marids you ask.

They dwell in vast coral fortresses beneath the waves of the Plane of Water, and they are the rarest variety of genie to encounter in the Material Plane.

All Marids say they’re nobles, and their society is awash with petty shahs, sultans, muftis, and khedives. 

Marids have near total control over water, able to create, destroy, and manipulate it at will. They are spellcasters on par with other types of genie.

Marids love to tell and hear stories, and the best way to survive an encounter with one is either to tell it something it has never heard or make sure it knows you’re very, very interested in whatever it’s saying. 

Water Elemental 

  • CR: 5
  • AC: 14
  • HP: 114 (12d10 + 48)

Rolling waves of animate water that roil and roll over their foes or lie still — indistinguishable from the water around them.

Water Elementals can rise up and drag down their opponents into the depths and pursue their prey through inch-wide gaps. 

Water Elementals, like Fire Elementals, are vulnerable to cold damage, which can freeze them in place. 

Water Weird

  • CR: 3
  • AC: 13
  • HP: 58 (9d10 + 9)

A form of water elemental guardian bound to a specific body of water — a pool, a river, or a fountain.

While submerged, the Water Weird’s watery, snakelike body is invisible until it strikes, using its coils to crush anyone or anything other than its summoner or those its summoner declares as allies. 

If a Water Weird is bound to a body of corrupted water, its alignment can be changed to evil (or even to good if the naturally neutral entity is bound to pure or holy water), although magically purifying the water removes the alignment.