Sentient manifestations of natural forces, elementals have long been the allies, playthings and banes of magicians. Occultists are not in agreement about their nature and origins. The Rosicrucians (and some Wicce) believe that the ancestors of these beings were created along with the Universe. They were god-like entities who embodied a specific aspect of reality. While some of these beings eventually incarnated themselves into physical forms, like the Fey races or the dragons of myth, others remained in purer forms, representing the three states of matter (solid, gaseous and liquid) and diverse states of energy (fire, electricity, and light). A competing theory views elementals as a manifestation of humanity’s collective unconscious, a reflection of our own minds.
They dwell in strange dimensions among certain Otherworlds, planes of existence made completely out of one specific element. This is what most distinguishes them from nature spirits, who exist on the physical world.
Classical Western occult thought only recognized four major classes of elementals: earth, air, fire and water. Over time many have discovered others, and learned to summon and control them. These exotic elementals represent things like Light, Darkness, Metal, and Electricity.
The Rosicrucians are the most accomplished Elementalists among the larger magical societies, although the Wicce and other ceremonial magicians also deal with those entities. They make powerful servants and allies. A few of the most powerful sorcerers keep one or two of these beings as their “familiars,” always ready to appear in defense of their masters. Elementals who manifest physically on Earth have powers similar to the Elemental Invocations used by human sorcerers, as well as having all the advantages of their strange forms. When summoned, elementals often adopt the features and personality (or some aspects therein) of the magician who called them to the world. This might be a deliberate act or confirmation that elementals are not truly “real” beings but creations given “life” by the magician’s thoughts and will. Some elementals have their own individuality, however, and behave much like any other independent being, so the matter remains open for debate.
There are all kinds of ranks and varieties among elementals. Most of the spirits summoned to Earth by sorcerers are relatively weak and small. It is said that the Otherworldly homes of these beings are ruled by Greater Elementals, huge beings of tremendous power, the size of office buildings, and holding more Essence than any dozen sorcerers combined.
The desires and goals of elementals are relatively basic. These entities feed on Essence, and those who manage to eat more than they need to survive slowly evolve into greater and more powerful forms. They cannot feed on each other, or even other types of elementals, but they often fight and kill one another while competing for the same source of power. Their realms have their own sources of Essence, and most of an elementals’ existence is spent in the gathering of power. The most powerful of their kind appear to be god-like beings with more complex purposes, but humans only know of their existence through inference and rumor. Elementals generally dislike Earth
and most spirit realms, but they will obey a summoner if the payment (in Essence) is high enough.