The air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, and water elemental first appeared in the original Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974)
The air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, and water elemental appeared in the D&D Expert Set (1981, 1983). The air elemental ruler, earth elemental ruler, fire elemental ruler, and water elemental ruler first appeared in the Master Rules set (1985). The air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, and water elemental, and the elemental rulers appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).
The air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, and water elemental appeared in first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the original Monster Manual (1977).
The air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, and water elemental appeared in second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989). The air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, and water elemental appeared in the Monstrous Manual (1993).
The air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, and water elemental – featuring a medium elemental, a large elemental, a huge elemental, a greater elemental, and an elder elemental of each elemental type – appeared in the third edition in the Monster Manual (2000), and "elemental" was featured as a creature type; these elementals also appeared in the revised 3.5 Monster Manual (2003). The air elemental familiar, earth elemental familiar, fire elemental familiar, and water elemental familiar appeared in Tome and Blood (2001), and later in the revised 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide (2003). The primal air elemental, primal earth elemental, primal fire elemental, and primal water elemental appeared in the Epic Level Handbook (2002). The large air elemental appeared as a player character race in Savage Species (2003).
Elementals appeared in the fourth edition in the Monster Manual (2008). The basic elementals (earth, air, water and fire) do not appear until Monster Manual 3 (2010). In this edition, elementals can come in almost any shape, size, and composition imaginable.
The most common type of creature on the elemental planes are the elementals themselves, followed by other creatures of the elemental type. Elementals of air, earth, fire, and water are incarnations of the elements that compose existence, and are as wild and dangerous as the forces that birthed them.
Elementals come in the following categories: Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Greater, Elder, Monolith, and Primal.
Elementals almost always have the extraplanar subtype.
All elementals have darkvision out to 60 feet. Elementals have immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, and stunning. They are also not subject to critical hits or flanking, due to their unique physiology.
Elementals are often ruled by powerful, singular beings called archomentals. These entities fall into two groups, the Elemental Princes of Evil (Cryonax, Imix, Ogrémoch, Olhydra, Yan-C-Bin), and the Elemental Princes of Good (Ben-hadar, Chan, Sunnis, Zaaman Rul).
Elementals play a unique role in the Dark Sun setting. They are called 'elemental powers' and worshipped by some of the residents of the world of Athas. Athasian clerics forge pacts with one element or paraelement; and from that moment their spells are powered by the spirits of that element. An Athasian cleric who is gifted with well-developed psionic abilities can turn into an elemental being when he reaches the 20th level. This transformation is, at first, temporary; but as the character advances through the levels, it becomes permanent.
Paraelementals fuse two of the classic elements into a single dangerous creature.
Types of paraelementals include ice (air and water), magma (earth and fire), ooze (earth and water), and smoke (air and fire).
Quasi-elementals are a fusion of one of the classic elements and either positive or negative energy.
Types of quasi-elementals deriving from elements infused with positive energy include lightning (air), mineral (earth), radiance (fire), and steam (water). Types of quasi-elementals deriving from elements infused with negative energy include ash (fire), dust (earth), salt (water), and vacuum (air).
Quasi-elementals' stats have not yet officially appeared in any Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons product, although a number of fan conversions do exist.
Elementals composed of elements beyond the basic four (air, earth, fire, and water) include:Shadow Elementals
Elemental creatures formed from more than one element include:Omnimentals
Elemental grues are evil creatures created by magically corrupting elemental material.
In Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons, elemental weirds are powerful elemental oracles that are tied to a specific pool of their elemental matter. They appear as attractive female humanoids composed entirely of their given elements.
Types of elemental weirds include air, earth, fire, ice, snow, and water.
Elementite swarms are "larval" forms of true elementals, tiny bits of sentient elemental matter that gather in swarms.
Genasi are humanoids with an elemental being somewhere in their bloodline. Para-genasi are similar, having a paraelemental creature or multiple different elemental creatures in their ancestry.
Half-elementals are created when a being of elemental heritage produces an offspring with a non-elemental creature.
Element creatures resemble creatures from the Material Plane, but are composed entirely of their given element. Thus, a fire element tiger looks like a tiger composed entirely of flame. Templates are currently available for air, cold, earth, fire, water, and wood element creatures.
Unravelers (or menglis) are a sort of "anti-elemental", extraplanar beings that can break down creatures into their component elements.
Necromentals are essentially undead elementals. An elemental that forms a bond with the Negative Energy Plane may become a necromental when it dies. Necromentals look like dark, dismal versions of their original being. For example, an earth necromental may look like it's made of grave dirt and dark stone, with tombstone pieces and the occasional bone jutting through.
The avatars of Elemental Evil have only recently appeared. Each avatar is the living will of a Prince of Elemental Evil (Cryonax, Imix, Ogrémoch, Olhydra and Yan-C-Bin). It contains a tiny fragment of the corresponding prince's essence and exists solely to advance its creator's cause on the Material Plane. The avatars gather at important sites such as recently discovered elemental nodes or other places that might be key to returning the evil entity known as the Elder Elemental Eye to the world. Sometimes they serve as mighty engines of war for the clerics of the Elder Elemental Eye.
The Avatars of Elemental Evil are:Black Rock Triskelion: The Elemental Evil Avatar of Earth. Living pillars of black rock, whose angular body is covered in spikes and sharp ridges. Each of their three arms end in a point and their body is supported by a tripod of legs. These spawn of Ogrémoch operate under the supervision of powerful earth clerics. They are simple brutes.
Cyclonic Ravager: The Elemental Evil Avatar of Air. These spawn of Yan-C-Bin roughly resemble a towering whirlwind with humanoid features, blasting the land about themselves with hurricane-force winds and flinging foes through the air.
Holocaust Disciple: The Elemental Evil Avatar of Fire. These spawn of Imix are tall humanoid figures of pure flame. They relish spreading destruction, bending their mighty intellects solely to this purpose. They are sometimes found in the company of fire giants or other minions of Imix.
Waterveiled Assassin: The Elemental Evil Avatar of Water. Creatures of living water created by Olhydra to slay her cult's enemies. They are changeable waves of water, monstrous in shape, and capable of engulfing foes with their watery embrace. They are cunning hunters who take full advantage of their terrain and natural talents.
Belker: Air, ash, smoke and steam
Invisible Stalker: Air
Thoqqua: Fire and Earth
Fire bat: The firebat first appeared in the adventure module The Ghost Tower of Inverness (1979). A fire bat is a denizen of the Elemental Plane of Fire which has a flaming bat-like body, about two feet long with a wingspan of almost four feet. A fire bat attaches itself to prey with its razor-sharp fangs, burning and bleeding its victim; a fire bat will reproduce by fission after gorging itself on blood.
Galeb duhr: Earth
Immoth: Air, Water
Tempest: Air, Earth, Fire, Water