The flames coalesce into the form of an elemental unlike any other you have seen or read about. They do not swirl in a loosely humanoid torrent or crackle and dance like a campfire. Instead, the fire focuses into a dense mass of pure, volatile energy. It takes shape, violent expulsions of fire binding into the forms of arms, and a vicious, chaotic face appearing above its core. The center is almost solid, like a tornado of burning, spitting plasma.
Around this form, you see the air itself quiver and burn. Waves of heat wash outwards, catching alight anything that is remotely flammable. Showers of embers spread flames below its every step. Sweat beads across your body. Even at this distance, you feel that moisture singe your skin, almost evaporating in the heat that caused it.
Wildfire Elemental Tactics
More intelligent than its weaker counterpart, the wildfire elemental is aware of its own abilities. It seeks to earn its name by spreading flames everywhere it can.
The elemental will most likely begin combat with its Flame Vent to eliminate any smaller opponents and weaken larger threats before they can spread out.
During combat, it will try to keep as many opponents close to it as possible. Superheated Aura, Fire Form, and Intensified Aura will gradually burn nearby targets as it uses its Touch on priority opponents.
If a group spreads out, the elemental will use its speed to move between them, spreading its flames as much as possible. It will use its Burning Path to create barriers that its targets must cross and Water Evaporation to disrupt long-distance fighters.
Finally, it has its Evasive Charge for when the smaller elementals can pass through 2 or more targets, or as a disruptive escape if it finds itself being cornered by an organized attack.
The wildfire elemental is designed as a legendary ‘boss’ monster, and its abilities and flames mean that it is strongest in a confined space. Be careful in choosing where players might encounter it. At the very least, your description should indicate that they might want to lure it into the open.
Designing the Wildfire Elemental
The wildfire elemental is an attempt at creating a ‘greater fire elemental’. It could be the leader of a group of elementals, their combined form, or an experiment gone direly awry.
As an evolved version of the original fire elemental, it was designed with some basic ideas in mind:
First of all, it’s bigger. This helps boost its hit points but also instantly highlights its importance and strength to players.
It burns hotter. Flames burning with more intensity means that it has both additional abilities and modified versions of existing ones.
Most simply, the wildfire elemental has greater Darkvision and resistance to lightning damage (reflecting its form almost reaching a plasma state).
Water Susceptibility became Water Evaporation, as the liquid turns into steam before it can damage the elemental. To make this simple, it reflects a smaller fog cloud spell.
If it’s hot enough to do that, it’s hot enough to hurt those near it, hence its Superheated Aura acting as an extension of Fire Form’s damage.
Lastly, it simply needed to be more interesting. This meant giving it another method of attacking, as well as abilities to show its command of the battlefield. Flame Vent is a modification of a young red dragon’s Fire Breath, with greater range but lower damage. Intensified Aura is another way to punish close-range combatants, while Burning Path (and Evasive Charge) spread flames across the map. As its name suggests, the wildfire elemental makes use of chaotic flames that move and damage quickly.
The wildfire elemental has a long list of abilities that all deal smaller pockets of damage, rather than single instances of high damage numbers. This can seem confusing at first, but all of its abilities tie into one core idea: It burns everything around it. The description above is one way of showing players this before combat begins. Once it does, they will begin to experience what the description means mechanically, through its Superheated Aura and Burning Path.
Building from a single idea and highlighting it in your initial description means that players can begin to understand how to approach the fight before they even see all of its abilities. It is easy for them to see everything around it burning and ascertain that they need to keep their distance and move intelligently. This means that extensions of the core idea do not feel random or unfair, with only its Evasive Charge serving as a surprise.
David Wilson (one of our amazing token creators) saw this encounter and immediately jumped into action to create these Roll20-ready tokens. Please enjoy!
This encounter is begging to utilize our recent Fire Spell Assets which you can see dotted around the article! They also contain spell templates, and everything is sized and ready for Roll20. You can choose which pack you would like below, and we will deliver the download links to your email address:
If you enjoy Troy’s content, you can find more like it here: