Motes in the Serpent's Eye
Elems are creatures not of two worlds, but of two planes. They are beings born to human men and women on the Material Plane, but partially tainted with the stuff of the elements. They are usually born near permanent or powerful portals to one of the Elemental Planes.
Personality: The four major types of elem all have very noticeable personality tendencies as a group, though individuals vary greatly and some will deliberately rebel against others’ expectations of them.
Air elems are flighty, creative, and sometimes distant. They tend to have rapidly shifting moods and whims. Their passions often wax and wane from day to day as they move through multiple social circles, never growing too close to anyone. Few can ever claim to really know an air elem.
Earth elems are just the opposite. Stolid, plodding, and sometimes uncreative, they are slow to take on any interest and even more reluctant to abandon it. Commitment and reliability are two of the traits an earth elem values the most. They like to have a routine with discipline and a fixed purpose – earth elems make excellent soldiers or bureaucrats. They are slow to anger, but hold grudges for a long time once enraged.
Fire elems are creatures of passion and destruction. Young fire elems are drawn to dangerous sports and activities, and will risk their lives with abandon. Older fire elems tend to either obsess on one or two closely held passions or go wild, continuing to ratchet up the risk until they go out in a blaze of glory.
Water elems are usually calm and reliable, though not nearly so stoic as earth elems. They are shy, revealing only a little of themselves until they build up a string foundation of friendship and trust. Water elems can be unpredictable, however. Sometimes they are known to explode in anger over seemingly minor matters, only to quickly calm down a moment later.
Physical Description: Elems are roughly the same size and shape as normal humans. However, their alien nature is immediately evident – no one would mistake an elem for a pure-blooded human unless the elem was very well disguised.
Air elems have pale, almost translucent skin, and white or grey hair that tends to billow around them. No reflections appear in their eyes, which are usually light blue or grey. Their clothes ripple even if there is no breeze to stir them. When an air elem moves, its steps are light and graceful.
Earth elems have grey, brown, or deep red skin, which tends to be dry, thick, and hard. Their features are sharp and angular. Earth elems tend to have short hair that grows mostly towards the back of the head. They are built broadly and solidly, and move with a lumbering gait.
Fire elems tend to have either red or blonde hair that falls in streaming waves over their shoulders. Their skin is hot to the touch and deep red or deep orange in color. Their eyes literally glow – unless they wear dark glasses or contact lenses, a fire elem is visible in utter darkness as two tiny points of orange light. Fire elems have very long, flexible fingers and seem incapable of holding perfectly still.
Water elems have slightly translucent blue-green skin and light green hair. Their eyes are abnormally large, with large black irises, A water elem’s skin is usually moist, but the moisture is cool and clean, not at all like sweat. There is often webbing between their fingers and toes, and their ears are usually flat against their skull.
Relations: Elems relate to other races in much the same way as humans do. Other races are less inclined to see elems as an offshoot of humanity, and often treat them with suspicion or caution at first. Air elems get on best with elves; earth elems with dwarves; water elems with gnomes; and fire elems with orcs or half orcs. Dragons often take a liking to elems who match their own element – fire elems are often found as employees of red dragons, for instance.
Elem Lands: As a hybrid race, elems do not control any worlds or any territories. However, they tend to be divided by the circumstances that create them. Different types of elem come from different worlds.
Air elems often come from colonies in the upper atmospheres of gas giants, or from worlds with extremely dense atmospheres and violent storm systems.
Earth elems are most often born on large, high-gravity worlds, especially those where the major colonies or cities are located deep underground,
Fire elems are born on worlds of high volcanic activity, or on research stations orbiting exceptionally close to a star.
Water elems are usually born on worlds that have few land masses, particularly those with extensive underwater colonies.
Religion: Most elems accept the teachings of the Unification Church. Those who choose to become clerics often select a deity relating to their element (e.g. a fire elem might decide to worship the Smith, while a water elem may choose to follow the Stormlord.)
Language: Elems speak Common and the appropriate elemental language (i.e. Aquan for water elems, Auran for air elems, Ignan for fire elems, and Terran for earth elems.)
Names: Elems typically use human naming conventions.
Adventurers: Air elems often leap into adventures on a whim, only to find that they can’t leap out quite so easily. The continual array of new sights and experiences keeps them coming back whenever they get bored.
Earth elems often find work as soldiers or bodyguards. Even when adventuring, earth elems prefer jobs with a steady routine, such as guarding a trading fleet or serving with a disciplined mercenary company.
Fire elems seek excitement. Their idea of excitement is a good brawl followed by a chase through the alleys. While air elems sometimes fall into adventure, fire elems jump in feet first with their eyes closed. They are often employed in positions of great danger, such as smugglers or bounty hunters.
Water elems are the least likely type of elem to go adventuring. Their philosophical nature does not lend itself well to most types of adventure, but some find that their spiritual quests require a great deal of travel.