Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Four Elements of the Underworld

The primordial forces of the world are the elements. Elementals are the simplest form of life, naturally. But as things are on the surface, the underworld is a dark mirror to it. In the same way that ghosts are weak, insubstantial, and can barely manipulate the elements of the upper world, living things wilt and die to the elements of the lower world. But elements they are all the same.
[1] Bane Fire
Fire is enlightening. It is the symbol of man's domination over nature, as well as civilization. It is a symbol of the candlelight vigil, the torchlight, and the fires of a forge. Banefire is its opposite. Banefire appears as glowing, sickly green flame that gives off little light. Those burned by the banefire have their minds become enfeebled- the opposite of the enlightenment fire brings. For each dice of Banefire damage dealt, save or take 1d4 damage to Intelligence.

[2] Stygian Water
Water is the tool of the healer, the farmer, and a giver of life. Stygian Water is its opposite. The black water cannot be made pure through any amount of boiling or herbalism. If even a small amount is splashed on your character or their clothing, they must make an immediate save or be subject to a minor disease. If they are partially or fully submerged in a large amount of Stygian water, or have a bucket or greater worth dumped on them, they break out in painful blisters and boils on that area which are permanent without treatment if they fail a save. Finally, drinking Stygian waters can stave off death from thirst, but cause permanent aging by 1d6 years as the water saps their life force.

[3] Hell Wind
The Winds of the world are cool and refreshing, bringing forth fresh air and sending away the miasma of rotting corpses and waste. The winds also bring the rains and storms and seasons- these are the domain of the element of air. Not so in the Underworld. There is no rain here, the wind is a dry and hateful thing, the wind is hot and brings the worst smells and sounds from every corner of the underworld to your location. Even the most steadfast of living beings bend under this wind like saplings; the hot wind peeling their skin and bringing no relief. During the hellstorms of the underworld the wind becomes so strong and putrid that it may just suck the breath from your lungs.

[4] Crumbling Earth
Earth is solid, foundation for the rest of the world and the firmament. Beyond providing the basic elements for living things and material to build; the elemental Earth also patrons the blacksmith and merchant alike with useful and valuable metals and gemstones. The crumbling earth in the underworld is the opposite. It is mostly dust; gray and lifeless, which is the same stuff that the undead must eat each day. For mortals, the crumbling dusty earth in the underworld is no steady foundation; it gives way easily leading to falls or sinking into quicksand in wet places. The Earth is also torturous to equipment made of metal and crystal- even once living materials like wood, leather, and bone are not totally spared its wrath. Even leaving your helmet rest on the dirt for a few hours while you rest will result in you finding it half rusted, crumbling at the bottom, turning gray and becoming the same dust you once slept in. Even the ground here despises the living. Only items made in the underworld are immune to the corrosive powers of the soil itself.


  1. This idea of opposites is really cool. What's the opposite of ice? Electricity?

    1. Good ideas to expand it- I'll write a second one.