Embodiment

Those who think of other planes at all consider them remote, distant realms, but planar influence can be felt throughout the world. It sometimes manifests in beings who, through an accident of birth, carry the power of the planes in their blood. The embodiments are one such people, the offspring of elementals and mortals.

The Elemental Planes are often inhospitable to natives of the Material Plane: crushing earth, searing flames, boundless skies, and endless seas make visiting these places dangerous for even a short time. The powerful elementals, however, don’t face such troubles when venturing into the mortal world. They adapt well to the mingled elements of the Material Plane, and they sometimes visit — whether of their own volition or compelled by magic. Some elementals can adopt mortal guise and travel incognito.

During these visits, a mortal might catch an elemental’s eye. Friendship forms, romance blooms, and sometimes children result. These children are embodiments: individuals with ties to two worlds, yet belonging to neither. Some embodiments are born of mortal–elemental unions, others have two elementals as parents, and a rare few have an elemental further up their family tree, manifesting a multi-planar heritage that’s lain dormant for generations.

Occasionally, elementals result from exposure to a surge of elemental power, through phenomena such as an eruption from the Inner Planes or a planar convergence. Elemental energy saturates any creatures in the area and might alter their nature enough that their offspring with other mortals are born as embodiment.

Embodiments inherit something from both sides of their dual nature. They resemble humans but have unusual skin color (red, green, blue, or gray), and there is something odd about them. The elemental blood flowing through their veins manifests differently in each embodiment, often as magical power.

Seen in silhouette, an embodiment can usually pass for human. Those of earth or water descent tend to be heavier, while those of air or fire tend to be lighter. A given embodiment might have some features reminiscent of the mortal parent (pointed ears from an elf, a stockier frame and thick hair from a dwarf, small hands and feet from a halfling, exceedingly large eyes from a gnome, and so on).

Embodiments almost never have contact with their elemental parents. Elementals seldom have interest in their mortal offspring, seeing them as accidents. Many feel nothing for their embodiment children at all.

Some embodiments live as outcasts, driven into exile for their unsettling appearance and strange magic, or assuming leadership of savage humanoids and weird cults in untamed lands. Others gain positions of great influence, especially where elemental beings are revered. A few embodiments leave the Material Plane to find refuge in the households of their elemental parents.

Embodiments rarely lack confidence, seeing themselves as equal to almost any challenge in their path. This certainty might manifest as graceful self-assurance in one embodiment and as arrogance in another. Such selfconfidence can sometimes blind embodiments to risk, and their great plans often get them and others into trouble. Too much failure can chip away at even an embodiment’s sense of self, so they constantly push themselves to improve, honing their talents and perfecting their craft.

Embodiments use the naming conventions of the people among whom they were raised. They might later assume distinctive names to capture their heritage, such as Ember, Wave, Onyx, or Wisp.

There are four subraces of Embodiment: Auran, Aquan, Ignan, and Terran.

Auran

Aurans are as changeable as the weather, with moods that shift from calm to wild or violent with little warning - but these storms rarely last long.

Aurans typically have light to medium blue skin, hair, and eyes. On occasion, their skin may drift to purple or whiter hues - occasionally their tones even drift to the warm glows of a sunset. A faint, but constant breeze accompanies them, tousling their hair and stirring their clothing. Some air embodiments speak with breathy voices, marked by a faint echo. A few display odd patterns in their flesh or grow crystals from their scalps.

Aurans are capable of manipulating their element, and can glide on the winds.

Aquan

The lapping of waves, the spray of sea foam on the wind, the ocean depths—all of these things call to an aquan's heart. Aquan's wander freely and take pride in their independence, though others might consider them selfish.

Most aquan look as if they just finished bathing, with beads of moisture collecting on their skin and hair. They smell of fresh rain, salt, or clean water. Blue or green skin is common, and most have somewhat overlarge eyes, blue-black in color. A water embodiment’s hair might float freely, swaying and waving as if underwater. Some have voices with undertones reminiscent of whale song or trickling streams.

Aquans are capable of manipulating their element, and can breathe in water and on land.

Ignan

Ignan have inherited the volatile mood and keen mind of the plane of fire. They tend toward impatience and making snap judgments. Rather than hiding their distinctive appearance, they exult in it.

Nearly all ignan are feverishly hot as if burning inside, an impression reinforced by flaming red, coalblack, or ash-gray skin tones. The more human-looking have fiery red hair that writhes under extreme emotion, while more exotic specimens sport actual flames dancing on their heads. Ignan voices might sound warm and inviting, or like crackling flames, and their eyes flare when angered. Some are accompanied by the faint scent of brimstone.

Ignan are capable of manipulating their element, and also have darksight.

Terran

Terran are descended from the cruel and greedy elementals of a deep earthen plane, though they aren’t necessarily evil. They have inherited some measure of control over earth, reveling in superior strength and solid power. They tend to avoid rash decisions, pausing long enough to consider their options before taking action.

Elemental earth manifests differently from one individual to the next. Some earth embodiments always have bits of dust falling from their bodies and mud clinging to their clothes, never getting clean no matter how often they bathe. Others are as shiny and polished as gemstones, with skin tones of deep brown or black, eyes sparkling like agates. Earth embodiments can also have smooth metallic flesh, dull iron skin spotted with rust, a pebbled and rough hide, or even a coating of tiny embedded crystals. The most arresting have fissures in their flesh, from which faint light shines.

Terran are capable of manipulating their element, and are so connected to the earth that they are unmoving when they choose to root themselves.

Common Traits

Embodiments are all unique to the plane they, or their ancestors, came from. The one thing they have in common is the ability to control their element - to some extent, anyways.