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Nature spirits

hong

WotC's bitch
You know, the things that show up in folk culture and religion in all sorts of places, but are first statted out in OA. The spirits that inhabit the soil, trees, stones, clouds, storms, and in fact almost anything you can put a name to.

In OA, they were fey, but in 4E, perhaps they should really be elementals. The Elemental Chaos is what everything came from, so having nature spirits be tied to that makes a certain kind of cosmological sense.

It also ties in nicely with the new elementals being a mix of all elements, rather than just air/water/fire/earth.

And it's consistent with this new "primal" power source that's been mentioned, which seems to have ties to nature (beasts and plants) and elementalism.

Hmm.
 

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Burr

First Post
As elementals, perhaps they could be mostly invisible/infused in the mundane world, but more likely to assume a 'creature' form in the Feywild (unless called out in the mundane world by magic/shamanism).
 
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Mustrum_Ridcully

Adventurer
hong said:
You know, the things that show up in folk culture and religion in all sorts of places, but are first statted out in OA. The spirits that inhabit the soil, trees, stones, clouds, storms, and in fact almost anything you can put a name to.

In OA, they were fey, but in 4E, perhaps they should really be elementals. The Elemental Chaos is what everything came from, so having nature spirits be tied to that makes a certain kind of cosmological sense.

It also ties in nicely with the new elementals being a mix of all elements, rather than just air/water/fire/earth.

And it's consistent with this new "primal" power source that's been mentioned, which seems to have ties to nature (beasts and plants) and elementalism.

Hmm.

Sounds like an interesting idea. Nothing from the previews indicate that nature spirits are in. I hope there will be some. But if not, I might actually try to create them myself. ;)
 

Klaus

First Post
hong said:
You know, the things that show up in folk culture and religion in all sorts of places, but are first statted out in OA. The spirits that inhabit the soil, trees, stones, clouds, storms, and in fact almost anything you can put a name to.

In OA, they were fey, but in 4E, perhaps they should really be elementals. The Elemental Chaos is what everything came from, so having nature spirits be tied to that makes a certain kind of cosmological sense.

It also ties in nicely with the new elementals being a mix of all elements, rather than just air/water/fire/earth.

And it's consistent with this new "primal" power source that's been mentioned, which seems to have ties to nature (beasts and plants) and elementalism.

Hmm.
I dunno, "nature spirits" seem more "Feywild" than "Elemental Chaos".
 

Lackhand

First Post
I agree. Spirits of the forest and field are totally fey for me.
(it's the abs.)

Even spirits of mountains and waterfalls, while they could be Elemental Chaos-type-elementals, still seem like a better fit for the spirit world Feywild.

I think it's because of the themes I want the two distinct places to have. The Elemental Chaos is a braid of various fundamental (from a given point of view) building blocks -- iron, fire, stormclouds; maybe even thorns, bone, and blood. Certainly as you draw near The Chained One's prison, thorns, bone, and blood.
The beings from that place just feel like they should represent that same fundamental stuff.

The Feywild, as the "magical mirror of the Material", feels like the proper home of the spirits of mountain, lake, field, fen, and forest. The whole theme is different, dealing more with direct analogues of terrain features, and leylines, fairy circles, and other such set-dressing that tie spiritual aspects to geography. That seems like a pretty reasonable gloss for spirit folk.

I'd be perfectly okay with making one set of stats serve two masters, but I don't think that'll happen -- not a value judgment, just a statement of estimated probability. Monsters are compact; might as well publish 'em.

I'm okay with Nature and Arcane and "Dudes from the Elemental Chaos" all harnessing neat lightning powers. I seem to recall a few Arcane spells that deal radiant damage, for example. So just "treading on thematic toes" probably isn't enough reason to collide 'em.
 

Jhaelen

First Post
hong said:
In OA, they were fey, but in 4E, perhaps they should really be elementals.
Hmm, no, I don't think so. I think fey is the best match. Nymphs of all kinds (Dryads, Sylphs, Oreads, Naiads, etc.), Treants, Galeb Duhr, etc. These are all nature spirits to me, many of them have a strong connection to a specific element, though.
 

Irda Ranger

First Post
hong said:
You know, the things that show up in folk culture and religion in all sorts of places, but are first statted out in OA. The spirits that inhabit the soil, trees, stones, clouds, storms, and in fact almost anything you can put a name to.

In OA, they were fey, but in 4E, perhaps they should really be elementals. The Elemental Chaos is what everything came from, so having nature spirits be tied to that makes a certain kind of cosmological sense.

It also ties in nicely with the new elementals being a mix of all elements, rather than just air/water/fire/earth.

And it's consistent with this new "primal" power source that's been mentioned, which seems to have ties to nature (beasts and plants) and elementalism.

Hmm.
I can definitely see that. If a Druid or Barbarian is Primal, than "nature spirits" should be too. Maybe 4E will even call them Primal Spirits.

Remind me, how are undead types divided up? Maybe nature spirits are the Primal version of Ghosts and Wraiths. Is that the "animus"? Or is that needless symmetry? ;)

I see the Feywild as the Arcane version of the world, not the "nature" version of the world. Each of the Feywild, the Shadowfell and the World are "natural", as they are all made from the same mix of Elemental bits. Fey is what happens when plants and animals become magical, not when they become "even more naturey than normal trees."
 

Boarstorm

First Post
Klaus said:
I dunno, "nature spirits" seem more "Feywild" than "Elemental Chaos".

I think it's a matter of terminology for me. "Nature spirits" really does feel Feywild. It's hard to divorce the concept from Dryads, Neriads, etc.

If they called them, I dunno, "essences of earth" or whatnot, I could definately see a tie to the elemental chaos.
 

Kaffis

First Post
Burr said:
As elementals, perhaps they could be mostly invisible/infused in the mundane world, but more likely to assume a 'creature' form in the Feywild (unless called out in the mundane world by magic/shamanism).

I kind of like hong's OP idea on the merits of associating these with the primal power source. I could certainly live with it if it were pitched that way, at least.

In which case, I definitely think your addendum, Burr, is excellent. It allows such spirits and beings to be fueled by primal, but still have a strong association with the Feywild.

In fact, anything in the Feywild would have to have a non-Fey power source, because a Fey power source doesn't exist. Or at least, the conclusion I draw from the Warlock's Fey pact (in an arcane class) is that there won't be a Fey power source in the future... the beings that inhabit the Feywild draw from a power source not unique to the Fey -- arcane, in the case of whoever the Warlock deals with, and likely Eladrin, as well, and many other denizens. But I think it would be silly to have all Fey be arcanely powered.

If one assumes druids will be PHBII, then I think it wouldn't be a bad guess to figure that the MMII will be looking for some primal monsters. If we're missing nymphs and their ilk in MMI, then I think it would lend support and likelihood to hong's notion.

Irda makes good points, too.
 

Rechan

Adventurer
If we're discussing things like Kami/little gods/entities that represent a Concept, then I would just like to remind that there are more "spirits" out there than strictly Nature-based ones.

Spirits can represent the soul of a city, the paragon of an animal, a concept like language, or an entity of memory/intelligence, a guardian, etc.

Exalted actually has spirits like this tightly woven into their setting. There, spirits are the supernatural equivalent of a hierarchy of administrators - you have a spirit that rules over a local stream, who is less powerful and influential than the river spirit its stream feeds into. The river spirit is less powerful and heeds to the larger river it feeds into, and that spirit heeds to the ocean, and the ocean spirit heeds to the God of Water. The local stream spirit is responsible for that stream's working, and to handle the prayers that the locals give it, getting them up to heaven, etc etc.

I really love spirits in such a capacity, because you can talk to them, negotiate with them, gain boons from them in exchange for favors, etc. If you create your own city, then you need to go find a spirit to live in it as the soul of the city. Once, we were laying siege to a walled city that sat on a river, and we convinced the river spirit to stop the river's flow we could dam the river, cutting off the city's supply lines/reinforcements. There's more, but you get the idea.
 
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Fallen Seraph

First Post
I agree with Rechan, I love those kinds of spirits, especially ones that are brought into being because of a concept, energy of a place (like a city), etc.

I suspect though we won't see many spirits in the first MM. Probably the second to tie into the PHB2 which has Primal, and from R&C we know Barbarians have totemic powers. So there is some kind of spirit-connection there.

Most likely it will be a nature-based spirit. But be interesting to create a urban-Barbarian who's totemic spirit is the city or another aspect of the urban environment.

There will also be of course the Shamans which will be tied directly with spirits as well. Which would also be fun to see a urban version of. I could see houses being abandoned because Shamans have used spirits to make it haunted as a base of operations within a city. Or a Shaman who causes (this is more modern) the spirits that reside within electricity to become enraged and cause blackouts, jolts of electricity, etc.
 

Wulfram

First Post
Spirits of alive nature, like plants and animals, would be either feywild or not extra-planar at all.

Spirits of lifeless nature, like volcanoes, mountains, oceans and storms would be elemental

That's what would make sense to me, at least.
 

Klaus

First Post
Boarstorm said:
I think it's a matter of terminology for me. "Nature spirits" really does feel Feywild. It's hard to divorce the concept from Dryads, Neriads, etc.

If they called them, I dunno, "essences of earth" or whatnot, I could definately see a tie to the elemental chaos.
I dunno, "Elemental Chaos" to me would be the Primal spirits of the land, the ones that echo Earth 4 billion years ago.

"Nature Spirits" to me are more geared towards animals and plants.
 

Rechan

Adventurer
Klaus said:
I dunno, "Elemental Chaos" to me would be the Primal spirits of the land, the ones that echo Earth 4 billion years ago.

"Nature Spirits" to me are more geared towards animals and plants.
I guess it just depends on what you quantify as "Nature".

The heart and soul of a forest (see: Princess Mononoke) vs. the God of Trees. The spirit that holds dominion over all the local farmland vs. the entity responsible for All Soil.

I expect the thing responsible for Making mountains, sure, the EC. But whatever local spiritual whatsit is responsible for the low crop yield this year? That one's the Feywild. One is sort've localized, a small fry, and may not have been the one to create the field, but he's responsible for it now.

(Funny story- the Mayor of Chinese towns can fire the local spirit and appoint a new one if he's not satisfied with the local spirit).
 

The way I'm thinking it works/I'm making it work is as follows:

First, there is the Elemental Chaos.

From that comes Creation.

From that comes the Feywyld and the Shadowfell.

On top of all of that exists the Astral Sea.

------------------------------------------------------

The great tension is that the Primordials are amused by creation but want it more tied to Elemental Chaos even though that may undo it. The gods disagree and want it tied more to the Astral Sea. Conflict results.

All of which is to say that I think that though Nature comes the Elemental Chaos the Elemental Chaos is distinct and different from Nature in the same way the Astral Sea and the Dominions of the Divine would be.

The Feywyld, on the other hand, is inherently of Creation even if it is Otherworldly. So that's where I would put nature spirits.

Though my other inclination would be to say that the Feywyld is really more Arcane than primordial and say that Nature Spirits actually live in the world they just don't normally do too much unless they're pushed by influx from either the Astral Sea or the Elemental Chaos.

That would contradict the Cannon saying that Dryads have a strong presence in the Feywyld, but I could establish that there are nature spirits who have become seduced by either the Feywyld or the Shadowfell and more or less live their permanently now.
 

VannATLC

First Post
I think this is best handled if you regress the different spirt types to their roots.

The new 4e setting is a somewhat ecletic mix of Greek/Welsh/Norse mythologies, and I think it has worked quite well.

In that regard, I think Hong is 100% correct.. Dryads, Naids, etc, are *elemental spirits* Not nature spirits. They are greek/mediterrian in origin, and more heavily focused on embodying the elements.

The Welsh Fey, Seelie and Unseelie, suit Pixes and Gnomes and Sprites.. certain types of spirits, etc.
*shrug* It works for me.

As mentioned, the Feywild, for me, embodies a place of magic and wonder, both dark and light.

The shadowfell is despair, and emptiness, but also something else.

The Astral is order, the Primal is (obviously) chaotic.
 

It's true there are alchemical/elemental interpretations of the Greek lesser deities, but in the mythology they always seemed pretty natural.

When the river gets out of its bed to strangle Achilles it certainly seems more like a god of place thing than an elemental force thing.
 

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