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 On Golems and summoning Elementals
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John Fern
Acolyte

15 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2013 :  06:41:18  Show Profile  Visit John Fern's Homepage Send John Fern a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Greetings!

I'm currently RPing a druid and I would just like some more context to how they would view the existence of golems and elementals on Toril.

For right now I've been playing him as being opposed to anything unnatural or alien to the prime material plane, such as undead, fiends, celestials, elementals and abberations. He argues that they dont exist within the natural cycle of the world and so opposes them and any interference they bring.

Is this an accurate belief system for a druid?

As for elementals, what is actually being done when they are summoned? Someone once told me that they are pulled against their will from their respective elemental plane, and if the summoner overpowers them they are driven insane and suffer great pain and torment and that its akin to slavery. I've read similar things about elementals that are bound in the creation of a golem. I just wanted clarification on that.

And the last thing, can elementals be controlled safely? ie. Is a fire elemental walking through some dry forest going to be starting fires left right and center?

Thanks for the help!

The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2420 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2013 :  07:11:43  Show Profile Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by John Fern

Greetings!

I'm currently RPing a druid and I would just like some more context to how they would view the existence of golems and elementals on Toril.

For right now I've been playing him as being opposed to anything unnatural or alien to the prime material plane, such as undead, fiends, celestials, elementals and abberations. He argues that they dont exist within the natural cycle of the world and so opposes them and any interference they bring.

Is this an accurate belief system for a druid?

As for elementals, what is actually being done when they are summoned? Someone once told me that they are pulled against their will from their respective elemental plane, and if the summoner overpowers them they are driven insane and suffer great pain and torment and that its akin to slavery. I've read similar things about elementals that are bound in the creation of a golem. I just wanted clarification on that.

And the last thing, can elementals be controlled safely? ie. Is a fire elemental walking through some dry forest going to be starting fires left right and center?

Thanks for the help!



I'd definitely adjust the view on elementals, since summoning elementals is a basic power for druids. They are not unnatural, they are HYPER-natural. They are what the natural world is made from, the air you breath, the earth beneath your feet, etc. As far as how they are summoned, it depends on the magic. Yes you can pull an elemental against its will, but that's not how druids do it. For them its like a bargain, like when they call animals for aid.

Also, if you plan on taking your druid to high levels, choose an element they are comfortable with. At level 17 they gain the ability to travel in and explore an elemental plane.

I'd say you could make an argument for golems being "unnatural" as you are playing them but I'd take it case by case. Usually you see people playing like you are in regard to civilization. Cities are unnatural.
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Kentinal
Great Reader

4676 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2013 :  07:20:05  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well this calls for opinion I would think.

Golems clearly are unnatural
quote:
The process of creating the golem binds the unwilling spirit to the artificial body and subjects it to the will of the golemís creator.
It is a construct, not of nature.

Elementals are extraplanar, so it would follow they are not of the prime plane either. The undead, fiends, celestials and abberations are not of nature either.

Some of the visitors clearly visit as a result of compulsion. However that they are compelled should effect a Druid view, slavery as far as that goes is a Law - Evil type of issue and being neutral of the issue it would or should not matter if an encounter is with a slave. The Druid concern is much more about upset to the balance of the Prime plane's nature.

For the game I would say most Druids would hold the belief that you present, opposed to unnatural beings. With some exceptions possible. A water elemental can help quell a forest fire started by a human to help restore a balance.

As to 3.5 fire elemental, just walking though a dry wood would not cause a forest fire from the way it reads to me.




"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon

Edited by - Kentinal on 12 Mar 2013 07:21:54
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2420 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2013 :  07:56:40  Show Profile Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the confusion here comes from the difference between the Inner and Outer planes. The Inner planes are the substance of the Prime plane. The outer planes are separate, not attached to. Other attached planes are the Astral and Ethereal (though their relationships are very different of course).

There are many different kinds of golem, and they are animated in different ways. A stone golem, animated by a minor spirit of the elemental plane (one such being would be the golems that stand in as part of the stone circles for a great grove) would not be an anathema to a druid. An iron golem on the other hand would. In this as in everything, context is key. Now, there is nothing saying your druid cannot be a golem biggot. As there are different kinds of golems, there are also different kinds of druids.

What kind are you? Are you a servant of the Earthmother on the Moonshaes? Eldath? Silvanus? Are you a more generalized servant of nature where you were born? The complete book of druids has all sorts of kit descriptions for various druids of this type that could point you in a direction, from mountain druids to militant druids.
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Marc
Senior Scribe

641 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2013 :  12:09:56  Show Profile Send Marc a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It depends on the druid, even iron golems could be considered natural by some, for example to bladeling druids. And there are druids that make constructs, for example bogun (MM2), fang golems (MM4), coral golems, fungus golems, wicker-men, or wold-constructs from Iron Kingdoms.

.
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2013 :  12:30:10  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In addition to what everyone else has said, my stance - were I your DM - would be to stick with what your character believes to be true. It is perfectly possible for druids to have different points of view on a subject, and to even violently disagree with one another about the proper course of action.

It's also perfectly valid for your characters beliefs to evolve over time. Maybe he takes an absolutist stance against all elementals and golems on the prime. Then if he encounters something that challenges those beliefs, he may consider it an exception to the rule, be required to take a more nuanced position, or rethink his position entirely. However, that would be up to the character.

I don't think this is something that has a right or wrong answer aside from, "It depends on the character and his druidic background."

If your character had spells or supernatural abilities that conflicted with his beliefs, I'd modify them to be more in tune with the character. (Example: Instead of summoning an elemental, you'd call forth a "Spirit of Nature" - it'd be thematically different, but roughly equivalent in power.)

So, unless you have a DM who is telling you that you must change your character, and is unwilling to work with you on some of his abilities then I say keep playing as you are... and if your DM is telling you something like that, well - I find myself in disagreement with him / her.
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15724 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2013 :  14:32:45  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I run it where you summon a spirit to 'inhabit' some bit of substance which is 'native' to the plane you are on, which is why they are usually temporary. In fact, I run all summoned critters this way (to explain why they reform on their home planes, even if they die when summoned on the new plane). Basically, some spirits of the Elemental Maelstrom (and I say ALL creatures from the Outer Planes are 'spirits') have more of affinity for one element over another, although there are examples of composite elementals (which shoe-horns well with my own thoughts). So when you are summoning an elemental, what you are really doing is summoning an elemental spirit to the Prime Material, and forcing it to inhabit some native substance for a time (and animate it). Lower level spirits don't really care - their spirits are little more then animal-level intellects. Higher order spirits do care... a LOT, and probably get very angry if forced into servitude often (like Dgen, who are the 'nobility' of the elementals).

Forcing an elemental spirit into some form of golem (or other magic item) is doing so with the idea of permanency - that is not servitude, that is SLAVERY, and is probably greatly frowned upon. I suppose lower-order elementals bound this way (your typical unintelligent golem) wouldn't raise much of a fuss, but any being with any sort of true sentience would rail against this treatment, and others may come to his/her aid.

Dgen are a special case - in FR there seems to have been some sort of deal struck in the ancient past, and so long as the genies are not abused (or overused) in any way, they put up with it. I think only when they get bound to permanent items* does this cause the Dgen to go into that 'trickery' mode (and become evil, turning your wishes against you). If you deal with elementals fairly, you should be treated in kind.

Thats my own thoughts on it - I'm not sure how it works in RAW in any edition of D&D, or other systems out there.



*And once again I reminded how much genie-lamps (and other spirit-binding items) are very similar to the magi-tech involved in phylactory creation. It seems any time you want an unliving object to animate permanently (and possibly behave in a living manner) - a liches corpse is an unliving object - you have to use an magical 'spirit storing item' to do so. In fact, since a liches body reforms, is is VERY MUCH like a summoned creature - the phylactory is just its permanent tether to this world.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36735 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2013 :  16:15:30  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have personally theorized that those elemental entities summoned into elemental form, or serving in golems, occupy a lower rung on their planar hierarchy... Perhaps they have to spend time serving mortals before they can be promoted to a higher rank, free of that odious duty. Perhaps they evolve thru their service, and that's the best way for them to move into the higher ranks of their hierarchy. Or perhaps those who are summoned to the Prime are servants or even prisoners of higher-ranking planar entities, and being summoned is part of their service/punishment.

I came up with these theories because A) I don't know that it's really been addressed, and B) because if the service is not beneficial and/or mandated for them from above, that means that even goodly spellslingers are enslaving these elemental entities, and I'm not cool with that.

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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2420 Posts

Posted - 14 Mar 2013 :  00:24:50  Show Profile Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I do think it is important to note the difference between summoning and enslaving. You can enslave an elemental, or you can call it (different spells with different parameters). Calling for aid from a like-minded elemental is NOT enslavement. Some books have a couple good examples of such partnerships. The deep gnomes of Blindingstone have such arrangements established, as did the guy win the books about Imaskar (totally blanking on names for those tonight).
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High

Australia
31701 Posts

Posted - 14 Mar 2013 :  02:22:36  Show Profile Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage

I do think it is important to note the difference between summoning and enslaving. You can enslave an elemental, or you can call it (different spells with different parameters).
I do recall that Empires of the Shining Sea has a nifty little section on the difference between summoning and enslaving elementals. It's definitely worth a read...

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Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
1280 Posts

Posted - 14 Mar 2013 :  02:55:37  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Were talking spirit binding magic here. Usually it is a risky prospect because spirits initially bind with the caster. An item of correspondance is crucial to deflect that initial possesion of a summoned spirit. So a spark of fire is usually needed to summon a (small) fire elemental spirit.

With proper magic wards up, all manner of spirits can be controlled. The more powerful the wards, the more complete the control. With benevolent spirits, certain diplomacy is required, but they are less easy to locate. Easily found spirits are most often manevolent and are better of bound anyway, so most wizards shackle them to a golem with an aggresive duty or somesuch.

A druid with knowledge of golem making would be able to identify if a golems spirit is "balanced". One build with a fiendish spirit, or an enslaved celestial spirit would be an afront to the druid. Those build from a spirit who cooperated with its creator, such as an elemental who agreed to a bargain or a celestial with a worldbound duty, are most likely fascinating for a druid. Most druids without the inside knowledge of golem making will not see them as part of the natural cycle, though.

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