Where’s there’s a fire elemental… there’s bound to be Smoke Mephits!
Mephits are pretty interesting, and TONS of fun to run, low CR elemental monsters. They are either 1/4 or 1/2 CR so they work perfectly as that “starter elemental”. Way back in 1st edition the Monster Manual lists Mephits with Imps, and over the editions they’ve mainly kept that impish look about them (3rd edition gave them a pretty wide array of appearances though).
Mechanically they’re interesting for the DM for 3 main reasons:
#1) they fly! Flying creatures can be a TON of fun. If you’re not using flight to frustrate your players then you should give it a go!
#2) they all have a breath-weapon! Breath weapons that are NOT daily abilities, but rather recharge (if the d6 has your back). Some do straight up damage, some have interesting effects (like blinding or restraining). The Damage and DCs are all fairly low so higher level characters will be unfazed by them, but even high level characters roll a bad save from time to time…
#3) Death Burst!!! When you kill a Mephit, it explodes! Their death bursts work in a very similar fashion as their breath weapons, so again mid tier characters and up won’t worry much but lower tier characters will have to take Death Bursts seriously.
So, the meat; here’s 4 ways you can utilize Mephits in your game:
- We opened with where there’s a Fire Elemental there’s a Smoke Mephit, but let’s flop that around (which is actually more in line with the actual saying anyway) “Where there’s a smoke mephit, there’s a fire elemental!” Use Mephits to telegraph the presence of more powerful Elemental beings to your players. Before they walk into the flooded cavern guarded by a water myrmidon have some ice and mud Mephits pester the party.
- Ancient forge… is there an ancient forge in an abandoned dungeon? Make it glow ominously, drop some Magma, and maybe some Smoke Mephits in there. They’re all that’s left of the elemental powers that once made this forge burn bright and hot!
- Wagons get trapped in thick mud on a remote section of a trade-road, even if the weather has been perfect. A mage is summoning Mud Mephits to gum up the wheels while his ruffians rob passers-by!
- Drop appropriate Mephits as encounters in appropriate extreme environments. A secluded ice-cave could have an infestation of Ice Mephits, a volcano fortress could be crawling with Magma Mephits…. you get the idea!
However you add them to your game let us know! We love planning interesting encounters for those who play at our tables!