Can an aquatic animal exist inside of a friendly water elemental?


Rules Questions


I was wondering what you thought about an aquatic animal surviving inside of a friendly water elemental. I want to think it can if the elemental allows it. What do you think?

Lets say I have a small water elemental familiar.

My fellow Pathfinder has a tiny blue-ringed octopus familiar.

Can the octopus live within the elemental?


I don't see a problem with it.


They may be considered squeezing in their space, though.


Isil-zha wrote:
They may be considered squeezing in their space, though.

Tiny creatures have a reach of 0, and must move into an opponents space to attack, so they are obviously capable of being in the same space as another creature. Sounds allright to me.


Well in this case they are not just in the same square but INSIDE a small creature - that is something very different, it becomes less of an issue when there are more size categories between the two, but in this specific case I'd say they are squeezing. The whole thing is a bit of a stretch to begin with, the water elemental doesn't have an engulf ability and whether or not "living water" has the necessary properties to sustain an aquatic life form for any extended period of time is another variable.


Isil-zha wrote:
Well in this case they are not just in the same square but INSIDE a small creature - that is something very different, it becomes less of an issue when there are more size categories between the two, but in this specific case I'd say they are squeezing

Considering a water elemental is an animate mass of water, I'm thinking a one or one and a half foot octopus could fit inside a three foot water bubble.


fitting inside it isn't the problem, how much this restricts movement of the elemental is, but since this isn't covered by the rules, the GM in question has to decide what to do about it

Grand Lodge

I would have to agree with Isil-zha on this one, GM's call.

Several issues with this come to mind; in order for the elemental to retain the appropriate enclosure would be extremely difficult in any stressful situation. At the very least requiring some form of continous DC check (acrobatics?) in order to properly house the octopus. Also, what happens when the elemental is forced to change its shape (dodging an attack for example), if it moves quickly to prevent being injured would the octopus then fall out of its now potentially unacceptable container? Thus requiring it to make a check against suffocation?

Also, I would point out the severe venerability to two members in a party. You're essentially putting all your familiar eggs in one basket. And I have yet to read any situation in which a single character losing his familiar has gone well for them, at least in the immediate setting, let alone two.

Thematically, I love the idea. +10 for creative thinking!


Along those lines, you have a decanter of endless water, would it put out enough water in a round for 1. the octopus to survive, and 2. the elemental would not be penalized during combat?

Grand Lodge

I would say that would cover the situation in combat, fountain being the option of choice in that situation. Distance from the user being a potential issue, any further then that and you risk knocking it prone and dealing damage to the poor creature.

You could always write something into the backstory of your two characters that involved the octopus being summoned with the elemental and just never had the heart to part them. Their constant training through the years has allowed them to act as a single unit, each knowing how to react to each others movements. This solves that issue, as far as I can see there is no mechanical reason that would invalidate that sort of RP.

The only mechanical issue i can actually see is how does one target the octopus without targeting the elemental first. You have to hit both in order to hit one, does the AC now stack? Is there some other bonus given to the octopus because of its now living watery armor? If I was to give any argument validity as to why it couldn't be done, that would ultimately be it.


Sorry to bring reality into a fantasy game, but even though it is water, animals frequently require a specific water type to survive in. Not sure an elemental of water would be the proper type of any creature to survive in with out magic.


Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
Sorry to bring reality into a fantasy game, but even though it is water, animals frequently require a specific water type to survive in. Not sure an elemental of water would be the proper type of any creature to survive in with out magic.

the basic create water spell, can create both salt water and basic water if I am not mistaken. With that assumption, and if the water has to come from somewhere, I would say that it would come from the elemental plane of water, and if both salt water and basic water can be found on the elemental plane of water, I would think that water elementals can be of both types. I would also say that even if that doesn't occur, then you could just buy a large cube of salt and dump it on the elemental, and wallah! A salt water elemental.

Grand Lodge

Playing devils advocate here, and correct me if I'm wrong. But isn't the vast majority of what we see within this game outside the realm of reality? Magic itself is an inherent part of this world, and dismissing an idea on the basis that it couldn't work here on earth doesn't seem fair to the spirit of the game.

The biggest issue I see with this situation isn't its applicability within a fantasy realm, it's the actual mechanics that support such an existence. And as I said in my previous post, the only real mechanic that I can see being affected by this symbiotic relationship is the ability to resolve effects on the creatures individually.


I am wrong, create water doesn't do this. Hrmmmm....


Decanter of Endless Water
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th

Slot —; Price 9,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

Description
If the stopper is removed from this ordinary-looking flask and a command word spoken, an amount of fresh or salt water pours out. Separate command words determine the type of water as well as the volume and velocity.

“Stream” pours out 1 gallon per round.
“Fountain” produces a 5-foot-long stream at 5 gallons per round.
“Geyser” produces a 20-foot-long, 1-foot-wide stream at 30 gallons per round.
The geyser effect exerts considerable pressure, requiring the holder to make a DC 12 Strength check to avoid being knocked down each round the effect is maintained. In addition, the powerful force of the geyser deals 1d4 points of damage per round to a creature that is subjected to it. The geyser can only affect one target per round, but the user can direct the beam of water without needing to make an attack role to strike the target since the geyser's constant flow allows for ample opportunity to aim. Creatures with the fire subtype take 2d4 points of damage per round from the geyser rather than 1d4. The command word must be spoken to stop it.

The following came from the PFSrd website.

Grand Lodge

Water elementals can come in both types, see the bestiary page 127 for clarification.


Salt water versus fresh water is probably the most unimportant issue to be found in this, but it's an interesting thought nonetheless.

If it were my call, I would say all water from the elemental plane is fresh water, because that would be the most "elemental". So if this octopus is one native to fresh water, he should be okay.

Grand Lodge

If I was the GM I would allow this as long as the following conditions were agreed upon by all parties,

1: Each creature may be targeted specifically by any creature able to resolve attacks against them.

2: Neither the octopus or the elemental receive any bonuses due to their combined nature. This includes concealment, AC, DEX, etc...

3: Area of Effect abilities will resolve against EACH creature individually, and separately.

4: Should the water elemental be slain, acceptable means must be provided for the octopus to sustain itself. A new elemental may not just be summoned for the purposes of this as the relationship would have to be developed over a period of time.

5: For the purposes of Attacks of Opportunity only the Water Elemental shall be able to take this action in any given round.

6: Attacks that penetrate the Water Elemental (such as impale) will require a Reflex save = the base attack bonus being applied to said attack. Failure to make this save will result in both creatures being struck by the attack. Damage will be resolved against each separately.

Grand Lodge

I should clarify the second item. They receive no ADDITIONAL bonuses from their combined state. They would in effect perform in combat as the rules apply to each as a separate entity.


Everyone, thanks for helping us flesh this out. I appreciate all of your insight.


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Now I want to make an NPC waterelemental who collects shiny fishes inside himself... Bonus points if he has wizard levels and one of the fishes is his familiar. ^^

Grand Lodge

Will its preferred form be that of a shark? I'm imagining a Finding Nemo type storyline with a rampaging elemental wizard in this particular form as the antagonist.


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Or how about a druidic water elemental who has cast awaken on all of his fishes! The last fish becomes their ruler! Since he is the only one with the direct link with elemental. The awakened fishes then take levels in wizardry and sorcery and witchcraft. The elemental becomes a living ecosystem that allows him to move about and any foes have to fight the combined might of one large elemental and say 100 dimunitive level 5 sorcerers each casting magic missile's. so that is 300 1d4+1 magic missiles that attack any who threaten their kingdom!

Grand Lodge

I think my eyes just started to bleed.


Stewart Towslee wrote:
I think my eyes just started to bleed.

Ever heard of "Planet of the Apes"?

how about "Planet of the Fishes"!

or a solar system of them! multiple water elemental ecosystems battling it out against other ones, to see who will rule them all!

Grand Lodge

Based on the rules above though, I could see one good AoE hitting that group in a surprise round and blasting all the little fishes. Being diminutive I can't imagine they would have a lot of damage soaking potential.


They may have prepared ahead and had protection from elements spells cast.

This could make for a very interesting NPC for a party to encounter. Or where they come across a battle between two of these living environments for control of a particular resource.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wouldn't an animal inside a water elemental tear it up and kill it just like it would inside a humanoid? After all, if I stick my sword into the water elemental enough times and tear it up, it dies.


I would not see a problem - elementals by their nature can come in any shape - this water elemental simply carries a bubble of water inside of itself for the critter to live in. Seriously damaging the water elemental spills the water and the fish/octopi.

Elementals are generally summoned creatures and generally don't die - they only fade away (to their original dimension). How you kill them over there may be a different story.


Rogar Stonebow wrote:
Or how about a druidic water elemental who has cast awaken on all of his fishes! The last fish becomes their ruler! Since he is the only one with the direct link with elemental. The awakened fishes then take levels in wizardry and sorcery and witchcraft. The elemental becomes a living ecosystem that allows him to move about and any foes have to fight the combined might of one large elemental and say 100 dimunitive level 5 sorcerers each casting magic missile's. so that is 300 1d4+1 magic missiles that attack any who threaten their kingdom!

I REALLY like this idea!

You guys want to brainstorm the mechanics for such a beast?

Start with an elemental (I vote either a medium or a large one, in order to keep the CR within a respectable range), and add druid levels to get to Awaken (so 11 druid levels). That grants it the heroic stats increase of +4, +4, +2, +2, +0, -2, and 2 stat bumps (maybe 3) for adding 8 HD (3 if it's standard HD + the 11 druid levels = multiple of 4). So it's looking at 17 Wis probably, before items (can an elemental wear magic items?) or spells. I'd probably grab some archetype that gives up wild shape, since that wouldn't make much sense to me here.

How does that look so far?

What about the fish (or whatever creatures it has swimming around inside of it)? They gain a couple of HD from Awaken, but it doesn't indicate whether those could be class levels or whether they would only be animal HD. If we assume they can be class levels, we can level a few up to wizard or witch 2 (their Int is very likely going to be much higher than their Cha), though how they deal with spellbooks and such is kind of beyond me...not to mention mine manipulation for somatic components. How are we going to level them up further? Just assume that they gain XP by fighting off aquatic creatures while their master sleeps or something, using the water elemental as a sort of home base?

How would you run such a creature in combat? Despite the reasonable rulings from others regarding the familiars, I'd probably rule that most attacks wouldn't be able to target or hit the fish within the elemental. Maybe, crits can hit them, and spells against which the elemental fails its save? Mind-affecting stuff should work there, but...there's a lot to figure out for this.

I can start a new thread if you want this to remain on topic, but this seems like a pretty amazing scenario to throw into a game some time.


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Well as far as gaining experience, you can assume that as intelligent fish, they will form some type of communities, fish gangs, fish Mafias. There will be some fighting for dominance while they lord over the kelp farmer fish. So they can provide their own experience.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The living water part would make me hesitant here.

The elemental would be pooped in
Be used to perform bodily functions of the pet
The pet would need to be fed, possibly gross for the elemental
Air elementals being used for air is likely next on the list

I would just note to the player that this is an exception and not to expect this for any other situation. It also may be used by npcs for flavor too.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Aren't water elementals restricted to being relatively near or in a water source? They're not things you can cross a desert with, if I recall correctly.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A water elemental can cross a desert just as easily as any other waterbag...er...living creature.


I am not at all sure that an elemental is really same thing as the element. A water elemental needs to make an escape artist check to squeeze though a crevice just like a person and it can be grappled. To me that means that and elemental is very different from its base element.


This is an amazing thread.


I like the thread. Except for the fact that it is the walking dead.

Thread necromancy alert!


Hey, it wasn't me. I just saw it already up top!

*touches nose going, "not it!"*


It's like an old family friend coming home with a rotten smell.


Well, that's what a good shower and/or Febreeze is for! Febreeze can fix anything! (Or prestidigitation. It's like a slightly-better Febreeze.)

Also, I suspect this was necro'd due to being linked from another thread, recently. Maybe the "I blame druids" thread? I don't recall, but I do recall seeing it fairly recently due to a linky.

Fortuitously, it's a rather harmless necro, all things considered.

Dark Archive

Threadromancy?

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