Earth Elementals and Surprise


Rules Questions

Liberty's Edge

Since Earth Elementals burrow through the earth would they always get surprise if the Party doesn't know they are underground?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Not going to say always since, Stone Mystery oracle can for example see through the ground/walls or they could be casting any of the many spells like stone shape and the likes to travel through the ground/earth etc...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I'd say they make as much noise as anyone else ... unless they are stealthing. Maybe a bonus for being unseen (-20, like invisibility), but burrowing is going to cause perceivable vibrations. Earthglide might be different, but burrowing doesn't necessarily sneaky.


And thus tremor-sense was born.

Liberty's Edge

Mosaic wrote:
I'd say they make as much noise as anyone else ... unless they are stealthing. Maybe a bonus for being unseen (-20, like invisibility), but burrowing is going to cause perceivable vibrations. Earthglide might be different, but burrowing doesn't necessarily sneaky.

So if they have earthglide then that would make them have Surprise. I undestand there are characters/ spells that could reveal them but assume that doesn't exist.


No they don't automatically surprise anyone. There is no rules to support that.


And Earthglide does not make them any less noisy, by RAW that is what Stealth is for and Earthglide has no text indicating that it provides a bonus to stealth. All Earthglide does is allow them to as easily move through "stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water". They are still burrowing and using their burrow speed while earthgliding.

That said it's definitely an area a GM could quite reasonably allow the earth elemental to gain a significant advantage via earthglide and tremorsense in, if not automatically surprising, gaining a very substantial bonus to any stealth vs the party's perception until it breaks to the surface provided it used some appropriate tactics. Just bear in mind that its burrow speed is quite possibly slower than the party, tremorsense won't help detect or track anyone flying or otherwise not in contact with the ground and until you get to the older and larger elementals they aren't exactly the brightest bunch. The elemental might very well surprise part of the group only to in turn be surprised by the the fact one party member is using Overland Flight while another pair is on a Flying Carpet etc. etc.

Liberty's Edge

Kayerloth wrote:

And Earthglide does not make them any less noisy, by RAW that is what Stealth is for and Earthglide has no text indicating that it provides a bonus to stealth. All Earthglide does is allow them to as easily move through "stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water". They are still burrowing and using their burrow speed while earthgliding.

That said it's definitely an area a GM could quite reasonably allow the earth elemental to gain a significant advantage via earthglide and tremorsense in, if not automatically surprising, gaining a very substantial bonus to any stealth vs the party's perception until it breaks to the surface provided it used some appropriate tactics. Just bear in mind that its burrow speed is quite possibly slower than the party, tremorsense won't help detect or track anyone flying or otherwise not in contact with the ground and until you get to the older and larger elementals they aren't exactly the brightest bunch. The elemental might very well surprise part of the group only to in turn be surprised by the the fact one party member is using Overland Flight while another pair is on a Flying Carpet etc. etc.

Thank you soo much for the info..

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