"Despite what the Product Identity-mentals of 4E, and the various Para-, Quasi-, Pseudo- and Spurio-Elementals of late period TSR D&D did to the idea, combining elements is not necessarily a bad thing."Spuriomentals. What a wonderful, whimsical, devastatingly devious memetically-charged and ideationally-feral thing to fling out into the unprotected blogosphere like that. Of course Chris was referring to the goofy dust/smoke/ooze/etc. elementals of days gone by, but what if we shelved that old baggage for a moment and tried a simple thought experiment for a moment?
Forget the offbeat Gygaxian para-elementals for now. Put them away and consider the notion of a Spuriomental.
Just what might a Spuriomental be?
According to Dictionary.com, spurious is defined as:
–adjectiveThat brings to mind a host of intriguing notions. Non-genuine, untrue, counterfeit elementals who are deceitful, phony and bogus who pretend to be beings that they are not, making claims that mislead those who encounter them and making a mockery of all attempts to sort out their actual natures or true identities. A Spuriomental is an otherplanar being who can present itself as a particular form of elemental, even to the extent of imitating their powers to some extent, in order to dupe, deceive and mislead those whom they encounter into a false sense of security by pretending that the Wards or Protection Devices/Spells being used are actually effective when in fact they are not.
- not genuine, authentic, or true; not from the claimed, pretended, or proper source; counterfeit.
- Biology . (of two or more parts, plants, etc.) having a similar appearance but a different structure.
- of illegitimate birth; bastard.
1. false, sham, bogus, mock, feigned, phony; meretricious, deceitful.
Similar to the notion of 'fallen angels,' the spuriomentals misrepresent themselves, sometimes appearing in place of an actual elemental when a spell-caster actually fails to summon one, or perhaps tricking adventurers into believing that they are a particular type of elemental when encountered in a dungeon or during the course of an otherplanar expedition.
Perhaps they are some otherplanar analogous form of doppleganger or mimic.
Possibly they are synthetic creatures formed from psychic residue and faint elemental resonances.
They could even be some twisted and bizarre form of shadow born from a true elemental and imbued with autonomy and a quasi-life of its own through some strange ritual, spell or magical artifact.
Heck, for all we know a spuriomental is some sort of phantasmal forces effect gone terribly wrong due to some sort of elemental contamination or interference.
Maybe they're just some sort of bored otherplanar entity that no one has really managed to figure out just yet.
Whatever they might really and truly be, they seem like a wonderfully mischievous type of entity to spring upon know-it-all spell-casters.