The Air Elemental's Whirlwind ability reads:
Each creature in the elemental's space must...
Both the Air Elemental and the Minotaurs are large creatures. The Air Elemental's ability Air Form allows it to occupy the same space as hostile creatures, it reads:
The elemental can enter a hostile creature's space and stop there.
So, in the situation pictured below would the Air Elemental's Whirlwind ability hit any/all/none of the Minotaurs? The picture shows three Minotaurs each adjacent to each other Minotaur, with one corner of each of their respective grid spaces sharing a single grid intersection, and an Air Elemental is centred on that same grid intersection, covering 1 square of each Minotaur.
The wording of the ability suggests that it can affect multiple creatures.
If the Air Elemental's Whirlwind was a spell's AOE (fireball for example) it is generally accepted that all three Minotaurs would be affected by the spell and to full effect. Do these same rules apply to abilities? Is there any source material to support this?
Alternatively, the ability can cause creatures to be thrown in a "random direction". If random means "1 of X directions evenly distributed in 360°", then it would make sense that the elemental has to cover all (or as much as possible if dealing with larger creatures) of the creature. If random means "1 of X directions it is reasonable for the creature to travel in", then the ability could reasonably function on multiple creatures as shown here. Under the first definition, the NW Minotaur could be thrown SE, which wouldn't make sense. Under the second the NW Minotaur could, for example, end up travelling N, NW, or W, which would make sense.