This came up in last night's session when we were fighting a monster with a petrification gaze weapon. The cleric summoned a fire elemental and we couldn't find a clear answer to:

  1. Do elementals "see"?
  2. Are they subject to gaze attacks?
  3. Can they be petrified?

For background information, the question arose because we were having a hard time imagining an immaterial creature made of flame being turned to stone. In the event it did not matter as the dracolisk had been severely damaged and the elemental saved and killed it with the next blow. We did pick up the distinction between Flesh to Stone spells and Petrification.


Elementals can see.

In fact, they have darkvision out to 60 ft.

There is nothing which states they are immune to gaze attacks.

And thus, they are not immune to gaze attacks, because susceptibility to gaze attacks is the default state and is only not true if explicitly stated to be not true. (In fact, darkvision explicitly "subjects a creature to gaze attacks normally.")

Elementals are not immune to petrification.

That is, their description doesn't say they are, so (as above with gaze attacks) they are not immune to it.

All this information is found in the Elemental entry in the d20srd or the same entry in the Monster Manual (page 308).

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Might be worth mentioning that elementals can ignore flesh to stone, since they do not have flesh. But e.g. the medusa's gaze attack will petrify anything not specifically immune. \$\endgroup\$ – starwed Aug 11 '13 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @starwed That seems a bit tangential/unrelated just here, since it is about gaze attacks and one that makes anything stone (including a stone golem). \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 11 '13 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Op doesn't specify which creature they're talking about, and half-remembering the caveat to flesh to stone might be why they think elementals can't be petrified, so in my book they're quite related. :) \$\endgroup\$ – starwed Aug 11 '13 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Flesh to stone does not use the word "petrify," and so its validity as a petrification effect is arguable only by comparing effects, not through explicit text--whereas while the medusa's petrifying gaze ability doesn't say it petrifies the target either, at least it's got "petrify" in the name. 3.5 really isn't very good at explicit consistency. I'll think about how to make this into a useful addition to the post. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Aug 13 '13 at 4:00

Elementals can see, have no immunity to gaze attacks, and no immunity to petrification. As such, yes, they are susceptible to the effects of the petrifying gaze.

See the Elemental Type rules:


An elemental is a being composed of one of the four classical elements: air, earth, fire, or water.


An elemental has the following features.

  • 8-sided Hit Dice.
  • Base attack bonus equal to ¾ total Hit Dice (as cleric).
  • Good saves depend on the element: Fortitude (earth, water) or Reflex (air, fire).
  • Skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1) per Hit Die, with quadruple skill points for the first Hit Die.


An elemental possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).

  • Darkvision out to 60 feet.
  • Immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, and stunning.
  • Not subject to critical hits or flanking.
  • Unlike most other living creatures, an elemental does not have a dual nature—its soul and body form one unit. When an elemental is slain, no soul is set loose. Spells that restore souls to their bodies, such as raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection, don’t work on an elemental. It takes a different magical effect, such as limited wish, wish, miracle, or true resurrection, to restore it to life.
  • Proficient with natural weapons only, unless generally humanoid in form, in which case proficient with all simple weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entry.
  • Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) that it is described as wearing, as well as all lighter types. Elementals not indicated as wearing armor are not proficient with armor. Elementals are proficient with shields if they are proficient with any form of armor.
  • Elementals do not eat, sleep, or breathe.

None of this says that elementals do not see, none of it mentions immunity to gaze attacks or petrification. So they’re vulnerable to all of these things. A fairly-low Knowledge (the planes) check could have meant the Cleric was aware of this before he summoned the creature.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Duplicate answer? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 11 '13 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Wasn't when I added it; BESW corrected his answer. Now it's pretty much duplicate, though he does point out the page number which I found useful. On the other hand, I mentioned the Knowledge (the planes) check. Similar deals. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 11 '13 at 23:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.