I'm currently preparing an adventure in which the players encounter an earth elemental in a mine and want it to leave the mine. I expect them to try to find a peaceful solution. From @Erik in another thread I got the idea that the characters could try to help the elemental get back to the Plane of Earth.

Regarding the question of how it got here, I will likely go with the "dropped through a randomly opening rift accidentally" version, as I don't want to create a whole new adventure finding the caller of the elemental or exploring a fully functioning portal.

Is there a way for level 1 players to help the elemental get back to the Plane of Earth? What could they do and how could an earth elemental return to the Plane of Earth at all?

(Considering the default Pathfinder setting, as I'm not ready to create a completely new world yet)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify specifically what setting you're referring to? You say Pathfinder, so while I could assume the normal Pathfinder Campaign Setting, your question would benefit from stating explicitly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim C
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ What settings are there? :-) I'm just starting with DMing and the adventure in question is one of the bonus adventures of the Pathfinder beginners box \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 19:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoachimKurz Every edition of Dungeons and Dragons has had settings made for it; Some official, most thrown together by GMs for the campaigns they wanted to run. These settings differ hugely; The answer to your question in, say, the Forgotten Realms setting will be completely different to the answer you'd get while playing Eberron, and different again to the answer for Planescape. While you could tell us a particular setting and get an answer for that, I suspect the real answer is to turn your question back at you: How do you think players should be able to do this in your world? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 22:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe I don't know enough about the planes and elementals yet to answer that question (see rpg.stackexchange.com/q/72408/26322 ) so I was hoping there was a "canonical" way of doing this that I simply haven't found in the literature yet. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


The answer to this question will depend largely on how difficult you, as the GM, want it to be. If you want it to be easy, there's a convenient Portal back to the Elemental Plane of Earth nearby that the poor elemental just can't activate (it could even be keyed so that just elementals can go through - or the elemental can "suggest" to the players that they wouldn't last 5 minutes on the other side - if you don't want the adventure to go in that direction). Or, there could be a mini-quest to find a mage who can send the creature back home, or the players can wait 'til they've got enough juice on their own to do it.

Standard magics and options (roughly from easiest to hardest):

  • A random rift/Portal between the planes exists, and the elemental just needs help finding/activating it.
  • Planar Ally called the creature, and it hasn't managed to complete its task, so it's stuck. The PCs could help it complete its task, and it'll go home.
  • Planar Binding called the creature, and it hasn't managed to complete its task, so it's stuck. The PCs could help it complete its task, and it'll go home.
  • Banishment would send it back to the plane from whence it came (and, it can always choose to fail its save).
  • Someone could Plane Shift to the Elemental Plane of Earth, and leave the elemental there on the way back.
  • Someone could open a Gate for the elemental.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot, I think I'll hide the random rift deep in the mine and let the elemental not remember where exactly that was. I'll probably just let it close once the elemental went through as well, for "unknown reasons". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 23:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Better - have the rift behind something the elemental cant pass (air, water, fire) but that is trivial for prime material beings. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 0:07

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