Vile, stinking, and barely recognizable as cohesive entities, ooze mephits are undoubtedly the most disgusting of their kind, being soft and muddy creatures of sickly browns, greens and oranges that can barely maintain a recognizable solid form. Their personalities are equally unpleasant; they are obsequious, self-abasing kowtowers and yes-men that would, in the modern world, seek jobs at the kind of used-car lot where they don’t ask questions and very little paperwork is exchanged. They have a species-wide inferiority complex, and desire nothing more than to become something other than what they are. Ooze mephits are prone to sidle up to people, shower them with blatantly insincere compliments, and then ask for money, which they save toward paying mages to polymorph them into other sentient beings; their sense of lowliness prevails, though, and they usually request transformation into goblins or similarly weak creatures. Ooze mephits smell horrible, and the stains they leave cannot be removed, even with magic. They’re cowards and avoid combat, but when they are forced to attack, they do so with a slam attack that burns the victim with acidic mud. They can spew a stream of such ooze at opponents, distill their corruption once per hour into an effect reminiscent of melf’s acid arrow, and produce a stinking cloud. Ooze mephits are fairly durable, having damage reduction 5/+1, complete immunity to fire- and liquid-based attacks, and taking only half damage from cutting and piercing weapons; they can be destroyed instantly by transmute mud to rock. It is suspected that ooze mephits should be able to summon both ooze and water mephits, but only their own kind will respond. Ooze mephits regenerate only when immersed in stagnant water, sewage, or mud, and thus favor marshes and cesspools as homes.
Arguably the most beautiful of mephits, radiant mephits have slender bodies with a mirror finish that constantly ripples with prismatic lights and colors, reflecting any light in the vicinity in a scintillating rainbow as they move (in game terms, they have a constant faerie fire effect that cannot be dispelled). Their minds seem unable to cope with the terrible beauty of their home plane, and radiant mephits act stoned at all times; they ramble about beauty, light, and color, talk about anything that crosses their minds, utter bizarre non-sequiters, forget their own names, and change subjects in mid-sentence; the world itself seems to leave them constantly in a state of wonder, and they’re only dimly aware of their surroundings. Radiant mephits are unreliable at most tasks, since they tend to forget what they’re doing very rapidly, wander away from assigned duties, or simply break into a fit of mad giggling or stand still, gaping at a spot on a wall or a shiny object for hours at a time. They’re not given to the usual mephit varieties of mischief, but will often do inexplicable things that cause just as much trouble. Radiant mephits have claws, but there is no recorded instance of one physically attacking anyone, even in self-defense; if directly confronted with an obvious danger (or what they perceive to be such; they might react violently to a hatstand), they respond with a color spray or a randomly-colored chromatic orb, either of which they can produce at will. Individual radiant mephits have been observed to produce light spells, dancing lights, and rainbow patterns, but it is impossible to verify whether or not these are species-wide powers or merely individual idiosyncrasies. Radiant mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to fire, heat, and all effects based on color, light, or vision (including visual illusions); however, they are automatically affected by any mind-affecting spell used on them (they always fail Will saves) and can be instantly and painfully destroyed by subjecting them to magical darkness. They are believed to be only able to summon other radiant mephits, usually to share some fascinating stimulus (“Grabilifarsk! You’ve gotta see this bug! It moves!”). Radiant mephits regenerate only when exposed to bright light or color-based magic, which restores 1d6 hit points per level of the spell.
Widely regarded by wizards as the nastiest and least pleasant of mephits (if any mephit can truly be considered pleasant), salt mephits are foul-mouthed, horrible creatures that delight in tormenting living creatures and other mephits alike. Left to its own devices, a salt mephit will corrupt entire pantries of food, foul wells, encrust important objects with corrosive crystals, mummify small animals alive, and take potshots at the feet of humanoids to make them dance. Their curses give new definition to the term “salty language,” and they almost reflexively insult anyone they talk to- their creators, their masters, other mephits, passersby- with little regard for the feelings of the victim; they seem to be genuinely pleased if their taunts can drive the subject to violence. In fact, salt mephits are the only ones known to deliberately learn new languages- the better to offend a wider range of beings. They’re also the only mephit type observed to eat food- they don’t need to, but enjoy the flavor of exceedingly salty dishes, and love watching the reactions of humans as they ruin delicate cuisine with absurd quantities of salt and then devour it messily. Salt mephits have heavy, gray-to-white bodies composed entirely of cubic salt crystals, giving them an oddly geometric appearance; their wings, like those of earth and mineral mephits, are rigid and do not flap when they fly. They consider themselves the sworn enemies of moisture (including water mephits) and seek to corrupt it anyplace they can. Salt mephits can attack with salty claws and teeth, which leave painful, itchy wounds, but prefer to fire jets of salt crystals from their hands, striking targets at range. They taunt their victims constantly as they fight, and can invoke a taunt spell once per hour through their insults. They can corrupt food and water (up to a barrel) at will, and once per day can draw the moisture out of a 20’ radius around them, dehydrating living beings and severely damaging water-based creatures and plant life. Water burns them painfully, and liquid-based spells and effects can easily destroy them. Salt mephits can only gate in other salt mephits, usually to aid in tormenting something, but sometimes even to subject them to painful tricks themselves. Salt mephits only regenerate in dry, arid environments.
Mysterious and sinister, shadow mephits are not playful. They are frightening creatures that lurk in dark corners, speak seldom, and derive a quiet sort of sadistic happiness from frightening both living beings and other mephits. Little is known of shadow mephit society- they don’t congregate with their own kind, other mephits are universally scared of them, and they seldom speak to their masters unless asked a direct question or presented with a good opportunity to startle them. They’re unusually obedient, and most wizards don’t employ them for long; they finish assigned tasks quickly, and thereafter tend to make their masters nervous as they lurk somewhere just out of sight. Shadow mephits are gaunt, almost skeletal beings with flickering bodies of darkness through which hints of objects behind them can be seen. Their voices are low, deep, and quiet, and they are never seen to lose their composure, smiling to themselves even in battle. Shadow mephits attack with their long, sharp claws, which have the effect of a chill touch spell. They can see in any form of darkness, fire shadow bolts from their hands, belch forth a cloud of rolling, leaping darkness that fills any enclosed space with flickering shadow, become invisible at will in any shadow big enough to hold them, and move in complete silence. The few mages who have studied them believe they may also be able to shadow walk and produce quasi-real illusory effects, but the shadow mephits won’t confirm or deny this. Shadow mephits are incorporeal, making them the hardest of all mephit types to damage, and immune to shadow-, darkness-, and negative-energy-based effects; light-based spells and positive-energy attacks severely damage or destroy them. They have never been observed to summon other mephits, but mages suspect they can probably summon others of their own kind. Shadow mephits only regenerate in areas of dim lightning; it is worth noting that complete darkness does not allow them to regenerate, as their shadowy nature requires some amount of light. Other mephits regard them as bogeymen of sorts, and numerous rumors about them circulate in what passes for mephit society.
The laziest of their kind, smoke mephits can seldom be persuaded to do much of anything other than lounge about, smoking foul-smelling pipes, dirtying the environment around them, and cracking jokes. They’re indolent creatures that simply don’t seem to care about much of anything; they’ll happily sit back and watch their masters get attacked because it’s simply too much trouble to call out a warning. Smoke mephits follow orders if badgered into action, but strive to fulfill the letter of their duties as quickly as possible so they can get back to relaxing; the only things that spur them readily into action are threats to their own well-being. A smoke mephit resembles a fat imp composed entirely of black, billowing vapor; like air mephits, they drift on their own currents, and they seldom bother to move their wings in flight. They perpetually give off smoke of varying densities and scents, both from their own bodies and the pipes they smoke. Smoke mephit pipes are a bit of a mystery; each is unique, carved from a wide range of materials, and constantly gives off smoke, but they’ve never been seen being packed or lit. A smoke mephit will actually go out of its way to recover its pipe if taken, so few specimens are available for study. Smoke mephits will only enter combat if they absolutely have to; their claws inflict little damage, so they mostly rely on their breath weapon (a smoky cloud that can suffocate breathing creatures) or a hurled ball of soot that blinds and damages opponents. Smoke mephits can also turn invisible once per day and produce pyrotechnics once every ten rounds. They can summon smoke, fire, magma, or steam mephits; they are gregarious and like company, preferring their own kind, but most mephits enjoy their rather crude humor and will cheerfully answer their call. Smoke mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to all gases, fire, and heat, but will be driven away by spells that produce strong winds. They regenerate only in smoky environments, and thus will often hide in chimneys or the rafters of forges and smokehouses, the better both to heal and to avoid work.
Angry and pugnacious, steam mephits are the most combative of their kind. They arrogantly view themselves as the lords of all mephits, and will happily engage in combat with any creature, mephit or otherwise, that challenges their authority; in fact, they seem to become frustrated if no one disputes their right to rule, and will deliberately order others around in an effort to generate protests. Needless to say, steam mephits take orders poorly and resent being in a condition of servitude. They view mist mephits as weak and incapable of effectively representing their plane, and aim to destroy them whenever possible. Steam mephits lack any kind of subtlety, and refuse to keep quiet or discreet if they’re not physically forced to. A steam mephit resembles a muscular, greenish imp that constantly seeps near-boiling water and plumes of steam. They eagerly dive into combat, striking with their hot fists, which stun and dizzy creatures they hit. They can spray jets of boiling water at opponents, breathe forth clouds of harmless but obscuring steam, produce superheated vapors that imitate the effects of a stinking cloud, and call down a rain of scalding water that damages all creatures within 20’. Steam mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to fire, heat, and liquids, but cold-based effects inflict double damage on them. They can summon fire, magma, smoke, or other steam mephits, mostly to boss around when they have no one else available. Steam mephits only regenerate in hot, humid environments (at least 90% humidity and no less than 90°), so they tend to gather around saunas, hot springs, and boiling kettles.
Water mephits are friendly, cheerful, and optimistic, to the nuisance of everyone around them. They affect the manners and accent of upper-class Tedroxian nobles, calling people “old boy” irrespective of gender, chortling, and affecting a monocle whenever they can find one. Irritatingly jovial and utterly tactless, water mephits try to be helpful by loudly pointing out errors in plans (“I say, old boy! This ambush is atrocious! Why, those goblins have just looked up, and I think they see you!”), flaws in anyone they see (“Does the Duchess know her bodice is unbuttoned at the top? Oh, I say!”), and the bright side of any situation, as they see it (“Buck up, chaps! I know you’re outnumbered, but you can defeat these giants! And if not, you’ll make a cracking good stew for them!”). Needless to say, this doesn’t endear them to anyone. Water mephits resemble corpulent little men made entirely of water enclosed by a thin, clear membrane, with bulging eyes and lips; they often wear false handlebar mustaches that quickly get sodden through. They smell of brine, drip constantly, and moisten anything they touch, which leads to despair in wizards when the mephit tries to curl up in their best armchair with an old book (which they can’t read), a good cigar (which they can’t smoke), and a glass of his best wine (they happily drink anything, including valuable liquor, potions, poisons, and mercury). They like most other mephits, and can’t understand why fire, lightning, and salt mephits hold them in such contempt. In combat, water mephits can attack with their slender claws, but prefer their breath weapon, a stream of acid. They can produce a water blast once every ten rounds, create water at will, and produce a fog cloud. Water mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to fire, heat, and liquids of all types; they take double damage from cold, and effects that destroy water will kill them instantly. A water mephit can summon other water mephits; they can also technically summon ice mephits, but the latter hate them and the chance of success is halved. They can only regenerate when immersed in comparatively clean water (most natural bodies of water will suffice).
This concludes the catalogue of known mephit types. Coming up next: Applied Mephitology, including the code of mephit messages and practical uses for mephits.
Planescape boxed set
Planscape Monstrous Compendium Appendix, Vol. 1
Dungeons and Dragons Monstrous Manual, 3rd edition.
All information on Serin, Kaerith, and any names, customs, practices, or organizations pertaining thereto are (c) 2004 by Adam Wells Davis, and are considered Closed Content under the terms of the Open Gaming License.