Tales of Tolgard
The tempest is a living storm which appears as a dark storm cloud of comparatively small size. Human or bestial features can often be seen in the roiling vapors of the tempest. Silver veins extend across this elemental and carry the electrical impulses that maintain the storm’s energy.
Tempests have no language that humans may learn. They can communicate with air and water elementals and their kin, and genies, through subtle wind buffets and the occasional splattering of precipitation. A few, perhaps 10%, have learned to speak a few words of Common. Their voices are very soft and sibilant, with a hint of malice behind the words.
There is much speculation about the origin of these beings, who are apparently related to elementals and to genie-kind. Tempests are composed of all four basic elements, fire, earth, air, and water; fire in the form of lightning, earth in their silver ``circulatory system,’’ air in their winds, and water in the form of rain. They may be summoned accidentally when a spellcaster tries to summon an elemental, especially one of air or water.
Some sages believe these creatures are jann that have been injured in some way and cannot retain human form. Whatever their origin, they do breed and reproduce as storms. Though ``male’’ and ``female’’ do not truly describe the different types of tempests, there are two genders. When living storms of different genders meet, they have a brief, tempestuous affair, causing a great conflagration that may last more than a week. Hurricanes or tornadoes are produced irregularly from the mass, to wreak havoc upon the surrounding area.
When the storm finally breaks, the two tempests leave the area, and the residue they leave behind forms anywhere from one to four infant tempests. These infant storms, sometimes referred to as tantrums, often travel together until they reach maturity, one year after birth. The young storms can only send out gusts of wind and produce rain.
Most tempests quite naturally seem to have very stormy dispositions. Their hunger for animal life goes beyond their need for the moisture contained in animal bodies. Some sages speculate that their physical form, or possibly some event in their history, causes them to hate animal life. It is quite possible that the electrical impulses produced by animal brains cause pain to the tempest.
Tempests feed on the moisture found in animal bodies. Though unable to cause harm to living creatures by draining their moisture, they hover close to the ground after a battle to suck the water from dead opponents, as well as any water they may have precipitated during the battle. They are sometimes found scavenging after great battles between humans. By removing water from a corpse, they render it inviable to return to life via a raise dead spell, though resurrection and other spells work normally.
When a tempest is killed, a silver residue rains down from its form. If carefully gathered, this residue provides a mass of silver equivalent to several silver pieces. Though valuable as a precious metal, the silver can also be used as a component in making a wand of lightning or casting a weather-related spell. Bits of the silver are also useful for making other weather or elemental related magical items.
Genies and elementals are enemies of tempests; they often attack them, and tempests respond in like manner. However, some genies, especially djinn and marids, keep tempests as pets, training them as guards and to attack.
Tempests can be quite devastating to a local ecology if annoyed, and can cause great damage with wind, rain, and other attack forms. Living storms are never found inside buildings or underground.