Mephits are nasty messengers created by powerful planar creatures to perform evil missions. The 16 known types of mephit draw their substance from the Elemental, Paraelemental, and Quasielemental Planes: fire, radiance, water, ice, magma, ash, mineral, steam, air, smoke, earth, ooze, dust, salt, lightning, and mist. (The Quasielemental Plane of Steam provides both steam and mist mephits. Alone among the Elemental Planes, the plane of Vacuum holds no life, not even mephits.)
Mephits are thin, 5' winged humanoids. Their faces have exaggerated features, including hooked noses, pointed ears, wide eyes, and protruding chins. Their skin continually oozes the stuff of their home plane: Fire mephits burn, magma mephits drip lava, and so on.
Mephits speak a common mephit tongue, and each speaks the language of its creator, if any. Most learn the common tongue to perform their duties.
Combat: In battle, mephits attack with either their clawed hands or breath weapon. Damage varies by type of mephit encountered; see the following entries for details. Unless an attack lists a saving throw, no saving throw applies.
All mephits can gate in other mephits once per hour. The number and type gated varies by mephit type, but all mephits have a 25% chance of success.
Habitat/Society: Mephits love tormenting helpless creatures and bragging about their latest evil accomplishments. They puff away at foul-smelling tobacco or pipeweed. They give themselves pompous, impossibly long names, such as “Garbenaferthal, Sprite-slayer, Greatest of All Steam Mephits, Favorite of the Lower Planes.”
Mephits assume a groveling, craven, yes-master stance to their bosses, an air of arrogant superiority toward victims and each other. Mephits of the same type usually maintain a polite camaraderie. Different types often settle disputes with a friendly game of tug-a-demihuman.
Mephits spend their time delivering messages, picking up packages on the Lower Planes, retrieving particular persons, delivering special magical items, or just spreading general mayhem (so folks don't forget the Lower Planes are still there). Insufferable on missions, they fancy themselves important emissaries.
Ecology: Evil powers on the Lower Planes create mephits using a variant of monster summoning IV that incorporates aspects of contact other plane. They use the substance of an elemental plane to create a servant, usually as a stopgap or a substitute for less loyal underlings. Mephits do not betray their creators but do seem to irritate them, and so they lead brief, troublesome lives. Quickly created and destroyed, they have no predetermined life span.
On some Lower Planes spellcasters use live mephits as signals in vendettas. Presenting one's enemy with a mephit connotes a message, its nature indicated by the mephit's type.
The gift of a fire mephit indicates displeasure at the enemy's action; an ice mephit means the enemy is forbidden to enter one's home; a radiant mephitis a truce offering, and so on. The recipient destroys, employs, or frees the mephit as desired. Mephits are never given to friends, as anyone who has met one understands.
Mephits usually need no food or drink. Unless otherwise noted, all mephit types can regenerate 1 hp per turn in contact with the stuff of their substance, or an appropriate environment (fire mephits in open flame, ice mephits in cold, and so on). Regeneration ceases when the mephit reaches 0 hp and dies. Mephits cannot heal by other means.