Before I say anything else: Within this wall of text you will find details of the first public draft of the Xaosmith, an elemental defender that can be played from level 1 to level 30, with two complete builds and two paragon paths. But we’ll get to that in a minute…
In the Elemental Power Source article, I proposed a number of ways to approach creating new, fully-realized elemental classes that can stand on their own, without being associated with another power source.
Introducing the director, an elemental leader class that specializes in indirect attacks, sewing confusion, and empowering allies with elemental traits and auras. Their most prominent ability is their Elemental Presence, an aura of elemental energy that benefits allies or hinders enemies, and which provides a special Elemental Boon, usually gained through the healing ability Weave from Chaos, and which affects the damage type of their attacks. Directors have a lot of choices to make and can greatly improve their allies’ effectiveness with the right ones.
Introducing the Chaos Bringer, an elemental striker that not only hurls the elements but sometimes polymorphs into an elemental. Their striker damage mechanic comes with a rhythm and hard choices; their elemental attacks gain a constant bonus from their secondary statistic, and then are augmented by their Elemental Inertia bonus. Once they’ve gained Elemental Inertia, they must choose whether to continue using the constant bonus, or to try their luck with Elemental Wrath.
For the second in my short series of example elemental classes, meet the exulter, a sturdy, heavily-armored controller that excels at controlling at medium to melee range. The exulter channels the forces of the elemental chaos with their entire body and lashes out with them through a gauntlet used as an implement, often unleashing their powers through physical blows and gestures.
With the recent news that Amazon.com lists what appears to be a player's book of elemental power source material, I thought it would be worthwhile to throw together a few concrete examples of what an elemental class could be. My hope is to produce a total of four level 1 PCs more or less ready for play at something like an Encounters session, one for each role.
The elemental power source is one of 4th edition’s milder speculative controversies. Some people are excited to see what “elemental” entails (I’m one of them), some think it’s redundant, and others just don’t know what to expect. As someone who has been interested in the idea of true elemental classes since the late 90s – before 3rd edition was even announced) – I have been contemplating this for a long, long time, and the announcement of the elemental power source in the 4th Edition preview material excited me more than even the new rules structure.