Choosing a Nation

People of the four elemental nations are equally common in the Elemental Worlds. Discuss with your GM which nation makes the most sense for your campaign, choose the nation that you most identify with, or at random.

People who are not affiliated with any nation can exist in the Elemental Worlds as well. If you’d prefer to be unaffiliated, talk with your GM to work out a backstory for your character that makes sense. Where did they grow up? With whom? Why are they not associated with any nation?

Your choice of nation affects many different aspects of your character. It establishes fundamental qualities that exist throughout your character’s adventuring career. When making this decision, keep in mind the kind of character you want to play. For example, agile Air Nomads make for great rogues, the powerful people of the Fire Clans make formidable fighters, and the intuitive people of the Water Tribes make natural empaths.

Your character’s nation not only affects your ability scores and traits, but also provides the cues for building your character’s story. Each nation’s description in this chapter includes information to help you roleplay a character from that nation, including personality, physical appearance, features of society, and alignment tendencies. These details are suggestions to help you think about your character; adventures deviate widely from the norm, so you’re welcome to step outside these bounds. If you do, it’s worthwhile to consider why your character is different, as a helpful way to think about your character’s background and personality.

Nation Traits

The description of each nation includes nation traits that are common to members of that nation. The following entries appear among the traits of the nations.

Ability Score Increase

Every nation increases two or more of a character’s ability scores.


The age entry notes the age when a member of the nation is considered an adult, as well as their expected lifespan. This information can help you decide how old your character is at the start of the game. You can choose any age for your character, which could provide an explanation for some of your ability scores. For example, if you play a very young or old character, your age could explain a particularly low Strength or Constitution score, while advanced age could account for a high Intelligence or Wisdom.


Most nations have tendencies toward certain alignments, described in this entry. These are not binding for player characters, but considering why your soldier from the Earth Kingdom is chaotic, for example, in defiance of the lawful Earth Kingdom society can help you better define your character.


Characters of all nations are Medium, a size category including creatures that are roughly 5 to 8 feet tall. If your character is a child, they may be considered Small (between 2 and 5 feet tall), which means that certain rules of the game affect them differently. The most important of these rules is that Small characters have trouble wielding heavy weapons, as explained in chapter 6.


Your speed determines how far you can move when traveling (chapter 8) and fighting (chapter 9).

Language Arts

By virtue of your nation, your character may be able to speak, read, or write certain languages. Chapter 4 lists the most common languages of the Elemental Worlds.


The elemental nations each have subnations. Members of a subnation have the traits of the parent nation in addition to the traits specified for their subnation. Relationships among subnations vary significantly from nation to nation and world to world. Work with your GM to develop the nature of your subnation in your campaign setting.