The Story of Elemental Worlds

As far as I can tell, there are three stories here to be told: that of the game, that of the world, and my own.

The Game

Elemental Worlds is the offspring of two legendary pieces of art, Avatar (both The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

Dungeons and Dragons is a tabletop RPG set in the Forgotten Realms, a medieval-era world full of magic creatures and mystical beings. In addition to many pre-written campaign settings, part of the beauty of D&D is the unlimited possibilities of "homebrew" content; stories, settings, character types, etc. made up by Dungeon Masters and players which allows for complete customization of characters, worlds, and games (at least as far as the DM is willing to go).

Elemental Worlds started as a D&D 5e homebrew with four custom "races" for the four elemental nations of the Avatar world, but it quickly became clear that this was just a start. The custom races gave characters the ability to control ("bend") the four elements (earth, fire, air, water), but it needed rules, scaling, and limitations.

D&D 5e's spells serve as the foundation for the elemental bending system, but there were a few critical differences that needed to be addressed. The most obvious one is, there is no magic in the Avatar world, so many of the 5e spells just don't make sense in the Avatar world. The second major difference is that bending is creative by nature, it is not as cut and dry as casting spells, a good elemental bending system should allow for some degree of imagination and creativity in how it's used both in and out of combat. Thus, bending completely replaced spells and the mastery point system was born. With this, characters could attempt, learn, and invent bending techniques in the midst of battle, with a built in failure/success mechanism.

Finally, the third major change was to convert the classes to fit the Avatar world. The inherently religious nature of classes like the cleric and paladin, the shapeshifting of the druid, and the one-dimensional natures of the monk and ranger were all ripe for rework. The Avatar world is spiritual by nature, so exchanging deities for spirits was a straight forward change. There is a completely new class, the Maker, loosely based on the Artificer, and a new idea which replaced the Druid, the Empath.

All of these changes make for a game that feels both familiar and new, fun, exciting, and interesting, with all of the aspects of the Avatar world that so many of us have come to know and love.

Game Updates...

If you want to keep up with updates made to the game, they're recorded on the website's blog.

The most recent set of updates, can be found here --->

Elemental Worlds v2.1

By Brad Stackhouse | 2021/06/20 |

Huge website update! Doesn’t it look better now? Now that you can search within pages, scroll seamlessly, and read the text I hope your user experience improves x10. We have some new conditions in Appendix A to check out, including chilled, dizzied, and slowed, some updates to frozen and burned. All of which show up…

The World

Elemental Worlds, like D&D, allows the Game Master (GM) to completely customize the world that their game is set in. So if you're a diehard Avatar fan who wants to play in the canon world with the canon characters, that's completely possible. On the other hand, if you're feeling creative, you can make your own, similar world with characters, settings, and stories all your own!

One very important thing to consider when building in Elemental Worlds is, the focal point of the canon world, the Avatar.

The Avatar is the over-powered hero of the Avatar world whose spiritual connection to Raava, the presumably primordial spirit of light and peace, allows them to overcome every obstacle. They can bend all four elements, they have the favor of many powerful people around the world, and if they are ever in danger, they go into the Avatar state, become orders of magnitude more powerful than any top level bender, and win. They're the hero and in the show they always have a team, but their over-powered nature is really not in the spirit of the game.

Of course, if you want to have the Avatar in your game, you should. You can play arcs that focus on regional conflicts, or perhaps the Avatar has somehow been captured and campaign focuses on rescuing them from the clutches of evil. You could even have one of your players be the Avatar and have the other players play the supporting cast; just be sure that everyone playing is okay with that being the nature of the game before you start.

Personally, I think D&D is best played as a collaborative story-telling game, so in my world there is no Avatar. Wan never broke the connection between Raava and Vaatu, so there was no need for Raava to combine her spirit with Wan's, and the Avatar connection was never forged. It's an alternate universe, with many of the same themes, but with no Avatar in the world to always save the day, the money, power, and wit have come to rule the world.

For many years, the four nations only brushed one another's surfaces, and they lived in balanced, but when finally their edges met, war scarred the earth. With irreconcilable differences and only violence to settle their disputes, the world was divided and torn. Then, the world changed with the blossoming of the White Lotus. Born out of the Air Nomad ideals of peace and understanding, the White Lotus mastered the art of diplomacy, and their influence enveloped the world. Many years passed,  and the White Lotus rules the world, their ideals a hypocritical farce. And though many speak out in dissent, the White Lotus are tightening their grip. But at some point, the empty promises of peace and prosperity will not be enough, and their hollow shell will break.

This is the world that I've created for my Elemental Worlds campaign. A world that in many ways mirrors my view of our own. As the world develops and grows, I'll release what I create through Patreon, making the campaign setting available to those who support the project.

We don't just make games, we play them too. We'll be streaming and sharing games again soon!
You can find us on youtube, twitch, and (eventually) spotify. Like, subscribe, and follow 😉

Catch our games on Twitch

Each week we stream a game in the Elemental World!

Over the weeks we will rotate players, characters and campaign stories, weaving an epic story of global magnitude. In this world there is no Avatar to save the day, so it’s up to the players to be the heroes!

Here's Our Most Recent Game...

(We've actually played more recent games, I just haven't had time to get them online)

The Writer

I started Elemental Worlds as a passion project in 2017. I was watching a lot of Critical Role (shout out) at the time and had recently rewatched Avatar the Last Airbender for the first time since I was a kid. I always enjoyed the show growing up, but it was really that first watch from start to finish that solidified it in my mind as one of the greatest shows of all time.

I was inspired by Critical Role and was convinced (and still am) that D&D would be an incredible tool for pressing into empathy, building confidence in social settings, and practicing creative problem solving.  I was going to work at a summer camp where the counselors stayed on campus, but the kids went home at the end of the day, and thought, "Aha! What a perfect opportunity to DM my first game of D&D!"

Of course, being the overzealous and overambitious noob I am, I couldn't just play one of the many campaigns that had already been written and published, I had to create my own, and I really, really wanted to play in the Avatar universe.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Three major campaigns and a few short arcs later, I had learned countless lessons about how to run a good game, I realized just how much work being a good DM is, and most importantly, I realized that D&D 5e just wasn't built for the Avatar world, and if I wanted to make my games as good as I thought they could be, I would have to rewrite the game.

So now here I am, about a year and a half after making that decision and still not done writing, rewriting, editing, and adjusting all of the many, many parts of the game that have to be crafted, tweaked, and balanced to make the game great.

I have at least reached a point where I'm happy about the state of the game, and willing to share it publicly, so here it is, free for all to see, play, and enjoy. I'll continue to work on it until I feel satisfied, and probably some more after that for fun.

Crafting this game has been a long and winding road, but it's something that I love, and nothing makes me happier than knowing that it's out there for others to play and love too.

Get in Touch!

If you're interested in discussing anything you've read here, the game itself, or anything else really, feel free to get in touch!