Smaller fire elementals struggle to retain their spark on the material plane. Because of this, they huddle together, sharing their heat and reducing their surface area as a swarm of living flames. There is also safety in numbers; as with any swarm, they become resistant to all manner of physical attack.
They are significantly smaller in size than a standard fire elemental. Whereas a large fire elemental can fit into a space as small as one inch, these fire elemental swarms can push through almost any porous material. All that said, they are just as aggressive as their larger siblings.
The most troubling thing about their small size and ability to fit into narrow spaces is there tendency to try and invade the respiratory system of living beings. They surround a living being and then attempt to enter through the nose and mouth. While this means of attacking doesn’t deliver more damage, it does exhaust the target of the attack. Adventurer’s engaging with one will have to deal with exhaustion reducing their ability to fight and move. In the worst case scenario, exhaustion can kill.
What Can You Do With the Swarm of Living Flames?
While I can’t recommend these nuisance monsters in the arena, they would be interesting as part of a campaign. Though not particularly dangerous, the ability to exhaust PCs would significantly impact their ability to explore and fight. Multiple levels of exhaustion would require the same number of long rests to recover from. It sure would be a shame if the party had to take a bunch of long rests while the BBEG’s evil machinations proceeded apace!
Looking for more monsters that make you player’s lives hard in ways other than dealing damage? Check out the other critters on Voivode’s Blocklist! Or maybe you want some official heavy hitters? Then it’s Voivode’s Hotlist you’re looking for.