Here's a significantly updated and revised version of this old post, formatted for the Monster Overhaul. Ooh, so fancy. Full elemental stats and extra tables are currently available on Patreon.
Speak with [Element] is a useful spell. Elementals know things about their local area and can provide many favours. They have personalities and foibles. A lightning trap can disarm itself; a stone door can shuffle out of the way. Bargaining with elementals is a great way to solve problems at low levels.
Asking the great void of Space or the all-encompassing Ocean for a favour is risky, but they can both destroy cities, move mountains, or alter the course of history.