Introduction to the Genie
Genies of the four Elemental Planes that reside within the world of Dungeons and Dragons. These Humanoid beings have various characteristics that differ depending on which Elemental Plane they live in. The Four Types of Genie referred to as Dao, Djinni, Efreeti, and Marid, also differ in their opinions of beings from the Prime Material Plane of DnD, depending if they are from the Earth, Air, Fire, or Water Planes of existence respectively.
Even their magical abilities change depending on the elemental plane they hail from. Before going into how the races of Genie work within the game as a whole, we will look into the differences between the four genie types in regards to their lore to better understand them, before delving into how the Published race of Genasi works, and then ending with a slight Homebrew opinion for the Genie Races themselves, starting with the Dao.
The Dao: For Rock and Stone
The Dao, in terms of comparison between themselves and the other types of Genies, is considered to be the most industrious in regard to their society. The main pursuits of the Dao are Mining, digging, and otherwise shaping the Elemental Plane of Earth to their means.
This makes them utilize slavery to a rather high degree within their society, with no issues from their people enslaving other lesser races. However, the Dao naturally have a great fear of losing their own freedom, and would naturally despise whoever imprisoned them by whatever means had been used to do so.
On the other side of that coin, however, Dao will also almost always return acts of kindness and fairness in full. Finally, the Dao seems to tolerate the Efreeti, trading worked metals for minerals while despising and holding hatred against the Marid and Djinni races.
The Djinni: A Friend Like Me
Out of all four different types of Genie, the Djinni are the closest to actual genies and how they act in regard to their servitude. The inhabitants of the Elemental Plane of Air are generally seen as wild but benevolent beings and are the most tolerant of being enslaved to a lesser being, such as those from the Prime Material.
This is due to their view of such short-term servitude as an inevitability that is determined by Fate, which no one is capable of defying. As for any form of Long Term servitude, it upsets them to quite a high degree, and they also do not stomach any form of betrayal. It is sometimes suggested that the key to winning over the brief servitude of a Djinni Genie is through bribery, using fine meals, gemstones, magical items, and/or other exotic items to be able to win them over.
The Society of the Djinni is based around the rule of local lords and a social hierarchy, in which all Djinni swear their allegiance to the Grand Caliph, whose word is the law for all of their kind to follow. However, many Djinni feels that even a government as loose as their own is too constrictive of their behavior, causing many of them to rush off to the Prime Material Plane to escape the drama of their local lords and caliphs.
In fact, a common part of their wild behavior is playing pranks on lesser mortals of the Prime Material, such as making illusions of helpless folk or treasures that could change a person’s life if claimed. This pranking, however, does not extend to those of higher standing out of fear that said persons are connected to the Grand Caliph, which could land them in serious hot water if they angered him.
In terms of their cooperation with other species of Genie, the Djinni tolerate, and even like the Marids, though they despised the Dao and the Efretti to an equal degree that they dislike the Djinni.
The Efreeti: Fire and Brimstone
The Efreeti are the cruelest of the four kinds of Genie, often giving themselves grand and high-standing titles, as they believed themselves to be of a noble character deserving of such titles. Fire Elementals will even go as far as to avoid any Efreeti, as they feared the opportunism and oppression of the Efretti, and many people of other planes tend to confuse them for Devils due to their Red or Black skin tone that was always burning.
Outside of this, however, the Efretti are incredibly powerful beings, with their magic being comparable to those of Demons or even Liches. Along with their magic being incredibly powerful, the Efretti are capable of creating powerful magical weaponry, with their own combat affinity being in flaming weapons, being particularly renowned in making said weapons. Their culture holds two main points in high regard, with the two said concepts being held at the forefront of most Efreeti minds: Honor and Acquisition.
Mages would occasionally attempt to imprison one of these Efretti, with the summoning and imprisonment of an Efretti Genie just as difficult as if one was attempting to summon a demon for a similar goal; to harness their incredible power for their own benefit. Of course, this type of summoning and imprisonment was just as likely to cause the summoner to face the wrath of the Efretti as they would if attempting to summon a demon instead, mainly if the attempt ends in the escape of the Efretti in question.
In terms of their relations with other species, as mentioned above, the Efretti tolerate the Dao by trading their worked metals for minerals needed for their own purposes. However, they also hold a high hatred of the Djinni, waging constant battles and wars with them over a long-spanning list of various reasons. In the eyes of the Efretti, any and all other species are nothing more than servants or slaves to their kind.
The Marid: Under the Sea
Finally, the Marids are considered by some to be the most powerful type of Genie there is to find among the planes of reality. Hailing from the Elemental Plane of Water, these massive Genies tend to be proud and independent people, with their moods changing at the drop of a hat. Marids, despite their larger power and height in comparison to the other Genies, actually had the least impact on the Prime Material Plane, as they considered everyone else beneath their notice, despite being just as curious about the life in the Material Plane as other Genies are.
Despite this, Marids enjoyed flattery more than the other kinds of Genie that existed, with humans that speak with a Marid expected to list off a long name that the Marid had, along with a long list of compliments to act as a long-winded ode to the Marid’s greatness.
Despite their personality, they can be considered quite chaotic, with many Marids taking their normal hunt of the ocean seafloor for treasures or pearls, and instead capturing living beings to add to their collections. For this, along with many other reasons, many people consider the Marid quite dangerous to attempt to imprison, as they could also seek revenge upon their imprisoner very quickly once they are freed.
Outside of their usual behavior towards the beings of the Prime Material, Marids tolerate the Djinni and Humans to a degree, while disliking both the Dao and the Efreeti. Their Tolerance for Humans only goes so far, as Marids consider them to be the most disgusting species with which they have had to deal with. Despite this, there are some powerful wizards and some leaders who have gained the respect of the Marids and will treat a human visitor to their plane better than most other elementals would in their position.
The Similarities: All for One
Despite all that had been discussed up to this point, there are many similarities that exist between all four types of Genie, though they react slightly differently to said similarities.
They all, in their own form, despise being imprisoned and made to serve beings of the Material Plane, though some take it better than others; The Djinni is the most capable of a short-term line of servitude, but completely despise long-term service, as the rest dislike being forced into servitude by any degree, with the Dao, Marid, and Efreeti all being more aggressive with their dislike of is respectively.
All of them, as part of their magic casting ability, are capable of using a partial variant of the Wish Spell though some of them can change how it works. The Dao, for example, can change the wish to have a horrible consequence attached to it, such as asking for shelter and giving them a manor, but a monster of some unknown horror resides inside the manor.
How to use Genies Part 1: The DM
Genies in DnD can be utilized in a variety of ways for the players to interact inside of a setting. From a DMPC (Dungeon Master Player Character) that gives the party help during a tough part of a fight or quest, down to being trapped inside of a lamp and is made to grant a wish to the Party, these immensely powerful beings, regardless of which type, can be a help to the party in a variety of ways.
If need be, they can also be used as a monster to fight against the party, as each type are dangerous magic casters that can seriously mess up an unprepared party, regardless if the fight is being done as a single Genie to fight or a Genie with multiple other enemies in the room. These beings can even be used as a Boss or the BBEG of an entire campaign, as the Disney movie Aladdin once famously made clear: “Phenomenal cosmic power! Itty bitty living space”.
How to use Genies in 5e Part 2: Player Interactions
This part is mainly aimed at both the Player and the Dungeon Master of any campaign, as how a Genie will interact with a player will depend on many things. Of course, there’s the obvious as to whether they are currently imprisoned in some form, or are forced to serve the player in question or not. Most Genies, save for the Djinni, would be rather angry about their situation, and be somewhat forced to serve, even if they despise your character.
Similarly, if a character is a Genie themselves (which we’ll get into in a short bit), then the interactions will solely be based on how the different species of Genie react to your own. Finally, suppose the party is in one of the Elemental Planes. In that case, it is safe to say you would be meeting the “hospitality” of whichever species of Genie whose plane you happen to be visiting, with all of the possible baggage that could follow.
Now, of course, all of this is ultimately up to the Dungeon Master on how they interact with the party, but this section is a very basic rundown on what a Player would possibly expect from certain forms of interaction scenarios with a Genie.
How to use Genies Part 3: Player Race
Before we delve into any of this, I must state that as of this being written, Genies themselves are a Homebrew Race, and the closest thing to a Genie found in Published Media is the Genasi, children of Genies of the Elemental Planes and Humans. Similarly to the Published Media Genasi, the Homebrew Genie PC Race can gain certain traits and features based on what form of Genie they are, with one of the four having different ones that can affect character creation. However, there is one variant in this homebrew race that can really make things interesting, if the DM allows it: The Wishgranter.
These Wishgranter Genies work somewhat like the Genie from Aladdin, being trapped inside of a container and when summoned, will be subservient to the one who has their container until they either die, or they release their control of the Genie.
Now, not a lot of detail can be put here about the differences, but the main ones are that rather than gaining the racial traits of whichever subspecies the player has chosen, they gain a different set of traits that only go away if the Genie is freed from their prison. The other is that as part of their traits, the Wishgranter gains access to a “Wish Table”, which is a set of spells that the player can use when their “master” requests it in the form of a wish. The spells that can be used vary depending on both the player’s level and the subspecies chosen by the player.
Conclusion on Genie an Djinni
I do thank you for reading this rather lengthy article, and I do indeed hope you enjoyed what you read. All of the lore information in regard to the Genies was gained from the Forgotten Realms Wiki, linked Here, and the information on the Genie Homebrew 5E Race can be found on the D&D wiki, also linked here. Be sure, as either a player or as a Dungeon Master, to use Genies responsibly, and to never be afraid to interact with such immensely powerful beings…unless you’re a Fire Elemental; Then I’m sorry.