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Gen were small elemental genies who often served as special familiars to sha'irs in Zakhara. All sha’irs needed them to work their magic. As powerful as an individual sha'ir may be, they were utterly helpless without their loyal gen.[1] Most sha'irs would even chose to aid their gen over a friend or comrade in arms.[3]

Some sha'irs even believed that gen were the children of genies. Other sha'irs were convinced that gen were extensions of the sha'ir's hama, or spirit. Not surprisingly, when asked about the true nature of gen, the various genie races would not speak of the matter.[4]

Various kinds of gen existed including: wind gen (djinnlings), sand gen (daolani), sea gen (maridans), and flame gen (efreetikin).[2] The names air gen, earth gen, water gen and fire gen were also used, respectively.[1]


The size of a gen varied greatly depending on which plane their were on. Gen on their native elemental plane were slightly smaller than an average human. In stark contrast, gen visiting the opposing elemental plane of their inherent element shrunk to a fraction of their regular size, often standing only several inches tall. Gen found on the Prime Material Plane were usually around a foot tall.[4]

Aspects of their native elemental plane were evident in a gen's physical appearance.[2]


Gen were weak fighters but could use their elemental abilities to their advantage.[2]


A gen's general confidence and moral followed the same patterns as their physical size when visiting other planes.[4]

Gen returned to their elemental plane if their master died. Gen who perished could be brought back by a sha’ir.[2]


Gen were fanatically loyal to their masters who provided everything needed for their survival.[2] Sha'irs who treated their gen well had a friend and loyal companion for life. Alternatively, sha'irs who abused or were even rude to their gen found that their elemental companion was a constant annoyance. A gen's elemental affinity had no impact on the type of spells they could retrieve for their master. For example, a maridan could vist the Elemental Plane of Fire and fetch flame spells for their master. A sha'ir attempting to bind a genie found that it was much easier if the genie and their gen were natives of the same plane. As a sha'ir developed their magical strength, so too did a gen's power and confidence increase. Sha'irs who let a gen, or multiple gen, die while serving them found that any future gen would be increasingly difficult to deal with.[5]

Relationship with Sha'irsEdit

The relationship between a gen and a sha'ir was similar to that of a regular wizard and their familiar, but in many ways it was so much more. Generally speaking, the connection between and gen and their sha'ir went far beyond that of a wizard and familiar.[6]

A sha'ir could hear and see whatever their gen experienced. The two could also communicate at will with each other through a mental link. This mental communication had a short range, but was a useful tool in the right situation.[6]

Another difference between and a gen and a common familiar was that gen possessed a far greater degree of intelligence, allowing them to aid their masters in ways that other familiars could not. Though gen were able to complete complex tasks, their general level of maturity required specific and careful wording of said tasks from their masters to prevent any miscommunication. However, given that most sha'irs were quite skilled at communicating with the capricious genie-kind, this was usually not an issue.[6]

Interestingly, the health and general fortitude of a gen increased as their sha'ir gained power.[6]

Gen were often tasked by geniekind with specific quests, usually at the rate of one per year. A gen in the service to a sha'ir could usually expect the sha'ir's full cooperation in completing the quest in order the keep both the gen and geniekind happy. Sha'irs would refused to aid their gen on these quests often did so at their own expense—dealing with a depressed or angry gen was never in the sha'ir's best interest.[3]

Powers and AbilitiesEdit

Gen bonded to a sha'ir could have their inherent abilities increased and could even be granted entirely new powers. Though this was a tempting decision for both a sha'ir and their gen, it was certainly not something to be taken lightly because of the powerful rituals involved. Still, many pairs opted to perform these rituals on a yearly basis.[7]

Before a sha'ir and gen could begin a ritual they were first required to seek the permission of the genie-kind associated with a gen's native element. The genies were the ones who actually devised each ritual, so their involvement was crucial to the process. It was common for sha'irs to curry favor with the genies by completing quests for them or providing lavish gifts.[7]

In addition to their general mood at the time of the request, the genies' permission was based upon several other factors including the value of the gifts presented, the number of rituals previously granted for a gen, the level of power associated with the desired ritual, and the sha'irs reputation with genie-kind. A sha'ir was often punished in some manner when their requests were denied. These punishments worsened with each successive denial. Punishments for a denial included:[7]

  • A curse of the evil eye.
  • Capture and retention of the sha'ir's gen for 1-6 days when they are sent to fetch a spell.
  • Physical disfigurement of the sha'ir.



A genie prepares a ritual for a gen.

Assuming a sha'ir was able to convince a genie race to assist with a power ritual, the sha'ir would leave their gen in the genies' care until the next full moon. During this time the genies would study then gen in order to design an appropriate ritual specific to that gen. Since the sha'ir was separated from their gen during this period it meant that they were unable to cast spells of any kind since the gen was always used to fetch spells for the sha'ir. Sha'irs with extremely favorable relationships with geniekind might be graced with a "loaner gen" during this time period so they could still have access to their magic.[8]

The next full moon marked the commencement of the ritual preparations. All unique materials needed to be collected by this time. The nature of these materials depended upon the power to be derived from the ritual. Eating was expressly forbidden during the ritual, as was leaving the area. In fact, most sha'irs cast the necessary spells to prevent the need for sustenance, sleep, and other bodily functions to sustain them through this period. The ritual strength spell was popular for this reason. Sha'irs whose concentration wavered because of physical weakness risked ruining the entire ritual or even worse.[8]

A successful ritual augmented a gen in a number of ways. Several examples are listed below:[9]

  • Increasing combat prowess
  • Bolstering natural protection
  • Enhancing senses
  • Flight
  • Hide in shadows
  • Opening non-magically locked doors
  • Acting as a spell conduit for the sha'ir

Care and FeedingEdit

Gen required rest like most other creatures. A gen needed to be allowed to sleep and recover on its native elemental plane. This was usually done during the same period when their sha'ir was sleeping. Sha'irs who demanded their gen's attention during the middle of the night were sometimes ignored. Gen who responded to such calls were typically grumpy and took longer than normal to fetch spells for their masters.[10]

Gen viewed themselves as loyal servants and not slaves. As such, they expected appropriate payment from their masters on a monthly basis, usually around 10 gold pieces per month. Other forms of payment were also acceptable. Most gen were quite fond of decorative art, especially items that represented their native element.[10]

In addition to monetary payment, all gen required praise from their masters. Wise sha'irs treated their gen like true companions. Gen especially appreciated being introduced when meeting new people.[10]

Gen needed to spend time with true genies. Some believed their powers would disappear if separated from genies for too long. Typically a gen needed to spend at least 5 hours per week conversing with true genies, usually done when they returned to their plane to rest.[10]

Gen deprived of any of these conditions became irritable and grouchy. Their master's goals were often hindered because of this. In extreme cases a sha'ir's gen would simply refuse to serve them for up to a week. Sha'irs who deprived their gen for too long risked being confronted by a genie beyond their control who served as an arbiter for the gen. The genie would explain terms or conditions that needed to be met for their gen to return to their service.[10]


Further readingEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dean Poisso (January 2004). “The Return of the Sha'ir”. In Matthew Sernett, Chris Thomasson eds. Dragon #315 (Paizo Publishing, LLC).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Wolfgang Baur, Steve Kurtz (1992). Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix. (TSR, Inc). ISBN l-56076-370-1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sam Witt (January 1994). The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-1560768289.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Wolfgang Baur (November 1993). Secrets of the Lamp. Genie Lore. (TSR, Inc.), p. 43. ISBN 978-1560766476.
  5. Wolfgang Baur (November 1993). Secrets of the Lamp. Genie Lore. (TSR, Inc.), p. 52. ISBN 978-1560766476.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Sam Witt (January 1994). The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook. (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 978-1560768289.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Sam Witt (January 1994). The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-1560768289.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sam Witt (January 1994). The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 26–28. ISBN 978-1560768289.
  9. Sam Witt (January 1994). The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 28–31. ISBN 978-1560768289.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Sam Witt (January 1994). The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 21–24. ISBN 978-1560768289.


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