Genasi were human-derived planetouched infused with the power of the elements, most often as the result of crossbreeding between humans and the powerful genie races or other elementals that dwelt in the Elemental planes. Physically powerful and cunning, genasi were a varied race with abilities that varied depending on their lineage and individual experience.
Genasi were physically similar to humans in many ways, standing between 5'7" and 6'2" on average, just slightly taller than the average human. Weighing between 130 and 225 lbs on average, genasi were often also a fair bit heavier, though not significantly so. In all other ways, genasi were very distinct from their human cousins. Genasi were in a constant state of elemental energy, having no "neutral" state they could fall back on. Each genasi had a native elemental state, known as a "manifestation", which was passed down to them through their ancestry. A few learned to master more than one manifestation. Unlike many planetouched races, genasi generally took pride in their unusual features.
Regardless of their elemental manifestation, each genasi's body was etched with strange lines of energy that glowed in a color associated with the element that the genasi was currently manifesting. These lines, called szuldar in Primordial, appeared in a pattern that was passed along family lines, sometimes extending into small communities as well. Though the patterns could be similar between relatives in a general sense, the specific configurations were unique to each individual and served much the same purpose that fingerprints did amongst humans; the pattern of these lines remained unchanged even when a genasi changed their manifestation. As an example, if a genasi was manifesting as a stormsoul, the szuldar were silver in color, and crystalline spikes replaced their hair. The skin of the stormsoul genasi was pale purple. Windsoul genasi had szuldar that were typically light blue in color. Many also had blue or gray ice crystal spikes crowning their head as well as silvery-hued skin.
Though szuldar usually remain unchanged throughout a genasi's life it was possible to alter them through scarring. Some genasi did this deliberately for aesthetic reasons, or in order to disguise themselves. Most genasi, however, disapproved of the practice and saw it as a loss of self-awareness, valuing the patterns they were born with as a mark of their identity. Many genasi, especially adventurers, displayed these lines with pride, often wearing clothing that left a fair amount of skin exposed.
Genasi had a number of special abilities granted to them by their elemental heritage. As a rule, genasi tended to be both stronger and smarter than most other humanoid races, traits which served them well. However, other abilities varied depending on a genasi's elemental manifestation, although some genasi learned to manifest more than one element at a time or to enhance their natural elemental abilities.
All genasi had a primary elemental manifestation, which not only separated genasi into subraces but also played a major role in genasi culture and psychology. Each manifestation was most common in regions where the element it represented had a strong presence, such as deserts, volcanic wastelands, or even underwater in extreme examples. The most common genasi manifestations by far were the ones related to the four classical elements—earth, fire, water, and wind—though storm manifestations were also fairly common and para-elemental genasi were known to exist as well. This manifestation resulted in a variety of unique traits, and genasi skin and "hair" (a growth that was more of a crystalline elemental substance than actual hair) varied based on a genasi's manifestation. Likewise, each genasi gained a set of abilities that corresponded to their element, such as the ability to empower attacks with the power of lightning and thunder amongst stormsoul genasi or the power to take on the properties of water amongst watersoul genasi.
While many genasi were the result of recent dalliances of genies or other elementals with humans, the majority were not, but were rather the children of genasi themselves. Ancestry did play a major role in the individual subrace, or primary manifestation of each genasi child. Generally speaking, genasi were attracted to others who shared their primary manifestation and as a result most genasi children shared their subrace with both parents. Exceptions did exist; and when the parents were not of the same subrace or had a mixed heritage themselves, the likelihood of a child exhibiting a manifestation different from at least one of their parents increased. All genasi, however, took after some ancestor of theirs in manifestation, even if that ancestor was not their parent.
Although most genasi exhibited a single manifestation, some learned to manifest two or more. Often, the reason behind the development of a second manifestation was environmental in nature. Children reared in close contact with genasi of a different subrace, for instance, were more likely to develop another manifestation, as were those who were reared in areas where their manifestation's element was weak or nonexistent. Hence, a firesoul genasi raised in the middle of the ocean on an island was likely to develop a watersoul manifestation as well.
Genasi who manifested more than one element often developed their second one during adolescence. The initial development of this manifestation could often be uncomfortable, even painful, and usually came suddenly and without warning. With practice, this transition became less discomforting, with those well-versed in the transformation experiencing little more than a mild and passing unease. The reason for this discomfort lay in the fact that the transition was more than aesthetic in nature and was actually a fundamental change in the physical makeup of the genasi, like replacing the sand in a bag with water.
Some genasi actually learned not only to acquire new manifestations but to maintain two of them simultaneously. These rare individuals, known as elemental tempests, were living embodiments of two elements, their bodies constantly shifting and changing in a never-ending balance between the two. These genasi, whose own appearance differed by the moment, embraced their inner chaos, including the mild physical strain that constantly hung over each one's fused body.
Because of their roots in the powers of the Elemental Chaos, genasi were by nature changeable and contradictory, meaning most generalizations of the race are hard to justify. However, it is probably fair to say that the psychology of a genasi often depended vastly on what elemental manifestation was manifested by the individual in question and many genasi who could manifest in more than one way thought of themselves as possessing multiple personalities.
One of the traits found commonly amongst all genasi was a strong sense of ambition. All genasi had a desire to better themselves and advance their status, either through pursuit of power, the acquisition of friends, or other means. Nearly all genasi had dreams and aspirations and would pursue these goals throughout their life and though few genasi were truly patient, so strong were their passions for these goals that they would often continue to follow them even long after individuals of other races would have given up and moved on.
Genasi had a strong ability to adapt, perhaps only superseded by humans in this regard, and embraced change as an inevitability or even something to be relished. Even lawful genasi embraced this change, and genasi of all kinds valued the possibilities the future might bring, such as new allies or new opportunities. In many ways, genasi were the most flexible of races, less stubborn and more willing to accept new ideas for better or worse.
Though genasi could be extremely passionate in a way that might seem violent, the race as a whole had a love for family and friends, to the point that few genasi marriages ended in divorce. Most genasi families were immensely large and the genasi as a whole looked upon every genasi as a potential relative to the point of referring to those they met as "brother", "sister", or "cousin".
Windsoul genasi were even more prone to rapid changes of mood than other genasi, moving carelessly from one mood to another at a whim. They had a tendency to hold strongly to a single emotion for a strong period of time, only to let go of it as quickly as they acquired it, moving on to another. Similarly, windsouls found it difficult to form long-term attachments to others and were often seen as loners or drifters. The benefit to their mood swings and emotional inconsistencies however was an increased adaptability, and windsoul genasi took most things in their stride.
Just as manifestations were important physically to genasi, so were they important psychologically. Genasi of one elemental manifestation usually had different personality traits than those of another, to the extent that those who manifested in more than one way had what some might see as multiple personalities, each associated with a different manifestation. However, to most genasi, the primary manifestation, that which defined their subrace, was the most important and the true "core" of their psyche, upon which they could rely for consistency and personal integrity.
The multiple personalities expressed by those who manifested more than one element were not completely different, in the way that personalities developed by the mentally ill are. Each personality shared the same knowledge and had core traits that remained the same. Rather, each personality was more like a different aspect of the same individual, representing perhaps a particular emotion or mood of the genasi in question. Particular emotions might be stronger in one manifestation, for instance, and secondary manifestations were usually less nuanced than the primary one was.
The exception to this rule were elemental tempests, sometimes known as genasi tempests, who manifested two elements simultaneously. Because of this constant state of balance between two manifestations elemental tempest personalities were generally limited to two, both very strong aspects of the same individual. Such genasi might be called mercurial or bipolar and switch between strong emotions on the fly. However, at their core, an elemental tempest was typically as sane and well-balanced as any other genasi, with the main difference being that they had no dominant personality but rather two that worked in perfect synchronization.
Order and chaosEdit
One of the fundamental conflicts that underlay all genasi was the battle between order and chaos. Regardless of the race's origins, most genasi philosophers believed the genasi were meant to serve one force or the other. By nature, genasi were inherently chaotic and passionate creatures who lacked the ability to be stoic or truly hide their emotions. Even the most disciplined of the race were extremely passionate by the standards of other races and raged with more anger and cried with more sorrow than those of other races. Even so, genasi were not necessarily chaotic and the race as a whole was balanced between those who served order and those who served chaos.
Some genasi strove to conquer their strong passions and believed they were meant by the gods to convert chaos into law. These genasi were among the most lawful beings of the world, first conquering their own emotions and then seeking out other sources of chaos to stamp out and replace with order. These genasi sought only to fit in with those around them and to prevent their passions from controlling their actions. Many of these genasi were good and benevolent individuals but these genasi were also sometimes led astray by their obsessive taste for order, imposing law through force rather than example or argument.
Other genasi embraced their wild and unpredictable nature, seeing themselves as chaos incarnate. Just as many genasi of the opposite viewpoint saw themselves as agents of divine order, these genasi believed they were created by the primordials to spread liberty. Genasi of this mindset most often gave free reign to their passions and could be best described as excitable and wildly emotional. But while these genasi could easily give into selfish desire and evil just as many were servants of good, freeing others from oppressive tyranny or weakening the foundations upon which the corrupt stood.
Genasi as a culture, likely due to the inherently chaotic nature of their psyche and bodies alike, had a strong affinity for change and chaos. Many genasi philosophers, recognizing with the arrival of Abeiran genasi that all of the race had the same origin in crossbreeding, believed that their race was originally created as a compromise between the chaos of the primordials and the divinely crafted world of the gods. A few genasi took this to heart and tried to eliminate one or the other aspect of their nature, either becoming agents of chaos or disciples of order, but these individuals were considered the exception rather than the rule. Most genasi were simply grateful for the innate connection to the elemental forces that shaped the world they all shared.
Genasi culture was shaped in many ways by ambition and pride amongst the race. Genasi everywhere strove constantly to improve their lot in life and the race was inherently competitive both within itself and with other races. As a result, genasi nations tended to be extremely meritocratic by other races' standards but lacked stability as a consequence. A genasi might be a revered leader one week, only to fall into ruin the next.
This had its advantages though and few, if any, genasi looked down upon members of another class since any pauper could, in theory, be king the next time the genasi met them. Genasi culture likewise had no real concept of nobility or royalty. From a genasi political perspective there were only genasi on the rise and those on the decline. This constantly changing nature meant genasi had a very different view of their current situation than most races. Unfortunate genasi found it difficult to feel pessimistic, since they truly believed things would change for the better. Likewise, genasi in positions of prestige and power never forgot that all their success could be undone at any moment.
Art and leisureEdit
Genasi art was wild and exciting, similar to the race itself. Genasi preferred elaborate and bold designs, using bright and vibrant colors to express the wide range of emotions they felt. Sculptures were often explosive in appearance, resembling surges of power more than anything else. Even for relatively simple or functional items, the genasi poured care into giving it a flamboyant appearance, marking it with swirling patterns, gemstones, or elaborate carvings.
Due to the meritocratic nature of genasi society, it should come as little surprise that genasi artisans often saw their craft as a means of obtaining prestige. These individuals desired nothing more than to be in high demand and so worked hard to please their customer base. For this reason, many genasi often substituted actual excellence for customization and individuality and while the average genasi swordsmith might not compare with his dwarven counterpart in terms of quality the genasi would work much harder to tailor the blade to his or her customer's specific needs and wants. This could go so far as to make genasi-crafted items seem uncomfortable or unwieldy in the hands of those they were not intended for.
Genasi loved most forms of recreation, particularly competitive ones that allowed them to improve their standing amongst other races further. Most genasi preferred recreational activities that were active and physical, allowing them to release their impulses and wilder urges. Physical competitions, particularly those of strength, were common in genasi society and frequently practiced during festivals or other celebrations.
Because of their chaotic and spontaneous nature, genasi were not predisposed towards team athletics and preferred sports that favored the individual. Genasi were particularly fond of gladiatorial sports, which allowed them to bask in the attention of others while simultaneously releasing pent-up passions. Games that featured genasi were often wild spectacles, loved by crowds.
Family and manifestationsEdit
In genasi culture, family played an important role, likely in part because genasi find it difficult to form new friendships and bonds. To most genasi, family bonds were the only ones that were truly reliable and it was far rarer for genasi to become alienated or estranged from members of their family. This is not to say that internal feuds and disputes did not happen, but the vast majority led to only temporary divides and family members spread over the world would eventually come looking for a reunion.
Most genasi were primarily raised by members of their family that shared their primary manifestation. Thus most genasi were raised by their parents, but since some genasi differed in their subrace from their parents they were sometimes raised by others instead or primarily by one parent or the other. However, genasi parents went out of their way to ensure that their children had a chance to interact with genasi of other manifestations, thereby increasing their appreciation for the race as a whole. This was particularly true for families that were made of several manifestations rather than just one or two.
For most genasi, manifestations and the diversity inherent in them were a source of pride and of strength in diversity, though the diversity lay in body and mind rather than culture. Although some manifestations were more common in various regions and hence exhibited cultural differences, there were no qualities that could be considered culturally unique to any one manifestation. In spite of this, a genasi considered their manifestation as important an identifier as religion or profession, if not more so.
Because genasi saw their manifestations' diversity as a source of strength, the race had an extreme aversion to prejudice against members of one subrace or another. Genasi who were prejudiced against on the basis of their manifestation might flare into a dangerous wrath without warning and it was best for members of other races to keep this in mind. Genasi were proud about their manifestation, but also very sensitive, disliking any broad generalizations made in regards to them based on it.
Magic and ReligionEdit
Because of their elemental origins, genasi usually favored elemental magic over other forms of the Art, which they had a particular skill for given their natural elemental abilities. Of those who practiced arcane magic, swordmages and wizards were the most common and such individuals usually focused their efforts on researching ways to tie their spells into their manifestations. Though genasi often lacked the discipline typical of many wizards they made up for this with a surprising degree of accuracy. For this reason, they also made excellent sorcerers.
Genasi generally followed gods and godlike beings who tied into their natural abilities and portfolio, such as the primordials Akadi, Kossuth, Grumbar, or Istishia. Genasi from Laerakond or Akanûl, however, like most former denizens of Abeir, were not so open to the idea of religion, having seen less evidence of it in their former homelands than the natives of Toril had. But those genasi who were religious took comfort in the knowledge that a powerful being took such strong interest in something that was so integral to the genasi's very being as the essence of an element such as fire or water.
As a rule, genasi were not as dogmatic as other races and tended to worship less devoutly and more privately. Most religious genasi had small shrines in their homes and worshiped whenever they felt like it. As such, few genasi were truly attracted to the faiths of lawful gods with their rigid schedules and highly organized churches.
Relations with other racesEdit
Although most genasi were descended from the powerful genie races (most often the dao, djinn, efreet, and marid), most genasi had no contact with their elemental forbears. Usually, genies looked down upon genasi as bastard half-breeds and rarely would respond positively to one they met. However, when amongst the mortals, genasi took great pride in their distinctive features and abilities. By 1479 DR, this relationship had changed, with djinn looking upon windsoul genasi as children. The djinn guided them as vizars in ruling Calimport.
Genasi as a whole had no longstanding animosity towards other races, at least not intentionally. Humans of Calimshan however, were often oppressed slaves who must obey the whims of their genasi masters, meaning that though genasi did not necessarily see humans worldwide as an enemy, the antagonism between those within Calimshan was high. However, the genasi of Akanûl were not so cruel and in fact looked down upon the slavery of humans. Likewise, though Akanûl shared a fair amount of distrust with the dragonborn land of Tymanther, Calimshan did not. Therefore, it was not accurate to say that the genasi race as a whole regarded either dragonborn or humans as their enemies, nor vice versa. In fact, many genasi and humans got along extremely well, owing to the many psychological similarities between the two races and races that enjoy the company of humans were likely to befriend genasi as well.
Likewise, genasi did not have very many friends, even amongst their own race. Genasi were independently minded as a whole and could be fickle. Many genasi who possessed more than one manifestation might even use one when dealing with one group of friends while using a another to interact with another set. Others were more picky and chose friends who could cope with their changing nature. Of all the races, probably the Tel-quessir viewed genasi with the least trust, viewing the genasi's impulsive nature and strong passions with a little disdain.
Abeiran genasi believed the primordial Nehushta to be the creator of their race, having created them as her slaves. They also believed Torilian genasi shared their origin. Members of the Burned believed themselves to be direct descendants of the original genasi crafted by the primordial.
Throughout most of Toril's history, genasi were extremely rare, similar to devas or tieflings. Genasi were sparsely populated throughout the world and mostly found as the result of a genie's short dalliance with some mortal human and genasi were nearly as common in one place as they were in another. There were some exceptions, however, and the powerful influence of genies in the nation of Calimshan and in the continent of Zakhara meant that genasi were more common in these regions. It was not until later, however, that the full extent of these populations was truly known.
During the Spellplague of 1485 DR and its aftermath the physical presence of the genasi race increased immensely. In Calimshan, populations of genasi that had gone hidden for millennia emerged as the souls of Memnon and Calim were released to war with one another once again. The genasi in Calimshan quickly flew to the sides of their favored leader, leaving Calimshan a barren, war-torn landscape and one of the strongest footholds of the genasi race.
Unlike Toril, Abeir was filled with genasi and when the Spellplague caused the two worlds to briefly exchange landmasses it was inevitable that many genasi would find themselves forcibly relocated to Toril. The largest exchanges of course were those of Returned Abeir and Akanûl. Akanûl in particular was a genasi stronghold and besides Calimshan was the only nation in Faerûn ruled by the race; unlike the desert land, it was fairly peaceful in its relations with its neighbors.
There were four major subraces of genasi, each corresponding to one of the four elements.
- Arathane, Queen of Akanûl, who had the stormsoul manifestation.
- Son-liin of Akanûl, who had the stormsoul manifestation.
- Peter Schaefer (October 2009). “Abyssal Genasi”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #380 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 18–23.
- Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 5–10.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 7–10. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 71–72. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Rich Baker and James Wyatt (2004-03-13). Monster Update (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 5. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
- ↑ Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- ↑ Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 114,116,121,128. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ Richard Lee Byers (May 2010). The Captive Flame. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0786953969.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 138. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 13–14.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 15.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 19.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20.
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18.
- ↑ Rodney Thompson (September 2008). “Ecology of the Genasi”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 18–19.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell (May 2009). “Gontal: Dominions of Nehu”. Dragon #375 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 78.
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