How do you handle Genies on Athas?

Genies are explicitly exist on Athas, although I don’t remember a specific NPC in any of the PnP gaming material. Genies did make an appearance in both of the Dark Sun computer games.

Obviously the Dark Sun setting is no Al-Qadim, and the persecution of arcane casters means very few summonings of genies even if there were sha’ir on Athas.

Talk about genies in your Dark Sun.

I’m not sure the computer games really count. IIRC both of them had many creatures appearing which explicitly do not exist in Athas (they also had all Thri-Kreen as females).

The above said, I have used them, but I made them elemental spirits with divine powers instead of arcane ones. I kept some of the common trappings, but changed there appearances to be more bestial and strange. No ability to grant wishes insofar as they did not have access to the wish spell, but many of the older ones could be pretty powerful in their own right.

The genie in the lamp myths I had surface in one game were because an order of cleansing war era defilers had imprisoned a number of genies and tried to turn them into magical batteries.


A genie on Athas. Proof?


…Huh. Never seen that image full art before. I guess so?

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I personally make use of Planescape and Spelljammer for all my D&D campaigns, just how prevalent those setting details are varies wildly. In the case of Dark Sun those details are very rarely seen, but genies would be a distinct example when I do have a bit of Planescape in my Dark Sun.

Athas and its crystal sphere is one that I depict very few beings knowing anything about and when they do it is often with dread as a barren, dead realm from which entrance is deadly and escape impossible. Elementals often know better, but I depict most elemental beings that have anything to do with Athas as being relatively “niche”. Athas is a rather obscure crystal sphere that even elemental planar travel/divination has trouble with, so it makes sense to me that a lot of the elementals we’d see dealing with Athas are the sorts who have some reason to avoid attention by the most of their kin.

This opens the floodgates in my mind for how to depict Athasian elementals, genies included. They might be exiles or fugities. Perhaps they just wanted to form their own petty kingdom or are maintaining a dwindled culture that most other elementals have moved past. Or maybe these elementals wish to take a crack at being worshiped and ascend to the ranks of the elemental lords. Either way this offers more than enough justification for me to depict genies as far more primal beings with a stronger spark of the divine. I very much like to depict Athasian genies in the style of Babylonian and Sumerian deities, uncaring forces of nature that promise immense rewards or guaranteed doom.

Edit: As an aside, if you are depicting any elemental clerics as creating their own faith around an elemental being or false god, genies are perfect as either that deity’s “angels” or as the deity itself.


I think that most genies shun goes to Athas, mostly because sorcerer kings try to use them as slaves, living batteries or whatever
Note that genies if even goes to Athas cannot grant wishes (due to the non existant connections to the outer planes or whatever)
Mostly genies if ever on athas looks more feral or savage, also be outcasts (like demons and devils on athas are, but those fiends are incapable to return to their home planes, but genies can return to their homes on the elemental planes)

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I don’t think conventional genies fit the tone of Athas in any way, so if used they would be heavily reskinned more towards elemental lords. I don’t mind playing with the planes some since I am a psychoporter at heart, but within Athas it gets tough to maintain tone.


It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that the genies ARE the Elemental Lords, or at least comprise the bulk of them. It would certainly explain their impressive creative powers. A 3.5e Djinni for example has the ability to create permanent vegetable matter 1/day. The genies can be presented as Elemental Lords that have degenerated from their glory days.


I’ve run efreeti in Athas. The trick is not giving them the standard curly toed shoes, free-'em-to-get-a-wish stereotype. Powerful, elemental beings easily replace the bulk of the angelic or demonic in the game as a way to supply forbidden knowledge to your players… like how to become a dragon, avangion, elemental or spirit of the land at high character levels.


To run with Killer_DM’s point, Athas is pretty notorious for taking standard D&D critters and heavily redefining them to fit its setting. Dragons, halflings, elves, giants, hell even undead are very different and help make Dark Sun what it is. I think running genies as the elemental equivalent of angelic/demonic beings is a good way to do exactly that.

Genies already have enough of that going for them already that it wouldn’t contradict other settings much, and the elementals have so much more influence on Athas that there is some added justification to make genies that much more distinct.


Paraelemental genies by afroakuma.