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?

1 Like

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)


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.

1 Like

@bmdragon why not use the Miracle spell instead of wish?


Ah. Speaking to my taste buds, er, heart. Genies indeed are Arabian mythos whose tone clashes with Athasian mythos.

By transforming them into purer elemental beings do we not lose their colorful essence as well as impinge on that of primordials (using a 4e term)? It’s a conundrum.


I wrote this on the Piazza. Change “gold” to “ceramic” or “silver”, depending on what the Athas gold piece equivalent is in your campaign.

The Al-Qadim setting made it clear that genie wishes are not really the same as the arcane wishes cast by powerful mages. Here is a 3.5e adaption of the genie wishes, including differentiating the wishes of common genies and noble genies. The resulting material is closer to folklore.

People that cannot see the pictures can download the PDF file here. Also, the PDF is the most updated version. Check that before commenting on errors.

I think western culture has over simplified genies, leading to unfortunate misunderstandings about their origin and nature.

Jinn, romanized as Djinn, and anglicized as genie, are actually spirits or demons. They predate Islamic culture as well as Arabian culture.

Islam acknowledges jinn as one of the few creatures besides humans that are not born innately good or evil, thus being able to choose between the two. Most are troublemakers and often take the forms of animals. They were apparently worshipped despite being explicitly mortal in pre-Islam cultures, and sometimes associated with desert, defiled, and/or other unclean locations (yes, on earth not Athas). They were more powerful than humans, but not so powerful that a great human couldn’t defeat one in single combat. They were feared for their “invisible form”, which was considered part of their shapechanging. Some were vampiric, and all were generally stronger and faster than most humans, plus their various powers of mental control, possession, transformation, and elemental control, often wind or fire. They are often repelled by salt or iron.

The story of the magic lamp isn’t even from Arabia at all, and was not included in the original 1001 tales… it was actually added to the collection by the translator, was told to said translator by a Syrian, and was explicitly a Chinese boy who got the lamp (and a ring!) both with jinn bound inside, and fought with the evil wizard and the wizard’s even more evil brother. There is also a Russian version of the tale, which I have seen a movie adaption of, where the jinn is more mischievous and grumpy, and must be coaxed into doing things. In any case, Galland’s version of the jinn, including using the French word genie instead of jinn, stuck with westerns… and then a certain 60’s sitcom followed by Disney happened, pretty much cementing that westernized version.


In Mesopotamia, where it is thought that the concept of jinn originated, there are a number of demons that match both abilities and habitats, if not always the attitudes.

Islam claims the jinn are real, and many today still believe and blame various medically unexplained ills upon jinn. Political enemies sometimes accuse others of conspiring with shaitan or ifrit, two of the five sub types of jinn which have dedicated themselves to evil and rejected God. They are said to love abandonded structures and wasteland environments, but otherwise are like mortals despite their powers: they are born, age, marry, have jobs and families, worship (at least the good ones do), choose between good and evil, form communities, and eventually die to be judged by God, just like humans. They are considered to have been created from smokeless fire, much like humans were created from dirt and angels were created from light. Some claim that jinn were created first and inhabited the world before humans were created, and God demanding the jinn be subject to Adam, is what caused some to choose to rebel and become evil, because they thought they were superior to humans.

Jinn are almost the same as shedim in some Jewish traditions, up to and including some of them converting to follow God, being mortal despite their powers, and thus becoming good. Often associated with one of the three Books of Solomon (not the song). This is also the origin of the concept of asmodeus, who was originally depicted as a jinn that opposed King Solomon, as well as pazuzu, who was a demon or wind spirit of the mesopotamian variety.

In buddhism, deva and asura correspond to jinn.

The only appearance in christianity related texts is a specific translation of the Arabic version of the old testament where the term in Hebrew usually translated as “familiar spirits” is rendered instead as the plural jann.

So here is your dose of history, religion, mythology, and factoids for the day all in one post!

Thus, I think they can be made to fit into Athas just fine… with just a little tweaking.


On the topic of jinn, has anyone used ukoven in their campaigns?

1 Like

I have used genies in my Dark Sun campaign. I treat them as the creations of the Elemental Lords, which are god-like elementals.
Genies serve the elemental lords as generals in the elemental war. Sun, Silt, and Magma like to capture the genies and use them as magical batteries.
The elemental war is a central theme to my Dark Sun game.


Never used them as I think they have issues. That said, if I ever did I’d reskin them as using divine not arcane casting, no wishes (but geis). I’d needs to go through them more carefully but on this basis I think they could fit very well in the setting from the elemental planes.


I read through all the responses thus far. I found a lot of very helpful ideas. To put it simply, I have never used genies in Dark Sun. To be fair, not deliberate on my part. Just never got around to it. I have not played it since high school.

However, I am going over a future possible campaign, and I am putting a lot of mental effort concerning the role of the elemental forces. Athasian genies would put a face and personality on the forces they represent. However, is that a good thing? Are the elementals better completely faceless?

I would say I do not think they would represent a united front in any way. Imagine one earth genie wanting to build a mountain where another wants to build a ravine.

I do lean towards them having some kind of broken or fallen culture. Mere shadows of what they once were.


That is how you handle them. A bit of a narrative below.

Aric stared at the clay jug. Inside was a genie. Aric was afraid of the genie, for Aric was only 12 and had found the jug completely by accident in the ruins a few leagues from his village. The genie told Aric that he had three wishes. The genie had told Aric other things too.

“In the before times, the thoughts of my people became reality. If I thought that I wanted a palace full of servants, such a palace full of servants appeared before me. If I thought I wanted wealth, food, wine, such was granted for my people were strong willed. Then came the destruction of your world, and the imbalance in mine. Now my people are degenerate. We have but a fraction of the power that we had formerly, and we can only use these minor powers, these ‘wishes’, in service to your kind”.

Aric didn’t really understand. What Aric did understand was that the genie could give him some money or perform some tasks, three times before the genie would go free. Gingerly, Aric opened the stopper on the clay jug and witnessed the genie emerge in a jet of smoke.

1 Like