Genies in D&D 5e are a lot more than just wish granters! They are aristocratic nobility that live in lavish palaces and can grant wishes, but some Genies might use their power to turn your wish against you!
Genies in D&D 5e come from the Elemental Planes and can be any of the four elements: fire, water, air, or earth. These beings have long lifespans and powerful magic that is fueled by their innate connection with the planes where they originate from.
So much Genie lore is shrouded in mystery and myth, but today we’re taking a closer look at these powerful beings.
This article will go over everything you need to know about Genies in D&D 5e!
Genies in D&D 5e
While Genies of all types differ greatly from each other, there are some things that all Genies have in common. We’ll look at the common factors amongst all genies before we cover each type in more detail.
On their home planes, Genies are aristocratic rulers who display their wealth in over-the-top palaces filled with slaves that worship their every action. Even the nicest Genie holds a remarkably high opinion of themselves. After all, only the Gods can contend with the Genies’ power.
Genies in D&D are typically large beings who stand around 10-12 feet tall. Their individual physical features heavily reflect the elemental plane in which they dwell. (We’ll go over individual appearances later in this article.)
Generally, Genies speak two languages: Common and a dialect of primordial that is appropriate given the genie’s element. You can find each Genie’s language, alignment, and corresponding element in the table below.
The Lifecycle of Genies
From the very beginning of their lives, Genies are powerfully tied to the power of an element.
It begins with the soul of a sentient living creature. This soul could potentially find itself infused with raw elemental power as a result of melding with primordial matter from one of the elemental planes.
As rare as this occurrence is, it still isn’t guaranteed to result in a genie. On the rarest of these rare occasions, however, this elemental-infused soul is able to manifest a form and spawn as a genie.
There might be a few holdovers from the soul’s previous existence like a personality trait or some physical appearance. However, most (if not all) connection to the soul’s previous form is severed.
Because Genies are created by these events, they have no need to mate. Instead, most are content to live their lives of opulent indulgence with no concern for such trivial matters as finding love or having children.
On the absolute rarest of occasions, a Genie with a stronger connection to its old soul might take an interest in a mortal being. However, this is virtually unheard of though technically possible.
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To be a Genie is to be powerful, majestic, and deserving of eternal worship.
Well… in the Genies’ opinions anyway…
(As you’ve probably noticed by now, they happen to think incredibly highly of themselves.)
To reinforce these opinions, Genies of all varieties work to collect as many slaves as possible. Not only do these slaves handle the upkeep of the Genie’s lavish palace, but they also act as constant worshippers.
The more slaves/worshippers a Genie acquires, the greater respect they gain among their own kind. Genies covet this respect and see it as a sign of their superiority.
As you might imagine, this makes for a deceptively brutal social hierarchy where the strong take what they want and the weak are entirely forgotten.
Good or neutral-aligned Genies tend to treasure their slaves and treat them honorably. Within the Genie’s household, it’s very possible for some slaves to appear as nobles themselves who are allowed to enjoy some of the Genie’s luxuries.
Evil Genies, however, routinely threaten and punish their slaves.
Needless to say, the emphasis on slavery in Genie society (regardless of how those slaves are treated) is problematic for those on the Material Plane who find themselves now serving in these palaces.
Regarding Noble Genies
At the very top of Genie society are the Noble Genies. Their palaces are unbelievably ornate and filled with unimaginable riches that Genies of all alignments covet.
Among Genie-kind, the Noble Genies are the most powerful. They are so powerful, in fact, that they are able to alter reality itself by granting wishes to mortals.
Of course, this also gives these Noble Genies a great deal of leverage when it comes to acquiring things that they fancy.
Simply put: Noble Genies aren’t used to being told no.
As you might imagine, the Genies who live here are incredibly powerful and influential. Almost all Genies offer their respect to those of the noble class. Those who choose to defy a Noble Genie do so at their own peril.
Noble Genies’ power is without question though it’s still not absolute.
As much as they might believe themselves to be gods, they are not. However, it’s not unheard of for such a Genie to demand the worship of mortals across entire lands, continents, or even worlds.
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Types of Genies
Depending on which element Genies belong to, they will have different traits.
There are four types of Genies in D&D 5e: Earth Genies (Dao), Fire Genies (Efreeti), Water Genies (Marid) and Air Genies (Djinn). All of these appear in the D&D 5e Monster Manual.
Let’s look over the common traits of the different types of Genies that you might encounter in your D&D game!
When you think of Genies, it’s almost certainly the Djinn that most immediately comes to mind.
These beings hail from the Elemental Plane of Air. Adorned in fine silks and shimmering jewelry, Djinn have blue skin and attractive, muscular builds.
In a manner similar to Cloud Giants, Djinn live in massive palaces atop large cloud formations. Here, the Djinn surrounds themselves with all manner of luxuries: fine wine, rich perfumes, pleasing music, and the sweetest of fruits.
While Djinn have a fittingly airy disposition that makes them prone to mischief, they tend to look at mortals favorably. These mortals might entice a Djinn to help them by offering exquisite gifts or with enough flattery. This might result in the granting of a wish, protection services, or a ride on one of the Djinn’s powerful whirlwinds.
While all Genies collect slaves to boost their own social standing, Djinn are the kindest. Those in the Djinn’s service are instead treated as servants and are given the benefits of the Djinn’s protection and accumulated luxuries.
Should a Djinn find itself in service to another being, they tend to view it as a matter of fate. They may not enjoy servitude, but they reason that such a situation will pass in time.
Because of their honorable nature, Djinn tend to be the most stable of the Genies to work with. So long as you aren’t attempting to keep them captive forever, a Djinn isn’t going to do everything within its power to make the experience a complete nightmare for you.
|Genie Type||Djinns’ Opinion|
|Efreeti||So-so, Think they’re too arrogant but not unreasonable|
|Marid||So-so, Think they’re too arrogant but not unreasonable|
|Dao||Hate, Will attack on sight|
From the Elemental Plane of Fire, we come to the diabolical Efreeti.
Efreeti are known for being exceptionally cruel and entirely ruthless. They are also remarkably deceptive and will do whatever it takes to further their own ambitions.
Efreeti commonly have magma-red or coal-black skin, dark hair, and eyes that glint with flame. Genies of this type tend to wear luxurious silk and damask garments adorned with gold trimmings which highlight their pompous nature perfectly. Rings, necklaces, and other jewelry of brass and gold beset with fine jewels glisten and shine on the Efreeti’s body.
These Genies have a distinct “might makes right” view of the world. They are proudly oppressive and tyrannical with a knack for conquering and manipulating those around them. To the Efreeti, all other beings are either enemies or potential slaves.
Of course, if you ask an Efreeti, they aren’t evil. They view themselves as practical, disciplined, and efficient.
As you might imagine, to call them arrogant would be a colossal understatement.
Because of this, Efreeti are known to raid other planes to acquire more slaves, luxuries, and other prizes. Forming lairs and military outposts deep within volcanoes, deserts, and other such unbearably hot environments, they view themselves as the rightful masters of all they survey.
Efreeti are a dangerous Genie to cross and should not be taken lightly. Defying one can often lead to dire consequences. Even if you are somehow cunning enough to force one into servitude, it will spend the rest of eternity attempting to seek vengeance.
|Genie Type||Efreetis’ Opinion|
|Marid||Hate, Have an eternal conflict with them|
In large coral palaces beneath the waves of the Elemental Plane of Water, one might encounter the elusive Marids.
Marids have green or blue skin with prominent fish-like features and large builds. They dress in enchantingly bright colors and speak with voices that resemble gentle sea breezes or crashing storm waves depending on their mood.
These aquatic Genies rarely leave their domain to visit the Material Plane and prefer to stay among their own kind.
Exceptions can be made, however, if they hear tale of a particularly talented artist or entertainer that they wish to add to their court. Among the Bardic Colleges, tales of Marid kidnappings blur the lines between urban legend and terrifying truth!
Marids’ typically isolationist demeanor doesn’t mean they are unfriendly though! They love entertaining guests by telling stories (especially about themselves).
However, they will frequently embellish to make themselves appear greater than they might perhaps be. (Think of it as a twist on the time-honored tradition of fishermen lying about how big their catch was. It’s lying but not necessarily malicious.)
Just be careful: interrupting a Marid’s story is a quick way to invoke its wrath.
Even amongst Genie-kind, Marids are particularly self-important. Contrary to their chaotic nature, Marids believe in a strict hierarchy. Naturally, they have put themselves at the top of this system while humanoids are the lowest that a Marid can tolerate. Humanoids who have achieved great things like powerful wizards or accomplished leaders do get some preference, though.
If you encounter a Marid, it’s best to play to their ego. Flattery, especially where Genies are concerned, works wonders.
|Genie Type||Marids’ Opinion|
Last but not least we have the stocky and muscular Dao from the Elemental Plane of Earth.
In complex and ever-expanding tunnel systems, Daos’ slaves labor tirelessly to extract every last gem and rare metal from the earth. This work is especially dangerous which requires the Dao to have a steady supply of slaves to replace those lost in the mines. As a result, Dao are the most notorious slavers of the Genies.
These Genies are greedy and malicious beings who obsessively collect precious gems and rare metals. Relishing in their opulence, Dao will grind gold dust or precious gems over their food to add to the lavish experience of the meal. Meanwhile, the poverty and misfortune of others are of no concern to the Dao.
Most beings know to avoid the Dao at all costs lest they find themselves doomed to work the mines.
Dao care nothing for those beyond themselves, but could potentially be convinced to offer assistance for enough treasure. Even still, it’s a tense relationship. Even among other Dao, the end goal is to be envied by those around them.
Some powerful wizards have been able to ensnare Dao, however. After all, their greed has a tendency to blind them to others’ manipulations.
Eternally wanting more of everything and incapable of caring about anyone or anything beyond themselves, Dao are far from pleasant beings to encounter!
|Genie Type||Daos’ Opinion|
|Efreeti||On speaking/trading terms|
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Genie Wishes in D&D 5e
Genies are associated with one thing above all else: their ability to grant wishes.
Scholarly wizards, eager treasure hunters, heroes, villains, and more have all sought vessels containing Genies in hopes of having their greatest wishes granted.
But it’s not as simple as just asking a Genie for a wish!
Not every Genie is able to grant wishes. Only the most powerful and noble Genies are able to grant wishes.
Even then, there are some extra restrictions that even the Genie cannot ignore:
- The Genie can grant no more than three wishes to a creature.
- The creature cannot be another Genie.
- Once the Genie has granted its limit of wishes, it cannot grant anymore for another year.
- A Genie can only use its limit of wishes for a specific creature once in that creature’s entire existence.
Mechanically, the Genie casts the Wish spell on the creature’s behalf. What you are able to request is subject to the limitations and rules within the spell’s description.
As a note for DMs, limiting the number of available wishes is incredibly important. The genie can grant between one and three wishes to the party.
One wish alone has the ability to completely change your entire campaign. What then could three wishes do?
Be mindful of the metaphorical “big red button” you’re handing your players when it comes to Genie wishes!
Be Careful What You Wish For!
The Wish spell is the most powerful spell in all of D&D. With that title comes countless stories of groups using it to drastically affect their game.
But within those countless stories are countless warnings of wishes gone wrong…
When making a Wish (especially with a Genie), you want to be very specific with your wording and intentions.
An Efreeti or Dao will relish the opportunity to turn your wish against you as a type of fabled “Monkey’s Paw.” Efreeti are especially prone to finding ways to turn your own wish against you. Meanwhile, a Djinn or Marid might not think or care to explain the possible ramifications of your wish to you before granting it.
You might wish to be the strongest in the land only to find that everyone in the world has grown weaker than you. Things like farming or defending from wild animals are now virtually impossible now that everyone in the world has a ridiculously low Strength score. You’ve doomed the world and all of civilization in it!
Perhaps you’ve heard a tale of a powerful artifact that you wish to possess for yourself. You wish for the artifact only to be approached by its current owner. As it just so happens, the current owner is very powerful and not particularly keen to part with their treasured possession without a fight.
I feel like the perils of the Wish spell could be its own article. If that sounds interesting to you, let me know in the comments!
In the meantime, always choose your words carefully when dealing with Genies!
Using Genies as a DM
Genies actually make for incredible plot devices within a campaign. Finding a genie’s vessel in hopes of them granting the party a wish is a powerful MacGuffin that can easily be an entire campaign within itself.
Regardless of what type of Genie the party finds themselves encountering, it should be a big thing. After all, Genies are very proud creatures who are keen to receive admiration from all who stand before them!
Djinn and Marid can make for interesting quest-givers for mid-level parties. Similarly, Dao and Efreeti make for terrifying enemies!
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What does a Genie want?
All Genies largely want one primary thing: to increase their prestige and win the admiration of those around them.
Each type of Genie has its different methods of doing this as we discussed earlier. Increasing the number and quality of their possessions and servants is the greatest way for a Genie to rise in social rank and distinguish themselves from others.
In fact, that goal itself could be enough to warrant a Noble Genie of enough power to become a Warlock’s patron! The Noble Genie grants the Warlock some of its power in exchange for the Warlock accruing various treasures to adorn the Genie’s palace.
You can learn more about that with my full guide to the Genie Warlock subclass!
Most Genie aren’t terribly concerned about the perceived goods and evils in the Material Plane. However, the party’s interests might align with a Djinn who is growing tired of his Efreeti rival’s expansion on the Material Plane.
Capturing a Genie
By their very nature, Genies are able to traverse the Elemental and Material planes with ease. However, on the rare occasions that one does come to the Material Plane for some reason, they will almost always magically disguise themselves.
The most difficult thing is bringing a Genie from its Elemental Plane to the Material Plane. Genies have little interest in the Material Plane. It would take a massive amount of work to summon a Genie. Only the most powerful Wizards are capable of such a feat.
They might have managed to discover the true name of a Genie and cast the Gate spell to bring them to the Material Plane. Otherwise, the Wizard might simply have been able to gain an audience with the Genie and offer them a great enough reward in exchange for their service.
From there, they would have to successfully cast the Imprisonment spell using the Minimus Containment option. This lets the Wizard trap the Genie in a bottle, lamp, urn, or whatever other vessel was handy.
You didn’t think it was going to be easy, did you?
Nothing will get any Genie more eternally furious than attempting to betray them. Even the typically cool-tempered Djinn will view an adventurer’s betrayal as reason enough to punish them for the rest of their lives.
So if you’re the one who actually put the Genie in the bottle, the odds of you actually being able to benefit from the Genie’s powers are pretty slim. Inside of that bottle is an incredibly powerful being who is cursing you with every breath it takes and just waiting for the moment it will be free.
Genies in Combat
The best way to deal with an aggressive Genie is to immediately begin singing their praises, flattering them, offering gifts, and otherwise stroking their ego.
Genies’ abilities aren’t particularly suited to combat and most can be convinced to parley. Djinn in particular are most likely to respond to such attempts.
Failing that, however, you should prepare for an incredibly intense fight.
A Genie will make it a point to keep advantage no matter what. They’ll focus down key threats and do whatever it takes to control the battlefield. If things look like they’re going sour, the Genie won’t hesitate to use their flying speed or spells like Gaseous Form or Invisibility to reposition.
If you’re feeling especially cruel, a Genie can also planeshift an enemy to their Elemental Plane. Few creatures can survive what awaits them there, particularly the planes of Fire and Water.
Only a Dao (with their comparatively low Intelligence score of 12) might favor a brute-force approach instead of fighting strategically. Knocking an enemy prone with the first maul strike to gain advantage on the second can lead to damage quickly piling up.
Efreeti are possibly the biggest threats in combat thanks to their raw damage output and overall combat prowess.
Their scimitar attacks hit hard, but their Hurl Flame ability has both the damage and the range to very quickly drop the party’s spellcasters and ranged combatants. From there, picking off the melee combatants is easy.
A Djinn is easily able to outmaneuver its opponents.
If talking isn’t an option, the Djinn has no reason not to immediately use its Create Whirlwind ability and Hoover up as much of the party as possible. Restrained by the whirlwinds, the Djinn gets advantage on all three of its scimitar attacks against its target.
If it really wants to make a point, it can also fly up with the whirlwind before dropping the party to take a ton of falling damage.
Lastly, Marids are arguably the best at battlefield control.
They’re able to cast Fog Cloud at will which doesn’t have a negative impact on them thanks to their Blindsight of 30 feet.
Fighting inside the Fog Cloud gives the Marid advantage on its attacks, the party disadvantage on attacks against the Marid, and safety from ranged attacks beyond the cloud.
If the Marid needs to escape or reposition, its Water Jet deals damage while also pushing the target backwards. This means the Marid can freely escape without provoking an attack of opportunity.
If you’re looking for in-depth tactics that
make your players hate you challenge your party, I recommend also checking out The Monsters Know What They’re Doing. This book covers nearly every creature in the Monster Manual and gives DMs a treasure trove of combat tactics to throw at their players!
Encountering Genies as a Player
As I mentioned, Genies are most likely to be NPCs as quest-givers or MacGuffins.
Unless you’re specifically traveling to the City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire to wreck some Efreeti, it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself in a combat situation with a Genie. They’ll either gladly accept your praise or find you irksome and cast you out of their domain one way or another.
That said, you want to keep your wits about you when dealing with a Genie. Otherwise, you might find yourself agreeing to something that will come to bite you later!
It’s probably not a bad idea to brush up on your social skills in that case!
Genies’ greatest weaknesses aren’t something you’ll find in their stats. With enough flattery or bribery, it can be somewhat easy to win a Genie’s favor.
Remember that a Genie will ALWAYS put their own interests as their absolute top priority. Even as honorable as Djinn tend to be, they’re no exception to this.
If you need to win a Genie’s favor, think about what they stand to gain from a course of action and use that to get their support!
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself fighting against a Genie of any kind, you’re going to want to hit hard and fast. There aren’t any major exploitable weaknesses to Genies besides their egos.
Avoid using elemental attacks to which the Genie is immune or resistant and be sure to concentrate all of the party’s efforts on the Genie.
Furthermore, be sure to not let your party get too entrenched in their current positioning. As we covered, Genies will focus heavily on turning the battlefield to their favor. You’ll want to make sure that your party stays adaptable if you want to stand a chance!
Conclusion – Genies in D&D 5e
Genies are one of my favorite monsters in all of D&D. Not only do I have a weakness for monsters that are based on real-world mythology, but Genies can be used in many fun and interesting ways to add to a group’s story.
For example, there was the time my Halfling Thief freed a bunch of Genies (and could have gotten me kicked out of my D&D group!)
Has your party ever had an encounter with a Genie? How did that go?
Got a request for a future creature feature article?
Let’s talk in the comments!
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