Genasi are creatures in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. They are planetouched, being mortal creatures who have in their veins some blood of creatures from one of the Inner Planes. In the Planescape campaign setting, they are available as a race for player characters. Genasi are also featured as a character race in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
It is important to note that genasi who come from a different elemental stock show different powers and abilities. The most common genasi by far are the ones who are related to the four classical elements: air, earth, fire and water, though para-elemental genasi do exist.
The sea kings come from the pairing of humans with nereids, marids, or other water elemental creatures. Water genasi are the most independent of the elemental planetouched, having as little in common with their parents as with other genasi. Most are abandoned by their parents at birth and are later raised by other creatures on the Elemental Plane of Water such as dolphins, mermen, tritons, or darker races such as sahuagin. They consider themselves to be completely unique, and each develops an extreme personality trait that leads others to agree with them.
Personality: More than other genasi, no two of the sea kings are alike in personality. Some are patient and cunning, choosing to gradually wear away resistance to their plans, while others are stormy and violent, preferring to drown their foes in their wrath. They may have virtually any trait or goal, exhibiting a versatility that rivals even that of humans. Whatever characteristics a water genasi may have are taken to an extreme: bravery unto martyrdom, cowardice unto paranoia, and other such unbending outlooks are commonly displayed. They seem more than a little barmy to most, but they can be surprisingly pleasant if one treads lightly in dealings with them.
Physical Description: Their relationship with the seas is apparent to all who look upon the water genasi. Flowing seaweed-textured hair, blue-green skin with soft scales, and webbed feet and hands are common traits of the sea kings. Though they have no visible gills, they can breathe water as easily as air, and their voices sometimes sound like the sonorous songs of whales or dolphins. Though their form and styles are as varied as their personalities, many of them like to decorate themselves in the accoutrements of the sea such as sea-shells, coral, fish bones, and especially pearls or abalone.
Relations: Water genasi have more dealings with the sentient underwater races than anyone else, and are not looked upon cruelly by most since they can be very useful in communications and dealings between them and the more common planar races. They are perhaps the least arrogant of the genasi, but all strongly feel that which makes them unique makes them important individuals in their own right. While their extreme characteristics make it difficult for most to get close to water genasi, those who do can easily find a strong and amiable companion.
Alignment: Water genasi vary greatly in their principles, though their elemental heritage endows them with a measure of apathy to philosophy, so most are at least somewhat neutral.
Water Genasi Lands: Water genasi can take or leave land without much care, but they all call the water home. Be it river, sea, lake, or pool, the sea kings make their homes in or near bodies of water throughout the multiverse. Befitting their nature, none of them share enough common ground to join together, though most firmly believe there is enough water for all.
Language: Water genasi speak Common, and a majority of them are fluent in Aquan as well.
Names: Water genasi take the name given by their human parents, which varies based on their homeland but often hints back to their unique physical features.
Adventurers: The sea kings wander far and wide, following the tides physically and metaphorically. Many live among the creatures that raised them, as special members of the community or as slaves, depending on the society. Exploration comes naturally to water genasi, however, and they are quick to seek out adventure both under and above the waves. Many enjoy searching out and collecting lost treasure, though the appeal of learning about new places is also a strong incentive.
Role-playing a Water Genasi: You are the essence of the great oceans, serenely tranquil yet quick and unpredictable. Others may have difficulty accepting you, but they cannot fathom the intensity within. You have always been the outsider, and deep down you realize you will always be different from everyone else. There is no one like you in the entire multiverse, an idea that brings you great satisfaction. After all, there must be great things meant for one as unique as you, and you know that no matter what direction your life flows it will lead you to that greater purpose.
Water Genasi Racial Traits
- Abilities: CON +2, CHA –2
- Feat: Darkvision
- Spell-like Ability: Ice Storm
- Level Adjustment: +1
- Automatic Languages: Common, home region.
- Bonus Languages: Any (except secret languages, such as Druidic).
- Plane of Origin: The Water Elemental planes.
- Favoured Class: Cleric.
Racial type changes to Outsider
Faerûnian Water Genasi
Regions: Aglarond, Chessenta, Dragon Coast, Sembia, Vilhon Reach.
Water genasi are patient and independant, used to solving problems on their own and not afraid to take a lot of time doing so. At times they are fierce and destructive like terrible storms, but more often than not they present a tranquil appearance, despite whatever emotions run underneath that quiet surface. Because their elemental forebear usually has no interest in them, water genasi are often abandoned by their human parents and raised instead by aquatic creatures such as aquatic elves, dolphins, locathah, merfolk, sahuagin, or even aboleths. Water genasi usually leave their parents (real or adoptive) upon reaching maturity, taking to the open sea in order to explore, learn, and develop their own personality and place in the world.
Most water genasi are descended from a water elemental outsider such as a marid (water genie) or triton. A rare few are born of outsider servants of the evil water goddess Umberlee (although it is not known why these matings eventually produce water genasi instead of tieflings). Aquatic elves tell of a lost line of sea-elf planetouched descended from minions of Deep Sashelas, but these are not true water genasi, lacking a genasi's human heritage.
Water genasi look human except for one distinguishing feature related to their elemental ancestor. Some examples of these features are:
lightly scaled skin
blue-green skin or hair
large blue-black eyes
webbed hands and feet
Water genasi feel that they are unique and superior to the humans who bore them. They have little or no interest in others of their kind--since they can wander both the land and seas, they feel there is room enough in the world that water genasi need not crowd each other or even meet. Only in large communities of aquatic elves are two or more water genasi likely to spend much time together.
Water genasi have the same life expectancy and age categories as a human.
Nearly every water genasi can be traced back to a unique crossbreed between a water outsider and a human. Water genasi have no common history, although most of them are born in or near the Sea of Fallen Stars. No known record exists of water genasi trying to build a community of their own kind, although from time to time an aquatic hero shows up in the history books, usually associated with rescuing drowning sailors or thwarting sahaugin attacks. Water genasi villains also appear in these tales, from pirates who love to drown their enemies to blue-haired leaders of merrow raiding parties.
Because of their varied origins, water genasi may be of any human stock.
Water genasi take pride in their special abilities and can be boastful if in the right mood. Tougher than humans and able to breathe water, these genasi sometimes view human sailors and naval merchants as vulnerable fools who are as likely to drown at sea as they are to get seasick. The people of the Sea of Fallen Stars are familiar enough with the stories of water genasi to recognize them and ignore their rude behavior.
Water genasi have the best of both worlds. They can walk on land for an indefinite time (unlike aquatic elves, whom they secretly pity) and can always retreat to the tranquil depths of the ocean. Often loners, they sometimes establish a home in a remote underwater cave, going for years without encountering another intelligent being. They feel a kinship to other aquatic creatures, particularly tritons and water elementals, who can easily outswim the genasi.
Water genasi tend to be neutral and therefore avoid extremes in politics, opinion, or career. Some find a quiet spot to call home, others enjoy riding the currents for months, allowing the water to take them places hundreds of miles away.
Water Genasi Characters
Water genasi often multiclass between fighter and another class, keeping their levels relatively even.
Favored Class: Fighter. Water genasi prefer combat styles and weapons that unbalance, bind, or disarm their opponents.
Prestige Classes: Water genasi have no particular prestige class preferences.
Water Genasi Society
Water genasi have no society of their own, but often subconsciously adopt traits of the people who raised them, so a water genasi raised by aquatic elves is likely to believe in personal freedoms and good behavior, while one raised by sahuagin will be bloodthirsty and militaristic. Water genasi from different cultures can be as radically different as a quiet spring and a raging waterfall.
Water genasi do not prefer the company of other water genasi. If anything, it makes them feel less special and unique in the context of the other beings they live near. Accordingly, they rarely live in the same communities and none have been known to marry. This keeps the population of repeat-generation water genasi low, with new genasi coming from new bloodlines or from lines that skipped a generation.
Their self-contained nature makes water genasi unlikely leaders. A water genasi is more likely to guard or support a person he respects and admires than to be a person who attracts or welcomes subordinates.
Language and Literacy
As most of them are born on the Sea of Fallen Stars, water genasi learn Common because of all the mercantile traffic. Many learn Aquan or Serusan in order to converse with other aquatic creatures, and the ones who live with or near aquatic elves usually learn Elven as well. Those raised by sahuagin learn Sahuagin.
All water genasi are literate, except for barbarians, commoners, and warriors.
Water Genasi Magic and Lore
Water genasi prefer spells that produce cold, ice, snow, and water. Water genasi spellcasters are usually clerics or druids, for they rarely have the talent for sorcery and water ruins scrolls and spellbooks (although at least one water genasi wizard has developed a method for scribing "scrolls" on carved shells).
Spells and Spellcasting
Conjuration spells are most important to most water genasi, because they allow the summoning of water elementals and control of the weather.
Water Genasi Deities
Water genasi have no common racial deity. Those who live with a community of other aquatic creatures usually adopt the patron deity of their allies. Because water genasi clerics must choose deities who grant the Water domain, all water genasi clerics worship Auril, Deep Sashelas, Eldath, Isis, Istishia, Sebek, Silvanus, or Umberlee. Those who are not devout enough to be clerics still worship those deities or another water-themed deity such as Valkur.
While few water genasi enjoy very cold weather, those who do usually worship the Frostmaiden. These eccentric genasi often swim in artic waters with seals and similar creatures, and are known for their habit of pairing up with a large cold-based monster. They often make friends with frost giants.
Deep Sashelas, the elven god of waves and waters, is a natural choice for genasi who associate with aquatic elves. They often act as emissaries and messengers between colonies of aquatic elves and their landbound cousins. As the patron of water magic, he also has many arcane spellcasters worshiping him.
The most placid and introspective water genasi worship Eldath. Her clerics and druids are benign and helpful beings, which makes them a favorite prey of followers of Malar. Mages who worship Eldath prefer abjuration spells over all other kinds.
Istishia's idea of embracing one's personal excellence is appealing to water genasi, as is his message of flexibility and overcoming obstacles over time. His worshipers are mediators, often interceding between rival groups using the same body of water, whether two different fishing villages or a colony of aquatic elves annoyed by merchant traffic above their kelp beds.
Rough waters and remote naval exploration are meat and bread to water genasi. Water genasi revering Valkur are welcomed by sea captains and respected by common sailors. Some lack a taste for adventure but love working with boats, and these make a living in coastal communities repairing ship damage below the water line.
Many evil water genasi in the vicinity of Mulhorand, Unther, and Chessenta worship the crocodile god, Sebek, sometimes becoming lycanthropes. They harass shipping routes and folk living on or near rivers. Like their deity, they constantly feel the need to prove their strength and justify their existence by bullying creatures weaker than themselves.
Worshipers of Umberlee, the Bitch Queen, can be the most cruel and temperamental of all the water genasi. They enjoy extorting money for their church, and a shipboard cleric has nothing to fear should the crew decide to push him overboard when the weather turns nasty. Evil spellcasters who practice water magic often worship her as well.
Isis: This goddess is worshipped mainly by good river-and sea-dwelling water genasi in and around Mulhorand, as well as water genasi mages from that area. They are protectors of water and the people that depend upon it, and many learn how to make magical charms that provide useful water magic.
Selûne: Water genasi worshippers of the Moonmaiden are people that love the sea but still have ties to people on the land. They are skilled and tough, and no sensible captain refuses to hire an amiable Selûnite water genasi. Those that take to navigating do it by scent and feel of the water as much as by the stars, and are said to have an intuitive knowledge of aquatic hazards such as sargassos, whirlpools, and hidden reefs.
Silvanus: Those water genasi that revere Silvanus are aggressive protectors of nature’s vulnerable waters. Streams and rivers that are to be dammed, lakes to be drained, and seas about to be overfished are the favorite spots of water genasi, for they use subtle tricks and deterrents to fend off the originators of these threats. Often those responsible come to believe the site is cursed or bad luck and leave the area, not realizing the problems stem from the actions of a lone water genasi.
Relations With Other Races
Water genasi feel closest to their adopted race and indifferent to all others. Aquatic creatures and others who can naturally breathe water are treated less cooly (unless such a creature is a natural enemy of the genasi's adopted race, such as a sahuagin-raised genasi confronted by a triton). They hold no special animosity toward fiery creatures or fire genasi, and see a similarity between themselves and flying creatures, although they are quick to point out that natural fliers have to come to rest on land eventually while they and other sea creatures can live in the water indefinitely. They laugh at and ridicule aquaphobic creatures, and dwarves are frequently the target of their jokes and pranks (almost always involving a dunking).
Animals and Pets
Water genasi who live in the water prefer dolphins, octopi, sharks, and other aquatic animals as pets and animal companions. Those who live on the land and water prefer animals that can live in both environments, such as crocodiles, otters, and some snakes and birds.