The Legacy of Fire
-Shazathered, On the Lore of Lore
The tales of countless lands tell of the magic of genies, the power of these creatures of wind and flame to conjure one’s wildest dreams from thin air, to reduce armies of one’s enemies to dust, and to work wonders limited only by imagination. Such tales exaggerate much, but at their root lies a single undeniable truth: some genies can grant wishes. Blessed with the might to reorder reality, yet cursed never to take advantage of their own powers, genies both take pride in their incredible ability and resent that their gift can only serve the wills of lesser creatures. Regardless of their individual views on such might, genies have for countless centuries refined the art of granting wishes, which many among them know as wishcraft. Whether used to maintain the delicate pattern of creation or to curse those who would presume to make themselves masters over genies, this potent art form borders on the power of the gods and can rewrite the fate of whole worlds. As the artists of reality, wishcrafters might bring to life vivid dreams or throw whole realms into living nightmares. The power is theirs, but such opportunities spur on the ambitions of those daring and foolish enough to treat with these potent and capricious beings.
What follows reveals many of the secrets and methods of the genie-refined art of wishcrafting. While primarily utilized by the jinn, numerous powerful creatures and skilled magic-users throughout the planes might employ this potent art. Those who would dare make wishes might also benefit from understanding the philosophies of the creatures that bring their desires to life, and in so doing prevent calamities for themselves and untold others.
Several types of genies possess the ability to restructure the foundation of existence, to work miracles upon worlds and planes, to grant the most potent of magical boons: wishes. As creatures infused with the magic of creation and living elemental might, genies possess a greater understanding of reality than most beings, seeing the tapestry of creation stretching through the planes and touching every creature
living therein. Only a relatively limited number of powerful beings possess the ability to fundamentally affect this vast lattice, and hold it as a great honor and responsibility to avoid damaging the delicate knitwork that facilitates the existence of all things. Thus, geniekind has long cultivated the art of wishcraft, the magic and skill of using their powers over creation to create wonders that retain the order and elegance of reality.
Genies take great pride in their ability to grant wishes, as they are known throughout the planes for this godlike ability. While djinn and efreet are the best-known wish granters, nearly every race of genie takes pride in its brethren’s abilities, and many seek out paths to grant wishes of their own. Although some individual genies—particularly jann—might prove resentful of the innate powers of their kindred, most seek their own routes to such power rather than brooding on the unfairness of the sphere. Regardless of how they come by their powers, though, genies possess one law that rules over their ability: no genie may grant wishes to another genie, especially themselves. Such is seen as the path to destruction and the purview of the few beings genies consider even greater then themselves. While they might affect the weave of reality through their wishes for others, to take advantage of such powers and rework creation for personal goals is seen as brash and dangerous at best, and blasphemous, even criminal, at worst. Thus, genies commonly only grant wishes for creatures they view as deserving, who have gained some measure of control over them, or to whom they owe a debt. Even in such cases, though, they are hardly helpless or forced to affect creation against their will, as genie wishcrafters know many ways to influence and twist the wishes of other creatures, either to punish undeserving petitioners or to avoid what they perceive as harmful wishes. Even the mightiest of kings and heroes might not be fit in a genie’s eyes to have his wishes granted. Thus, as a matter of good form, most genies demand offerings proving a wish seeker’s worthiness. This often takes the form of some exotic or otherwise precious treasure, as likely to be magical in nature as not. The impressive nature of such a gift often goes far in persuading a genie to grant wishes for a mortal, though some might take further coercion even after being presented with the rarest of gifts.
Genies know that not all wishes deserve to be made. Reality is like a symphony and some wishes ring like discordant notes. These wishes make demands of the cosmos that were never intended and that are not meant to be, falling outside even the bounds of magic. While such reality-breaking wishes are gradually eroded by time and the innate forces of existence, they can cause great damage while their effects linger, and when cast about wildly and in great number can even degrade the fabric of the planes to terrible effect. Conscious of such strains on the foundations of creation, genies avoid granting wishes that undermine the common laws of existence. To this end, wish makers who entreat genies to perform tasks that could naturally occur are more likely to find their wishes granted as they desire, while those who presume to make wild demands of reality often find themselves thwarted by offended genie wishcrafters.
In any case, wishcrafters prove proud and potent. Those who make common cause with such a genie find an incredible ally, but one whose art they must show great reverence for, lest the capricious creature seek to turn their desires into a confounding lesson. Those who make enemies of such creatures had best seek to make amends, as genies are long lived and possess fantastic memories, and might grant every wish asked of them in a way that offends their foe.
Mortals are a foolish lot. Most lack foresight and imagination, and their goals and dreams reflect their puerile concerns and limited senses of reality. They live, struggle, and die, all the while making their brief efforts all the more painful, futile, and short by their attempts to influence the world and creatures around them. And nothing holds a light to the imperfect comprehension and willful ineffectuality of mortal life than granting them the power to influence reality.
On rare occasions, through the use of fantastic magic, employment of potent magical treasures, or alliance—willing or forced—with creatures possessing innate control over the powers of creation, mortals gain the opportunity to have their wildest desires granted, often to their detriment. While magical spells and tools rarely possess intentions of their own and yield absolutely to the whims of their user, when one relies on another to grant their desires, they make themselves slaves to the wish granter’s interpretations. In such arrangements rise the potential for wishes gone awry, for a wisher’s words, a wisher’s intentions, and the wish fulfiller’s execution to misalign in unexpected, comedic, ironic, or even deadly ways. Thus wish makers risk much when they place their wishes in the hands of another being, especially one that might misunderstand or feel slighted by a less potent being’s desires.
When it comes to granting wishes to disastrous effect, few creatures prove more malicious and masterful than efreet. Cursed with the power to remake creation for any creature but themselves, these cruel genies delight in seeing creatures they perceive as their lessers come to ruin through their own desires. The efreet tell tales among themselves of great torments inflicted on foolish wishers by their might, competing for the most clever, dramatic, and ironic wish fulfillments. Noted here are just a few techniques widely used by efreet in corrupting the wishes of impertinent mortals, though the greatest distortions remain the secrets of ancient and experienced efreeti oathbenders.
The Literal Lie: The best-known and least subtle method of granting a wish in a way that actually curses the wisher sees the wish fulfiller take a literalist’s role. In such cases, a wisher who asks for skin like steel might be transformed into a metal statue, while a wish for a personal castle might result in such a structure physically falling upon the wisher. As stories of this trick have spread throughout innumerable cultures, only foolish and trusting wish makers tend to fall for this blunt deceit, and even the efreet look down upon those of their own kind who corrupt wishes in this manner as amateurish and common.
The Fickle Fate: Some wish granters take the role of agents of fate, be it good fortune or darkest doom. As most wishes benefit only the wisher, rarely does a wish’s effect bring some boon to a third party—quite the opposite in fact. Corrupt wishes that take this route might see one who wishes for great wealth find a parent or loved one mysteriously murdered, only to reveal a secret fortune now theirs to inherit—though fate might also make them a likely suspect in such a crime. Alternatively, the wish to live forever might make the wisher a vampire, forcing him to live off the lives of innocents to survive.
Nothing from Nothing: Although wishes allow one to create anything he pleases, such magic demands great responsibility be taken with its use. While few mortals see the intricate weave of reality, genies know it well, and given the opportunity avoid recreating or unraveling vast sections for shortsighted desires. Thus, whenever possible, genie wish granters prefer to merely move or rework existing materials when granting wishes. A fickle wish granter might then respond to a wish for vast wealth by teleporting away the treasury of a nearby kingdom, the hoard of a deadly dragon, or all the valuables in a surrounding city, leaving the wisher to face the consequences when others discover the theft. Alternatively, the desire for some superior ability, like the power to breathe underwater, might see the wisher’s body transformed to have organs like those of a fish rather than recreating his lungs to perform an unnatural function.
A Better Life: With innumerable beings existing upon equally innumerable worlds, any creature might believe itself better suited to life in another form. Some wish granters seek to better match shape with desire. In these cases, wishers who long for the power of flight might find themselves transformed into birds, while one with the desire to see behind itself might be transformed into a xorn. Even more subtle wishes, like the desire to never be alone or to never be hungry might see a wisher changed into an ettin or living machine.
A Cursed Blessing: Some wish granters take it upon themselves to teach moral lessons or twist their wish results to ironic ends, making a wisher regret what he wished for or even die as a result. A creature who wishes to hear the thoughts of other beings might find himself surrounded by an endless cacophony of sound and thus be driven to sleeplessness and ultimately madness. Alternatively, a wisher who desires the return of a departed loved one might be stalked by its ravenous living corpse. The desire for a particular piece of knowledge might also see the wisher teleported to a place that knowledge might be found, but not granted the ability to comprehend such information, survive in the new environment, or return home.
Artistic Interpretation: Most wishes leave some measure of room for the granter’s interpretation and preferential meddling. Thus, a wisher who asks an efreeti to make her beautiful might be transformed into a creature lovely by efreet standards. The wish granter might also go beyond what is asked, granting a wish for a thousand rubies in a gigantic indestructible glass jar or a wish for musical talent with the inability to play any song but the wish granter’s favorite melody.