The Legacy of Fire
In the name of the fire that none can quench,
Listen, my beloved children,
and grow wise in the ways of the jinn,
Whose souls are both more and less than our own.”
Sometimes it seems that the lands of Katapesh and Osirion are not entirely the realm of men, but first and foremost the abode of jinn, those creatures whose souls are more akin to the tempers of nature than the passions of mortal-kind. These lands themselves are hostile to human life and full of elemental forces; sand, wind, water, and sun define the desert kingdoms. It’s not surprising, then that genies find comfort in these lands. Yet most desert dwellers know little of genie-kind, embracing centuries of legends and ancient fears, imagining these wanderers as creatures of story and song. Perhaps rightfully so, for these radiant beings are kin to the elements, and fundamentally greater than those forced to suffer the whims of the multiverse.
For untold centuries the people of the desert have told tales of the jinn, these stories spreading to far-off lands and capturing the imaginations of listeners across Golarion. Numerous wizards, researchers, and storytellers have sought to collect tales of these incredible creatures, hoping to find power within such tales, seeking wisdom of realms beyond the mortal plane, or merely entranced by the exotic tales of the desert. Regardless of such scholar’s intentions, presented here are many of the most celebrated “facts” about the jinn. While many jinn might laugh at the tales passed as truth among mortals, all five maor races of genies prove notoriously tight-lipped about the efforts and ways of their people and thus the observers of mortal-kind must make due with stories and tales they hope hold the seeds of truth.
The forms of all true genies correspond to the four elements: the air is ruled by the djinn, the earth by the shaitans, the waters and oceans by the marids, and flames by the efreet. Then there are the jann, who combine all four elements into a clear and balanced whole. While the jinn prove tightlipped about the ways and workings of their great societies, countless legends and the songs of the desert reveal a number of supposed truths – some more dubious than others.
The body of a djinn is half cloud and half flesh, with pale skin, light eyes and hair ranging through the colors of clouds. Their clothes always seem to ripple in the wind, even inside buildings or during a calm. They prefer flying over walking at all ties, and their feet rarely touch the earth – their sandals often drifting just above the sands, leaving no footprints. Many djinn refuse to wear shirts even on the coldest days or on high mountain peaks. They favor tattoos, occasionally animating the ink within their skins to make them dance and move. Most are known for their flighty nature, but overall djinn see good at heart and outgoing, and of all the jinn they prove the friendliest to the people of Golarion
Creatures of fire and wrath, efreet delight in destruction and are said to be born of the smoke from burning tents and charred cities. Their bodies range through a variety of smoldering sades, from the brazen red of the setting sun to the blackness of a dampened fire’s smoke. Tales say their skin burns like a torch, their hair blazes like flame, and their appetites are as endless as fire. Efreet greatly enjoy the taste of flesh, both of animal and human sacrifices and of creatures left to burn on pyres or battlefields. Failing that, they happily devour anything that burns: wood, coth, coal, incense, and exotic flammable metals infused with phlogiston and phosphor. They consume these materials by the pound, and drink nothing but a strange slurry of wood shavings and coal dust.
Marids are a tranquil yet powerful people well known through the tales of sailors and hopeful desert nomads. They concern themselves with the affairs of the seas and protection of bodies of water, rarely venturing far from ocean shores or lush desert oasis. Marids have bodies covered in fine scales and hair like flowing kelp, most often blue, black, or green,though many can transform themselves in translucent, liquid forms that prove effectively invisible in water. Most are known to be flighty, impetuous, whimsical, or otherwise lacking in attention, moving from one topic or passions as swiftly as a surging river. Of all the genies, marids most often take human lovers, whom they lure into the waters from the shore, promising riches, lavish palaces, and a life of indolence. Surprisingly, they most often keep these promises, though their paramours might be little more than prisoners beneath the sea.
Most think of shaitans as sinister creatures of the Darklands, but truly they are things of the earth, the empty caverns, and the high hills. Their skin is stone, their hearts molten lava, and their eyes jewel-like in their sparkle. Few shaitans share similar skins, either in color or texture, and some are smooth and delicate like polished lapis lazuli, while others are hulking and rugged like rough granite. Strands of jewels and sheets of beaten metals are the preferred clothing of these earthen jinn, and they wear them much as mortals wear linen, cotton, or silk. These jeweled garments are sometimes worth a prince’s ransom, but the death of a shaitan does more than make his killer wealthy: it typically buys a blood feud, as the shaitan’s brethren strive for compensation. Those who seek t escape retribution from the shaitan might take to a life spent upon the sea or amid the clouds, knowing that accusing shaitans lurk beneath every rock, field, and sand dune.
The jann are the genies of the mortal plane, creatures of the world but still set apart from its other natives. In them, all the elements that empower the other races of genies unite, the contradictions and fundamental oppositions of these natural powers serving to weaken the jann rather than invigorate them. The weakest of all genies, the jann appear most akin to humans yet prove vastly more powerful. For them, elemental magic is second nature, physical form is an intrinsically changeable thing, and the bonds of reality are loose. Although these genies may travel to the domains of their kin on the Elemental Planes, they are not at home in such realms and must return to the mortal plane after a short time.