D&D Race Guide: How to Play a Genasi
With four elemental variants, the Genasi will add a lot of variety and nearly endless options to your next player character.
Genasi are one of those D&D races you might not even know are accessible to player characters. The rules for this character race appears in the Elemental Evil Player’s Compendium, which is in turn supplemental material to the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure module. But for those of us who want to have a little more of an elemental take on their characters, the Genasi can be a very fun approach.
“Those who think of other planes at all consider them remote, distant realms, but planar influence can be felt throughout the world. It sometimes manifests in beings who, through an accident of birth, carry the power of the planes in their blood. The genasi are one such people, the offspring of genies and mortals.”
For the most part, Genasi can pass for human. But depending on the element of Genasi you chose, there can be little, sometimes noticeable differences. For example, Genasi usually have in-human skin colors such as red, green, or blue, and there is always the sense that there is something odd about them thanks to their genie parentage.
If you chose a Genasi character, you can expect a +2 to your Constitution score and the ability o read and write Primordial, as well as the standard human size and speed and slightly higher than average human life span. From here, the kind of Genasi you chose will directly affect the rest of your traits and scores.
Air have a +1 to Dexterity as well as the ability to hold their breath indefinitely and Levitate. Earth Genasi have a +1 to Strength, the ability to traverse difficult terrain without extra movement, and can cast Pass Without Trace. Fire Genasi have +1 to Intelligence, Darkvision, resistance to fire damage, and the Produce Flame cantrip. And finally, Water Genasi have a +1 to Wisdom, resistance to acid damage, are amphibious, have a swimming speed of 30, and the Shape Water cantrip
Air Genasi are dexterous and levitate, so I can think of few jobs better for them than Rogue. The helpfulness of the dex boost would be obvious for this class, but levitate would be endlessly useful for spying, escaping, and stealing alike.
With their high strength and high constitution, Earth Genasi are solid, tanky Fighters. Pass without trace allows for some stealth and surprise attacks, and ignoring difficult terrain makes sure the fight can continue anywhere, and they may even have the upper hand.
Fire Genasi make surprisingly strong Wizards. The intelligence boost is a clear boon. But perhaps more importantly, the extra constitution will make their normal Wizard squishiness a little less squishy. Plus, imagine the fireballs. Imagine the fireballs.
Finally, the Water Genasi’s wisdom is perfect for Cleric while their other aquatic abilities would just add a bit of fun to gameplay. The other option would be Druid, but all of that wouldn’t matter once the character uses their wildshape.
Tips & Tricks
Since Genasi have so many specific options and modifiers depending on which element you chose, my suggestion would be to build one of these characters backward. Start with the personality and class of the character you want to create first. And once you have that hammered out, it will be easier to pick a Genasi variant from there.
You’ll also want to read up on genies in D&D to have a better idea of the character’s family, background, and most likely their hangups and goals as well.
Have you played a Genasi character? What element did you or would you choose? Have you encountered an NPC Genasi in your adventures? Let us know in the comments!