Air genasi are one of the four main subraces of the genasi race. During the time between the Spellplague and the Second Sundering, genasi were no longer limited to a single elemental manifestation. Those genasi born with or currently manifesting the power of elemental air were called windsoul genasi.
Most air genasi are descended from djinn, air genies, though other origins exist, and the touch of the elemental power of wind and air shapes the genasi physique. Like all genasi, the exact appearance of an air genasi varies from individual to individual. Compared with other genasi, air genasi are often slightly quicker, but also somewhat physically weaker.
However, just as the wind may vary in strength and temperature, so do air genasi vary in appearance and a few have other distinguishing features. Some have light blue or pale white skin or similarly colored hair. Other strange features may include unusually cool flesh, a voice that carries over the wind, a whistling sound that follows quick movement, or even a slight breeze that seems to follow the genasi.
Because the traits that identify an air genasi are sometimes subtle, many go unrecognized for what they are for many years and are sometimes mistaken for sorcerers, although their inherent arrogance and disregard for their appearance fools people into believing they are charlatans at natural magic. Those that are overtly different learn quickly to disguise their nature from common folk, at least until they are able to protect themselves and strike out on their own.
Air genasi are fast and free-willed, even for other genasi, and in some ways represent many of the stereotypes about genasi in general. For instance, while most genasi see one another as parts of a larger family this is particularly true for air genasi, and the bloodlines of many air genasi are so old and so untraceable that air genasi, as a whole, tend to view one another as cousins—even air genasi they've never met before. Likewise, though this bond of kinship is strong, it is also highly competitive, another trait which is typical of all genasi, but particularly true for air genasi.
Like all genasi, air genasi are proud of their heritage and are more than happy to indulge in spectacular shows to awe those unfamiliar with their race, a characteristic that can sometimes be off-putting to others or make air genasi overconfident. Air genasi see themselves as the inheritors of the sky, the wind, the very air of the world. Before the Spellplague and the subsequent conquest of Calimshan by genasi, most air genasi who dwelt within the southern land's borders were not so fortunate and instead were subjected to fear and prejudice.
Air genasi, regardless of whether or not they're actually related, tend to view all other members of their subrace as part of a larger extended family. However, in spite of this, air genasi are still fiercely independent and view one another through a competitive lens. Unlike the members of some races, who might feel inclined to help others of their race, air genasi feel no such compunction and see the weakness of other genasi as a reaffirmation of their own worth.
The powerful drive and strong willed nature of air genasi makes them in some few cases, excellent leaders. These charismatic individuals band together form mercenary companies, arcane cabals, or mercantile groups. Some of these groups, made up entirely of air genasi, even take air genasi from human parents to raise them amongst their own kind. Since many such groups fall apart within a year these children often end up living with just one or two of the band and develop a sense of community that, prior to the transplantation of Akanûl during the Spellplague, was fairly unusual amongst genasi.
Magic and religion
The vast majority of air genasi feel a strong pull to the elemental energies of the world, more so than even most genasi and particularly favor spells that involve the air domain. Those genasi who become wizards usually specialize as evokers or conjurers.
Like most genasi, air genasi do not have any one deity they predominantly cling to but many of the race seek out deities who hold sway over the winds and air. Many air genasi clerics, for instance, worship the primordial Akadi, and she is perhaps the most commonly worshiped being amongst air genasi, in large part due to her association with air elementals other than djinn and the belief that she is herself the ancestor of some air genasi. Other such beings of the wind worshiped by air genasi include the gods Sseth, Sheela Peryroyl, and Valkur. Not all worship deities of the wind however, and in Amn many also worship Selûne, goddess of the moon.
Some genasi feel particularly drawn to the elven god of the skies, Aerdrie Faenya. This is particularly true for air genasi who feel strong ties to avariels and other Tel'Quessir. Aerdrie's genasi worshipers end to act as protectors of avian creatures and vital links between the avariels and other races.
Auril, the Frost Maiden, also holds sway over a large number of air genasi and some believe the goddess spawned a lineage of genasi, marked by their unusual pale blue skin. Some of her worshipers are sadistic zealots, relishing in the power of their cold-touched magic. Prior to the Spellplague, many genasi worshiped Shaundakul, whose faith was on the upswing before the disaster. Like Auril, it is believed Shaundakul is responsible for one of the many windsoul lineages, having taken a human lover long ago in Myth Drannor. His male descendants are marked by a pale, white beard.
For some genasi who enjoy destruction for its own sake, Talos has a vast appeal. In the land of Calimshan, where many air genasi live, the god is worshiped by the name of Bhaelros,, where he is often worshiped. Outside of the desert land evil druids and rangers are often drawn to him and acquire a talent for large-scale battle magic. These worshipers tend to be boastful and proud of their ancestry, even as they commit atrocities, giving the manifestation as a whole a poor reputation across the land.
Relations with Other Races
Although air genasi can be arrogant and proud, most have enough wisdom to recognize the strengths of other races, particularly the Tel'Quessir, with whom, with the exception of drow, they share a love of open spaces. Air genasi do not care much for dwarves, however, who they feel are overly closed-minded and too comfortable in their stony, subterranean homes, a view which carries over to most gnomes as well, with the exception of those who favor the surface world.
Halflings, as fellow wanderers, are often welcomed as companions by air genasi. Though air genasi tend to view half-orcs as brutes they value and respect the strength of the race and choose their words carefully amongst its members. Humans are generally accepted although air genasi view the human tendency to settle down unfavorably. Of the other planetouched, air genasi have little overall opinion, though they tend to view their own touch from an outside plane as superior to that of tieflings, aasimars, or even other genasi.
While some air genasi stem from other lineages a great deal are descended from the djinn who once ruled over the land of Calimshan and who have recently returned to power in the wake of the Spellplague. These djinn often took human concubines and from these unions were born half-elementals, who eventually had children of their own—children who were air genasi. When the djinn were overthrown many of their number and their descendants were slain or driven to another plane but many others went into hiding.
With the Spellplague, this status quo changed and many of the hidden genasi scattered throughout Calimshan rose to serve Calim, a powerful djinni noble from the ancient times of djinn rule over the desert land. These windsoul genasi quickly overwhelmed the human population of the land, enslaving those who were not killed or did not flee. However, the windsouls quickly found an enemy in the firesoul genasi led by the efreeti Memnon, Calim's ancient rival, and as such the land of Calimshan was quickly embroiled in an endless war between the two elemental armies, with humans and other races caught in the middle.
It was also during the Spellplague that the nation of Akanûl first appeared on the face of Faerûn, being transplanted from the distant continent of Shyr on Abeir. This genasi-dominated nation has a disproportionate number of windsouls, due in part to its terrain and large number of earthmotes, which has an influence on secondary manifestation acquired by young genasi children. However, while windsoul genasi are common, they do not vastly outnumber other manifestations, which are also common in the land.
The djinn then began to think of the windsouled as children, instead of bastard races, due to their loyalty to Calim. The djinn themselves had no real intention in ruling Calimport, but decided it to be a good stronghold for their plans to free Lord Calim. They then began acting as the vizars, led by Shahrokh, to the genasi ruler of Calimport, Marod el Araphan. They did this to ensure that things would not get out of hand under the rule of genasi, as they were "children", and to see to it that Lord Calim come back. When Shahrokh learnt of the location of the book Calim was trapped in, Marod was killed by his own son Cephas as the djinn had fled the city on Shahrokh's orders.
Because of their nature as planetouched, air genasi have no true homeland from which they originally come, but like many genasi they are more common than other planetouched. In particular air genasi can be found in Calimshan and Akanûl, though the race is found throughout all of the Lands of Intrigue, the Western Heartlands, and the Sword Coast as well.
Notable Air Genasi
- Michele Carter, Stacy Janssen eds. (2015). Princes of the Apocalypse. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 228–229. ISBN 978-0786965786.
- James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 71–72. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Richard Baker and James Wyatt (2004-03-13). Monster Update (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 5. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-10.
- Monte Cook (1996). The Planewalker's Handbook. Edited by Michele Carter. (TSR), p. 72. ISBN 978-0786904600.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 114. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 115. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 116. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 98. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 114–115. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.