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The dao (sing & pl; pronounced: /ddow[7]) were a variation of genie from the Elemental Plane of Earth.[8]


Dao were generally evil beings that saw nothing wrong in enslaving others, despite greatly fearing the loss of their own freedom and despising whoever would imprison them. However, they would almost always return acts of fairness and kindness.[4]

Dao took great pride in things that were well made and plots that were well-planned.[4]


Dao were impervious to harm from earth-based and earth-affecting spells or abilities,[4][9] such as petrification,[1] including those spells of the province of sand.[4] They could also effortlessly burrow through unworked, non-magical layers of earth and stone without disturbing the material.[1][9] And the could safely carry inanimate objects with them while doing so.[9]

Once per day a dao could grant a limited wish, but could only do so to creatures native to the Prime Material plane. They could not grant wishes to other genies. And whatever wish they granted, it was always fulfilled in some twisted or malignant way. For example, a mortal might wish for shelter and will then discover a palace, only for it be inhabited by some foul monster.[4]

Like many genies the dao were capable of freely traveling between all of the elemental planes, as well as the Prime Material, Astral, and Ethereal planes. However, they rarely did so as they were generally "homebodies."[4]

Whenever a dao was killed their body would disintegrate into a fine crystalline powder, leaving behind whatever objects that were on their person.[1]


Dao possessed an innate spellcasting ability. This allowed them to cast the spells detect evil and good, detect magic, and stone shape at will. They could cast move earth, passwall, and tongues each three times per day. And they could cast the spells conjure elemental (earth), gaseous form, invisibility, phantasmal killer, plane shift, wall of stone,[1] misdirection, and spectral force each once per day.[9]


Beyond their vast array of magical abilities, dao were known to fight up-close with their fists and mauls.[1]


A dao carrying a chest and a carpet.

Out of all the genie races the dao were considered to be the most industrious. They spent much of their time in the pursuit of mining, shaping, and digging. And it was these pursuits that made slavery so common in their society.[4]


Genies literally carved out an empire from the Elemental Plane of Earth, called the Great Dismal Delve, based strongly on slave labor. They were ruled from their capital city of the Sevenfold Mazework by their Great Khan Kabril Ali al-Sara al-Zalazil.[10]

Beyond the Elemental Plane of Earth, dao could be found living in great numbers on the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Dust, the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Minerals, the Para-Elemental Plane of Magma, and the Para-Elemental Plane of Ooze.[11]

Beyond those planes, dao could be found roaming with magical protection across all of the Inner Planes, as well as the Astral and Ethereal planes, in search of creatures to enslave.[11]

Sometimes lone dao could be found on the Prime Material plane, hoping to open up new markets and supply lines for their empires. When on that plane they preferred to be in mountainous terrain, as it reminded them of their home plane, while mortal cities made them feel unease.[4] Much like their home plane, some dao ran gem-mining operations on the Material Plane. When it came to specific locales on the Material Plane, they could especially be found in the wild regions of Zakhara.[8]


Dao were generally on both speaking and trading terms with efreet,[4] trading such things as worked metals in return for minerals.[9] When it came to other types of genies, they held nothing but scorn and hatred towards djinn, marids, and jann.[4] Dao that lived on the Para-Elemental Plane of Magma sometimes engaged in warfare with the efreet that inhabited the plane.[11]

Other creatures native to the Elemental Plane of Earth generally avoid the dao in fear of being enslaved. Creatures that could move through stone, like the xorn, were used by them as scouts to determine future digging sites.[4]

Powerful wizards on the Prime Material were often known to lure dao on to that plane and trap them inside of magical gemstones or iron flasks.[1]



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Further Reading[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 141, 143. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. Doug Hyatt (February 2012). “Bestiary: Dao and Marid”. In Steve Winter ed. Dungeon #199 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 53–59.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan (September 2001). Manual of the Planes 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 172–173. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 Jeff Grubb (August 1992). Land of Fate (Monster Sheets). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-1560763291.
  5. Gary Gygax (October 1982). “Featured Creatures”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #66 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 20–21.
  6. Wolfgang Baur, Steve Kurtz (1992). Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix. (TSR, Inc). ISBN l-56076-370-1.
  7. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 26.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jeff Grubb and Andria Hayday (April 1992). Arabian Adventures. (TSR, Inc), pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-1560763581.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 127. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  10. Wolfgang Baur (November 1993). Secrets of the Lamp. Genie Lore. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 5–6, 11–17. ISBN 978-1560766476.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Monte Cook, ed. (1998). Monstrous Compendium Planescape Appendix III. Edited by Michele Carter and Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc.), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-0751-7.
  12. Tim Beach, Tom Prusa and Steve Kurtz (1993). “Golden Huzuz”. City of Delights (TSR, Inc), p. 51. ISBN 1-56076-589-5.