Heroes of the New Day
No one is entirely sure where the Genasi came from, or what, exactly, they are.
The basics are fairly straightforward: Genasi seem to be tied to one of several elements, and those elements tend to define their appearance and behaviors. Or at least that’s all outsiders tend to see.
Those who are “in the know”, however, know that it’s much more than that. Every Genasi manifests a dominant element upon birth, and that element helps to define her appearance, traits, and special powers. However, Genasi can learn to manifest additional elements (and quasi-elements) as they progress through life (via the Extra Manifestation feat), and they can choose which elemental manifestation to adopt each time they take a short rest. Those that have multiple manifestations can seem a bit mad (with each manifestation being almost a different personality), but even that isn’t quite that simple. Sure, your skin tone, “hair”, eyecolor, and general demeanor shift… but it’s still you (or at least mostly you).
Oh, a note about hair. Genasi “hair” isn’t really hair, but an elemental echo that magically creates something akin to hair. So a firesoul’s hair would be warm and flicker like flames, while a watersoul’s would be cool and flow easily. There are all sorts of overly ambitious human artisans who will pay exhorbitant amounts of money for properly preserved Genasi hair of different manifestations, as the resulting garments one might make (with the proper skill) could fetch any price imaginable.
Some Genasi believe themselves to be descendants of genies, creatures of magic that define the elements which comprise them. Others believe that the first Genasi were sentinels created by the gods to monitor the elemental energies that the Primordials had such sway over. Still others think that the Genasi were a final creation of the Primordials before the Gods declared their final victory and took control of the world. Then there are those who believe that Genasi are simply souls that got trapped in the Elemental Chaos, reincarnating as creatures of the energies that surrounded them.
But as I said, nobody knows for sure.
Many Genasi can feel the Elemental Chaos within them, and constantly feel the struggle to walk the line between creatures of law and of chaos. Others feel more at home with their element than with other beings, and live lives of hermitude and contemplation. Still others go mad and become crazy elemental sorcerers who seek to destroy all in their path. You know, like you do…
There are some Genasi communities that NEVER shift their manifestations. Usually these are isolated groups that do so by necessity: an underwater village would always have the watersoul manifestation in order to breath, for example. “Multiple Manifests”, as they’re known to other Genasi, can be viewed as cosmopolitan, wise, or even crazy. Opinions on the benefits vs. drawbacks of multiple manifestations vary widely.
Base manifestations tend to be consistent among families, but a newborn Genasi will sometimes manifest based on the element most near to her, regardless of how her parents manifest.
The standard birth manifestations of earthsoul, stormsoul, firesoul, windsoul, and watersoul are not all that Genasi can manifest. Those who have gone deep into their own internal magic have discovered other quasi-elements that represent the darker energies that are “elemental” in places like the Abyss… cindersoul, plaguesoul, causticsoul, and voidsoul. There are also rumours of Genasi from the hottest desert regions who have discovered new variations of the firesoul: sunsoul, embersoul, magmasoul, and sandsoul.
Genasi are hunted by elemental wizards for use in spells to gain greater command of the elements. There is also a rumor that the only way to raise a slain (or slumbering) Primordial is to get the blood of one of each of the five genasi manifestations. For this reason, Genasi are often quite suspicious of elemental arcanists and those who ask too many questions. Then there’s the hair thing, which no respecting Genasi would ever actually allow his hair to be used for. In general, Genasi are always wary of poachers who probably don’t even know exactly what they’re doing, and who will probably kill or maim a captured Genasi out of ignorance of their biology and nature.
Stuff My Racist Relatives Say
“You look at a human, and you see a being unconnected to anything. He looks at you, and he sees a mystical crop he can harvest.”
(Many “racist” statements depend on manifestation… for example, an earthsoul genasi would like dwarves, goliaths, and other stone-like races, while a windsoul would think they were all too sedentary.)