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  • D&D 5e: Let’s Build A Genasi!

    August 23, 2021 11 min read

    Genasi let players become the children of genies and mortals, making them capable of exploring the Elemental Planes where ordinary mortals would perish. In Dungeons & Dragons 5e, Genasi are the most prominent “planetouched” ancestries in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, alongside the Tiefling and Aasimar. Players who make a Genasi become attuned to one of the four elements, giving them unique perks and interesting storylines.


    If you’re interested in dabbling in the powers of genies, you can read this quick guide to make yourself a Genasi for your D&D 5e campaign.

    Basics: The Traits

    • Ability Score Increase: CON + 2
    • Age: Like Humans, Genasi reach adulthood by the time they become late teens. However, they live longer than, living for up to 120 years.
    • Size and Speed: Medium (5 to 6ft tall, built like humans), 30ft walking speed.
    • Alignment: Genasi grow up to be self-reliant and independent, making them bear Neutral alignments.
    • Racial Features: Genasi have these racial qualities:
      • Languages, of which Genasi speak, write, and read Primordial and Common. Primordial as a language is composed of hard consonants and harsh syllables.


    Players who choose to be Genasi can come from one of the four Elemental Planes, all of which grants different abilities depending on their choice.

    Genasi Variants

    As Air Genasi, players descend from Djinn and, like their ancestors, inherit their aloof and moody personalities. They have light blue eyes, hair, and skin. They speak with breathy voices that have faint echoes, with some growing crystals from their scalps or weird patterns in their flesh. They gain these traits:


    • Ability Score Increase: DEX + 1
    • Unending Breath, which lets the Air Genasi hold their breath without end as long as they’re not incapacitated.
    • Mingle with the Wind, which lets the Air Genasi cast Levitate once every short rest using CON as their Spellcasting Ability.


    As Earth Genasi, players descend from the Dao and inherit their cunning. They appreciate solid power and superior strength and often think about decisions very carefully and considering everything. They often have bits of dust that fall off their body or even seem polished and shiny as gemstones or maybe have smooth metallic skin. Others have fissures that emit faint light or even embedded crystals. They gain these traits:


    • Ability Score Increase: STR + 1
    • Earth Walk, which allows the Earth Genasi to navigate any difficult terrain of earth-like nature without any extra movement.
    • Merge with Stone, which lets Earth Genasi use Pass Without Trace once after a long rest using CON as their Spellcasting Ability.


    As Fire Genasi, players descend from the efreet - taking along their volatile mood, making them snappy and impatient. They are extremely hot, as though they’re burning inside, as reflected by their ash-gray, coal-black, or flaming-red skin tones. Some have fiery red hair which glows when they feel extreme and others even have fire instead of hair. They gain these traits:


    • Ability Score Increase: INT + 1
    • Darkvision, which lets the Fire Genasi see 60ft of dim light as though it were bright, and in darkness as though it’s dim. Given their ties to their Elemental Plane, instead of greys, their vision in darkness is tinted red.
    • Fire Resistance, which makes the Fire Genasi Resistant to fire damage.
    • Reach to the Blaze, which enables them to use the Produce Flame cantrip.
      • At 3rd Level, they can cast Burning Hands as a 1st Level spell once every long rest, with CON as their Spellcasting Ability.


    As Water Genasi, players take pride in their independence and love to wander freely like the ocean and the seas. Most Water Genasi look as though they’re freshly bathed, smelling of clean water or fresh rain. They have large eyes, as well as green and blue skin. Their hair seems as though it floats freely, like underwater. They gain these traits:


    • Ability Score Increase: WIS + 1
    • Acid Resistance, making Water Genasi Resistant to acid damage.
    • Amphibious, making Water Genasi capable of breathing in water and air.
    • Swim, granting them 30ft of swimming speed.
    • Call to the Wave, which enables them to use the Shape Water cantrip.
      • At 3rd Level, they can cast Create or Destroy Water as a 2nd Level spell once every long rest, with CON as their Spellcasting Ability.

     The Best Classes To Build

    • Cleric: Thanks to the elemental ancestries of the Genasi, they also share inner temperaments and behavior akin to the elements. It’s interesting to see how a Genasi Cleric may balance their natural moods and affinity with nature should they choose a deity to serve. Moreover, their relationship with both the Elemental Planes and the Celestial Plane may become an interesting plot point to explore that’s worth developing on part of both the Player and the Dungeon Master.
      • Thanks to the inherent CON Ability Score bonus of the Genasi, they almost fit into any Class. However, a Cleric might find this bonus useful most of all, as their position as healers make them extremely relevant in the battlefield and make them likely targets. A boost in HP will always be handy especially for the Genasi Cleric who needs to be mobile when offering support. Moreover, thanks to their elemental affinity, a Genasi Cleric may approach battle in different ways. For instance, the WIS-based Water Genasi becomes the most optimal choice for a Cleric.
      • Moreover, Genasi Clerics also have the choice of leaning away from their elemental affinities to maximize their opportunities to Multiclass. For instance, an Air Genasi Cleric will have an innate DEX Ability Score bonus, meaning they’re more likely to dodge spell attacks. This bonus also gives the Air Genasi room to eventually Multiclass into a Ranger, enabling them to become a ranged healing class.
      • Thanks to the various elemental affinities and variants of the Genasi, a Player’s Cleric choice may actually further diversify their strategies. After all, the innate traits of a Genasi’s element will enable Players to choose a Domain that takes full advantage of these additional features. For instance, an Earth Genasi Cleric will have an innate STR bonus, making them great choices for melee combatants. As such, an Earth Genasi Cleric of the War Domain can use Channel Divinity: Guided Strike or War God’s Blessing to give relevant attack bonuses to themselves and others.
    • Fighter: A Genasi may have traveled far and wide both inside and outside the Elemental Planes to learn quite a few fighting styles and techniques of their own. Moreover, the harsh environments in the Elemental Planes might prove just enough motivation for the Genasi to learn how to fight and defend themselves not just from the environment, but from the other threats that plague the realms throughout their journey. Prior to meeting the party, the Genasi Fighter may offer their battle insight and weapon mastery to the fray.
      • Given the various Ability Score bonuses of the Genasi, Players might find themselves happy with the wealth of options for their character. In fact, a good approach in developing a Genasi concept is to capitalize on these bonuses when choosing particular Multiclass options. After all, the Fighter is great for accumulating Feats and even “transitioning” into other Classes for further flexibility. For instance, a DEX-based Air Genasi can work well with the Rogue and Ranger Multiclass, while am INT-based Fire Genasi might work well with Wizard and Artificer Multiclass.
      • Thanks to the flexible nature of the Fighter, Genasi can see this Class as a perfect jumping-off point to their ideal Multiclass. After all, the Ability Score Improvement (or Feats) option of the Fighter allows Players to tailor-fit their Genasi towards a particular Class archetype, or they may even opt for one of the Martial Archetypes of the Fighter to add further flexibility to the battlefield. This, combined with their elemental affinities can make the Genasi Fighter a formidable foe.
      • Players who don’t want to Multiclass with their Genasi Fighter can still capitalize on their chosen element with the Martial Archetypes, as they also offer some sort of “dipping” into other Classes without forcing players to multiclass. For instance, the Battle Master gives the Genasi Fighter access to maneuvers that can manipulate the battlefield to their favor. Meanwhile, the Eldritch Knight gives Fighters the spellcasting ability of Wizards without depending too much on INT.
    • Monk: Interestingly, a Genasi’s approach to their unique elemental temperament may be an innate desire to achieve enlightenment. In their travels in the Material Plane, the Genasi may end up joining a Monastic Tradition in order to learn the best ways to hone their elemental affinity and use it to defend themselves and others around them. Thanks to the many Traditions available in D&D 5e, a Genasi may find just the right Tradition that fits both their flavor and their Player’s chosen history.
      • Thanks to the innate CON Ability Score bonus of the Genasi, they can become hardy Monks that possess quite the durable body. This remains essential in the battlefield, as the Monk will often become a part of the frontlines for the party. Moreover, their innate Ability Score bonus as per their elemental variant may give the Genasi Monk the opportunity to dip into other Classes as a Multiclass or capitalize in their bonuses for combat.
      • The elemental connection of the Genasi can make them interesting monks, especially when combined with the Monk’s innate Ki ability. Thanks to Ki, Genasi Monk have access to a unique pool of “power” they can use to perform enhanced attacks or displays of power that can turn the tide of battle. With the Genasi’s utility abilities, the Genasi Monk may avoid spending Ki points and instead produce similar effects with their Genasi’s particular elemental tricks.
      • Interestingly, the elemental affinity of the Genasi can open a lot of options for a Monastic Tradition. Players may immediately get the association with the Four Elements, but they may also get creative and use their character’s background. For instance, a Fire Genasi can become a Sun Soul Monk, while the Water Genasi can become a Drunker Master. Meanwhile, the Air Genasi can become a part of the Open Hand, while the Earth Genasi can also be a Kensei Monk.
    • Wizard: A Genasi’s elemental affinity may prove enough to awaken the sizzle of arcane power that’s been locked inside of them. Thanks to their elemental ancestry, a Dungeon Master may surmise that they should have an intimate connection to arcane energies in the nature around them, making it easier for the Genasi to tap into them, hone them, and utilize them. However, instead of having a Sorcerous Origin, this arcane affinity may have come from the natural tendencies of Genasi to be a conduit of energy, something the Player and Dungeon Master may use in future sessions or even formulate the Genasi Wizard’s backstory.
      • The natural CON Ability Score bonus of the Genasi might not immediately help the Wizard, since the latter requires an investment in INT. However, the boost the CON bonus provides does make the Genasi Wizard much hardier and more difficult to kill, which helps greatly considering their lack of HP. Of course, what the Wizard lacks on HP they do make up with their arsenal of spells. Their basic spell list alone comprises both powerful spells and handy utility options that make them one of the most versatile classes in the game.
      • The elemental affinity of the Genasi make them ideal for Wizards, as they can boost their arcane prowess with whatever utility options their traits offer them. Moreover, despite the rather “simple” nature of the Genasi’s elemental spells, they still save valuable spell slots that the Wizard will find useful to cast more powerful or more useful spells in the long run.
      • Interestingly, Genasi Wizards don’t exactly rely on their base class features to get them going, but instead taps into their Arcane Tradition. Their expertise in a particular Tradition enhances their ability to cast certain spells. Genasi Wizards who want a more offensive role might want to tap into Bladesinger, Evocation, Necromancy, or War Magic.
    • Artificer: A Genasi’s background from being in another plane may be enough to spark a sense of inquisitiveness and curiousness that no other person can understand. Perhaps a Genasi’s experience travelling the realms may have motivated them to look for opportunities to innovate and invent things, objects, and knick-knacks that can help the party (and hopefully the world) be more advanced and make things much easier for the people around them. As an Artificer, a Genasi may be able to utilize their many tools to invent gadgets, use specialized ranged weaponry, and use massive yet augmented physical weapons to bash opponents.
      • The Genasi’s natural CON Ability Score bonus can greatly aid their Artificer specialization, as the extra CON will enable them to last longer in combat and to ensure their trinkets synergize with the party’s battle strategy much more efficiently. Moreover, the Genasi’s elemental affinity gives them a ton of opportunities to Multiclass into other classes or take full advantage of the Artificer’s Magical Tinerking, Infuse Item, and Tool Expertise features.
      • Thanks to their elemental affinity, it makes sense for the Genasi to have access to advanced civilization over in the Elemental Planes. Moreover, Players and DMs can offer a unique flavor to their Genasi, stating they need certain Artificer technology in order to live so they constantly try to innovate. Regardless, thanks to the utility features of the Artificer, any kind of Genasi might transform into unique Artificers in the battlefield.
      • Despite the reliance on INT and spellcasting, Artificers don’t slack in the combat department. Their specializations, albeit few for now, rely on using their tinkering abilities in useful ways. Genasi Artificers can become Alchemist to tinker with potions and other trinkets, while they can offer massive defensive bonuses with the Armorer specialization. Meanwhile, they can become ranged and melee combatants with the Artillerist and Battle Smith, respectively.

     Interesting Character Backgrounds

    • Acolyte (Player’s Handbook): Your Genasi may have had a spiritual awakening that encouraged them to stay in the Material Plane. Or perhaps your Genasi is out to look for enlightenment, especially when they discover their elemental heritage. As a denizen of the elements, are they allowed to worship divinity? What is life after death like for someone who isn’t made of flesh, but rather the very air they breathe, the ground they walk on, the water they drink, or the fires they use for warmth? A Genasi Acolyte may be asking all of these questions, opening opportunities for an adventure that may serve as a way to engage discourage with a party that’s into philosophy.
      • Tools: None
      • Language: Any two languages of their choice.
      • Proficiencies: INT (Religion), WIS (Insight)
    • Clan Crafter (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide): A Genasi travelling the Material Plane might be representing their family from the planes. A Genasi Clan Crafter may specialize in producing particular wares, equipment or even weapons to sell in merchant towns and seaport cities, and your Genasi may be one of these individuals. As an adventurer, you might be exploring the world in search of rare items, weapons, and equipment you want to replicate for your clan. Likewise, you might be searching for ancient methods and secrets about your practice in order to leave a mark in the world.
      • Tools: Artisan Tools x1
      • Language: Any one language of their choice.
      • Proficiencies: INT (History), WIS (Insight)
    • Guild Merchant (Player’s Handbook): A Genasi who’s been staying in the Material Plane for long enough may have developed a profession - and they may have been skilled in it enough to merit membership in one of the many popular professional guilds in the city. You might want to establish a new stall in the capital, or perhaps forge a partnership with other local distributors to get your product out there. Point is, a Genasi Guild Merchant has an initial focus on making business first, but they just keep on being dragged into battles and politics and exploration.
      • Tools: Artisan Tools x1
      • Language: Any one language of their choice.
      • Proficiencies: WIS (Insight), CHA (Persuasion)
    • Investigator (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide): A Genasi, regardless of their plane of origin, might carry an “aura” that leads people to them. After all, their unique nature lets them interact with the elements in a unique way and they can use their affinity for the elements to help them gather intelligence. A Genasi Investigator will surely be a unique sight to any party, as a crafty detective with elemental powers isn’t something people always see - even in adventuring groups. You may be in the middle of a murder investigation or called on by the local authorities to investigate something that would balloon up into a conflict you never signed up for.
      • Tools: Thieves’ Tools, Artisan’s Tools x1
      • Language: None
      • Proficiencies: INT (Investigation), INT (Religion)
    • Spy (Player’s Handbook): Interestingly enough, Genasi don’t solely have to come from separate planes with no interactions. In fact, your Genasi may encourage the DM to create an entire subplot surrounding interplanar politics, where one plane seeks to dominate the rest. Your Genasi can act as a Spy for one of these planes, looking for opportunities in the Material Plane to make allies or even circumvent the plans of the other planes in order for yours to emerge victorious in this interplanar Cold War.
      • Tools: Gaming Set x1, Thieves’ Tools
      • Language: None
      • Proficiencies: CHA (Deception), DEX (Stealth)