Every cruel sultan. Every treacherous vizier. Every wish gone horribly wrong. The efreet are the worst of geniekind—the living embodiment of every bad thing that ever occurred in a One Thousand and One Nights tale. Still, unlike devils they are beings of fire, not evil, and their first loyalty is to their own power, pleasure, and luxury. All of which means they can be dealt with—if one is very careful. Indeed, they have a range of spell-like abilities (the ones that don’t involve fire, that is) that almost oblige them to interact with mortals—like wishes that do them no good and plane shifts that only effect willing targets— and their brazen cities are practically the only places worth visiting on their plane. Of course, the very fact that they seemed tied to mortal life could be the very reason the proud genies hate it so…
When dealing with devils—or evil beings in general—it’s best not to do so yourself, especially if you have a soul worth keeping. Efreet can be valuable go-betweens, for they have little to fear from the powers of the Lower Planes, and much in common with them. When a group of azatas needs to negotiate the release of prisoners with some demodands, they turn to the efreeti Mubalak the Fixer. But his rival Sim, another efreeti, is determined to both humiliate Mubalak and kill anyone he associates with—especially the mortal adventurers sent by the azatas to escort the prisoners.
An efreeti is trapped in a fresco on a mausoleum wall. Freeing him turns every building in a half-mile radiance to bronze, and magma bubbles up from the sewers. A magical iron ship-in-a-bottle in the local museum could re-trap him, but meanwhile he is busy using cowed slaves’ coerced wishes to reshape the city according to his tastes.
Not every efreeti seeks to be a malik. Estar’s operation straddles two worlds, with a luxurious iron hotel and gambling hall on the Plane of Fire, and a mortal semi-secret crime family the controls three coastal cities. A prodigious breeder and even more prodigious fosterer, Godfather Estar’s network of efreet, ifrits, jann, and mortal cutthroats and evokers continues to grow.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 140
Last week Metafilter introduced me to the Tome of Awesome. I’ve only skimmed a little, but so far I like the way the writers have handled monster societies. Like we try to do here (if in a less snarky way), they quickly get to the heart at what makes each species tick and why you should care (or not).