Jann may live in the Material Plane, but they are genies—and you would be wise not to forget it. They can be gracious hosts, whirling dervishes, planar tour guides, and implacable enemies—all in the course of a single lavish dinner. Better brush up on your Diplomacy.
Like a lot of monsters with a strong cultural heritage, the easiest way to make jann more interesting is to really get into and draw from the Arabian and Sindh myths and stories in which they feature. Or you can go the opposite route and locate them in another cultural context—the proud jann would make perfectly good samurai, paladins, or Native American-influenced spirit folk as well. Or you can play up their special abilities: What if jann loathe interlopers from the Ethereal like phase spiders, or have a fierce trade war in the Astral with the mercane…? It’s up to you.
In the Land of the Blazing Sands, men rule the cities, and the jann rule the wilds. Not counting the camel-riding nomads, jann account for almost a third of the people one encounters in the desert, and almost every significant oases and spot of natural beauty or elemental power has its own jann protector. Many travelers will never see them, as they often remain invisible to avoid having to play host, but their vengeance on despoilers and infidels can be swift.
Having fallen in love after being fostered together, a jann and his human bride are set to wed. Chaos and tidal waves erupt when the groom’s marid godfather objects to the match at the 11th hour. Then efreet slavers try to abduct the entire wedding party…
A jann sheik is bound to offer hospitality to his night hag and mercane guest—as his arbiter vizier keeps reminding him. But even extraplanar guests wear out their welcome after three months! The sheik is quite ready to hire adventurers to “encourage” the pair to leave. Of course, if they are not subtle or persuasive enough, he may be obligated as a host to kill them for their insolence.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 141
I’m about to get myself in trouble for making a sweeping generalization I’m not qualified to make:
I don’t feel like jann have ever gotten the attention and props they deserved.
But here’s the thing. I’ve never read any of the Al-Qadim or Zakhara books. (I bought the Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures Box Set PDF when Paizo was having a gone-at-midnight fire sale, but I’ve haven’t yet cracked it—and I had meant to buy the Land of Fate Box Set PDF anyway, since I was more interested in the setting than the rules set.) So I could be totally wrong; there might be reams of material on the jann I’ve never read. If you’re an Al-Qadim fan and can enlighten me (or better yet, want someone to give your books to…hey, I’m just sayin’) let me know!
With that caveat out of the way. I think jann are super-interesting (ditto sulis from Bestiary 3 and the Advanced Race Guide). What does it mean to be a genie of lesser stature…? To be both more and less than your single-elemental counterparts…? To live with one foot in the Material world and one foot on the Planes…? Jann make your game world’s deserts more magical in the same way that fey do the forests, and that makes me a fan.