Friday, July 26, 2013


I’m at a disadvantage writing genie posts.  Since I didn’t play Planescape or Al-Qadim, I’m always approaching them with less background knowledge on hand than I’d like.  The good news is, Pathfinder’s shaitans are not D&D’s dao, so it’s okay that I’m starting from scratch.   Dao were evil slavers whose gem-mining operations in the Great Dismal Delve truly lived up to the name.  Presumably shaitans aren’t saints—they are lawful neutral, described as proud and boastful, and their name has inescapably dark antecedent—but they aren’t as grim as their D&D cousins. 

They’re still nasty fighters, though.  Unless PCs attack from aloft, they’re attacking the shaitan on her home turf.  And a few bull rushes combined with some bad saves could easily leave a party temporarily encased in solid stone—bad news if your spellcasters are the first to get engulfed, or if your PCs can’t handle the 5d6 damage cost of getting expelled a few minutes later.  Meanwhile, stoneskin makes her tough and plane shift makes her hard to pin down.  In other words, good luck.  (And that’s not even taking into accounting a shaitan pasha’s ability to grant wishes to non-genie allies).

One final thought: With the other genies, it’s pretty easy to mentally just transpose the Arabian Nights onto the Elemental Planes: djinn live in cloud palaces, marids in undersea palaces, efreet in brass palaces, etc.  With shaitans that doesn’t work so well.  Thanks to their stone glide and metalmorph abilities, they don’t need to provide doorways, hallways, or even air in many parts of their domains.  So as a dungeon designer, it’s not enough to dump a bunch of onion-domed towers underground to represent a shaitan’s home.  Other models are close at hand, however—I’m thinking, for instance, of the dark, hemmed-in vision of Tangiers that appears in the film version of Naked Lunch, and the cave complexes of Cappadocia in Turkey are perfect.

A county literally has its foundations rocked—not to mention ripped apart—by shaitan miners.  They see nothing wrong with their actions, as their permits are all in order.  The question is, who signed them?

Just as sea captains will impress able-bodied hands sailing under the flags of enemy nations, shaitans will sometimes press rival elemental creatures into service in their mines—mephits and azers especially.  While not the outright slavery of the efreet, it can still mean months of arduous, backbreaking labor.  The leaders of an azer settlement object to this high-handed treatment, and seek adventurers who will help organize a resistance against the earth genies.

A greedy xorn devoured a magical bejeweled pheasant statue, then sought refuge in a shaitan settlement.  Adventurers hired to track down the xorn and retrieve the statue (if it hasn’t already been digested) will need to contend with the legalistic genies to get safe passage…and if they need the use of the genies’ earth magic as well, they can expect to owe some pretty hefty favors.

Pathfinder Bestiary 143

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