For players, djinn bring to mind whirlwinds and wishes—probably not in that order. Djinn also bring some Arabian flair to an otherwise generically Euro-ish multiverse (unless you choose to give them some other flavor, which might not be a bad idea). Djinn make great adversaries, because while they’re usually chaotic good, sore pride, a high-stakes bet, gold, sworn oaths, ancient enmities, or frustration at having spent too many years inside a lamp could all set them up to oppose your PCs. And then there’s the wish thing. In a globetrotting, Indiana Jones-style adventure, a djinn noble’s wishes offer pure possibility; in a darker, “Arabian Nights meets noir”-style campaign, PCs must weather the horror of facing adversaries who can alter the very fabric of reality.
A devil has commandeered a floating tower out in the wastes. To cater to his mortal aides, he has contracted two djinn to provide them with created food and win, as well as transport them in and out of the tower. By now the djinn have tired of the bargain, regretting the gold they earned forces them to serve such a vile master.
Rings, bottles, and lamps are the typical vessels for containing genie kind. But in astrology-obsessed Marien, a djinni is housed in the orrery, appearing when the model of the moon is put into proper alignment. His elemental anger at his confinement is what powers the orrery’s mechanisms—and is responsibly for the tornados that occasionally plague the city, leveling the poorer quarters.
A djinni vizier’s wishes all reveal themselves to have ill consequences. Investigation (divinatory or otherwise) reveals the djinni has been cursed. The proud djinni immediately recruits a party of sellswords to exact satisfaction from his efreeti archrival, but a hag coven unknown to the two is actually to blame.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 139
A little tidbit that caught my attention in the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting was a note that genies had shaped the culture of Calimshan. I liked that—it was a tidy explanation that implied real consequences to trafficking with other worlds. You can picture court wizards and architects (probably the same persons, actually; just look at Leonardo da Vinci’s résumé) desperately trying to sketch blueprints of the Plane of Air palaces they’d briefly glimpsed through the scrying pool, or imagine a marid noble consulting for some merchant prince.