There are a ton of races that form due to the union of the elements and the material plane. These creatures tend to feel at odds with the Material Plane, but that does not stop them from making the plane their oyster. The Genasi are an incredibly powerful race in terms of raw potential. The elements have come to life to assist the races of the Forgotten Realms (or whatever world you play on). Of course, they’re going to have great potential! Figure out where to use this potential best in our Genasi 5E guide.
Genasi 5E Lore
Genasi were introduced in the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, a free supplement for 5E. These creatures are created during an accident of birth, either when a being is suffused with the power of the elements… Or when a Genie falls in love with a mortal. The latter tends to be more likely, though the material plane crosses with elemental planes more often than most mortals believe.
A Genasi tends to be the same size and general shape as the mortal they were born to… And will probably never see the Genie side of their family in their lifetime. However, they often have qualities that are very similar to that parent; a Fire Genasi has red skin and occasionally burning hair, while an Earth Genasi’s skin might be cracked and brown like the ground. Genasi are certainly rarely loved; at times, their mortal parents may not even want them. This forces Genasi to wander, and look for their Genie side.
Despite this oppression, Genasi understand their potential, and see themselves as equaling any challenge. This can cause extreme failure to hit Genasi hard, since their confidence is one of the few things their parents didn’t take away from them.
Genasi are naturally isolated, and this can cause problems for the strange-looking Genasi. Despite their potential and higher than average durability, Genasi are looked down upon. Many Genasi flock to larger cities, where Lizardfolk and Gnomes can easily mask the strangeness of Genasi. However, on the frontier, Genasi find it hard to find a home that can accept them. They might try to find a nice, distant place that most connects with their plane of origin; a Fire Genasi might live near a semi-active volcano, or close to the western regions of Faerun.
Genasi tend to use their mortal parent’s naming convention. Check out our Genasi naming guide for more ideas.
The Genasi can be of many, many different planes, but for statistics they fall into four categories; Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. Each of these are born from a different type of Genie, or are created when the plane they are named after interact with the Material plane in a particular way.
- +2 Constitution. The most flexible stat in the game. Constitution is essential to every single class, but is important to none of them. Raising your health is an essential task for every character to work towards, and Constitution saves are the most likely to save you from death. However, no class requires you to use Constitution, and it’s not a good offensive stat.
- Medium Size, 30 Ft Speed. This is average, and you don’t have any good weight or height changes to work with. It’s a bit strange to not have the ability to become a small race, since Genies can theoretically fall in love with those… Oh well!
- Languages. Primordial is… kind of whatever. You might be able to communicate with elementals or nature spirits, but this won’t be the best bridge for diplomacy.
Air Genasi are the most chaotic of Genasi, with lighter colors for their body and with a breathy, echoed voice. Their mood shifts like the breeze, but they tend to go with the flow when unangered.
- +1 Dexterity. An incredibly useful stat. Dexterity improves attack rolls, AC, skill checks, and is a popular saving throw. Almost all classes in the game can get use out of a tiny bit of extra Dexterity!
- Unending Breath. Theoretically, this can be read as “can breath in any situation.” Of course, in order to benefit from this, you’d need to have some kind of warning beforehand. If you’re ambushed and immediately gassed, you won’t be able to hold your breath in time. However, in other cases, this can absolutely destroy DM plans. This ability is hilarious, but far from important.
- Mingle with the Wind. Levitate is far from the strongest spell in the books. Clever use of this ability can make it almost as good as Hold Person, but with better puzzle solving abilities. In general, however, this is just a funny little ability that can let you pseudo-fly.
Earth Genasi have evil blood in their veins, but that does not make them evil. They have a sturdy resolve, and think much before acting on instinct. They may attract dust or pebbles, or their skin might be made of a metallic material.
- +1 Strength. Strength is good in a few select situations. It’s usually outshined by the more versatile Dexterity, since Strength is only good for melee attacks, a rarely-used Save, and carrying capacity. However, melee Strength builds hit very hard, making Strength great for any melee character that isn’t a Rogue.
- Earth Walk. A niche skill. You have to ask a lot of questions before this ability can be used; does this rubble count as stone? These cracks in the ground are magical in nature, but they are technically earth, right? In which case, this ability can sometimes double or quadruple your movement speed across specific patches of land… Which, while fine, is not going to come up often,
- Merge with Stone. This spell doesn’t make much sense with the trait’s name, but throwing a +10 on the stealth rolls of your entire party is amazing. You’ll get to where you want without being seen, no problem. This is especially good on a race that is most likely going to be wearing Heavy armor.
Fire Genasi are impatient and make snap decisions, and revel in their extremely unique ancestry. They range from having pinker skin than normal to being actually on fire and smelling of brimstone.
- +1 Intelligence. Normally, Intelligence might be the worst stat in the game. Intelligence skill checks are rarely useful, if ever, and the save is extremely rare to use. However, when paired with a class that uses Intelligence for spellcasting, this ability score can be ridiculously powerful. Just… make sure you end up using this in some way.
- Darkvision. Awesome, you don’t need a torch or anything. Seeing in shades of red is much different than the grey that most races see in, but this should rarely come into play. Unless the character that you’re looking for covers themselves in a red cloak. That’d be a 20 Intelligence play.
- Fire Resistance. Incredible. Fire is the most common elemental damage type, and you just slash it in half. You’ll be great in fights against magic users of most classes.
- Reach to the Blaze. Produce Flame is a valuable and fine offensive Cantrip, though rarely as potent as Firebolt. Burning Hands is very quickly outscaled, but can be okay for a last-ditch effort. All-in-all, not the best spell lineup compared to the other Genasi. You make up for it with Darkvision and Fire Resistance, though!
The Water Genasi are probably the most selfish of the group, though this is just because they are freedom-oriented. Most Water Genasi constantly attract beads of water, and smell as if they constantly have rain upon them. Particularly elemental Water Genasi might look as though they have constantly floating hair.
- +1 Wisdom. Wisdom is probably the strongest mental stat. Wisdom is the most commonly attacked saving throw, and it gives you better rolls on skills like Perception. Really good to have increased, even if you aren’t casting with it.
- Acid Resistance. Acid isn’t nearly as popular a damage type as Fire, but it’s nice to have. A lot of oozes and Undead will deal a bit of acid damage, and thus this will let you survive those fights a lot easier.
- Amphibious. Cool, you’re now the pool-boy. This is arguably a strict downgrade to Air Genasi’s ability to hold their breath. However, you get extra traits on top of this, and this still lets you sleep underwater.
- Swim. 30 ft swim speed isn’t bad at all! You will outmaneuver almost any single race underwater, unless they are water-specced as well. Super useful when deep water is part of a puzzle.
- Call to the Wave. Shape Water comes in handy, occasionally. It’s good utility, at least, and might occasionally solve problems. Create or Destroy Water Can allow you to solve many more problems by potentially extinguishing fire, solving a drought temporarily, or getting rid of a fog wall. Niche, but probably more useful than the low damage of the Fire Genasi.
Because the Genasi are so universally good, with high Constitution and great stats on their subraces, a lot of classes are in their repertoire.
Good Classes for Genasi
- Artificer. A Fire Genasi special. You’re like a forge for your own creations! You’ll be tanky as all get-out, letting you be an effective Battle Smith or Armorer. You can be a legitimately powerful frontliner, which is good for your Burning Hands option. Actually a great build path.
- Barbarian. The Earth Genasi is great for Barbarians. Your stats are legitimately powerful… Though Earth Walk is not so strong, and you miss out on Darkvision from other race choices. On the bright side, Pass without Trace is a super strong spell to have in your pocket. This is one of the better ways to focus on Constitution.
- Cleric. Water Genasi make for great clerics. Your high health and great Wisdom is a perfect combo for the healer role. Your water shenanigans don’t matter too much, since Clerics already have access to Create or Destroy Water… But hey, free spell slots. And you’re getting Shape Water!
- Druid. Like the Cleric, Water Genasi are perfect for this role. You can go Wild Shape, since your health still does matter, just a bit. Your amphibiousness and Swim speed does matter a lot less when you can become a shark… Okay, this isn’t perfect, but it’s still a fine build path!
- Fighter. Air Genasi make good ranged fighters, Earth makes good melee fighters. You’ll be unstoppably tanky if you decide to wade into the frontlines. Air Genasi can use Levitate to help isolate strong melee targets, and Earth can let the party be stealthy. It’s… a pretty great choice, either way!
- Monk. Monk is a bit niche. Air Genasi can make okay monks, but you’ll take a ton of damage. At least you have the health to soak it up! And then you can use Levitate to solve problems, though Monk tends to be alright at that kind of thing.
- Paladin. Earth Genasi can be fine at the Paladin role. I tend to like Charisma more than Constitution for Pallys, but the health is undoubtedly useful. Don’t expect your Auras to do much, and just focus on beating your enemies down with Smites. You’ll do fine, just not optimal.
- Ranger. Air Genasi make for fine Rangers, having the Dexterity and Constitution to do good work close up or far away. You don’t get Wisdom early on, but you don’t need too much of that. Focus on your buffs with Hunter’s Mark and you’ll do fine.
- Rogue. Air Genasi steal the show once more! You’ll be the most durable Rogue out there, and your Dexterity won’t suffer for it. Combine that with the usefulness of Levitate as an escape or infiltration tool, and you’ve got yourself a build!
- Wizard. Fire Genasi make fine Wizards, though not impressive. You’ll be good in Fireball duels, Darkvision is great for Wizards, and you’ll be shockingly tanky. It’s… Actually a really strong pick!
Bad Classes for Genasi
- Bard. While Air Genasi or Earth Genasi can be okay Bards, the lack of Charisma will become a problem really quick. You’d essentially be sacrificing Charisma (a stat a ton of races have) for weird utility and high Constitution… Not worthwhile, in most cases. Ensuring that your spells land on enemies with maximum effectiveness is just too important to pass up.
- Sorcerer. Similar story to Bard. Air Genasi might seem good, but your spells suffer quite a lot from no Charisma option. You’ll be really tanky, and Levitate is a good pocket spell… But good lord, will your other spells suffer from your choice. It’s not worth the utility.
- Warlock. See above. Unfortunately, Warlock benefits too much from Charisma. The Eldritch Blast build needs high Charisma to function competently, and all other builds use Charisma in droves. You don’t need extra durability when you can’t do any damage.
The Genasi are incredibly strong, and the most durable and flexible race in the game. If you ever want to be the tankiest, non-Charisma-based class in the entire game, the Genasi might be your pick… Though some of the Genasi feel weaker than others, so make sure these guys are your best choice before locking them in.
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