Monday, June 14, 2010

Outremer - Djinn, Wishes, and Balance

From reading the Thousand and One Nights, I am getting a better idea of Djinn. A Djinn - or Djinniyah as the females are called - has a measure of personal power which varies immensely. There are also five different types of Djinn - Ghawwasah, Ghuls, Djinn proper, Efrit, and Marids, in order of power. Thus there is a smooth gradient of power from the least of the Ghawwasah to the most powerful of Marids. Reading of the Thousand and One Nights shows such a range, from the simple Ghawwasah who have only the least of power to the marvellous Marid who was slaved to Alladin's Lamp.

Now in the typical RPG, Djinn - or Genies - are the source of wishes, the greatest and most powerful of magic, and tradition is that these wishes be scrutinized closely and read literally, so as to not disturb the balance of power. In Outremer, one of the Paths of Power is that of the Sorcerer, whose power is the binding and controlling of Djinn. Interpreting the Djinn in a similar vein would either give the Sorcerer power immeasurable, or - by adverse interpretation of his commands - nerf the Sorcerer to inconsequence.

Thus the solution to the problem of the Djinn is found in the Nights - the Sorcerer cannot Summon, Command, and Bind a Marid until he has mastered Summoning, Commanding, and Binding the other forms of Djinn, and must vie with the individual power of that Djinn directly - even though the Sorcerer may be able to casually command lesser Marids, the Greater Marids would still be difficult. To ensure this, each Djinn would be able to resist the Sorcerer with a number of dice based on his or her rank, and with a TN which gets easier as the individual power of the Djinn rises. So a Sorcerer would need to be very masterful indeed to trifle with the likes of a powerful Efrit or Marid!



  1. Ooh very nice. I need to re-read that "book." So many books so little time. I like the direct you are going with the djinn, though I like the idea that there is alway a chance of them subverting your desires.

  2. So do I. Also based on the Nights, a Djinn will not do something contrary to its nature. The Slave of the Lamp point blank refused Aladdin when he asked for a Roc's egg to be hung in the dome of his palace to please his wife, because the Djinn hold the Roc to be sacred.