So, I could post news about the LARP, but there is not much more to report, just a small handful of characters that are not finished, but I did finally finish my write up of my Genasi for Arista on Thanksgiving, and in case the weekend holiday was insane I decided to set this to post for me on Saturday. Hope you enjoy.
Genasi: To understand the Genasi people you must understand the gleaming city of Mahendrapvarta, and to understand the city requires knowledge of the Great Bell Plateau, which means we must first discuss Nikita and the Great War.
When the first Genie lords arose from the Elemental Planes, they claimed not only dominion of all they could see, but supremacy of honor and nobility. This was not too difficult to maintain as new Genie arose around them, as simple conflicts resolved the question if supremacy. However, when the four Genie empires encountered each other for the first time the foundations for their supremacy was shaken. The only solution seemed to be forced subservience, and thus the Great War of the Genies began.
To the outside historian the war would seem a petty thing, a few minor skirmishes, not many troops deployed or any serious loses. The truth is much more terrifying, for each of the sides had access to the Wish ability, and freely altered reality to destroy and subjugate their enemies. It is impossible to know the toll of the war, as many of its victims simply ceased to exist. In fact, the very first assault of the war was the four great leaders of the Genie wishing his enemies from existence. The four conflicting wishes collided in a cataclysmic clash whose effects are little understood.
During the war, a mortal by the name of Nikita was born. Little is known of her origin or race, some believe her an avatar of Fate, sent to save reality from the madness of the war. Knowing that she would need to prove herself before any of the Great Leaders would listen to her, Nikita submitted herself to slavery at the hands of each of the leaders for ten years. The order of her servitude varies from telling to telling, but all acknowledge that she served with such dignity amd honor that each of the Genie Leaders, including the Great Khan of the Dao and the Grand Sultan of the Efreeti, offered her a boon. With this promise in hand, Nikita summoned each of the Great Leaders to a barren rock on the Prime Material plane. Sitting between the four enemies Nikita pled her case, stating each lord’s great nobility and their faults, speaking of the great harm inflicted by their war and of the inevitable end of the conflict. The complete destruction of all reality. Then she asked her boon, a promise that no Genie shall ever again grant their own wish or that of their kin, and as proof of their sworn word they would each gift her a portion of their soul.
They acquiesced, either from fear of oblivion or love for Nikita (who it is rumored also gave birth to four Genasi children, one for each of the lords) and from their souls she crafted a bell, to sound if any Genie violated the pact. Nikita made her home, and eventually her grave, upon the Plateau and held court with many Genie to settle internal disputes, for with open warfare no longer palatable an unbiased arbiter was the best solution available to them.
The Great Bell Plateau is the result of these visits from the Elemental planes. With a myriad of permanent portals to all four of the planes life has exploded into a variance and fertility seen no where else in the multiverse. Massive fruit hangs from towering trees with strange beasts prowling the twilight undergrowth. Plants which move and hunt as beasts do, and many other strange and wondrous things.
At the fot of the Plateau is the city of Mahendrapvarta, the gleaming city from which Genasi continue Nikita’s work of arbitration for the great empires of the Genie. Mahendrapvarta is technically claimed by all four empires, but kept as purely neutral ground. As such each of the Great Leaders (who are different leaders than those of Ancient Nikita’s time) appoints two viziers to represent them and run the daily operations of the city and its defenses. This council of Viziers employs a larger bureaucracy to handle the numerous complaints and legal files of their rulers. However, only so much work can be provided by this purpose, leaving the majority of the Genasi population to find their own purposes and pursuits. Many take on lives as craftsmen or artists, for they have easy access to the greatest Forges, Bazaars, Mines, and Ocean of the planes as well as an endless base of planar beings looking for riches or excitement. The Genasi’s own lives are also filled with the same decadence, as Mahendrapvarta is paved in precious metal and stone and the scent of incense pervades streets filled with delight and distraction.
The Genasi have a strange relationship with the concepts of Freedom and Servitude. Genies are well-known amongst the planes as slavers, but slavery for Genies is more about the honor of owning skilled or exceptional individuals than forced labor. Even the Efreeti and Dao have distinctions between “worker slaves” and “household slaves”. This, combined with the position of service Genasi already hold, has led to an “honored servant” mentality amongst the population. Genasi feel most secure in knowing they are “owned” by a powerful or respected Genie, while Genie recognize great honor can come from high-ranking “slaves” in the city of Mahendrapvarta. To facilitate this every Genasi child has both a contract and a ledger written for them at birth. The contract is to be given to an owner, generally after the details have been polished and gone over. The ledger is to record important deeds or misdeeds in the Genasi’s life, to keep track of their relative value and standing. Many Genasi feel cast adrift or lost without someone to hold their contract, wondering what it means to their worth and if they may be claimed by a cruel or demanding master instead of a distant or benevolent one, for the desperate and unworthy have no protection from such fates.
In addition to the documentation of their lives Genasi have a strong tradition of tale-telling and long, epic histories filled with details and references. This is necessary when dealing with near immortal beings whose long memories mean that the complex series of events that make up the past are still fresh in present discussions.
Great value is also placed in individualized service or perspectives. A blade made by a Genasi smith is made for a specific individual, focused to fit them and their style to perfection and unwieldy to any other. To serve to perfection, to the point where you know what is needed and have it prepared before it is asked for, is one of the highest honors a Genasi can achieve. Another is perfection of their art or craft. Achieving great skill or great deeds to add to your ledger, increasing their worth and value.
After their death a Genasi contract is held for ten years (in case of resurrection) and then destroyed. At that point their ledger is then placed in the Tombs, a massive archive built into the ancient bedrock and tunnels of the Plateau. The Ledgers are organized by the greatest achievements and values, and kept preserved so that all can remember their deeds. Families often keep detailed lists of where relatives ledgers are stored so that the children can go and read the achievements of their ancestors and learn what it means to be a worthy Genasi.