The Genie from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Fulfills Your Wildest 5E D&D Wishes
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything brings a menagerie of new subclasses to the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons table. Most fall somewhere between feeling like they should have already existed in 5E D&D and adding something strikingly new to the base class. One embraces the elemental realms where magic flows freely and the concepts of servitude and patronage meet an opulent and ornate aesthetic. Enter The Genie Otherworldly Patron for 5E D&D warlocks.
The Genie is steeped in magic and myth
Traditionally a genie is a nearly omnipotent creatures of pure magical essence. I’d be remiss to deny many think of Disney’s Aladdin when hearing the mention of a genie but the myths of genies go so much deeper than Robin Williams’ extremely funny portrayal.
Genies are mythologically elemental spirits, a trait represented by their elemental creature type in 5E D&D. Another common name for a genie is a djinn or djinni and this should sound familiar — it’s the name of the elemental air associated spirit.
The name djinn is used in other media, including a beloved JRPG Golden Sun, which helped introduce me to the fantasy genre. In Golden Sun the djinn are tiny elemental spirits you can equip to your individual party members. This grants special powers and benefits including the ability to solve exclusive puzzles or unlock new and rare subclasses.
Regardless of their portrayal genies tend to have a few key themes in common — magic, rarity and servitude. These themes are often core to genie stories and much of the novelty is the notion this cosmically powerful being could be bound to the servitude of a mere mortal and forced to enact the mortal’s simple, often shortsighted desires with their near infinite magics. This is represented often by a genie referring to their mortal counterparts as masters.
There are countless thematic lessons I could wax lengthy on simply based on the myths I just touched on and those are all important to explore, but we’re talking about a subclass for 5E D&D here. I do have to say I find The Genie patron an interesting reversal of many of the core elements of the genie mythos.
In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything we see The Genie is the master in this warlock relationship. The warlock possesses a vessel, true enough, but said vessel is for the warlock to enter as a sanctuary — not for the genie’s prison. We also see a strong theme of the elemental nature of the genie, a welcome splash of flavor adding some nuance to these core mechanics.
Speaking of mechanics let’s talk about the mechanics and what this subclass has to offer to 5E D&D players.
To begin we see an emphasis on the genie’s origin as an elemental through the choice of Genie Kind. I love this aspect being at the forefront because it cements in the player’s mind this is a D&D genie — a creature from the Elemental Chaos be it the plane of fire, earth, water or air.
We’re introduced to the four key types of genie and given text about what a noble genie is and how they are different from a normal genie. Much of this flavor text evokes a Studio Ghibli-esque vibe to me and I could totally see a game with such evocative mythos and energy being played with a warlock of this subclass.
I also love that there is a single, constant spell offered in the Expanded Spells List, but when you look at the second spell, it is determined by your choice of elemental patron.
Gilded cage or a home away from home?
The other feature your warlock gains at first level is the Genie’s Vessel. This feature grants your character an object into which they can retreat. The number of hours is determined by your proficiency bonus, consistent with the proficiency bonus-focused mechanics we’ve seen introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
While you are touching the genie’s vessel you get two features. The first is you can actually enter the vessel, much as one might think of a genie doing with a bottle or a lamp. I really like this role reversal and part of me wonders if there isn’t a sort of tongue-in-cheek irony imposed by the genie patron related to this. We know genies in lamps are absolutely a thing in 5E D&D and this only further cements my suspicions that The Genie — a truly prideful being who revels in others serving them — might impose a sort of gilded cage quality or aesthetic to this feature.
Maybe your character is loosely draped in chains of gold while inside their vessel, or perhaps the interior is decorated to the genie’s taste with pillows, tables and other décor one might presume a mortal would find comforting, but all with the focus on aesthetic over function and perhaps without taking the warlock’s own tastes into account.
Another feature of this vessel is while it’s held in your character’s hands their attacks deal additional damage. As per the new mechanics in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything this damage equals your proficiency bonus.
Free and clear
Your 6th level Elemental Gift feature grants resistance to a damage type associated with your patron’s element. You also gain a flying speed for a limited number of times each day.
Once again I get those vibes like your character is embodying the myths of genies. Part of me almost feels like it would make sense to say your character (thematically) could be on the path to becoming a genie, or perhaps they were born under the ownership of their patron and now they must complete tasks to earn their freedom.
With freedom and servitude so tied to genies it feels only natural to me to touch on those elements as flavor for this warlock. I also think it would make for an interesting story if your character was leveling and retained their powers after freedom as a side effect of their service for so many years.
Hospitality and service
At 10th level, you can bring others into your Sanctuary Vessel in a magnificent mansion or nine-sided tower sort of way. In all honesty it’s probably a bit more akin to tiny hut but even still — it’s a home away from home.
Your wish and command
The final feature for this subclass lets you have a limited wish every few days. This makes so much thematic sense I was a bit shocked it didn’t come earlier. For obvious balance reasons I understand why it must come at 14th level and the way it’s executed feels just right.
The notion of entreating your patron via the vessel they gave you just fits so neatly into everything this subclass is and is meant to be. I also love how frequently this is accessible. Being that it duplicates the effects of a spell from any class’s spell list my mind immediately soars to a revivify spell for a dead companion or mass healing word in a crucial moment, perhaps even the banishment of a powerful foe.
A whole new world of possibilities
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything offers so much variety, especially in the way of subclass options for our beloved 5E D&D classes. Hopefully this post inspires you to play The Genie warlock at your next opportunity.
Got ideas I never touched on? Do you agree or disagree with one of these points? Let us know in the comments or find us on Facebook and connect with us there!
*Featured image — A warlock uses a Genie’s Vessel to battle a cyclops as seen in the 5E D&D Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]