Genasi Guide 5e
Published on August 2, 2021, Last modified on May 2nd, 2022
Magali Villeneuve - Wizards of the Coast - Chandra, Torch of Defiance
What is this guide?
This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the genasi will be right for your 5e character build.
The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your genasi. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.
- Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
- Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
- Orange is an OK option
- Green is a good option
- Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
- Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.
What are Genasi in 5e?
Source: Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
It is said that sometimes powerful genies from the Elemental Planes travel to the Material Plane and disguise themselves as mortals. On occasion, romances form between disguised genies and mortals, the resulting offspring of which are known as the genasi.
Due to their lineage, genasi are infused with elemental power. These elements play a role in all parts of a genasi’s personality and looks. An earth genasi is slow and deliberate, with dark features and skin reminiscent of precious earth metals, while a fire genasi may have writhing, fiery red hair and a volatile temperament.
Genasi 5e Traits
Ability Score Increase: The base genasi race only gets +2 CON, the rest of which is filled in by your choice of subrace. CON is useful to every class.
Size: Medium is the typical size of most races, and is neither good nor bad.
Speed: Genasi have a standard walking speed of 30 feet.
Genasi 5e Subraces
Air genasi are intended for DEX builds that need that extra bit of survivability.
Ability Score Increase: +1 DEX rounds out the air genasi to create a good ability score spread for martial DEX users.
Unending Breath: Being able to hold your breath indefinitely can be a very powerful ability. It not only saves your life underwater, but also in situations like a trapped room filling with poison gas. The caveat here compared to actually being able to breathe in these environments is that it doesn’t work if you are incapacitated, whereas having the ability to breathe underwater for example would.
Mingle with the Wind: Levitate is a good spell to get up high or to completely remove a melee attacker from combat. Unfortunately you can only use this once per long rest, making it a rather weak spellcasting ability compared to the other genasi.
Earth genasi are a robust choice for STR builds and come with an unusual set of racial traits.
Ability Score Increase: A +1 STR increase pairs very well with the innate +2 CON the genasi gets. Classes that want STR often also look for CON.
Earth Walk: Unrestricted movement across difficult terrain is really strong, although here it is limited to terrain made of earth or stone. This will likely be the most common terrain you encounter, but all too often terrain will be made difficult by other means.
Merge with Stone: A free cast of pass without trace once per long rest is fantastic. The spell has a 1 hour duration, so you should probably be able to get your sneaking done for the day in that amount of time. STR-based builds also rarely get access to this spell making it quite unique. Pass without trace also helps alleviate some of the disadvantage that STR builds have with heavy armor.
Fire genasi are designed for the INT-based spellcasters and are packaged with very useful racial traits.
Ability Score Increase: INT and CON go well together. The artificer and especially the wizard need plenty of CON to compensate for their weak hit dice.
Darkvision: Darkvision is always great, but its advantage can be ruined if your party members do not also have it. Additional points for flavor as the fire genasi sees everything in the dark in a shade of red.
Fire Resistance: Fire damage is extremely common, whether from enemy spellcasters or monster abilities. Having fire resistance baked into the fire genasi works wonders for survivability.
Reach to the Blaze: Produce flame is a cantrip, so it won’t be restricted to once per long rest. It offers great utility by being a light source but also a solid source of damage for low levels. At 3rd level you get one use of burning hands per long rest, which, when used right, can do damage to a bunch of enemies at once. The damage won’t scale as you level up, but the spell will serve you well for at least a few levels.
Water genasi don’t have the most versatile ability score increases, but WIS-based characters can find some fun in the swim speed and interesting innate spells.
Ability Score Increase: +2 CON and +1 WIS is really only good for a select few classes, and some would rather see DEX combined with WIS.
Acid Resistance: Acid damage isn’t that common, but it isn’t that rare either. This trait is nice to have but won’t come into play all too often.
Amphibious: Being able to breathe underwater makes certain scenarios much easier, especially if nobody in the party has access to the water breathing spell.
Swim: Having a swimming speed can be extremely useful, especially when playing in an aquatic-focused campaign.
Call to the Wave: Shape water can be really handy and its a cantrip so you can cast it as often as you like. You can use it to shape an air bubble underwater so your friends can breathe, or even drop an ice spike on an unsuspecting foe. A singular cast of create or destroy water may also provide some mileage if you need drinking water or to put out a fire, though you can only create up to ten gallons.
Sources Used in This Guide
- Basic Rules
- Eberron: Rising from the Last War
- Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
- Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
- Fizban's Treasury of Dragon
- Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica
- Monsters of the Multiverse
- Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
- Mythic Odyessys of Theros
- Player's Handbook
- Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
- Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos
- Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
- Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
- The Tortle Package
- The Wild Beyond The Witchlight
- Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft
- Volo's Guide to Monsters
- Xanathar’s Guide to Everything