The following madness comes from the mind of BDC
So, you were reading over Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and came upon one of the two new warlock patrons listed there and you thought having a genie as a patron sounds cool. And it does. You go a step further and choose the Dao (pronounce Dow), those genies of the elemental plane of earth. What now? Well, the books aren’t much help. In fact, you will need to create your patron from the bottom up.
Why? You ask. It’s quite simple. There’s just not a lot of info or examples out there. I know, when one of my players chose the Dao Genie Patron, I was at a loss. And I dug through D&D lore all the time. But, the facts are, besides the great Khan, there just aren’t many named Daos that fit the bill. But, BDC, won’t any ole Dao do? Sorry, no…let me explain.
Tashas begins with the statement, “You have made a pact with one of the rarest kinds of genie, a noble genie.”
Yes, a NOBLE GENIE. And, as stated above, there just aren’t any named Noble Dao listed anywhere. Tasha’s simply states the types of genie and moves on. So, first, what is the difference? What is a Noble Genie?
As you would think, a Noble Dao Genie commands many other Dao and other earth elemental creatures. They spend most of their industrious life trying to amass wealth any way possible. The more wealth, the higher on the ladder they climb; pleasing their great Khan. They’re expected to, not only, mine their rifts of the Dismal Delve, but to also reach out and bring in gems from many other mines scattered across the planes. Failure equals shame and a lack of standing among their peers.
“They toil for wealth as merchants and miners” Secrets of the Lamp p. 11
Many of the projects are handed down by the Khan and are simply to go forth and mine farther and deeper into the Elemental Plane of Earth. Those that can find the most veins and rich veins are the real winners. For the most part those who make it their life’s work to discover the richest ore and use their wits to transport them in new and ingenious ways go a long way to winning the Khan over.
But the book, Secrets of the Lamp, mentioned being Merchants; making a brisk business in trading in goods and favors with the many other Nobles there in the Mazework. But, although the above mentioned book says they tend to keep to the Elemental Plane of Earth as long as it is profitable, there is no reason your Dao can’t be traveling the planes discovering rich veins of ore and bringing it back to his Khan.
The setting of Al-Qadim was mainly concerned with these wondrous beings and those that lived, served and, even, were served by the genie. Al-Qadim was set in Kara-Tur on the far east of Faerun. This may be a great place for your character to be from as there are more connections to the Dao here than anywhere else.
DAO PATRON OPTIONS
So, with all of that said, how does this help us to create a great Dao Noble for your player to call their character’s patron? This leaves us with several options as to the status of your Dao Patron.
One of my first thoughts is the problem of alignment. With the Dao, you either get used to the idea of working with a Neutral Evil being who cares nothing for you or your feelings and thinks it nothing to enslave those to do their bidding or work an alignment adjustment.
If your players have a problem with even evil creatures using slavery as a way of life, this might not be the genie for you. Of course, that’s not to say that you could adjust the story where you just never bring up or emphasize that part of their lifestyle.
The other option may be to adjust them to more of a true NEUTRAL. Possibly, they show the Khan that there is profit in not owning people. It may not change the way the Dao do things, but your Patron could become the exception to the rule here and actually not allow that to be who they are. Your patron may impress the Khan so much that he doesn’t question them and allows this social experiment to see what happens. As stated before, as long as there is profit, he really doesn’t care how you amass your wealth.
ERRAND FOR THE KHAN
First of all, the Nobles keep close to the Khan as a part of his extended court. As I said above, sometimes the Khan makes a request of one of his nobles. And when I say ‘request, I really mean to say demand. So, possibly, your patron is on an ‘errand’ for the Khan, fulfilling a quest to please his ruler. It could be the retrieval of an artifact or weapon of great power. Possibly, your patron is to retrieve and capture the power of a mighty Dawn Primordial. Or maybe, it’s just about clearing and acquiring a rich mine full of powerful and wonderous gems.
Your character may be called upon to aid their patron in foiling the plans of a mighty Djinn Noble or steal from a haughty Marid Noble. Or to retrieve a special metal for an Effreet craftsman to make a masterful weapon to prepare the Khan for war against an enemy.
Maybe your patron is a part of the Khans personal army as a general or lieutenant. It’s quite possible that your a part of a recon mission; scouting out the weakness of an enemy in lei of a coming assault.
It is most likely you will just be helping your Dao Patron find long lost mines, clearing out the monsters and acquiring it in the name of the noble. The richest mines are deep and hard to get to . If it was easy, everyone would do it. The plot hook could simply be your character pulling together an adventuring party to find and access the mines of legend.
This brings you in conflict with monstrous Dracoliches, Durgar, Drow and, even, Dwarves of all ilk. It makes for an easy reason for dungeon delving and confronting monsters in the mines or the civilizations that will be in contention with you for the ownership of such valuable resources.
RETURNING TO POWER
The option I think we will go for in our game is that of a fallen Dao noble. Once one of the Khan’s favorites, they come into conflict with one of the other nobles (as happens frequently) and fall from their lofty position. The books actually say that the stability of the court and their standing with their Khan is shaky and changes constantly.
But this is a story of redemption and gaining what was lost. Finding themselves cast out of the Mazework of the Dismal Delve of the Elemental Plane of Earth, they are now grounded on the prime material plane with nothing. But it doesn’t end there. The Dao are an industrious sort. If they fail, they bounce quickly with a plan to rise in the ranks once again.
We’re planning to play in Forgotten Realms, so just think of all of the ancient mines abandoned to the ages because of the dragon or monster or underdark denizens that have taken it. The normal kingdom of men can’t possibly clear them out. It will take a power extraordinary. So your Dao Patron steps in and puts a plan in motion to build wealth. Because, there’s no reason to return to the Khan unless you have amassed enough wealth to impress him.
Let’s add an impediment. Let’s say that the Noble who ruined them, is also on this plane swiping up mines and gems and power. You and your patron find yourself in a struggle which will end in ruin or triumph. The goal is to return to the Dismal Delve by the end of the adventure with evidence of a vast wealth and reinstate your patron as an honored noble in the Khan’s court. It would be even better if you could ruin your adversary in the process.
In this option, your character gains power from a diminishing genie in hopes that you can help each other. Of course, the Dao Noble will never admit their position. However, your PC might realize the truth along the way. This may bring into question whether your patron can deliver the goods in the end.
GENASI IN SEARCH OF ANSWERS
Also in our game, our Warlock of the Dao Genie Patron is actually an Earth Genasi. Growing up alone. And oddity to the world around them. For her, she wants to know where she came from, if there are others like her and if she can somehow build a kingdom for them to find sanctuary and somewhere to call home. This seems a bit less selfish than your run-of-the-mill Warlock. And that’s why I like it so much.
There is so much that can be done with a journey like this. Finding out you are not alone. Finding family. Discovering dark things about yourself and coming out the other end better.
I’m excited for this game. Especially since my warlock is playing such a thoughtful journey. It will be an amazing story of self discovery and I can’t wait for it to play out on the table.
UNCUT GEMS is a Dungeons and Dragons game set in the setting of Faerun in the year 1507 DR, the year of the glowing onyx. It is a story of lineage, fighting to regain what you have lost and facing your dark and dangerous past while thrusting yourself into an even darker and more sinister future.
Come join us on Youtube as we stream or wait and look for the links to the Podcast. By the end of this month, we will be stream on Tuesday nights.