The reclusive half-elementals, also known as genasi, are little more than legend, and tales told by travelers who claim to have encountered them are often dismissed as outright lies. The genasi are unknown to most people inhabiting the Tyr Region, and for good reason. They make their homes on the tiny islands rising from the vast Silt Sea spreading out to the east, far from the city-states and their trade routes. The genasi have nothing but disdain for civilization, sneering at the sorcerer-kings and their despotic rule. They have no love for the mortal races, and their arrogance is equaled only by their tempestuous personalities. They are a people apart, content to struggle in the swirling dust storms and having no part in the plight faced by the despotic regimes that define the Tyr Region.
Or so people have believed until now. For the first time in memory, the half-elementals have begun an exodus from their hidden redoubts and are now exploring the lands they abandoned years ago. What they seek, and why they have chosen this time to venture into the realms of the sorcerer-kings, no one knows. But their emergence is unmistakable, and those who live along the shores of the Silt Sea wonder if this trickle presages a greater and more terrible flood.
The genasi are often called half-elementals because of their humanlike forms. They are the same size and shape as humans, though they are slightly bulkier, and thus they are mistaken for having human ancestry. Their elemental nature, however, is unmistakable, and the power of the Elemental Chaos bleeds from them through their tempestuous personalities and the manifestations in their flesh.
The genasi in Athas today are descended from ancestors considered “purer” in their manifestations. Stories abound in genasi communities of those predecessors manifesting the elements of air, fire, earth, and water. Mingled bloodlines combined with the ever-changing world have resulted in new elemental manifestations.
Elemental manifestations are what give genasi their distinctive appearance. Instead of hair, all genasi possess a corona corresponding to their elemental heritage. Examples include wreaths of smoke, flames, or crystalline growths.
Genasi also display glowing patterns in their skin, appearing similar to lines and whorls. Soft light in a color associated with a genasi’s elemental manifestation shines from his or her patterns. Genasi from the same tribe have the same color and shape of pattern, which is a useful identifier of origin. Facial patterns are unique to each individual.