Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Devil's In the Details - Jann

So James M. over at Grognardia posed an inneresting blogwagon type idea, based on a Fight On! article by Aaron Kesher, referred to as "The Devils in the Details" wherein you create some randomized tables to flesh out the character of non or demi human races in your campaign. Since I love that kind of stuff, and since new PC races/classes are all I seem to post on this blog besides session recounts, I think I'll give this idea a spin.

So here's my first one, for the Jann, a race of half genies I'm using in my Arabian Nights themed Sandbox campaign.

Many Jann (Roll 1d20 three times)

1: Are intensely claustrophobic

2: Have a laugh that can be heard for miles

3: Have a natural talent for juggling and acrobatics

4: Embroider their name with a litany of titles, honorifics, and references to their lineage, some true, some exaggerated. It's hard to tell.

5: Are spendthrift, and will empty their purses on a whim, particularly on food, drink, and agreeable companionship.

6: Have an affinity for dangerous wild animals, and will tame them to keep as household pets.

7: Will place no value on coins of any kind, insisting on using only precious stones for commerce.

8: Are condescending towards clerics and wizards, no matter how powerful they might be.

9: Can predict sandstorms within days of their arrival.

10: Irritate camels beyond all reason, and tend to get spit at by the beasts an inordinate amount.

11: Tend to forget the names of people or places, even those they know quite well.

12: Have skin that is either ice cold or teakettle hot to the touch.

13: Have moods that are affected by the weather.

14: Can laugh off any slight or insult, except for those pertaining to one very specific aspect of their appearance or character, upon which they will go to any length to avenge their honor.

15: Tend to engage in drawn out, escalating games of one-upmanship with those of their kind that can span for decades. Such contests are particularly fierce between jann of opposite genders.

16: Have an innate, flawless sense of proper courtly manners and etiquette, but keep their own council on how they apply that knowledge.

17: Possess an unusual odor. Roll 1d4 1: incense, 2: brimstone, 3: salt air, 4: sun baked sand

18: Disdain the accumulation of personal posessions, often travelling with nought but a sword on their hip and the clothes on their backs (and losing those with careless abandon as well)

19: Enjoy starting quarrels between those around them and then stepping back to watch the results, but take equal pleasure in matchmaking and encouraging friendships.

20: Are illiterate in the common script, but know the meanings of ancient writings almost instinctively.

Some Jann (Roll 1d16 once)

1: Never seem to get wet, even if standing in a torrential rain or dunked in a lake.

2: Have an uncanny ability to pick up small flames and place them in their pockets for later.

3: Can eat gemstones as a man might eat candied fruits, and proclaim them a great delicacy.

4: Are stopped by large masses of smoke as if they are walking into a Web spell.

5: Cannot eat salt, and therefore cannot benefit from the laws of hospitality.

6: Leave footprints that scorch the ground wherever they go.

7: Possess a secret name that when spoken may bind them to service for three days.

8: Can cause wind instruments to emit sounds without even touching them. If skilled in music, may play tunes.

9: Must wear garments of a single color at all times, otherwise they lose their powers. A single thread dyed in the proper hue is sufficient to keep this requirement should the need arise.

10: Never speak informally, always referring to even close friends by their full name and title.

11: Have vision like a hawk, and can see sharp detail from miles away.

12: Are royal heirs of either (or both) human and jinni kind, although tremendously far removed in the line of succession.

13: Are completely invisible and inaudible to jinni of a specific type. (Efreeti, Djinn, etc.)

14: Have a keen sense for horseflesh, and always choose the most fiery, unmanageable mounts for the sheer challenge of taming them.

15: Must always tell the truth when the moon is full, and will always lie when it is new.

16: Can hear voices carried on the wind when traveling the open desert, which can be anything from chance scraps of distant conversations, or prophecies bearing great weal or woe.

Some Common Traveling Gear (1d16, roll 1d3 times)

1: A fine silk brocade turban that can be unfurled to a 25 ft. length

2: A small ney (flute) made of oryx horn with gold banding.

3: A sphere of purest silver, small enough to fit in a man's palm, that constantly spins like a top and can be used to summon breezes and light winds.

4: A bronze chess piece cast in the form of a warrior on a horse, that will magically point in the direction where the most adventure can be had when cast on the ground.

5: A small rug, roughly large enough for a tall man to lie on, that will roll itself tightly when the owner claps their hands.

6: A pouch of sweet smelling, exotic tobacco, that gives off shimmering purple smoke set with tiny stars.

7: A pair of slippers that can resist the heat of hot coals.

8: A clear gem, that when placed in a jug of wine for an hour absorbs the wine's essence, changing it into water. When removed, the gem has turned the color of the former wine, and if placed in a jug of fresh water, reconstitutes the wine and becomes clear again.

9: A letter of introduction bearing the seal of a long dead ruler of a forgotten land, proclaiming the legitimacy of the bearer's lineage to the Sultan's court in the City of Brass.

10: An ornate hood, jesses, and leather gauntlet for falconry.

11: A glass phial of perfume that gives the bearer a small bonus to reactions from the opposite sex when used sparingly.

12: A pair of sheep's knuckle bones, marked with glyphs in the Ancient script.

13: A palm sized brass astrolabe on a length of cord.

14: A reverseable cloak, dun colored on one side, and brightly colored and embroidered on the other.

15: A brass and enamel brooch in the form of the tip of a peacock feather, that is reputed to protect one from the evil eye when worn on a turban or veil.

16: A small leather bound book that reads as pious proverbs when turned one direction and bawdy verse when turned another.


  1. Fantastic stuff, So very evocative! I can immediately imagine these guys getting up to mischief. I especially like the bronze chesspiece and the games of one-upmanship.

  2. @Tom
    Thank you most kindly, effendi. If I were to use two words to describe the jann, it would be "magnificent bastards"