July 4th, 2016

Alex Riggs

Exotic Encounters Archive

It’s Genie Week, and as a little time on Wikipedia will tell you, genies are perceived a lot differently in the Middle East than they are in the west. Here, they’re fantasy creatures that grant wishes. There, they tend to have a lot more in common with demons. While many of the different types of genies are pretty well covered by the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary, there’s one type in particular that stands out as missing: the qarin. These genies embody the “devil on the shoulder” of Western tradition, a personal tempter (or temptress) who bombards you with evil thoughts and suggestions, but with the twist that, for the very devout and strong of faith, it may be possible to win them over to your side, instead. This seems like a perfect recurring antagonist for any adventuring party, and so I decided to make a template that could turn any genie into a qarin.



Qarins are a special type of genie who devote themselves to testing (some would say tormenting) mortals, challenging their moral and ethical beliefs, and attempting to convert them away from their current path in life. Rather than do so simply by talking, most qarins prefer to meddle in the affairs of their chosen ward from the shadows, complicating their lives and creating difficult (and sometimes contrived) moral quandaries.


Creating a Qarin

Qarin” is an inherited template that can be added to any genie (including djinni, efreeti, janni, marids, and shaitans), referred to hereafter as the base creature. A qarin retains all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.

Alignment: A qarin’s alignment is closely linked to that of his ward (see the ward special quality, below). By default, a qarin’s alignment is diametrically opposed to that of his ward (if the ward’s alignment is neutral good, the qarin’s is neutral evil; if the ward is lawful evil, the qarin is chaotic good, and so on). If the ward is neutral, the qarin’s alignment is whichever of the following is closest to the base creature’s alignment (choose randomly in the event of a tie): chaotic evil, chaotic good, lawful evil, or lawful good.

If either the qarin or the qarin’s ward has their alignment changed for any reason other than one of the pair causing the change in the other (whether through magical compulsion or simply through conversation), the other party must succeed on a DC 20 Will save or have their alignment shift in the opposite fashion (for example, if a lawful evil qarin had his alignment shift to lawful neutral, his chaotic good ward would have her alignment change to chaotic neutral; alternatively, if both were neutral good, because one had converted the other, then if one changed to become lawful good, the other would shift to chaotic good, if she failed her save). The redemption or temptation option of an atonement spell can reverse this effect, but this forces the other party to make a saving throw or have her alignment changed, as normal.

Type: As the base creature. However, a chaotic qarin gains the chaotic subtype, and similarly, evil, good, and lawful qarins gain the corresponding subtypes. Note that qarins change alignment often, and if a qarin stops being chaotic, evil, good, or lawful, he loses the corresponding subtype.

Armor Class: The creature gains a deflection bonus to AC equal to the lower of his Charisma modifier or his ward’s Charisma modifier (minimum +0).

Defensive Abilities: The qarin retains all the defensive abilities of the base creature, and gains the following defensive abilities.

Defensive Bond (Su): A qarin gains a +2 morale bonus to AC against attacks made by his ward, and he gains a +2 morale bonus on saving throws made against his ward’s spells and abilities.

Rejuvenation (Su): It is all but impossible to permanently destroy a qarin as long as his ward still draws breath. As long as the qarin’s ward is still alive, the slain qarin restores himself in 2d4 days. Even the most powerful spells are usually only temporary solutions. The only way to permanently destroy a qarin is to first slay his ward. Even if the qarin is killed after his ward has died, if the ward is later returned to life, there is a 10% chance that the qarin rejuvenates 2d4 days later.

Special Attacks: The qarin retains all the special attacks of the base creature, and gains the following special attacks.

Constant Companion (Sp): A qarin gains a number of abilities that allow him to keep tabs on his ward, and better meddle in her affairs. The qarin can cast scrying once per day, but only to view his ward (he is treated as being familiar with his ward for the purposes of determining the spell’s Will save modifier). Additionally, as long as he is on the same plane as his ward, he can concentrate on her as a standard action in order to listen to her surface thoughts, as though with detect thoughts (the saving throw DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the qarin’s Hit Dice + the qarin’s Charisma modifier). If his ward succeeds on her saving throw, he can’t use this ability again for 1 hour. The qarin can also communicate telepathically with his ward over any distance, as long as they are on the same plane (this does not grant the ward any particular ability to respond).

If the qarin has at least 5 Hit Dice, he can cast suggestion on his ward as a spell-like ability three times per day (the DC and range are the same as his ability to read her surface thoughts), and whenever he successfully reads his ward’s surface thoughts, he may choose to see and hear what she does for as long as he continues to monitor her thoughts (if he does so, he no longer sees or hears through his own body, and is considered blind and deaf).

Interfere (Su): Once per day, while monitoring his ward’s thoughts, as an immediate action, a qarin can meddle with the destiny of his ward, causing her to roll twice on her next attack roll, ability check, skill check, or saving throw, and take either the better or worse result (the qarin chooses what type of roll and whether the ward will take the higher or lower result when he uses the ability). Most qarins threaten to use this ability at an inopportune time if their ward takes an action they disapprove of, or offer to use it to their ward’s benefit if the ward will perform actions she otherwise wouldn’t. For every 5 Hit Dice the qarin possesses, he can use this ability one additional time per day.

Special Qualities: The qarin retains all the special qualities of the base creature, and gains the following special quality.

Ward (Su): Each qarin is mystically linked to a specific humanoid creature, referred to as his ward. Many of the qarin’s abilities are related to his ward. The qarin always knows the direction and relative distance to his ward, and if the two are on different planes of existence, he knows what plane she is on. The ward cannot sense the qarin in the same fashion, but if she has met the qarin and has been made aware of the special link between them, then she automatically senses whenever the qarin is within one mile of her, and can empathically sense his emotions within this range, similar to the empathic link between a wizard and his familiar.

If the qarin’s ward dies, the qarin loses all benefits of this template (other than his alignment subtypes) until his ward is returned to life, or until he finds a new ward. This does not cause his alignment to change. He cannot find a new ward until a year and a day has passed, at which point he may perform a 24-hour ritual to become bonded to a new ward. The qarin has no control over who the new ward is, and it is determined randomly from among all humanoids. When a qarin gains a new ward, his alignment automatically changes to become the opposite of the new ward’s (or, if the ward is neutral, the qarin’s alignment is selected randomly from among chaotic evil, chaotic good, lawful evil, and lawful good).

Abilities: Cha +4

Skills: Qarins have a racial bonus on Diplomacy checks equal to +8 or their Hit Dice, whichever is higher.



While most genies are more than happy to leave the Material Plane and all of its (in their eyes) backwards inhabitants to do as they please, there is a certain group of genies, known as qarins, who devote themselves entirely to meddling with the hearts and minds of mortals. Each qarin is assigned to a specific mortal, who they focus all of their efforts on, obsessively watching and interfering with that individual’s life, and attempting to challenge their moral and ethical views, to push them from their current path—whatever that path might be. They do so not because they have adopted any particular moral viewpoint themselves, nor because they oppose a specific one, either, but simply to test the strength and conviction of the beliefs of the one whom they focus on.

Qarins move from one mortal to the next, usually after the mortal’s death, or on rare occasions, when a mortal clearly passes or fails the qarin’s test, the qarin can sever the link and move on. Because they always oppose and question the beliefs and views of their current ward, a qarin might go straight from attempting to corrupt a paladin to attempting to redeem an evil tyrant, and they make such transitions flawlessly. For this reason, some scholars theorize that the qarins are truly neutral in alignment, although if this is the case, the magic of their bond obscures it from even the most powerful of magical effects that have been turned upon qarins in the past.

Little is known about why the qarins set themselves to this task, or how they determine their wards. The qarins themselves, when asked, state that they have been given this task by the divine, but they refuse to elaborate, and any faith asked about qarins denies that their deity is the one commanding them. It is known that qarins do associate with one another, forming a sort of secret society, but beyond this, details are unclear.