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Friday, January 26, 2018

RMA: Efreeti (Lesser)

A little while back, I talked about djinn. Specifically summoning them with a magic ring. Today I want to talk about their fiery counterparts, the Efreet.

Right off the bat, I should mention a small thing that I can't help but speculate over: both the djinn and efreet listed in the BX monsters are labeled as "Lesser" varieties of their respective types. Were Greater versions ever presented in classic D&D? Perhaps in a module? If anyone knows, I'd love to hear! I assume, since they are both elemental types, this is a callback to the differences between "staff" and "conjured" fire/air/earth/water/elementals. Perhaps a topic for another day?

Moving on, specifically about our smoldering subject, let's look at the stats.

Efreet (Lesser) from Cook:

AC: 3
HD: 10
Move: 90' (30')
Fly: 240' (80')
Att: 1
Dmg: 2d8 (+1d8 fire)
No. App: 1 (1)
Save: F15
Morale: 12
Treasure: nil

We can see that efreeti are a bit more powerful than their airy nemeses. Better AC & HD. Better saves and damage, too. In addition to their basic stats, they have an assortment of powers.

"Efreet can create objects, create illusions, and turn invisible
like djinn. They are also able to create a wall of fire up to 3 times
per day. An efreeti may transform its body into a pillar of flame that
will set fire to all flammable items within 5 feet. They can retain the
flame shape for 3 rounds maximum. The fire will also do an additional
1-8 points of damage to all creatures struck by the efreet.
They may fly and carry up to 10,000 en weight while flying."

So a bigger, scarier version of a djinn, right? The wall of fire and the pillar of flame thing are impressive in a fight, but not that much more dangerous, To me, the key part of this creature lies in its description's final paragraph:

"Efreet can be summoned by high level magic-users who 
have researched the special spells required. Once summoned, 
Efreet can be forced to serve for 101 days. They are reluctant and difficult 
servants and will obey their instructions exactly, attempting to distort the 
meaning of whatever they have been told to do in order to cause trouble for 
their masters. Efreet hate Djinn and will attack them on sight."
(emphases mine)

Firstly, I really like spell research call-out. It expressly says "Sure this is possible, but it's not your run of the mill magic item or spell slot." Next, the built-in animosity of an efreet servant reminds me of spells like Contact other Plane or Spiritwrack and dealing with "allies" that are not squarely on your side. Following instructions exactly is reminiscent of wishes, too (X59).

What's interesting is that the description says that efreeti "hate" djinn and will attack on sight, but there is no mention in the djinnis' description of how they feel about efreeti. It's worth noting the alignment. Efreet are chaotic, whereas djinn are neutral. One can imagine a great deal of fodder for world-building in that. Perhaps there is some ancient hatred stemming from an interplanar war? Maybe a trip to the City of Brass would yield some answers?


  1. The (lesser) part of both the djinni and the efreeti has intrigued me as long as I've had the B/X rules. Since I've never seen indications of (greater) either in any rule set, I've taken that to heart to create any manner of djinni or efreeti I want beyond the "base" rules--and to make sure that each is unique!

    Looking back to that other post about the Ring of the Djinni, I actually had a player in possession of one in my game for a goodly while. He tended to use it as a kind of "summon" spell for combat, but rarely for anything else (other than occasionally using it to haul treasure out of the dungeon for him). The group was high enough to fight dragons and groups of giants at that point, so a 7+ HD creature was basically just on par with adding another character to the group. ... He never did use its impressive illusion ability, which is far more interesting to me ...

    In my new game, I have a player in possession of a secret Ring of the Djinni, in which the djinni pretends to be an unseen servant so as to be as lazy as possible. Fortunately, he doesn't have the slightest inkling it's anything other than a "ring of unseen servant"!