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Two of the players in my campaign are Genasi, who are expecting a child. I'm doing research into Genasi's for this new side plot. Although I'm not sure what element(s) they would have.

One parent is a water genasi, while the other is an air genasi. So would the child have both air and water, only one, or some combination of both?

I've researched but I haven't been able to find a solid answer, most I'm getting is linked back to para and quasi-genasi, but that doesn't answer the question either.

Any information would be useful and very helpful.

I'm running a 5th Edition campaign, that uses older lore as well as current lore.

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They will take after one or the other parent, but not both.

This is drawn from Races of Faerun, page 112, in its section on Planetouched (which is, per 3.x, what Genasi are).

The offspring of two planetouched is always a planetouched. Mixed-heritage planetouched of this sort take after one or the other parent (seemingly equal chances) but carry the traits of the other parent, which may show up in their own children.

This is further supported (in a bit of a wibbly way) in Dragon Magazine #367, on p. 13 and 14.

Essentially, a genasi child’s manifestation is inherited from his or her ancestors, just as humans inherit hair and eye color or other physical traits

The reason I say that it's a bit wibbly is that Dragon 367 was written during 4th Edition...and during 4th Edition, a Genasi had a 'primary' elemental manifestation, then could develop multiple extra ones throughout their lives. This rather complicates the 'what do you inherit from your parents' standards, and is why I chose not to quote the rest of what Dragon 367 has to say.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Further evidence lies in the fact that mixed element genasi isn't a 5e option \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jan 5 '21 at 22:36
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They likely have an equal chance to take after either parent, although mixed genasi are known to exist.

In nearly every source where they have appeared since their origin in AD&D Planescape sourcebooks in the 90s, the genasi are of one of four elements, with no mention of what happens if two different types were to interbreed. However, there are a few instances which describe it.

Rules on planetouched lineage

The clearest rule regarding mixed genasi appears in the D&D 3.5 sourcebook Races of Faerûn p.122, which defines the general rule of interbreeding involving two planetouched:

The offspring of two planetouched is always a planetouched. Mixed-heritage planetouched of this sort take after one or the other parent (seemingly equal chances) but carry the traits of the other parent, which may show up in their own children.

The offspring of a genasi and a genasi is therefore always a genasi. It's would be a reasonable inference that the offspring of two different types of genasi also inherits the subtype of one parent, with a 50:50 chance.

They will carry the other parent's element as a (presumably unexpressed) trait which can appear in subsequent generations of offspring. This suggests the possibility of unexpected genasi types. A water and air genasi pair should always produce a genasi offspring, but the offspring might even be a fire genasi if one of the parents had one in their family tree.

However, there are canonical instances of mixed-element genasi.

Mixed-element genasi

The D&D 3e article "8 New Planetouched Races", Dragon #297, introduced the para-genasi, which are genasi of mixed heritage:

By far the most common breeds of genasi are those descended from the four primary elements of air, earth, fire, and water. Slightly less common are para-genasi descended from the mixed blood of two types of elemental outsiders. For example, if the daughter of a mortal and an efreeti has a child with a djinni, that child's descendants might include smoke para-genasi as well as fire and air genasi.

The scenario of two genasi is not explicitly addressed; rather, the example given is the offspring of a half-fire elemental human and an air element djinn, which might give rise to a fire, air, or smoke genasi. As per AD&D 1e Manual of the PLanes p.22, the combination of Air and Water elements would produce Ice para-genasi.

A dust genasi appears in Planescape book The Inner Planes, whose heritage is unknown. It's suspected to be a dust para-elemental creature or some inhabitant of the para-elemental plane of dust, however, rather than two genasi (probably because Dust is quasi-elemental combination of Earth and negative energy, and there was no negative energy genasi defined).

D&D 3.5 Underdark p.17 describes the slyth, ooze creatures suspected to be descended from humans and earth and water elementals. This is canonically only one of several theories, and while the paraelemental combination matches correctly, the exact lineage is not defined; it may or may not involve earth and water genasi, or another combination like like an earth genasi and a marid.

D&D 5e's Waterdeep: Dragon Heist features a married couple of a fire genasi and a water genasi, but no children are mentioned.

4e-specific rules

D&D 4e complicates genasi with a rule that genasi can manifest a second element (by taking a feat), although they are born with one specific element derived from ancestry. "Ecology of the Genasi", Dragon #367, describes the scenario:

Genasi who produce children generally share at least one elemental manifestation, though rare exceptions to this rule exist. Likewise, the child's primary manifestation is a matter of genetics; if both parents share the same primary manifestation (or if both parents have only one manifestation and they share the same one), chances are extremely high that the child has the same manifestation.

Heredity becomes a bit muddied when the parents are of mixed manifestations, or if a particular family has a mixture of different primary manifestations throughout the generations. Essentially, a genasi child's manifestation is inherited from his or her ancestors, just as humans inherit hair and eye color or other physical traits.

This multi-element approach is specific to 4e, and generally means a genasi can shift between elements like a werewolf changes forms; they can also gain one through physical proximity to that element. The exact applicability to D&D 5e lore is difficult to ascertain; 4e genasi seem to be a more elementally fluid representation of the species.

However, the rule of inheritance in primary manifestation is not entirely inconsistent with _Races of Faerûn, in that one inherits from a parent but can manifest hidden traits for which either parent is a carrier. It is consistent with the 3.5 idea that a pair of, say, fire genasi will usually produce fire genasi offspring, but may still be carriers for another element in their bloodline, which may become dominant in later generations.

A more traditional representation of genasi lineage appears in the 4e genasi for the Dark Sun rules, who it appears were once pure earth or fire types that have evolved into unique types through intermingling. Dragon #396, "Winning Races: Genasi of Athas", demonstrates both pure earth and fire genasi but also ember, magma, sun and sand genasi (perhaps matching the historic quasi- and para-elements of smoke, magma, radiance and dust). It's a very plausible interpretation here that the offspring of genasi were para-elemental genasi.

In a practical sense, there are no rules in D&D 5e for genasi other than the primary four types (air, earth, fire and water), so any rule other than inheriting one of the parents' types would require homebrew rules.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for mentioning that Para-Genasi are a thing. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6 '21 at 9:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. Which would make the airborne genasi, I suspect. 😎 \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6 '21 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, this bit a married couple of a fire genasi and a water genasi, but no children are mentioned brings to mind a lyric from the chorus of the song Fire and Water \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6 '21 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast: Did you mean A Song of Ice and Fire? ;) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6 '21 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. nope, Fire and Water (an album, and a song, by the band Free) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6 '21 at 16:35

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