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Early last summer when Tony first introduced rules for spellcasters in Apocalypse D&D, he suggested one possible result of a wizard's miscast spell could be that "a powerful being takes note of the wizard or the wizard's activities". That immediately reminded me of the sha'ir kit from Arabian Adventures, the 2nd edition AD&D sourcebook for its Arabian-Nights-style setting Al-Qadim, and I knew that I wanted to convert that kit over to Dungeon World. The reason I thought of it is because sha'ir are spellcasters who gain their abilities through summoning and dealing with genies, and one possible result of one of their abilities—the ability to acquire priest spells as well as wizard spells—is that the gods could take notice of the sha'ir and send punishment for meddling. It would obviously fit perfectly into the Apocalypse World system.

So first some background. Historically, sha'ir were Arabian poets who were believed to be supernaturally inspired by genies, and who had some authority within the tribe as a result. They acted as historians and soothsayers, and also apparently engaged in duels of poetry that could carry the weight and influence of an actual battle. Although the historical sha'ir sounds a lot like the Celtic bard, or at least the bard as it appears in modern fantasy and D&D, the designers of Arabian Adventures chose to focus on the genie inspiration aspect and use that as the basis for a wizard kit, using the historical rawun as the bard analogue instead. (It's perhaps telling that they compared the sha'ir to Merlin, a character who may be described as a druid and even given ties to the bards in modern fantasy fiction, yet who is firmly considered a wizard in the popular imagination regardless of historical revisionism.)

I figured that as with everything else in Dungeon World, the sha'ir should start from the D&D version, and retain its focus on spellcasting. However, given the historical roots as well as the Dungeon World system, it makes sense to base a lot of those abilities on charisma rather than intelligence. Further, it makes sense to fill out the sha'ir's moves by borrowing or adapting some from the bard class, and making up new ones if necessary that play off the historical roles of poet, historian, soothsayer, and even militant satirist.

Here's the original list of sha'ir abilities by level:
  • 1st: Summon gen (familiar genie spirit that fetches spells)
  • 3rd: Recognize the works of geniekind
  • 5th: Call upon the jann for aid (once a day when lost in the wilderness, a jann may be called for help)
  • 7th: Protection from elemental attacks
  • 9th: Call upon a genie for aid (once a week a genie may be summoned for services including labor, transport, protection, or genie magic except wishes)
  • 11th: Bind a genie as a servant
  • 13th: Create a genie prison
  • 15th: Travel the elemental planes at will
  • 17th: Receive an audience with a genie ruler
Additionally, they start with the Genie Lore proficiency, which grants them familiarity with the nature, background, hierarchy, and etiquette of geniekind, as well as a chance of identifying disguised genies and the work of genies (on a more limited basis than the third-level ability).

Starting Moves

Familiar Gen
You have a gen, a minor genie spirit that stays with you and offers some services, including most importantly fetching spells. Note however that on the prime plane, gens must stay within 100 yards of their master; they can travel any distance on the elemental planes, where they travel to fetch spells. All gens provide an additional benefit of 1-armor against elemental-based attacks of their type. All gens, unless specified otherwise, have: level 1/2 sha'ir's (minimum 1), HP 1/2 sha'ir's max, armor 2, damage 1d6.
Choose a type of gen:
Air—strength: Fly, weaknesses: aloof, moralistic (lawful, good), looks: bluish skin, white hair
Earth—strength: Strong (damage 2d6); weaknesses: tactless, direct (chaotic, evil), looks: tan skin, jet-black hair
Fire—strength: Produce Flame at will; weaknesses: malicious, judgmental (lawful, evil), looks: ebony skin, long flame-red hair
Water—strengths: Swim, breathe underwater; weaknesses: capricious, playful (chaotic, good), looks: greenish skin, bluish eyes and hair

Genie Lore
When you Parlay with genies, take +1.

Request a Spell (CHA)
When you send your gen to fetch a spell, on 10+ choose 2, on 7-9 choose 1:
* The gen returns quickly (quick enough for combat)
* The gen does not attract the attention of genies (if a wizard spell)
* The gen does not attract the attention of the gods (if a priest spell)
* The spell does not misfire

Levels 2-5 Moves

I could probably use one or two more move options for these levels. I think I would adapt a couple of the other non-weapon proficiencies the sha'ir has available, about knowing (mundane) etiquette, history, and other social skills.

Recognize Genie Work
When you Spout Lore or Discern Realities, you may always ask "Is this the work of genies?" OR "Is there a genie hidden here?"

Call Jann for Aid
When you Undertake a Perilous Journey, you can choose one extra result—even on a miss you may choose one.

Elemental Protection
You have +2 armor against any elemental-based attack, or +4 against attacks of your gen's element.

Master of Satire
When you improvise a poem to lampoon your enemies, you can Pull a Stunt with CHA instead of STR.

Poetry Festival
When you Carouse in town, you may use CHA instead of CON.

Levels 6-10 Moves

I'm still working on these. The problem is that Call a Genie for Aid, Bind a Genie to Service, and Create a Genie Prison all offer similar results in the original version, the main difference being the strength of the sha'ir's position to demand service and the length he can require. So I'm trying to figure out how to distinguish these into useful distinct abilities. I'm also not sure whether Travel the Elemental Planes at Will makes sense as a Dungeon World move. Receive an Audience with a Genie Ruler is the easiest in a sense: this will simply become a custom "open your brain" type of move, but I just haven't written it out yet as I've been concentrating on the genie summoning/service moves when I've been working on this. I may post my current draft versions of these moves tomorrow, but I don't have time tonight to get them in.

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