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Khayrat al-Maren, a sylph elf.
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Sylphs are genie-kin descended from the union of mortal humanoids and creatures of elemental air.1[citation needed]


Sylphs usually look pale and delicate, but are often more resilient than they look. If they hide the swirling blue markings on their skin, sylphs can easily pass for humans. Other subtle signs of their elemental heritage include slight gusts of wind that follow them and become more pronounced as they experience passion or anger. The most exotic sylphs have hair that twists and coils like mist.12[citation needed]


The call of the open sky or the highest mountains is irresistible to many sylph adventurers. Sylph champions are most often liberators, and clerics typically serve gods of air such as Hei Feng or the elemental lords of air. Many sylphs are sorcerers with draconic or elemental bloodlines or wizards that focus on elemental magic.3


Sylphs are most often the product of an union between a mortal and a jaathoom,4 or less commonly an invisible stalker or air mephit, or another sylph. Sylphs can also be born to human parents, as elemental heritage can skip generations.56


Sylphs can be found everywhere the sky is big and winds are strong.7 A few of them have migrated to the Plane of Air, where they work as premium tour guides, airship commanders, or extraplanar diplomats for jaathooms. Some scholars hypothesise that these sylphs are spies of the jaathooms' enemies, but no one believes this hypothesis.8


Sylphs are often raised by their human parents according to human customs. They can be traumatised when discovering that they are not human, especially if the cause is an involuntary reaction to stress, or if they live in a region where sylphs are distrusted, in the process reinforcing their discretion and curiosity.5

Due to the unwelcome scrutiny they often receive when growing up, sylphs tend to leave their homes and move to other settlements as soon as they come of age. Most sylphs are shy and reclusive, and spend their time eavesdropping on people while remaining unnoticed, in the process learning of dangers to be avoided.2[citation needed]

A sylph who discovers another of their kind will start spying on them. If the other party is unaware, the sylph will try to learn as much as possible and formulate plans for all outcomes before introducing themselves; otherwise, both sylphs will try to gain the upper hand, eventually becoming inseparable friends or arch-enemies.2[citation needed]

Sylphs often have an affinity for music. Wind chimes are popular, and often serve to subtly signal other sylphs in case their owner needs to conceal their nature.5

Sylph adventurers are most often motivated by their intense curiosity and their desire to learn about their heritage. In the process, they usually poke into people's affairs and make plenty of enemies. Sylphs tend toward neutrality, as law often stifles their subterfuge and secrecy, but they are willing to co-opt it to achieve their goals. Their love of secrets usually leads them to secret societies like the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, or intelligence agencies.25

While sylphs like to spy on most other races, they rarely associate with them. They share the elves' aloofness, but often breach on their privacy. Dwarves consider them flighty and untrustworthy. Sylphs appreciate the bravery and social skills of halflings, to cover their weaknesses, and gnomes share their curiosity. Naaris9 find them annoying (which sylphs find amusing), and oreads are regarded as too boring to pay attention to. Communities that have been blackmailed by sylphs or whose dark secrets have been uncovered by them tend to avoid associating with them.25


Sylphs' curiosity usually leads them to worship Desna (for her association with travel and dreams), Norgorber (specifically his Reaper of Reputations aspect), Ng (who understands their roaming nature), or the empyreal lords Zohls and Tanagaar. Those who seek strength turn toward the elemental lord Hshurha.510


Smokesouls, or fume sylphs, have ashen skin and dark hair. Naturally deceptive, they are adept at hiding themselves and their motivations, and making lies seem real like truths.11

Stormsouls, also known as lightning sylphs, are confident, unsubtle, impulsive, and eager to both speak their minds and leap to the aid of friends in need without thinking. Their hair always seems to move; their eyes resemble stormy seas or skies, and their glance is severe.11

On Golarion

Sylphs are common in northern Garund, particularly Osirion, whose residents have long trafficked with genies and often distrust sylphs, due to their ability to pass as humans, leading some to believe them to be spies. In the Zho Mountains of Qadira, hidden sylph enclaves offer respite to sylph travellers. When two sylphs meet, it is customary to exchange small secrets, as some kind of cultural currency.7

Small sylph communities live in the Sodden Lands, where there is no one to scrutinise them. Without a need to hide themselves, they turn their attention to exploring the Sodden Lands and the Eye of Abendego.7

Many smokesouls are driven to Nidal and Brevoy, attracted to these nations' cut-throat political intrigue.11


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 258. Paizo Inc., 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 2: Featured Races” in Advanced Race Guide, 156. Paizo Inc., 2012
  3. Jessica Redekop. Geniekin” in Ancestry Guide, 113. Paizo Inc., 2021
  4. Paizo referred to jaathooms as djinn until the publication of Rage of Elements. See Rage of Elements pg. 3 and Pathfinder Core Preview pg. 2.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Tim Akers, et al. Sylphs” in Blood of the Elements, 12. Paizo Inc., 2014
  6. Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 2: Uncommon Races” in Inner Sea Races, 130. Paizo Inc., 2015
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Tim Akers, et al. Sylphs” in Blood of the Elements, 13. Paizo Inc., 2014
  8. John Compton, et al. Plane of Air” in Planes of Power, 13. Paizo Inc., 2016
  9. Paizo referred to ifrits as efreet and naaris as ifrits until the publication of Highhelm. See also Rage of Elements pg. 3 and Pathfinder Core Preview pgs. 2, 13, 18.
  10. Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 2: Uncommon Races” in Inner Sea Races, 133. Paizo Inc., 2015
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 James Case, et al. Planar Scions” in Plane-Hopper's Handbook, 21. Paizo Inc., 2018