There are a number of important concepts to the Zakharan culture including honor, family, social station, purity, piety, and hospitality. Unlike most settings, there is practically no racial disharmony in Zakhara: humans, elves, and orcs alike share the same culture, lifestyle, and social status, and races traditionally considered evil savages, such as goblins , are instead valued members of society. The nomadic Al-Badia are predominantly human, whereas the Al-Hadhar possess greater diversity. The nomads and city-dwellers, humans and non-humans alike, are all united as a single culture under a single religion a polytheistic pastiche of Islam and as subjects of the Grand Caliph ; the entire continent is effectively a single empire, although different regions, city-states, and tribes have unique local cultures. Fate may cast down the mightiest sultan or raise up the meanest beggar. None can agree on her nature, whether the mother of the gods or an elemental force.
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Magic carpets, ghoulish vixens, genies rising from the sand in a whirlwind of smoke and fire - such wonders, spun into tales by fabled Scheherasade, enchanted a king for a thousand and one nights. The Al-Qadim campaign will enchant role-players for a thousand and one more You are about to discover an exotic realm inspired by the tales of Sinbad, Ali Baba, and other classics from the Arabian Nights.
It was released in April Al-Qadim was the fourth; it was a new Arabian Nights-influenced setting created in late and early by designer Jeff Grubb and editor Andria Hayday. Al-Qadim somewhat naturally was a rival of Dark Sun, another desert-focused setting.
However, where Dark Sun was being played up as the replacement for Forgotten Realms, Grubb and Hayday instead played down Al-Qadim, saying that it was just a "cultural book". About the Cover. The first cover for Al-Qadim showed a woman opening a bottle and releasing a genie. It was deemed too cheesecake and instead appeared in the Women of Fantasy Calendar ?
The final cover for Al-Qadim, with the horse, was a replacement — and ironically what the designers had originally wanted! About the Name. At the time, product names at TSR were tricky because Marketing wanted self-explanatory names while Legal wanted unique, trademarkable names.
Introducing the Al-Qadim Line. Though demi-humans were allowed, humans were dominant. Religion also took on a different tone, with priests worshiping entire pantheon, and the concept of Fate underlying the setting. Al-Qadim was also a very carefully organized line.
Grubb and Hayday specifically designed it as a limited-edition line, meant to run just two or three years. As it happened, the line ran two years, got extended for a third, and then management asked for a fourth year schedule, but canceled it before it came to fruition as part of some widespread line cancellations around Expanding Oriental Adventures.
In fact, it was explicitly designed as a follow-up and companion piece to Oriental Adventures. That fact is obvious in the "Arabian Adventures" subtitle of the book as well its contents. Much like Oriental Adventures, Al-Qadim includes character classes, skills, equipment, and special rules appropriate for the setting. The "classes" are particularly interesting: Al-Qadim stayed with the 2e trend of using "kits" but made them requirements, effectively turning them into subclasses.
The setting material in Al-Qadim, written by Andria Hayday, was originally planned to go at the end of the book, exactly like in Oriental Adventures, but it was so good that it got pushed up to the start instead. Graphic Design Tropes. Al-Qadim included beautiful endpapers, gold-foil borders printed with a fifth ink , and full-color plates. Graphic Designer Stephanie Tabat was instrumental in much of this work. In addition, the entire Al-Qadim line used the same artist for its black-and-white interior artwork: Karl Waller.
Mapping Tropes. Much like the western Forgotten Realms, Al-Qadim was designed with a huge mega-map that could be broken up into individual maps for boxed adventures. Several parts of the map were published, but the entire mega-map was never revealed. Expanding the Realms. As such, it was another huge expansion for the Forgotten Realms. Al-Qadim was actuallynotthe first Arabic-like setting in the Realms.
Ed Greenwood had originally placed such lands at the edges of his world, and then when the world got bigger, he added more Arabic lands, so there were a lot of them — most notably Anauroch and Calimshan. In fact, when Calimshan was revisited in Empires of the Shining Sea , it became less Arabic and more influenced by the Ottoman Empire — apparently because the Realms had one too many Arabic-influenced setting by that point. About the Creators. It takes a village to create a new setting.
As noted, Andria Hayday oversaw the line and also wrote the setting chapter, while Jeff Grubb wrote the main text of Al-Qadim, Jeff Easley painted two covers, Karl Waller drew the internal black-and-white illustrations, and Stephanie Talbot did the graphic design of the project. Jon Pickens is the uncredited hero who provided Grubb with three boxes full of reference and research material for the project — which is the sort of thing that Pickens did frequently at TSR.
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Magic carpets, ghoulish vixens, genies rising from the sand in a whirlwind of smoke and fire - such wonders, spun into tales by fabled Scheherasade, enchanted a king for a thousand and one nights. The Al-Qadim campaign will enchant role-players for a thousand and one more You are about to discover an exotic realm inspired by the tales of Sinbad, Ali Baba, and other classics from the Arabian Nights. It was released in April Al-Qadim was the fourth; it was a new Arabian Nights-influenced setting created in late and early by designer Jeff Grubb and editor Andria Hayday.
These include the Forgotten Gods of Nog and Kadar, the Cold Gods of the Elements Akadi , Grumbar , Istishia , Kossuth , the gods of unenlightened Zakharan cultures such as the Hill Tribes and the islanders of the Crowded Sea, and the Ajami Foreign Gods - the gods whose faith has been carried to Zakhara by migrants from other lands, predominantly Gond , Helm called "Helam" by confused Zakharans and Clangeddin Silverbeard whose diminishing worship amongst Zakharan gods has seen him renamed "Clang". The unusual nature of the zakharan pantheon has led to two distinct faiths of note; the Temple of Ten Thousand Gods and the League of the Pantheon, or the Pantheist League. The Ten Thousand Gods Temple takes the polytheistic inclinations of the Zakharans to the extreme; they worship ALL gods, interchangeably and commmunally. Their holy ideal is acceptance; their ethos is that all deities are merely facets of the same divine force. As such, their holy principles are simple: The gods are aspects of a greater holy power. Men and women, elves, half-elves, dwarves, and other creatures - all these mortal beings mirror the diversity of that divine power. All are touched by the same holy radiance.
European translators introduced both Ali Baba and Aladdin as spurious additions to the Nights, back in the s. But what of that? Just as important, the Al-Qadim line marked the first time TSR used one artist for interior illustration throughout a whole line: the remarkable Karl Waller, whose atmospheric work conveys exactly the textures, exoticism, muscular genies, and empty desert expanses appropriate to the game line. Though pretty, it lacks a distinctive writing style and sense of atmosphere.