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Ylari campaignby Giampaolo Agosta
On the MMB, we've discussed the possibility of using Al Qadim material in a campaign based in Ylaruam (which is what I did a couple of years ago in a short lived campaign).
So, here's what I proposed to my players.
The Ylaruam setting can actually go beyond the borders of the Emirates.
Even if the DM doesn't want the group to leave the M-Arabian lands, there are several places where sizable Ylari population can be found, allowing different takes on the M-Arabian theme.
Right near the Emirates we find the towns of Selenica, Tel Akbir and Biazzan. These are territories where the Alasiyan culture meets other civilisations. They are prime place for a "first contact" between Ylari PCs and the rest of the world, or can be used as borderlands where Ylari characters can retreat (e.g., if the Kin take over Ylaruam, some preceptors may flee to Selenica or Tel Akbir; an Ylari prince whose throne has been usurped by the evil vizier can hide more easily in Selenica than in a town where Ylari are a rare sight).
More distant lands, such as Ierendi and the Great Waste, also have smaller Alasiyan populations.
And, finally, the Sea of Dawn and the Shadow Coast can be good places to set a small corsair base, or Sinbad-themed adventures.
The idea is to provide a good (but not exceedingly large) range of possible choices, all rooted in the Alasiyan setting.
These are the allowed racesHuman (Alasiyan, Makistani, Thyatian, Alphatian, Nithian)
Lupin (Fighting Fennec, Nithian Rambler)
Human subraces have no modifiers, they represent only cultural and physical traits common to the people of a given ethnic background (there are, however, some preferences -- Thyatians fighters are more like to be Askars or Corsairs than Desert Riders, Alphatian wizards favour the Wind province, and so on).
Foreign characters were not considered as beginning PCs, since the specific campaign was thought to be based entirely in the Emirates.
However, Dwarven and Gnome characters were allowed as the most common foreigners. Dwarven and Gnome characters were assumed to be permanent residents of Cubis' Dwarven Quarter.
In my campaign, Lupins are a major race in southern and eastern Brun.
They are the most common non-humans in Ylaruam, so they actually replace elves and halflings here. Specifically, the Fennec is a short Lupin that can be adopted by people who like to play diminutive PCs, and Ramblers have an interesting background linked to Nithia.
Character Kits Allowed (from Al Qadim)
These are one of the most interesting contribution from Al Qadim (with adventures and monsters, of course). AD&D gives its best in describing characters when appropriate kits are provided, and IMO Al Qadim does a good work for generic pseudo-Arabian settings.
Some areas, such as priests, still require heavy modifications, due to the large differences between Zakhara and Ylaruam.
Several warrior kits need to be modified -- e.g., Ylaruam's military orders are not well represented by the Mamluk kit, so I use a variation of the Myrmidon kit.
The Askar and Corsair kits, on the other hand, provide useful variants for the Ylari warrior.
Askar Common in the coastal towns, and in Ylaruam Corsair Common in Surra-Man-Ra, uncommon in the other coastal towns Desert rider Modified, common in the Alasiyan Desert Faris Replaced by Defender (SC) of al-Kalim, common everywhere Mamluk Replaced by Way of the Warrior kits, common everywhere
I allowed Ylari wizards to use the special mage classes provided in Al Qadim. I think Ylari wizards are secretive and ill-understood enough that the change doesn't really affect the setting. OTOH, the Al Qadim wizards provide an interesting take on elemental wizardry. Sha'irs were also allowed.
Variants were also allowed, especially the Unseen Elemental Mage (for characters who hide their powers and do not respect the regulations for wizards) and the Spellslayer (a hunter of renegade mages, such as Unseen Mages or Glantrians)
Characters of a given ethnic background have some affinity for one or more of the elemental provinces:
Flame Nithian Wave Thyatian Sand Alasiyan Wind Alphatian
The following wizard kits are available. Other kits may be appropriate in Mystara (e.g., the Mechanician for Moulder Dwarves), but not for Ylari characters, or are too rare (e.g., the Astrologer and Digitalogist are too academic to be allowed in Ylaruam, which has only a small university).
Elemental Mage Flame mages are limited to the Magians in the Emirates Unseen/Common Sha'ir Uncommon, most are Alasiyans Sorcerer Common Ajami Uncommon, only those wizards trained elsewhere in the KW Mageweaver Uncommon Spellslayer Uncommon, devoted to the elimination of Glantrians or Magians, always from the Kin faction.
Rogues need little comments. I did modify the Barber (my version is somewhere up in the vaults with other Ylari kits I modified from Al Qadim). Holy Slayers don't seem too common. All others are just adaptations of standard thief kits, with some pseudo-Arabian flavour, which is what kits should provide.
Sa'luk Common Barber Common Beggar-thief Common Holy slayer Very Rare, Kin faction only Matrud Common Merchant-rogue Common Rawun Common
Priest kits of course needed some work, so I reworked them out (see the Vaults). Kahins, while not available in Ylaruam (they could be idol-priests of pre-Eternal Truth religions, though), could be used elsewhere -- e.g., if one assumes that the Alasiyan tribes of the Great Waste (those nomads in X4, e.g.) left the Emirates before al-Kalim, or due to al-Kalim's reforms, then their priests may well be Kahins.
The Pragmatist-Ethoist-Moralist triad is not appropriate for Ylaruam, but it gave me a good base for the Itinerant and Prayer Leader kits (see in the Vaults).
I also use the War Priest kit from SC to represent the Order of the Mace.
Pragmatist Replaced by Itinerant (Preceptors) Ethoist Replaced by Prayer Leader (Preceptors) Moralist Replaced by Prayer Leader or Itinerant (Kin) Hakima Very Rare, more common before al-Kalim Kahin Not Allowed Mystic Replaced by Dervish
Religious and Moral Outlook
Since religion is a dominant factor of the life in the Emirates, all characters in Ylaruam have a specific outlook.
The following outlooks are allowed:
Follower of the Eternal Truth, Preceptors' faction This is the most common outlook. On average, 50% of the native population follows the Eternal Truth as preached by the Preceptors faction.
Most followers are Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral, though some may be Lawful Evil or Neutral Good.
Follower of the Eternal Truth, Kin's faction All other members of the Eternal Truth follow the faction of the Kin, the direct descendants of al-Kalim. They amount to circa 30% percent of the native population.
Many followers are Lawful Neutral, though some are Lawful Good or Lawful Evil.
These are people who are not really believers of the Eternal Truth, but go through the motions. They may still be devoted to some of the Immortal Guardians, such as the Old Man of the Sea, or they may see some good in the teachings of the Eternal Truth, but cannot accept the strictly Lawful outlook of this cult.
Most are True Neutral, Neutral Good or Neutral Evil, and are about 20% of the native population.
Follower of the Ancient Faiths
There are four types of Ancient Faiths:
- The Magian Fire-Worshippers, Evil-aligned and rooted in the Emirate of Nithia
- The Cult of Pflarr, revered by the Good-aligned Nithian Ramblers
- The Cult of Thanatos, revered by the Evil-aligned Nithian Ramblers
- The pre-al-Kalim nature worship, almost extinguished in the Emirates
Only few individuals are members of these cults (less than 1% of the population). They can be of any appropriate alignment.
Follower of Outlander Immortals
These are very rare among the native Ylari.
On the other hand, most foreigners belong to this group. Most notable are the Dwarven followers of Kagyar.
Since the campaign was built out of a series of short adventures (one or two sessions long), I didn't want the players to spend too much time in character creation (most of them were not familiar with the rules, and none had the rulebooks), so I provided some pregenerated characters.
It worked out well, and some of the players, moved out of their usual PC type, performed excellently.
The pregens can be used as low-level NPCs in Cubis or in other regions of Ylaruam.
Diyab ben Aziz al-Fanaqi
Haroun ibn Anwar min Taham
Hakim ibn Yezid al-Nisr
Waleed bin Jamal al Jaboori