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  • File: 1331930617.jpg-(137 KB, 1000x722, Baghdad of Myth.jpg)
    137 KB Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:43 No.18350298  
    So, several times over the last few months I've seen threads asking for advice on how to build desert/Arabian Nights style settings. Seeing as this is a field I am interested in and have a number of books on, I thought I'd post a starter kit of sorts.

    Understand that the following is by no means comprehensive. It is intended merely to be a collection of ideas from myth, legend, and traditions that might jog your imagination.

    I'm mainly going to focus on 1001 Nights sort of stuff. We'll start with djinn. If you're in a TL;DR mood, now's the time to leave.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:44 No.18350308
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    The traditional view of djinn as individuals is that they are like humans, but have very poor impulse control. Being made of fire, they’re supposed to be as mercurial, dangerous, and unpredictable as fire is. Consequently they get bored with things very quickly, and sometimes fail to properly think through their actions. There are many stories of djinn falling in love with humans, but failing to realize how destructive their affections can be.

    As for their society, it is more or less like ours. Djinn can be good or bad (though even the good ones can be dangerous and unpredictable). Often in folklore “good” is associated with “has converted to Islam,” but the point stands that they can choose to be good or bad, and even that they can choose their religion. The idea of “good” djinn usually involves them realizing how destructive their nature can be and consciously attempting to practice self control, with varying degrees of success.

    One thing you may have seen is references to different classifications of djinn. In D&D, for example, they are regularly divided amongst the elements, with djinn being associated with air, ifrit with fire, and marids with water. This has little to do with actual folklore. All djinn were thought to be made of “smokeless fire,” while mankind was made from (depending on the source) mud or a blood clot. In the folklore these terms have different meanings. A “marid” is merely an exceptionally strong and powerful djinni. The term for malicious djinn is usually “shaitan,” though “ifrit” is sometimes used in this way as well. Ifrit, however, has other connotations, which I will mention later.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:45 No.18350313
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    What precisely djinn can do is rarely spelled out in the Arabian Nights, but then the stories don’t go into much detail in general. This is because they are folktales, and folktales often are light on details because they are really just the skeletons of a story, a summary provided for the storyteller, who will creatively inject his own details.

    So what can djinn do? Well, if you pay attention, they usually display the same powers in their stories: flight, invisibility, great strength, possession, and shape-shifting. “Wishes” are based less on djinn conjuring something from nothing (a power reserved for god) and more on the idea that they used these aforementioned skills. For example, Islamic tradition has it that King Solomon commanded the djinn and ordered them to build the great temple of Jerusalem. They had to actually assemble it, not just make it appear, but due to their powers they could assemble it very quickly. The djinni in the original version of Aladdin does the same thing when ordered to construct a palace.

    If you order a djinni to do something too complex for him to accomplish, he may call up his family members or friends to assist him. He may also just bully lesser djinn into it. If you order a djinni to make you rich, he may give you some of the vast treasures he has accumulated over his long lifetime (in stories djinn often guarded hidden treasure caches) or he may simply take the riches you desire from somewhere else. The point is, djinn can’t just pluck whatever you want out of the ether. They have to find it and bring it to you. This can lead to complications, especially if the mountain of gold they just gave you came from the local sultan’s treasury.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:46 No.18350324
    I am monitoring this thread. Thanks OP.
    >> IFRIT Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:47 No.18350326
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    The general concept of ifrit is that they are very similar to djinn, though they tend to be more hostile towards humans. However, in a modern Egyptian ethnography, I came across an interesting belief: ifrit are ghosts.

    In Islam, the general interpretation of the theology is that upon death your spirit is immediately judged and taken to paradise or cast into hell. There are, in short, not supposed to be any such thing as ghosts. But the idea that ghosts exist is old as dirt, and it’s one that never seems to quite go away. The result is that the tradition underwent a modification. People still believed in ghosts, but when the local Imam came around asking questions, folks could simply refer to ghosts as a type of malicious djinn.

    As a result, ifrit are often associated with abandoned (haunted) houses, murders, premature death, and the other paraphernalia of ghosts and hauntings. How you would like to use them is up to you; you could stick with the “evil djinn” angle, explore the ghost concept, or perhaps try for some synthesis of the two.
    >> JINNISTAN Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:48 No.18350337
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    Where djinn live is very hard to pin down. Traditionally they are said to live in hidden our out of the way places, such as ruins, wastelands, pits and holes, etc. They are often associated with filth and unclean places. Indeed, there’s an old tradition that one should not piss into holes because djinn like to live in them, and a djinni you just pissed on is unlikely to be very forgiving. For the most part, djinn move amongst us unseen, and there are many precautions to be taken because of this.

    But djinn are also associated with the underworld. Not quite hell, but definitely some sort of underground abode. In folktales they often dwell in magical caverns, where they store their vast riches in underground palaces. Such locations tend to have a phantasmal, otherworldly nature. Similar traditions exist for the Persian peri, who we’ll get to in a bit.

    There are also some references to Jinnistan, an entire otherworld beyond our own. Descriptions of it are vague. Middle Eastern folklore abounds with tales of strange lands, but which ones were thought to lie in the real world and which were not is somewhat unclear. The only solid tradition I’ve ever heard of regarding Jinnistan is a Persian one that says it lies beyond the emerald mountains that surround the world. Whether this is a metaphorical boundary, a mountain range covered in lush greenery, or a literal mountain range made of vast gemstones is anybody’s guess. Take your pick.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:49 No.18350346
    as am I. Thanks OP
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:52 No.18350370
    >I’ve ever heard of regarding Jinnistan is a Persian one that says it lies beyond the emerald mountains that surround the world. Whether this is a metaphorical boundary, a mountain range covered in lush greenery, or a literal mountain range made of vast gemstones is anybody’s guess. Take your pick.

    Well the mountainous region known as Baluchistan between the eastern border of Iran (Persia) and the Indus River Vally (southern Pakistan) is literally CHOCK full of turquoise as to appear blue-green. . .
    >> MAGIC Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:54 No.18350389
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    The traditional term for a sorcerer in Arabic is “kahin,” and they are strongly associated with djinn. In Middle Eastern folklore magic is strongly tied to invoking spirits. A sorcerer may command and bind djinn, ordering them to perform tasks for him. If a sorcerer claims his powers are purely innate, he is usually thought to be lying. For example, if he claims he is flying, he is usually just being lifted into the air by invisible djinn. If he claims he can tell the future, it is because djinn have flown to the gates of heaven, listened to the conversations of the angels, and relayed them to him. You get the idea.

    Magical items are often associated with djinn as well, based on the idea that a sorcerer could bind them to physical objects. In this case, you did not need to be a sorcerer yourself to command a djinni, you simply needed to own one of these items. Sometimes you also needed to know an incantation that would summon the djinni and let you control him, but most of the time simply holding the object was enough.

    There were other cases when people could use djinn to further their own ends. Very holy men, like King Solomon, were thought to be able to command them through divine authority. Djinn who fell in love with people might sometimes offer to do them favors. And some sorcerers claimed djinn aided them willingly, that they had been born being able to see the invisible creatures, and that they were drawn to one another.

    Keep in mind; this is just a rule of thumb. Most belief in magic in the Middle East might have involved the invoking of spirits, but there was room for other beliefs. Alchemy, for example, flourished in the region (the word itself is Arabic), and its practitioners were sometimes regarded as semi-supernatural.
    >> GHOUL Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:57 No.18350404
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    Now on to other mythical creatures.

    The ghul of Arabian folklore may have given rise to our use of the term for hideous undead monsters, but the original was not undead at all. Middle Eastern folklore is actually fairly light on the shambling corpses. Ghouls were sometimes described as a type of djinn, but in stories they tended to be more physical. The term was usually used to refer to hairy, savage, cannibalistic creatures that lived in the wilderness, more comparable to ogres than anything else. The connection to the undead probably comes from stories of them scavenging graveyards and battlefields for human remains.

    They did sometimes have some magical associations, though. It was thought they could shape shift, often travelling in the form of a hyena, and female ghulas could take the form of beautiful maidens sitting by campfires near lonely roads at night, waiting to lure in human victims (though of course they always had some sort of tell that gave away the disguise). Striking a ghoul once would kill it, but striking it a second time would return it to life. If you could trick a ghula into nursing a human baby, the child would never have to fear ghoul attacks ever again.

    Ghouls have a fair number of ways they can be used or reinterpreted. They can be a simple physical threat. They could also be a race of savage demihumans shunned by civilization, playing the same role as ogres or orcs would in traditional fantasy. Or maybe they live in warren-like cities under human ones, raiding graveyards and living off humanity’s leavings like rats. You can also toy with their powers. Perhaps they don’t shapeshift, but instead conjure mirage-like illusions.
    >> PERI Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)16:58 No.18350417
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    In Persian folklore, there is a race of all-female fairy-like beings called peri. Peri are incredibly beautiful, live off of sweet smells and perfumes instead of food, and often live in magical underground caverns. They are sometimes depicted as having brightly colored bird wings. They are strongly associated with water and greenery, with large fountains and gardens being prominent features in their hidden caverns. The water from the fountain of the peri Banu, who was a lover to the hero Prince Ahmed, could magically cure all ills.

    Their precise origins are a bit murky. The oldest tradition they can be traced to is a group of evil hag-like spirits, but before that it’s thought they might have been minor gods of forest and stream. By the time Islam became commonplace the most popular explanation was that they were fallen angels who were seeking redemption, aiding humans in the hope that this would earn them a way back into paradise.

    Despite all being female, peri are sometimes associated with djinn. Peri Banu, for example, had a powerful djinn for a brother. However, they were of older stock then djinn, and are more often associated with Zoroastrian spirits, such as the demonic divs, who would imprison them in iron cages where they would eventually die of sorrow (though it would take a while since peri could live for thousands of years).
    >> DIV Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:01 No.18350442
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    Divs were the demons of Persia, monstrous, warlike Zoroastrian spirits who served the evil god Ahriman. They waged a constant war against the Holy Immortals, spirits in service of the good god Ahura Mazda. They came in a multitude of colors, and often displayed a mix of human and animal features, usually sporting horns, shaggy hair, cow/lion tails, and a pattern sort of like leopard spots on their hide.

    Zoroastrianism was a dualistic religion, which sorted the entire world into “good” and “evil” categories. Divs were associated with all the things considered evil in Zoroastrianism, capable of shapeshifting into reptiles, insects, rodents, scavengers, cats, and really anything associated with death or disease. This is not to say they didn’t have other powers. The most famous of the divs was probably the Div-e Sepid, or “White Demon.” He defeated an army by controlling the weather, and then blinded the king. The famous Persian hero Rostam eventually killed him, and used the demon’s blood to cure the king’s blindness.
    >> KARKADANN Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:03 No.18350455
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    The karkadann (which is Persian for “lord of the desert,” though it is also sometimes called a karg) is an extraordinarily useful monster for a storyteller, because it has multiple variations that can be drawn on. They are the predecessors of the European unicorn, the result of travelers’ tales about rhinos. Such stories were misinterpreted over time, but the original karkadann still has a lot in common with the rhinoceros. It has a single large, curved horn, is quite large and aggressive, and shares the same habitat as elephants (though they also were often described as living in the open desert as well). Due to some translation errors, the karkadann was also sometimes described as being a horned wolf-like creature.

    Of course, this being myth, things went further. The rhino’s aggressive nature was expanded to include a predatory one; karkadanns sometimes ate the creatures they killed, especially elephant. One common anecdote about their great strength was that they would spear elephants on their horns and then lift them up into the air (the wolf-like version just hunted them in packs).
    >> KARKADANN (continued) Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:04 No.18350462
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    There are quite a variety of other myths. The song of the ringdove would supposedly sooth the savage beast, and they would lie for hours under trees where the birds roosted. When finding water after a long trip through the desert, the karkadann would cry tears of blood that would fall into the water as it drank and turn into red gemstones. Like the unicorn it later inspired, it supposedly was gentle around virgins, and cups made from its horn could stave off poison or disease.

    They provide many options for a storyteller. The heroes may need to slay one, like the legendary Persian warrior Isfandiyar (who killed two). They may attempt to follow one to an oasis, where they can collect the valuable tears of the karkadann. If the story takes you to a caravan, perhaps they carry cages full of ringdoves with them in the hopes of pacifying any marauding karkadanns they might meet in the desert. Or perhaps domesticated karkadanns could be part of the setting as fantastic beasts of burden.
    >> DRAGON Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:04 No.18350471
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    The creatures usually translated as “dragon” in Middle Eastern stories are fairly indistinguishable from huge serpents, though art of the time often gave them legs. They were treated as large and dangerous animals, but they did not have wings or breathe fire. They usually weren’t that big, aside from one particular specimen. It was killed by Isfandiyar, who hid in a spike studded carriage that the dragon swallowed whole; it stuck in the creature’s throat, at which point Isfandiyar opened the door and hacked his way out. They did tend to be venomous; the blood from the dragon Isfandiyar killed nearly killed him in turn because it was so toxic.

    The closest thing to a truly gigantic dragon would have been the triple headed demon-monster Azi Dahaka. Dahaka was a div-like demon from Zoroastrian mythology, bigger and more dangerous than any of the others. Descriptions of him are vague, but often suggest both a humanoid and a reptilian nature. He was ultimately defeated by the divine champion Thraetaona, though not without difficulty. Azi Dahaka’s scaly hide was filled with a plague of snakes, toads, scorpions, and other hideous creatures, which would spill forth from any open wound, enough to cover the entire planet if Dahaka died. Thraetaona solved the problem by imprisoning the monster beneath a mountain until the end of time, at which point it would escape and have to be killed for good.
    >> MANTICORE Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:07 No.18350486
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    “Manticore” is derived from Persian “martyaxwar,” Which translates as “man-eater.” It’s widely thought to be based on traveler’s tales from India of the Bengal tiger. It is traditionally depicted as a red lion with the face of a human being (sometimes it also had small horns) and a tail that was either A) like that of a scorpion, B) like a flail, with the tip covered in a clump of venomous quills that could be fired at prey or C) as a great squirrel-like brush of a tail, covered in the same venomous quills. It had a rapacious appetite, shredding the flesh of its prey with three rows of teeth, and in European bestiaries was associated with gluttony and wrath.

    Its most magical quality was its prodigious leaping. The old anecdote went that “no four walls could hold it.” There are stories of manticores easily leaping the walls of great fortresses, and even one of a manticore jumping to the moon and back. This leaping ability is often replaced with bat wings and the power of flight in modern interpretations, which I’ve always found a bit mundane in comparison.

    Manticores are not complicated creatures. They are voracious predators that exist to ruin your day. That said, the different configurations of tail, and the choice between super-jumping and bat-wings give you some options for customization.
    >> BASILISK Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:09 No.18350496
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    The basilisk is not a native Middle Eastern monster, but it is strongly associated with the area in medieval bestiaries. A small serpent, about a yard long, it was the most venomous creature imaginable. Its breath could pollute any lake it drank from. Its gaze could kill or split stone. A single bite was instantly lethal. Even its blood was supernaturally deadly; a mounted warrior who stabbed a basilisk would find its poisonous essence flowing up through his weapon, into his arm, and through him into his horse, killing man and animal. The basilisk was thought to live in deserts, not because it favored the environment, but because its presence created them, reducing the greenest forest to barren earth.

    The word “basilisk” means “little king,” and the snake was widely considered the king of its kind. It naturally preyed on other snakes, and so its coming was announced by an exodus of serpents fleeing its presence. It even kept the front third of its body raised off the ground as it slithered along and had a small crown-like crest on its head. Later version of its legend conflated it with the similar cockatrice, and sometimes made it a more lizard-like monster, which is where the D&D version comes from.

    I’ve always thought the oldschool basilisk could make an interesting weapon. Imagine if one could be handled safely, and its deadly gaze used as a weapon. Perhaps you could mount one on the walls of your city, where it could strike entire armies dead. Also, mirrors could deflect its gaze. Imagine a trap that is a hall of mirrors, and as you wander through it several you step on a switch. Several alcoves begin to open, and each on contains a basilisk, whose death-ray vision will bounce off the cleverly-angled mirrors, killing everything in the room except themselves.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:09 No.18350503
    Feel free to comment, guys. Seems like I'm all alone in here. Any of this strike you as interesting?
    >> RUKH Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:11 No.18350512
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    The rukh (also called the rokh or roc) is one of the classic Middle Eastern mythical creatures. The rukh was a gigantic eagle, so big that it could hunt whales, elephants, and dragons. In the case of elephants, it would lift them high into the air and drop them back to earth, before settling down to pick at the smashed carcass. They were very wrathful creatures, dropping huge boulders on anyone who attacked them or their eggs. They could also be used for transport, as in the well known Sinbad story where he straps himself to one’s leg using his unwound turban. Eating the flesh of a rukh was supposed to have a rejuvenating effect on a man, restoring a part of his youth.

    You could use rukhs for a number of things. In a more fantastical setting domesticated ones could be used as weapons of war or aerial transport. They could embody the wrath of nature. They would also make a handy stand in for the dragon as a vast flying beast to be overcome. The youth-restoring quality of its meat would certainly be a big lure for attempting to slay the mighty bird.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:12 No.18350523
    I'm reading. Fascinating stuff OP. Many thanks
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:14 No.18350545
    Quite interesting Op. You are not alone.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:22 No.18350597

    Look into the history of Mecca and Medina, the two holy cities of Islam. Mecca was built around a holy shrine (the Kaaba, originally dedicated to animistic spirits like djinn, later to Islam) and as such had a rule that violence was forbidden within a radius around it. The clans of Arabia at the time often went through long and messy blood feuds. Mecca was a neutral zone, and being by some key trade routes, it turned into a thriving mercantile center.

    Medina, on the other hand, was an agricultural center, with lots of farms.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:22 No.18350601
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    >> SIMURGH Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:23 No.18350605
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    The simurgh is the Persian phoenix. There is only one at a time, and it usually appears only at times of great import, offering its help to heroes and noble kings. It’s quite intelligent, and even raised the hero Zal after he was abandoned to die in the wilderness. Like the Chinese fenghuang it is often depicted as a sort of “lord of birds,” accompanied by great flocks of loyal subjects wherever it goes. Like the Russian firebird, its feathers had magical properties, and the simurgh would bestow them upon worthy heroes.

    The “si” in “simurgh” has been connected to the modern Persian word “si” which means “thirty.” Often this connection is used to refer to the bird’s multi-colored plumage, or the flocks of birds that accompany it, though apparently in some sufi stories it refers to the bird’s origin. In this case it suggests the simurgh forms out of many birds coalescing together into a sort of avatar when occasion calls for it. This would certainly explain how the bird could keep coming back, as the warrior Isfandiyar once killed it. As you may have noticed, Isfandiyar really liked killing fantastic animals.

    Also, you totally have to wonder what would happen if a rukh was in the area when a simurgh formed.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:24 No.18350610
    Thank you for the Ghul and beasts. Any books where one can understand tribal/social relationships? I found one here on the board explaining the manorialism side of medievalism and want more of that.
    >> GRIFFIN Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:24 No.18350615
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    The griffin is easily the most famous of all Middle Eastern monsters, having appeared in the art of the region for centuries. It has a very fluid nature, sometimes noble, sometimes savage. It may be a protective guardian, or a marauding nuisance. It can be about the size of the lion that makes up one of its parts, or it can be eight times as big, such as in the tales of Mandeville, where it could carry off a full grown horse and rider in talons as long as ox horns.

    Griffins have a number of well known traits. Their diet is primarily horseflesh, which the Greeks thought they hunted across the open steppes of Scythia. They are well known for having an extremely aggressive, short-tempered attitude. They are often also associated with gold, which they kept in their nests and jealously guarded. In art they were sometimes shown with ears, which symbolized great hearing, or antelope horns, which symbolized great speed.

    The griffin’s versatility is a great boon to any writer. They can be huge monsters that take many heroes to bring down, or lion-sized beasts that are only a low-level threat. Their tendency to guard things can lead to them being obstacles or allies. There’s a damn good reason they’re so popular, and this is it.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:26 No.18350624
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    Thank you my friend, I accidentally deleted my original post.
    Interesting, about farms in desert areas.

    I am glad you posting this, on my other screen I'm actually working on my project right now.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:27 No.18350636

    I can't think of a title off the top of my head, but there are plenty out there. Anything focusing on the bedouin, and especially on Arabia pre 600 AD would be good.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:28 No.18350644
    This is a good thread, OP, and you should feel good.
    >> ALLAH & PARADISE Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:31 No.18350672
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    It is beyond the purview of this thread to get into an extensive religious discussion. That said, there are a couple of minor concepts from a couple of Middle Eastern religions I wanted to bring up, simply because I think they’re interesting and could be used for world-building.

    One is the basic concept of God in Islam. We anthropomorphize gods in fantasy fiction a lot, but God in Islam is a wholly abstract concept. He does not have a physical form. He is everywhere at once. He is sometimes referred to in human terms, but these are purely metaphorical. Muslims generally do not believe God ever has or ever will take human form. This strange, alien concept of a god as an abstract force is one I think could be put to interesting use.

    Another is the Islamic concept of heaven. Paradise in Islam is often described like Eden, a land of lush vegetation and clear flowing water. It is perhaps only natural that a culture originating a desert would imagine the perfect afterlife as a vast oasis. Again, the association of heavenly perfection with these concepts is one I think has world-building potential, as it gives an insight into the cultural mindset you are basing your setting off of.
    >> ZOROASTRIAN DUALISM Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:34 No.18350684
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    While a lot of fantasy settings prefer to use the pantheon approach to gods or even a monotheistic approach in some cases, you don’t see many that go in for dualism. This is odd, considering how many fantasy settings are also about the epic clash of good and evil.

    Zoroastrianism is therefore a rich and little explored territory. One of the oldest religions in the world, its ancient mythology is all about the battles of the god of light and good, Ahura Mazda, against the god of darkness and evil, Ahriman. Ahura Mazda dwelt in heaven; Ahriman dwelt in a deep chasm far to the frozen north. Everything in Zoroastrianism was divided into good an evil, plants, animals, deeds, etc.

    For example, Zoroastrians never buried or cremated their dead. The earth was considered pure, and fire was considered the purest thing of all (the ancient Greeks often mistook the Persians for fire-worshipers), but corpses were evil and corrupt once the soul had fled. What they used to do was leave bodies on hill or mountain tops to be picked clean by equally foul vultures. When they became impractical as cities grew, they constructed open-roofed Towers of Silence for the same purpose.

    One other interesting thing about Zoroastrianism; you can’t covert to it. You have to be born a Zoroastrian.
    >> EGYPT Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:39 No.18350726
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    I’m not going to talk too much about ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia, because I’ve chosen to focus on a more Arabian Nights sort of theme. That said, every proper fantasy setting needs the ruins of ancient civilizations to go poking around in. These two are ideal, and I’m going to explain a couple of reasons why.

    Egypt has always had a strong association with magic in the minds of foreigners, and for good reason. It is almost impossible to distinguish between Egyptian religious practices and Egyptian magical practices. Magical spells would invoke the gods, and priests were frequently paid to engage traditional “magical” practices like fortunetelling and healing. There was little stigma for sorcery for the most part. Magic was indeed viewed as a divine force, a byproduct of the creation of the universe, called “heka.” It was often personified in a minor god of the same name. Egypt is the perfect inspiration for some long-lost empire of sorcerer-kings, a source of ancient magical artifacts buried beneath the sands.
    >> MESOPOTAMIA Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:43 No.18350766
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    Ancient Mesopotamia is somewhat more familiar territory when it comes to mythology, with a pantheon of mostly amoral gods, an assortment of evil spirits, and a number of flawed human heroes. There was also a lot of emphasis on the purity of water, which ties in somewhat to the stuff I mentioned about Islamic Paradise. Still, Mesopotamian myth is fairly gloomy. The Epic of Gilgamesh is all about the inevitability and unfairness of death. The afterlife had no upside either. It was just cold, dark, and eternal. And, if the Goddess Ishtar can be believed, full of ravenous zombies. In the epic of Gilgamesh she threatens to throw open the gates to the underworld is she doesn’t get her way, saying: “I shall set my face toward the infernal regions, I shall raise up the dead, and they will eat the living, I will make the dead outnumber the living!”

    Unearthing some ancient ruin that is actually a gate to dark, terrible dimension crammed full of flesh-eating revenants? That’s campaign material if I’ve ever heard it.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:43 No.18350770
    Still here
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:45 No.18350785
    Sky burying, then.
    What is done to what remains of the corpse?
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:45 No.18350792
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    Right, that's all I've got folks. I'll round the thread out by posting some assorted images.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:46 No.18350800

    If I remember correctly, once the birds are done with the body the priests collect the bones and inter them in a crypt.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:47 No.18350805
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:52 No.18350841
    Thanks alot man.
    this was a tremendous help to me, mythology building is funnest part of world building.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:52 No.18350843
         File: 1331934752.jpg-(359 KB, 1024x780, 3277697409_c11f1e1252_b-egypt-(...).jpg)
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    This is an Egyptian magic wand. They were usually carved out of ivory in this boomerang shape, but they also sometimes had long, snake-shaped rods as well.

    Egypt is actually pretty lacking in mythical creatures; there are some assorted references to demons and dangerous spirits in the underworld, the worst of all being the colossal serpent Apep. There are a number of charms warding of lard "chaos serpents" thought to dwells underground and in the water.

    Egyptian mythology often seems less concerned with "evil" then it was with "chaos." The universe started out chaotic and fluid, often described as an endless dark ocean through which Apep swam. Water often has negative connotations in their lore as a result. That'll happen when you live near hippos and crocodiles, along a frequently flooding delta.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:53 No.18350849
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:54 No.18350865
    This is a delightful read OP. Nice job!
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:54 No.18350866
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:58 No.18350884
    Preserve this starter-kit for future fa/tg/uys: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:59 No.18350891
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    Thanks OP, playing in Al'Qadim campaign so it is much appreciated!

    I'll share some stuff from my Arabian folder...
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)17:59 No.18350892
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:00 No.18350899
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:00 No.18350900
    Read everything. Thank you OP.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:01 No.18350909
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:01 No.18350913
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    A ghula nursing a human infant. Every time I read this myth, I always wonder just how you were supposed to get the kid in there without the ghouls noticing and eating you/the baby before it had a chance to nurse.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:02 No.18350919
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:03 No.18350924
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:04 No.18350932
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:04 No.18350935
    >If the story takes you to a caravan, perhaps they carry cages full of ringdoves with them in the hopes of pacifying any marauding karkadanns they might meet in the desert
    >Like the unicorn it later inspired, it supposedly was gentle around virgins

    Maybe the caravan just brings along some virgins.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:05 No.18350945
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:06 No.18350953
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:06 No.18350956
    Hey OP?
    If you EVER get any more ideas like this. Just-just start talking, that's all that is needed. I promise we will be listening.

    It's a shame I haven't the time to read all this now. I'm saving it to a word doc.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:06 No.18350957
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:06 No.18350958
    Good stuff Op, well written too.

    Witchcraft is a good theme too, figure.

    In Palestine some people today believe that the few Jews that chose not to emigrate to Israel after the Nakbah are apt in the art of witchcraft. These are usually respected for their choice to remain in Palestine, and the largest community of them is in the city of Nablus. People would go to them to have ails cured, potions of love prepared etc etc.

    In some parts of Morocco, I've read (book was called "their head are green"), that women in general (or most women) are believed by men to be skilled in the preparation of various nefarious concoctions. I men would always be weary of eating the food cooked by a woman, even (or especially) by his wife or relative. Poisoning/cursing through cuisine could take decades, but is infallible. The author describes this feeling as bordering total paranoia, where some men would beat and scare their wives off poisoning them. Others mght treat them with velvet gloves for the same reason.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:08 No.18350966
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:08 No.18350967

    and since only women cook, that makes them immensely powerful.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:09 No.18350974
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:10 No.18350977
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:10 No.18350978
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:11 No.18350982

    Nigga Goddamn Rostam is balling. Tiger cuirass and pteurges and shit.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:11 No.18350983
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:11 No.18350984
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:12 No.18350988

    Shit yeah. Rostam kills divs and dragons and fucks up Turanians like it ain't no thing.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:13 No.18350994
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:13 No.18350996
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:14 No.18351000
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:15 No.18351007
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:18 No.18351028
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    Some music to go with the pictures:

    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:19 No.18351031
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:20 No.18351041
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:21 No.18351043
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:22 No.18351049
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:25 No.18351057
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:30 No.18351096
    Neat thread OP. Some info I think you might like:

    Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi's "Account of Egypt" is a pretty neat 12-13th century work of archaeology and egyptology. Written around the time of Saladin, he talks about various Egyptian monuments and artifacts that are well preserved thanks to government policy and moralizes on the value of their existence and preservation to Muslims. He also mentions treasure hunters and the rich who fund them that seems oddly reminiscent of later British adventures centuries later.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:30 No.18351097
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:31 No.18351108
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:32 No.18351109
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:32 No.18351114
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:33 No.18351120
    From his wiki page:
    >>Abd-al Latif was well aware of the value of ancient monuments and praised Muslim rulers for preserving and protecting pre-Islamic artifacts and monuments. He noted that the preservation of antiquities presented a number of benefits for Muslims:[2]

    >>"monuments are useful historical evidence for chronologies;"
    >>"they furnish evidence for Holy Scriptures, since the Qur'an mentions them and their people;"
    >>"they are reminders of human endurance and fate;"
    >>"they show, to a degree, the politics and history of ancestors, the richness of their sciences, and the genius of their thought."

    >>While discussing the profession of treasure hunting, he notes that poorer treasure hunters were often sponsored by rich businessmen to go on archeological expeditions. In some cases, an expedition could turn out to be fraud, with the treasure hunter disappearing with large amounts of money extracted from sponsors. This fraudulent practice continues to the present day, with rich businessmen in Egypt still being deceived by local treasure hunters.

    Treasure hunting sounds like a great quest for players starting out.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:35 No.18351137
    >>"This eyewitness account comes from Abdel-Latif Al-Baghdadi, a physician/scholar from Baghdad who was in Egypt from 1194 to AD 1200. He reported that people emigrated in crowds and that those who remained habitually ate human flesh; parents even ate their own children. Graves were ransacked for food, assassinations and robbery reigned unchecked and noblewomen implored to be bought as slaves."

    You say famine, I say cannibal plague.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:36 No.18351139
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:36 No.18351142
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    An oldie but a goodie:

    >The Taklamakan Desert is one of the most hostile places on Earth. Numerous cities, even entire civilizations lie beneath its dunes. Legends abound about it being haunted by evil spirits that mislead travelers. The Silk Road split in two and went around it, to the North and South, rather than dare go through it; there are caravan routes through the Sahara, but not the Taklamakan. Its very name means “that which goes in does not come out.”

    >Almost as common are legends of cities consumed for their sins, Sodom and Gomorrah style. One of my favorites talks about the Rain of Earth. The sky darkened, and it began to rain dirt. Each raindrop was a single grain of soil, and it poured from the heavens, filling the streets, burying the city so fast not a soul could escape. When the storm abated, there was just a great hill where there had once been a city.

    >There are plenty of spells detailing rains of fire, or meteors, or blood, but dirt? It could make a great custom mage, druid, or cleric spell, or perhaps the doomed city is the setting of your campaign. Maybe your party is seeking it, hoping to dig into the buried streets and searching for lost valuables, risking the anger of the same forces that doomed the decadent city.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:40 No.18351163
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:41 No.18351172
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    And another.

    >Zahhak was an evil prince (who then murdered his father to become king) and alchemist who sought to rule the world. One night the god of evil, Ahriman, crept into his palace and kissed him on either shoulder. A pair of black snakes that grew from the two kisses and had to be fed human brains. A constant flow of captives went to Zahhak's palace, where they were killed and their brains removed in the palace kitchens, to be served to the king's shoulder snakes.

    >Zahhak couldn't cut the snakes off; they just grew back. If they weren't fed brains regularly, they would turn on him, threatening to constrict his neck and bite his face with their poison fangs.

    >Tell me this guy wouldn't make a great BBEG.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:42 No.18351178
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:42 No.18351179
    This thread is a good thread.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:44 No.18351195
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:45 No.18351198
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:47 No.18351212
    Very nice OP. Any chance you could do this for a few other cultures/settings? I would love to see more on chinese mythos since you mention that in the phoenix entry.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:53 No.18351249

    Actually, I have done similar threads in the past. I did one on vampires under the name "Mythfag," and wrote a lot in a thread about giants and another about goblins. I think they all got archived if you're interested.

    As for China, I will say this. I have studied the mythical creatures of a number of cultures. Some have richer and more diverse traditions than others. Egypt, for example, has relatively little going for it. India and Japan have mythical creatures out he wazoo.

    China, though, does not. It has few truly fantastical creatures that never could have existed, like the fenghuang or longwang. Most are simply demonic or divine human/animal spirits/immortals.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:55 No.18351257
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:55 No.18351261
    I'm actually working on a setting combining feudal Russian architecture and politics with Middle Eastern theology and cosmology, so this is gold, thank you OP.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:57 No.18351280
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)18:58 No.18351286
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    That was it for me, again: thanks OP!
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)19:01 No.18351300
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    You'll want to look into Persian myth. Their culture had a number of Eastern European influences; you can still detect elements of Zoroastrian dualism in Russia mythology, and one of the gayest, most retarded creatures in the Monster Manual for D&D is a Russian version of the simurgh.

    I am talking, of course, about the senmurv.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)19:01 No.18351309

    Sorry, I meant to say a number of influences ON Eastern European myth.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)19:03 No.18351319
    Persian mythology is awesome, yes.

    Russian myth is hilarious if you don't go far enough or you go far enough back.
    Modern myth: Giant man eating ducks that bleed alcohol
    Pre-christian myth: Giant man eating geese that bleed Chinese people
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)19:07 No.18351354
    I could see an interesting magic system built off the dualistic stuff, with white mages and black mages.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)19:09 No.18351368
    Vote it up! http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)19:13 No.18351401
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    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)19:33 No.18351572
    I'm a little disappointed there's not more discussion in this thread. All these myths are awesome, but what can we DO with them?

    Come on, /tg/, get creative!
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)19:58 No.18351788
    Orhmad stood on a large rock and watched the horizon through his telescope. Heat shimmered above the arid plains, but he could just make out a dark speck in the distance, slowly growing larger.

    “How much longer?” whined Abd. He was a few yards back in the oasis, leaning against a tree, drinking too much of their water. Orhmad was beginning to regret buying him.

    “Not long,” he called back. “Is everything ready?”

    “Yes, yes, I have the bags right here.”

    “Good.” Orhmad snapped the telescope shut. Outfitting for this venture had been expensive, but it everything went according to plan it would be well worth it. He fished his pocket for the small clay tablet that had cost the most. It felt reassuring in Orhmad’s grip, though hopefully he wouldn’t need to use it. He hurried back to the treeline.

    “Alright,” he said as he reached Abd. “It’s almost here. Let’s get back near the ditch.” Abd looked up, confused. He clearly had not been paying attention. Orhmad grumbled into his beard, grabbed the slave by his arm, and hauled him to his feet.

    “But you still haven’t told me what we’re DOING!” Abd protested weakly. This earned him a cuff on the ear.

    “Just do as you’re told! I swear, if you ruin this operation I’ll sell you back to Crazy Hasan, and you can shovel camel dung for the rest of your days!”
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)20:09 No.18351886

    Orhmad half dragged, and mostly kicked Abd back to the sandy ditch where they had laid their supplies. It was just under a tuft of long grass, not far from the spring, and well concealed. He quickly double checked everything. Bags, yes, spears, yes, tablet, yes. So far so good. He risked a peek over the ditch’s edge, parting the grass with his hands. The birdcage was hanging from a tree, just above the spring. Perfect.

    Just then, they felt the first of the tremors. It was weak, but noticeable. Abd had collapsed in a bony heap, but the sensation made him jerk upright with surprising speed.

    “What was that?” His eyes darted in his head as he looked around, Adam’s apple bobbing. Orhamd cuffed him along the ear again.

    “Keep your voice down!” he whispered. “It’s why I’ve put up with your reedy voice and sickly stench for the last fifty miles of desert. It’s why we’re here.”

    The tremors were growing in strength. Grains of sand fell from the upper lip of the ditch onto Abd’s turban. The slave whimpered.

    “Do not make another sound,” said Orhmad. His dark eyes gleamed. “From here on, say nothing and do precisely what I say.”
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)20:36 No.18352106

    By now the footsteps were unmistakable. The ground shook, the trees swayed, and the sound of labored breathing from some great animal reached the two men. A dark shadow fell over the ditch. The footsteps stopped. Orhmad waited, tense, listening. Abd cowered, body curled up and head over his hands, doing his best to shrink in on himself till he was unnoticeable. For a moment there was no sound save the animal’s breathing, the breeze in the trees, and the soft birdsong from the cage over the spring. Then the animal gave a thunderous, hacking snort and stomped forward again.

    Orhmad grabbed Abd with iron fingers, shook him out of the fetal position, and gestured imperiously towards the bags. He picked up two, and then began to crawl on his belly along the bottom of the ditch, towards the spring. Abd picked up the bags, looked helplessly at the retreating Orhmad, then at the bags, and then in the direction of the beast. He swallowed hard, and followed.

    They kept pace with the great shadow as the crawled along the ditch, stopping when the beast stopped, moving when it moved. Abd was just wondering how it would navigate the fallen tree he had seen along the path earlier, when there was a great snort, a thump, and the dead trunk was tossed through the air like a piece of driftwood in the tide. It landed across the ditch just over Orhmad’s back, sending up a spray of sand. Abd felt a sudden dampness in his robes, but then Orhmad reached back and yanks on his arm. The beast was still going. They crawled on under the dead tree, and Abd considered making a break for it. It was the fifth time he had considered this that day.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)21:02 No.18352295
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)22:34 No.18353034
    So, let's say you were doing an all Middle Eastern setting. What would your non-human races be?

    I could see ghouls either as creepy, sneaky little bastards who would make good rogues, or as big hairy brutes who would make good warriors.

    You could probably turn peri from a sort of spirit into a mysterious race of elf-like beings, living in a wondrous underground realm.

    Djinn seem like they would be interesting to roleplay, but I can't imagine how you would balance them. You'd probably have to make players start as lesser djinn with limited powers.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)22:36 No.18353053
    >What would your non-human races be?
    Northern barbarians, indians, random european travellers, jews, nubians, and other non-believers.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)22:39 No.18353092

    I think you misunderstood my question.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)22:44 No.18353140
    I did not. Seriously, why do you even need non-human races? Play in Forgotten Realms if you need a party of dwarf, elf, LG drow and half-dragon-half-vampire girl with pregnancy obsession.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)22:55 No.18353216

    Because I think it's interesting? Because players will expect it? Because it provides a way to give them different routes to explore the setting? I have no problem with an all-human setting, but you note a lot of the entries above mention different interpretations one can use?
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)22:59 No.18353248
    I'm actually with this anon:

    In a middle-east inspired setting, the only 'races' which are low-powered enough to be balanced are humans. Everything else is way, way more powerful by its nature than any single man short of a grand wizard or cleric. This is simply a setting where having non-human player races is inappropriate. Save non-human player races for settings based on Norse mythology and Wodenism, like LotR.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)23:02 No.18353269
    A fundamental core element of Arabian Nights-themed games is that the outside world is magical and exotic. If you make non-human races available to players, the outside will cease being nearly so exotic by comparison. A setting's sense of wonder and glory can be severely harmed by making elements of wonder and glory too easily accessible to players. In this situation, it should be a rare fruit to be savored, not the standard stock of the setting.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)23:08 No.18353317

    Except LotR based elves and dwarves off of exotic, otherworldy creatures with powers beyond human understanding. It was Tolkien who remade them as flesh and blood races who humans could relate to directly. there's no reason the same thing couldn't be done with a Middle-Eastern setting. You don't HAVE to, but it is an option, and I think it's one that could potentially be interesting. Why write it off offhandedly?
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)23:13 No.18353361
    Because of what this anon said:

    Honestly, I find it depressingly mundane when elves and dwarves are available to players too, just somewhat less so than, say, djinni because it's become so standard that it's easy to overlook. Djinn and ghul and so forth, though, are still exotic, mysterious, and powerful in the public image, not relegated to human levels of power and mystique like elves and dwarves. I think that making something available as a player race not only makes the race more mundane, but also the setting as a result.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)23:21 No.18353424

    I can certainly see where you're coming from; I've always liked 7th Sea, and that's partly because it preserves that sens of mystical wonder, largely by restricting players to humanity. It does, however, allow the option, in some cases and with the permission of the GM, of playing one of the non-human races.

    In unskilled hands, yeah, that can sometimes suck the life out of a setting. But with good roleplayers I think it can sometimes provide an interesting new perspective on the setting.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)23:24 No.18353447
    If you say so. In any event, I think it would be far better to present them not as equal options to a human, per se, but the sort of thing you find in a side bar in the DM's section. A part that says that if a person really wants to play a nonhuman, here are some optional rules for doing just that, along with a warning that this can easily go awry and ruin the setting's mood in unskilled hands. It should be a thing that most DMs disallow rather than being something listed in the character creation section.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)23:25 No.18353466

    All I'm saying is we're not building one setting here. There's room for both options.
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)23:49 No.18353681
    Throw some quest hooks out there, people!

    >A wealthy but elderly nobleman hires you to kill a rukh and bring back its invigorating flesh

    >A paranoid sultan who constantly expects assassination hires you to obtain a karkadann horn for him

    >A powerful kahin has discovered evidence that in a ruined city, buried in the desert, there is a carved stele which is bound to a powerful marid. He has hired you to excavate it and transport it to him.

    >The players are walking along, when suddenly a vast flock of birds appears and forms into the simurgh. Great events are afoot, and fate has chose them as its agents. They are given instructions to go to a particular town, along with three simurgh feathers that may be burned to cash in magical favors.

    >The players decide to steal some goddamn griffin gold
    >> Anonymous 03/16/12(Fri)23:56 No.18353745
    Great information, OP. Thanks!
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)00:02 No.18353795

    >A caravan hires you as guards before it travels through dangerous territory

    >You are hired to clean out a population of ghouls, living in an underground necropolis beneath the local graveyard, but it turns out they're not as evil as you might have thought.

    >The local djinns have gotten out of control, and the kahins are too weak to control them. You need to pitch in and help bring the spirits in line.

    >You stumble across a peri cavern. Do you loot it, or do you help the peri free their sisters from an evil div?

    >You are tasked with exorcising a dangerous ifrit from an abandoned palace.

    >You stumble into Jinnistan and must find your way home.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)00:05 No.18353833
    >The Sultan has kidnapped/mildly offended a local woman, you really can't tell which. The locals give conflicting stories, and when you reach his palace, you learn that no one has lived their for the last 10 years. A djinn has just epically trolled you.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)00:10 No.18353866
    I can already picture this as a badass game of Hunter:The Vigil.

    So you attacked the undead heretic with your sword? As the sun is setting? During a simple patrol? Hakim, you dumb shit
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)00:12 No.18353877
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    OP thank you
    great thread...
    now i will take popcorn and finish reading
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)00:13 No.18353878

    >A djinni has fallen in love with on of your party members, and is going to great (and destructive) lengths to get you to return the affections. If the party member reciprocates, the djinni places ridiculous and equally chaotic restrictions on their behavior. This persists until the players find a way to resolve the situation.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)00:14 No.18353884
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    the harem girls are the first thing you think speaking of arabian tales
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)00:18 No.18353911

    You know, "harem" just means "women's quarters," right?
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)00:36 No.18354077

    Actually, for me it tends to be the genies.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)01:00 No.18354280
    Bump, because this is an interesting thread and I like it.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)01:24 No.18354442
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    >> Archivist !!fOmAgeJQ8u9 03/17/12(Sat)01:26 No.18354457
    Seriously first thing I think of is sand sand sand
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)01:33 No.18354510

    SAND: It's everywhere! Get used to it!
    >> SR4rry !p28NxRuKMo 03/17/12(Sat)01:58 No.18354679
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    Dude this is absolutely fascinating. We're all still busy reading I think. Thanks so much.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)02:17 No.18354781

    Man, why couldn't HE run afoul of a karkadann like ten years ago?
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)02:35 No.18354906

    Kept ringdoves up his robes for this very purpose.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:01 No.18355054
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    This thread is fantastic. I'm not even finished reading through everything yet, but I just wanted to post and say OP, you're fucking awesome.

    Pic related, Good Form Indeed.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:10 No.18355099
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    This thread is good and you should all feel good.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:10 No.18355105
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    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:12 No.18355113
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    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:24 No.18355170
    Man, what was that Isfandiyar guy's problem?
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:34 No.18355224

    I can sorta understand both sides of this debate, but if I were gonna throw the players into some fantastical mythical Arabian Nights city, I'd want some cool stuff for the bazaar scene. Djinn selling bottled storms, karkadann steers used as beasts of burden, ghoul bodyguards, peri harem girls, etc.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:37 No.18355241

    Seriously, guy violated more endanger species laws than Samus Aran.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:44 No.18355266
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    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:45 No.18355276
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    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:46 No.18355280
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    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)03:54 No.18355319
    wanna talk about castelvania?
    the vampire killers killed too much stuff.

    on topic
    the story about the soil falling from the sky to the city isnt so misteriuos.
    in 70 A.D. the city of pompeum in italy was buried under the soil erupted from a nearby vulcano.
    the people was buried also hence i was very quick
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)04:29 No.18355454
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    >ghoul bodyguards, peri harem girls

    For locally-oriented races, these are some appealing choices.

    What's the deal with Assassins OP?
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)04:38 No.18355493
    im not OP but still
    the word assassin derive from hashish
    it was a sect where members were drugged with hashish and then in order to have more hashish they needed to complete the given mission.
    they believed that that the visions they saw with hashish was paradise and when they die on a mission they go there.
    so they often sacrificed themselves
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)04:46 No.18355522
    Also, in periods of freak weather or long period of drought, sandstorms could quite easily swallow up settlements or farmland, as seen in America during the 1930s.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)06:41 No.18356153
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)12:29 No.18357972
    Glad to see the thread is still going.


    The hashishin were more or less medieval terrorists. They were founded by a man named Hasan-i-Sabbah, a die hard Nizari Ismaili Muslim, though less out of any religious belief then out of a personal desire for power.

    Hasan built a fortress called Alamut (Eagle's Nest) in the southern Iranian mountains. From there he controlled his assassin network, and gained the name "The Old Man of the Mountain." The fortress was virtually impregnable.

    Hasan's assassins were not supposed to be great warriors. Indeed, their missions were generally suicide ones. They would locate the target, and get as close to him as possible. Sometimes, this would require years of patient waiting, becoming a confidant to the target, joining his inner circle, and the striking at the ideal moment. Getting out alive was always nice, but for the most part these were suicide missions. Acting skills and stealth were prized above all.

    Their name comes from a much debated legend about how Hasan got such loyalty out of his men. According to the legend he would have an initiate heavily drugged with hashish, then brought to a secret room. The room was a beautiful garden, full of running water and seductive women. Hasan would then awaken the initiate and tell him he was in Paradise. He would let him enjoy the room (and the women) for a while, then would knock the initiate out and take him away. Later, he would appear to the man sober, and claim he had the power to let him back to that Paradise at any time, and that it the man died in his service he would go there as a martyr. Like I said, this legend is much disputed, and is sometimes thought to be the result of anti-hashishin propaganda.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)12:43 No.18358046

    There are a number of legends about the hashishin beyond this. One of the most famous ones is about their conflict with the mighty general and Sultan Saladin. Knowing that he was at risk of assassination, Saladin supposedly took careful precautions while on the campaign. At night, he surrounded his tent with hot coals. However, when he awoke one night to find a poisoned dagger pinning a note to his bed, warning him to withdraw or die, and found not a single cinder disturbed, he decided to abort the assault on the hashishin territory.

    This was a common legend, actually, that the hashishin would leave daggers in the beds of people they were just intending to threaten. It should also be noted that while the hashishin were largely thought to engage in murder for their own benefit, the were supposedly willing to contract their services out if they were paid well enough.

    Unfortunately for them, they ultimately came up across a foe that couldn't be scared. When the Mongols began to invade the Middle East long after the death of the Old Man of the Mountain, the hashishin supposedly sent several hundred of their number to assassinate the Mongol Khan. None returned. Eventually the Mongols advanced deep enough into Persia that they could besiege Alamut itself. The hashishin leader at the time was so intimidated that he thought surrendering would save him. The gates were opened, and the fortress was taken without a fight. The Mongols promptly massacred everyone within.

    Some hashishin survived, and even retook the fortress later, but the back of their organization were broken, and supposedly they eventually abandoned Alamut and hired their services out to the Mamluk Sultanate of Syria. That was probably a wise decision, as the Mamluks soon proved to be the only force in the entire Middle East capable of halting the Mongol advance.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)12:45 No.18358054

    Yeah, but there are no volcanos in the Taklamakan.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)13:17 No.18358253

    You could still do both. In a more fantastic setting that sort of thing could be the rule, but in a more mundane setting it could be the exception.

    Like, in the fantastic one EVERY big market would be like that. In the mundane one it would be a unique location, a mysterious city on the border of our world and Jinnistan, almost impossible to find.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)13:23 No.18358276

    Shit, finding a place like that is a quest hook in and of itself.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)14:52 No.18358834

    And beyond Baluchistan is Tibet if I have my geography right. No shortage of mystical associations there.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)15:41 No.18359173
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)18:16 No.18360448
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    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)19:36 No.18361119
    I know there were some Sufi sects in the Middle Ages where their members often were sort of like warrior monks; spreading the faith and kicking the ass of anybody who tried to stop them.

    Now, different Sufi sects had different principles and different goals. So, I was thinking of one called the "Sons of Isfandiyar," a sect dedicated to protecting God's children from the many dangerous beasts that stalk the earth. They'd wander the land, fighting ghouls, griffins, basilisks, etc.

    They could have lots of interesting rituals and gear. Like, they raise members from birth, with the first ritual involving the elders tricking a ghula into nursing them. And they'd carry mirrored shields for dealing basilisks. Other gear could be fashioned out of the fearsome animals they hunt; basilisk venom-tipped arrows, cups made from karkadann horn to avoid poison or disease in the wilderness. And a few select warriors would get a single simurgh feather, to burn in case of emergencies.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)19:50 No.18361229

    As much as I loved the info-dump in this thread, I really wish we could get more stuff like this. I fail to understand why this thread isn't getting /tg/'s creative juices flowing.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)20:06 No.18361406

    Maybe all the creative GMS are asleep.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)20:12 No.18361451

    this thread's been up since like 5 pm yesterday
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)20:28 No.18361621
    Well fuck, let's try something based on what we have.

    Main setting, a vast desert, broken into a number of different nations and city states. To the northwest where are mountains and open steppelands. To the wast there is ocean. To the south there is more desert. To the northeast there is an archipelago with a Mediterranean climate. To the west the desert slowly forms into more arid, rocky landscapes, dominated by the Trade Nations, who control the flow of goods from the mysterious far west.

    Mythical creatures exist, and show up irregularly, but are for the most part not playable. In some places they are more common than others. Jinnistan is a fantastic otherworld where such beings are more common, but it is hard to reach.

    The dominant religion is a mix of Zoroastrianism and Islam, dominated by a good/bad dualism, with the "good" side being more similar to Islam. Evil is associated with the far flung frozen north.

    Any takers for fleshing this out some more?
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)20:31 No.18361672

    Beyond the trade nations is a vast mountain range, and only the Trade Nation guilds know how to safely cross them. They guard this knowledge jealously.

    There are rumors and stories of more temperate, colder lands to the far northeast, beyond the archipelago, but they generally don't come up much.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)20:36 No.18361721
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    dude, do you have all this in a word document or PDF or something?
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)20:38 No.18361748

    You can always just copy it into one.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)21:42 No.18362498
    So how about making these fantastical animals to be one of a kind? For example, the basilisk was a normal snake that was so afraid of being eaten that it developed all those dangerous traits and is now the saddest and loneliest creature in all the desert.

    The griffin was created by a wizard from a lion it bought to guard his tower from thieves. But since he bought such a great beast, more dangerous people thought that he must have something very valuable so they found ways to trick the lion and steal the wizard's things. The wizard convinced an eagle to give up its wings, which it fed to the lion to make it sprout great wings and a beak. Now djinn became interested in the wizard, so he convinced an antilope to give up its horns and a bat its ears, which he fed to the griffin to give it horns of great speed and ears of great hearing so it could catch the invisible djinns.
    Now the king wanted the griffin itself for his zoo of exotic animals. But the wizard let the griffin eat his throat and brain to give it voice and intelligence.
    The griffin fled the king's men and now seeks out people in need and to help those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the life of another.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)21:47 No.18362560
    >that pic
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)21:51 No.18362599
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    Oh, herro! Mai name is Arradin! I very famous man. I found much monies in cave and genie give me unrimited wishes! So I now have wurldwide dry creaning chain that serve barbecue eggroll! Thank you, come again!
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)21:55 No.18362635
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    I love me some Arabian settings. Allow me to share with you my Arabian sorcerer that I play in a D&D campaign.
    Some drawfag came up with this when I asked them nicely, I never did catch his name.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)22:01 No.18362702

    I dunno, the whole wizard angle seems a bit forced. I could easily see the karkadann, rukh, and simurgh, and maybe some of the others as being one of a kind, but more as sort of personifications of nature, or some sort of primeval forces.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)22:06 No.18362743

    Yeah some of them as lone, mysterious, difficult to locate monsters makes sense. But I think keeping one or two of them as monstrous races keeps the setting fresh.

    If you wanted to, though, you could make the ones that are actual species be more mundane. Like, the griffon could just be a quadrupedal bird who happened to evolve that way, or the basilisk could be more like a very dangerous cobra, with legends about its venomous spit leading to claims it had a death gaze.

    That way you still have some more variety to the kinds of enemies your players might encounter, but can still set the weird and dangerous animals aside from the unique and truly mystic beings.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)22:10 No.18362790
    So, I'm trying to think of a way you could make this "djinn magic" work in a way that was fun. Because having the magic user summon a djinn, and just tell it to do all the fun stuff doesn't seem that exciting.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)22:25 No.18362936

    Well, maybe make it more complex then that. Like, only a really POWERFUL kahin could bind a djinn in such a way that he could command it to do whatever he wanted. Lesser sorcerers would have to make their bindings more conditional.

    Like, say, you bind a djinn to a figurine of a stone lion. When you rub the writing carved into it the djinn will appear, turn into a lion, and attack your enemies. But that's ALL you can get him to do. If he takes too much damage he shifts shape and flees, and won't respond to the summons again for a certain period of time.
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)22:40 No.18363094

    That's another thing that bugs me. How does the mechanic actually work? Does the sorcerer just summon the djinn with an invocation? does he have to bind every one to a physical object? What's the advantage over binding one to an object as opposed to just summoning it?

    And for that matter, how does the guy do this at all? Does he possess some innate power that gives him authority over djinn? Or does he know some secret technique that lets him do it?
    >> Anonymous 03/17/12(Sat)23:41 No.18363645
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)01:00 No.18364414
    hey! that's the Hagia Sophia!
    i fucking love Byzantium
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)01:31 No.18364738

    I think this is supposed to be Istanbul too: >>18351041
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)02:19 No.18365163
    that would make sense by the name.
    >> Indonesian Gentleman 03/18/12(Sun)07:17 No.18366475
    Well, I think that's your call as the DM. Maybe they have to speak an ancient tounge to summon them. Maybe they must all be bound to an item, or maybe they can be bound if they want to/the user has enough power. Maybe the summoner must fast and meditate hard to 'power up' his summonings and such.
    Maybe tie it in with some Zoroastrian or Islamic philosophies. Maybe even Jewish and Christian philosophies? They do originate from there too you know.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)07:19 No.18366481
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    I've been there. It's awesome.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)08:53 No.18366805
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)12:37 No.18368560
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)12:39 No.18368578
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)12:40 No.18368589
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)12:41 No.18368597
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    >> Al-Jazari the Clockpunk Engineer Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)13:02 No.18368765
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    Al-Jazari (1136–1206) was a Kurdish polymath during the Islamic Golden Age. Though a lot of his early life is still unknown, we know him for his inventions, as well as The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices.

    Clocks and automata were his main thing. A master of working with camshafts, crankshafts, and the first known user of the crank-slider. He also created the first double-action suction pump (aka vacuum cleaner).

    In the field of automata, he created human-like animatrons to serve drinks, play music, or otherwise be nice things. He also created the Elephant Clock, a modern reconstruction of which exists in Dubai.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)17:17 No.18371006
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    Speaking of Constantinople, I remember reading some stuff about the final siege of the city, before the Ottomans took it for good.

    By the time they finally took it, the Byzantine Empire was already on its deathbed. The Turks had bypassed the fortress city, conquering much of the empire around it, before finally attacking the city itself, which had truly formidable defenses.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)17:19 No.18371016
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    Here's a picture of some of the surviving walls of the city. As you can see, they were multi-tiered, quite thick, and very well defended.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)17:25 No.18371073
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    A mysterious figure on the conflict was an Eastern European man named Orban, renowned for his skill in the manufacture of cannons. He offered his services first to the Byzantines, who couldn't pay, and then turned around and offered them to the Ottomans, who could.

    One cannon designed by Orban was named "Basilica" and was 27 feet (8.2 m) long, and able to hurl a 600 lb (272 kg) stone ball over a mile (1.6 km). It supposedly took sixty oxen to drag the thing into firing position, and four hundred men to operate/maintain it.

    And yet despite the cannon's ferocity its imprecision and extremely slow rate of reloading meant the Byzantines were able to repair most of the damage after each shot.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)17:29 No.18371111
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    One of Constantinople's defenses was a massive chain strung across its harbor entrance, preventing the Ottomans from drawing close enough to the city to launch a proper naval attack. It held them off for months, until they figured out a novel way around it.

    They chopped down a ton of trees on the shoreline and made rollers, greased them, and then rolled the entire fleet overland, around the mooring of the chain, and back into the harbor waters. One can imagine the looks on the faces of the Byzantines watching from the walls as this happened.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)17:35 No.18371153
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    There's a lot of legends about what happened during the battle, but one of my favorites is what happened after the walls finally fell. Nobody knows what happened to the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, aside from the fact that he never left the city. As a result, lots of speculations, myths, and hearsay have cropped up about his fate.

    One says that when the Ottomans entered the city, an angel rescued the emperor, turned him into marble and placed him in a cave under the earth near the Golden Gate, where he waits to be brought to life again. The Marble King keeps eternal watch over the city, waiting for the day when he shall be needed again.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)17:38 No.18371198
    >One says that when the Ottomans entered the city, an angel rescued the emperor, turned him into marble and placed him in a cave under the earth near the Golden Gate, where he waits to be brought to life again. The Marble King keeps eternal watch over the city, waiting for the day when he shall be needed again.

    Consider that fucking stolen for my next campaign.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)18:00 No.18371459
    This thread is beautiful and so are all of you wonderful people. I'd like to request something semi-related to all of this, does anyone have any jungle images? And before someone says that I'm retarded for asking for jungles in a thread about Arabian culture, that whole region actually has a lot of diversity. Including rain forests.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)18:16 No.18371643

    Dude, don't try to piggyback the thread you want off of a popular thread about something else. That's not cool.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)19:41 No.18372653
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)19:41 No.18372659
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)19:42 No.18372667
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)19:44 No.18372699
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)20:04 No.18372911
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)20:05 No.18372918
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)20:13 No.18372992
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)20:15 No.18373006
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)20:16 No.18373011
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)20:19 No.18373051
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    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)21:47 No.18373996
    Very neat thread, it is very enlightening - even with my poor memory - to have the earlier versions of now common popular culture/world myth creatures and other features expanded upon. I especially enjoy the notion of wizardry as entirely the operation of djinn; I found the explanation of wizardly flight and precognition quite humorous.

    In terms of an Arabian myth inspired setting, something for you all to keep in mind might be that the Arabian Nights were meant to be set in East Asia, I think, though it seems the stories just project Arabic culture onto the places mentioned in the stories. But it does imply some of the significance of the Silk Road and just a general cultural awareness of Asia; meaning that playing an Asian character of some kind could be a stock "mysterious foreigner from a far-off land" figure.

    Also, as far as I remember from the distillation of information in the GURPS Infinite Worlds parallel universe Caliphate, a technologically advanced past based on the Islamic Golden Age never ending, in the real life Golden Age the trade between the major Caliphate and the lesser emirs and what forth - basically the movement of people through the various nations comprising the Islamic world or bloc as opposed to Christendom - was facilitated by the use of religious law as the common law. I remember something about lawyers specializing in this law, the common law or Ummah or whatever. Since then I've thought that being a lawyer specialized in facilitating trade and representing foreigners and so forth would make a good occupation for a Player Character.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)22:12 No.18374233
    >Since then I've thought that being a lawyer specialized in facilitating trade and representing foreigners and so forth would make a good occupation for a Player Character.

    That's actually a really interesting idea, though presumably they'd need to have other skills as well, to be an asset when words fail.
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)23:09 No.18374852
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    Well, Asia was the exotic foreign land to them much as it was to Europe. Still, most of the 1001 Nights are set in the Middle/Central East, especially Persia and the Arabian peninsula. Quite a few are set in Baghdad, or revolve around Baghdad. A number are also based on fanciful retellings of historical events.

    What is true is that they did have a broader range than just Persia and Arabia. It would include everything you see here, as well as all of North Africa, and even parts of Spain (depending on the century in that last case).
    >> Anonymous 03/18/12(Sun)23:48 No.18375271
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    That map's also a bit misleading; modern China includes a large chunk of land in the northwest that isn't traditionally Chinese. For example, in the Persian epic the Shahnameh, where a lot of these stories about Rustam and Isfandiyar are from, the big rivals of the Persians were the Turanians, and this is a map of "Turan" as they would have thought of it.

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