Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

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Oqlanth
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Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by Oqlanth »

There is a small discussion about relations between Forgotten Realms and Al Qadim. I made little googling and found these:

About bedine of Anauroch I found this;

Races of Faerun pg. 106
"The Bedine are nomads of Anauroch who migrated from Zakhara via a portal shortly after the fall of Netheril in -339 DR and intermingled with a handful of Netherese survivors. The Bedine retained the spoken language of their ancestors, Midani, but lost all knowledge of the written word. Centuries later, traders from the surrounding lands sought them out and introduces the alphabet of Thorass. The Bedine adopted the gods of the Netherese..."

discussion is here:
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6062

I also found this topic;

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11311

I also remember some stuff about how elves migrated to Zakhara from Toril (Raurin desert).

What are you opinions and do you have more knowledge about these?
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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by Big Mac »

A few references to the crossover between Zakhara and Faerûn have been posted at The Piazza.

Back in 2008, Bochi posted a thread called Is Zakhara really in the Realms? Cthulhudrew pointed out that the 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting states that the Bedine were teleported to Anauroch from Zakhara. He also said that 3e's Races of Faerun says that the Bedine and Calishites were originally from Zakhara. Philosopher said that 3e's Player's Guide to Faerûn tells us that the Bedine of Anauroch speak Midani. And from the other end he said that Al-Qadim's Land of Fate boxed set included several religions from Forgotten Realms.

If Jeff Grubb recycled material from FR13 Anauroch as part of the process for building Al-Qadim, then I'm not surprised they have some crossover elements. After all, Toril is supposed to be this world connected to lots of other places by portals. But I suppose they could have done Zakhara as another planet, and still included crossovers between it and Faerûn.

There is also another thread, where Ripvanwormer mentions a number of racial groups imported into Faerûn via portals.
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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by Bochi »

I feel the key to rationalising the relations between Zakhara and Faerun will be Anauroch.

In terms of publishing history and design, Anauroch is Ed Greenwood's "Arabian" setting, pre-dating Jeff Grubb's Al Qadim project. Jeff then incorporates most of the Anauroch supplement into the full-blown Al Qadim setting. The reason I say that Anauroch is the key is that a Forgotten Realms campaign already has that big desert region envisaged by Greenwood, but doesn't need to have Jeff Grubb's Zakharan continent added somewhere in the southwest corner.

So the first question to be asked is how the Zakharan Bedine come to be in Anauroch at all. If there has been migration from one to the other, that will leave traces and the creative DM should establish the original migration route, and any current trade routes, and see which cities need to have a bit of Arabian spice added to them. The "official" line seems to be that the Bedine were teleported to Anauroch, which is of course a meta-fictional explanation for why Zakharan characters and in particular classes and the wider ranger of civilised races are unknown in the lands between Zakhara and Anaruoch.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Bochi wrote:So the first question to be asked is how the Zakharan Bedine come to be in Anauroch at all. If there has been migration from one to the other, that will leave traces and the creative DM should establish the original migration route, and any current trade routes, and see which cities need to have a bit of Arabian spice added to them.
I don't recall the canonic explanation (other than the aforementioned portals), but IIRC, their presence there is somehow related to Netheril, isn't it? They arrived either shortly before or shortly after the fall of that nation. So that's probably the best place to start looking. I don't know that much about Netheril, ultimately, but is there any mention of the Bedine in the Netheril: Empire of Magic boxed set at all?
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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by ripvanwormer »

The Netherese were known for their creation of magic portals to other realms. Probably they created one that led to Zakhara in an attempt to colonize part of it. When the Netherese vanished, some Zakharans ventured through the portal to find out where their old trading partners/overlords went. Perhaps they were even invited through the portal to work as mercenaries by desperate Netherese. But the portal was damaged by the cataclysm, and they weren't able to get back.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by lesh »

Selan, the goddess of beauty, is probably Selune. Netherese Selune had the portfolio of beauty.

The Muhjein culture and Semphar in the Hordelands was another migration.

Imaskari settled the isle of Sahu (from The Complete Book of Necromancers).

1099 DR New trade routes made between Faerun and Zakhara.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by thorr-kan »

lesh wrote:Selan, the goddess of beauty, is probably Selune. Netherese Selune had the portfolio of beauty.

Imaskari settled the isle of Sahu (from The Complete Book of Necromancers)..
Selan/Selune is plausible.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by lesh »

Actually, I did not remember correctly, those who settled Sahu have Mesopotamian (Unther) names. It's all in the chapter 9.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

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lesh wrote:Selan, the goddess of beauty, is probably Selune. Netherese Selune had the portfolio of beauty.
I would say there is no "probably" about it:

"She is described as a flawless maiden cloaked in shimmering white, and in the oldest tales, she is said to be linked to the moon. Such tales claim that the moon is her chariot. She rides it across the sky while pursued by ardent suitors, who appear as a cluster of smaller stars, following in her wake."

That describes Toril's natural satellites perfectly. There's really no need for Selune to have been imported to Zakhara, either, as there's no reason to believe she couldn't have made herself known to multiple completely independent cultures across the planet at different times. On the other hand, those looking to flesh out ancient connections between the two lands for their own campaigns have a perfect framework to build on with it.

Also, one of the "wild gods" of the hill peoples is "The Beast," whose desciption matches Malar quite well.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by AuldDragon »

lesh wrote:Actually, I did not remember correctly, those who settled Sahu have Mesopotamian (Unther) names. It's all in the chapter 9.
The text indicates that the inhabitants were from the area detailed in the Ruined Kingdoms boxed set. I think the names chosen were not meant to indicate an origin with Unther, and it is rather a coincidence (pretty sure both Uruk and Ereshkigal are names used in FR10 for living people, in fact). That section of the book is pretty much a hodgepodge of names and origins, really.

The usage of the names of one of the most important Sumerian cities and one of the more well-known Sumerian goddesses rather than trying to come up with original names that evoked the culture (or at least, used names FAR less readily recognizable) really irks me. FR10 suffered the same problem.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by lesh »

It's weird, especially the story where Cyric and Loviatar appear in place of Ishtar. These inconsistencies between real world mythology and generic fantasy Faerun bother me too.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by ripvanwormer »

The Zakharans are also aware of an ancient dark elf civilization who worshiped "Lotha." I also thought that Vataqatal could be Helm.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by Oqlanth »

Can someone know any canon source about relations between Zakharan elves and Raurin desert elves or elves from any other part of the Realms.

I think Vataqatal is not Helm because in Land of Fate it mentions 'Golden God Helam, the watcher' as northen barbarians' guardian god.

I don't know about that relation between Sahu and Imaskar (or Unther). Unfortunatel what is written about Sahu and rest of the Ruined Kingdoms are so confusing. I will be gratefull if you can give page numbers.

In one the forum discussion which I gave the links it mentions something about halfling and Zakhara. As far as I understand the someone said that halflings of Realms came from Zakhara. May be I misunderstood that....

About spells from Anauroch and Zakhara; as far as i remembered from credits section of of Anauroch book you can notice spells are developed by Jeff Grub. I am not sure if he directly imports those materials to Al Qadim or used it as one of the starting points for new settings. But in the interview ( you can find the link and discussion here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8966 ) he and Wolfgang Baur told progress of creating the setting.

About genies stuff and Calimshan, there is something funny. Realms is well known for it's 'over powered' stuffs; adventurers, villains, organizations, monsters, gods, cults, etc etc etc. And how two 'genie nobles' can somehow establish kingdoms as strong as those ones! :D Well my suggestion is those two genie nobles were (are) as strong as the great rulers of their kinds (Great Caliph of Djinn and Sultan of Efreets).

About connection between Calimshan and Zakhara, i found little more than nothing; it trades as far as Zakhara! Everyone trades with Zakhara! (i remembered Nimbral was also trading with Zakhara too... i think we can increase the examples about these trades) :D

Other connection I found is rather newer one (in game calendar). Crinti of Dambrath raided Zakhara. It mentioned either in 2nd edition The Shinning South book or 3rd edition one...or both! :D In many Al Qadim books, there are references to this event(s) too (in Al Qadim sources it gives you feeling that it happened more than once).
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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by AuldDragon »

lesh wrote:It's weird, especially the story where Cyric and Loviatar appear in place of Ishtar. These inconsistencies between real world mythology and generic fantasy Faerun bother me too.
I don't mind the mixing of mythologies, so long as they stay in that realm; for example, I really like the struggle between Gilgeam and Tiamat, even though neither is representative of their namesakes in real world mythology. Having Tyr, Miellikki, Osiris, and other deities from real-world mythologies worshipped in the realms doesn't bother me either. What I take issue with is the lack of research that leads to a bunch of people running around with names like Esarhaddon, Shulgi, Shuruppak, Gudea, Tukulti, Annunaki, Ekur, Zimrilim, Tiglath, Nimrud, Larsa, Ziusudra, Tammuz, Borsipa, and Ereshkigal. The problem is that all these names were simply cribbed from history, rather than having been invented in a way that evokes the culture it mirrors.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by ripvanwormer »

Oqlanth wrote:I think Vataqatal is not Helm because in Land of Fate it mentions 'Golden God Helam, the watcher' as northen barbarians' guardian god.
Oh, that's right. I should have said Torm, who is closer to Vataqatal anyway.
In one the forum discussion which I gave the links it mentions something about halfling and Zakhara. As far as I understand the someone said that halflings of Realms came from Zakhara. May be I misunderstood that....
The Djen civilization, made up of genies following the djinni noble Calim, came to what is now Calimshan over 9,000 years ago, bringing with them both human and halfling slaves. "Speaking of Tongues" by Thomas M. Costa in the 1999 Dragon Magazine Annual said that Untheric (the language of Unther), Midani (the common tongue of Zakhara), and Alzhedo (the language of Calimshan) are all part of the Untheric language family.

Empires of the Shining Sea said that some scholars believe that the Djen slaves were brought through a temporal gate from Zakhara in approximately 869 DR, citing similarities in architecture, clothing, and art between the Zakharans of 869 DR and the Djen of -7,800 DR. So both humans and halflings of Calimshan might be descended from almost-modern Zakharans, only many thousands of years later thanks to time travel. On the other hand, other sources suggest that the slaves were brought from other worlds, and it's not like Zakhara is the only place in the multiverse with an Arabic-like culture.

Demihuman Deities suggested that many of the halflings of Faerun originated from these Calishite slaves, but said that the Calimshan diaspora couldn't account for all the halflings of the Realms.
Demihuman Deities wrote:While many of the descendants of those early halflings still live (and are still enslaved) in Calimshan today, fragmentary historical records from the countless realms that have risen and fallen along the Sword Coast since the arrival of the Djen chart the steady northward migration of Small Folk since their arrival in the lands of what is now Calimshan. Today, sizable halfling population clusters are found in the Purple Hills of Tethyr, amidst the ruins of long-fallen Meiritin in eastern Amn, in the Sunset Vale west of Darkhold, and along the lower reaches of the River Delimbiyr. However, even the great Calishite diaspora cannot account for the widespread distribution of halflings throughout Faerun, leaving the ancient history of the Small Folk to the realm of legend and myth."
Races of Faerun stated that halflings have been in the Realms about as long as elves, dwarves, and giants, and that they probably originated somewhere south of the Shaar.

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Re: Relations between Zakhara and Faerun

Post by Big Mac »

Bochi wrote:I feel the key to rationalising the relations between Zakhara and Faerun will be Anauroch.

In terms of publishing history and design, Anauroch is Ed Greenwood's "Arabian" setting, pre-dating Jeff Grubb's Al Qadim project. Jeff then incorporates most of the Anauroch supplement into the full-blown Al Qadim setting. The reason I say that Anauroch is the key is that a Forgotten Realms campaign already has that big desert region envisaged by Greenwood, but doesn't need to have Jeff Grubb's Zakharan continent added somewhere in the southwest corner.
I suppose that from an out-of-character point of view, the Al-Qadim campaign setting tried to take the Arabian-like Bedine and build something that was a lot "bigger". The problem with Anauroch is that it is surrounded by mainland Faerun, but by moving to a new area, Zakhara can have different types of environments that also have an Arabian theme to them. One example of this is that Zakhara has corsairs, and you could not put something like that into Anauroch, without tossing out canon parts of the Realms to make space for new locations.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Bochi wrote:So the first question to be asked is how the Zakharan Bedine come to be in Anauroch at all. If there has been migration from one to the other, that will leave traces and the creative DM should establish the original migration route, and any current trade routes, and see which cities need to have a bit of Arabian spice added to them.
I don't recall the canonic explanation (other than the aforementioned portals), but IIRC, their presence there is somehow related to Netheril, isn't it? They arrived either shortly before or shortly after the fall of that nation. So that's probably the best place to start looking. I don't know that much about Netheril, ultimately, but is there any mention of the Bedine in the Netheril: Empire of Magic boxed set at all?
Going back the other way, I wonder why the Netherese would build portals that lead to Zakhara in the first place. Portals are not a simple thing to make and I like to think that they would build portals that lead to places they have already explored. One common link between Netheril and Zakhara (aside from the Bedine) is that both have (or had in the case of Neteril) a small amount of spelljamming traffic.

I don't have the exact details of the spelljamming connections in Al-Qadim products (not yet) but if the Netherese were exploring Realmspace in spelljamming ships, that would give their wizards and clerics the ability to discover groups like the Bedine and therefore help establish an in-character reason for a portal to be built to link to that specific part of Toril. Spelljamming and/or planewalking could give you an excuse for other Neterese adventurers to discover other places in the multiverse.

There could be some Arabian-like cultures on other worlds (maybe ones with totally different gods) that were imported into other parts of Faerun (just like the way the Mulhorandi were imported from an Egyptian-like world) but there might also be times when people were exported from Toril. With Al-Qadim having spelljammer links, that would give you an excuse to have Zakharan colonists in one or two parts of Realmspace (an Arabian Tear of Selune would be something appropriate) but with ALQ7 Corsairs of the Great Sea giving you seafaring links, it would also be appropriate to build short, medium and long traderoutes to ports on other parts of Toril.

There is an overland route between Faerun and Kara-Tur, but could there be trade by sea between both Faerun and Zakhara and Zakhara and Kara-Tur? And could Kara-Tur provide trade goods that Faerun does not have access to from other sources?
ripvanwormer wrote:The Netherese were known for their creation of magic portals to other realms. Probably they created one that led to Zakhara in an attempt to colonize part of it. When the Netherese vanished, some Zakharans ventured through the portal to find out where their old trading partners/overlords went. Perhaps they were even invited through the portal to work as mercenaries by desperate Netherese. But the portal was damaged by the cataclysm, and they weren't able to get back.
That is making me think of lost Zakharan cities that were once under the control of the Netherese. There has been talk of a Zakharan underdark (and how it may or may not be appropriate to have that sort of setting mixed in with Al-Qadim, but suppose you could go back to pre-historic Arabian cultures to help find inspiration for a city that is totally buried under a a series of sand dunes. Maybe something like that could be the city that the Bedine hailed from.

If you had some sort of disaster bury an entire Zakharan city, you could even have a group, like the Bedine, flee to Netheril/Anauroch to escape death.
Oqlanth wrote:Other connection I found is rather newer one (in game calendar). Crinti of Dambrath raided Zakhara. It mentioned either in 2nd edition The Shinning South book or 3rd edition one...or both! :D In many Al Qadim books, there are references to this event(s) too (in Al Qadim sources it gives you feeling that it happened more than once).
I would love to see book and page citations for this sort of stuff, so I could go and read the original material.
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