Zakhara in 4th edition

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Philosopher
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Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Philosopher » Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:54 am

What sort of changes do you think should/could be made to Zakhara if Al-Qadim were to be updated to 4th edition? I'm not talking about how to implement things like the sha'ir with 4e mechanics here. Rather, I'm referring to the flavor of the setting.

While Zakhara has lots of dangerous wilderness, and many ruins of ancient empires, it is not a "points of light" setting. Civilization is widespread and unified by a common culture and faith. Do you think it should be made a points of light setting, or should it be kept as it is? What might Zakhara look like if the Caliphate were to fall? How might this come about? Perhaps the spellplague that affected Faerun also reached this far south. Another idea I've had is that the Grand Caliph dies without leaving a male heir (recall that he had a curse placed on him), sending the empire into turmoil. Perhaps one of his daughters claims the throne, but other factions who want power for themselves claim a woman cannot be the Grand Caliph. Perhaps this leads to war which brings the Caliphate to an end. Or perhaps we can look to the history of the Abbasid Caliphate's fractioning for inspiration?

Anyway, these are just ideas to get discussion going. Should Zakhara change, or should a 4e version (if there will be one - perhaps a longshot) keep to Zakhara as it already exists?
- Selman

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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by agathokles » Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:08 pm

It's quite easy to break up Zakhara into separate city-states, as you say -- even if a Grand Caliph exists, he might not be powerful enough to control the distant cities. In this sense, Al Qadim is a setting that would suffer little from a points-of-light-ization.
The other major change would be IMO a full spin off from FR: 4e is big on generic stuff, and support for specific setting would be limited anyway.

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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by delabarre » Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:54 pm

Zakhara could be adapted to the 4E setting flavor very easily. The walled, guarded city-states are the Points of Light while the hostile deserts are the monster-haunted frontier between. This really isn't so much different than what was presented in the LoF box set, just dialed up a notch or two.

Now, I know the OP specifically excluded the crunch considerations, but I just want to comment: the Gods & Monsters preview indicated that they are retconning genies in some way, which is why the efreet presented in the core MM are now princes of elemental evil. I'm still curious how this is going to affect Calimshan in the FRCS.

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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Philosopher » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:59 pm

delabarre wrote:Now, I know the OP specifically excluded the crunch considerations, but I just want to comment: the Gods & Monsters preview indicated that they are retconning genies in some way, which is why the efreet presented in the core MM are now princes of elemental evil. I'm still curious how this is going to affect Calimshan in the FRCS.
Not sure how it'll affect Calimshan, but it will have a bit of an impact on Zakhara. The genies of the four elements were an integral part of the setting. Now, however, there are no longer four elemental planes, but on elemental chaos, which is a mixture of earth, fire, air, water, lightning, cold, etc, with some pockets of more or less a single element. Also, they've decided to move away from imposing symmetry, such as insisting that all four elements always be represented. So just because they've introduced a creature based on fire, they won't necessarily introduce something similar based on earth, air, or water.

I think this can work for Al-Qadim. I never especially cared for genies being based on elements anyway. Perhaps they should add a few more variants on genies, even if they're not all tied to specific elements. With genies being important to the setting, a wide variety of them would be helpful. They can either explain the change in some way, or retcon the setting. Perhaps efreet, djinn, dao, marid, and jann could just names for different tribes of genies, rather than being based on different elements.
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by delabarre » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:03 pm

To clarify my post: the 4E devs aren't all that invested in preserving Zakhara continuity, but they do have to address FRCS continuity in some way.

Obviously, de-elementizing genies is incompatible with Zakharan magic & cosmology.

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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:52 pm

Philosopher wrote:What sort of changes do you think should/could be made to Zakhara if Al-Qadim were to be updated to 4th edition? I'm not talking about how to implement things like the sha'ir with 4e mechanics here. Rather, I'm referring to the flavor of the setting.
Well not throwing Zakhara in the dustbin, like they just did with Maztica would be a start! :P ;)
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by night_druid » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:26 pm

Everything, of course, depends on WotC deciding not take a sledgehammer to Zakhara like it did to the rest of the Realms.
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Philosopher » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:44 am

Big Mac wrote:Well not throwing Zakhara in the dustbin, like they just did with Maztica would be a start! :P ;)
night_druid wrote:Everything, of course, depends on WotC deciding not take a sledgehammer to Zakhara like it did to the rest of the Realms.
:shock:

When you put it that way... I hope we never see anything about Al-Qadim from WotC, ever.
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by night_druid » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:59 am

Philosopher wrote: :shock:

When you put it that way... I hope we never see anything about Al-Qadim from WotC, ever.
Well, how else would you put it? They killed roughly half the population, reduced several major empires to ruin, emptied half the sea of fallen stars, replaced a continent, and exploded a landmass the size of central Europe. I consider that a "sledgehammer" :evil:
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:11 am

Philosopher wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Well not throwing Zakhara in the dustbin, like they just did with Maztica would be a start! :P ;)
night_druid wrote:Everything, of course, depends on WotC deciding not take a sledgehammer to Zakhara like it did to the rest of the Realms.
:shock:

When you put it that way... I hope we never see anything about Al-Qadim from WotC, ever.
This is why, while some fans are complaining that Spelljammer is getting 4th edition treatment instead of their favorite campaign setting, most SJ fans are hoping that WotC will change their mind and ignore Spelljammer. I get the feeling it is like a "one volunteer step forward" thing where everyone is hoping that the current WotC management are going to go and screw up one of the other campaign settings and get fired and replaced before their favorite setting gets to the front of the reboot queue and gets mangled and breaks their heart.

Screwing up FRCS is going to be really bad for D&D because they are screwing up Al-Qadim, Kara-Tur, The Horde and Maztica for the same "buy one screw four up free" deal. You just can't mess with any part of this without mucking up the rest. The only FR campaign setting that can possibly escape is Arcane Age. And that is only because it has that "they all died before we were born" thing going on.
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by night_druid » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:20 am

Big Mac wrote:This is why, while some fans are complaining that Spelljammer is getting 4th edition treatment instead of their favorite campaign setting, most SJ fans are hoping that WotC will change their mind and ignore Spelljammer. I get the feeling it is like a "one volunteer step forward" thing where everyone is hoping that the current WotC management are going to go and screw up one of the other campaign settings and get fired and replaced before their favorite setting gets to the front of the reboot queue and gets mangled and breaks their heart.
Same could be said for fans of Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Planescape, Dark Sun, and the others. Except maybe the Dark Sun fans, but that's probably because there's really not a lot left to Dark Sun to blow up... ;) Everyone is thinking "if WotC is willing to gut the moneymaker FR like a Christmas Goose, what would they do to OUR setting?!?!" The only ones I really see cheer-leading this are people who despised said settings to begin with.

Ironically enough, Eberron didn't get blown up at all. :?
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Philosopher » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:36 am

night_druid wrote:Well, how else would you put it? They killed roughly half the population, reduced several major empires to ruin, emptied half the sea of fallen stars, replaced a continent, and exploded a landmass the size of central Europe. I consider that a "sledgehammer" :evil:
Well... even though I don't like many changes they make to campaign settings, I've never minded too much. After all, I figure that I can take what I like and change what I don't. I've never felt too beholden to canon, if it doesn't fit my gaming needs.

But when you described it as taking a sledgehammer to Zakhara, I stopped and tried to imagine what sort of changes they'd have to make to the setting to make me really upset. Once I tried to imagine the worst possible ways that they could portray an Arabian-themed campaign, that's when I saw what you were talking about.
- Selman

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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 01, 2008 3:03 am

night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:This is why, while some fans are complaining that Spelljammer is getting 4th edition treatment instead of their favorite campaign setting, most SJ fans are hoping that WotC will change their mind and ignore Spelljammer. I get the feeling it is like a "one volunteer step forward" thing where everyone is hoping that the current WotC management are going to go and screw up one of the other campaign settings and get fired and replaced before their favorite setting gets to the front of the reboot queue and gets mangled and breaks their heart.
Same could be said for fans of Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Planescape, Dark Sun, and the others. Except maybe the Dark Sun fans, but that's probably because there's really not a lot left to Dark Sun to blow up... ;) Everyone is thinking "if WotC is willing to gut the moneymaker FR like a Christmas Goose, what would they do to OUR setting?!?!" The only ones I really see cheer-leading this are people who despised said settings to begin with.
I agree about the other fans. That would be the "one volunteer step forward" thing. (In comedy shows everyone steps back except the person who doesn't know.)

I have actually seen fans who genuinely want the 4th edition status for their campaign setting and are a little ticked off that SJ apparantly beat them to it. I've seen comments along the lines of "I can see Dark Sun...but not Spelljammer...".

Personally, I feel like the SJ community has just won a gold-plated turd and that anyone envious of SJ is just dazzled by the shiney-ness! :P :twisted:

Anyway, to get back to Zakhara, I'll be pinning my hopes on the fan community. If I ever do make the 4e switch, I'll be using their fanon and not WotC's canon.
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Philosopher » Tue Jul 01, 2008 3:16 am

Big Mac wrote:I have actually seen fans who genuinely want the 4th edition status for their campaign setting and are a little ticked off that SJ apparantly beat them to it. I've seen comments along the lines of "I can see Dark Sun...but not Spelljammer...".
Slight tangent... where did they say that they're doing SJ in 4e? Was it explicit, or just suggestive comments?
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by night_druid » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:27 pm

Philosopher wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I have actually seen fans who genuinely want the 4th edition status for their campaign setting and are a little ticked off that SJ apparantly beat them to it. I've seen comments along the lines of "I can see Dark Sun...but not Spelljammer...".
Slight tangent... where did they say that they're doing SJ in 4e? Was it explicit, or just suggestive comments?
IIRC, it was in a blog (I only saw the comment 2nd or 3rd hand) in that they laid out their plans for settings over the course of the next few years. Basically, each setting will get 3 books: a core setting book, a PHB-style book, and a DMG-style book. They then gave a list of settings they wanted to try this; FR being first, Eberron next, then the list went on something like Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, and Spelljammer. Dark Sun might have been in there, I'm not sure. I know Birthright and Planescape were not; it struck me as odd at the time that Spelljammer was in the list, but the arguably more popular Planescape was not.
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:31 pm

night_druid wrote:IIRC, it was in a blog (I only saw the comment 2nd or 3rd hand) in that they laid out their plans for settings over the course of the next few years.
I saw the comment 2nd or 3rd hand too. I think it was on the Dragonlance Forums, in my case. I think the original sources were collected at the EN World 4th edition page, but that has vanished in the recent upgrade. (The links to the page are still there but they don't work.) I think it will get fixed in the next couple of days.

EN Worlds page was the best place to go, because they cited all of their sources and gave lots of links.
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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by quickleaf » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:34 am

Big Mac wrote:Anyway, to get back to Zakhara, I'll be pinning my hopes on the fan community. If I ever do make the 4e switch, I'll be using their fanon and not WotC's canon.
Hearing and seeing, with sweetness and joy. The 4e conversion is underway over here: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=240388. Come get involved!

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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:03 pm

Necromantic bump.
quickleaf wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Anyway, to get back to Zakhara, I'll be pinning my hopes on the fan community. If I ever do make the 4e switch, I'll be using their fanon and not WotC's canon.
Hearing and seeing, with sweetness and joy. The 4e conversion is underway over here: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=240388. Come get involved!
Somehow I managed to miss this. 4e isn't really my thing but there is a lot of good discussion in your thread. Shame it seems to have tailed off in 2010.

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Re: Zakhara in 4th edition

Post by Oqlanth » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:43 pm

Yes, I noticed I had posted something in that post too... I feel old... :D
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