Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming'

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Oqlanth
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Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming'

Post by Oqlanth » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:29 pm

Introduction and first part of the article can be found at:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8962

Low Level Gaming

Al Qadim setting is like many other early AD&D settings is low level setting. Chance to have magical items is low, -especialy at lower levels!!!- when compared to products of following years (i mean AD&D 2nd edition products not even 3rd ed. ones!)

Also stats and powers of creatures also reflect these. For example any mid level (7-9) character from Forgotten Realms of after 1996 AD&D 2nd (simply after player's option) can easly crush an Efreet. A party of these characters can invade the stronghold of an poor Efreet noble and massacre him and his retinue easly!

The creatures part will be described in detail later (in Creatures concept and uniqueness ). But I always forbid powers from Player's Option or any similar sourcebook to prevent these. These 'additional' powers kill flavour of game.

All kits (at least the main ones) along with classes were created to accordance and balance to party; desert rider survives in desert, sha'ir solves problem, rawun got knowledge, asker has muscle, flame mage has offensive and intimidation, sea mage makes ship go, faris got respect, mamluk got authority, etc etc.

None of them is strong alone (because of low level gaming) but with union they becomes a party and a power.

I will describe this more in AD&D Flavour part but i see in most 3rd or 4e conversions people miss this part. They mostly just focused on 'the' character and forgot the 'big picture' of party and party level playing.

So I advise in conversion or DMing remember these parts; greatly value magical items and focus on party playing and prevent 'ubermensch'

I will post third and further topics soon.

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Re: Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming

Post by Havard » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:25 pm

I am enjoying these setting introduction posts. It is interesting that you emphasize the importance of low level adventures. From what I remember of my brief experience with the setting, I enjoyed the interraction with the common citizens of Zakhara, which is probably more of a common occurrence in the lower levels.

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Re: Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming

Post by Big Mac » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:28 pm

Oqlanth wrote:Al Qadim setting is like many other early AD&D settings is low level setting. Chance to have magical items is low, -especialy at lower levels!!!- when compared to products of following years (i mean AD&D 2nd edition products not even 3rd ed. ones!)

Also stats and powers of creatures also reflect these. For example any mid level (7-9) character from Forgotten Realms of after 1996 AD&D 2nd (simply after player's option) can easly crush an Efreet. A party of these characters can invade the stronghold of an poor Efreet noble and massacre him and his retinue easly!
This is also a contrast to TSR's other desert setting: Dark Sun. Dark Sun encouraged players to roll up starting PCs as 3rd level characters.

I'm not sure of the ratio of magic items in Dark Sun (vs Al-Qadim). But I guess when they came along with the Complete Kitchen Sink books, they thought that players would be more attracted to books with attractive magical items, spells and other powerful things.
Oqlanth wrote:I will describe this more in AD&D Flavour part but i see in most 3rd or 4e conversions people miss this part. They mostly just focused on 'the' character and forgot the 'big picture' of party and party level playing.

So I advise in conversion or DMing remember these parts; greatly value magical items and focus on party playing and prevent 'ubermensch'
I think the "kill monsters and take their stuff" attitude to gaming predates 3e, but a lot of people do seem to look at 3e's options as a way to increase the combat ability of a PC, instead of increasing their ability to be socially sucessful (either via combat, work or diplomatic efforts).

I personally think that 3e's Hero Builder's Guidebook is a good example of how you can use the 3rd Edition rules to play the same sort of game that you played during 2nd Edition. The book has very mixed reviews, with some people hating it and others loving it. However the people that hate it complain that it doesn't improve the abilities of PCs, while the people that like it see it as a way to increase the background information on your PCs, so I think it fits in very well with your vision of how 3e Al-Qadim games should be run.
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Re: Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming

Post by Jorkens » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:52 am

Big Mac wrote: I think the "kill monsters and take their stuff" attitude to gaming predates 3e, but a lot of people do seem to look at 3e's options as a way to increase the combat ability of a PC, instead of increasing their ability to be socially sucessful (either via combat, work or diplomatic efforts).
Yea, the "kill monsters and take their stuff"attitude is often one of the main critiques of 1st ed. and the Gygax styled modules.

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Re: Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:34 pm

Jorkens wrote:
Big Mac wrote: I think the "kill monsters and take their stuff" attitude to gaming predates 3e, but a lot of people do seem to look at 3e's options as a way to increase the combat ability of a PC, instead of increasing their ability to be socially sucessful (either via combat, work or diplomatic efforts).
Yea, the "kill monsters and take their stuff"attitude is often one of the main critiques of 1st ed. and the Gygax styled modules.
I think that attitude is fine for certain people running their own games. It is certainly a way to learn how the combat system works! :lol:

It might not be the best way to interact with the culture in a campaign setting like Al-Qadim. I know that Ali-Baba was more "spy on thieves and take their stuff"! :P
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Re: Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming

Post by Jorkens » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:21 am

"Kill monsters and take their stuff" works fine with the setting I think, but it should be specific stuff to get the S&S feel; legendary items, something wanted by rivals and nobles, just to annoy etc. Unless they are pirates or plundering nomads of course; then its just get what you can. The main problem is of course that you can get sued by the monsters in question, as seen in the example of the beholder in one of the books.

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Re: Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming

Post by BlackBat242 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:14 am

Jorkens wrote:"Kill monsters and take their stuff" works fine with the setting I think, but it should be specific stuff to get the S&S feel; legendary items, something wanted by rivals and nobles, just to annoy etc. Unless they are pirates or plundering nomads of course; then its just get what you can. The main problem is of course that you can get sued by the monsters in question, as seen in the example of the beholder in one of the books.

You mean this law firm?

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Re: Distinguishing Features of Al Qadim II 'Low Level Gaming

Post by TBeholder » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:01 am

Oqlanth wrote:Low Level Gaming

Al Qadim setting is like many other early AD&D settings is low level setting. Chance to have magical items is low, -especialy at lower levels!!!- when compared to products of following years (i mean AD&D 2nd edition products not even 3rd ed. ones!)
"Even" 3ed where "expected" magical items are embedded in CR mechanics (damage resistance, for one)? :)
It spun the prices around almost randomly, but did magic items became rarer, really?
Oqlanth wrote: Also stats and powers of creatures also reflect these. For example any mid level (7-9) character from Forgotten Realms of after 1996 AD&D 2nd (simply after player's option) can easly crush an Efreet. A party of these characters can invade the stronghold of an poor Efreet noble and massacre him and his retinue easly!
I doubt so. At least, if DM does it in a sane way and not like that case mentioned by Gygax, when someone carved up, IIRC, Tiamat. "What servants and consorts?" ;)
Oqlanth wrote: The creatures part will be described in detail later (in Creatures concept and uniqueness ). But I always forbid powers from Player's Option or any similar sourcebook to prevent these. These 'additional' powers kill flavour of game.
I'd be the first to say that S&P ended up a messy goof which killed the great prospects of PO, but... How a tool for customization can kill flavour? The notion appears to be somewhat self-contradictory.
Oqlanth wrote:I will describe this more in AD&D Flavour part but i see in most 3rd or 4e conversions people miss this part. They mostly just focused on 'the' character and forgot the 'big picture' of party and party level playing.
So I advise in conversion or DMing remember these parts; greatly value magical items and focus on party playing and prevent 'ubermensch'
Yes, though it's not like that is in any way setting-specific. :twisted:
Big Mac wrote:I think the "kill monsters and take their stuff" attitude to gaming predates 3e, but a lot of people do seem to look at 3e's options as a way to increase the combat ability of a PC
I'd say 3e+ is thoroughly hack&slash oriented (starting with that "battle XP only" thing) and thus when something was done (and there was a lot) to move in directions other than MUD-like, it was more fighting with the base mechanics than riding it.
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