Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

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Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:51 pm

Tales of the Caliphate Nights is an Arabian campaign setting for True 20 by Paradigm Concepts. I'm wondering how much of the book would be useful to anyone running an Al-Qadim game.

Has anyone got this? If so:

What is in it?
How much of the stuff would be usable by people not using True 20 rules?
Are there any interesting bits of equipment, magic items or other treasure in the book?
Does it come with an adventure that could be used with Al-Qadim?
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Re: Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by thorr-kan » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:03 pm

I have it. I remember it being developed on the True20 boards. It's pretty, but I haven't had time to do more than look.

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Re: Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:59 am

thorr-kan wrote:I have it. I remember it being developed on the True20 boards. It's pretty, but I haven't had time to do more than look.
Do you have a link to that thread (or threads)?

I've found several links on the Paradigm Concepts website: According to the Caliphate at Origins thread in the Tales of the Caliphate Nights forum, Michelle Lutz has written a second adventure called Magician's Price. I'm not sure what has happened to that one. :?

EDIT: I just found out at ENWorld that a member of The Piazza, called Quickleaf, is the author of this book! :shock: :cool:
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Re: Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by Havard » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:42 am

Sounds interesting. Perhaps another thing to steal...err borrow for my Mystara campaign? ;)


I wonder how hard it would be to adapt to Ylaruam. :ugeek:

/derail

Just took a look at a the art previous. This looks pretty cool :)

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Re: Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by quickleaf » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:08 am

Big Mac wrote: EDIT: I just found out at ENWorld that a member of The Piazza, called Quickleaf, is the author of this book! :shock: :cool:
Hi David, this is Aaron (aka @Quickleaf), the author of TotCN. I forgot I had an account on Piazza :)

When I set out designing the setting, I wanted to both integrate the mechanics and the setting, and to clearly separate them for those who planned on using the book for their D&D games (such as Al-Qadim, Ylaurum, or an "Arabian themed" homebrew kingdom). It was a constant balancing act that I had during the design process...one of many...

Anyhow, about using TotCN for Al-Qadim, here's a chapter by chapter breakdown:

1 - some fresh storytelling advice, great list of resources, new uses for conviction/action points
2 - fiction
3 - the virtues can add a lot to any game but tie into the new feats (see below), likewise the backgrounds could be translated to 3e, PF, or 4e easily, there's also an extensive section on Arabic naming conventions
4 - lots of the feats could be kit bashed to another system, however those which reference unique True20 mechanics (powers, conviction, reputation, etc) will be harder to convert...there are *tons* of feats that are very flavorful (eg. Madrasah studies, gracious host, and alas my children may starve)
5 - while the magic chapter has cool arcane philosophies, most of it is about True20 powers which are like broad spell groups and are hard to translate to older forms of D&D spell casting
6 - fiction
7 - a chapter on storytelling I've been told is very good, it has "story qualities" the GM can choose that suit the current tale (eg. "maqamat" or "magical realism") and rules for diceless roleplaying (useful when framing a story), plus 101 adventure hooks and more!
8 - borrowed OGL rules for chases (with uniquely Arabian urban obstacles) and debates
9 - True20 stats for a variety of enemies may not be so useful for other systems, but more space is devoted to describing archetypal enemies narratively than the cold hard stats
10 - "just deserts" should be good for any game system, it includes complications (required each player starts with one, provide way to gain conviction, stuff like "blood feud" and "ensorcelled"), destinies (which tie into the Destined feat), djinni boons, grants, a detailed look at Arabian horses, as well as a treatment of books that rivals Ars Magica, and a handful of unique magical treasures (such as "City in a Bottle" and "Flask of Suleiman")
11 - fiction
12 - useful basics on the culture that are already well covered in other Al-Qadim books, though keep in mind TotCN is a semi-historical setting
13 - equipment, much of it already covered in Al-Qadim books, but again with an eye toward history (eg. Trade goods by city, market inspectors, aqua Regina, banj, etc)
14 - real world history
15 - real world geography...with a hint of magic
16 - secret societies, hardly any rules here so it could be used in any game
17 - Jinnistan, otherworldly realm of the jinn, could make a nice supplement to Al-Qadim's "Secrets of the Lamp"
18 - fiction


Hope that helps! :)

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Re: Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:43 am

Havard wrote:Sounds interesting. Perhaps another thing to steal...err borrow for my Mystara campaign? ;)

I wonder how hard it would be to adapt to Ylaruam. :ugeek:

/derail
I'll see your derail...and raise you a Raiding Ylaruam (in Mystara) for Al-Qadim thread, to find out if Ylaruam can be adapted to Al-Qadim! :twisted:
Havard wrote:Just took a look at a the art previous. This looks pretty cool :)
It does look pretty cool. I don't know either of the artists named on the preview art pages. Maybe they have online galleries somewhere.
quickleaf wrote:
Big Mac wrote:EDIT: I just found out at ENWorld that a member of The Piazza, called Quickleaf, is the author of this book! :shock: :cool:
Hi David, this is Aaron (aka @Quickleaf), the author of TotCN. I forgot I had an account on Piazza :)
It is a shame you forgot. I'm guessing your book is out of print now. It might have been easier to find at the time it was published, if you had dropped a link here.

Maybe I can track down a copy on the second-hand market (at non-eBay bandit prices). :?
quickleaf wrote:When I set out designing the setting, I wanted to both integrate the mechanics and the setting, and to clearly separate them for those who planned on using the book for their D&D games (such as Al-Qadim, Ylaurum, or an "Arabian themed" homebrew kingdom). It was a constant balancing act that I had during the design process...one of many...
That is a refreshingly positive angle for designing a book. I've spoken to a couple of people that prefer to see books used as they were intended, but this attitude puts the customer in the driving seat.

We have someone at The Piazza called Knightfall, who seems to have a version of everything except the kitchen sink in his World of Kulan homebrew world. I'm sure he will be pleased you considered homebrew when you made your design plan.

Had you heard of Legend of the Burning Sands (it is an Arabian subsetting for Legend of the Five Rings) when you wrote Tales of the Caliphate Nights? That is another book I'm considering getting to raid from...or for something else*.

* = I'm primarily a Spelljammer fan and the idea of having ships travelling from the spelljamming ports in Al-Qadim to Arabian cultures in other crystal spheres is something that would give me a solid reason to have Arabian spacefarers. That is the reason I'm looking for references to Spelljammer in Al-Qadim products. Being able to build "Caliphatespace" around your world or being able to have places for Arabian ships to trade with in "Rokuganspace" would give me a place for some of the ships leaving Al-Qadim to be travelling to. Obviously the seafaring ships leaving Zakhara travel to non-Arabian cultures on Toril, so that isn't a dealbreaker, but there should be some other Arabian cultures in the SJ Universe.
quickleaf wrote:Anyhow, about using TotCN for Al-Qadim, here's a chapter by chapter breakdown:

1 - some fresh storytelling advice, great list of resources, new uses for conviction/action points
I've not used action points myself, but there are a few settings and systems that incorporate them. I play with 3rd Edition rules, so I presume it wouldn't be too hard to translate this to the Action Point system in the Variant SRD.
quickleaf wrote:2 - fiction
3 - the virtues can add a lot to any game but tie into the new feats (see below), likewise the backgrounds could be translated to 3e, PF, or 4e easily, there's also an extensive section on Arabic naming conventions
Virtues sounds like something you get when you create a character. Are virtues anything like the Regional Feats that are in (the 3e) Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting? :?

The background thing sounds like it might be like WotC's Hero Builder's Guidebook. I saw some really mixed reviews about that that either loved it or hated it. Reading the reviews it turned out that the book gives ideas to improve roleplaying, but not enhance a PCs abilities. I gambled on the book and wasn't too unhappy with it, although I'd have preferred to have seen it done for a specific campaign setting (like Greyhawk). I'll be interested to see what sort of background information you made. I'm sure the average punter isn't going to have an idea of how large Arabian families are or what minor adventures kids might have as they grow up.
quickleaf wrote:4 - lots of the feats could be kit bashed to another system, however those which reference unique True20 mechanics (powers, conviction, reputation, etc) will be harder to convert...there are *tons* of feats that are very flavorful (eg. Madrasah studies, gracious host, and alas my children may starve)
True20 is related to the d20 System, so I might be able to work out a way to reverse-engineer some of those mechanics if I can find a True20 SRD to compare to the Hypertext d20 SRD.

Have you ever considered doing a Pathfinder RPG version of TotCN (or a Pathfinder RPG Conversion Document)?

Are there any of your feats that you think are so tied into the background culture of TotCN that they would be inappropriate to use in a 3e Al-Qadim game?
quickleaf wrote:5 - while the magic chapter has cool arcane philosophies, most of it is about True20 powers which are like broad spell groups and are hard to translate to older forms of D&D spell casting
Thanks for the warning. I think that there are 3rd Edition systems of Elemental Magic, so if I can track them down, I should be able to reproduce some of the Al-Qadim magic system. Maybe your Chapter 5 might give me a few bits of inspiration**.

** = I might want to try to build an alternative spellcasting system, or one that feels different even if it uses 3e mechanics, if I do try to build "Caliphatespace".
quickleaf wrote:6 - fiction
7 - a chapter on storytelling I've been told is very good, it has "story qualities" the GM can choose that suit the current tale (eg. "maqamat" or "magical realism") and rules for diceless roleplaying (useful when framing a story), plus 101 adventure hooks and more!
101 adventure hooks, huh? I'm sure that isn't a coincidence! :lol:

Would the "diceless roleplaying" be any good for Arabian LARP gaming? :? :?
quickleaf wrote:8 - borrowed OGL rules for chases (with uniquely Arabian urban obstacles) and debates
Are any of these OGL rules that you borrowed published in the public domain? I ask because things like SRDs, that are legal to stick up online (and don't cause issues with publishers if you republish them) are pretty good springboards for discussions on forums. Perhaps we could get one or two Al-Qadim discussions going on the back of these ideas. :cool:
quickleaf wrote:9 - True20 stats for a variety of enemies may not be so useful for other systems, but more space is devoted to describing archetypal enemies narratively than the cold hard stats
Perhaps these could be converted to other systems (like 3rd Edition D&D, Pathfinder RPG or 2nd Edition AD&D). Are these monsters or NPCs?
quickleaf wrote:10 - "just deserts" should be good for any game system, it includes complications (required each player starts with one, provide way to gain conviction, stuff like "blood feud" and "ensorcelled"), destinies (which tie into the Destined feat), djinni boons, grants, a detailed look at Arabian horses, as well as a treatment of books that rivals Ars Magica, and a handful of unique magical treasures (such as "City in a Bottle" and "Flask of Suleiman")
A friend of mine ran a game where we had to have something similar to complications. It wasn't my cup of tea, at the time, but she really liked it. Maybe I could use something like this on an optional basis and have it balance out with something positive (like a free feat). That might turn this into something that helps people that want a bit of extra character building, without making it something that everyone is forced to learn. :?

The stuff about horses, books and magic artifacts sounds like it could be very useful.
quickleaf wrote:11 - fiction
12 - useful basics on the culture that are already well covered in other Al-Qadim books, though keep in mind TotCN is a semi-historical setting
I'm more into the fantasy side of roleplaying than the historical. But I have been considering buying some of the HR handbooks from 2nd Edition to try to use them as the basis of low magic campaign settings tied to those cultures. I think that moving away from reality is best done when you understand what the reality actually is. So if you have nailed down the culture, that should save me making some schoolboy errors, without needing to do a ton of research.

So does TotCN take place on an alternative Earth? Do you use a real map for the setting? Is it tied into any other semi-historical settings set on the same world?
quickleaf wrote:13 - equipment, much of it already covered in Al-Qadim books, but again with an eye toward history (eg. Trade goods by city, market inspectors, aqua Regina, banj, etc)
I'm still looking for Al-Qadim books (at non-eBay bandit prices) so this stuff might help me out if it has a comprehensive list of stuff. And if the eye towards history means that you have some mundane stuff, that could help sell the Arabian feel to players on a subconcious level.
quickleaf wrote:14 - real world history
Does this become the history of the TotCN world, or do you show this so that people can see what you have changed?
quickleaf wrote:15 - real world geography...with a hint of magic
Again, does this become the geography of the TotCN world, or do you show this for contrast?
quickleaf wrote:16 - secret societies, hardly any rules here so it could be used in any game
Sounds good. You could give us a list of the secret societies in this chapter...

...but then you would have to kill us! :lol:
quickleaf wrote:17 - Jinnistan, otherworldly realm of the jinn, could make a nice supplement to Al-Qadim's "Secrets of the Lamp"
18 - fiction
Hmm. I wonder if Planescape fans could use this.

I've not got ALQ4 Secrets of the Lamp yet. It is one of the things on my wishlist.
quickleaf wrote:Hope that helps! :)
It helps a ton. Thanks for the overview.

Oh. One more question. Other than the two adventures written by Michelle Lutz, has anything else been made for TotCN? Do you have a blog or anything about your world?
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Re: Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:08 am

FYI, Tales of Caliphate Nights is part of the Paizo Black Friday sale and can be had for $5.00 + the cost of s/h.
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Re: Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by Big Mac » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:49 pm

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:FYI, Tales of Caliphate Nights is part of the Paizo Black Friday sale and can be had for $5.00 + the cost of s/h.
I don't know what Black Friday is, but I must have missed it. I see this at $10.00 + shipping.
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Re: Anyone got Tales of the Caliphate Nights?

Post by BlackBat242 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:02 am

Black Friday = the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday (3rd Thursday in November), which means the 23rd of November 2012 was "Black Friday".

Its the day all the "Pre-Christmas" sales intended to suck you into the buying frenzy that is Christmas in the US are held.
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