Demi-Human Races in Al-Qadim

Arabian Adventures in Zakhara, the Land of Fate.
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anomiecoalition
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Demi-Human Races in Al-Qadim

Post by anomiecoalition » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:01 pm

I know that the vast majority of Al-Qadim is Human, but wondering if others have fleshed out interesting ideas about where and why demi-human races reside where they do (if they do).

My Ideas:

After raiding the Ylaraum material, I've decided to model one group of elves after the Nithian (egyptian inspired ancient culture who build most of the hidden tombs and ruins that litter the landscape) and another group after the Makistani (mongolian inspired horse-archer allies of the caliph). Neither would be all to common in the campaign world (Makistani more than Nithian), but it would help to provide players with a general back-story of where their charactes (or NPCs) come from. If I decide to include an underdark element, one off-shoot of the nithians would be the drow who embrace necromancy, fire magic, and the slave trade to claw their way back to dominating the surface. The other Nithian faction would be more like nomadic mystics who see themselves as an unseen protector of the region utilizing more benevolent forms of magic to combat the drow; but who seek anonymity in the region because of their historical association with these "evil" forms of magic and opposition to the Caliph.

I thought that dwarves would have a handful of settlements within and around the mountainous regions and otherwise be confined to their own quarters in the main cities. But, I don't have any fleshed out ideas about their culture or historical relationship to the rest of the world.

Gnomes and Halflings will probably be an exceedingly rare entity that only emerge in the biggest cities as outside adventurers and traders.

I've also looked over the Anauroch FR supplement and might model Orc and Half-Orc barbarians after them. (i.e. nomads who oppose the caliph and the lore giver....extreme suspicion of magic and any one else they encounter.)

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Re: Demi-Human Races in Al-Qadim

Post by Oqlanth » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:22 pm

From my point of view 'dwarves having own quarters' in cities is against egalitarian culture of Zakhara which is main division of society -probably influenced from ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah- is based on city dweller (al hadhar) and nomad (al bedia).

Of course there are exceptions but in books or references those are mentioned with their exceptionality ("...quite uncommonly that town comprised of all dwarves...").

Likewise demihuman societies who oppose grand caliph got similar problem. There is only one al badia tribe which is 'unelightened' and opposed to grand caliph but it is not because they comprised of same 'barbaric' race. The reason is all their leaders were somehow experienced 'bad' sides of society.

In canon of Al-Qadim Zakhara is mostly organised in Enlightened Culture of Law of the Loregiver. In my opinion (and also in many Al Qadim books) 'Barbar berberi/arab orcs who oppose caliph' is not fit that canon.

Makistani concept seems quite interesting. I always thought integrating 'The Horde' into Al-Qadim :D Nithians concept may be used to fill/develop Zakharan drow canon just described with few sentences. May be those 'drows' are Nithians?

But as you open the topic 'Demi-Human Races in Al-Qadim' it may be good place to give list of unelightened demihuman/humanoid societies from Al-Qadim. I also think this list may give you some ideas about creating new ideas for

Ogres; in quite distant, wild places there are unelightened ogres who lives in barbaric ways. Only official example is from an uncharted island of Crowded sea. But it also may be from a wild mountains....

Ogre magi; a race of ogres from distant eastern continent (Kara-tur!!!! :D ) somehow came to Crowded Sea and settled at some uncharted islands.

Ogrima; a cross-breed of ogre and ogre-magi. Their situation is quite similar to ogre-magi.

halfling; there is a wild halfling settlement in an uncharted trophical island of Crowded Sea.

drow (kara perican); a small number of dark unenlightened exiled barbarian cousins of perican(elf) somehow managed succeded to live deep under Al-Suqut mountains (near Ajayip, from Cities of Pearl region) and established small settlement...

duergar; like drows they established small settlement deep under al-Yakbi mountains...

Shaugian; actualy there is only one referance mentions that an adventurer slayed a queen of them in Crowded sea...

Locathian; they live north-eastern crowded sea in deeps of deeps and shun humans...

Ettins; actualy 'kill on sight' monsters. as expected can't make significant communities.

Island Giants; similar to ettins.

Giant Ogre, small clans of brute giants. Some turned to englightened ways. They mostly live away from civilisation and/or humans.

Other giants (Desert, Jungle, Reef); actualy more they mostly live with their race and 'seems' to follow heteredox way of Law of the Loregiver.

Pahari; beautiful sea creatures of Zakharan seas. It seems they are unenlightened or unaware of Zakharan culture mostly. But they live mostly in small familiy groups away from humans.

Maskhi; another shapechanger creatures of wilderness who shun humans and civilisation. They live far away from civilisation in wilderness (i.e. a distant island in Crowded Sea). They may follow have heteradox way of Law of Loregiver (they got kahins).

Desert Centaurs; They dwell in desert as nomads. Rarely venture in settlements, probably follow heteradoks way of Law of the Loregiver (their culture shows signs, they got kahins).

Ashiras; 'dryads of Zakhara'. Probabaly got no little understanding of Law of Loregiver. Few info included about their beliefs.

Yikaria; Unenlightened beings who are one of the arch-nemesis of Zakharan Enlightened society. They follow evil Forgotten God. Lucky for Zakharans they live far away north in mountains.

Azers; rarely seen in Zakharan lands but probably they live in isolated places and got very little or no knowledge about Law of the Loregiver.

Tatalla; a urban monstrous assasin race based around their guilds. They live in shadows and normal Zakharans got little or no knowledge about them. They probably know Law of the Loregiver but it seems they don't follow it.

Of course there are some others but they mostly count as indivduals (may be except Silats who sometimes form families) or may not count as demihuman/humanoid.

As you may notice nearly all of them stay/live away from civilisation/humanity/englightened societies. This doesn't means some of them may plan invasion (Yakaria) or raids but these events are really 'events' and have to take an important section of the campaign.
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Re: Demi-Human Races in Al-Qadim

Post by Oqlanth » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:35 pm

...An additional information...

I 'discovered' a Dragon Magazine article (#257) Ecologies of the Firenewt & Giant Strider. According to that article Firenewts are also native to Zakharan desert. And they are unenlightened humanoids which live apart from enlightened society according to their own barbaric ways.

It seems they import another thing from Anauroch too. So now we got as unenligthened evil demihuman/humanoids;

Ogrima for islands
Firenewts for deep deserts
Yikaria for northen mountains (they are most organised ones so slightly different! :D)
Tatalla for cities/urban places
Ogre and ogre magi(ogre magi are rarer) for islands and may be (mostly for ogres imo) for some wild mountainous regions
Drow/duergar for al-suqut mountains (well it is canon but weakly described)
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Re: Demi-Human Races in Al-Qadim

Post by anomiecoalition » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:48 pm

Thanks for compiling all of this...its very helpful for me (and hopefully others) :)

I'm particularly interested in the Tatalla since my most immediate adventures will take place in an urban context with a struggle against some organized seedy element in society...seems that they would be perfect to incorporate.
Oqlanth wrote:From my point of view 'dwarves having own quarters' in cities is against egalitarian culture of Zakhara
Agreed...that was a bad choice of words on my part. When I said they would be confined to their own quarters I meant it as they would likely form little racial enclaves in the big cities (since they are such a minority in the human dominated world of Zakhara). I wouldn't expect all of them to live there, but I would assume that many would want to out a shared devotion to certain gods and traditions. Again...this assumes that I can situate an area within Zakhara as a native region for dwarves (much like how you found that wild halflings have a settlement in an uncharted tropical island).
Oqlanth wrote: Likewise demihuman societies who oppose grand caliph got similar problem. There is only one al badia tribe which is 'unelightened' and opposed to grand caliph but it is not because they comprised of same 'barbaric' race. The reason is all their leaders were somehow experienced 'bad' sides of society.
This is probably just an area where I will diverge from cannon. I like the cultural distinctions made between enlightened Al-Badia and city dwellers; and I like that most al-badia tribes are enlightened...but I think it would also be fun to have more variety among these desert nomads. I think its plausible that some of these unenlightened desert nomads would be more on the barbarism side...and since i'm playing in 3.5, it makes for a nice back-story of how Orcs and especially Half-Orcs fit into the world. This isn't to say that my barbarian Al-Badia are never human, nor that Half-Orcs can't be enlightened...but it does provide my PCs with some guidance if they want to create these types of characters.

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