Is Ghostwalk based on Arabian tradition?

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Big Mac
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Is Ghostwalk based on Arabian tradition?

Post by Big Mac » Mon May 02, 2016 8:20 pm

Le Noir Faineant suggested that Ghostwalk was based on Arabian tradition, over in the Using Ghostwalk in Blackmoor topic in the Blackmoor forum. I was surprised by this. Here is my answer:
Big Mac wrote:
Le Noir Faineant wrote:The thing is, Ghostwalk is not particularly fit for a Northern setting; it's based on Arabian tradition, and it's the WESTERN European elements that feel shoehorned into it. Lankhmar, Greyhawk, FR's Shining South work well with it - but no "grim winters" there. :)
Wow! Really? I didn't get that vibe from the Ghostwalk book.

Perhaps I should be raiding ideas for Ghostwalk from Arabian Adventures and Al-Qadim then. :?
Does anyone know of anything in Arabian Adventures (or other Arabian products) that would fit the various cultures in Chapter 4: Countries?

(And are there any other cultures/RPG products that would be a better fit for any of them? I've always thought that the yuan-ti temple on page 144 looked more like something from Aztec culture.)
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Re: Is Ghostwalk based on Arabian tradition?

Post by willpell » Tue May 03, 2016 5:37 pm

I don't feel Islamic Arabian fits at all, but perhaps older Persian cultures might. The Yuan-Ti of Coil feel vaguely to me as though they're channeling Indian mythology, featuring the original concept of Nagas and the otherworld of Bogavhati. I'm sure there's some matriarchal culture responsible for inspiring the Bazzarene, though I don't recall which; it also feels vaguely Central Asian to me but I can't really back that up with anything. And the Tepperek (I think) are pretty obviously meant to be Mongol or Scythian steppe-outrider types. The whole thing is definitely a move southeast from the Arthurian lands of standard D&D, but much more east than south, I think.

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Re: Is Ghostwalk based on Arabian tradition?

Post by Big Mac » Wed May 04, 2016 12:08 pm

willpell wrote:I don't feel Islamic Arabian fits at all, but perhaps older Persian cultures might.
You could be right. :)
willpell wrote:The Yuan-Ti of Coil feel vaguely to me as though they're channeling Indian mythology, featuring the original concept of Nagas and the otherworld of Bogavhati.
I was thinking Mezo-american, but that's probably just because of the pyramid art.
willpell wrote:I'm sure there's some matriarchal culture responsible for inspiring the Bazzarene, though I don't recall which; it also feels vaguely Central Asian to me but I can't really back that up with anything.
I couldn't tie that down to anything either.
willpell wrote:And the Tepperek (I think) are pretty obviously meant to be Mongol or Scythian steppe-outrider types.
That could fit. Although, I had not thought of them that way.
willpell wrote:The whole thing is definitely a move southeast from the Arthurian lands of standard D&D, but much more east than south, I think.
True. I think there is so much focus on Manifest, that people don't necessarily look at the countries.

I've made one topic, about one of the countries. I might start making topics about the other countries.

I don't recall if Sean K Reynolds of Monty Cook did the unit of the book with the countries in, but maybe there is something in the design notes about some of the countries.
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Re: Is Ghostwalk based on Arabian tradition?

Post by willpell » Wed May 04, 2016 1:33 pm

Big Mac wrote:I was thinking Mezo-american, but that's probably just because of the pyramid art.
And really, how much difference is there between a Mesoamerican pyramid and a Mesopotamian ziggurat, other than that one is in the jungle and one is in the desert? I'm sure a side-by-side comparison would make distinctions clear, but if you aren't sure which one you're initially looking at, you might guess wrong because of surrounding environmental clues.

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Re: Is Ghostwalk based on Arabian tradition?

Post by Havard » Wed May 04, 2016 1:36 pm

Big Mac wrote:
willpell wrote:The whole thing is definitely a move southeast from the Arthurian lands of standard D&D, but much more east than south, I think.
True. I think there is so much focus on Manifest, that people don't necessarily look at the countries.
Exactly. When talking about adapting Ghostwalk to other settings, I would think it almost universally understood that we would be incorporating Manifest and the Ghost stuff, but dropping everything beyond Manifest's borders.

I have not found anything specific to give me an Arab wibe. Even if it turns out underlying themes come from such traditions, I don't think that should cause too many problems for adaptation. But each to their own when it comes to these things.
I've made one topic, about one of the countries. I might start making topics about the other countries.

I don't recall if Sean K Reynolds of Monte Cook did the unit of the book with the countries in, but maybe there is something in the design notes about some of the countries.
I think that is a good idea for a topic. I only skimmed through the section on the countries and never really got a good feel for them.

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Re: Is Ghostwalk based on Arabian tradition?

Post by Big Mac » Sun May 08, 2016 10:10 am

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): Dulsi's post, starting "Actually the idea of playing as ghosts came about because they found death to be the least enjoyable part of the game." and Willpell's reply turned into a new topic, called Does Ghostwalk stop "death stinking" in D&D?
Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
willpell wrote:The whole thing is definitely a move southeast from the Arthurian lands of standard D&D, but much more east than south, I think.
True. I think there is so much focus on Manifest, that people don't necessarily look at the countries.
Exactly. When talking about adapting Ghostwalk to other settings, I would think it almost universally understood that we would be incorporating Manifest and the Ghost stuff, but dropping everything beyond Manifest's borders.
I wouldn't make that universal assumption, I'm afraid.

There is a difference between someone saying that they want to pull the city of Manifest or the ghost rules out of Ghostwalk and use them in "Setting X" and someone saying that they want to use the Ghostwalk book in "Setting X".

If someone says they want to adapt Ghostwalk, my personal assumption is that they want the best "value for money" from the book, and that they want to consider everything in the book as something they can either "keep" or "drop". For example: "Does the Orcus plot work with Blackmoor, Greyhawk, Mystara, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Spelljammer, Dark Sun, Eberron, Planescape, Birthright, Ravenloft, Pelinore, Nentir Vale, Aquaria, Conan or Lankhmar?" is a very valid question that either rules Orcus in or out of an adaptation to one of those D&D settings. (And I know that I would rule using out Orcus from some of those settings (Conan and Lankhmar do not seem a good fit to me and Eberron is probably also a bad fit) but I would have to think about some of the others.

Think of it this way: There is a difference between someone asking to "convert Forgotten Realms material to Spelljammer" (where we get Krynnspace and can incorporate almost everything) and someone asking to "convert Neverwinter to Spelljammer" (where we can assume that might want to turn that one specific city into an asteroid.

Clear topic titles can really help avoid the person making the original post and the people trying to help them, making different assumptions and talking at cross purposes. And if the OP knows in advance that the topic might be a bit ambiguous (or if they realise from the replies, that people are going down a different direction from the one they had hoped) then some sort of informal statement of intent (such as "I'm just trying to turn the city of Manifest into a Spelljammer asteroid", "I want to use Manifest as the history of the City of Blackmoor" or "I want to use the Manifest Ward effects as the theme in a homebrew Ravenloft realm") can make sure that everyone is on the same page as the OP and that people trying to help the OP don't waste their time making suggestions that the OP is going to dismiss out of hand. :)

However, I'm not sure where this fits in with Le Noir Faineant's statement that Ghostwalk has an Arabian culture and that "Lankhmar, Greyhawk, FR's Shining South work well with it". Le Noir Faineant was talking about importing things into Ghostwalk, rather than exporting them to other campaign settings. :?

(Perhaps I should cast a "Summon Le Noir Faineant" spell and ask him for a list of Lankhmar, Greyhawk and Shining South elements that he thinks could enhance Ghostwalk. :) )
Havard wrote:I have not found anything specific to give me an Arab wibe. Even if it turns out underlying themes come from such traditions, I don't think that should cause too many problems for adaptation. But each to their own when it comes to these things.
Sure, but just to clarify, we are talking about bringing Arabian things into Ghostwalk, so not specifically adaptation here. Not unless adding something like flying carpets into Ghostwalk counts as "adaptation". :lol:
Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I've made one topic, about one of the countries. I might start making topics about the other countries.

I don't recall if Sean K Reynolds of Monte Cook did the unit of the book with the countries in, but maybe there is something in the design notes about some of the countries.
I think that is a good idea for a topic. I only skimmed through the section on the countries and never really got a good feel for them.
I was more thinking of one country - one topic. We already have one topic about using Xaphan in a Ghostwalk campaign, as I looked at that island and figured that it would be a dangerous place for the PCs to go, with little to no opportunites to rest or get aid and limited options to retreat.
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