[COLOR=DarkOrange]Al-Qadim: Land of Fate (5e conversion)[/COLOR]
What started with some online conversations is growing into a DM's Guild product - the Adventurer's Guide to Al-Qadim! Here's the current status of the project as of 2/14/2016...
The project in brief
Myself and three other gentlemen are taking point on a quality conversion of Al-Qadim to 5e, to be published for free on DM's Guild. The intention is to (a) rejuvenate interest in this wonderful setting, (b) provide a foundation for future publishers to put out AQ stuff on DM's Guild, and (c) offer both the traditional setting and a post-Spellplague setting (what Zakharans know as the "Great Unbinding" of the Seal of Jafar al-Samal) for DMs to choose from.
I'm pretty good with layout and I've also written a few freelance gaming articles as well as Tales of the Caliphate Nights for Paradigm Concepts/Green Ronin. The others committed to the project have skills in copyediting, game design, and writing. We're working via the Slack app and have done some solid work so far!
I've been in touch with Matt McElroy, Director of Publishing & Marketing at DrivethruRPG, who patiently fielded my legal questions about what's in-bounds and what's out-of-bounds.
Also, we have some terrific artists who are donating to the project. Karl Waller said he'd graciously donate a couple of black and white pieces from the AD&D line Though we need to work out who has the rights, that's super generous of him! Also, Rob McCaleb donated a fantastic fan-made map of Zakhara. Woohoo!
Lastly, I'm looking to pay out of pocket for an art student - the talented tea-for-jbass to do a few sketches or a cover.
EDIT: There are two new Al-Qadim products on DM's Guild at this time. Neither are affiliated with us.
The first, Al-Qadim Classes and Backgrounds by Brent "VAD" Rogers is a quick n' dirty guide with low reviews. Not much else to say.
The second, Al-Qadim Archetypes - Scimitars Against the Dark by Jeremy Forbing does a great job of putting a darker Cthulu-esque spin on Arabian Adventures. You may recognize this title from the article "Scimitars Against the Dark" by Mr. Wolfgang Baur in DRAGON #198! I think Jeremy did a terrific job and I connected with him via Facebook to trade notes - he was stoked to hear what we were doing, and I think his work should be plenty compatible with what we're doing.
I'll post updates as the project progresses...
The original post:
A while back some of us started converting AL-QADIM to 4th edition. This is my reboot of those ideas for 5th edition, starting with the character basics and then getting into the monster conversion & storyline later. My agenda for the next couple posts is to cover:
- Sha'ir (Noble Genie warlock patron)
- PHB Backgrounds & Variants
- New Backgrounds (Barber-Surgeon, Caravaneer, Genie-Touched, Harem Slave, Pearl Diver)
Here's the old thread which has my original pitch (with a 4e emphasis but much of it still applies):
[COLOR=DarkOrange]1. CLASSES[/COLOR]A Note about heavy armor: While not unheard of in the Land of Fate, heavy armor is usually impractical due to the extreme desert heat and the swashbuckling nature of adventures. Plate and half-plate are completely unavailable. Zakharan scale armor is called "lamellar" and is lighter (30 lbs. instead of 45). To compensate for this, any Zakharan character with heavy armor proficiency who is wearing medium, light, or no armor gains a +1 AC bonus.
Barbarian:[/B][B]Typically characters with the Al-Badia background are barbarians. Berserkers in Zakhara tend to hail from rugged hills tribes like the Astok (near the northern city of Umara) or from distant lands like Akota or islands of the Crowded Sea; when in civilized lands they are usually working as mercenaries. Totem warriors belong to tribes sharing the name of their totem spirit; they re-skin Bear as "Yak" or "Elephant", Wolf as "Saluqi" (a desert hound), and treat Eagle as it is. In addition, the Horse is available as a totem.
[sblock=Horse Totem]Totem Spirit (Horse): Take the Eagle feature.
Aspect of the Beast (Horse): You gain the endurance of a horse. You and your mount's Constitution checks against exhaustion caused by traveling or exploration (e.g. a forced march or holding your breath) are advantaged.
Totemic Attunement (Horse): While raging, boost your speed and the speed of any mount you ride by 10 feet, and you can use a bonus action on your turn to let any mount you're riding make an attack.[/sblock]
Bard:Called rawun (rawuna), bards are respected if grudgingly in Zakhara. Bards of Valor tend to be associated with armies or militant tribes, while Bards of Wit tend to be associated with institutions of higher education like the Grand University of Huzuz. Bards add avert evil eye and cast evil eye to their spells known.
Cleric:As the Enlightened Faith unifies Zakhara, it encompasses a diversity of clerics known as Clerics of Order; though they further divide themselves as pragmatist (traveling clerics of the people), ethoists (clerics upholding regular prayers), and moralists (clerics who master the religious laws), their differences are purely ideaological. Outside of the Clerics of Order are the Mystics and the Hakima, who have their own rules.
Mystics have a radical interpretation of a deity's teachings or carry a prophecy unpopular among the rest of the Enlightened Faith, and conduct their affairs outside of conventional teachings. Mystics cast spells more intuitively like a sorcerer; they use the sorcerer spell casting table, spells known (to which domain spells are added), and sorcery points (which are called Divine Favor), though they still use the cleric spell list. Every mystic has a unique method of prayer by which they regain spell slots (and Divine Davor points) during a long rest; for anchorites and hermits this is quiet meditation, for dervishes it is whirling dance, for some it song, and for others stranger things still. Finally, a mystic's has Divine Trance rather than Turn Undead and they must use Divine Favor to power Channel Divinity.
Thanks to @The Shadow for his ideas on a sorcerer-inspired cleric, upon which the Mystic is based.
Divine Favor Points: These can be used exactly as Sorcery points for flexible casting. 2 points must be spent to use a Channel Divinity feature. Normally Divine Favor points are recovered during a long rest. If you've performed a deed which gains the favor of your deity, you may regain your points in half the normal long rest time (4 hours instead of 8). Also, if you've offended your deity, you do not regain Divine Favor points until restitution is made.
Channel Divinity (Divine Trance): You may choose to take this feature instead of Turn Undead. Entering a divine trance requires 10 minutes during which you perform the same task you use to regain spells (e.g. dancing, singing, meditating); at the end of that time you gain one of these clues from your DM:
- By viewing the night sky (or planar equivalent), determine precisely where you are in the world or which plane you're on.
- Know whether a creature within 30 feet of you is cursed or chosen by the gods, as well as the nature of the curse or blessing (e.g. "you are cursed to repeat your mistakes until you atone for leaving the cleric's son to drown in the well").
- A description of an NPC you should trust, or an NPC you should be wary of (e.g. "trust the ruddy-cheeked baker").
- A type of trap or hazard that awaits you at a named location (e.g. "beware the sandstorm").
- A type of enemy that awaits you at a named location (e.g. "a regiment of 111 Mamluks of the Dauntless at the gates").
- A description of a place where fates will be decided, for good or ill (e.g. "a mortal court more resplendent than the Grand Caliph's").
- Gain a vague or poetic clue about a topic you choose, at your DM's discretion.
Improved Divine Trance: At 5th level, instead of Destroy Undead you may take Improved Divine Trance, which allows you to gain more than one clue by taking a level of exhaustion for each extra clue: At 5th level you can gain an extra clue from the list. At 8th level, two extra clues. At 11th level, three extra clues. At 14th level, four extra clues. At 15th level, five extra clues.[/sblock]
Hakimas (hakim for men) bear special mention as they are "wise women" gifted with the ability to perceive truth. While hakima may revere specific gods (often Hakiyah and Kor), they have their own domain. Hakimas cast spells intuitively like a mystic, and lose the ability to Turn Undead (gaining Sense Truth instead).
Level / Domain Spells
1st / comprehend languages, detect evil and good
3rd / darkvision, zone of truth
5th / clairvoyance, dispel magic
7th / arcane eye, divination
9th / legend lore, scrying
Channel Divinity (Sense Truth): At 1st level, instead of Turn Undead or Divine Sense, you can use your Channel Divinity to sense truth in spoken word for 1 minute so long as the speaker is physically present and observable. Truth is subjective, so as long as the speaker believes what they're saying, you sense it as being "true"; you experience this as a pleasing buoyant feeling in your heart, seeing the beauty in the other person, and perhaps a faint ringing sound or barely perceptible light around their head.Gift of Insight: At 1st level you gain proficiency in Wisdom (Insight) checks. In addition, when you watch a person eat and drink, you can determine their true social station (e.g. beggar or caliph).
Channel Divinity (Sense Illusion): At 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to see thru illusions and mirages, or dispel an illusion you've already disbelieved for your companions.
Sense Lies: At 5th level, this replaces Destroy Undead. When you use Channel Divinity (Sense Truth), you also sense deliberate lies which sound to you like sizzling water cast on a hot griddle. At 8th level you can sense truth and lies in the written word as well. At 11th level you can sense truth and lies even if the speaker is not directly observable, such as an invisible foe or a genie imprisoned in a ring. At 14th level, you can sense truth and lies even if the speaker is not physically present, such as a projected illusion, thru a magic mirror, or a messenger delivering a message the sender knows is a lie (even if the messenger believes it to be true). At 17th level you can sense truth and lies even in creatures which have special abilities or spells masking the truth or lies of their word.
Read Thoughts: At 6th level, gain the "Read Thoughts" feature under the Knowledge domain.
Reveal Enchantment: At 8th level, you can cast detect magic as a ritual which only requires 1 minute at-will.
Truesight: At 17th level, you gain Truesight 60 feet whenever you cast a divination spell that is not a cantrip; it lasts for 1 minute or the duration of the divination, whichever is longer.[/sblock]
Druid:Called kahin (kahina) in Zakhara, they are idol-priests worshipping the power of the land itself, channeling it thru idols fashioned of wood, stone, and clay. Druids of the Land are most common, congregating in verdant oases and starlight canyons to seek out the lost wisdom of the past; the oldest and wisest among them join the Circle of Aged Masters. Druids of the Moon stalk the dunes alone, disappearing into sandstorms in pursuit of communion with the forces of nature; they often make friends of the jann.
Fighter:Fighters in Zakhara are largely flavored by their choice of background, rather than martial archetype. To emulate some of the 2nd edition kits, for example, an Askar could simply be a fighter who takes the Caravaneer background, a "Corsair" is a fighter with the Sailor/Pirate background and Two-Weapon Fighting Style, a Desert Rider is a fighter with the Al-Badia (Outlander) variant background and Mounted Combat feat, and a Mamluk simply takes the Soldier background with a bit of extra story added.
Monk:Monks of the Open Hand are known as Mystics of Nog, disciples of teachings of physical and mental cultivation that come from the ruined kingdom of Nog. Monks of Shadow often align with Holy Slayer fellowships, though some serve nobles as personal assassins and bodyguards. Monks of the Four Elements practice secret teachings of the genies, with or without their blessing.
Paladin:Called faris (pl. farisan) in Zakhara, Paladins of Devotion and Paladins of Vengeance are defenders and crusaders of the Enlightened Faith, embodying different aspects of the faith. Paladins of the Ancients are not part of the Enlightened Faith, instead revering fallen deities of the Ruined Kingdoms or ancient spirits worshipped by idol-priests.
Ranger:Hunter Rangers are common in Zakhara, their skills valued equally among desert nomads and city-dwellers. Beast Master Rangers, on the other hand, almost exclusively have the Al-Badia background, taking as their companion a hawk/eagle, a Saluqi (desert hound), a riding horse or a camel. The riding horse or camel breaks the normal rule that a Ranger's companion must be Medium sized or smaller because the Desert Rider is such a prominent archetype in AL-QADIM.
Rogue:Rogues in Zakhara are largely flavored by their choice of background, rather than roguish archetype. To emulate some of the 2nd edition kits, for example, a Sa'luk (scoundrel) can come from any number of backgrounds, a Barber takes the Barber-Surgeon background, a Beggar-Thief is a rogue with the Urchin background, a Holy Slayer is a rogue with the Acolyte or Convert background and Assassin roguish archetype, a Matrud is a rogue with the Outlander background and a story of tragic exile, and a Merchant-Rogue simply takes the Guild Merchant (Guild Artisan) variant background.
Sorcerer:[/B]Called saher in Zakhara, sorcerers lean toward elemental magic. Sorcerers with a Dragon bloodline or imbued with Wild Magic are very rare. Until the Adventurer's Handbook comes out in 2015 with an elemental bloodline for sorcerers, you can make do with my homebrewed Elemental Sorcerous Origins.
[sblock=Sorcerous Origin: Elemental Flame]
How does a sorcerer become imbued with Elemental Flame? Perhaps you were marked by an efreet at birth or perhaps you have efreeti blood in your veins. Perhaps you were an azer who escaped bondage and now are a dwarf touched by fire? Perhaps you were cast adrift in the Elemental Plane of Fire. Perhaps a fire demon or Imix cursed you. Or perhaps you touched an eternal flame burning in an ancient desert mosque and it changed you forever.
Alter Flames: At level 1 gain the ability to alter a single fire source within a 50 foot area around you with an action, causing a fire source to extinguish or light, causing a fire source to emit smoke blanketing the area, doubling the range of light cast by a fire source (and changing its fuel requirement accordingly), diminishing the range of light cast by a fire source to any amount (changing its fuel requirement accordingly), or cause a fire to spark igniting nearby combustibles. Maintaining the altered flames shifting sands (or the lack thereof) require concentration. The effect ends after 1 hour, when you use this feature again or cease concentrating, or if the fire source dramatically changes (either naturally or due to a spell or creature's ability).
Intimidating: At level 1 gain proficiency in Charisma (Intimidation) checks.
Burning Eyes of the Flame Mage: At level 6 you can cause your eyes to light with fire at-will. This fire sheds light equivalent to a candle. When you cause your eyes to light in this way, you may spend 1 sorcery point to gain resistance to fire for 1 hour. Regardless, gain one of the following benefits of your choice while your eyes are lit:
- Double your proficiency bonus to Charisma (Intimidation) checks.
- Inflict +1 damage per spell slot level used with spells dealing fire damage.
- Gain darkvision 60 ft, even in magical darkness.
- When observing burnt remains, gain a sense of what the burnt person or object looked like, what sort of fire caused the burning (e.g. magicla, dragon breath, arson), and how long ago the burning happened.
Greater Alter Flames: At level 14 you can manipulate any and all fire sources in a 100 ft area around you. Maintaining altered flames no longer requires your active concentration.
One With the Flame: At level 18 you can cause yourself to be engulfed by flames. As an action spend 5 sorcery points to become immune to fire damage and generate an aura of flames up to 15 feet (though you may choose to control it so it only encompasses 10 ft or 5 ft). For 1 minute or until you lose concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell), each creature that starts its turn in your aura must make a Constitution save or take 1d6 + your Charisma modifier fire damage, and half that on a successful save.
Cantrips - fire bolt, produce flame*
Level 1 - burning hands
Level 2 - continual flame, flame blade*, flaming sphere, scorching ray
Level 3 - fireball
Level 4 - conjure minor elementals (fire), fire shield, wall of fire
Level 5 - conjure elemental (fire)
Level 6 -
Level 7 - delayed blast fireball, firestorm*
Level 8 - incendiary cloud
Level 9 - meteor swarm
[sblock=Sorcerous Origin: Elemental Sand]
How does a sorcerer become imbued with Elemental Sand? Perhaps you were a slave of the dao or possess the blood of dao in your veins. Perhaps your parents were jann or jann used sand magic to save to your life when they found you near death. Perhaps you were lost in a sandstorm and were cast into the Elemental Plane of Earth. Perhpas Ogremoch tainted you thru a magic artifact imbued with the power of the Geomancers. Or perhaps you suffered a witch's curse to slumber in the sands or were turned into a pillar of salt until recently escaping.
Alter Sands: At level 1 gain the ability to alter sands in a 50 foot area around you with an action, causing loose earth and sand to either blow into the area (creating concealment) or not blow into the area, causing sands to shift making tracking hard (disadvantage) or unveiling what lies 1 foot beneath the surface, revealing quicksand hazards, or triggering an unpredictable sand dune slide. Maintaining shifting sands (or the lack thereof) require concentration to maintain. The effect ends after 1 hour, when you use this feature again or cease concentrating, or if desert conditions dramatically change (either naturally or due to a spell or creature's ability).
Desert Lore: At level 1 gain proficiency in Wisdom (Survival) checks.
Where the Sand Mage Treads: At level 6 you leave no tracks in sand, and you learn the pass without trace spell if you don't know it already and you may cast it as a ritual. You may spend 1 sorcery point to gain resistance to damage from sandstorms, earth elementals, and sand/earth-related magic. When you cast pass without trace, gain one of the following benefits choosen at the time of casting:
- Increase the spell's range and targets to creatures you choose withing 60 feet of you.
- Leave subtle clues of your passage (like a rare blossom) recognizable to your companions and allies.
- Make your tracks visible to a single person you name, and place a whispered message in your tracks which becomes audible for only the person you name when they follow the tracks.
- Create a decoy trail which throws off conventional tracking methods, leading pursuers to some other site.
- Everyone effected by the spell does not register to creatures with tremorsense.
- Cause sand dune slides, quicksand, dust devils, and other hazards to spring up in your footsteps an hour after you pass.
Greater Alter Sands: At level 14, you can manipulate sands in a 100 ft area around you. Maintaining shifting sands no longer requires your active concentration.
One With the Sand: At level 18, you can assume a form that appear like living sand. As an action spend 5 action points to gain immunity to all sand/earth-related damage, resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons, and the ability to move thru enemies and thru gaps large enough for a mouse. Your form lasts for 1 minute or until you lose concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell).
Cantrips - blade ward, mending
Level 1 -
Level 2 - pass without trace*
Level 3 - meld into stone*
Level 4 - conjure minor elementals (earth), stoneskin, stone shape
Level 5 - conjure elemental (earth), passwall, wall of stone
Level 6 - flesh to stone, move earth
Level 7 -
Level 8 - earthquake*
Level 9 -
[sblock=Sorcerous Origin: Elemental Sea]
How does a sorcerer become imbued with the Elemental Sea? Perhaps you bear the blood of a marid or were touched by one while at sea. Perhaps you were saved from drowning by a selkie's kiss or were lured beneath the waves by a siren. Perhaps you were lost at sea, adrift for so long you crossed the boundary into the Elemental Plane of Water. Perhaps you were the sole survivor of a whirlpool sent by Olhydra which sunk a fleet of ships. Or perhaps you found a forgotten island and drank from its eternal spring which changed you forever.
Alter Seas: At level 1 gain the ability to alter waters in a 50 foot area around you with an action, causing the sea state to change one step either toward becalmed or toward tempestuous. You can create a moving current which propels a ship, bring a sunken object or creature to the surface (using your Intelligence as Strength for lifting purposes, make a path of clear water thru tainted waters, or summon a 5 ft rogue wave to drench somebody. The currents (or lack thereof) require concentration to maintain. The effect ends after 1 hour, when you use this feature again or cease concentrating, or if sea conditions dramatically change (either naturally or due to a spell or creature's ability).
Seafarer: At level 1 gain proficiency with navigator's tools and vehicles (sea).
Sea Mage at the Helm: At level 6 you learn the water breathing spell if you don't know it already, and you can spend 1 sorcery point to cast the spell on yourself. Also when at the helm of a ship gain one of the following benefits at a time:
- Keep the ship hidden from view, provided there's a body of land, a fog bank, a storm, it's night, or some other opportunity to stay concealed exists.
- Keep the ship afloat despite damage it has sustained at least until you get within sight of land.
- Avoid maritime hazards, such as ice melting enough to be cracked by the ship's prow or a swell carrying the hull just over sharp reef.
- Manuever the ship in a seemingly impossible manner, such as a tight turn to end up broadside along another vessel or coming to a complete stop with the sails still out.
- Boost the ship's speed by 2 mph.
Greater Alter Seas: At level 14 you can manipulate waters in a 100 ft area around you, and change the sea state two steps toward either becalmed or tempestuous. Maintaining a current no longer require your active concentration.
One With the Sea: At level 18 you can assume a form made of living water. As an action spend 5 action points to gain the ability to breathe water, a swim speed equal to your speed, resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magicical weapons, and the ability to move thru enemies and thru gaps large enough for a mouse. Your form lasts for 1 minute or until you lose concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell).
Cantrips - chill touch, ray of frost
Level 1 - create or destroy water*, fog cloud
Level 2 -
Level 3 - sleet storm, water breathing, water walk*
Level 4 - conjure minor elementals (water), control water, ice storm
Level 5 - cone of cold, conjure elemental (water)
Level 6 - wall of ice
Level 7 -
Level 8 - control weather, tsunami*
Level 9 - storm of vengeance*
[sblock=Sorcerous Origin: Elemental Wind]
How does a sorcer become imbued with Elemental Winds? Perhaps you carry djinni blood in your veins or a djinn blessed your birth. Perhaps you are the descendant of a mortal who coupled with a sylph or an elf descended from the avariel (winged elves). Perhaps you fell from a tremendous height and didn't stop falling for days as you crossed into the Elemental Plane of Air. Perhaps you were sucked up into a maelstrom sent by Yan-C-Bin. Or perhaps you ventured to a mountaintop shrine seeking answers, only to find otherworldly winds whispering secrets of the cosmos to you.
Alter Winds: At level 1 you gain the ability to alter the winds in a 50 foot area around you with an action, causing the wind state to change one step either toward becalmed or toward tempestuous. You generate sufficient winds to fill a ship's sails, clear poison gases and smoke from the area after a couple rounds, give a bird a boost of speed, or cause small objects weighing one pound or less to float aloft. The winds (or lack thereof) require concentration to maintain. The effect ends after 1 hour, when you use this feature again or cease concentrating, or if wind conditions dramatically change (either naturally or due to a spell or creature's ability).
Flight of the Wind Mage: At level 6, you learn the fly and feather fall spells if you don't know them already. You can spend 1 sorcery point to cast feather fall on yourself. Whenever you cast the fly spell you gain one of the following benefits choosen at the time of casting:
- Eliminate the need to concentrate to maintain the spell if you cast it on yourself.
- Extend the duration to 30 minutes, so long as you concentrate. After the spell ends, take an exhaustion level.
- Provide increased maneuverability and advantage on all checks to avoid effects of strong winds.
- Weave a safety net into the spell so that when it ends, the creature held aloft floats to the ground as if under the effect of feather fall.
- Increase the fly speed to 80 ft. After the spell ends, take an exhaustion level.
Greater Alter Winds: At level 14 you can manipulate winds in a 100 ft area around you, and change the wind two steps toward either becalmed or tempestuous. Maintaining the winds no longer require your active concentration.
One With the Wind: At level 18 you can assume a form made of living air. As an action spend 5 action points to gain a flight speed equal to your speed, resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magicical weapons, and the ability to move thru enemies and thru gaps large enough for a mouse. Your form lasts for 1 minute or until you lose concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell).
Cantrips - message, shocking grasp
Level 1 - feather fall, fog cloud, thunderwave
Level 2 - gust of wind, misty step
Level 3 - fly, gaseous form, lightning bolt, wind wall*
Level 4 - conjure minor elementals (air)
Level 5 - cloudkill, conjure elemental (air)
Level 6 - chain lightning, wind walk*
Level 7 -
Level 8 - control weather
Level 9 - storm of vengeance*
Warlock:Warlocks are viewed with equal measures of suspicion and fearful respect in Zakhara. Fiend patrons typically involve invoking Ahriman, the name by which Zakharans call Asmodeus. Great Old One patrons are invoked by crazed astronomers, geomancers, and sages delving into forbidden lore. Archfey patrons, however, are virtually unheard of in Zakhara; possible entities which could fit The Archfey in Zakhara include peri princesses or ancient silats (desert hags). Instead, Noble Genie patrons are well known; such warlocks are known as sha'ir (f. sha'ira).
The Noble Genie patron (Sha'ir) involves special rules, new eldritch invocations, and descriptions of the four kinds of gens; because of this I am devoting a separate post to it below.
Wizard:Wizards are a force to be reckoned with in Zakhara, drawing on potent elemental magic unknown to outsiders. Until the Adventurer's Handbook comes out in 2015 with more elemental spells, your best bet is to make do with the 9 traditional schools of magic in the PHB. Alternately, you can use my "Scholarly" (Generalist) arcane tradition here: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?358920-Arcane-Tradition-Scholarly-Wizard-(Generalist)