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Al-Qadim: Land of Fate (5e conversion)

I love this idea, [MENTION=20323]Quickleaf[/MENTION]. I'd replace the word 'Inspiration' with 'Fate' thereby tying in the 2e idea of invoking the power of Fate without having to add a whole new mechanic.

So I'm pitching Al-Qadim to my playgroup this Friday and have been working on a PowerPoint covering the main ideas behind the campaign as well as the special considerations used in character creation.

In homage to the importance of character kits in the original edition, I'm going to suggest my players start by picking a specialized background first followed by a limited choice of class, race, etc. respective to their background. For instance, a character who had chosen the Desert Rider (background) would be required to be a Fighter, Ranger, or Rogue from an Al-Badian society. Each background would include a unique Fate (Inspiration) ability befitting the role.

Do do you guys think this would be too limiting or complicated? I'm wanting to emphasize the importance of role playing and help immerse my players into the uniqueness of Zakhara.
I think it really depends on what you want to do.

If you want the feel of the setting, then I think the strategy is to throw in a few quick high level adjustments plus some broad hooks to get the players into the game.

Then you figure out what sort of chracters your players might be wanting to play in concept and build off of those. No need to build rules for the Sha'ir if absolutely no one is interested in playing a genie wizard.

If, on the other hand, you want to bring in more of the original game (which I think 5e is suited for in a way the last two editions were not) then you probably do need to be more kit focused.
 

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[MENTION=6533]Dr. Strangemonkey[/MENTION] Sounds like it will be a blast! I'll be very interested to hear how your adaptation of Princes of the Apocalypse to Zakhara (or whatever setting you're using) goes.

My only thought at the moment is about the whole playbook/hero point thing. One trick you can do is provide alternate uses for Inspiration (instead of gaining advantage) unique to each character archetype. For example, the Beggar-Prince might be able to spend Inspiration to pass off a flawless disguise or fade into the background of a group of people who simply assume he belongs there.
My notes thus far do feature a LOT of material on which themes or stunts would be appropriate to which playbook.

I should put the list up here soon, a fair number of the kits are undergoing some conceptual reinterpretation. The Faris, for example, is now far more about dueling and romantic chivalry than simple service to the faith.
 

MessiahMushroom

First Post
[MENTION=6533]Dr. Strangemonkey[/MENTION] please do put the list up. It'd be interesting to see how others are doing it.

I pitched the campaign to my players Friday with a PowerPoint and it went over really well. They have all picked character concepts based off the original kits and are working on back stories.

One of my players did infact choose to play as a Sha'ir so we'll be using the one [MENTION=20323]Quickleaf[/MENTION] proposed. She wants to choose the Warlock Pact of the Tome so I just ruled that her familiar can fetch ritual spells for her instead of having any combat capibilities.
 

  1. Askar (Citizen-Bravo) - a shield held without understanding is weightless, a sword held without a neighbor is bladeless
  2. Corsair (Captain-Lord) - to swim is to survive - if you are fish - but to balance a ship beneath you and trouble behind? that is to thrive
  3. Desert Rider (Freeman-Champion) - the race is not won by the strongest, smartest, or wealthiest but by those who know a brother in the wind
  4. Faris (Sworn-Paragon) - It is not enough simply to duel for the honor of the people, one must live it
  5. Mamluk - Should your chain not stretch from your first memory to your last breath to the throne, then your discipline is naught but weak links
  6. Mercenary-Barbarian - a good watch-dog must not be fooled by city smells and smiles, known ferocity is also helpful
  7. Sha'ir - Emissary of the Elemental Compacts
  8. Academagician - Astrology, numerology, alchemy, oneiromancy... all are but fronds of the same leaf
  9. Clockwork Mage - It is not that cogs, springs, and pendulums require a sorceror, it's that they demand one
  10. Ghul Lord - Necromantic mystics fueled by the negative plans and the asceticism of the flesh
  11. Mageweaver - Wizards for whom art is THE art
  12. Mystic of Nog - An ancient order built on mastery of physical magic
  13. Barber-Sage - Is there a dispute in the bazaar or suq? Then his is the final word.
  14. Beggar-Prince - A prince AMONG beggars, or a PRINCE among beggars? Best to forget the question.
  15. Holy Slayer - a purveyor of dreaded certitude to those in doubt
  16. Ma'trud or Jackal - brigand, spell thief, brute - the outcaste must wear many hats
  17. Merchant-Rogue - the Business of Zakhara is Adventure, and vice versa
  18. Rawun - an inviolate, invaluable, and immaculate repository of tales and wisdom, or so they had better say
  19. Tomb-Robber - the secrets of the past will be no less ancient for being less secret
  20. Pragmatist - Should you find the loregiver blocking your path, try to help her along
  21. Hakima - If the lawgiver turns off the path, 'ware, for the path itself is illusion
  22. Ethocist - If you see the lawgiver on the road, see to the road.
  23. Kahin - if the lawgiver drops her staff, plant it. She has not given you a stick, she has shown you a view.
  24. Mystic - Stay fleet, should you see the lawgiver on the road, you must rush ahead to prepare her coming.
  25. Knight-Errant - A wandering, wondering guest may be less lost than one who never leaves home.
  26. Hidden Dragon - The wyrms of the north have their own business, even if it next door.
  27. Jann - A lowly genie for whom service, nay heroism, has been chosen not compelled.
  28. Emmisary-Spy - we know that you know that we know, we have so much in common!
  29. Vizier - a mortal may be only a mortal...
 
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Ketser

First Post
I see a little problem with Quickleaf's Shai'r.

The gen servant feature allows him to gain a number of extra spells, a ability that replaces the patron bonus spells. But patron's don't grant extra spells known like domains or oaths, they just add a few extra spells for the warlock to choose when he is picking his spells.
 



I realize it's been a bit, but I am still working on my Al Qadim conversion for Princes of the Apocalypse and I had a quick question:

The adventure spends some significant effort on the 5 FR Factions (Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, Lord's Alliance, Emerald Enclave, and Zhentarim). For Al Qadim would it make more sense to:

A. Invent/adapt equivalent groups for Zhakara.
B. Go with something like Icons from 13th age and take major players from Zhakara and work them into the setting.
C. Go more granular - watch the characters the PCs make and then pick out relevant relationships that could replace the 5 factions' roles in the adventure.
 


MessiahMushroom

First Post
Any chance you could tell me how you made the pdf? I really like the graphic design choices - simple but evocative.
Who, me? I used the font Bodacious Normal for the titles found at the bottom of this great fan-site:

http://www.al-qadim.com/submissions.html#software

and Calibri for the rest of the print. I believe in Word, you can use the Design > Page Color > Fill Effects... > Texture > Stationery (or whatever) to color your pages.

Any luck with your conversions? I've been running a 5e game set in Zakhara using the old modules/adventures. My players will probably go into the Ruined Kingdoms soon (they're still in Muluk). It's a little hard to do encounter conversions but the new DMG does a pretty good job at helping you through it.
 

The conversions are going slowly, but they're going. I'll hope to have a fully put together playbook up here by the end of next week (the weeks surrounding independence day are sort of a swamp for me personally).

I'm gonna go Askar first, I think. Most of them are conversions with a twist and with the exception of the few abilities heavy kits the twists are what is taking a bit.

Thank you for much for the design info, it's much appreciated.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I realize it's been a bit, but I am still working on my Al Qadim conversion for Princes of the Apocalypse and I had a quick question:

The adventure spends some significant effort on the 5 FR Factions (Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, Lord's Alliance, Emerald Enclave, and Zhentarim). For Al Qadim would it make more sense to:

A. Invent/adapt equivalent groups for Zhakara.
B. Go with something like Icons from 13th age and take major players from Zhakara and work them into the setting.
C. Go more granular - watch the characters the PCs make and then pick out relevant relationships that could replace the 5 factions' roles in the adventure.
From my understanding of PotA, the faction stuff is mostly front-loaded in the adventure, meaning the actual body of the adventure doesn't refer to the factions much. So you shouldn't have to go to much effort to swap out the 5 FR Factions for factions of your own choosing.

I think a mix of A, B, and especially C is called for.

Certain character types imply a connection to a particular Al-Qadim organization, notably Holy Slayer Fellowships, Mamluk Societies, and Sorcerous Brotherhoods/Sisterhoods.

Other characters imply a connection to nobility or royalty, such as the Grand Caliph's court or even the Court of the Djinni.

Still other characters don't have any implicit connection to any group. In those cases you may want to work with the player to develop a bond that works for your adaptation of PotA.

Good luck :)
 

I'm sort of curious though - if you were to make five (or so) Al-Quadim meta-factions what would they be?

Personally, I'm tempted to keep the Emerald Enclave as is (maybe change the associated color/gem).

Then go with a sort of Scrivener organization with both explicitly religious (preserving and finding tales of the Loregiver) and arcane (keeping control/hidden texts on the Elemental Blasphemies and transported kingdoms) goals.

A humble order with the explicit mission of keeping pilgrimage routes open particularly through/during periods of political unrest. Maybe name them the Gatekeepers or Warders and have a backstory of them being the successors to the lone humble official who kept true to the duties of the court during a disruption in the succession of the Caliphate. Membership is lose, consisting of only some vows, call-signs, and an obligation to gather in secretly marked caravansaries and sheltering caves from time to time. It's an unusual organization in that it counts both the most decorated and dedicated Faris, Ethoists, and Janissaries among its ranks as well as Beggars, Barbers, Mystics, and even the occasional out-caste or Ma'trud.

The Glorious Network of Pearls and Steel - originally a geographically diverse political alliance devoted to a formal ties between the Pearl Cities and Hiyal as a counter to perceived threats of influence, commerce, and culture from the Pantheist league, it has since turned into something - else. While still, in theory, devoted to the advancement of these original cities, it has become, in fact, a network devoted entirely to the advancement of its members and those they patronize. The network has a strong and controversial public face - a political leader in need of attention has little better option than to alternately embrace and castigate the network; its policy of selling to 'the unfairly maligned'; opulence/artistic patronage; and willingness to set up missions/fortresses in the most remote locations with very little oversight.

Now the 5th faction is supposed to be the Lord's Alliance - a sort of Pragmatic Law & Order Network - but that doesn't really make sense to me in a Zhakaran context, so I'm tempted to go with something... stranger and make it the 'Zhent' analog. Maybe a network with connections to the Yak-men, Ghuls, a cabal of giants and hags, an manipulation-based specialized djinni, mad mystic, the Zhakaran fae, a rogue faction of enlightened beasts, or even the remnants of a pre-Loregiver Drow community. With the idea being that this group isn't something one belongs to - necessarily - but is one that one might owe obligations to or find oneself supported by and that while that support might be strange and their motives inscrutable their actual actions are frequently supportable - for whatever reason, they don't like disruption. Their plans within plans require stability, their aid (while infrequent) is telling, and the only string attached is that you keep being you and don't think it through.

Alternately - I could go with something like 'The Captain's Alliance' and instead of having it be princes and tycoons, make it sheikhs, free company captains, and privateers. Let it play off of the 'three peoples' theme for Zhakara and have it be an explicitly adventuring organization. When you are a member you are largely one among respected, semi-powerful equals. The catch being, they are actually serious about doing what they ask you do to (as an adventurer) and that while their immediate goals (independence, cooperation, helping out with major potential disasters) are nice the actual world they want (weak political powers, plenty of opportunity to make money out of conflict, chaotic frontiers, independent rather than integrated communities) may not be that great.

I'd also be tempted to do something with the Pantheists - just because they are a nice bit of color and do seem like they would sponsor or have a meta-organization out and about, but... I feel like maybe that works better on a more character based level? After all, it's hard to picture them getting interested in something and not have it turn geo-political pretty fast. It also feels like making a character with Pantheist ties is a great resource, but asking a character to join a Pantheist organization seems limiting.

Then Again:

I'm also tempted to do a Zhakaran version of 13th Ages Icons, and while I think the two systems could coexist profitably, that's extra work on a project where I'm already taking on a lot.
 
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Quickleaf

Legend
[MENTION=6533]Dr. Strangemonkey[/MENTION] Looks like a fun list of organizations with ready adventure hooks. I guess it depends on what you're doing with Al-Qadim; I mean it's clear you're making the setting your own, so it depends just how you're tweaking it.

One thing that popped out is the Order of the Faith Pragmatic might be a good fit for your "humble order with the explicit mission of keeping pilgrimage routes open." Make it an explicitly religious organization with many lay brothers and sisters.

A hook that I used in my games that might fit in with your PotA conversion for the "Scriveners" is introducing the Lost Scrolls of the Loregiver as a source of theological/political conflict and an object of adventure.

Depending on the direction you go, you might want to link some of your organizations to the mamluk vs. corsair conflict in the northern cities of Zakhara. For example, you might make your 5th faction the Servants of the Grand Caliph and tie them to the mamluks, while the Glorious Network of Pearls and Steel has secret inroads with the corsairs.
 

I like the lost scrolls idea.

Order of the Faith Pragmatic would be cool, I'd worry that that particular title might make it seem too tied to the similarly titled kit, but I could always change the title of the kit.

For the 5th faction, I like the idea of a faction with strong inroads to the mamlukes as a general idea, but I'm a little wary of tying them too closely to any political power with an identity in its own right. I want them all to be at least formally independent factions. Still an independent loyalist faction with a more specialized ethos is pretty doable.

Maybe throw it in as a 6th faction, I'm just trying to come up with an independent political/ideological/adventuring hook. Maybe an invisible college type organization but with a more political/social bent? Devoted to the spiritual crown? Something mamlukes and non-mamlukes could plausibly join but not something every mamluke would feel obligated to join. Maybe even something that would attract holy slayers regardless of order? Something that gets at some general but somewhat obscure principle at the core of the post-loregiver order.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Let's see, I'm not sure if PotA has a "secret forgotten city", but in AL-QADIM Madinat al-Madina (the City of Peace) was a pretty big theme in some of the adventures. I always thought it could tie in well with Ruined Kingdoms and the Geomancers, which I believe is the direction you're taking PotA, right?
 

Yeah, it does seem like the ruined kingdoms is an obvious place to set a convergence of elemental cults amid overlapping layers of ruins.

For the first location, though I might go someplace on the edge of the Pantheist league and between the Ruined Kingdoms and Huzuz. The first location of the adventure is an arid highland with lots of caravan trails running through it and no particular political power, that seems to fit the bill.

There are a lot of things that could be related to the City of Peace.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
What pdf are you talking about? I can't seem to find a pdf of the 5e Al-Qadim conversion.
He was talking about MessiahMushroom's "Ghul Lord" PDF.

I haven't uploaded a PDF of my Al-Qadim conversion cause it's a very rough work-in-progress.
 

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