Brave Desert Sands to Save a Storyteller in the Scheherazade RPG

In The One Thousand and One Nights Scheherazade saved her life by telling the Caliph one thousand and one stories, one night at a time. But in this RPG, after the one thousandth night, Scheherazade falls into an enchanted sleep and won’t wake. Brave the deserts sands to save her in the Scheherazade RPG. Scheherazade is a 168 page PDF of scimitar fights, flying carpets, canny genies and their lamps, and stories of magic and myth. I was a provided a PDF to review.

Scheherazade.png

The first 39 pages are stories that frame Arabian fantasy and set the stage for the RPG. A detailed description of Baghdad and surrounding lands paints a picture of hot desert sands, tall minarets, heroic orphans, and evil viziers. Character creation follows.

Player characters are by default the Chosen Ones of Scheherazade, those people she based the stories on that she told to the Caliph. A PC could be drawn from the examples of prince/princess, ghul hunter, fakir, Samarkand Amazon, and more or the player can devise their own birthright. Marks are assigned to attributes with life (hit points) and energy (magic points) getting bumped up depending on how many marks get spent on each attribute. Magic can be chosen including spells like animate object and snake charm. Each character chooses a powerful unique gift such as having a powerful ally, a magic weapon, or being able to change into an animal once a session. Each PC also receives a Moon Point, which allow for rerolls and changing story elements.

The Storyteller sets a Difficulty Level for actions and PCs roll a pool of d6s based on two Attributes. If the character’s Concept applies an additional dice is rolled. Every 4 or higher is a success. One die is represents Fate and can cause a negative or positive consequence.

Storytellers are given clear guidelines on how to create a campaign and adventures either using waking Scheherazade as a focus or coming up with another campaign focus. Plenty of foes and monsters are provided. Opponents include humans like assassins, bandits, and cannibals while monsters range from genies to manticores to rocs. Treasure is abstracted into marks that can be used to buy better and more specialized gear. Magic items are included as well as rewards for adventuring. Classics include an enchanted scimitar, a flying carpet, and a genie’s lamp.

While all of this sounds like another version of D&D, Scheherazade has unique elements. In between sessions or during a rest, each PC may tell a story fable, a parable, a tale from the hero’s past, a tale of one of his companions, or a tale of how the hero got involved with Scheherazade. The tale does not have to true. PCs telling a story gain a Moon Point or with the Storyteller’s OK insert a story element of his or her own into the ongoing game.

The Unique Gift each character has also gives inventive players plenty of opportunity to flex their creative muscle. While a list of ideas is provided, players are encouraged to work with their Storyteller to craft a truly Unique Gift all their own. The player is rewarded with a specialized rule just for their PC and the Storyteller gains story ideas to leverage as the campaign unfolds.

This RPG is tightly written and focused with an evocative layout and art that fits the theme and concepts perfectly. Player groups may consist of a sage, hakim, fakir, and sailor questing to wake Scheherazade and save the Caliphate of the Eternal Moon. Players will have some storytelling might of their own and the choice to forge their own destinies if they are willing to struggle against fate. If you liked Aladdin the cartoon or dream of genies and flying carpets I recommend giving Scheherazade a try.
 
Charles Dunwoody

Comments

Phenomen

Villager
Be aware: Allah is mentioned 15 times in this book, as well as Mecca, Ramadan and other religious Muslim stuff. So if you're sensitive to such themes, do not buy this game.

Personally I would prefer fictional setting like Aladdin or Prince of Persia. The recent Black Void is pretty good example of Arabic theme without real-world religion.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Be aware: Allah is mentioned 15 times in this book, as well as Mecca, Ramadan and other religious Muslim stuff. So if you're sensitive to such themes, do not buy this game.

Personally I would prefer fictional setting like Aladdin or Prince of Persia. The recent Black Void is pretty good example of Arabic theme without real-world religion.
This is a super weird comment.

“Muslim religious stuff” isn’t offensive.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
That's a really cool concept. The ruleset seems super light, which I think I'd find a bit boring over time, but would probably work well for a shorter campaign. I'd want to see it, of course.

I'm currently running the classic campaign Desert of Desolation using 5E which has lots of that kind of thing, although I ended up leaning heavily on Indiana Jones and The Mummy as well as the really excellent al Qadim material from 2E.
 
Last edited:

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Where did I say it's offensive? It's not. But some people do not want real religion in their RPG books. Be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or whatever.
🙄
It can be. My group would not like it brought to the table.
No, it can’t be. If you don’t want it at your table, don’t buy a product with it.

But there is absolutely nothing wrong with a game having mention of a real world faith.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That's a really cool concept. The ruleset seems super light, which I think I'd find boring over time, but would probably work well for a shorter campaign.

I'm currently running the classic campaign Desert of Desolation using 5E which has lots of that kind of thing, although I ended up leaning heavily on Indiana Jones and The Mummy as well as the really excellent al Qadim material from 2E.
Yeah light rulesets like this are definitely a short campaign thing for me, as well. I’m definitely intrigued by the setting and premise, though.
 

uzirath

Explorer
It can be. My group would not like it brought to the table.
Not wanting something brought up at your gaming table is entirely different than calling the topic "offensive." There are many topics that I don't enjoy at the gaming table. To casually refer to the religion of nearly 25% of the world's population as potentially "offensive" should be unacceptable on this sort of forum.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It can be. My group would not like it brought to the table.
Mod Note:

@Jd Smith1 and Everyone Else - We should make it clear that EN World tries to be an inclusive community. We welcome people of all creeds and religions. If you have a particular problem with some religion or other (or all religions) we kindly ask that you keep those issues to other forums.

It also means, folks, don't probe. If someone doesn't want some content or other, that's their choice. They don't need to justify it to you, and we don't need people applying social pressure to the point that someone feels obligated to make statements that break the rules.

If you have questions about this, please take them to PM with one of the moderators. Thank you.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Thank you for the review Charles!
There's a fully playable 28 pages quick-start if you'd like to check if Scheherazade is down by your alley.
I’ve read a bit of it now, and I really like what I’ve read.

I will say, the next step for the game should probably be to pay an editor to find the typos and grammatical issues that familiarity may have hidden from your team.

Other than that, it looks very cool. As always with such projects I wonder if anyone involved (even playtesters) is of Arabic descent or Muslim faith, but so far I see nothing even accidentally disrespectful here, and the game reads as very fun!
 

Gio Dal Farra

Explorer
I’ve read a bit of it now, and I really like what I’ve read.
Thanks!
I will say, the next step for the game should probably be to pay an editor to find the typos and grammatical issues that familiarity may have hidden from your team.
The quick-start has been written after the core-book, perhaps rushed a bit. You won't find the typos in the core-book. Are the typos small things or do you suggest one more editing?
Other than that, it looks very cool. As always with such projects I wonder if anyone involved (even playtesters) is of Arabic descent or Muslim faith, but so far I see nothing even accidentally disrespectful here, and the game reads as very fun!
The game has been read and play-tested by Muslims too. We have been pretty careful trying to stick to a simple but genuine lore, avoiding anything disrespectful or silly stereotypes
 
Last edited:

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Thanks!

The quick-start has been written after the core-book, perhaps rushed a bit. You won't find the typos in the core-book. Are the typos small things or do you suggest one more editing?

The game has been read and play-tested by Muslims too. We have been pretty careful trying to stick to a simple but genuine lore, avoiding anything disrespectful or silly stereotypes
Nothing I found stuck out much. I’m sure the core is fine as long as it got a good pass by an editor?

If not, my advice would be to change the font on a proof version and do one last proof read, at the least. Changing fonts can actually do a lot to reveal things you otherwise would miss.
 

gyor

Hero
Thanks!

The quick-start has been written after the core-book, perhaps rushed a bit. You won't find the typos in the core-book. Are the typos small things or do you suggest one more editing?

The game has been read and play-tested by Muslims too. We have been pretty careful trying to stick to a simple but genuine lore, avoiding anything disrespectful or silly stereotypes
Muslims are not a single minded collective any more then any other group. I'm not surprised that Liberal Muslims are fine with it, but would much more conservative Muslims, perhaps not. I have heard that 1001 nights is actually not as popular in the middle east as you'd think, partly because some of the stories are shall we say rated R.
 

Gio Dal Farra

Explorer
Perhaps the difference is between liberal and conservative people of the same group, regardless of the group.
And our stories are not R rated :)
Umberto, the author, has three daughters. He made this game to play with them.
 
Last edited:

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
Yeah light rulesets like this are definitely a short campaign thing for me, as well. I’m definitely intrigued by the setting and premise, though.
It's really one of the classic settings for stories.

The game has been read and play-tested by Muslims too. We have been pretty careful trying to stick to a simple but genuine lore, avoiding anything disrespectful or silly stereotypes
That's really important. One reason I really like al-Qadim is that the authors were respectful of the source material on the whole. Of course, their society was clearly not Islam at all, so they had a perhaps easier time of it.
Muslims are not a single minded collective any more then any other group. I'm not surprised that Liberal Muslims are fine with it, but would much more conservative Muslims, perhaps not.
Sure, but I think the relevant comparison here might be, say, Christian conservatives in the USA versus more mainline Christians. Many (edit) Christian conservatives are unlikely to approve of RPGs at all.
 
Last edited:
Sure, but I think the relevant comparison here might be, say, Christian conservatives in the USA versus more mainline Christians. Christian conservatives are unlikely to approve of RPGs at all.
I'm a conservative Christian and I approve of RPGs. But more of my gamer friends are atheists or agnostics than Christians so we might be rare in gamer circles.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm a conservative Christian and I approve of RPGs. But more of my gamer friends are atheists or agnostics than Christians so we might be rare in gamer circles.
I think only fundamentalists and evangelicals and other old fashioned types are rare in gaming circles. Moderate theists of all kinds love rpgs just as much as any other group, IME.
 

In Our Store!

Advertisement

Latest threads

Advertisement

Top