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

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
There are many in the US who find various particular real world religions other than their own deeply offensive, and many who find real world religion in games offensive.
The position that a religion other than one’s own is offensive is called xenophobia, and it’s frowned upon in polite society.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
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 was thinking of the venerable Jack Chick, Satanic Panic folks, etc., but you're right, I know some people who identify as conservative Christians of some fashion who're avid players.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
There are many in the US who find various particular real world religions other than their own deeply offensive, and many who find real world religion in games offensive.
It's not just the US. There's a worldwide resurgence of populism/nationalism that's not at all tolerant of other viewpoints. By no means are these viewpoints a majority in many places, but they very much punch above their weight politically. Regardless, I think going further on this topic will end up (rightfully) drawing mod ire.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
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.
Well, I'd hope so. Otherwise it'd be a pretty crappy 1k&1 Nights 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.
Ah, file off the serial #s & everything becomes all fine & dandy huh?
 

kaltorak1976

Explorer
Hi everybody, I am Umberto Pignatelli, the author of Scheherazade.
First, thank you for the time spent reading/reviewing the game :).
Scheherazade was basically born after reading aloud to my daughters the Arabian Nights (the Osborne reduction for children). The setting caught them, and me too (with children I often live again books of my childhood :), so I decided to design a game that even young gamers (or gamers-in-training) can play.
We discussed long if setting the game in the real world or in a totally fictional middle Eastern-flavored setting (like 99% of this type of games do). In the end, we decided to go with the real world for several reasons:
First, the world of Scheherazade isn't REAL historical Arabia. It is the fable-like version of it, like Grimm Brothers tales aren't real german middle ages. This first filter secured us a healthy distance to what could be sensible matters.
Second, the Arabic culture is so intriguing that we honestly thought that "filtering" it in a flavored setting would not do justice to it.
Third, The Tales of the One Thousand and One Nights aren't a "real" book: they are a construction and collection of western tales, and they haven't an exact date (they include tales of different places and eras): some of them are pre-Islamic, others fall in the full Islamic era. This is a richness for us which we wanted to use, so we finally decided to go with the real world, placing the game in the first years of the Islamism.
Fourth, we involved Muslim persons (gamers and not gamers) in the creative process, checking with them all the content of the product to make it not-offensive (and we honestly think we did).

About the editing.
We put great care in editing. We have standardized a five-step process:
1)First technical editing (non-native speaker)
2)Native language editing
3)Layout
4)First post-layout proofing
5)Second post-layout proofing
For the Quickstart, in effect, we used a different version of the file and so it is possible you found some minor typos. Would you like to point them to us?
 

kaltorak1976

Explorer
Hi Giuseppe, the game is a traditional one.
The game is designed to be played from 6 to adult age, even if I think it will suit best teens or pre-teens (12-14).

Setting-wise, the only requirement to enter the game world is having seen the Alladin movie (the old one or the new one) and having read or heard the most famous tales of the Arabian Nights (Alladin, Simbad and so on).

Rule-wise the game uses only d6 and is structured with a combinatory system: you sum up two Attributes from a pool of six and roll that number of dice: every 4+ is a success.
Every hero has a Unique Gift, a special ability you create in a freeform way (the game gives you 6 mechanics to implement), this to avoid forcing players to study a library of pre-set advantages.
In addition, there is the Stories mechanic: you can tell a tale to solve a specific situation (social but not only) and to create a story element (even a big one). This last one, during playtests, revealed to be particularly appreciated by younger people.

There is a lot more to say, but I think the best thing for you is to download the free quickstart :)
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
Please re-read the rules about inclusiveness.
The position that a religion other than one’s own is offensive is called xenophobia, and it’s frowned upon in polite society.
Frowned upon, or not, political or not, it's a very real market factor.
And it's very much socially evident in the US, and getting far more so.
But it's not always xenophobia, either. Sometimes it's the political-correctness and "social justice warriors" taking offense because "all game portrayals are inherently shallow and inaccurate," or over "cultural appropriation."

The person I know who most strongly takes offense to real world religion in games happens to be an atheist, just for reference...

In my case, I disdain them because....
... Real world religions are just not worth the hassle for me as a GM, as all my gaming of late is in public space.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Sometimes it's the political-correctness and "social justice warriors" taking offense because "all game portrayals are inherently shallow and inaccurate," or over "cultural appropriation."
Mod Note:

Keep it inclusive:
EN World is an inclusive community, and we encourage and welcome all people here. To that end, we strive to make it a welcoming place where nobody feels alienated because of who they are. You MAY NOT use the terms "agenda", "ideology", "politics", or "propaganda" in relation to the inclusion of people slightly different to you in gaming products or other media, use pejorative terms such as "social justice warrior" or "virtue signalling" to dismiss the opinions of those you disagree with...

- from The Rules
 

Warder

Villager
Aladdin u say? Im interested. I see that the amount of polymorphing in this milleu has been kept as a playable mechanic. From what i have seen of possible player characters the game offers some nice ideas and lore.

Will we get any expansions based on other works like those of Sindbad?
 

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