|Map of the Emirates
This is a desert land, all blazing sun, rolling dunes, and widely separated
oases, similar in appearance and culture to medieval Arabia. In recent centuries, the Thyatians and Alphatians have come to
Ylaruam to conquer; they moved in from the south and the north and fought in the center, their wars going on for decades until
the Ylari people threw them out.
The Sultan (Emperor) of the city of Ylaruam, a direct descendant of Al-Kalim,
is the titular ruler of the nation, but he does not have absolute power; his Grand Vizier wields considerable influence, as
do the individual emirs (Kings), maliks (dukes), beys (counts), and sheiks (viscounts).
The Alasiyan culture which is dominant in Ylaruam is as harsh as the desert
that spawned it. The Ylari greatly admire the desert warrior, the turbaned hero with his flashing scimitar and noble desert
Magic use is forbidden here; magic-users and elves are hunted down,
tried, and executed when their presence becomes known. On the other hand, clerics are venerated in this land.
The Ylari follow the philosophies of Al-Kalim, a warrior and teacher
who died (or embarked on a Path to Immortality) a century ago. His dream was of the Desert Garden, all the desert lands of
Ylaruam transformed by work and cooperation into the greenest and fairest of lands; when the Ylari need something to unite
them, they use the words of Al-Kalim.
Though the clans and tribes of Ylaruam often war with one another,
they willingly forget their differences to band against foreign invaders, but just as willingly renew their internal struggles
once the invasion is thrown back.
The capital of the Emirates has a population (counting surrounding farmlands)
of 20,000, about one-tenth the population of all the Emirates. It is a trade city, through which passes much of the agricultural
bounty of the land: herd-beasts of the desert nomads, grains of the farmlands, fabricated goods of the renowned craftsmen
Adventures in the Emirates can include repelling Thyatian invaders from the
south, grueling trips through the desert, exploring ancient ruins (dating from a time when some of the most sterile desert
areas were lush and green), and conducting negotiations between the emirs of this nation and the rulers of surrounding lands.
What Everyone Knows About the Emirates
Tavern Rumors From Neighboring
The People: "The people of Ylaruam hate outsiders. None of them speak any civilized
tongues, and if they do, they pretend they don't. They're hot-tempered and always fighting among themselves. They dress funny,
all wrapped up in these long robes and headdresses, which they wear even in the hot sun. They live
in the desert in tents, though some live in crude brick houses in the cities.
"They all ride camels and horses, and great horses they are, mind you, and they're pretty sharp
traders, They aren't very civilized since they live outside all the time, and they haven't got any princes, lords, or nobles
like we have, just tribal chiefs."
The Land: "It's one big desert. There is nothing but sand, sandstorms, and rocks.
I can't imagine how anyone could live there."
Ylaruam: "That's the city in the desert where the Sultan or Emir or something
lives. There are some tall, pointed spires covered with gold, they say, and there's a university full of scientists and lawyers."
Other Towns: "Tameronikas is a nice port and has lots of foreigners. Abbashan
is a big oasis full of exceptionally nasty people."
How to Get Rich and Famous: "Ride camels on long caravans. Look for lamps with
djinni in them. Find magic carpets in the desert, and rings and efreeti in chests in ruins. Get sorcerers to find hidden treasure,
then trick them out of their share."
Hot Tips: "The government is hiring mercenaries and irregulars to suppress goblins
and giants from Altan Tepes.""There's plenty of caravan and expedition escort work around.
Check around in taverns for merchants,"
From Conversations With a Veteran Adventurer
The People: "Most are honest and honorable. When they give their word, they mean to keep it. They are extremely religious,
always praying and quoting Al-Kalim, their hero and prophet.
Debating fine points of law and ethics is a pleasant pastime for them. They have little trust or respect for Unbelievers and foreigners, and from what I've
seen of the world, with some justice."
"As a people they're most touchy about honor, and quick with a sword when you offend it. Most citizens
are armed and quite skilled with weapons, and are happy to use them,
The soldiery is first-rate. They are disciplined, well-trained, and fiercely loyal."
The Land: "It's warm and pleasant along the eastern coast, arid hot and dry in
the central desert and highlands. Learn native ways, and there's little danger from the weather, except during violent storms.
The nation is safe if you stick to caravan routes and towns,
but its wilderness regions are among the most dangerous in the world. There are few humans, but
plenty of monsters and otherworldly horrors. Stay away from Nithia unless you like trouble."
Ylaruam: "It's comfortable for foreigners. Plenty of merchants and government
officials are hiring experienced adventurers. Information and scholarship are plentiful if you know where and how to look,"
Other Towns: "In Parsa local Makistani tribesmen live in hut-and-tent towns; they're like Ethengars,
only cheerful and pleasant. They are more hospitable and easy-going with strangers than desert people. Tameronikas is pretty
much like coastal towns around the world. At Ctesiphon and Cinsa-Men-Noo the locals cater to travelers
and adventurers. There's plenty of wilderness escort and expedition work, and outfitters and guides are available for all
types of expeditions,"
How to Get Rich and Famous: "The conservative route is to start off in caravan
or expedition escort work. Build a reputation, get connected to nobles or rich merchants, earn the respect and gratitude of
a ruler, and win a dominion,
"The dangerous way is to hunt treasure and exotic creatures in the wilderness, but it's hard to
judge the risks, and you're a long way from help if you get in trouble. "If you don't care about money, but do want to tame
the wilderness and punish evil, there's plenty to do in the wilderness, and you'll quickly earn the respect of the locals."
Hot Tips: "Do not lie or break an oath. Even if the locals don't kill you for
it, they'll never deal with you again.
"Once you've got a reputation as a tough adventurer, there's plenty of work. The best native fighters,
magic-users, and clerics are in the military so locals routinely hire reliable foreigners as mercenaries, guards, for missions
into the wilderness, or for rough stuff. Sit around the taverns and keep your ears open, or make contacts in the Vouchery
of the Provinces who'll send tips your way.
"If you're going to freelance, stay conservative or carefully research your objective. Seek out
reliable informants and pay them well."The natives are superstitious. They do have some pretty
odd stories about the uninhabited regions. They are not sissies. If they are nervous about something, it's worth being careful:'
As Told by a Young Desert
The People: "Desert folks are obviously
tougher, more honorable and fearless, than house-dwellers. City folk are liars and cowards, they can't ride or fight, and
would die in a minute in the desert. Foreigners are just as bad, though it's said that some are better than others. Friendly
tribesmen are always welcome in our tents. Bandits, thieves, and murderers deserve to bleed to death in the desert."
The Land: "Respect the desert, and
the desert is your friend. The desert only kills fools, but it is easy to be a fool during the sand storms.
"Our familiar pasturage and traditional tent grounds are usually quite safe,
We are not cowards, but there are places in the desert and the hills where only fools go, full of monsters, evil sorcerers,
and powerful spirits.
"The villages are interesting places, especially during summer camp at market
time, though the local people and merchants are sneaky and greedy,"
Ylaruam: "They say it is beautiful.
It's full of liars and merchants, but the Sultan's palace and university are hundreds of feet tall and decorated with gold
and jewels. The Sultan's gaming fields are said to be carpets of living grass, and the tournaments of the Military Orders
are said to be quite fine. I would love to ride with the Sultan's guard, and someday my chief will give me armor and weapons
so I can go to Ylaruam and become a Knight of the Lance."
Other Towns: "Kirkuk is quite big with many stone buildings and several tall towers, and very busy, with
a market day twice a week. Our tribe camps there during the summer with other friendly tribes and we have games and feasts
and trade our spare horses and camels so we can buy the weapons and coffee we need for the winter,
"Abbashan is a city like Ylaruam, but Father says men are not soft and corrupt
in Abbashan like they are in Ylaruam. In Abbashan they are quite strict with the heathens and greedy merchants,"
How to Get Rich and Famous: "I want
to ride with a raiding pany so I can prove that I am a warrior. Then my chief will give me armor and weapons and I will go
to Ylaruam and become a soldier.
"Or perhaps my chief might let me go with the Secretary on a ride into the Empty
Places. That way I'll become famous for my deeds and the Secretary will introduce me to the Sultan, who'll make me a faris
so I can ride around the land and punish the wicked and unfaithful."
Hot Tips: "They say one may be paid
for riding with scholars and miners into the hills. Some men from my tribe went to cities and villages to find such work,
and they returned with fine weapons and expensive horses and great tales to tell.
"There are stories of young boys who open trapdoors in the desert and who find
beautiful princesses and magical rings and fierce demons. I'm not sure about these tales, but they must be true; else, how
would men imagine them?"Sometimes in difficult times men from our tribe ride into the desert
to hunt fearsome beasts. Then those who live go to towns and sell the beasts to sorcerers and scholars."
As Told by the Younger Partner of a Merchant Caravan Outfitted in Ylaruam
The People: "The
people of the coastal plain live comfortable and peaceful lives, and fine cloths and spices sell well there, though the peasants
and poor folk of Nithia suffer under their squabbling and cruel chiefs.
"The desert nomads are usually polite and formal, but you
must take care not to offend them. They are good markets for coffee and weapons, but they only buy while encamped for the
"The cities and towns of the Emirates are all good markets
for fine crafts and imported luxuries (except Abbashan, where they frown on luxury and frivolity). The poor folk are devout
and orderly, and the nobles and craftsmen are sturdy Defenders of the Faith and free with their purses.
"The pony-folk of the northwest may seem fierce and war-like,
but they are really playful and light-hearted as children. Their needs are modest, and their lands plentiful. They are nowhere
near as touchy as the desert people, but they are rather uncouth and uninterested in conversation and bargaining, though great
fans of fantastic stories of wizards and heroes.
"It is fashionable to say that men of other lands are without
honor or virtue, but I have seen for myself. The Unbeliever hardly values his word, and though I have seen the splendid temples
of his numerous powerful and fearsome gods, I have seen few at worship therein. Nowhere have I seen the common piety and daily
reverence of the least of the True Believers."
The Land: "It
is dry, but the people live well. The coastal region grows fruit and vegetables in abundance, and the plains of the Ust-Urt
Valley yield excellent crops of grain. The wadis and oases provide pasture
for the nomad herds and vegetables to supplement the abundant meats and cheeses of the nomad herders.
"I've been north and south along the coast, and over the
mountains to Darokin, Specularum, Thyatis, and Dengar, and nowhere have I seen a happier, better-fed nation."
smaller than Thyatis and Specularum, but not less grand, and more civilized in many ways. The markets of Ylaruam are twice
the size of those of Specularum and Thyatis, and the skill ofYlaruam's craftsmen is second to none.
"There are poor folk in Ylaruam, but they are far less desperate
than the wretched poor in the slums of the other cities of the world. The Eternal
University is one of the finest in the world, and scholars may be seen
lecturing or discoursing in plazas and gardens throughout the city. And the Sultan's palace and the
Vouchery District is splendid with its colorful mosaics,
fountains, gardens, and the magnificent Great Throne Room with the great arched ceiling."
"Parsa is a comfortable caravan stop, but not a veryprofitable market; the Makistani prefer their ponies over our magnificent
stallions, and their pony-hair blankets and tents over our fine silk and wool fabrics.
Ctesiphon is a nasty spot, but has lots of money from the local mining projects. Cinsa-Men-Noo is the nicest
town in Nithia, not that it is much of a distinction, and a good market in summer when the nomads are encamped.
Surra-Man-Raa is a disgrace. The Sultan should take a couple
of divisions and clear that place up once and for all. I certainly won't trade there. Tameronikas is a lovely climate, lots
of quality imported goods, and keen traders to deal with. It is always a challenge, but
always profitable. Abbashan is a clean enough town, but an
unprofitable market for anything but coffee, weapons, and fine horses."
How to Get Rich and Famous:
"Buy coffee, spices, textiles, and expensive household crafts in Darokin, Karameikos, or Thyatis. Sell high in Tameronikas,
or better yet, ship across the caravan routes and sell at twice the price in Ylaruam, or three times the price in a rural
market. Buy the best horses from the nomads, the best rugs and pottery from rural craftsmen and weapons, glass, and jewelry
from urban craftsmen, and export them. Then invest your money in mining or an import/export firm.
"Get to know the right people, get a well permit, get a charter
from an emir for a new dominion, and build yourself a comfortable country estate. Support wilderness expeditions because sooner
or later one may uncover some treasure or ancient artifact, and your fortune is made."
Hot Tips: "To
earn your stake, dig around at the Vouchery of the Provinces. Those fellows know all about the hidden treasures of the wilderness,
and are eager to con you into chasing after them. Provinces will put you in touch with other rough-and-ready entrepreneurs,
and may have suggestions for backers to touch for investment capital.
"Mining metals and precious stones is the wealth of the future.
As the northern and southern highlands are cleared of savages and monsters, they will become among the richest mineral deposits
in the world."
Creating Ylari Characters
Use the following charts to design characters with distinctive Ylari flavor.
The chart listings are meant to be suggestive, not restrictive; improvise freely in the spirit of the given listings, drawing
on your knowledge of fantasy literature and Near East cultures.
1. Select a name and residential tag.
The most important detail about a character is his name. Whatever a character
knows, he always at least knows his name, and expects others to remember it and to address him politely by it. His name also
contains the name of his father, Suleiman AI-Kalim, or Urabi-ibn-Selim ("ibn" or "al" means "offspring of'). In a land where
family obligations are cherished, the name of your father is an important detail.
Right after the name, the most important thing about a Ylari is his place
and his cultural background. If a Ylari is a nomad, he moves around, and is not strongly identified with any place, therefore
his tribe is his most important identification. If a Ylari is settled, his region, village, or town name is most important.
When a Ylari introduces himself, he often adds his residential tag after his name. For example, Thhiral -Anouar of the Qahtan,
or Jaffar-ibn-Mehmet of Hedjazi. If you meet someone where he lives, he omits the residential tag in his introduction. It's
assumed he's a native if he doesn't state otherwise.
2. Select a cultural background
and spiritual alignment.
The most common cultural backgrounds are Alasiyan and Makistani, with some
Thyatin, Alphatian, Nithian, and other cultures of the D&D® world. All but a few Ylari are Followers of AI-Kalim and the
and of lawful alignment.
The only sizable minority religions are foreign alignments in the cities and
the outlawed chaotic Magian Nithian religion. Another sizable minority has no spiritual commitment, though, for social reasons,
most at least pretend to be True Believers. These uncommitted may be of any alignment.
If you need a chaotic character, insanity is a good excuse. A neutral is probably
either an indifferent Believer or an unbeliever pretending to be a Believer.
When a character introduces himself, he seldom mentions that he is a True
Believer. In the Emirate that's a given. Ifamong foreigners and heathens, he may proudly announce that he is among the Faithful.
3. Select a physical hook
A good way to make an NPC distinctive is to give him a special physical feature
or action. A nickname also helps to make an NPC unique and memorable. The Physical Tag and Nickname charts are obviously incomplete;
use them as examples, and devise your own physical tags and nicknames.
YLARI NAME CHART
(* indicates female names)
Abdallah, Abdullah, Abdul, Abu, Ahmed, Ahmad, Aicha', Aladdin, Ali, Alia',
Aman, Amar, Amin, Amineh', Anouar, Azeezeh', Aziz, Baba, Babrak, Bechir, Besma', Buzurg, Chukri, Daood, Djamal, Dunya', Farah',
Farid, Farouk, Fatima', Faysal, Fuad, Habib, Hafez, Haroon, Hassan, Hosni, Hossein, Hussain, Ibrahim, Idris, Ismail, Jaffar,
Jamila', Jullana', Karim, Khader, Khalid, Leilah', Mahmud, Mansour, Maroof, Mehmet, Mizra', Mohammed, Muhammed, Muammar, Mujibur,
Muktar, Mussa, Mustafa, Myriam', Nadir, Najib,
Naomi', Nasir, Nasser, Nazar, Nizar, Nizam, Nuri, Omar, Orner, Rachid, Radija',
Ramman, Ravi, Rezah, Ruhollah, Saddam, Said, Selim, Sheherazad, Sharif, Sherif, Sinbad, Suleiman,
Tahir, Tarik, Urabi, Walid, Yasir, Yasser, Yasimina' ,Jusif, Zia, Zumurrud'.
RESIDENTIAL TAG CHARTS
Ylari Tribe Chart
Awaliq, Awamir, Abidah, Amalisah, Asir, Awamir, Awazim, Anazah, Amarat, Bal-Ubayd,
Batahirah, Bayt Kathir, Bayt Yamani, Bani Yas, Buqum, Bani Kab, Bani Hajir, Bani Atiyah, Bani Sakhr, Dayyin, Dahm, Duru, Dawasir,
Dhafir, Ghamid, Gani Khalid, Harb, Hutaym, Huwaytat, Humum, Harasis, Hudhayl, Ifar, Janabah, Juhaynah, Mahrah, Manahil, Manasir,
Murrah, Muntafiq, Nu'aym, Qahtan, Qara, Ruwalah, Rashayidah, Rashid, Shararat, Sulabah, Shammar, Subay, Shihuh, Suhul, Shahran,
Sayar, Ujman, Utaybah, Yam, Yafi, Wahibah, Wayilah, Zahran.
YLARI REGION CHART
(* means an administrative province under
Vouchery of Provinces)
Ust-Urt Valley,The Dead Places (desolate areas of Nithia), Northern Highlands',
North Coast (Nithian coastal plain), Middle Coast (Abbashani coastal plain), Abbashan Oasis, Great Salt Basin (vast desolate
salt lake)', Great Alasiyan Basin (The Empty Quarter- Rub AI-Khali)', Ylaruam Oasis, Valley of Death (salt basin west of Ylaruam)',
Southwestern Highlands', Southeastern Highlands',
Uplands), Southern Coast (Nicostenian
For other geographical reference tags
,characters may also
refer to the nearest town or village, or to nearby roads and
YLARI TOWN AND VILLAGE CHART
(capitals indicate capital of the emirate)
Emirate of Alasiya: YLARUAM,Kuznetz, Deraan, Sulba, Telal Kebir, Hedjazi.
Emirate of Makistan: PARSA,Warqa, Anram, Uruk.
Emirate of Nithia: SURRA-MAN-RAA, Cinsa-Men-Noo.
Emirate of Abbashan: ABBASHAN, Fabia,Jaboor.
Emirate of Nicostenia: TAMERONIKAS,Cubis.
Emirate of Dythestenia: CTESIPHON.
The following town/village names may be scattered around on detailed topographical maps:]auf,
laymor, layma, Wahj, Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dubai, Doha, Salwaw, Jubayl, Qaysumah, Nuayriyah, Urayirah, Mubbaraz, Hofuf, Udayliyyah,
Haradh, Mishab, Ras al Khafqi, Ras Thnnurah, Abu Hadryah, ZiIfi, Ghat, Ruywaydah, Shaqra, Diriyah, DiJam, Hillah, Layla, Hariq, Salamiyyah, Attawiyyah, Turayr, Harlithah, Ha'iJ, Unayzah, Dawarlimi, Kasamin, Bishah, Baljurshi, Kahmis Mushayr, Abha, Dils, Kiyat, Ulan, Lith, Aflf, Ulah, Umm Lajj, Duba, Rasal Qasbah, Haql.
Alasiyani, Makistani, Nithian, Thyatian,
Alphatian, other D&D® nationalities and races.
Eternal Truth (lawful), Magian Fire-Worshipper
(chaotic, outlawed, and evil), no spiritual alignment, foreign religion.
PHYSICAL HOOK (APPEARANCE OR ACTION)
hunchback, leather skin, deep tan,
lily skin, pony tail (Makistani), lizard boots, blue eyes (rare among Alasiyani), scowl, dark complexion (Nithian), face-like-the-moon
(great beauty, round and clear-faced), acne-scarred, scraggly forelock, many rings on fingers, embroidered headband (affectation),
skinny, double-chin, far lips, hawk nose, wide nose, buck reeth, big ears, balding, full-beard (nomads-town folk shave); facial
scar, noble brow (level, dark eyebrows), stiff knuckle (sword scar), voice(loud, soft, foreign accent, high or low pitched),
body (far, thin, muscular, long armed, tall, short)
Distinctive Gesture, Phrase, or Interest
coughs (nomad sandstorm lungs), whistles tunelessly,
always rubbing nose, fidgets with beard, chews lip, never looks straight in eye, haughty address, rude (rare among Ylari, sign of power or malevolence), drinks too much coffee, chatters all the rime, obsessed with horse racing, rug expert (family trade)
(Best if based on distinctive feature, gesture, phrase, or interest. Could
also refer to famous incident or other reason for renown or infamy.)
The Butcher (admiring martial ruthlessness, or condemning for cruelty), BlackHand
(cruel), the Poet (ironic-lousy and prolific poet), Desert Quail (sweet singer), Half-Heart (coward in battle), the Devout,
Tale-Teller, the Traveler (scholar), the Strange One (quiet sorcerer), the Northerner (dark Nithian) , Winter
Rat (tough), Water Bag (always thirsty), the Generous, the Sworder of Vengeance,
the Just, the Cheerless (always pessimistic)
To devise other nicknames, think about the Ylari social
and personal virtues. One obsessed with a particular virtue might be known for it- "the Trust Worthy", for example. Or consider
the character's occupation- "the Caravaner" or "the Swordsman" or "the Spell-Monger."
Roll the character's riding rating or less on 3d6 to succeed in an
action. A character's riding rating is his dexterity modified by the following bonuses or penalties:
Bonuses and Penalties (Cumulative)
Halfling: - 2
Level 1-4: -1
Level 10+: + 1
Military Cavalry Training: + 1
According to character biography or DM discretion.
Most D&D® game nations have sizable cavalry units. Assume that
any fighter or elf has a 50% chance of having had cavalry experience, that any clerics have a 5% chance, and that a magic-user
or thief has a 1% chance.
Born in Saddle: + 2
Makistani, Alasiyani, Ethengar, or other nomadic cultural background at DM
A riding check is appropriate whenever characters perform actions on horseback when poor horsemanship might interfere with
success. For example:
.when firing a missile
.when casting a spell
.when the mount is traveling at full speed (penalties for poor terrain and
terrified mount are appropriate)
.when executing a difficult maneuver (striking a ball with a polo mallet,
grabbing an object while riding past it at full speed, handing off a baton)
If the character fails the riding check, he fails in his action. In combat,
this usually means a blow or a missile missed its mark, or a spell is ruined. In addition, if the horse is moving, the character
may have fallen off; roll 3d6 equal to or less than dexterity (no bonuses or penalties) to stay on the mount.
In riding contests or games, characters may make opposed riding rating rolls
to determine which character succeeds in a contested action. The character with the highest 3d6 roll (plus or minus penalties)
who still passes the riding check is the winner.
For example, Nadir the Nomad, a 5th level fighter of the Ifar tribe with a
dexterity of 14 is playing polo with Muktar Khan, chief of the Amarat tribe and a 12th level fighter with a dexterity of 17
and with cavalry training. Each charges and swings at the ball.
Nadir is "born-in-the-saddle" for a + 2 bonus and a riding rating of 16. Muktar
is also "born-in-the-saddle," and has additional bonuses of + 1 for military training and a + 1 for over 10th level, for a
riding rating of 21. Nadir rolls a 12. He needs a 16or less to succeed his riding check, so he succeeds. Muktar
rolls a 7. He needs a 21 or less to succeed in his
riding check, so he succeeds.
Both have successful riding checks so both stay on their horses. But Nadir
hits the ball because his roll is higher than Muktar's.
If only one had succeeded, he would have hit the ball; the other would have
had to check to see if he fell off his mount. If both were successful, and rolled the same number, the rider with the higher
rating should succeed. If both ratings and rolls are identical, something dramatic should happen; maybe the ball shoots straight
up in the air, or both mallets shatter,
or the riders get tangled in each other while the ball is trampled by the
Since horsemanship is an important part of Emirate culture, each PC should
compute and record his riding rating on his character sheet, and the DM should often list the riding rating among an NPC's
Use standard movement rates with adjustments
for terrain in normal encounters.
However, standard movement rates are not appropriate
for desert or caravan mounted travel, since they do not consider problems of feeding mounts (foraging delays or encumbrance
of carried fodder) or of pacing creatures in hot weather.
Use the following guidelines for travel along
roads or caravan tracks:
1. With superior riding horses, a small group
lightly encumbered can travel 32 miles a day.
2. With riding horses, a small group lightly
encumbered can travel 32 miles a day.
3. With any mount other than riding horses
(draft or war horses, mules, camels, ox-carts) or on foot, a typical caravan, infantry unit, or party of adventurers loaded
down with gear may travel 12 miles a day.
Forced marches may apply at DM discretion.
Foraging and hunting along caravans routes or roads is impossible.
When not on a road or caravan track, reduce
these rates by ¼. When off roads or tracks in wilderness desert and uplands terrain, reduce these rates by ½, except with
camels reduce the rate only ¼.
Heat Exhaustion and Lack of Water
This topic is much too complicated for a realistic treatment that is easy
to use in a game; however, the following procedures are adequate.
For every hour a character travels in the heat of the day without adequate
water or while wearing metal armor, the character temporarily loses a point of constitution. If the character is both armored
and short on water, two points are lost.
After the points are subtracted, the player rolls 3d6. If the result is greater
than the current constitution, the character collapses and cannot be revived until he awakens in Id4 turns.
Thereafter he may resume travel, but continues to lose constitution and the
player must roll 3d6 against his character's current constitution each hour. When the character's current constitution reaches
zero, the character does not awaken and will die within Id4
When a character experiences reduced constitution, such as when performing
any activity (for example, if in combat, casting a spell, or using a thieving skill) the player must roll 3d6 against his
character's constitution or the action fails. This reflects the distraction and debilitation of heat exhaustion and thirst.
Optional Combat-in-Hot-Sun Rule: A character fights normally for a number of combat rounds
equal to his armor class (i.e., in leather armor for seven rounds; in plate and shield for two rounds). Thereafter he temporarily
loses a point of constitution per round, and makes constitution checks to use abilities and to avoid collapsing as outlined
in the procedure above. This adds a dramatic touch to desert fighting, but is a bit involved for regular use,
and makes heavy armor a real liability. Save it for small combats or duels when the sun just "happens"
to be real hot. Remember, you control the weather and the timing of most combat encounters. The weather is cool,
or the enemy attacks in the early morning or evening, as you desire.
Staging: Unless the characters are normally foolish or completely ignorant, assume they
have the common sense to carry plenty of water in the desert, and when they insist on wearing armor as they travel, demonstrate
the constitution loss procedure as an instructional experience.
It would not be nice of you to arrange an attack of a brigands to coincide
with the characters' first experience with heat exhaustion.
this procedure in an otherwise unthreatening situation, and if is hoped they will learn their lesson.
Then you can save this procedure for an emergency situation where they've
gotten lost or the bad guys have dumped them in the desert without food or water.
Experience Point Awards for Role Playing Points of Honor
In the chapter concerning Social Structure it was recommended that you awarded
experience points to PCs who honor their social and personal obligations. Here are two suggestions for judging these awards:
Honor Challenges: When you plan an adventure, add encounters and problems that specifically challenge
the honor of the player characters. Think of this "honor challenge" as though it were a monster with which you were going
to confront the characters. When you plan the honor challenge, jot down a description of the situation and the personal or
social dilemma it presents. Then consider how the PC may respond and how many XP the PC should receive if he resolves or mishandles
For example, a PC sees a ragged hunchback perched on his doorstep. The hunchback
is begging for money. If the PC gives him money, the PC gets 1 XP per gp. If the PC brings him in, shares food and lodging,
listens to his story the PC gets 50XP and a hot tip about a magical treasure
in story form. If the PC delivers an impromptu speech to a crowd about the evils of vagrancy as the PC beats the hunchback,
roll 2d6, add the charisma bonus, and consider the speech for other bonuses. If the result is 9 or more, the crowd cheers
and the story becomes local gossip, and the PC gets 100XP.If the result is 8 or less, the crowd is sympathetic with the hunchback
and attacks the PC, who loses 200 XP.
The last response doesn't deal with charity. Players will often see things
differently than you do; don't be surprised if they see a different moral dilemma than you do.
When assigning an XP value for responses, consider that each honor challenge
XP award should be no more than 1/100 of the difference between the XP for the PC's current character level and the XP needed
for the next level is as listed on the character class experience tables. Also consider that honor challenge
XP awards should not exceed the XP awards normally given for defeating monsters
appropriate to the character's level.
For other examples of honor challenges, see NPCs, Encounters, Adventures,
and the Village of Kirkuk.
Honor Points: A simpler method of awarding honor XP points is to wait until the end of an
adventure. If a character has been particularly honorable, award a 5% bonus to experience points. If the character has been
particularly dishonorable, subtract 5% of the experience points. Stage this
as a reflection of the ruler or patron's praise or condemnation of a PC's performance, or as the state of his reputation when
the story of his adventure is known.
The art of storytelling is popular in the Emirates. Stories are told to entertain
and to edify, and dramatic and eloquent storytellers are often honored by their hosts with gifts and praise. Sultans have
been known to make a storyteller a vizier on the spot after hearing a story that particularly pleased them.
The following procedures help the DM judge storytelling in role-playing adventures.
Storytelling Rating: A character's storytelling rating is computed using the following
Int + Wis + Cha + Character
Telling the Tale: To tell a tale, a character
rolls 3d6, adds it to his storyteller rating, and
compares it with the Storytelling Chart.
unforgettable experience; teller reckoned a saint (+4 reaction); treated as kin and excessive gift
audience deeply moved; teller reckoned a wise man (+3 reaction); friendship
offered and great gift
audience enthusiastic; earns great respect (+ 2 reaction); generous hospitality and large gift
audience attentive and cordial; earns respect (+ 1 on reactions) and a small
audience bored but polite; social duties met; hospitality extended
50 or less
audience offended; hospitality withdrawn; lose 1% of current XP
Bonuses and Penalties:
Story Extension: If story was
if based on true character experience
better, the storyteller may choose to Extend
if illustrates a moral lesson clearly
Roll 3d6. If the result is greater than the
applicable to current circumstances
intelligence of the audience (average intelligence
if a group of listeners), the story automatically
+ 1 to + 10
if enhanced with magical effects
becomes "boring," and the storyteller loses
(i.e., charm, poetic incantation,
whatever benefits he earned with his first roll. If
visual and auditory effects, etc.)
result is less than or equal to the intelligence of
the audience, the storyteller may re-roll the
-1 to - 10
if audience is initially hostile
for his original storytelling roll.
(if storyteller is foreigner, or
This is obviously useful when the first roll
audience is captor, enemy, evil
was low, or when the importance of the occasion
and audience justifies a little risk-taking.
Dervishes (Desert Druids)
The term "dervish" is often misused by foreigners, as indicated by the misleading entry
for "dervishes" listed under "Men," page 53, Expert Rule Book. The "dervishes"
listed there are probably no more than a typical Alasiyan nomadic tribe.
The dervishes ate holy hermits, True Believers following the Way of the Scholar
as they live solitary lives of contemplation and physical devotion in the desert wildernesses of the Emirates. Also known
as desert druids, these holy men live in caves, crude shelters, or tents in remote regions. Dervishes are revered by desert
nomads, who aid in providing the holy hermits with food and shelter needs.
In contemplation they strive to achieve a mystical oneness with nature by
studying and participating in the tranquility and majesty of the desert wilderness. They patiently observe and commune with
the animals and plants of the desert, and at higher levels of the discipline, they may even communicate with the elemental
forces of the desert such as the wind, the sand, the stone, the sun, and the miraculous inspiration of water.
Their physical devotions, a discipline of strenuous ritual exercises, are
their prayers to the Eternal Truth. Acrobatic and athletic, these devotions produce men of remarkable durability and stamina.
They dash barefoot through the desert, acrossthe dunes, and over
rocky mountains. They juggle rocks, lift great stones, and twirl like tops
in the heat of the noonday sun or in the chill of evening.
Dervishes have withdrawn to the desert wilderness to escape the distractions
of commerce with other men, and they avoid becoming involved in the affairs of men. Visitors to the wilderness are considered
uninvited guests; if they are polite, not disruptive or demanding, and gone quickly, they are not offensive.
However, as followers of the Eternal1futh, the dervishes are still bound by
the principle of concern for the welfare of their fellow man. Dervishes are generally extremely restrained and judgmental
in their expression of this concern. The foolish and arrogant may be left to their own devices when stranded in the desert;
the wise and respectful should not need aid.
Dervishes are pacifistic in philosophy; they carry no weapons, wear no armor,
and learn no combat skills. They seldom interfere in violent conflicts, though their superb physical conditioning gives them
advantages when forced to fight. Their spells are primarily intended to facilitate their study and observation of nature,
though some are useful for self-defense.
Staging: Desert Druids are special NPC clerics for the Ylaruam campaign setting. They differ from standard clerics in several
ways. Their constitution scores are 13-18 (ld6 + 12). Their saving throws
are as dwarves. They generally refuse to use weapons or
armor, though there is no reason why they could not use them if they so chose.
Dervishes fight as thieves of similar level. Their spells, a mixture of clerical, druidical, and special spells, are specially
adapted to their life in the desert.
The following spells may be learned and cast as with normal cleric spells.
The total number of spells usable in one day does not change. Dervishes have no restrictions against the use of reversible
The Dervish has the same abilities as the cleric. For example, they can turn
undead as a cleric of the same level. The DM may allow the use cure light wound spells on special occasions.
FIRST LEVEL DERVISH SPELLS
1. Detect Magic (cleric, BP 26)
2. Detect Water (special, GAZ2)
3. Faerie Fire (druid, CMP 14)
4. Locate (druid, CMP 14)
5. Predict Weather (druid, CMP 15)
SECOND LEVEL DERVISH SPELLS
1. Hold Person (cleric, EXR 5)
2. Obscure (druid, CMP 15; instead of a misty vapor, a dust devil is formed;
all other effects identical)
3. Snake Charm (cleric, EXR6)
4. Speak with Animals (cleric, EXR 6)
5. Truthtelling (special, GAZ2)
THIRD LEVELDERVISH SPELLS
1. Call Lightning (druid, CMP 15)
2. Growth of Animal (cleric, EXR 6)
3. Hold Animal (druid, CMP 15)
4. Know Destiny (special, GAZ2)
5. Shift Sand (special)
Duration: 6 rounds + 1 round per level of the caster
Effect: Moves 25 cubic feet of sand per round
This spell causes sand to flow like water, but at the bidding of the caster.
It can be used to excavate a ruin, open a passage, uncover an object, or tunnel an emergency shelter. If the flowing sand
is directed at a human or monster, it causes no more inconvenience than would a similar flow of water (i.e., the equivalent
of standing in a small stream).
Once the spell duration has ended, the sand behaves normally, flowing naturally
with gravity. If the sand is thoroughly wetted first (create water spell or equivalent), the shifted sand may retain
its shape until the sand dries which is one day, or at the DM's discretion.
FOURTH LEVEL DERVISH SPELLS
1. Charm Animal (as magic spell charm monster, EXR 13; however, only
normal or giant forms of animal, including mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, may be affected; intelligent
animals and fantastic creatures are not affected)
2. Create Water (cleric, EXR 7)
3. Neutralize Poison (cleric, EXR8)
4. Speak with Plants (cleric, EXR8)
5. Summon Animals (druid, MP 5)
FIFTH LEVEL DERVISH SPELLS
1. Commune (cleric, EXR 8)
2. Conjure Elemental (magic user, EXR 14)
3. Control Winds (druid, CMP 16; in a sand desert, this spell creates the
equivalent of a small sandstorm in the area of effect; all normal creatures are blinded)
4. Pass-Wall (magic user EXR 15)
5. Quest (cleric, EXR 9)
SIXTH LEVEL DERVISH SPELLS
1. Anti-Animal Shell (druid, CMP 16)
2. Find the Path (cleric, EXP 9)
3. Speak with Monsters (cleric, EXP 9)
4. Summon Weather (druid, CMP 16)
5. Word of Recall (cleric, EXP 9)
1. Creeping Doom (druid, CMP 16)
2. Earthquake (cleric, CMP 13)
3. Holy Word (cleric, CMP 13)
4. Survival (cleric, MP 3)
5. Weather Control (magic user, CMP 21)
Example: Saddam the Aged, of the Dead Places.
Former soldier, one eye destroyed by scimitar slash. Keen senses and communion with nature, speaks with birds and beasts,
lives near a cursed ruin proscribed by Al-Kalim and the Ylari government. Always pauses for five or ten seconds to consider
before replying to a question. Visited once by a messenger of the Immortals who warned of a great evil in the ruin, and prophesying
that someone shall come one day to lay the evil to rest. His magical Staff of the Desert is charged with an variety of dervish
Courtesy Tips for Foreigners in the Emirates
A Nicostenian merchant briefing his newly arrived
Thyatin cousin on the eve of his first cross-Emirates caravan:
"When we meet with our customers, they first offer us coffee. Good coffee,
generally. No business spoken yet-the coffee sharing is a formal version of a religious water-sharing ritual. Praise the coffee
and drink three cups. Less suggests the coffee is inferior; more suggests lack of restraint.
"Eat with the fingers of your right hand, never your left hand. Do not offer
your left hand to another. Emphatically wash your right hand before and after a meal. At meals, people of all social statuses
mingle together, a token of equality and brotherhood; do not be surprised if the host is as cordial to his servants and porters
as he is to you.
"In meetings, do not be hasty in pressing forth your business; hosts struggle
to avoid abruptness and excessive briskness in both social and business life. Those in authority wish to appear accessible
and cordial to all, so don't be surprised if other persons are present during important exchanges. Conversations
may overlap in a very confusing fashion at times.
"Traditional dress is preferred-none of those flashy things you brought with
you from Thyatis. Keep your head covered indoors. Not to be well-dressed is unacceptable. It reflects lack of respect for
your host and careless personal habits.
"If you can't speak the truth, don't speak at all. Don't chatter unless you
know what you are talking about; you are held responsible for your judgment on even trivial matters like the weather and the
proper conduct of children.
"You can't learn their language right away, but you can show respect by learning
the common greetings and responses."
Peace be upon you.
And upon you peace.
Morning of light.
Evening of light.
How are you?
Well, praise be to the Immortal Ones.
Farewell, in the Immortals.
In the care of the care
of the True Ones.
Staging the Nahmeh
Peoples of the Emirates like to quote from the Nahmeh when supporting moral
arguments or philosophical observations, or when making polite conversations. Offering apt quotations is a sin of piety, scholarship,
wisdom, and judgment.
Since the Nahmeh doesn't really exist, it is hard for players and DM to quote
from it as player and non player characters. Instead, here is a strategy for presenting quotes as though they were from the
Make a list of your own favorite quotations. Check reference books like Bartlett's Quotations and use familiar sayings from your own reading
and speech. Consider topics like nature, justice, honor, faith, trust, service to your fellow man, warfare, and family. Review
the "Society in the Emirates" section as a guide to the moral and religious topics Al-Kalim might have discussed.
Now review your list of quotes and adapt them to the Ylari culture. For example,
instead of "Observe the lilies of the field, they neither spin or weave... ," choose a hardy desert plant such as the acacia,
and adapt the quote to "Observe the flowering acacia..."
Keep this list handy. Select a few favorite quotes for each player
character and non player character to become familiar dialog tags for each personality.
Here are some examples of quotes from the Nahmeh created in this fashion:
"We must be the candles that burn so that others might have light." (From
Al-Kalim commentary on soldiers defending the Faith on the battlefield.)
"If friendship is a diamond, then troubles are a diamond mine." (An admonishment
to consider misfortune a confirming test of friendship. )
"The enemies of our enemies are not necessarily our friends." (A diplomatic
"If such may befall the mighty efreeti, then our own misfortunes are light."
(From the Parable of the Cuckolded Efreet.)
"There is no power but in the Immortals."
"Before the Dark Minister of the Graveyard, all joy seems fleeting, and the
day is a tedious prelude to a dark and restless night."
"Do not rail against the condition of man. Would you rather be a dog or a
donkey? Accept what is given, and cease your grumbling."
"Al-Kalim has said, 'The stranger must be succored in times of need."
"Wealth does not avail before the Terminator of Earthly Delights."
"If it were engraved upon the corner of the eye with a needle, it would serve
as a lesson to those who would be wise."
ABBASHANI: citizens of the Emirate of Abbashan or the city of Abbashan (see foldout map)
AC: after crowning (of first Emperor of Thyatis)
ALASIYANI: citizens of the Emirate of Alasiya; original desert nomadic peoples
of the Emirates (see fold-out map)
ALPHATIANS: citizens of Empire of Alphatia; Ylari citizens descended from
ARROW, ORDER OF THE: military religious order of mounted archers of the True
ATABEG: Ylari noble equivalent of a duke (often governors of provinces and
BC: before crowning (of first Emperor of Thyatis)
BEY, BEG: Ylari noble equivalent of a count
CALIPH: political head of the Emirates; sultan (a religious term, literally
"defender of the faith")
CHECHIA: cylindrical headgear made of cloth
CHIEF: tribal leader; equivalent to a baron (also QADI)
D&D® GAMEWORLD: place where all the gazetteers are set
DESERT ROSE, ORDER OF THE: high status honorary military religious order of
soldiers, clerics, and magic users of the True Faith
DREAM OF JUSTICE AND HONOR: principle proposed by AI-Kalim whereby each man
undertakes to do justice and honor to his fellow man and the Immortals, and expects the same in return; unifying theme in
DREAM OF THE DESERTGARDEN: AIKalim's vision; cultivation of Emirates' deserts
made possible by magical and technological development of water resources
DYTHESTENIANS: citizens of the Emirate of Dythestenia (see fold-out map)
EMIR: king; political head of an emirate
EMIRATES (of Ylaruam): the nation, as natives refer to it
FARID: AI-Kalim's companion and adviser
FARIS: itinerant noble knight of the True Faith (equivalent of a paladin)
HAZAR: settled Ylari tribal peoples descended from desert nomads (literally
KIN FACTION: religious and political faction dominant in the Emirate of Abbashan;
supports tracing descent from AI-Kalim through AI-Kalim's personal ancestors
KOUGLAR: curved dagger
MACE, ORDEROF THE: military religious order of clerics of the True Faith
MAKISTANI: citizens of the Emirate of Makistan; nomadic peoples descended
from Ethengar settlers in northwestern Emirates (see fold-out map)
MALIK: a minor king; equivalent to a duke
MUFTI: sheriff, chief of police
MUHTASIB: inspector of markets and trade; minor government official
NAHMEH: the sacred book of the Eternal Truth (literally "the word") composed
by Al Kalim and his companion Farid; revered and studied by True Believers
NICOSTENIANS: citizens of the Emirate of Nicostenia (see fold-out map)
PASHA: king (also EMIR)
PIKE, ORDER OF THE: military religious order of select foot soldiers of the
PRECEPTORS, COUNCIL OF: governing and advisory body to the sultan
PRINCE: general term referring to any noble ruler
QADI: tribal leader (also CHIEF, QAID, KADI)
QAHWA: dark strong coffee
RELIGIOUS ORDERS: military religious orders of select warriors of the True
SHEIK: chief of chiefs; equivalent to a viscount
SPELL, ORDER OF THE: military religious order of magic users of the True Faith
SULEIMAN AL-KALIM: founder of the religion of the Eternal Truth; father of
the Emirates; archetypal hero and leader of the Ylari.
SULTAN: religious and political head of the Emirates; descendant of AI-Kalim
through election of the Council of Preceptors
SUQ: market, bazaar
THE ETERNAL TRUTH: the dominant religion of the Emirates, founded on the teachings
of AI-Kalim (also THE FAITH, THE WAY) THE WAY: see the ETERNAL TRUTH
THYATIANS: citizens of Empire of Thyatis; Ylari citizens descended from Alphatian
TRUE BELIEVERS: followers of the Eternal Truth, the Ylari religion founded
in the teachings of AI-Kalim as presented in the Nahmeh (also TRUE BELIEVERS,FOLLOWERSOF THE WAY, DEFENDERSOF THE FAITH)
SEA OF DAWN: sea to the east of
VOUCHERY: government bureau
YATAGHAN: large double-edged scimitar
YLARI: adjective form of Ylaruam; citizens of the Emirates
YLARUAM: the capital city of the Emirate of Alasiya; 'Ylaruam' when referring
to the nation is common usage among foreigners; also YLARUAM OF THE GLITTERING SPIRES (see fold-out map)
THE HIJRAH MONTHS
Rabi al Awwal
Rabi al Thani
The Mystaran Year
Months of the Year
Rabi al Awwal
Rabi al Thani*
*First day of year celebrated
Days of the Week
Known World Economics
The Emirates of Ylaruam:
residents of the Emirates pay a monthly tax. The rate varies with social status: peasants and beggars pay 1 cp per month,
nomad herdsmen and most townsfolk pay 1 sp, merchants and craftsmen pay 1 gp, sheiks and other nobles pay 10 gp. Foreigners and unbelievers (those who do not follow the Way of Al-Kalim) pay double the monthly tax. Sales
tax is 10% on all sales. Penalties for tax evasion include fines, confiscation of property, flogging, and imprisonment. Citizens
claiming extreme poverty or misfortune may have their tax reduced. Foreigners who claim poverty are given one year to earn
enough money to pay all taxes owed or they must leave the Emirates.
Basic Metal Values: 1 gp = 2 ep = 10 sp = 100 cp; 5 gp = 1 pp
Currency Exchange Fees
Major Imports and Exports
Tea & coffee, tobacco, mounts
Oil, semiprecious stones, fine porcelain, citrus fruit
Exporting superb desert-bred steeds is punishable by death