Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Poll Result: Al-Qadim

Screw you all, you Dragonlance-hating trogolodytes. This week's Eleven Foot Poll has returned Forgotten Realms as your campaign setting of choice, which just goes to show you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him stop having sex with R. A. Salvatore.


Anyway, I'd really been hoping to talk about why Dark Sun was awesome or something but in deference to your expressed preference I'll instead discuss the greatest D&D setting of all time: Al-Qadim.

Al-Qadim came out in 1992 and was designed by Jeff Grubb for TSR as their "Arabian setting". Forever a fan of having the best of both worlds, TSR plunked the thing down on a distant peninsula of the Forgotten Realms and declared that it was now open season on genies

If you have ever wanted a character who was really frikkin' good at riding camels, Al-Qadim was like all your birthdays at once. There were whole character classes built around camels. Camels were the new drow; everyone wanted to mount one. Also there were genies. Genies, and camels.

The depth and versimilitude of Al-Qadim was probably best illustrated by the supplement A Dozen And One Adventures, which encompassed the entirety of the setting's dramatic potential. Complaints that the setting had nothing to offer beyound camels and genies were rebuffed by the release of the computer game Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse, and the Al-Qadim Monstrous Compendium, which proudly promised rules for a host of new and unique creatures, such as genies, and a kind of intelligent camel.

Actually, probably my favourite thing to emerge from Al-Qadim were the yikaria, or yak-men. In a world that had lizard-men, wolf-men, and walrus-men, the lack of yak-men was a kind of racial imbalance that cried out for rectification. I can only assume that rules for playable 4th Edition yak-men are being developed even as we speak.

So in summary, that is why the Forgotten Realms are awesome. Thank you for your time.


Anonymous said...

Wow. You sound a bit bitter, there. ;)

Greg Tannahill said...

I was called by my own poll-related rules to talk about the Forgotten Realms; I didn't really have anything to say about the Forgotten Realms; hence, some Al-Qadim bashing.

Oddball 2nd Edition settings are always good for some cheap humour. Next time I'm compelled to deliver something Realms-related you'll be hearing about Maztica.

Rob G said...

Well, now Maztica is 4e'd out of the world, which would be a shame, but I don't think anybody knew much about it?

Great line about RA Salvatore, btw ;) I enjoyed this read.

I voted for Eberron myself. What an awesome campaign setting.

Greg Tannahill said...

I'm an Eberron ignoramus so I'm glad it lost the vote or I would have had to go out and actually learn something about the setting. Some friends waved some of the 3.5 supplements for it under my nose the other month but I really haven't had the chance to get up close and personal with it at leisure.

Jeff_Grubb said...

Thanks for clarifying. I couldn't tell if you were serious about your camel fetish or not.

But Yak-Men, of course, are always cool.

Jeff Grubb
Al-Qadim (which is Arabic, of course, for "Of the camels" (No, it isn't, but I've heard worse)).

Greg Tannahill said...

Oh wow; thanks for stopping by, Jeff.

It's like my curse that people only visit my blogs when I'm mocking them rather than when I'm talking about their awesomeness. If we had been voting on "Forgotten Realms novels that Greg enjoyed the most" I have some very serious props for the Finder's Stone books.

We tease because we love. :-)

By The Sword said...

No one even mentioned Ravenloft? Talk about having a world where the threat of death looms constantly overhead.

One Campaign setting I really loved was Harnworld. Now that was a setting with verisimilitude. Of course it was a "low-magic" setting so using it for D&D had it's own issues.

I am sorry that i missed this poll.

(the word verification codes are actually starting to resemble real words...I am afraid...very, very, afraid...)