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Middle Eastern Type Medieval-ish World

   
Recommendations
  • Take a look at book
    D&D 3.5 Supplement
    Sandstorm. It was written so people can run 3.5 games in the desert. It talks a lot about desert ecology and gives ideas for magic and strange substances in a fictional desert world.
  • If you don't want your PCs dependent on mages, invest in one of the following
    • Trains
    • Airships
    • Desert Powered Skiffs
    • Giant Worms/Dragons/Creatures that can get you over the desert quickly.
    • Underground Tunnels

Aside from that, you've a reaper.

and Reaper's are special!... ed... but still special!

Quote:
Trains
Airships
Desert Powered Skiffs
Giant Worms/Dragons/Creatures that can get you over the desert quickly.
Underground Tunnels
Trains are too high tech - or, well namely, they require massive mining operations to extract the coal for steam power. For a desert city, this isn't convenient. Well, maybe some places could have trains but they would frequently shut down and be dependent on rich enterprise (unstoppable corrupt guild conglomerate; grand campaign right there) to maintain.

Giant worms and dragons can't be tamed by men, because well... those things are known to wreck entire towns. And if you can tame them (because you are just that good), have fun moving them anywhere close to a city. The grey gaurd will mobilize task forces to take 'em down rather quickly.

Desert powered skiffs (call them dune skimmers or whatever) suggest interconnected cities and therefore interconnected cultures. Unless they're hard to maintain - say, a sandstorm wears down the sails or whatever. Desert travel would still be ventures of the bad ass, maybe.

Underground tunnels - My idea. And they don't go everywhere.

Wow, this reminds me of my campaign. The thing about doing cultures not your own is that you almost never get them right. The players in my campaign act all middle-eastern even with European themed characters, and in my mind's eye I can already see your Western version of the East. But I am probably just fitting this into a stereotype.

A word of advice: no fast travel. Arabian horses and camels were the only things capable of surviving the desert until the eighteenth century, and long arduous travel would definitely go a long way in getting the feel of the setting right.

Some differences off the top of my head between middle eastern and western culture:
All emotions are turned up a notch (anger, love, hate, etc. are all of greater significance), and (in my opinion) to counter that, everyone is a bit more lawful-aligned. A man might kill you, but in his house you are his guest. Only once you would be safely out his door would he stab you in the back. When people turn on each other, they do not give warning, nor do they threaten, and it does not matter how long they have been friends, if there is honor to be upheld. Also, honor has nothing to do with morality. There is a great importance given to custom (such as the significance of the number of times coffee has been served to guests, if there is coffee in your campaign), which at some times would seem to a westerner obsessive in nature. Part of that is constant friendliness. This is not just courtesy, but rather something better described as mimicking love. People hug and kiss, and are very gracious, but this is not to be confused with them being loving, or even liking, it is simply how they are (even to their enemies; Arabs are very political).
All this relates to Arab (including North African) culture; I have little understanding of other middle-eastern cultures.
I would advise you to read extensively on the subject before you start the campaign, as it really is a whole other world.
Hope this will be of some use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by impfireball View Post
Trains are too high tech - or, well namely, they require massive mining operations to extract the coal for steam power. For a desert city, this isn't convenient. Well, maybe some places could have trains but they would frequently shut down and be dependent on rich enterprise (unstoppable corrupt guild conglomerate; grand campaign right there) to maintain.
~shrugs~ If you were running in a magic campaign, they could be powered by Elementals, Gems, etc... also.

Edit: Yeah, traversing the desert is tough, but it's done. Silk Worms are incapable of surviving in such a climate, and silk is and was a common product traded in the east during the middle ages.

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All emotions are turned up a notch (anger, love, hate, etc. are all of greater significance),
I think behavior that europeans - probably britain primarily and then onwards to america/canada/the rest of english speaking culture and then most of europe and so on - represent something that sorta wasn't modernly defined in medieval times. It's medieval times, so concepts of what they consider it means to be civilized (european style etiquette, etc.) are entirely different. Heck, the only civilized people (meaning they've developed a code of etiquette that they've defined) might be the kings themselves. It all really depends.

I'm not confident I'll get everything right - but there's always fall backs. And yeah, much of the social elements will likely end up 'westernized', especially when other players step in to converse with NPCs and generally interact with the world around them. Middle east is only a 'theme' after all - a flavour made to make things that much more exotic/interesting (and in world building a fantasy setting, interesting is the name of the game).

Thanks for the suggestions. I might just use them, despite what I said.

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~shrugs~ If you were running in a magic campaign, they could be powered by Elementals, Gems, etc... also.
I'm thinking of a sand box game where the players can feel like they've accomplished something by doing lesser deeds and making them feel meaningful without being overly heroic or environment changing (especially if its a low - no magic campaign). Lesser deeds would drive the plot and then players can feel that they've accomplished a lot when they reach the high levels and start influencing, say... the future of entire towns? :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaReaper95 View Post
:3 umm... I don't use any of those lol.
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