The Al-Qadim Game 1


Game Master: Andrew
Game Edition: 2nd Ed. AD&D
Players: Jeff, Dave, Elijah
Starting Level: 1
 

Quote of the Evening
"I don't think you can lift 40 pounds of pepper." 


Introduction

The Al-Qadim is a Forgotten Realms setting for 2nd Ed AD&D. It takes place in the Zakharan Continent, an area similar to the pre-Islamic Middle East. Jeff and Elijah joined me for our first game, both deciding to be Sha'ir's, magic users who can command the magic of Djinn. 

Nyrexes Ibn Tamir (Jeff) and Husam Ibn Tamir (Elijah) were twin brothers, both gifted in the art of controlling Djinn-kind. They had just graduated under the tutelage of a traveling Sha'ir named Kasim and that morning, had summoned their first Gens, the small elemental familiars that would fetch spells from the outer planes and bring them to their masters to cast. Nyrexes had summoned a Sand Gen that appeared to him as a golden scorpion. Husam had summoned a Water Gen; that appeared as a hovering octopus.

The twin's father, Tamir, a wealthy date merchant, had arranged for the boys to be taught in the arts of the Sha'ir's, feeling that their powers would only increase his family's station and renown. He was proud to see the boys graduate and at the conclusion of the ceremony, summoned both of them into his study to enact an old family tradition. He explained to his sons that all of the men in his family, once they came of age, were sent out into the world by their fathers to make their fortune, and then return to start their own families in the ancestral home. 


Nyrexes and Husam both remembered when their older brother, Imad, went through the same ritual and hesitantly they both accepted. Tamir gave them each a coin purse with 500gp in it and a chance to gather some belongings before he sent them out into the streets of Qudra, the heavily fortified port city the twins had called home all their lives.

That is where our story began. 


Scene 1 The Sons of Tamir.

Husam and Nyrexes stood outside their father's villa, discussing what to do next. Nyrexes wanted to head straight for Hiyal, the City of Intrigue, home to thieves and a place notorious for corruption. Husam thought that though it sounded like a great adventure, he wondered what they would do there. Nyrexes didn't exactly have a plan. He had heard of a Dark Sorceress that ruled the city, but other than that, he knew little about the place. He suggested that maybe they could become apprentices of the the Dark Sorceress, but Husam didn't feel that she would be likely to accept two such low-level magic users into her midst. Nyrexes agreed that perhaps they should wait, but he remained firm that one day they would make it to the City of Intrigue. 

After some discussion, the pair finally agreed to start a little less ambitiously, and headed over to their Brother's tavern, The Desert Flower. They figured he might be able to help them get a start on their adventure.

They found their brother Imad's tavern busy with patrons smoking, drinking tea and liquor, and watching a dancer against the back wall. Nyrexes noticed a Barber in the back corner giving a man a shave, and Husam commented that their brother seems to have his hand into everything. After a brief search they spot their brother behind the bar having a heated conversation with a Caravan Master. The two moved closer to hear what the argument was about. 

It turned out that the Caravan Master had 40lbs of black pepper corns. He was trying to convince Imad to buy them from him for 30gp. It was a steal, but Imad did not need that much black pepper, and simply wasn't interested in buying it. It was here that Nyrexes stepped in and offered to buy the pepper from the Caravan master. Imad, relieved, smiled at his two younger brothers and let them take the lead on the sale. Nyrexes tried to bargain for a lower price, but the Caravan Master simply wasn't interested. He said that it was already a steal at this price and he could go no further. Husam, who had been listening to the entire conversation, decided to try his luck and lie to the Caravan Master, with the intention of leveraging the sale. He stepped in claiming that he was a also a pepper vendor and that his pepper was finer and that he would sell it for less.

The Caravan Master reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of pepper, showing it to Nyrexes. "This is my pepper." He said. "Where is yours?" He asked Husam. Husam tried to change the topic, but the Caravan Master was insistent. Husam agreed and they headed towards the bazaar in the middle of the town.

While just outside The Desert Flower, The lies started to turn a little south. Husam claimed that he was one of the most preeminent pepper merchants in Qudra, but the Caravan Master challenged him, saying that his caravan had been the prime source of pepper in Qudra for the past 10 years, and he had never heard of Husam. With their lies unraveled, the twins confessed to the Caravan Master that they were not in fact pepper sales men, but they would be interested in joining his caravan, and acquiring his 40lbs of pepper for the asking price. 

The Caravan Master was a little stunned, and at first suspicious of the twin's motives, but in the end agreed to let them join his caravan; on the condition that they bought his pepper and would use their Sha'ir powers to assist him along the route. He said he was headed towards the Pearl Cities in two days. It would be a trip of 600 miles, and they would have to provide their own equipment. The Twins agreed and paid the Caravan owner for the pepper.

Happy with his business, the Caravan Master told them that they could meet him by the city gates at any time to claim their pepper. With that, he left, and Husam and Nyrexes started scheming about what to do with the pepper.


Scene 2 What to do with all the Pepper?

40lbs of pepper is a lot of pepper and it took some time for the twins to decide what to do with it. First they figured they would see if their brother would be interested in a smaller amount of pepper, so the twins headed back to the Desert Flower to see if Imad was interested. 

They entered the bar and asked Imad if he had heard anything of interest in the city over the past couple of days. He mentioned that for the past three days Outlanders from across the sea had been found murdered at the docks, and another had been found that morning. The Mamluk's (Warrior Caste) were baffled, but Imad believed that nothing would be done about it, as no one is that concerned with foreigners. He also mentioned that he heard tell that a Werelion had been stalking the slums.

This caught the twins attention. Nyrexes asked further about the Werelion, but Imad didn't know much, having heard only a passing comment. When Husam asked who made the comment, Imad went quiet and said that it was a private source. Nyrexes was insistent that he get the name of the man from Imad, and offered him 10lbs of pepper in exchange for the information. Imad considered the offer carefully, finally agreeing to the proposal. He said that the man's name was Nefir and that he could be found in the slums at a tavern called The Scimitar.

The Twins recognised the name The Scimitar. It was a small tavern in the slums. Rumour had it that The Scimitar was home to all sorts of scoundrels and ne'er-do-wells , but perhaps those were only rumours. The twins agreed to deliver the pepper to their brother and left, heading towards the main gate where the Caravan Master said he would be waiting.


Scene 3 Aziz the Caravan Master. Thieves in the Market.

To get to the main gate, the Twins travelled through the Bazaar, a sea of tents containing goods from every corner of the empire!  Nyrexes stayed in the Bazaar searching for treasure, while Husam continued on his way to the Caravan Master's tent.

Husam easily found the tent of the caravan master, who as it turns out, actually was a master of pepper. The tent was large, and comfortably furnished inside. The Caravan Master introduced himself as Aziz, and invited Husam to join him for tea. While they sat, two servants brought in a large chest, which contained their 40lbs of pepper. Husam looked the chest up and down, and this is where the quote of the evening came from. He was thinking about how hard it would be for him to carry,  [I mentioned that I didn't think he would even be able to lift that much pepper, as his character only has 7 strength.] Husam asked Aziz if he could hold on to the chest for them, as they would be traveling with him anyways, and asked if someone could deliver 10lbs of pepper to the the Desert Flower Tavern. He agreed and began telling Husam of his planned route to the Pearl Cities, starting with Tajar.

Nyrexes trip was not as pleasant. He wandered the market looking for any sort of interesting objects or books, but was unable to find any. Defeated, he went to join Husam, but as he left the Bazaar he heard the jingling of coins hitting the ground as he walked. Turning, he found that his coin purse had cut open, and that he had lost 25 gold pieces as he moved around the bazaar. Annoyed, he clutched his coin purse to his chest and returned to the Bazaar to find a new one.

He found a cloth merchant who pointed him towards an old woman's shop where various sewn items were for sale. Nyrexes asked if the salesman knew of anyone who would be interested in buying pepper, but the Salesman shook his head saying that the Caravan Master Aziz had already been through the market selling his pepper, and that he would be unlikely to find any buyers. Discouraged again, Nyrexes headed over to the old womans shop and started browsing through her wares. He managed to find a beautifully embroidered coin purse, which he paid the woman a whole gold piece for. Pleased with his purchase, he left the Bazaar again to find the Caravan Master's tent.

Nyrexes easily found the tent, and joined Aziz and Husam just as they were finishing their tea. Husam explained the route that the caravan would be taking to Tajar and the other pearl cities. Nyrexes considered this carefully, studying the map that the caravan master laid on the table. He noticed that Hiyal lay only 350 miles rather then the projected 650 it would take to get to Tajar, and asked Aziz if he would be interested in traveling there.

Aziz laughed a little bit and asked if Nyrexes was mad. The roads to Hiyal were plagued by bandits. They would need a well armed escort to make it there unscathed. He would not go near there. Husam and Nyrexes thanked Aziz and the left tent.

Nyrexes explained to Husam that Aziz had cornered the pepper market in the Bazaar, and suggested that they look else where to sell it. Husam thought they should look to the market by the port, perhaps an outlander's ship would be interested in purchasing some of their pepper.


Scene 4 The Port Market. The Zaratan Inn.

The twins strolled through the port market, occasionally asking if anyone would interested in pepper, but everywhere they looked, Aziz had already been there. Realizing no locals would buy their paper, they set out looking for an outlander. The first one they came upon was a dwarf selling strange looking swords and heavy armour. He wasn't having much success, and seemed in a foul mood. The dwarf greeted the twins gruffly and asked if he could help them. His accent was poor and the twins noticed how funny he sounded right away, clearly a foreigner. Husam patronizingly asked the dwarf if he had ever heard of pepper, to which the dwarf snorted back "Of Course I have heard of pepper!" And then proceeded to pull a pouch from his belt and show it to him, he said that he had bought it from a trader named Aziz. Not actually wanting to buy anything, the twins left the shop and headed towards the tavern at the end of the docks - the Zaratan Inn. Perhaps a rest and a drink would give them a new idea.

They found the common area of the Zaratan Inn crowded and smoky, both sailors and Mamluks a like filled cushions around each table leaving only an open space along the bar. The twins took a seat and listened to the Mamluks talking for a while. They learned that these Mamluks were apparently searching for the murder of the outlander at the docks, though the Mamluks laughed at the mention of working on it. 


Deciding to take a more direct approach, Nyrexes stood up and approached the Mamluks, asking for information on Nefir, the man their brother Imad had mentioned. The Mamluk did not seem very interested in speaking with Husam, but did mention that they had their eyes on Nefir.

Nyrexes also asked about the Werelion in the Slums. The Mamluk misunderstood thinking that Nyrexes was afraid and said that they were perfectly safe in the city.  Nyrexes was frustrated that the Mamluks weren't cooperating with him fully, and then Husam had an idea. He rushed to the market to buy some supplies and returned, asking his gen to find the spell Friendship. His Gen popped away into the outer planes, but unfortunately returned 5 minutes later unable to find the spell.

Husam returned to find his brother, and joined him. They agreed that perhaps if they wanted to get more notice in the city, they should employ some muscle, so that they looked more impressive. Nyrexes asked the Mamluks if they knew of any mercenaries for hire. One of them mentioned that a Tall and Strong Desert Rider had just entered the city with a caravan, you could probably find him over by the gate; the rest of the mamluks laughed. The twins had no idea why they were laughing, but they would soon learn who their tall desert rider was.


Scene 5 The Tent of Zubayr Ibn Nijad

Leaving the Zaratan Inn, Husam and Nyrexes headed to the camp around the front gate. They asked around for the warrior they had heard of, and were directed to a small tent. A little surprised that such a tall man would have a such a small tent, the twins approached it and tapped on the top. A little Gnome in desert garb came crawling out and introduced himself as the desert rider Zubayr Ibn Nijad (Dave). He had arrived with a caravan this morning but was looking for more work. He was not the tall warrior they had been promised, but not wanting to look the fool, Nyrexes hired him for 7gp a day, plus a split in any treasure they may encounter. It was a great deal for Zubayr who accepted right on the spot.

The trio then sat by Zubayr's tent planning their next move. The three decided that rather then traveling with the caravan they would travel north towards the free cities. It was again a journey of 650 miles, but Nyrexes had become interested in Hayafah, The City of Secrets, a place he had heard mentioned around the caravan camp. The party all agreed to travel there, but first they wished to meet Nefir in the Slums.


Scene 6 To the Slums!

Husam agreed to tell Aziz that they would not be accompanying him, and to get the pepper, while Nyrexes and Zubayr made their way to the slums.

When Husam broke the news to Aziz he was disappointed but understood. As an apology, Husam gave Aziz 20lbs of the pepper they had bought, and then took the rest. The chest was very heavy, and to make his life easier, Husam asked his Gen to find the levitate spell to help him carry it. His gen disappeared and 2 minutes later he returned with the spell in question. Husam cast his spell and the chest floated in the air. Aziz was very impressed and wished Husam luck.

While Husam was dealing with Husam, Nyrexes and Zubayr had begun to head towards the slums, but with his little gnome legs, Zubayr was having trouble keeping up with Nyrexes. He suggested that they return to the stable to get his mount, so he could move a little faster. Feeling it would speed things up Nyrexes agreed, and they made their way back to the stables. Inside, Zubayr paid the Stable Master for the upkeep on his mount and then went to the stable where he had left it.

Much to Nyrexes surprise, Zubayr's mount was a Bengal tiger. With skill and care, Zubayr prepared his Tiger, and then rode out of the stable beside Nyrexes. As they left the stable, they bumped into Husam, who had just put the rest of their pepper (10lbs and a 10lbs chest) into Zubayr's tent. Happy with that arrangement, the three of them headed towards the slums, passing the auditorium, and the library along the way. While passing, Husam pointed out that the library would be a good place to go and look for different spells. Nyrexes agreed that they would investigate it later.


Scene 7 A Meeting With Nefir.

As evening fell, the three made their way through the winding streets into the poor districts and Qudra, until reaching the slums. The Scimitar was an easy tavern to find; its patrons spilled out into the streets enjoying the coming night. Nyrexes noticed that in their finery, he and his twin looked out of place. They tried to dishevel their clothes a bit before entering the bar. It didn't exactly work, and the patrons eyed them as they entered the place. Zubayr rode his tiger into the tavern, Husam and Nyrexes feared that this would cause a scene, but the patrons seemed more delighted than afraid of the spectacle.

Upon entering the building, the three were immediately stopped by two large men. One of them remained silent, constantly eying the group, while the other spoke, demanding to know their business. Nyrexes tried to get them to stand aside, but the talking man flashed a knife under his vest at them. This silenced Nyrexes and Husam, but Zubayr, who was used to being pushed around a little, cautioned that it was not wise to threaten a man riding a tiger. The silent man smiled a wicked grin.

Husam then stepped forward and offered the man a bribe. In exchange for 1 gold piece, he would lead them to Nefir. The man accepted the gold piece, but claimed he didn't remember where Nefir could be found.  Nyrexes offered him another 3gp to tell them where Nefir was.  The two thugs accepted and took them to the very back of the tavern.

At a table in the back, surrounded by large armed men, sat a man in black robes. The thug who spoke to them asked them to wait there while he went and spoke to the man in black. Zubayr protested, but Husam and Nyrexes silenced him, assuring him that everything would be fine.

The thug approached the man in black robes, and began to speak to him. Nyrexes listened in and heard the thug genuinely trying to convince the robed man to speak to the three. After a brief debate, the man in black agreed and let the party approach him. He introduced himself as Nefir and asked what business such fine gentleman had in this lowly establishment.

Nyrexes tried to get some information from Nefir, asking him if he knew anything about a Werelion in the slums. Nefir told him he had heard of it, and Nyrexes pressed him further, seeing if he was interested in hiring some-one to deal with the beast. Nefir told Nyrexes that he could go and get himself killed if he liked, but he wouldn't pay anyone to find the monster, it was not his problem. He then quickly changed the subject.

He asked if the three had any business they wanted to do with him. Nyrexes and Husam started asking, in a very round about way, if Nefir would be interested in funding some speculative work; seeking magical artifacts and the like. Nefir was not interested. He told them that if they had any artifacts to sell, he could find a buyer, but unless they had the goods or something specific in mind, he wasn't interested.

Nefir then dismissed them, and the three left. Outside, Husam and Nyrexes began discussing a plan to create counterfeit magical artifacts. They would enchant an object with a temporary spell and then try to sell it to Nefir before the effect wore off. It was a bold plan, but they needed some time to get it ready. So hoping for some excitement, they decided they would stay in the slums that night, with the hope of encountering the Werelion.


Conclusion

At the end of JADE's first open world 2nd Edition campaign, the group had already created, and found a number of plots to follow. There are plans to travel to Hayafah, dupe a criminal with counterfeit items, and hunt a Werelion. All in all, I would say it is a good start.

The characters the guys created were interesting, and in tune with the world itself. Both Jeff and Elijah played the role of wealthy and inexperienced merchant's sons, and Dave played the strange Gnome Desert Nomad with a hardness and directness, that really spoke of a harsh life in the desert.


That being said, keep in mind that most civilized people of this world appreciate honesty and straight forwardness. A lot of interactions the party had with NPCs in this game were based around lies: The lie about being a pepper sales man, the lie about being able to catch Nefir, and the one about having access to magical items. Be careful with your falsehoods, you would not want a rumour to spread that the Sons of Tamir are liars. Even a criminal, like Nefir, would be chased from the city by his peers if he constantly told lies. 


In this world, being caught in a lie is the same as being convicted of a crime, as it is an intentional slight against someone's honour. If you get caught lying, your station will drop. If it gets too low, no one will work with you, and eventually, you will be chased from any city you enter.

But regardless of your intentions in life, you need to say what you mean and make it clear. In almost every conversation we had the party could have gained more information, but since they kept asking everything in such a round about way people grew suspicious of them and were less willing to work with you as they might have been. Remember, someone who twists their words says nothing in the Land of Fate, and will be quickly dismissed by anyone with a semblance of honour. 




                          
The Al-Qadim Game 1 The Al-Qadim Game 1 Reviewed by Jade GamingNews on 4/03/2014 09:35:00 pm Rating: 5

No comments: