Fate plays a major theme in Arabian Fantasy and should be included in games trying to emulate that feel.
|The Lamp is a great example of Fate.|
When a character is faced with a situation that death is probable (DM’s discretion) the player may ask Fate to intervene. The player rolls a d20 on the roll of a 20, Fate will intercede in favor of the PC (description below), on the roll of a 1 Fate turns on the PC (description below). Each time this is used for a PC the chance of Fate turning increases by 1. Once Fate has turned on the PC, and if they survive, the number is dropped back to 1.
Fate does not guarantee anything, only tips the balance slightly one way or the other, the majority of action is still on the PC. Fate will give the PCs a fighting chance, but she promises nothing.
As an example, if a player was to ask Fate to intervene on behalf of their PC who is falling off a cliff. If Fate decides to help, the PC might quickly see a root that is sticking out that they can attempt to grab, but they still must grab the root. If Fate was to go against them, they might find out not only is there a cliff, but there is a tiger at the bottom as well.
Another example, if the PC broke into the palace to rescue the sultan from the evil vizier and is completely surrounded by guards, and is unarmed. The chance of survival is slim, but if Fate decides to help the PC the guards might decide to capture them, instead of killing them outright. If Fate turns against the PC, they might twist their ankle while moving away, thus making escape even more unlikely.
The Major Virtues of the Setting
In the Great Empire honor plays a role in that people are expected to speak truthfully and maintain an overall quality of honesty in all that they do. Honor is an umbrella term that covers several aspects of life including; fulfilling commitments, carrying out ones duty to the creator, kingdom, and family in that order, showing respect to all that show it towards you, and avoiding favoritism, falsehoods, and deceptions.
Under this is also the concepts of fidelity in marriage and the fulfillment of the marriage contracts. Contracts can only be done between two willing adults, and the concept of a forced marriage is one that is without honor.
Optional Rule: If a DM decides to add Honor as a major component of their campaign it is recommended that they add a new saving throw for honor. Anytime a character’s honor is questioned, or if a situation calls for people believe one side over another, an honor check can be made. All PCs honor starts at 16 and decreases by 2 every time their saving throws naturally goes down. This saving throw is modified by a person’s CHA bonus.
Justice is seen in many different lights throughout the Empire, but all in the setting believe in upholding some form of Justice. With the city-dwellers this is often in the form of legal codes and courts of law. While with the desert people the thoughts of justice are often more personal and a series of debts are usually formed between different peoples and clans over disputes. Bringing justice to a situation is bringing one closer to the Creator, who is all just.
Covered under justice is also the tenants of being kind and forgiveness. It is expected that one of the faithful will forgive those that have wronged them, because the Creator has forgiven all men and women for their sins, thus the expectation is the same. The punishments for crimes are expected to be in proportion to the crime itself, with exceptions to be made for leniency in some circumstances.
This also extends to animals with which should be shown “a compassion and mercy beyond all things.” It is expected that animals will be housed appropriately, not be overloaded, not beaten or tortured, not separated from their offspring at an early age, and slaughtering done in the least painful ways possible.
“Without modesty, there is no faith,” is one of the more famous maxims the Prophet ever spoke. Interpretations of this maxim have varied quite a lot over time and in different parts of the Empire. Some interpret the ideas as modesty in the public world as well as the private world between the faithful and the Creator. Those on the more conservative end believe that both men and women should be covered when in public head to toe. The more progressive amongst the faithful believe you must come to the Creator in a modest fashion, but in worldly affairs it does not matter. Most of the faithful fall somewhere in the middle with both sexes having token veils worn about the face or even as a decoration in a sash.
Humility is one of the most important virtues in the Empire. By remaining modest and respectful to others one can retain their humility. At the DM’s discretion a PC that has been particularly egregious in their lack of humility is asking to be struck by the Evil Eye (see below).
This is usually dictated by certain patterns of speech and action, and common ways to remain humble. Claiming that they are “so rich I can buy the entire city,” is not considered humble about one’s riches. On the other hand saying, “The Creator has blessed my house so much, I might very well be able to purchase a city. All praise to him,” is remaining humble in the face of one’s success. Bragging about being “the best thief in the entire Empire,” is far from an act of humility. Though claiming, “My master trained me to be the very best pick pocket this city has seen in a generation,” is a different matter. In a successful battle one should not gloat over the dead, but bow the head in reverence to the creator for the victory.
Optional Rule: The Evil Eye is a curse placed upon those that are not humble in the face of all that is given to them. While under the effects of the Evil Eye people have a tendency to dislike the person and they suffer a -2 penalty on all reaction checks, and can never achieve a status beyond “indifferent/uninterested”. If the seek out a local religious figure and do penance for their lack of humility (usually a quest) the curse will be lifted. If the PC chooses to ignore the curse and continue with their ways, the curse will increase and now include a -2 penalty to all d20 rolls, until they find a holy person capable of casting the Quest spell, and undertake a quest that lasts no less than 101 days and helps the faithful in some manner.
|Piety plays a major roll in the setting.|
Being faithful is the charge of every person in the Empire. One is expected to follow the tenants of their faith and be consistent with those beliefs. Making sure that one makes time each day for religious observances and that one attempts to attend religious festivals and holidays is also held in high regard. Welcoming new members into the faith is also considered the highest marks of piety, though none should be forced to join or stay within the faith.
One is expected as part of their piety to practice generosity with the gifts that they were given. Miserliness is highly discouraged and taking care of one’s neighbors and kin is just as much a part of faith as it is civic life. Helping those that are in need is considered a better act than praying in a mosque daily. Encouragement of the arts and sciences also falls under the term piety because with these often the community at large is enhanced, and the Creator’s bounty can be shared with more people.
Tolerance is also falls under piety and the beliefs and practices of all should be respected, as long as they do not violate other’s existence and freedom. While no particular faith is required in the Empire, those who have no faith in anything is often looked at quite oddly. Faithful tend to understand possibly believing in something else, but no belief whatsoever is often seems questionable.
One’s family should be one’s largest obligation, beyond that of the faith and the Empire. The faith is often considered one large family, and many of the rules that apply to families apply to all the faithful. One must respect and obey one’s elders and in turn the elders are expected to protect and care for those younger than themselves. General respects given to elders are not entering a room before them, not arguing with them, allowing their opinions first during meetings, and keeping a level head when in their presence.
Guests are considered actual family while staying with a person. All rights and responsibilities are passed onto a guest as soon as they complete the Ritual of Salt (see below). Guest are usually given a feast on their first night in a home with an overabundance of foods and sweets. As the days go on the foods will become much simpler and the guest is expected to give a gift upon leaving the household. The general rule is that a guest should not stay for more than 3 nights without then becoming an active member of the household. Helping with the family business or chores and helping financially, if possible.
|Ali Baba's maid before she stabs the Bandit Leader, he should have eaten the salt!|
Optional Rule: Pact of Salt is a time honored tradition in the Empire. As soon as a guest arrives they are given food and drink, often fruits, cheeses, and coffee. Usually the salt is put into the coffee and that creates the Pact of Salt. This means that for as long as the person is staying under the roof of the host, the guest will do them no harm. The host, in turn, is also promising to provide for the guest and will not do the guest any harm while under their roof. It cannot be stressed enough how meaningful this a pact is to people, and the lengths people will go to avoid consuming salt, if they plan to do someone harm in their house.
This is shown in the tale of Ali Baba where the Bandit Leader is disguised as a merchant and is trying to kill Ali Baba. When he comes to Ali’s home, he offers to feed the “Merchant” and he refuses stating he cannot eat salt due to dietary restrictions. Ali Baba’s maid recognized the Bandit Leader for who he really was and killed him much to Ali’s dismay. She then explained why he was refusing to eat salt, so he could kill Ali Baba. Even a murderous Bandit Leader respected the Pact of Salt, so should the PCs.
I went ahead and created a Facebook group for the blog, if you are interested the link is here.
I went ahead and created a Facebook group for the blog, if you are interested the link is here.