Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Trust in Allah...but tie up your camel!"

I'm going to bed. I really, really am. But first I've just got to make a quick post while it's still fresh in my mind because, well...because it is (and I keep "never getting around to" the other thoughts that pop into my mind...I've got a backlog of mental posts!).

Just finished watching The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, a Ray Harryhausen film from 1974 that I've never seen (or if I have seen it, it was so long ago that exactly zero parts of it were familiar to me). And, may I just say, wow. Like, If anyone was interested in knowing what my Arabian version of D&D is all about...just watch this film. I mean, my it plays, what it just about exactly that.

Yeah, I don't care if it's campy or acting is less than stellar or the special effects are subpar even compared to some of Harryhausen's other work. I'm talking about the story, the plot, the characters, the action, the themes, the dialogue...that's what my game is all about.

Now, no, it's not exactly like that...for example I don't have an "animate statue" spell in the book, nor does sorcery age the magician that practices the black arts. However, even that could be modeled using the rules (conjure demon could stand in for the "animation" spell...putting a demon into an inanimate statue...and since the demon's service has to be negotiated, 10 years off the magician's life seems a fair trade for the tasks presented).

"Lecherous" is the term I use.
And I will say that "centaurs" in my book are more-or-less identical to this beast...right down to being Chaotic and feral and demonic in appearance (that's because in my monster cosmology, centaurs are an abomination, the offspring of a demon and a horse...yeah, some parts of the setting are a little gruesome).

[I will say the griffon is NOT a Lawful or "angelic" beast in 5AK, but it is a "natural" creature of the world, unlike a centaur, so having the two of them squaring off in this film is still pretty's like Harryhausen was channeling my game; or like I was channeling Harryhausen]

Now, I have a great urge to go back and watch the other two Sinbad films Harryhausen did. I know I watched that Eye of the Tiger film just a couple years ago (and I thought I'd posted about it, but couldn't find it anywhere...*sigh*), and I thought I'd watched 7th Voyage, too...but just rereading the plot on wikipedia didn't ring any bells. Well, whatever...this one was so damn close to my game, I might as well list it in the credits as "inspirational reading."

Other points of similarity: the presence of Old Gods (or the remains of their magic/temples/prophecies) alongside Allah, slavery (dancing girls!), potions, henchmen, and "the dark forces." Totally dig it!

Note to self: must make sure to include cool rules for ships at sea (especially storms), and the existence of "mythical islands" (since so much of the mainland geography is based on our "real world"). Getting players shipboard should be a feature of gameplay. I AM going to bed. Today's Palm Sunday y'all and I've got to get to Mass in a few hours!


  1. The more I hear about your ideas for your game, the more excited I get! I haven't seen any of the Sinbad movies in a long time, but I really want to see them again now. Can't wait for more details on 5AK. Any plans to put out a playtest version for us loyal fans in the blogosphere? :-)

  2. @ Anthony:

    Book 1 and Book 2 are complete, including formatting and illustrations (though I'm going to reformat Book 1 to match the margins of Book 2). I've got somewhere between 30-36 pages of Book 3 completed (I'm estimating it will be about 48), and I'm hoping to finish it up today so that I can format it Monday...but right now I need to do my TAXES, which I've been putting off for far too long!
    : )

  3. You really should rock some stuff on ships. I doubt you were thinking Sinbad when you started, but if that comes across in any way, then you really need to get the players exploring, and sailing is pretty much the only way to do it. Looking forward to more info on this as it comes, sounds great so far.

  4. Yeah, those movies are so integral to how I picture certain strains of my D&D.

    Golden Voyage has some of the best acting in the series too, for my money.