Blood & Sand (2)

Return to the Levant – The Supernatural Landscape

This second page covers Chapters 6 & 7, dealing mainly with sahir, the Order of Suleiman and the Jinn. It perhaps needs the least changes, as the core content both the chapters discussed below have been replaced by the later ArM5 work, The Cradle and the Crescent and a direct substitution works reasonably well.

Chapter 6: Middle Eastern Magic

The majority of this chapter has been superceded by Chapter 3: Order of Suleiman in TCatC, which presents the definitive ArM5 rules for sahir and their summoning magics. Of note, TCatC uses the fourth suggestion in the “What is the Order of Suleiman” insert on page 79, favoring the approach that the members of the Order are “Uniters of Wisdom”. In contrast, Niall’s original vision for the OoS (similar to the “Preservers of Order” second option) portrayed them not only as the magical arm of the caliphate but also as a self-regulating  society of wizards. According to his notes this was cut in order to avoid presenting a canonical version of the Order that limited stories. He has also presented his own take on revised ArM5 sahir over at his website.

The ideas for Islamic Ranges, Targets and Durations have been incorporated in the main into the Holy Parameters presented in RoP:tD (RE), page 68, although the Arabic terms are not used and could be reinstated for thematic effect.

Other relevant examples of Middle Eastern Magic in ArM5 now include: the “Keepers of a Thousand Tales”  Merinita Mystery Cult (HoH:MC, pages 81-82), the Ex Miscellanea section on “Hermetic Sahir” (HoH:S, pages 133-137), and the Sufi inspired Criamon “Path of Walking Backwards” (HoH:MC, pages 70-73). In addition, an insert on page 10 of TCatC lists various references for other ArM5 supplements with sections particularly to playing in the Mythic Middle East or the Levant. Most relevant are the two eastern Elementalist traditions of the Ikhwan al-Safa’ and the Tulab ibn Sina (HMRE, pages 28-32).

As the rules for hedge magicians based on ArM4 Natural Magicians and Cunning Folk have changed significantly between editions, the ideas presented for the raqi and ‘arraf need some modification for ArM5. As an academic hedge tradition, the raqi are simple enough to convert to Learned Magicians like their European counterparts, although I’d suggest a few modifications. The ‘arraf convert better to Folk Witches IMO, but again to capture some of the original flavor and thematic elements I’d suggest some changes. A short article on these suggestions will be found here.

Two sections that do not have a ready equivalent include the “Invocation of the Planetary Spirits” (page 71-73) that allow ArM4 sahirs to break the Lunar Limit and the short insert on “The Faerie Problem” which discusses the differences between northern European faeries and the Jinn. For now, they can be omitted without major loss but I’ll try and deal with these issues later in an article on “Planetary Invocation” and in the section detailing my take on Levantine Sahir.

Chapter 7: The Mythic Levant

Although still useful for inspiration, pages 80-89 detailing the Jinn have been superceded by my work contained in Chapter 4: The Jinn of tCatC. Essentially I combined the various options Niall and Mark Shirley had presented in previous supplements, harmonized the metaphysical concepts behind them and added some new ideas from the wider folklore to try and create more story opportunities while keeping the mechanics as simple as possible. For more discussion of the writing process behind the ArM5 chapter, see my note elsewhere on this blog.

In ArM5 terms, Jinn are no longer a specific type of Fire elemental or demons aligned with Ignem but are a collection of entities of various Forms and non-Divine Realm alignments. Faerie Jinn are commonplace in ArM5 and the rules for creating various Jinn from TCatC draw heavily on the creature creation rules detailed in RoP:F, RoP:I and RoP:M. The sample character Amirat al-Jabal therefore becomes a Magic Daimon aligned to the Terram Form although a aloof Faerie version could also work. The ghul known as al-Qatil remains an Infernal creature and can be utilized with minimal modification. Abd al-Misbah, the famous Genie of the Lamp, works best as a Faerie Jinn also and can be readily converted to ArM5.

The various other creatures, Holy Relics and magical items can be readily adapted to ArM5, but updated rules for Flying Carpets are found in the “Persian Rugs” insert on page 148 of TCatC.

Niall’s text on Mythic Jerusalem can be readily adapted to ArM5, but a city of the size may merit additional commentary to truly bring it to life. The sections on the Pyramids and Babel / The Pit of Harut and Marut now lie either in areas outside the Levant (Pyramids) or have been updated in ArM5 – see Ancient Magic, pages 14-15 for details on Babel and the fallen angels that taught magic to mankind according to Islamic myth.

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