Unfortunately, there was a lot of material for this section that had to be cut for space reasons – we just didn’t have room to extend the area covered into the Indian Ocean (the Erythrean Sea), down the east coast of Africa or detail much in the way of ideas about sea voyages in the style of Sinbad the Sailor.
Although Mecca and Medina are detailed briefly in the final work, the original detailed descriptions by Niall reappear in Sub Rosa (Issue #9)after being cut because it was felt they didn’t have enough story potential for Sagas using European magi as the central characters. This allowed me to detail the Bedouin culture extensively however and I think the trade off works well.
I’d note that although the Mythic Arabia section covers the same number of pages as Mythic Mesopotamia or the Silk Road sections, the word count alloted ended up being significantly shorter and it feels like it tails off towards the end of the chapter in terms of depth. It still has some great maps and artwork (the phoenix and the wizard stealing resin from the frankincense tree) but I wonder if I could have written the section more tightly and efficiently nowadays with all that I’ve learnt. It still seems like I managed to pack a lot of ideas into a relatively short piece however. The Bedouin culture section provides a counterpoint to the otherwise predominantly Persian culture depicted in the Order of Suleiman and other three gazetteer chapters and should be useful for any Sagas set in the Mythic Levant.
I’ve collated some of the cut material from this section and added some additional concepts I’ve since developed here – these are mainly short pieces I don’t think I’ll be able to reuse in upcoming projects as they are either 1) highly specific to the area, 2) too detailed for a standard supplement or 3) insufficient to form the basis of an article for Sub Rosa.
Beasts of the East, a Mythic Bestiary
This section contains articles on animals and creatures common to Mythic Arabia, although some may equally be found in other areas of the Mythic Levant or the Mythic Middle East:
The Sub Rosa #9 material…
Some additional material cut from the final draft of this section has resurfaced in Sub Rosa. In addition to Niall’s cut material and Jason Brennan’s 4 sample characters (a Magic jinn, a Faerie jinn, a sahir, and a mobed), this issue includes:
- some details on al-Sind, the gateway to Hind (India)
- some Story Seeds for Bukhara and the scholar al-Biruni
- a short paragraph on some “non-Jinn” Arabian monsters
- four useful local animals (Ass/Donkey, Ostrich, Saqr (a local falcon) and the Waral (Varanus), a desert monitor lizard) with great illustrations for three of them
- two cut inserts on Imprisoning Jinn and Recalling and Reciting Suras Against Jinn that may hopefully be recycled in a future supplement
Resources and Links
I used a lot of different internet resources for this section, many of which would probably be useful to a Saga set in the area or the bordering region of the Mythic Levant.
- The Camel – Ancient Ship of the Desert (article from Nabatea.net)
- The Camel in Retrospect (article from Saudi Aramco World)
This site is very old (1993) and fragmented but contains some interesting elements:
- Ars Arabica (Gene Calloway and Steve Castanien)