Magical Camels

In many parts of the Mythic Middle East and the Levant, camels are more common than horses and often considered more useful.  Mundane statistics for dromedary camels can be found in Magi of Hermes, pages 10-11 and Bactrian camels are detailed in the “Ship of the Desert” on page 170 of The Cradle and the Crescent.

Magical versions of camels may abound in lands where they are more common than horses – sahir and their companions may choose to have camels as their preferred steeds instead of horses due to their durability and tolerance of desert conditions. Perhaps the easiest way to create a magical camel is therefore to use an existing magical horse as a template and modify accordingly, as demonstrated by the example below:

Aeolus, the example magical mount of the Redcap Victor of Mercere detailed in Realms of Power, Chapter 4: magic Characters, can easily be used as a base for a magical riding camel ridden by a sahir or Bedouin companion character that shares Victor’s obsession with the hunt with only minor modification. As Aeolus is based on a Courser, the same size (Size +2) as a typical camel, to change him into Sirocco, the Magical Dromedary, keep the mental characteristics the same and make the following changes to the physical characteristics: Str +1, Sta +3, Dex 0, Qik -2. As camels have slightly different Qualities to coursers, drop the Good Jumper and Tireless Qualities (losing 2 Fatigue levels) but keep the Domesticated and Herd Animal Qualities. As the Imposing Appearance and Fast Runner Qualities suit with the concept of Sirocco as a camel dedicated to hunting, these can be retained even though a typical dromedary lacks these Qualities. All the other Magical Qualities and Inferiorities and Virtues and Flaws can be retained. Apart from changing the Essential Trait Horse* +3 to Camel* +3, his Personality traits may remain the same or be modified to reflect a more cantankerous rather than lecherous nature. Some of Aeolus’ Abilities need to be modified slightly to reflect Sirocco’s desert specialization: change the Area Lores to suitable Mythic Middle East equivalents, change the specialization of Folk Ken to Bedouin, replace Latin with Arabic, substitute Organization Lore: Order of Suleiman for the Hermetic equivalent and change the specialization of Survival to desert. Sirocco gains the Smell Water and Survive Without Water Powers of the camel at no cost but otherwise keeps the other powers of Aeolus. Combat statistics for Sirocco will need to be adjusted accordingly.

The Faerie jinni, Bali’ al-Ard, detailed on page 65 of The Cradle and the Crescent, can similarly be modified to represent a Faerie racing camel, Sharib al-Rih (Arabic: “drinker of the wind”), as the original jinni is similarly based on a mundane courser. As a Faerie creature, the dromedary’s natural power to Survive Without Water becomes redundant as Faeries do not require sustenance. It should be noted that the base statistics for Bali’ al-Ard are not balanced for use as a player character and so any derivative creature will be similar unbalanced without some modification of their Virtues and Flaws.

Bathilde, the magical charger familiar of Hugh of Flambeau detailed on page 47 of Magi of Hermes, could be readily used as a template for a fierce war camel, Safiinat al-Barr (Arabic: “land-ship”), although the Norse flavoring needs to be modified to represent a more Mythic Middle Eastern background. The powers gained from Hugh’s familiar bond could be retained as Personal Powers if used as a mount by a sahir, but would require additional Magical Inferiorities to be taken.

Similar adjustments can be made using the statistics for the mundane mounts given here to create magical donkeys, oryx (a type of larger gazelle), ostriches, steppe ponies, and waral lizard variants of Aelous, Bali’, or Bathilde as appropriate. Other base creatures such as the Demonic Steed (Realms of Power: the Infernal, page 39) can be similarly modified from equine form to other local animals to create unique mounts for the Mythic Middle East.

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