One of the great nerdy thrills I’ve had since publishing my fantasy novel THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON has been seeing the Crescent Moon Kingdoms setting inspire RPG campaigns. Reader Rick Neal, for example, did a cool series of posts on his use of Mouw Awa as a villain in his D&D game, and other readers have written me about using elements from THRONE in Pathfinder and Amber campaigns. I think this sort of thing is super-neat, and I’d like to encourage it! So, here for public consumption, is a micro-mini Crescent Moon Kingdoms world guide that had previously only been available as part of a UK-exclusive ebook. I expect to expand this guide in the future, and to make it available as a proper ebook, but for now I hope you enjoy this glimpse!
THE WORLD OF THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS
THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON and its sequels are set in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms – home to angels and ghuls, bandit princes and warrior thieves, grinding poverty and opulent wealth, brewing revolutions and ancient magics. Read on to learn more about this unique new fantasy world!
(map by High Empress of Fantasy Maps Priscilla Spencer)
Abassen: The center of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. Abassen’s landscape is notable for its variety – deserts, marshes, riverlands, arid plains, and mountains all lie within its borders. The entire northeastern quarter of Abassen is a vast desert known as the Empty Kingdom – uninhabited, save for the proud Badawi tribesmen from whom all Abassenese are supposedly descended. In the south, the glittering city of Basrah, “Prince of Ports,” stands watch high over the sea. But it is Dhamsawaat, “King of Cities,” “The Jewel of Abassen,” that is the beating heart of the land, and thus of all the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. The largest city in the known world, Dhamsawaat is home to a thousand-thousand men and women from all over the Kingdoms – and beyond. Abassen is ruled by a monarch, “God’s Regent In The World,” known as a Khalif. The Khalif has typically ruled in close partnership with the city’s richest merchants. The Khalif of Abassen is also nominally the ruler of all the Crescent Moon Kingdoms – though in practice this claim to rulership has not always been recognized by the other kingdoms.
The Soo Republic: The western frontier of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. The vast interior of the Soo Republic is largely jungle and rainforest, and those living in the interior are generally known as Red River Soo. A great number of the Republic’s people, however – known as the Blue River Soo – live in the brightly-painted cities and villages of the northern and eastern coasts. In the northwest, these villages line Guardian’s Bay – where the indestructible automatons who guard the Republic are built. In the northeast, they face the Jewel Isles, where the diamonds, rubies, and emeralds that sustain the Republic are mined. The Soo capital city, Zimbuk, with its libraries and academies, is the greatest bastion of learning in all the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. The Soo Republic is ruled by the Court of Three Pashas, a complex royal bureaucracy of Blue River Soo. The Court is headed by the Tripasharate, three men elected by, and chosen from, the blood of the High Line of Illuminated Pashas.
Rughal-ba: The Eastern frontier of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. Rughal-ba’s geography is dominated by steppes in the north, and jungle and swampland in the south. In the southwest, the thin peninsulas of the Tiger’s Claw produce the finest spices – and the most skilled assassins – in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. Rughal-ba is separated on its western side from Abassen by the Heavenly Wall, a vast, golden wall whose origins lie in myth and legend. By far, Rughal-ba’s largest city is the great fortress-capital Tamajal, which sits on the edge of the magically-tainted Red Lake. Rughal-ba is ruled by a High Sultaan, an absolute, autocratic ruler who is also considered an infallible religious leader.
Djenn: At the same time that He made men and women from clay and blood, God made the djenn – also called the Thousand and One – from smoke and fire. Like men, djenn have free will, and their drives and personalities are as varied as those of mankind. Even the least of the djenn commands powerful fire magics, and all djenn can fly.
Ghuls: Mindless creatures made to do the bidding of cruel men. Born of grisly sorcery, they are made from dirt, vermin, and the hate and fear of living men. There are several sorts – bone ghuls, sand ghuls, night ghuls, water ghuls, skin ghuls – but all are incredibly strong and difficult to kill.
Cyklop: The brutal, crimson-skinned one-eyed giants of the northwestern mountains, they avoid men, and are almost never seen outside of their rocky, barren homeland. Their strength is incredible, and they can only be killed by a single sword-stroke through the eye.
The Dargon Loong: A legendary monster of Rughal-ba, Dargon Loong is said to be a great golden beast that is half-serpent, half-lion. It is said that merely by breathing on a man, the Dargon Loong can put him to sleep, set him aflame, or even turn him to stone.
Ghul hunters: The ghul hunter dedicates his life – to the exclusion of all other pursuits – to the destruction of ghuls and other creatures born of cruel magic. Ages ago, when great hordes of ghuls plagued mankind, the ghul hunters were a highly visible and respected order. These days few men wear the magically unstainable white kaftan of the ghul hunters – and most of those who do are charlatans.
The Humble Students: Self-appointed ‘watchmen of God,’ the Humble Students are an austere order formed during the Abassenese civil war, and dedicated to seeking out – and punishing – worldly vice and immorality. They are openly scorned and officially unwelcome in the Soo Republic, but maintain a presence in Abassen – and a more powerful in Rughal-ba – as a sort of religious police force.
The Order of dervishes: Known by their blue silks, their turbans, and their forked swords, dervishes of the Order are among the best swordsmen and unarmed fighters in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. Ascetics who derive more-than-human speed and prowess from their dedication to God, the dervishes are also – depending on the source – either hypocritical, intolerant bullies, or paragons of virtue.
Copyright 2012 Saladin Ahmed. / Permission granted to reproduce for noncommercial purposes. / Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org happily accepted via paypal. / Check out THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, Book Depository, or at a bookstore near you!