We've been discussing Sword & Caravan over coffee & tea at a local 'greasy spoon' this morning. And one of the things that has come across in the discussion is the fact that land is so damn valuable to the setting. Trade goods & land make Sword & Caravan unique in this regard. PC's can aquire gold and 'treasure' but power or land are the coin of the realm in Sword & Caravan.
And this is born out in both the 'Silk Road's mythology & it's backdrop even according to the Silk Road wiki entry; "By the early first century CE, Chinese silk was widely sought-after in Rome, Egypt, and Greece. Other lucrative commodities from the East included tea, dyes, perfumes, and porcelain; among Western exports were horses, camels, honey, wine, and gold."
The real coin of the realm is the fact that social status can be made fluid by exploring, exploiting, and taking on new business ventures within China, Korea, Japan, India, Iran, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. And it's these instances where the PC's have many opportunities for adventure within Sword & Caravan. These areas where the remains of the legends & mythology of Lion & Dragon may still exist before the last vestige of the magic of the 'Old World' is gone. We're not talking about the 'Orientalism' of the Pulp magazines here but the down & dirty aspects of history. A history which is littered with half forgotten kingdoms, legends, the incursion of the Jinn into our world & far worse!
One thing about the setting of Sword & Caravan is the fact that the current events or histories of the regions of China, Korea, Japan, India, Iran, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia are so fluid. The time that Sword & Caravan are set are violent, dynamic, & utterly dangerous to PC's. Are there dungeons within Sword & Caravan? Absolutely there are! And the world of the unseen is in evidence in spades! From evil hyena spirits to full on Jinn. And it's the Jinn that have me questioning their interactions with humanity. From Sword & Caravan; "The Jinn are a class of Neutral nature spirits, hailing no doubt from the same twilight-world as what Europeans call the ‘elves’ and ‘fairy.’ The Jinn can be found throughout virtually all of the Silk Road, though they are very rarely even noticed. In their natural state, Jinn are invisible. However, they can also manifest themselves as a whirl of dust/ sand or as a kind of mist in the wind when they wish for humans to see them. They can additionally take the form of animals, their favorites being snakes, scorpions, dogs, and lizards. They can also take the form of humans or that of humans with animal heads. However, it is uncommon for them to take animal or humanoid forms because they are more vulnerable in that state. When non-corporeal, they can be harmed only by magic, and attack causing madness, disease, or misfortune. When they assume a humanoid or animal form, they can be injured by metallic weapons as well as magic'
Could the Jinn account for at least partially the eventual destruction of the 'Silk Road' itself?! Hear me out here. Humanity has inserted itself dangerously across the planet in these past centuries like never before and could it actually be interferring with the natural portals of the Jinn into our realm?!
Could this lead back to the point that the Jinn see that humanity has rebelled against it's former Elven masters!? And certain factions or courts within the Jinn want to move into that forsaken slot of rulership?! Weakening the 'Silk Road' from behind the scenes is one way of doing that.
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