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Al-Qadim is an Arabian style campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons in the vein of The Thousand and One Nights. Much like Kara-Tur and Maztica, it was presented as a distant continent on the world of Toril, the homeworld of the Forgotten Realms Setting. These "mini-settings," as they were, were conceived of as small projects that would allow TSR and GMs to explore alternate campaign settings without making massively different rulesets, species, and classes. Al-Qadim was unusual in that the name did not refer to the continent itself, as it did for the other modules, but to the culture that lived on the continent of Zakhara.

Basically, the races of D&D lived together in mostly harmony, trading with another in Arabian Nights-styled desert cities, while some scattered human barbarians wandered the deserts as nomads. Orcs, goblins, and other "evil" races lived side by side with elves, gnomes, and dwarves without fuss over their racial differences, though of course there are some "evil" species out there, like the devious YAKMEN. Everyone worships the pantheon of the goddess Fate, who passed down laws to the races of Zakhara through her female prophet, the Loregiver, and the dominant language is ArabicMidani.

Unlike Kara-Tur, which was rereleased as The Book of Weeaboo Fightan Magic and Oriental Adventures, Al-Qadim was not updated for 3e/3.5e in any significant way. A single, semi-unique class known as the sha'ir got an update in the Dragon Compendium, but that was it. And they were basically replaced by Pact Mages in 4e.

TL;DR: AD&D races live in a Hollywood Arabic society. Also, you get to fight YAKMEN. Completely old school.

External Links[edit]

Map of Zakhara Al-Qadim Pantheon

Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Settings
Basic D&D: Mystara (Blackmoor - Hollow World) - Pelinore
AD&D: Birthright - Council of Wyrms - Dark Sun - Dragonlance
Forgotten Realms (Al-Qadim - The Horde - Icewind Dale - Kara-Tur - Maztica)
Greyhawk - Mystara (Red Steel) - Planescape - Ravenloft - Spelljammer
3rd/3.5 Edition: Blackmoor - Dragonlance - Eberron - Forgotten Realms - Ghostwalk - Greyhawk - Ravenloft
4th Edition: Blackmoor - Dark Sun - Eberron - Forgotten Realms - Nentir Vale
5th Edition: Dragonlance - Eberron - Forgotten Realms - Greyhawk - Nentir Vale - Ravenloft