DM Tips » Khinasi tips

DM Tips: Khinasi

Khinasi is based loosely on Medieval Arabia, sometimes with an Indian or other Eastern twist. That's very handy as it is a medieval area well known in fantasy fiction through a number of sources from 1001 Nights to Al-Qadim.
This is a collection of hints, tips, adventure ideas, etc for DMs running a campaign in Khinasi, feel free to add your own experiences and suggestions.

[top]Social strata

Honor demands a lord look down and see to the needs of their followers, duty demands the lowly similarly look up and serve that in so doing society benefit by their actions... Malik ibn Hussein el-Arrasi MA 1780
The Khinasi have a multitude of social strata, form highly complex communities, and frequently display vast disparities of wealth side by side. The Khinasi society is stable however because of the concept of Sayim. Sayim is a similar concept in many ways to Honor, or Face, and loosely means that one follows the best traditions of ones social caste and employ. Thus a laborer gains sayim by working hard, enduring hardship without complaint, etc; a noble by contrast gains sayim through charity, wise guidance, restraint in the face of provocation, grace, etc. Further Khinasi society is quite fluid - a person of great Sayim frequently gains significant social status, as does anyone with magical ability. Those without Sayim on the other hand may find their wishes ignored even if they are highborn and wealthy. Only truly powerful individuals can casually ignore the dictates of Sayim without seeing themselves shunned.
The social ladder runs roughly commoners (peasants, fishermen, labourers, soldiers, shopkeepers, servants to nobles), artisans (merchants, skilled craftsmen, weaponsmiths, navigators, artists, traders, sea captains), the ajazada [named families or families with a 'family name'] (priests bureaucrats, low courtiers, and military officers) and the tamounzada [those with the name of the ruing family] (governors, generals, admirals, high priests, major courtiers).


Blood is thicker than water, yet flows more freely than any wine once a drop is spilled - Jairo Al Cidro, 2036 MA.
The Khinasi are great believers in family, forming small clans, which in turn form geirhou, conglomerations of hundreds, even thousands of individuals. Even a remote relation of a Khinasi is likely to receive a warm welcome compared to other lands - few acts lose Sayim faster than refusing charity to a needy relative or failing to honor a clan elder. Family feuds are endemic amongst the Khinasi, but are rarely violent - instead the Khinasi practice dozens of social condemnations and slights.
Adventure ideas:
  • A family feud between rival Geirhou, both specializing in the weaving trade is getting out of control and the local prince needs to intervene - without of course being seen to favor either family, or indeed involve themselves in a trivial matter of trade (which is of course beneath their station). Someone has to find the root of the feud and resolve it, bring the feud to a satisfactory conclusion, or distract both families in some fashion...

[top]Men and women

only a boy assumes all women girls - Aziza bint Latifa, 2017MA.
The Khinasi pride in wit, scholarship and magic - not mention worship of a female deity Avani - and relative disdain for brute strength means that women have a relatively equal role in Khansi lands for the most part. In lower castes where physical strength is more necessary tasks are likely to be divided along gender lines but in higher social ranks demeaning someone merely because of gender is likely to lead to loss of Sayim. However equally the importance of family, avoidance of shame and the like inherent in the reverence of Sayim makes pregnancy out of marriage highly frowned upon meaning that the Khinasi often segregate the roles of men and women sharply and mingling of the sexes is frowned upon outside socially acceptable areas.
A Khainsi, male or female, can have several spouses. While not strictly in canon the concept of a harem has long had a place in fantasy (in many senses) and such a concept is not out of place for the Khinasi if a view of them as relatively decadent is taken.
  • Rami ibn Baldrim is furious about the entrance of his beloved Jasmina bint Corina into the harem of Namir el-Varhir. Rami is convinced that Jasmina's parents gave her to Namir against Jasmina's will, or out of poverty. Of course rescuing Jasmina from the harem will not be easy, but Baldrim has a cunning plan that could lead to songs being sung for years...

See Also: Khinasi culture

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