The Qabal

(Selected Excerpts from the Medinaat al Salaam section of the Legend of the Burning Sands RPG)

Learning again flourishes in Medinaat al-Salaam, with the doors of the Qabal Stronghold open to all who wish to learn. Even the Ashalan sometimes visit the Stronghold to share their esoteric knowledge. Most members of the Qabal enjoy their positions as the venerable scholars and wits in demand in the courts of the Sultan and Caliph. Others prefer to continue independent study, refining their art in solitude. Either way, it is a good time to be a member of the Qabal.

The hierarchy of the Qabal is that of an academic institution. At the lower level are the students, who range in age from children as young as ten to adults as old as 30. These members of the Qabal have lives filled with work and little else, as the discipline needed to learn the Qabal’s style of magic is formidable indeed. Qabal instruction styles are rigid and very unforgiving of failure, and almost a third of the Qabal’s students leave in their first year, unable to stand the seemingly nonsensical lessons in how to draw a perfect circle freehand or how to sign their name 70 times without variation. As their instruction continues, students are astonished to learn that they have been learning spells the entire time – they were simply not told how to assemble and perform the components properly.

The only conflict on the horizon for the Qabal is a generational one. Many of the younger generation of sahirs in the Qabal never knew what it was like to practice magic with the threat of the Khadi’s axes hovering over their wrists, and in the eyes of their elders they seem to take many of their freedoms for granted. The older generation, on the other hand, is seen by the younger graduates of the Stronghold as needlessly paranoid and hidebound. While this conflict is a long time from coming to real blows, tension is rising faster than the older generation is retiring, and the conflict is almost certain to come to a head unless something happens to unite the Qabal once more.

Basic Character Class: Qabal Summoner
So named because the discipline of Summoning magic is the most impressive and easily identified magic that the Qabal practice, the summoner is potentially the most powerful of sahir in the Burning Sands, the result of centuries of refinements in magical technique followed by centuries of persecution heaped on the sloppy or incompetent. The tradition of the Qabal sahir stretches almost all the way back to the Ashalan and the Day of Wrath, and the impressive body of knowledge the Qabal has collected shows it. Dozens of other magical methodologies are based on Qabal techniques, including the Dahabi Bargainers and the later initiates of the Khadi.

The Qabal summoner is quite literally free in whatever route he wishes to undertake in his study of magic. Some choose to be specialists in one discipline; others prefer a more balanced approach. The only standard amongst all is that a properly trained summoner is immensely powerful. Such is their reputation that they can even make a living as magical mercenaries if they so desire.

Benefit: +1 to any Trait
Integrity: 2.0
Skills: Calligraphy, Divination, Spellcraft, Theology, any two Skills
Outfit: Staff, knife, clothes, cloak, traveling pack, sandals, 5 copper

Technique: The Five Disciplines
As the most talented sahir in the Burning Sands, and owners of the greatest libraries of magical knowledge, there is little that is not within the reach of the Qabal. At character creation and at each Insight Rank achieved thereafter, you may choose one of the five Disciplines of magic available to you. You receive a Free Raise for casting spells of that Discipline. The Free Raises granted by this ability may be stacked on the same Discipline, or spread out across any number of them.

For example, you may choose to receive a Free Raise on each Black Magic spell at character creation, and at Insight Rank 2 you may choose to start receiving 2 Free Raises on each Black Magic spell, or 1 Free Raise on Black Magic and 1 Free Raise on each Summoning spell.

There are five Disciplines, which are groupings of similar powers. If any other requirements beyond invoking Hakhim’s Seal are necessary, the spell will mention it.

Each Discipline has three types of spell, and each of those types has three levels of power. At character creation and each Rank gained in this Class thereafter, you choose to either learn the first level of power in a type of spell, or increase the level of power in a type of spell you already possess. You can do this three times for each Insight Rank.

For example, a Rank 1 sahir could choose to know all 3 levels of the Influence spells in the Control Discipline, or to know the first level of Influence, Illusions, and Alchemy, or he could choose to know the first level of Influence, the first level of Fortunes in Blessings & Curses, and the first level of Life & Death in Black Magic, or he could choose to know the first level of Jinn in Summoning and the first 2 levels of Astrology in Celestial magic.

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