D&D Campaigns Revisited #2 – GAZ2: Emirates of Ylaruam

This is the 2nd campaign where there were some new players and switched to what would become the standard for level advancement. Every time a game year rolled over the characters gained a level and magical items. It ran from the 1st of June 2016 to the 7th of September 2016 for a total of 8 sessions.

This setting was described as a desert Arab nation where women were given little rights. The main race here is human and genasi. Having introduced the Elemental Evil Players Guide as part of the world I incorporated both the Water and the Air Genasi into the setting from here.

Air Genasi became the “Pure blood” Alphatians invaders, with the water Genasi being one of the settlers of the region. Unlike with the supplement, I have the Genasi as an established race with a backstory fitting the setting of how they arrived in this world. The different sub races of Genasi were opposed to each other in an ongoing war of Air vs Fire, and I added in the elements of Water and Earth which were missing in the worlds backstory to fit other races in the world. I was surprised that in translating from 4th edition to 5th edition the 5 genasi races were simplified down to 4.

Known World – Ylaruam

As part of playing this setting I introduced coloured glass beads for achievement in the field for being woven into the characters hair as a form of rank, which was borrowed from my wife’s upcoming book. It worked well, as it was not documented anywhere the players could find and it became a desired component to obtain.

Ylaruam in detail

With having the characters serve in the army, I introduced a government requirement keeping the characters in the country for the first 4 years as part of the ongoing stories in the future GAZ series I had planned to run.

With the XP chart, I discarded it after working out a preference for every game year being a milestone to provide a new level. This worked out better than micro-management of experience, and removed the need for managing downtime in play as they can happen between game sessions.

I was able to run another adventure from here as part of the storyline as there was one set in the desert of this country in a buried pyramid showing some forgotten gods. The adventure was called “B4 – The Lost City”

There also existed a cursed belt that changed the sex of a character making him female. So far the only female character played by that player. And in the old system was one of the worst curses in the game as it could only be reversed with a wish.

Interactions with Dragons showed that they were highly intelligent and community leaders rather than just monsters to destroy for experience. And once adventurers gained an alliance with the community they would be given an amulet showing their allegiance to them. Was also magical so there were some benefits to it as well.

The Setup

Six players, each having backgrounds that fitted into the setting or changing the setting slightly to allow for the backgrounds to work. Characters were to fit into an oppressive Arabian stylised environment with a warning on sexism and fire magic intolerance.


  • Makastani (mongols)
  • Heldannic (vikings)


  • Air (was human Alphatian)
  • Water (was human Alasyian)


  • Mountain – All from Rockhome as the source of all mountain dwarves

Starting Location

I had the character meet in an oasis near to the capital city of Ylaruam. They were to be inducted into national service to become citizens of the country.

Changes to the setting:

  • Brass and Blue dragon wurmlings play in the deserts away from civilization under the protection of guardians. Silver dragons are the diplomats of the dragon realm, appearing as the shamans of the communities.
  • Blue dragonborn periodically assault various outposts of the Ylaruam army to hone their skills.
  • Ylaruam citizens are required to spend 4 years in the army to gain their citizenship, and outsiders the right to own property or reside in the country.
  • Every game year provides equipment and a level.
  • Genasi introduced to replace some of the human races, this would reduce the number of human races in the setting and provide a cultural identity for some of the Genasi sub-races.
  • An interesting cursed belt that changes gender, in a setting where sexism was part of the story…

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