Over at No Signal!, @arcadian writes about creating a Sinbad-inspired setting, a project I support whole-heartedly.
Since I was a boy, I've been fascinated by the tales of the Arabian Nights. I had a picture book that came with a vinyl record, and I would put on the record and follow along in the book as Scheherazade narrated Sinbad's adventures. When I got a little older, I received a copy of the Scribners' edition of The Arabian Nights, with plates by Maxfield Parrish. I saw The Golden Voyage of Sinbad on a trip with a church group in 1974, and Sinbad the Sailor on Saturday afternoon television, and some years ago I discovered my favorite fantasy film - and one of my favorite movies, period - The Adventures of Prince Achmed.
When I think of the fantastic, that's still what comes to mind today - djinns and flying carpets and domed temples and flashing scimitars. From the time I started playing roleplaying games, my fantasy campaigns were washed in 'Oriental' color - my hobgoblins traded in their o-yoroi armor for abas and djellbas, allied with turbaned ogre magi.
Even now cities like Tashkent, Samarkand, Bokhara, and Khiva summon a feeling of mystery and adventure for me. The stories of Khlit the Cossack, set on the steppes and deserts and mountains of central Asia by the great pulp author Harold Lamb are among my favorites, as are Robert E. Howard's 'Oriental' tales.
In fact, it was one of REH's stories that lead me to run Flashing Blades, "The Shadow of the Vulture," about the siege of Vienna in 1529. I remain fascinated by the meeting of East and West, and sprinkled throughout my setting are rumours and clues designed to pull the adventurers eastward, to Candia, to Jerusalem, to the Levant, possibly even as far east as the Roof of the World . . .
I'm looking forward to following @arcadian's "Marabia" as it develops.