South of Tilea, past the stormy seas of the Black Gulf, lies the kingdom of Araby. Here the decadent Caliphs and Sultans rule cities made of white stone, and their realms are the vast deserts, oases that glitter like jewels, and mountains inhabited by fierce nomad warriors. Several great cities form a loose coalition, though in effect they are all independent states with their own rulers, traditions and customs. The Sultan of All Araby claims to rule the whole peninsula, but has little real power over the independent coastal city-states or over the fierce nomad tribes who wander the Great Desert of Araby.[11a][18a]
Araby is not united by a single government. Instead, the Sheiks and Emirs of the land are constantly warring with each other. It is not uncommon for an entire desert tribe to offer their swords to the highest bidder and become a mercenary company.[23a]
The Sheikhs, Emirs and Sultans of Gopher, Lashiek and Martek live in unimaginable luxury, served by hundreds of slaves who will fulfill their every whim, their harems are filled with voluptuous beauties from across the world and their treasure chambers with all the splendour and wealth of that distant land. Some of these despots are cruel by their nature, ordering beheadings and mutilation of even the pettiest criminals, while others are great rulers and patrons of art and science.[18a]
Arabyans have some knowledge of gunpowder weapons, but their religious dogmas prevent them from developing socially and technologically. Arabyans worship a single god, who is manifested on the world by his chosen prophets and share a common language - Arabic.[11a][17a]
All Arabyans speak and understand Arabic, although most of the merchant classes would be able to handle Old Worlder fairly easily. Most Arabyans are shortish and swarthy, with hook noses, and dark hair and eyes. Some of the Arabyan Kingdoms - or Caliphates - lie upon the northern borders of the Southlands and the people there are dark-skinned, although they share a common culture with other Arabyans.[17b]
The toughest fighters come from the nomadic tribes of the deserts, who are greatly feared by the more civilised traders who ply their trade along the caravan routes through the great deserts. The most notable warriors of Araby are the Dervishers, fanatic religious warriors all too willing to die for their god. Another famous type are the Eunochs, individuals trained since birth to serve as warriors or guards.[11a]
Not much is known about the society of the people of Araby, but from the few merchants and explorers who made their way into the kingdoms and Empire of the Old World it can be assumed that commerce and trade are an extremely important part of their society. The Arabyans were able to establish and monopolise the trade routes into the lucrative jade and spice lands of the Far East such as Cathay and Ind, as well as trading with the barbaric Norse tribes establishing the largest slave market in the city of Copher, all this thanks to their unsurpassed mastery in their navigation of the seas. The economic growth of Araby has led their peoples to the pursue of the fine arts in poetry, alchemy, medicine and architecture thus producing some of the world's most notable poets, doctors, sorcerers and architects.[11a]
Sorcerers in Araby are said to be able to capture genies in bottles who, upon uncorking, rise to immense size to do the bidding of their master, and these wizards are rumoured to fly upon carpets. Mystery shrouds the study of Necromancy. To learn the Dark Art, an aspirant must either seek a Necromancer and become an apprentice or acquire one of the Forbidden Tomes such as the Book of the Dead, written by the mad Arabyan prince Abdul ben Raschid. He travelled to the Land of the Dead in the east of Araby, and driven mad by his experiences, he wrote his blasphemous masterpiece. He did not live to see the widespread public revulsion of his work, or the great pyre where the Caliph of Ka-Sabar burned all the copies he could find. Unfortunately, the Caliph did not find them all.[11a]
All of the Arabyan city-states are nestled on the western coast of the continent, as the centre is dominated by the nomad-infested Great Desert of Araby. Beyond the great desert lies the city of Bel Aliad, closer to the Land of the Dead than any other human settlement.
- Copher - The most independent Arabyan city, famed for its spice trade and home to scholars and wizards as well as the feared pirates of Copher.
- El-Haikk aka Al-Haikk - City of thieves and the largest trading port of Araby.
- El-Kalabad - Located near the Gulf of Medes, south of Araby proper.
- Lashiek - Home to the Sultan and his mighty fleet, also feared as the centre of slave-trade through most of the known world.
- Martek - A city rich from mining the Atalan Mountains and surrounding the bottomless lake of Fazoth-Ar, in which are said to dwell sinister forces.
- Sudenberg - Not an Arabyan city, but an Imperial colony that was founded during the time of the Crusades against Araby. Because it is inside the Gulf of Medes, it makes it a very important enclave for businesses dealing with the Old World.
- Bel-Aliad - In its prime, Bel-Aliad was one of the ancient cities of Nehekhara, where it was famed as the City of Spices. During the wars against Nagash, it was left in ruins and eventually resettled. It is currently in ruins and devoured by the desert sand. It was once the capital of a proud Arabyan civilisation, until it was destroyed by the Undead forces of Arkhan the Black -1149 IC. It is said that within these ruins priceless treasures are hidden, although few adventurers return to verify the story.
- Elven ruins - The remains of a once great coastal city, in the southern tip of Araby, that existed when the entire coastal area of Araby was an Elven colony. It was abandoned by the -1500 IC.
- Antoch - Formerly known as the Crusader City, it was founded by Bretonnian knights after the Crusades against Araby on the northern coast of the Gulf of Medes. It was destroyed ca. 2500 IC by the Lizardmen, who sought to recover an artifact stolen some 700 years before by Pierre d'Antoch.[22a]
Flora and Fauna
Some isolated Giants bands live amongst the Worlds Edge Mountains, even so far south as Araby. Mummies are corpses, carefully preserved against the ravages of time by secret and magical arts. These rites were practiced in many ancient civilisations, including that of the Slann and the predecessors of the Arabyans. They are relatively rare and solitary creatures. They can be seen in tombs of Araby and Lustria. Lions are mainly from the Southlands and parts of Araby. The pack wolf is a smaller relative of the Old World Giant Wolf. They live in ever decreasing numbers in the Old World and Araby.[17c][17d][17e][17f]
The Dragons were masters of forests and mountaintops. There were very few men at all in those days, and all of the Old World was one huge, wild forest from the Worlds Edge Mountains to the sea. Today they are a legend in the Old World. What few Dragons exist live in almost perpetual slumber within deep caverns amongst their ancestral nesting site, the Worlds Edge Mountains and Mountains of Mourn. Dragons probably exist now only in handfuls scattered throughout the world. The Worlds Edge Mountains and Mountains of Mourn must house some, but who knows how many. Probably there are several dozen scattered throughout the Old World, and as many again in Araby and western Cathay.[17c][17d][17e][17f]
The early years of Araby's history are not well-documented by the scholars of the Old World. The city-states of Bel Aliad, Bhagar and Ka-Sabar were conquered during the reign of Alcadizaar and their djinn summoners participated in the destruction of Lahmia.[24a] Afterwards, it is known that Araby suffered invasions from the Tomb Kings of the Land of the Dead after the fall of the Khemri civilisation at the hands of the First Necromancer Nagash. Later Arkhan the Black invaded Araby with his Undead army and sacked the city of Bel-Aliad in the year -1149 IC, precipitating what would be known as the "War of the Death", a 1000 year-long war in which Arkhan reduced a once mighty and wealthy Arabyan civilisation to a few weak city-states and a handful of fiercely independent desert tribes. It was only when Nagash called Arkhan back to the Land of the Dead that the wars ended.[16a]
It was in 1150 IC that Ibn Jellaba, a famous explorer of Araby, discovered the lost Lizardmen city of Zlatlan. There he was welcomed (since the Slann predicted his arrival) and was able to barter with the peaceful Lizardmen and exchange the pearls and spices of Araby for gold, which the Lizardmen had in abundance and were quite willing to part with, since it was considered worthless. Jellaba returned to Araby a very rich man after establishing the first trade agreement between Lizardmen and humans.[15a]
Circa 1430 IC Jaffar, a powerful Arabyan sorcerer, welded a coalition of several desert tribes and expanded his city state to a small empire with the capture of Al-Haikk, Copher, Martek, and Lashiek. Legends speak of him summoning Daemons and conversing with spirits. The Skaven in Araby secretly ally with Sultan Jaffar, spying for him and murdering his rivals in exchange for warpstone. In 1448 IC. Jaffar, convinced by the nefarious Skaven that the Estalian Kingdoms were planning an invasion against his rule, gathered a vast army and prepared his fleet for war. In response, large contingents of knights from Bretonnia and the Empire drove the Arabyan forces back to their homeland. The war was eventually brought by the knights of the Old World to Araby itself, precipitating the conflicts known as the Crusades, which created many orders of Imperial and Bretonnian chivalry, including the Empire's Knights of the Blazing Sun or the Knights of Magritta.[1a][2a][5c][8a]
Around the year 1500 IC, Sultan Daryus-e Qabir launched a series of religious wars against the Old World, without any lasting successes. Legends dating from this time have coloured Old World attitudes to inhabitants of Araby, although there is a fair amount of trade between the two areas.[4b]
In the 25th century IC, the high elven archmage Teclis learned that a fanatic had risen in Araby, calling himself the Prophet of Law with the intent of cleansing the lands of evil - a definition which included every non-human race.[26a]
- "Much of the Butcher's army is Mameluk slave-soldiers, but armoured Janissaries and sun-blackened Dervishers march under the Black Lizard as well. Nomad riders guard the flanks and Sipahis on strong desert horses make up the vanguard."
- —The Duke of Aquitaine, observing the Arabyan army of Mehmed-bey, the Black Lizard.
The Sultans are proud of their troops and especially of their cavalry so that no expense is spared either on their equipment or maintenance. It is popularly supposed that the horses of Araby are descended from Elven horses brought over from the west many centuries ago. They are graceful and swift creatures and very highly valued. The very best of the Arabyan foot-soldiers are also well equipped, with steel armour, keen tulwars, gleaming helmets, and fine silk clothing. These household troops or guards accompany the Sultans when they travel beyond the grounds of their magnificent palaces. The loyalty of these troops is famous. They are amply rewarded with riches, luxuries, and prestige as a result. The ordinary foot soldiers are more plainly equipped and usually carry simple iron-hafted spears or bows. As well as these regular and garrison troops there are the irregular fighters from the desert tribes, including camel mounted warriors from the lands to the south and east.[11a]
- Arabyan Spearmen.[11a] - Arabyan armies are based upon regiments of infantry. They garrison the cities and towns and enforce law and order throughout Araby as well as forming its standing army. The majority of these warriors carry tall spears and shields and fight in well-disciplined ranks.
- Arabyan Guards.[11a] - The household troops of the rulers of Araby, known in their own tongue as Janissaries, are famously loyal and lavishly equipped - they carry weapons of the finest quality and wear brightly coloured clothes of silk brocade.
- Arabyan Bowmen.[11a] - The men of Araby place great faith in the bow and all the cities of Araby maintain strong bodies of archers. Although firearms are known in Araby, they are nowhere near as common or as advanced as those used in the Old World and are rarely issued to common troops.
- Dervishers - Considered to be the most notable units fielded in Araby, Dervishers are fanatic religious warriors all too willing to die for their god.[11a]
- Mamelukes - A lowly form of slave-soldier, infamously utilised by Mehmed-bey during his battle against the Duke of Aquitaine.
- Eunochs - Eunochs are only rarely slaves, more often they are individuals brought up and trained as warriors or guards. They are unusually steadfast and loyal.[17b]
- Arabyan Knights.[11b] - Arabyan Knights, known in their own tongue as Sipahis, are the cavalry-elite of Araby. They are considered mad with hate, arrogant with pride and the terrors of the desert.
- Arabyan Desert Riders.[11b] - The deep deserts of Araby are home to fierce, nomadic Desert Riders. Known as Akincis in their own tongue, these warriors are the best light cavalry in all the land.
- Arabyan Camel Riders.[11b] - Camel Riders are an exotic form of cavalry utilised by the Arabyan military. It is only the fierce warriors of the desert tribes that ride these intractable creatures into battle. Camel Riders are brave and notoriously savage warriors.
- Arabyan Flying Carpets.[11b] - The sorcerers of Araby have perfected the art of binding aerial spirits into physical forms - not least of which is the famous Flying Carpet.
- Elephants.[11b] - Elephants are an exotic creature even in Araby for they come from the lush bushlands that lie between Araby and the jungles of the Southlands.
- Arabyan Magicians.[11b] - Arabyan Magicians, known in their own tongue as Fakirs, are the great sorcerers of Araby - mystics of the southern deserts and court magicians of the Sultans themselves.
- Arabyan Champions. - The Champions of Araby are often noble relatives to a Sheikh or other high ranking Commanders.
- Arabyan Commanders.[11b] - The commander of an Arabyan army is likely to be a Grand Vizier - perhaps the Grand Vizier of the Great Sultan himself. Subordinate to the overall commander are marshals and commanders of lesser rank within the palace hierarchy, noble Emirs, and Sheiks from the desert.
Trivia and Naming
- Araby is based on Medieval European ideas about the Islamic world and Middle Eastern mythology and fiction.
- In earlier editions, natives of Araby were called "Arabs" and "Arabians", this was changed in later editions to "Arabyans", likely for copyright reasons. In Poland, the name "Arabia" is the official translation, but the natives of Araby are called "Arabianie" instead of "Arabowie" (the correct Polish way of writing "Arabs").
- In Warhammer: Battle Bestiary, it is stated that the God Arabyans worship is called "Allah", which is the name of God in Islam. It was most likely removed by Games Workshop in later editions out of fear of causing controversies among Muslims.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (5th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 13
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (6th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 33
- 3: Warhammer Armies: Dogs of War (5th Edition)
- 4: Warhammer RPG 1st Edition: Core Rulebook
- 5: Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Core Rulebook
- 6: Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Shades of the Empire
- 7: Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Sigmar's Heirs
- 8: Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Knights of the Grail
- 8a: pg. 20
- 9: Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Children of the Horned Rat
- 10: Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Tome of Salvation
- 11: Warmaster: Armies (2006)
- 12: Warmaster: Trial Armies (2009)
- 13: A map of The Old World, Dark Lands, The Land of the Dead and Araby
- 14: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (5th Edition)
- 15: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (6th Edition)
- 15a: pg. 73
- 16: Warhammer Armies: Tomb Kings (8th Edition)
- 16a: pg. 20
- 17: Rulebook - Battle Bestiary (2nd Edition)
- 18: Warhammer Fantasy: Rulebook (6th Edition)
- 18a: pg. 167
- 19: Blood on the Reik (2005)
- 19a: Races of the Old World
- 20: Warhammer: Siege (5th Edition)
- 20a: pg. 86
- 21: Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Companion
- 21a: pg. 6
- 22: White Dwarf 207 (UK Edition)
- 22a: pp. 23-26
- 23: White Dwarf 234 (US Edition)
- 23a: pg. 46
- 24: Liber Necris
- 24a: pg. 44-45
- 25: Warhammer: The Red Duke pgs. 161 - 163
- 26: Gotrek and Felix: Giant Slayer (Novel) by William King
- 26a: Prologue