Monday, August 8, 2016

Genies & Indians: The Caliph, Khan, and Sultan

Back when I was an undergraduate, one of the courses I took was a history of early modern India. In case you're wondering, it's a time period that stretches from the foundation of the Delhi Sultanate to about the point when Europeans started seizing provinces. I was reading some of the AD&D entries for Noble Genies and something clicked in my head with them and the tidbits I remembered about Mughal Emperors and Delhi Sultans.

The Great Caliph of the Djinn

The Caliph is a blend of two Mughal Emperors, Akbar and Shah Jahan. He is even-handed and treats his subjects well, even if they are not Djinn. He is mighty in war but prefers to engage with the arts and philosophies. He is greatly beloved by non-Djinn who serve him. At the same time, some of his Nobles doubt him. Would it not be best for the Caliph of the Djinn to place above others? Is elevating "lesser" beings to the same level as Djinn not the same thing as degrading the Djinn? Is he truly seeking an agenda of peace or is he creating a status quo where he is the master and all others are slaves? His unwillingness to discuss such issues and his half-hidden alliance (or subservience) to Chan, the Elemental Princess of Air, causes much worry among the Caliph's Djinn subjects.

The Great Khan of the Dao

The Khan is Muhammad Tughluq as viewed through Ibn Battuta's memoirs. He is sometimes beneficent, sometimes malevolent, but always dangerous. Seriously, go read Battuta's accounts of the bribery and corruption of the Tughluq court and then read about how the Khan's court acts. The Khan is someone to be greatly feared. His subjects constantly try to strike a balance where they overachieve just enough to seem diligent but enough that they seem ambitious, lest they be executed.

The Sultan of the Efreet

The Sultan is quite like Aurangzeb. He is harsh, he is tyrannical, he looks with scorn upon his non-Efreeti subjects. Yet he is also very reliable, unlike the fickle Khan. His subjects know that once they receive a law from the Sultan it won't change, both for better or worse. He is also popular among a moderate portion of Efreeti due to his proactive stance on many issues ranging from commerce to war. On the other hand, many Efreeti and non-Efreeti rebel against him, either supporting the former Sultan (who was not quite as racist or heavy-handed as the current one) or their own right to self-rule.
Unfortunately, his constant war efforts have severely taxed his treasury and with each passing day it becomes harder and harder to keep his subjects obedient.

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