Greetings, and thanks for visiting the Gandalara Cycle!
What is that, anyway, you might be asking?
Specifically, the Gandalara Cycle is an excellent fantasy novel series penned by the late author Randall Garrett and his wife, Vicki Ann Heydron. The name Gandalara and associated characters, maps and tales are the sole intellectual property of these authors and not my own and this site generates no revenue from their creation.
For our purposes, however, the Gandalara Cycle Campaign is an altered version of Garrett’s beautiful fictional world, adapted for use as a fantasy roleplaying game campaign setting.
The Gandalara Campaign was conceived following a series of gaming sessions lasting several months and using another excellent fantasy world setting, M.A.R. Barker’s Tekumel, Empire of the Petal Throne.
As a player and game referee, Tekumel remains near and dear to my heart as an exotic and beautiful gaming milieu, and occasional games are still planned. However, our experience was that many incoming players found the non Western themed setting a little too different from their normal gaming tastes and the stylized and highly developed cultural innovations in Tekumel seemed somewhat restrictive to them. They adapted well but during play I began to sense that they were probably mostly enjoying the traditional elements of swords and sorcery roleplaying more than they were enjoying the actual setting itself. I began to feel that they would enjoy something a little more traditional.
Perhaps this was simply a matter of taste, or perhaps it pertained to my own relative inexperience with running Tekumel as a setting. Either way, though we had some really fun games and saw some very interesting characters, a change was needed.
I faced a dilemma. Our players seemed to enjoy a more D&D themed game, but for quite a while now I haven’t felt drawn towards a cut and dried Medieval themed, Tolkienesque motif.
As a proposed setting, the Gandalara of our upcoming gaming sessions will be loosely based upon Garrett’s actual model, but it will carry over the traditional fantasy races and character class types familiar to those who have played D&D. Gandalara as a world will, in this campaign, adapt to these familiar elements and they will adapt to Gandalara with only slight modifications.
In addition, there will be innovations from myself and the other players…other races, other cultures, other magical items, religious pantheons, geography, and so on.
And although the flavor of this soup will be that of a more traditional swords and sorcery variant, faint but very identifiable traces of Tekumel seasoning will be present.
This scenerey is still, I admit, not the conventional fantasy setting. As a much more arid world, the terrain is somewhat different than say Greyhawk and Blackmoor, and their are influences from Tales of The Arabian Nights as well as Robert E Howard’s Hyboria. If you want to envision Gandalaran dress, for example, picture a fusion of the Arabian Tales with the type of fantasy setting seen in the old swords and sorcery flick The Beast Master.
Elves, dwarves and halflings exist in Gandlara, not to far removed from their original racial tendencies and abilities, but they are Gandalaran elves, dwarves, and halflings. Most of the traditional monsters from D&D can be found with slight Gandalaran adaptations, and a host of others besides, including some Tekumel inspired beasts! There are some different magical items, such as belts of flying and power wands that use the energy of Gandalaran Crystals. And did I mention flying carpets?
For a relatively quick, illustrated overview of the setting, click on the Gandalarian Primer tab at the top of this page.
It is my profound hope that the world of Gandalara carries you towards many exciting adventures!