Fair Game
Tell Meg
Tell Emily

1001 Nights
by Meguey Baker

In the palace of the Sultan are many rooms. In these rooms are many people, and the people have many stories. Most intriguingly for our tale, many of these people cannot leave these many rooms. The ornately carved walls surrounding the fragrant pools and exotic gardens are high; the lace-like doors are webs of iron; the delicately cool tones and publicly refined manners raise the significance of an arched brow by feverish degrees. This 'place apart' holds the Sultan's peace, for to disturb it would be foolish indeed. Yet, beneath the surface of any still pool are many currents, and this is no exception.

Nights especially can be long in the desert. The sun sinks, and as the relief of evening washes over the palace, the inhabitants stir themselves, bathe, dress, eat, and scheme. Music of cymbals, tambours, strings and drums slide along the marble walls. Smoke, perfumed and otherwise, seeps into thick color-soaked carpets. Coriander, dates, wine, cardamom, black pepper, coconut, saffron and mint mingle on the tongue. Oiled skin glows beneath fine cotton and silk, set off by leather and gold. And always, the planets dance overhead, taunting in their freedom high in the cool air. Is it a wonder those here turn to tales of mystery and magic, beauty and bold adventure, to fly away in thought, if only for a time? And, if one's tale is well told, and brings one favor of one kind or another, so much the better, is it not so?

Gather three or more players; more than six becomes unwieldy. Give each a pencil and a character sheet or a small piece of paper. In the middle of the table, put a bowl, pleasing to look at, and filled with dice of many colors, shapes and sizes. These are the gems of the Sultan.

1001 Nights: T equals zero!