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Gazetteer 12 – The Golden Khan of Ethengar

Basic Dungeons and Dragons

  • Publisher: TSR
  • Rules: Dungeons & Dragons BECMI
  • Developer:
  • Reference: gaz12 9246
0e-gaz-12 Ethengar
0e-gaz-12 gaz12 D&D BECMI Ethengar

Ethengar is a vast grassy plain, offering little protection from either the bitter winds of winter or the blistering sun of summer. This rough land tests the people who live on it every day, and those who survive that test grow strong and hardy. It is a land of warrior horsemen, as fierce and deadly as they are skilled.

Once a multitude of warring tribes, the people of Ethengar have united under the banner of a single leader, the Golden Khan. Learn more about him and his land in The Golden Khan of Ethengar, the twelfth in a series of Gazetteers for the Dungeons & Dragons game system. It gives you a comprehensive, in-depth look at his hand, including:

  • The geography of the Ethengar Plain, and life under the Golden Khan
  • A large, full-color map of the region
  • Separate DM and Player’s Books
  • A four-page pull-out section of Ethengar warfare
  • Rules for creating Ethengar characters
  • And a new character class, the shaman, complete with unique spell abilities!
  • Now adaptable to the AD&D 2nd Edition Game! Adventures included.

Product History

GAZ12: “The Golden Khan of Ethengar” (1989), by Jim Bambra, is the twelfth book in the “GAZ” series of Gazetteers for the Known World. It was published in December 1989.

Continuing the “GAZ” Sourcebooks. There had been a nine-month gap since the March release of the previous Gazetteer, GAZ11: “The Republic of Darokin” (1989), but there was a good reason for that: Gen Con had seen the publication of the first boxed set for the Known World, Dawn of the Emperors: Thyatis and Alphatia (1989), a supplement that would have fit right into the “GAZ” series.

Now, with “The Golden Khan of Ethengar”, the “GAZ” series was back in business with its standard layout of a 32-page player’s book that was full of character classes and rules and a 64-page GM’s book that contained the background on the geographical area. Nonethless, that big publication gap would be a sign of things to come, as “Golden Khan” would be the last regional sourcebook to appear in the “GAZ” series in its mature format.

“The Golden Khan” did differ from the majority of its predecessors in one way: it was only the second “GAZ” sourcebook to deal primarily with an aggressive and antagonistic region, following on GAZ10: “The Orcs of Thar” (1988). This trend would continue into the next book: GAZ13: “The Shadow Elves” (1990).

The Battlesystem Connection. As part of their trend to support Battlesystem (1985, 1989) in the ’80s, TSR included Battlesystem stats for the Khans’ hordes (as well as Basic D&D’s own War Machine stats).

Expanding Basic D&D. Late in the “GAZ” series, readers could expect that the Basic D&D system would be expanded with skills and with at least one new character class. That was indeed the case in “Golden Khan”, with the character class being a shaman. This was TSR’s first official look at a shaman character, and it was placed side-by-side with extensive rules for the spirit world.

However, “Golden Khan” also expanded Basic D&D’s characters in another way — one that was unprecedented for the “GAZ” series. It reimagined each of the four core classes for the culture. Thieves (brataks) were mostly the same, but fighters (horse warriors) got special rules for riding, magic-users (hakoman) had their own taboos, and clerics got to worship new immortals each of which offered a unique spell, much like the specialized priests of AD&D 2e (1989-2000).

“The Golden Khan” also included stats for new weapons (including a lasso!) and new armor as well as rules for clan status.

Expanding the Known World. “Golden Khan” details the Ethengar Khanates of the Known World. It was the last gap in the big square map of the Known World that TSR had been filling in for the last year, with the Khanates surrounded by previously detailed cultures like Glantri (GAZ3), the Broken Lands (GAZ10), Darokin (GAZ11), and the Northern Realms (GAZ7).

It was also a culture that had been hinted at as far back as X3: “Curse of Xanathon” (1982), which features Enthengarian immigrants into Vestland, and GAZ3: “The Principalities of Glantri” (1987), which includes the Ethengarian House of Singhabad in Glantri. However, there have been some changes. The evil deity Cretia from “Curse of Xanathon” has become more mischievous here. We also, of course, get lots of new detail on the Ethengarians. Most notably, the history of the Ethengarians in this book goes back to Blackmoor, making it one of a few “GAZ” modules that touched back on the Known World’s Arnesonian past.

The people of the Golden Khan were explicitly based on the Mongols. This Earth culture would be revisited as the Horde of the Forgotten Realms just a few months later in the Realms’ Empires event, beginning with FRA1: “Storm Riders” (1990).

Future History. Though the “GAZ” series was near to ending, years later fans published a series of new “GAZ” books of their own. One of them, GAZF7: “The Heldannic Order” (2007), detailed the Ethengarian’s age-old enemies, the Heldanners.

About the Creators. Bambra had previously been a member of TSR UK, probably best known for coauthoring the foundational Known World adventure, B10: “Night’s Dark Terror” (1986). After a few years working on The Enemy Within (1985-1988) for Games Workshop, Bambra returned to writing new TSR supplements, starting with “The Golden Khan of Ethengar”.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons – a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

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  • 2020-12-18 – Title changed from gaz12 to 0e-gaz-12.
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By thedarkelf007

I am a long term gamer, I run 6 RPG's a fortnight, host board game, card game and LANs each about once a quarter and have an addiction to buying more games. Games I am currently running are Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

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