Into the Burning Wastes
“Raiders troubling the road to Raam? Unfortunate, I suppose, but it hardly seems like cause for concern. Does anything important come from Raam? Who would want to go to Raam, anyway? If you must, send someone to bribe some other band of savages to drive them off”
~Sadag, Nibenese noble
Nibenay at a glance:
Ancient beyond measure, Nibenay is a wealthy, powerful city-state immersed in decadence and intrigue. Most Nibenese regard themselves as the only civilized people remaining in a world of barbarism and desolation; the events that take place outside the city walls are little more than the squabbles of savages. Even the architecture of Nibenay reflects these prejudices. Splendid statues and carvings cover the walls, public buildings, and private homes throughout the city, depicting great heroes and honored ancestors from ages long forgotten by the rest of Athas. Some are works of surpassing beauty, some glorify ancient triumphs, and others depict shocking hedonism.
About 26,000 within the city with many more in the surrounding plantations.
Sixty percent Human, Half-Giants are the most numerous minority at just over one in ten, followed by dwarves, elves, and half elves. Thri-kreen, muls, and other races are represented but are a very small minority.
The city of Nibenay is situated on the border of a large area of hot springs. Called the Plain of Burning Water, the hot springs provide the water needed by the citizens of Nibenay, drawn and stored in the city reservoir.
Nibenay has a booming economy and is famed for its wood above all else. That said it also produces more mundane goods such as rice, vegetables, fruit but also small quantities of copper.
Nibenay is sequestered behind mountains and jungle – making attack difficult. The greatest single military force within Nibenay is the King’s Guard, a force of 1000 half-giants clad in obsidian and copper armor and armaments.
Inns and Taverns:
Travelers can find accommodations in the Western District of the city. Rice dishes and sake or for the more wealthy fruit wines are common – meat is rarely on the menu however, when it is it’s smoked.
The City Reservoir: The Shadow King had this enormous stone cistern constructed centuries ago to supply the city with water in the event of a siege. The top of the reservoir is covered by a lush garden maintained by the templars.
The Coliseum: The coliseum rises above the dilapidated buildings in a rundown part of the city. The size of the arena is immense, taking up four city blocks and rising six stories high. It is an ancient building and it is said that not even the Shadow King knows when the coliseum was built or by whom. Elaborate carvings and etchings cover the coliseum’s stonework. The square shaped arena floor stretches almost a quarter of a mile across.
Monasteries of the Exalted Path and of the Serene Bliss: NIbenay contains two monastic orders: The Monastery of the Exalted Path and the Monastery of the Serene Bliss. The Exalted Path is an all-male monastic order that teaches a strict dogma of discipline and acceptance of authority. It is led by Grandmaster Malkaz De’Mao, formerly Grandmaster Thong Nal, and is the largest academy for psionic study in Nibenay. The Serene Bliss is the all-female counterpart to the Exalted Path and is led by the abbess Au Treng. Monks of both orders are treated with great respect by Nibenese citizens.
Naggaramakam: The Naggaramakam is a walled, forbidden inner city where the sorcerer‐king Nibenay lives with his templar‐wives. Only templars are allowed to enter and leave the Naggaramakam. While slaves are permitted to be brought into the subcity, once inside they may never leave. No free citizen is ever granted access to the Naggaramakam. The sorcerer‐king’s palace is said to be carved into a stone relief of the Shadow King with dancing women, representing his templar‐wives, strung together as if they were his hair.
The Omnipotent Receivers: A line of large statues of sorcerer‐king Nibenay stand on each side of the main road leading to the city. The statues are called the Omnipotent Receivers as it is believed that King Nibenay sees all that the statues see.
The Plain of Burning Water: The city of Nibenay is situated on the border of a large area of hot springs. Called the Plain of Burning Water, it is the source from which all citizens receive their daily water rations. Each noble house owns at least one of the hot springs which is one of the main sources of wealth for the nobility.
Sage’s Square: Sage’s Square is the largest open area inside of the city. The grand emporiums of all the dynastic merchant houses are located around the square and are the center of trade in Nibenay, where almost anything can be purchased. The square was named Sage’s Square because scholars and sages use to gather under the shadow of the huge agafari trees that grew in the square, and debate philosophy. This tradition ended only a few years ago when a renegade defiler, fleeing the templars, defiled the trees. King Nibenay had the dead trees removed from the square and ordered that no other trees be planted in order to remind the public of of the danger of renegade defilers.
The School of Augurs: Next to the Monastery of the Exalted Path, the School of Augurs is the second largest school for psionic instruction in Nibenay. The head master is a dwarf named Djef, who developed a scheme to help support the school by hiring out its students to transfer telepathic messages and to teleport‐deliver small parcels.
Exalted Path monks tend to look down their noses at Augur students, thinking them undisciplined and crass. This has caused a rivalry between the two academies, though neither have engaged in open hostilities to one another.
Cromlin: The trading village of Cromlin sits on the shores of the Silt Sea, northeast of Nibenay. House Shom runs the village, though House M’ke has a sizable operation as well. Together they handle the vast majority of trade from the north, as traders attempt to bypass the chaos of Raam. Cromlin traders use silt skimmers to navigate the silt shoals, keeping the trade route to Break Shore open. The shoal navigators of Cromlin are in high demand, for they are among the select few who can lead silt skimmers along the buried paths.
Cromlin is a wild place, full of people who are too untamable to live in the cities. Thieves of all sorts reside in the village. Silt pirates use it as a haven and other scoundrels and restless souls are drawn to its sandy shores. Master trader Hurdll Crost and his agents turn a blind eye towards shady characters as long as they remain to do business in his village.
Salt View: Nestled in the Mekillot Mountains, Salt View is a large chaotic sprawl of tents and buildings located within a large cavern on the mountain’s eastern face. Ex-slaves of all races fill the community. The tribe originally practiced raiding as its primary occupation, but today it is known for a lavish form of storytelling called theater. Salt View’s traveling theater troupes are welcome across the Tyr Region, given much the same respect and protections as bard receive. The troupes perform for caravans, at oasis villages, and even in the city-states of Tyr, Nibenay, and Balic.
Vavrek: Vavrek is typical of the small farming villages located throughout the Fertile Crescent. The village is located southwest of Nibenay within sight of the Crescent Forest. The villagers grow vegetables, mostly soybeans. The land the village is built on is owned by the Koelse noble family, to which the villagers must pay rent. The village is administered by a templar-wife of Nibenay named Sonyalah.