Into the Burning Wastes
“I am Hamanu, King of the World, King of the Mountains and the Plains, King of Urik, for whom the roaring winds and the mighty sun have decreed a destiny of heroism, and to whom the life-giving waters and nourishing soils have entrusted the mightiest city of Athas”
-Hamanu, King of Urik
Urik at a glance:
Located northeast of Tyr, between the Dragon’s Bowl and the Smoking Crown Mountains, the square, clean lines of the city-state of Urik can be found.
Urik is a powerful city-state with teeming armies, enormous walls, bustling commerce, and wise sages, governed in an orderly framework established by the self-styled King of the World. Urik’s legions have never met defeat, and Hamanu has never run from battle. Any decision of importance made in the Tyr Region must consider the wishes of Urik’s sorcerer-king.
Urik is highly organized and militarized. A variety of laws contained in the lengthy document known as Hamanu’s Code governs commerce and taxes, specify holiday’s, sets standards for construction and artistry, and dictates family arrangements such as weddings, care for elders, and funerals. Templars test Urikite children and assign them to the vocations for which they are most suited. The city aspires to to be a meritocracy, but hidden webs of patronage and influence secure important posts and stations for people with the right connections.
Although Urik seems stable and well-ordered, it is every bit as oppressive as any city-state – perhaps more so, thanks to the number and efficiency of Hamanu’s templars. In recent weeks, the fall of Kalak of Tyr has upset Hamanu’s delicate balance by showing that sorcerer-kings who rule for centuries might not be capricious gods empowered to protect their people against all odds. Hamanu believes that he has nothing to fear from the Dragon, but he knows that Urik’s fortunes depend on trade with other cities. If unrest spreads beyond Tyr, even Urik might suffer. Thus, Hamanu’s templars keep an eye on developments in this, the most recent city to attract the Dragon’s ire, and pay for information from spies in Tyr and abroad.
About 20,000 within the city with many more in the surrounding plantations.
Sixty percent Human, Half-Giants are the most numerous minority, followed by dwarves, muls, and halflings. Thri-kreen, elves, and other races are represented but are a very small minority.
Cisterns gather runoff from the Ringing mountains, and deep wells throughout the city. The irrigated lands draw water from the few oases found nearby.
Urik enjoys a robust economy and is famed for its pottery, silk and obsidian. Providing the raw material for armaments throughout the Table Lands.
Urik’s armies are without peer.
Inns and Taverns:
Travelers can find accommodations throughout Potter’s Square and the Obsidian Quarter.
Destiny’s Kingdom: Sorcerer-King Hamanu rules Urik from his palace inside the massive fortress of Destiny’s Kingdom. The walled fortress covers one square mile at the center of the city, containing troop barracks, drill fields, and an armory to support the army, as well as administrative offices for the king’s templars.
The King’s Academy: The only legal psionic school in Urik is located within Destiny’s Kingdom and is called the King’s Academy. Students who attend the Academy are subject to a strict education that brings harsh punishment for failure. At the same time students are indoctrinated with the militarism that runs through the government of Urik.
Little Jungle: A portion of the drill fields inside Destiny’s Kingdom has been set aside for Hamanu’s halfling allies to make their homes. Little Jungle is the name given to the fenced off area, where the halflings build huts in the jungle style.
Pit of Black Death: Urik uses the site of an old obsidian mine for a gladiator arena, thus giving the arena its name, the Pit of Black Death. The Pit does not rise above the ground but is sunken into the ground. Stepped excavation provides viewing platforms for the crowd. All spectators must stand in the Pit, as there are no seats in the arena. The irregularly shaped combat area is made entirely of obsidian. The sun heats the black obsidian until it becomes almost unbearable for both combatants and spectators. As such most gladiator matches are held in the morning before the heat has become too great, or on rare occasions at night. Another danger of the obsidian is the thousands of sharp edges, shards, and spikes that protrude from the walls of the arena. These obsidian shards cover the walls and columns of obsidian that are scattered around the arena floor.
Potter’s Court: Pottery is an art form in Urik, and all other city-states recognize the superiority of Urikite pottery. The potters’ workshops are collected in the Potter’s Court area of the city. The concentration of so many immense kilns in the area, make Potter’s Court unbearably warm, even at night when most of the potters conduct their work.
Potters’ School: The Potters’ School is the largest group of psionic users who refuse to attend the King’s Academy or register with the authorities. While the Potters’ School teaches pottery casting and painting, skilled psions instruct students in the Way, outside of the influence of King Hamanu and his templars. The head instructor of the psions is Erriok (LN male human, shaper 7). He is rumored to have contact with the Veiled Alliance and work with them on occasion.
Three Sisters Observatory: The Three Sisters Observatory is a two storey building with a flat roof and many observation balconies built on top of a hill called Sunrise Point. The Three Sisters Observatory served as the king’s observatory until the construction of the Royal Observatory. Now the building is used to store old astronomical records and equipment, and has a run down, neglected appearance. The observatory gets its name from three identical granite hills nearby
Makla: The obsidian mines of Urik are located on the Mountain of the Black Crown, a peak in the Smoking Crown mountain chain. Urik’s economy is completely dependent on obsidian and the tools fashioned from it. The Urikite client village of Makla serves as a base camp for the mining operations on Black Crown. The village is located on the shores of the Lake of Golden Dreams. Heavily fortified with over 500 guards, it is rarely attacked by raiders.
Fort Courage: Fort Courage is a massive fortress on the trade road between Makla and Urik. This facility of House Stel is a supply point for caravans traveling between Urik and Makla and the halfling village of Ogo. Patrols are also sent from the fort to discourage raids on caravans along this route.