Dharuum (3.5e Environment)
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- 1 History
- 2 Inhabitants & Rulers
- 3 Infrastructure
- 4 Religion
- 5 Threats & Strife
- 6 Locales
- 6.1 A - Royal Residence of Blessed Ur and His Descendants
- 6.2 B - Necropolis Gates
- 6.3 C - Wall of Wonders
- 6.4 D - Sarafin Bazaar
- 6.5 E - The Academy
- 6.6 F - Garden of Pleasures
- 6.7 G - Allab's Qahva House
- 6.8 H - The Awry Tower
- 6.9 I - Temple of Many Gods
- 6.10 J - Untouchable Slum
- 6.11 K - Blessed Ur's Stand
- 6.12 The Seven Wells
- 6.13 Surroundings
- 7 Skills & Professionals
- 8 Examples of Townsfolk
In 2830, in the last decades of the Troubled Years, a tribal chieftain from the coastline of eastern Pansaer had a dream. He dreamed of water: not sea water, but thirst-quenching, life-sustaining sweet water. He dreamed of shade in a country where there so rarely was any. He dreamed of a place where his people could feel at home, where they would no longer have to be wanderers and vagabonds.
This chieftain was called Ur. He rallied his tribe with fiery words and unearthly charisma, and they conquered other tribes and wanderers on the shoreline. When Ur's folk had grown numerous, he declared his plan: they'd cross the Red Wastes and find a promised land, or die trying. Many spoke against it, but they were silenced by the more fanatical among Ur's followers. Harsh life on the coast was not worth it. They'd find themselves deliverance, or they'd find death.
The folk of Ur set off into the Red Wastes, and those who stayed behind considered them dead. No one could survive the horrors of that desert, nor could it be crossed; perhaps there was nothing on the other side at all. But after long years had passed, a great army of soldiers dressed in gleaming mail and scarlet cloaks marched along the coast, demanding tribute from every tribe and settlement they ran across. A new king ruled the eastern kingdoms: Al-Ur of Dharuum.
For through blind luck or divine guidance, Ur's people managed to reach the Caragos Eavorn on the other side of the Wastes. There, they found a sheltered groove in the mountain of Carag Qairin. Ur's dwarven companions built shelters and stockpiles into the living stone of the mountain, and the goblin bedouins who Ur had taken under his protection in the Red Wastes created the technological marvel of the Seven Wells. Now Ur and his people had water, and shade, and a home. His dream had come true.
The Seven Wells allowed the city to thrive, and the mountains that it was built against were rich with gems and minerals. Dharuum became richer and stronger than any other settlement in the east, and Ur was named Al-Ur and Blessed Ur by his people. He ruled a long reign, and was buried with honor by the anubals, who thereafter served the royalty of the east.
But the years are never kind. The caste system was in place in Al-Ur's time, and was based on tribal customs and hierarchy. The elite of Dharuum quickly came to understand that they could become even more powerful, even more wealthy, if they could starken the caste system. As the centuries passed, the sultan and his court, as well as the Priest and the Warrior castes, became oligarchs who trampled on the lesser castes.
Inhabitants & Rulers
The tribes that originally settled in what would become Dharuum were racially diverse: Ur accepted into his flock anyone who'd agree to follow him, which meant he could hardly be picky. This turned out to be to his benefit: the skillsets and knowledge that goblins and dwarves brought to the city allowed Dharuum to prosper. While the culture of the city has unified over the years, the races are as diverse as ever, and unlike in most other cities of Pansaer, no one race is dominant either in numbers or in social status.
Dharuum boasts a population of some 20,000 adults of various races plus their children, all tightly packed into the relatively small city area. Around 30% of the people of Dharuum are human, with another 30% being dwarves and a final 30% being goblins. These three races can be found in equal amounts in all four castes. Dunners and goliaths are unheard of in Dharuum, and sight of one is sure to raise interest or alarm.
The final 10% of the population consists mostly of the young race of centaurs. The third sultan of Dharuum, Al Hassan, was approached by Mieli, who claimed the sultan had committed blasphemy against the titan pantheon. It's anybody's guess whether the sultan actually had done so, but Mieli is not someone you want to disagree with. She assumed the form of a pitch-black mare and forced the sultan to copulate with herself as punishment (or to sate her sick pleasures), giving birth to the first centaurs. Centaurs, along with the anubals, are considered holy in Dharuum and hold high positions in the Priest and Warrior castes.
Dharuum lives by an extremely strict caste system. Intercaste trade, discussion, love, even casual contact, is seen as heretical and is often punishable, especially if the initiator of the contact was the lower caste member. This has led to the city being built in four quarters for the four castes: the Priests (under 0.1% of population, the Warriors (5% of population), the Merchants (10% of population) and the Servants (85% of population). The higher the caste, the closer to the mountain wall it resides. Slaves and women (except those of the Priest caste) are called Untouchables and are not permitted to live within the city walls independently.
Dharuum is ruled by the all-powerful sultan, currently Al Tayyib, the tenth sultan of Al-Ur's line. He's aided in this by his court, which consists of many Priests, some Warriors and a few extremely rich Merchants. In practice, the city needs little governing: the lower castes have accepted their place in the world. The better-off Servants have a fairly pleasant life, even. The city tends to run smoothly, and when it doesn't, the khopeshes of the Warriors make sure the hindrance is quickly removed. Tyranny, but at least it's efficient tyranny.
The caste system of Dharuum has led into the city being built into four quarters, one for each caste. It's not a hard-and-fast rule: some wealthier Servants live in the Merchant Quarter, usually as the cohort of a Merchant of lesser status; many Merchants live among the Warriors in their quarter; and members of the Merchant and Warrior castes are free to live among the lower castes, although obviously very few do.
Only the Priest Quarter is sacred: Priests alone are allowed to (and indeed have to) live there, and Merchants and Servants are not allowed to so much as set foot there. This highest quarter is an earthly paradise: the Priest caste clearly has no demand to live ascetically. The many palaces and minarets rise into the heights, with many of them built into the mountain walls, and flower gardens are common. Important locales in the Priest Quarter include the royal Residence of Blessed Ur and his descendants and the gates of Dharuum's vast Necropolis.
The Warrior Quarter is, while still opulent, at least much more ascetic than the Priest Quarter. The Warriors live in finely-built stone houses and dwellings built into the stone of Carag Qairin. There's little movement in the streets, unlike the other quarters: most Warriors spend their time patrolling other quarters or training in their homes or the Academy, a keystone locale in the Warrior Quarter.
The houses of the Merchant Quarter try for the glory of the higher quarters, but reaches neither the opulence of the Priest Quarter nor the simple aesthetic of the Warrior Quarter. Where the Priest and Warrior Quarters are fairly sparsely populated, the Merchant Quarter is quite packed. Poorer families often only have a single room for themselves. The wealthier Merchants, however, challenge even the Warriors in lavish living. True to its name, most everyone in the quarter has at least a small stand outside their house to peddle their goods from. The noise is deafening at all hours of the day. Important locales in the Merchant Quarter are the Wall of Wonders, Sarafin Bazaar and the enticing Garden of Pleasures.
The lowest of the quarters, both physically and in status, is the Servant Quarter. Servant is a catch-all term for the poorer castes: the internal hierarchy of the Servant caste is fiendishly complex, but from an indifferent, high-ranking perspective they're all the same. Most of Dharuum's food is produced here: while most everyone in the city except the Priests has a produce garden on their rooftop, the many food-producing gardens on the tops of Servant houses are tightly packed. In addition, the southeastern mountain wall of the Servant Quarter, along with the low slopes, has countless of hanging gardens and excavated orchards built into it - gardens like this can be found in all of the quarters, but not in these amounts. Important locales (to them, at least) in the Servant Quarter include Allab's qahva house, the first thing someone entering Dharuum will see, as well as the Awry Tower and the Temple of Many Gods.
Just outside the gates of Dharuum lies a great slum of the Untouchables. Slaves and women (often the same thing, unless the woman is of higher caste) are in many ways considered property in Dharuum, and unless watched over by a patron, a husband or the like, are not allowed to live in the city. The road leading to the desert is kept open by the Warriors, but elsewhere thousands of ragged tents and shelters, sometimes little more than holes in the ground, hug the wall for comfort and shade. The Servants live in unquestionable subordination: if they rebel, they won't be allowed even the meager morsels of water from the Wells that they currently receive. Some way into the desert lies the the location where Al-Ur first laid eyes upon his city-to-be.
Dharuum is an extremely conservative and an extremely religious city. This foundation was set by Al-Ur himself in the early days of the city: he believed it was the benevolence of the titan pantheon that allowed him to safely pass the Red Wastes - and it could very well be. Prayer calls roar out at the first sight of sun, and continue to sunset. Of course, the most devout will pray by night as well.
The religious affairs of Dharuum are maintained by the Priest caste, who are a combination of a clergy and a bureocracy. Most cities devote themselves (at least in name) to just one of the titans, but Dharuum makes a point of venerating them all. Every home in the Priest, Warrior and Merchant Quarters is expected to have a shrine for each of the titans, although the less devout often build just one small shrine to all of them.
The poorer Servants can't afford genuine shrines to the gods in their homes, so their religious affairs are settled in the Temple of Many Gods. The temple is a massive structure with separate halls for each of the gods, as well as an entryway with shrines and sacrifical fires for general faith and obedience. These entrance shrines are also used by those who venerate gods and divinities other than the titans - this is a grave offense, but one that's mostly overlooked for practical reasons.
Threats & Strife
The most immediate threat to Dharuum is the Crimson Sultan. The grandfather of the current sultan Al Tayyib, Al Mehmed believes himself the rightful ruler of Dharuum, since he never stopped living (having been reanimated as an undead creature), and the many Untouchables, bedouins, dunedelvers and desert freaks agree with him. The Crimson Sultan has given the city a hundred days to accede to his claims, after which all hell will break loose.
While Dharuum is a haven in the impossible harshness of the Red Wastes, the inhabitants of the desert would rather see the city brought down, its stone walls and houses crumbled and its people slain. The ancient monsters of deep Red Wastes, such as the efreet, fire giants and worse creatures still, sometimes bring their power to bear against the city. While the Warrior caste of Dharuum is powerful and the citizens can be organized into a militia quite easily, an attack of, say, fire giant raiders is a serious threat.
Dharuum has the highest concentration of powerful clerics in Pansaer, almost invariably of the Priest caste. Not all of them have the best of the city in mind, however: power tends to corrupt. A few secretive clerics have personality cults around them, or venerate the monstrous quasi-deities that the titan pantheon defeated at the beginning of time. What makes them dangerous is not only their power, but their access to the Necropolis below Dharuum: incredible power is to be gained from the inhumed, as well as the arcane texts and artifacts buried with them.
A - Royal Residence of Blessed Ur and His Descendants
|In Dharuum, some people intrinsically deserve|
better than the rest.
No matter where you stand in Dharuum, you can spot the golden roof and needle minarets of the royal residence of the sultan. The palace dominates the center of the Priest Quarter. While the sultan is seen as above the caste system in a fashion, considering he is of divine birth (Blessed Ur was in later times declared a direct descendant of Auri), he nonetheless mostly associates with the Priest caste. The royal residence reflects this: it is as much a temple as it is a palace.
The walls of the royal residence are a blinding white and decorated with ingenius murals painted into the plaster when it was wet. Thin, almost needle-like minarets poke out of the golden, domed roof, each of them containing a spellcasting priest who works both as a prayer caller and a defender of the residence. While the palace is called the royal residence of Blessed Ur and his descendants, Al-Ur never actually lived in the palace: he was a simple man at heart, and populated the palace with wives and advisors. He himself lived in the Warrior Quarter.
B - Necropolis Gates
Even with the considerable protection that Dharuum provides, death is still everyday this close to the Red Wastes. Every man, child and married woman who belongs to a caste is promised a resting place within the city, and this service has led to the construction of the Necropolis below the city. In its early years, Dharuum had a small population, but as the city grew, so did the Necropolis beneath it.
What once was a simple hallway for earthly remains has now become a vast burial complex. The key parts of the Necropolis are located near the gates in the Priest Quarter, but the long corridors stretch under the three upper quarters of the city. Smaller entrances to the Necropolis can be found in the Warrior and Merchant Quarters, and thus some enterprising grave robbers have bribed their way into the structure. This has led into the installation of devious traps and unliving guardians.
C - Wall of Wonders
Dharuum is stereotypically though of as a sour, zealous city with few entertainments to be had and pastimes to participate in, except of course prayer. While Dharuum certainly has fewer bards and taverns than other cities, it is not without amusements. A prime example of this is the Wall of Wonders: a stretch of wall between the Merchant and Servant Quarters devoted to the showcasing of a thousand and one amazing feats and skills.
Athletes, fire breathers and dancers, illusionists, jugglers, knife throwers, sword swallowers, trapeze walkers, ventriloquists, whip masters... every conceivable form of endurance and skill can be found at the Wall. One particularly ugly as well as common form of this is self-mutilation: poor Servants with no other skills or property can always take the blade or hot iron to themselves to coax a few copper pieces from the cruel-hearted.
D - Sarafin Bazaar
The heart of the Merchant Quarter is the Sarafin Bazaar. The bazaar has the highest concentration of market stalls in all of Dharuum, and it is here most shopping for the three upper castes gets done - Servants have their own meager markets. The bazaar is named after an influental widower of Al Mehmed's time, Sarafin bin Beidel, who cleverly used proxy Merchants to ignore the restriction her gender laid on her.
E - The Academy
Peace could not be kept in Dharuum without a powerful army: threats both inside and outside the city would quickly swallow the little haven of civilization. That is where the Warrior caste comes in. Warriors, including women who are married or under their father's care, are expected to train in various martial arts, which is where the Academy comes in.
The Academy is one of the finest institutes of martial training in all of Pansaer. Those who attend it are trained in the use of various weapons, most notably the khopesh, recurve longbow, kopis and qatar, as well as coached to peak physical and mental condition. One of the only styles of combat not taught at the Academy is mounted, since mounts are few and the centaurs, while often of Warrior caste themselves, will not be ridden. An outsider can buy his way into the training programs with a few handfuls of gold.
F - Garden of Pleasures
Prostitution is strictly forbidden in Dharuum, on pain of death. It would naive to assume, however, that it doesn't exist: Untouchables are often forced to sell their bodies for pittance, and secret whorehouses can be found in the Servant Quarter. For the higher castes, there's the Garden of Pleasures. The Garden bypasses the rule by presenting its men and women as "companions", with whom a paying customer can converse, practice arts, play games, and if the fancy takes them, conjugate.
The companions of the Garden are well-educated and well-paid (having to pay only a given percentage of their hefty payments to their patron). Indeed, being a Garden companion is often a far better alternative to a woman than life in their caste would otherwise be. Occasionally a companion is wed to a frequent customer of high caste: a dream come true. However, the tall iron fence surrounding the Garden and the castrati guards at the gates remind those involved what kind of enterprise the Garden of Pleasures is in the end.
G - Allab's Qahva House
|The sultan will sooner live in the Servant Quarter|
than Allab stop serving qahva.
Even though Dharuum is a devout city, alcohol is not forbidden, like it is in some of the most fanatical settlements of the east. It is rare, though, since all finer alcohol has to either be imported or be grown in stead of other, more necessary fair. Thus, the more common drink of choice for the poor and the rich alike is qahva, a caffeinated brew that's made from seeds of the same name. Qahva grows even in incredibly harsh conditions, so it's easier to cultivate in the desert city.
Allab's qahva house is a sizeable inn right within the city walls. The red-painted clay of the building stands out from the otherwise drab buildings of the Servant Quarter. Allab is a man of muscular fatness, of few words but many thoughts. He serves a strong, bitter type of qahva, well-liked by even the higher castes even though most of his customers are Servants. The second and third floors of the tall building are reserved for the higher castes, but the life of the house is in the ground floor, where qahva and conversation both flow freely.
In the secluded city of Dharuum, lodging is often hard to find, since inns are few and far between and people are wary of letting others into their already-packed homes. If you don't have friends in the city who'll let you use their apartment, or you can't negotiate with someone to rent a room for you, Allab's is the place to go. The qahva house has a few rooms in the basement for rent. They're crude, lack sunlight, and at 5 gp a night are akin to highway robbery, but in Dharuum the options are limited.
H - The Awry Tower
The Awry Tower gets its name from the unusual architecture of the structure: the "tower" is in fact a series of small basements leading deep underground, like an upside-down tower. The houses in the Servant and Merchant Quarters of Dharuum often have extensive basements that go deep, since room is at a premium, but none go as deep as the Awry Tower. Some claim that the Awry Tower doesn't have a bottom, that the games get more and more depraved by the floor until the structure reaches the underworld. This outlandish claim isn't true, but the lowest levels certainly aren't nice places.
The Tower serves as a center of gambling in the Servant Quarter, its exact location still unknown to but a few Priests and Warriors, all of whom either gamble at the Tower themselves or have been bribed to silence. Each floor of the Tower is devoted to a given type or variation of a gambling game. The seventh "story" is the most famous: the floor is devoted to the many games that are played with sabban, a domino-like set of ivory tiles. Other attractions include animal fights (sometimes with summoned animals) and combat sports.
I - Temple of Many Gods
Al-Ur said in his time that it is the priviledge and the duty of every man of Dharuum to devote himself to the gods and to pray to them daily. To this end, every Merchant, Warrior and Priest household in the city seeks to have shrines to the gods - the Merchants have simple shrines, the Warriors have ascetic shrines and the Priests have lavish shrines. But how do the Servants pray?
The Temple of Many Gods serves those who can't afford to parade their faith. The temple rises above the rest of the Servant's Quarter on a small hill, hugging the wall of the Merchant's Quarter. The temple consists of six round halls, each dedicated to one of the titan-gods, and a central plaza with smaller general shrines. The central plaza is something of a blasphemous place, since it is often used by the Servants to pray smaller animist gods, pagan gods of the Red Wastes or to ancestors.
J - Untouchable Slum
Built (the word is used lightly here) against the city wall is a multitude of ramshackle huts and tents, which house the throngs of Untouchables: slaves, patronless women and people without a caste. They are reviled by all of the four castes, and used as little more than slave labor and a punching bag.
Since the Untouchables are entirely dependant on water given to them in small amounts by the city, they can't revolt or even speak openly of their plight. Some kindly souls of the Servant (and occasionally Merchant) caste bring morsels of food and water to the Untouchables, and they're often hired for hard work for little pay. The newest threat to the city, Al Mehmed, has the full support of the Untouchables, and many have already joined his ranks - he doesn't make his vassals starve and thirst and toil like animals.
K - Blessed Ur's Stand
A stone platform and a small shrine, beautiful in their simplicity, rise to mark the spot where Blessed Ur first laid his eyes on the simple cleave in the wall that would become his city and the eventual capital of the east. People pilgrimage to the site on certain holy days, invariably during the earliest and latest hours of the day. Any other time would make even the short desert trek to the shrine a dangerous experience.
The Seven Wells
The only reason Dharuum can exist are the Seven Wells: a technological marvel beyond comparison. Built by the greatest minds of goblin bedouins in the first year of the city, the Wells are dug deep into the crust of the earth, bringing up tons of icy-cold water at every hour of the day. People are free to take as much water as they want: they mechanism that pulls water from the deeps is effective enough to sate the thirst of the densely-populated city.
One of the wells is located on the Priest Quarter, near the Necropolis gates. Two can be found in the Warrior Quarter, one near the Academy and the other close to the southern mountain wall. Merchant Quarter houses three wells: one hugging the northwestern mountain wall, the second near the Wall of Wonders and the third on the eastern corner of Sarafin Bazaar. Servant Quarter only has one well, on the same hill the Temple of Many Gods is located.
Dharuum doesn't have surroundings per se. Visitors are free to explore the sights of the desert, which are to die for, or try to climb the steep walls of Carag Qairin, which house some magnificent creatures, but other than that, Dharuum is a city severed from the rest of the world.
Skills & Professionals
|Dharuum marketplaces peddle masterpieces|
of human, dwarf and goblin make.
Dharuum does practically no trade with other cities, and only limited trade with the bedouins and dunedelvers, so the selection of goods and services is limited. What is sold in Dharuum, however, is of the utmost quality, and if you look hard enough, you'll be bound to find a few choice rarities.
All weapons, armor and shields, as well as many pieces of adventuring gear are available in masterwork quality. Again, Dharuum has access to quality, if not quantity.
- Appraise (up to DC 20)
- Craft (any that seem sensible; up to DC 25)
- Decipher Script (up to DC 30)
- Forgery (up to DC 25)
- Handle Animal (up to DC 20)
- Heal (up to DC 30)
- Knowledge (arcana, architecture and engineering, history, nobility and royalty up to DC 30; dungeoneering, local, the planes up to DC 25; geography up to DC 20)
- Perform (up to DC 25)
- Profession (any that seem sensible; up to DC 25)
- Spellcraft (up to DC 30)
Dharuum might be a bit backwards when it comes to newer inventions and techniques, but the historical city has access to skill and lore that has been lost elsewhere. Buying a skill check costs DC x 5 gp (rounded down) or 50 gp, whichever is higher. Skills that cannot be used untrained cost twice this amount. These skills can be "bought" from Dharuum, although for check DCs of 20 and above, a Gather Information check of the same DC is required to locate a proper professional.
- Simple Weapons: all, except sickle, longspear, heavy crossbow, and light crossbow.
- Martial Weapons: handaxe, kopis, light pick, sap, short sword, flail, longsword, heavy pick, scimitar, warhammer, falchion, glaive, khopesh, heavy flail, longbow, shortbow, and goblin longdagger.
- Exotic Weapons: whip, dire flail, and bolas.
While the innovation of higher-caster citizens means that complex weaponry is available in Dharuum, it's often not available unless you know the right vendor. Weapons sold in Dharuum come in both Medium and Small sizes, due to the ubiquity of goblins in the city.
- Light Armor: padded, and chain shirt.
- Medium Armor: all.
- Heavy Armor: splint mail, and banded mail.
- Shields: buckler, light steel shield, and heavy steel shield.
- Extras: none.
The rarity of animals and wood means that armor and shields of leather and timber are rare in Dharuum. This is offset by the availability of quality metal armor. Armor sold in Dharuum comes in both Medium and Small sizes, due to the ubiquity of goblins in the city.
Goods and Services
- Adventuring Gear: all, except winter blanket, fishhook, and fishing net.
- Special Substances and Items: all, except Everburning Torch, sunrod, and tindertwig.
- Tools and Skill Kits: all.
- Clothing: all, except cold weather outfit.
- Food, Drink and Lodging: all.
- Mounts and Related Gear: guard dog, donkey or mule, and pack and riding saddle.
- Transport: none.
- Spellcasting and Services: untrained and trained hireling, messenger, and spells of 6th level and lower.
All of the wood in Dharuum is imported, so items built of wood are an exquisite rarity. An item made of wood costs a hundred times as much as it normally would. Many items that would be built of wood elsewhere are made with other materials in Dharuum and are available for the normal prices. Firewood is replaced by dried grass and dung. Animals are also rare, and thus available for ten times the normal price.
A DC 15 Gather Information check makes the following items and services available:
- Heavy crossbow, light crossbow, halberd, composite longbow, composite shortbow, two-bladed sword, half-plate, tower shield, everburning torch, tindertwig, grenadier flasks of acid and alchemist's fire, and spells of 7th level.
A DC 25 Gather Information check makes the following items and services available:
- Hand crossbow, repeating heavy crossbow, repeating light crossbow, full plate, falconry gear, snatchpole, giant spider mounts, grenadier flasks of holy water, and spells of 8th level.
Examples of Townsfolk
- Aadar bin Wadun: In the serious city of Dharuum, Aadar brings a touch of color. He is a married dwarf Merchant who came up with the concept of minor pets: since practically no one would have space to keep a larger pet, Aadar thought to sell songbirds and spiders and stick insects in small cages and glass domes. Business is booming. Aadar stocks some larger pets as well, such as cats, hares, lizards and toads. Aadar likes his animals a bit too much, which has led into his face and hands to be permanently maimed - indeed, he's missing the ring and little fingers of his right hand. He can't seem to resist the temptation of telling yet another story of how one of his "lovely little furballs" mutilated him whenever he meets people. Mechanically: as 4th-level ranger.
- Amir bin Jibade: Amir is an example of how the caste system is less a law and more a tool for the powerful. The centaur was born into the Priest caste that his parents Jibade and Khalia belonged to, but then his much older brother first slayed a Priest and then betrayed the city by joining Al Mehmed. Amir's parents were executed and Amir himself was stripped of his caste. He was first demoted to an Untouchable, but the sultan Al Tayyib came to think that he deserved worse. Now he is of the Warrior caste, expected to train himself to peak condition and then die in a hopeless battle against his brother. Amir, who once was a positive example of centaur wilderness, has become sullen, desperate and scared: he doesn't want to face his skilled brother, and he most certainly doesn't want to die. Mechanically: as centaur 1st-level fighter.
|The sultan lives on the highest Quarter,|
but Kora lives higher still.
- Kora Feather-Cloaked: Dharuum lies at the bottom of a great recess on the steep walls of Carag Qairin. While the sultan commands his city with absolute authority, the peaks belong to harpies. They are wild creatures, and associate with the city as little as possible, but some rudimentary trade does take place. The harpies can hunt the birds and beasts of the mountain and exchange their meat and hides for equipment they couldn't make themselves. One such trader is Kora (her real name is impossible for non-avians to say, so she's called by the sound she makes when happy), often called Feather-Cloaked due to her beautiful bright-red wings and coat. Kora sees and knows a lot more than the citizens believe: a high vantage point has its benefits. She's one of the few harpies to speak the Khabarat language, and actually enjoys speaking with those who are not terrified of her inhuman nature. Mechanically: as harpy archer.
- Luck-Be-Lady Bimm: Bimm is a young, foolish Servant with a low-paying job as a warehouse worker in the cheapest part of the Merchant Quarter. What little money he makes he instantly blows away in the Awry Tower. There's no game of chance that Bimm wouldn't participate in and subsequently lose in: he seems to have extraordinarily bad luck. He gets his nickname from his habit of incessantly mumbling "luck-be-a-lady", a kind of half-hearted prayer to Luni to let him win just once. Bimm is a short man, balding long before his time. His most memorable physical feature is his yellowed, rotten teeth, which he reveals whenever he grins nervously. Mechanically: as 2nd-level commoner.
- Osris: Anubals work as morticians, or priests, or carriomancers - these are their god-given roles and their cultural niche. But Osris doesn't: for reasons understood only to him, he prefers to work as a salesman, maintaining a lucrative stall in the Merchant Quarter. While his stall is a simple affair of azure cloth, and is constantly on the move, it's still instantly recognizable due to Osris and his anubal hound standing out of the crowd. Osris has all the unreadable coldness of his anubal peers, but directs it to trade instead of funerary practices. No one is foolish enough to try and haggle with him, or to question his choice of career. If you want to buy magical items in Dharuum, Osris is your best bet. Mechanically: as greater anubal warden.
- Sibindej: An older woman among the companions of the Garden of Pleasures, Sibindej is sought out not by those who look for beauty in a woman (although she is far from ugly), but by those who wish for intelligent conversation. Her sixty years of age have given her time to study the manuscripts provided by her patron, and she's done a lot of thinking of her own. In a city of decadent lords who claim themselves to be great scientists and philosophers, she is a genuine scientific mind. Many younger Merchants and even some Priests hire her to discuss their theories. Sibindej wears simple clothes, often gray, and her bracelets and ankle bands are invariably silver. Mechanically: as 6th-level expert.
- Tabbu bin Dos: At first glance Tabbu might seem like just another Untouchable beggar. She begs for pittance at the city gates, peddling little trinkets made by her children and occasionally herself. However, she's actually working for the Crimson Sultan: like many Untouchables, she was mesmerized by the idea of the old sultan returning. Her grandmother told her stories of Al Mehmed's reign, and they certainly sound better than a life of thirst and prostitution under the baking heat. Tabbu has a photographic memory, and tells the agents of the Crimson Sultan (disguised as dwarf and goblin traders) who's gone through the gate and of rumor in the city. The harsh years have made Tabbu somewhat deluded, and her immaculate memory means she sometimes has trouble separating the past from the present. Mechanically: as 1st-level commoner.
- The Branded Man: It's hard to say what the Branded Man might have once looked like, or even his exact race. Years after years of self-branding, fire breathing and setting himself on fire for the benefit of the crowd has left him a scorched wreck. The Branded Man speaks with a surrendered voice, munching on hot coals or holding his hands in a brazier all the while. Sometimes he is taken by a dark rage, and when that happens, the rest of the performers of the Wall of Wonders are quick to evacuate. Mechanically: as 8th-level barbarian.
- Varav bin Sor Bekaar: As his name suggests ("bin Sor Bekaar" means "son of the Red Wastes", with Sor Bekaar being an ancient name for the desert), Varav is unnaturally attached to the desert. Varav was originally a bedouin of a small goblin tribe, and was born with a grotesque mutation: he had many lizard-like features, and when he grew older, could take on the guise of a massive komodo dragon. He was cast out as soon as his parents died, and came to live near the city to have easy access to water. Varav is a spiteful soul. He lashes out easily, can't control his emotions, and more than once has wounded or even killed someone in a fight. This means he has to live in the desert instead of the city proper, a feat only possible due to his strange nature. Mechanically: as fiendish 5th-level ranger and 5th-level lizard skinwalker.
- Xanka bin Varannas, Archpriest of the Necropolis: Xanka is the unquestioned master of the Necropolis of Dharuum, surpassing even the eldest anubals in his role. Xanka is thoroughly blessed by Groke: as much is evident from his unearthly age (127 years and counting), the power of his divine spells and the fact that his shadow seems to move on its own. Xanka no longer leaves the Necropolis, having grown to love the cold and dark. Xanka has seen the birth of sultans and attended to their last rites - earthly matters no longer matter to him much. Mechanically: as 17th-level cleric with the Death domain and a greater shadow cohort.