Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shaddizhar - Kingdom of Nomads

Before I present the Jewel of Shaddizhar, the city of Arenjun it's worth printing some details on this kingdom in the Realms of Chirak for background reference. This is the original overview as seen in the RoC campaign book:

Iron Age desert kingdoms struggling under Nithiadian oppression
Cultural Level: steel age
Population: approximately 1-2 million
Government: desert chiefdoms
Rulers: various sheiks, especially Azmahur Jhayan
Religions: animism, worship of Gathas and the Lost One.
Social Titles: commoner, warrior, lord, sheik
Coinage: copper dinari, silver dinari, gold dinari
Allies: Huron, Adenach
Enemies: Nithiad

The Shaddizhari are a nomadic culture of desert tribesmen who resent the Nithiadians' incursions, and like the Huron minotaurs are treated by the Nithiadians are a source of slaves. Though culturally limited, the Shaddizhari have storytellers who recall tales of their ancient greatness, and they respect learned men. The lands of these people are harsh, however, and they have little time to do more than struggle day to day against the elements and beasts of the land.

   The region of Shaddizhar is laden with ruins of ancient glory. Few of the ruins in this region are more than 1,500 years old, but it is clear that sometime in the past the people of the land were united and strong. No one has yet solved the mystery of what the tale of the Shaddizhar empire was, or why it crumbled.

   Besides the Shaddizhari, there are large and well-organized hordes of centaurs that dwell in the region, mostly peaceful but on occasion prone to violence, especially against Nithiadians and slave hunters. Other nonhuman factions in the region include the Riverblood Dragonborn, the Ulingar orcs, western Kulaidoriin elves, Redfoot halfling tribes, Spindlefire Gnomes and Gromoshti goblins, the Nomarakki Tieflings of the eastern Everdread Desert, and the Masharanza shifters. Indeed, humans are in a minority in this region of the world.

   While there are a great many nonhuman groups in the region, the Shaddizhari nomads and city folk still make do. They regularly war with Nithiadian incursionists and slavers, while tentatively trading with mysterious southern traders from various strange lands as well as Adenite traders.

Among those Shaddizhari who have settled down and no longer roam as nomads there can be found two distinct cultural groups, including the Zettaram culture and the Krytian subculture of the west, which is also heavily influenced by Nithiadian beliefs and ways.

   The remaining Shaddizhari who live as nomads divide themselves in to five distinct tribes. The five tribes are called the Khulinar, Rezhaman, Jhayani, Aradesh and Nethromal. Each of the five tribes lives simple but determined lives, and try to use diplomacy and tact before resorting to violence whenever possible, except against obvious threats.

Among the inland Zettaram culture are several cities along the Shimharan River, including Imhan, Arunjen and the rough trade center Bordertown. Bordertown is a place where most of the nomadic and nonhuman groups can gather to trade and interact with one another in safety.

   The coastal cities of Shaddizhar are dominated by the Nithiadian-influenced Krytian subculture, and include Valdenar and the Freeport of Krytia, although many Arunjenians consider themselves Krytians as well. Due to the Nithiadian influence in these cities, many Shaddizhari-born natives are accorded a measure of respect by their peninsular rivals and sometime allies. This makes the Krytians less trusted in the eyes of their nomadic and inland kin.

   The Firemane Lands of the Centaur Plains are one of the more dangerous regions to travel to, and only the diehard centaurs enjoy ruling the region, which is pocked with old volcanic spills from the Apocalypse. Elsewhere, Zettaram and the Southern Passage are a major center of human activity and trade, as well as a center for many other local nonhuman communities. The Southern Passage is the safest trade route to the mysterious River folk of the south.

   There are many monsters in Shaddizhar, including an infamous Thousandspawn known as Echidnae, the Mother of all Monsters, said to dwell somewhere beneath the flood plains of the river, birthing new monsters every year when the river overflows. Indeed, many hideous beasts rise up from the muck during this time, and brave warriors are tasked with the job of putting them down while protecting those who farm the region.

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