City of Hana, Present Day
Hana is a thriving sprawl of commerce, a melting pot of ethics and opportunities, and a chaotic haven for criminal elements. Hana has no unified city government, no city guard, and no citywide regulation. Powerful and greedy merchant princes live on top of ancient ruinous ziggurats from which they wage endlessly against each other to control
the various markets of the city: spices, silk, drugs, slavery, mercenaries, ancient Ivorian relics, textiles, exotic woods and foods, wildlife, entertainment, and crime. Below their palaces are spread out the untamed streets of Hana, lined with the tents of an overflowing population all the way down to the ramshackle coastline of dock and maze-like warehouses.
It is a region that sees frequent sub-tropical rains and storms. It is humid and becomes more than a little smelly when rains abate for more than a few consecutive days. It is not especially hot nor cold, neither falling beneath 50ºF on the coldest of nights nor rising above 90º on the hottest of days. Outside of the city sprawl are miles of suburbs that push up against the jungle-like rain forest that covers most of the peninsula. Treasure seekers frequently disappear into the jungle in search ruins and relics from the fallen Ivorian Empire, some never return.
Besides the chaotic merchant empire of the Hanois peninsula there are also scattered cities controlled by iron-fisted tyrants. The land between each city is often jungle and danger filled, providing year-round opportunity for caravan guards to earn their keep. Largest of nearby political powers is the Domain of Zydol. A fiefdom of islands to the west of the Hanois peninsula are where the legendry and infamous demonmancer Zydol dwells. Though numerous cities dot the islands under the wizard's control, travelers are advised to avoid the region as it is
said that those who tarry too long within Zydol's broad reach rarely leave his domain. The Domain of Zydol, like the rest of the world, is accessed from Hana by boat. The massive Daul Swamps deter overland travel to the distant Shinomen Lands or the United Kingdoms.
Hana is built along the coast of the Hanois (Han o-eye) Peninsula. Three complexes of massive flat-topped pyramids called sepif (sep eef) are the remains of an ancient civilization known as Ivoria, which was swallowed up by flooding from the sea and sank beneath the Great Daul Swamp. The rest of the Ivorian civilization fell into decline and ruin thousands of years ago. The massive sepif are the only source of buildable stone in the region. Over the centuries their stone has been pillaged and used for the building of scattered stone structures throughout the city; these are the buildings and establishments of the wealthy. On of the mesa-like tops of the sepif the merchant princes keep their luxurious palaces. Presently, the guards of the princes deter people from stealing more stone from the structures in fear that one day they may collapse and ruin several fortunes of the princes who live atop of them. Still, for a very long time stone was taken from them and each of these structures have warrens of maze-like tunnels burrowed through them where cults, criminals, and monsters call home. Adventurers often enter into these cramped tunnels in search of the treasures of its denizens or hoping to find some ancient Ivorian relic. The merchant princes and guilds encourage this practice in hopes that it will deter people from making homes within.
Beneath the sepif are scattered stone buildings of ancient and borrowed material are built nearby. These are the homes and businesses of the middle class. Most people who live here have ties to the merchant princes that live above them or they are able to pay for the privilege of a permanent roof over their heads. As one travels closer to the harbor and coastline, away from the sepif, the presence of tent-dwellings and businesses increases until there is naught but a noisy sea of colorful silk tents lining haphazard and crowded streets as far as the eye can see. Silk and other cloths are one of the largest exports of Hana. Since stone is carefully controlled and buildable wood doesn't really exist, most people live in and work out of tents.
Crime, particularly piracy, is a common problem along the docks and about the nearby coastlines of the Hanoi peninsula. Hundreds of protected coves and small islands make it easy for experienced pirates to hide and surprise passing vessels. The merchant princes pay well to guards willing to travel and defend ships against these interlopers. Shipboard crime continues deep into the culture of Hana though, smuggling, ransoming of cargo, fencing of captured goods, and the selling into slavery of unfortunates captured by slaver pirates are a common part of Hana's underworld. These criminal elements begin at sea, fill the harbor day and night, and continue up the Siva River. Most brutal are the mantis-like Thi-Kreen pirate ships which work together to prey upon all others. Most people give alien looking Thi-Kreen a respectful wide birth and every child knows that they see humanoids as nothing more than useful food. Perhaps fortunately, the Thi-Kreen have a competitor on the open seas in the form of the ocean traveling and bloodthirsty Qegan people; a nomadic group of human pirates who's lives begin and end on the high seas.
The lawlessness of Hana attracts a lot of commerce through its streets, but it is not absolute. Personal guards of powerful guilds or merchant princes patrol areas vital to their interests and protect the property and ambitions of those whom they work for. Hired bodyguards is a thriving business and a skilled warrior with a sharp eye can easily find daily work doing such. The princes usually make their guards visible on the streets with white silk shirts and brightly colored sashes or bandoleers which allow guards to recognize each other. There are many places though where the only law one has a right to is that which can be bought and bullied. It is entirely possible to draw blood on a busy city street in front of many on lookers and get away with it. Merchant prince guards try to discourage such blatant atrocities, calling it bad for business, but if the attackers look well trained or the defender is killed before the guards can intervene then the guards often do nothing. Punishment varies depending on who it is that a person has made enemies with, there is no uniform penal code. Blackmail and murder are common tools of revenge. Perhaps the most humiliating and public means of executing an enemy though are the tide line posts. Here, the offender is chained by their ankles to a barnacle covered post at the low-tide water mark. Their demise is ensured either by loss of blood, drowning, or by the numerous undead that call the waters of the coastline home; passersby often take wagers on which is most likely to occur to the unfortunate first.
Undead are yet one more reason for people to remain in crowds, especially at night. Tales are probably exaggerated, but all natives know that at night there are undead predators that emerge from the dark places between and within the sepif edifices and from the waters of the harbor to prey on people who are unwise enough to travel alone.
The people of Hana are use to living in close proximity. Crowds provide safe anonymity and reduce the odds of being the target of a crime. Poverty is rampant and the gap between the wealthy and the poor is vast. Even copper coins are cut into pieces to represent ever smaller money values. Yet the private palaces of the merchant princes are set high above the general populace and visible through-out the entire city, inspiring many to take risks and chance their future for better fortune. For most the dream never comes true, some find themselves so deeply in debt that they are turned into slaves, but a few rise up and become heroes and tale of their success races like wildfire through the brothels and smoking tents.
Natives of the Hanois Peninsula are of olivine complexion, tend towards shorter statures, and have dark eyes and dark, curly hair. Wealthy natives straighten their hair as a sign of affluence. Many foreigners of all races (called birahti) also call Hana home. Most natives are friendly to visitors, particularly because visitors tend to have money to spend. Anything can be bought and everything is sold amid the colorful silk tents that flood the streets of Hana.
Why Hana is a Great Place for Adventure
Hana is a city where anything can happen. Those who rise above the squalor of its tent-city can quickly gain great repute. Cults, ruins, dungeons, conspiracy, exotic magic, nearby legendry figures, and a million shades of ethics make Hana a place that adventurers can find exciting from low to high level play, without ever having to leave the city. For those who need a break from city life there are the ruin filled Daul Swamps, the nearby Fens of Fear, wild pirate and swashbuckling opportunities for adventure on the high seas, and the exotic magic-filled lands of Zydol all within just a few days travel. Though a knight in full-plate armor would definitely be out of place, any character class can find access in Hana.
Rogues will find lots of opportunity to put to use their varied social and illicit skills. successful ones gain entry into the numerous guilds of the city as either a treasure seeker, sepif patrol guide, agent of assassination and espionage, or as part of a traditional street thief guild. Thievery, swindling, and the process of separating people from their money are widely employed throughout Hana, so to be good at any of these skills is one way to enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.
Entertainment of the masses can be a powerful tool. Talented bards can make a decent living entertaining the various merchant princes. Particularly skilled bards are highly sought after as diplomats, a means to sway public opinion, and also for their wide range of knowledge that they possess.
Fighters are always in high demand. In a city without formal laws there is a lot of need for talented warriors who can enforce the will and protect the assets of the merchant princes. Swords-for-hire can easily support themselves working caravans, paying "persuasion" visits to delinquent debtors, lending aid to various guilds, and exploring the halls of the sepif. Several mercenary companies and adventurer guilds welcome and encourage the disciplined skills of a good fighter.
Barbarians fit in very well, just as fighters. Their wilderness skills make them valuable company when traveling outside of the city and their chaotic rages are harmonious with the themes of the city.
The exotic martial styles of monks are a perfect match to the streets of Hana. In Hana, steel is an imported luxury in Hana and the wearing of heavy armors is foolish due to heat and humidity. Monks are also highly desired as body-guards for situations where diplomatic discretion is necessary and the carrying of a weapon not appropriate. Numerous schools of martial arts accept the highly talented and teach the mystic skills of the monk class.
Clerics in Hana are an invaluable asset. The poverty and climate of the city makes disease a constant threat. Add in the problem of undead and it is easy to see why clerics immediately enjoy an elevated position within Hanoan society. Merchant princes carefully vie for favoritism among the churches who make their presence in Hana, providing support that a cleric can depend on, though often with some price of allegiance. Most clerics are willing to make this concession for an opportunity to bring their gods word to the desperate masses of poor. Hana's natives are widely polytheistic, familiar with the ways of various faiths both old and new. Since the merchant princes have use for the talents of many gods, all religions can find a place within Hana, even if it is only as a cult status. As you might suspect, religious conflict is not unheard of either and a martial priest can find lots of opportunity to do damage to the servitors of other gods if they are so inclined.
Paladins are the sword of the church. They are highly valued for their ability to protect their church from the predations of opposing faiths and are frequently employed in the most dangerous parts of the city. Paladins enjoy a good reputation among the poor, but often walk a dangerous line with the rich and corrupt who see them as a dangerous tool that requires careful handling. Paladins can expect to easily find plenty of exciting work to do in service to their church. A good deal of churchly assets are put towards a successful paladin's needs.
Wizards and magic are feared by the common poor, but those who have wealth highly value wizards ability to commune with spirits, warp the minds of enemies, ward their households, and provide level and realistic advice to uncloud the rampant suspicious mysticism that infects the populace.
Sorcerers are said to have the blood of demons or of Ivorian royalty in them. In any other part of the world one might think this stigma to be a bad thing, but in Hana magic is a powerful tool and those who display skill in it can garner tremendous respect. Sorcery, warlocks, and other naturally talented casters have their own guilds. Wizards and sorcerers are courteous to each other, but a tangible gulf of suspicion exists between the two.
Rangers work as well in the jungles, seeking out ancient Ivorian ruins, as they do in the city, tracking down smugglers. Most rangers enjoy a wide variety of exotic animal companions. Lightly armored, flexible in their martial and social skills, a ranger can find welcome among many of the city's guilds, but can just as easily survive on their own.
Druids represent the dangerous power and mystery of the jungles and all the terrifying creatures that dwell within. Most commoners would sooner come within arms reach of a Thri-Kreen than cross paths with a druid. Yet, druids are sought after for their ability to make travel on the seas easier, as guides from city to city, and as specialists in the locations of Ivorian ruins. Druids monopolize this power by banding together, thereby gaining concessions and retaining a powerful bargaining stance with those who seek to purchase their talents. Several druidic orders of various disposition exist within Hana and in the nearby jungles.
Nop Haztno, "The Tent" District
Encompassing virtually all that lays between the mighty sepif of Kithrapas, Pizratri, and Shinveta, the tent is a vast and sprawling sea of
color, dust, and commerce. The namesake of Nop Haztno are the thousands of brightly dyed tents which merchants do their business from and
live within. During the day the haphazard byways of The Tent are crowded with locals buying food, nets for fishing, pans for cooking, knives,
wood carvings, spices, wines, drugs, clothing, and nearly anything that one can imagine. Though Hana's largest population is human,
a hundred other races of creatures walk the dirt streets of The Tent every day. The smell of Nop Haztno is quite an experience of all its
own. The tens of thousands of unwashed bodies doing business, animals, perfumes, refuse, spices, smoke, foods, and an uncountable number
of other unidentifiable scents crowd the air as thickly as the natives. The sound of Nop Haztno in the mid-morning is an endless buzz of
yells, cat-calls, bartering, conversation, announcements, the creaking of rickshaw wheels, the clatter of beasts of burden, the call of
animals and their dying shrieks as they are slaughtered for food, and the sizzle of frying meats. It is all quite something to take in
all at once and visitors of Hana are easily identified by pickpockets and locals alike by their overwhelmed expressions and wide eyes
as they try to take it all in. There is a brief lull in the trade during the hottest part of the day as some merchants close their
shops for ravitita, the "great meal," and rest a while. In the evening business picks up again until dusk. At night, one looking
down at Nop Haztno from the heights of the sepif would see a colorful sea of illuminated tents as locals close their businesses, dine
on travita, the "evening sup," and relax safely from the buzzing insects in the privacy of their dwellings. A merchant prince looks
out over The Tent and sees a vast opportunity for accruing wealth. Merchant princes see industry and they see the subtle machinations of
their rival merchant princes.
It is an easy thing to get lost in the tent. Roadways and passage through can be confusing and there isn't a
direct route through it to be found except for the great Road of Sampatha. Those who can afford it ride through Nop Haztno in rickshaws, or
if they are particularly wealthy they ride in private palanquins. For a couple copper bits one can travel a mile through The Tent. Rickshaw
workers each have their own large area that they work within, when a traveler reaches the edge of it they then find another rickshaw, an
easy task. Tipping is not expected (this is true of most services in Hana), but a fare wage should be paid to the rickshaw. Most locals
travel on foot. Since they daily travel the streets they know when the tent of a favorite vendor has moved. They can tell where they are
by their position with the waterfront, whether they are north or south of the Road of Sampatha, and by where the mighty sepif are. Locals
rarely become lost despite the clutter and chaos; getting lost is something that a foreigner does. Fortunately for foreigners, natives of
Hana are fairly friendly and happy to give directions and advice, though foreigners should beware that there is an abundance of ne'er-do-wells
in Hana as well. Pickpockets, grifters, scammers, and villains infest every street of The Tent.
1) The Wildflower Apothecary: This brightly painted wooden red wagon is about six feet wide and ten feet
long. It rests upon stone blocks since its wheels have been removed. Over the top of the wagon is a tightly wrapped and water sealed canvas,
part of which extends out from the wagon, forming a bit of shade where business can be transacted. On one side a makeshift sign hangs and
reads, "The Wildflower, Alchemical Substances." This is the business of Maximilian
Edridge, a charming Tenerthor elf of good repute and modest
Within the wagon is a large desk and a fold down bed. The desk is filled with alchemical tools of all sorts,
and this is where Max works during the day. The door is of course left open so that passing customers can be swiftly greeted. Crammed
into whatever open space there is around the desk sits containers for alchemical supplies as well as finished products. The bed,
simple though it is, has silk bedding upon it, as well as a small amount of padding. Beneath it sits a chest, in which Max keeps
his personal belongings. Finally along one wall hangs a clothing rack, where Max's more expensive clothing hangs.
2) Temple of Chishleen: Headed by Chaplin
Nibranhay, this large stone temple is carved from basalt which ancient priests of Chishleen
raised up from the bottom of the ocean. It is a two story building on the edge of the harbor and high tide waves often refresh the water of
its natural marine pools. Though the harbor is wretched with pollution, the waters near the Temple of Chishleen are fresh and safe to
bathe within. The undead which wander the harbor floor do not come ashore near the temple and the air there smells of fresh sea wind. The
inside of the temple is built around a cathedral ceilinged main chamber where worship takes place. The benches are carved directly from the
same stone as the rest of the building. Cupping either side of the worship chamber, on the first and second floors, are the private chambers
of Nibranhay, his assistant priests, meeting rooms, and a small library.
The Temple of Chishleen is open daily and also on nights when the moon graces the sky. This would be the high
temple of the goddess, but another temple on the southern tip of the Isle of Nivrutti is where the high priestess of Chishleen can be found.
The temple in Nop Haztno fulfills the common needs of the fishing community and attends to the more mundane services among the Hana community
while the other temple operates as a sanctuary and retreat of worship.
3) The Golden Meditation: This popular smoking bar is located in central Nop Haztno. Numerous local
merchants spend the hotter part of the day in the dark and smokey shade where they can relax, smoke a bit of herapa leaf or more exotic
hash, and have a bit of a drink. Buying patrons are offered at the door a free, small sample of whatever smoking conviviality is the
special of the day.
The Golden Meditation is a low, round building, in the style of many other taverns in Hana. It's built from
bent bamboo, secured with cord, and wrapped in cured leather. A hole in the middle of its roof allows the smoke to escape along with the
warmth of a small fire pit. Soft reeds line the floated bamboo floor and benches and piles of cheap pillows provide a place to relax while
enjoying a smoke. Occasionally, skilled wind and harp instrument musicians or dancers are employed to entertain in the evening.
Fafsi (Male, Expert 3), curator of the drugs that are smoked at he Golden Meditation, has a couple of guards
provided by the Spice Cartel to keep watch over the place. He is a mellow and engaging man that keeps a fairly low profile when he is
working. Fafsi only hires beautiful girls to work at his smoke house; a few coins passed to Fafsi can buy a lonely adventurer an
hour or two of private entertainment in their company.
The Golden Meditation opens a couple hours before the hot part of the day and until late into the night.
4) Temple of Arden: This small stone church is one of the older buildings in Nop Haztno. Located at
the fringes of a residential area, it is a sanctuary of peace apart from the bustle that fills the rest of The Tent. The gardened temple
grounds, surrounded by a low clay brick wall, are filled with sweet smelling herapa trees and wide leaf ferns. The temple building is a
simple affair. Most of its interior space is dedicated to its worship hall. A series of small chambers are accessed to the right and left
from within, providing chambers for its priests, hospital rooms for the injured, a small library, and a small armory for its temple guards.
The temple is open daily until a couple hours after sunset. Services are held twice daily by
Prior Andal Piusus.
5) Monastery of the Shadowed Path: Surrounded by a tall bamboo wall, the Monastery of the Shadowed Path
is home to a cloister of martial monks, reformed from the ways of evil and disciplined in the ways of good. A small garden of Herapa trees
with straw mats stands near the entrance, where visitors and monks alike are required to remove their shoes before continuing within. Two
paths lead away from the compound entrance, to the left is a wide training area whose dusty dirt field has been pounded hard from many
decades of monks training there. To the right are a serene collection of bamboo and silk constructed dwellings. The monks live a fairly
spartan and simple lifestyle that meditates on inner disciplines. Curious visitors are discouraged, but those who are truly interested in
allying with the Monastery are welcomed within.
The leader of the Monastery of the Shadowed Path is Master
Tyros, a man wholly dedicated to redeeming people who have let evil enter their lives. The monastery is a private complex that is closed
to the public, thus it does not have regular visiting hours. The monks do their physical training in the morning, private lessons before the
heat of the day is most intense, and then again briefly in the evening, each day following an orderly regimen like the days before it.
Nights are usually quiet and contemplative.
6) Hound's Tooth Inn: This two story building, constructed from storm timber and dock wood, totters
atop old pier posts like some many legged babba-yagga hut when the tide is out, but perched high enough that fierce storm waters at
high tide do not touch the building propper. When there is wind the Hound's Tooth sways drunkenly. Two plankways descend from the
building to the shore, never touching the beach, one of which has railings and is used by new visitors to the inn and the other with
none so that brave and drunken patrons can show off as they swagger down it. The tide washes away all signs of embarrassment from those
who fail to make their way down the rail-less way with dignity.
The lower floor of the inn is its tavern, a popular place for harbor workers and members of the Iron Hand, a
ragtag group of vigilantes and comrades who quietly rebel against the unjust and corrupt influence of the merchant princes. Upstairs is a
kitchen and half a dozen small rooms for nightly rent.
Kettle Houndfist, the proprietor, and
a one-eyed bartender named Miratsvibrashvita (Meer aht siv brah vee tah) tend to the bar. Usually leaves the bar in the hands
of One-Eye at dusk to tend to his own matters and the tavern stays open as late as Miratsvivrashvita is willing to take drink orders. The
Bar opens briefly during the middle of the day meal and then closes again until an hour after the hottest part of the day.
7) Gladiatorial Pits of Dhara: One of many large, tented pavilions where there are pits dug down into
the earth, fifteen to twenty feet deep and fifteen to thirty feet across, in which slaves or gladiators engage in combat. Matches are
fiercly gambled upon by the crowds of commoners and wealthy alike. Slave traders and other unsavory business dealers see noisy and crowded
places like the Pits of Dhara as ideal for talking in private, safe and anonymous amidst the throng of onlookers, thieves, gamblers, and
guildsmen. During the day, Dhara is basically a crowded merchant bazaar. Gladiatorial entertainment begins after the hottest time of the
day and last until a few hours after dark, after which most of the adrenaline filled crowd disperses to the nearby bars to watch cock
fights, brawl, and drink away the rest of the day.
8) Anjiha Angha Pleasure House: Also known as the Blessed Beauty, this brothel on the eastern side
of Nop Haztno specializes in particularly youthful entertainers and thus caters to a crowd with somewhat specialized tastes. By no means
meant to be an every-man's brothel, the Blessed Beauty endures for its novelty and reputation of being staffed by skilled yet "innocent"
girls. The single floor building has clay brick outer walls, but the ceiling and interior walls are made from silk stretched over bamboo
frames, allowing the sounds, scents, and lights of the brothel tantalizingly out into the night. The Blessed Beauty is guarded and
operated by the Kelopikos family, which is subservient House Adadsi.
Puryat Dubala District
Stretching along the western coastline of the Bay of Tushar is the relaxed district of Puryat Dubala, literally, "The Other Shore." Puryat
Dubala has extremely broad beaches which stretch as far as one might care to walk. Here, just out of the direct oversight of the merchant
princes, business moves at a more relaxed pace. In Puryat Dubala there is more focus on the production of goods rather than their sale.
Goods are created here and then taken to Nop Haztno for exchange and sale. Here, spice millers grind at fresh wares, wine makers work
their presses and stills, fishermen crowd the beaches, and colorful carpets are woven by residents in the employ of the Carpet Weavers
Guild. It is a working-mans district, far from the wretched poverty of Tenkshystra, and residents of Puryat Dubala are proud to live
outside of the bustle of the rest of the city, even though they are just as poor as residents of Nop Haztno.
Despite the relaxed atmosphere, crime is just as much a problem as it is in more crowded parts of the city.
Pickpockets may be less frequent, but racketeers and burglary are all the more. Less fearful of swift, public, and deadly responses from
the merchant princes, robbers stalk the streets of Puryat Dubala. Excessive drug use is also more prevalent and there are more smoke houses
in Puryat Dubala than in other districts. Puryat Dubala is also rife with smuggling operations that attempt to circumvent guild control
of various industries.
Many travelers that are familiar with Hana prefer to stay the night in northern Puryat Dubala where it is quieter
than the always noisy Vofoti River District. A bit off the bustle of the Great Road of Sampatha, Puryat Dubala is an easy boat ride or
walk from Nop Haztno. Boats to Sepras, Satras, and a pleasant evening cruise from the At'tapri Pleasure District.
1) Winery of Omran: This humble clay-brick winery in northern Puryat Dubala is the home and shop of
Omran Dun, proprietor. The round building has a clay tile roof supported by bamboo
rods. Within are three chambers. The front chamber doubles for entertainment as well as where sales are made. Omran does not usually sell
directly from his shop, most of his wares are bought by vendors and then resold in Nop Haztno. The other two rooms are a tiny bedroom and
a very small workroom where Omran practices his other past time, map making, and a staircase that heads down into the wine cellar.
The wine cellar is lined with two layers of mortared bricks, securing and keeping cool the large quantity of
wine bottles and medium kegs which are kept there. A second chamber in the back of the wine cellar holds some of Omran's private wine
collection and other valuables.
2) Rus Clanhall: The compound of the Greatclan Rus of the Skarn is surrounded by a fifteen foot tall
bamboo wall with sharpened tops. A wide gate provides access for three horses abroad or a large cart. Within there is a grass spotted
training area. Arranged around the periphery of the courtyard are large tents which house each of the clan families. To one side are cooking
pits where evening tales of valor and heroics are often told. A couple of posts stand at the opposite end of the yard, where villains are
kept, but they are usually empty since the Skarn are a naturally formal and law abiding society. At the back of the yard, across from the
entrance is the clan hall, a large wooden building that was built from the timbers of the boat by which the Rus clan arrived in Hana.
The clanhall is a two story building whose bottom floor is a single room for feasts, clan meetings, and shelter
during particularly bad storms. Upstairs are the private chambers of Alekk Rus, leader of the Rus Clan, his wife Aci, and chambers for his
unmarried children: Shyvrandill, and Teruska. Two of his other children, Chariss and Vorlance
have their own family tents within the compound. His third heir, oldest and most skilled, is the warrior Mydrinn. Mydrinn lives in his own
family tent, however he lives alone since his wife drowned during a sudden storm while swimming in the Bay of Tushar.
The Rus clan has a few more than eighty members living within its walls. Other members of the clan live in other
cities where their marriages bind the various clans together.
3) Guildhall of the Union Thauchemica: This fraternity of alchemists specializes is the inter-relation
of alchemy and thaumaturgy, the interaction of the mundane upon the magical and vice versa. They are a learned group, numbering roughly
sixty intellectuals, led by the Elder Fraternity, five members of master status who have been in the guild longer than any other.
The guildhall of Union Thauchemica is located in Puryat Dubala, about two miles south of the river delta.
It is a squat, round, single-floored building crafted from alchemically hardened clay. The ground level of the building is mostly taken up by
a large round council chamber. This is where most of the social activities of the Union take place. At one side of the room's perimeter
there are a couple storage closets and a small room with a staircase that leads downward. Much of the guild hall is underground. Beneath
the council chamber are the private laboratories of its members. This level, like the one beneath it, has a hallway which curves around
in a circle. Doors to each laboratory are along the inside wall of the curve. At its very end is a staircase which leads down to the
second lower level which houses the offices of guild leaders. Hidden beneath the offices of the guild leaders there is a third underground
level which contains guild records and treasured alchemical secrets. The guild employs a number of guards to watch over the place, as well
as the protection of the Spice Cartel.
The leader of the Union Thauchemica is Aduri
Rasayanashastri. Guild dues are five gold pieces monthly. Laboratory reservations for guild members are 2 silver daily. Before becoming
a general ranking member, an initiate or skilled alchemist must demonstrate a trained skill with alchemy (minimum 8 ranks), choose a
mentor from among the Fraternal Masters and present an item of alchemical interest to the guild counsel. General members have full access
to the guild's upper library, to its laboratories, and a seat at the general counsel. Initiates (minimum 4 ranks) are probationary members
that have not yet made a presentation of alchemical value to the counsel, nor demonstrated the necessary level of skill. Initiates pay the
same guild fee, but their access to the upper library is restricted to during the day and they receive last priority when reserving a
laboratory. Elder members (minimum 12 ranks) gain access to the lower library when accompanied by a Fraternal Master and pay guild
dues of 10 gold per month; they also receive an extra vote count at general counsel meetings and are invited to the elder counsel.
Fraternal Masters are the leaders of the guild and they expected to support the guild with funds as best they can. There are only five
Fraternal Masters at any given time, selected from the oldest and most skilled of the guild's elders. Most of the time of a Fraternal Master
is spent with leadership activities, mentoring general members, and conducting their own researches. Fraternal Masters are the only ones
who keep a regular residence at the guildhall.
Vofoti River District
The Vofoti District is named for the half-mile wide river that passes directly through it. It is a district that is always busy, even at
night, as a wealth of imports and exports exchange hands to be brought to the markets of Nop Haztno the following day. The Vofoti district
is the most diverse of all of Hana's regions.
In its west there are trading tents set up to welcome incoming caravans and the streets are
crowded with vendors and business scouts. Youthful Hanoans incessantly call out to every foreign looking new arrival into the city,
entreating them to come and stay at this or that hotel, to visit this bar, to come enjoy a particular brothel, and so forth, whoring out
the city's services as loudly as possible. Paid monitors of the major guilds keep a careful eye on the roads into the city and watch for
caravans and merchants bearing goods of interest to their guild, working to ensure that as many trade goods as possible pass through their
guilds hands and that the proper cuts, bribes, and tariffs are paid. Travel on the Great Road of Sampatha never ever ceases in Vofoti.
At its northwest corner the Vofoti district almost resembles Tenkshystra. Carters and porters who do back
breaking labor for barely subsistence level wages live here and travel day and night to the Sampatha road, into Nop Haztno, and back again
while they deliver goods to vendors. Others travel into Puryat Dubala and bring fresh exports through Vofoti before they are sent on to
other parts of the city or out and into the world. Crimes of desperation are common in that part of the Vofoti district.
The closer one gets to the river the more crowded the streets become, hundreds of tents mingled with stone
buildings built from rocks stolen from the Kithrapas sepif. Fishermen do not usually ply the Vofoti river within the city, it is far, far
too polluted to yield anything safe to eat. Instead they travel upstream and outside of the city to lay their nets. The Vofoti river is the
sewer of the Vofoti District. Everything from trash and excrement to bodies of the dead are dumped into it to be carried out to the Bay of
Tushar. This is nothing new to locals and children still swim its slow water eddys and washer women still work their dirty laundry from its
banks. River porters receive goods into the Hana from distant other cities such as Laruau and E'scanter. The banks of the river are busy day
and night with laborers who load and unload barges.
In the east half of the Vofoti District business and locals are more affluent. They rub shoulders with the
peers of minor merchant houses on a daily occasion and business is always good. Servants of the merchant princes of Kithrapas come here
to stock their masters palaces with fresh foreign goods that cannot be had in Hana. Bars, pleasure houses, smoke tents, and many other
entertainments can be found sprinkled among the more common stone and clay brick dwellings. Crime is present here too, but mostly they
are crimes of passion. Still, the merchant princes of Kithrapas and minor houses do occasionally send the bodies of their enemies floating
down the river from here. The better hostels are located here.
The southeast part of Vofoti is a restless collection of well-to-do merchants who either do not live in Hana
for long enough to desire a permanent residence, or who are not quite wealthy enough to afford to live north of the Road of Sampatha.
Routines here more closely resemble that of Nop Haztno and there is the constant hum of wheeling and dealing as vying merchants strive to
get ahead of each other through quick business and even sabotage.
Opposite, in the south-southwest of Vofoti are numerous minor guild houses. Some are small guilds of their own
business, while others are sub-guilds to larger ones whose only purpose is to keep their parent guilds presence felt in the area and watch
for imports entering the city. Numerous cheap hostels line the crowded streets in a haphazard fashion, but they are not the sort of place
where a traveler typically stays more than one night. The populace of this part of the district is as fluid as the river that passes through
it, always coming and going. Many rogues and unscrupulous men see great opportunity here to part fellow travelers of their wealth.
1)The Patient Morning: Popular for its all night party atmosphere, the Patient Morning doesn't really
open up until about an hour before dusk, when bad and cheap food can be bought. Most people come to the Patient morning for the cheap
beer and spirits and good entertainment. Musicians and dancers are common entertainment. When it's music, it is loud and bawdy.
When it's dancers, they are erotic and alluring. Youthful dilettantes mingle with river workers and tourists throughout this low-budget
tavern. The Patient Morning is constructed from a motley assortment of bamboo walls, stolen sepif stone, dried jungle leaves, and bits
of wood, all held together by wooden nails, help and silk. It's a great place to go if looking for casual and loud fun, but not the place
for dealings that require either privacy or quiet.
2) Kafaa Raavar: This ancient ruined castle sits out in the Vofoti river and is accessible by an eighty
foot long causeway of gravel and stones too large to steal. The curtain wall of the castle is crumbled in many places where the foundation
has been eroded away by the river current and most of the back wall of the castle proper is entirely gone. The castle endures long suspicions
of hauntings and is a favorite place for cultist activities. There is said to be a well in the center of Kafaa Raavar that dives deeper than
the Vofoti River, though what purpose such a hole would serve in the middle of a river is a mystery.
Kafaa Raavar was originally built by Prince Jadelari, 11920AC, and occupied with the intention of monitoring
river trade. Incoming trade goods were securely kept in hidden caves located beneath the castle. About 90 years after it was completed the
river banks changed and the castle was swamped by the river. A century later, Prince Nephren, whose father had claimed the property,
toppled the remaining ruins and filled in upon them with earth, forming an island on which he would build a small castle out in the
river. During this time, Prince Nephren's workers were frequently harassed by religious zealots during the destruction and covering
up of the original castle.
Kafaa Raavar was last occupied in 12865AC, previously occupied by Rise of the Third Moon cultists, a group
of fringe fanatics led by a fallen cleric of Azhull named Hesdeus, originally from the United Kingdoms. Hesdeus is notable for the
physical deformity he possessed, a third eye set in the center of his forehead, as well as a peculiar insane insight and the peculiar
habit of performing loathsome and depraved acts with horrible creatures that he called from worlds beyond. Under his tutorship, Rise
of the Third Moon members held strange orgies by night and erected two plinths of stone, covered in squirming sigils. Residents in the
area complained of strange dreams and the area experienced a rise in mental illnesses. It is speculated that a third plinth was to be
erected, but before this occurred, the wrath of the Dark God swept upon the Hanoi peninsula and the cult was destroyed by forces which
claimed the castle as a river checkpoint. Most of the cult was driven away or slain, including Hesdeus. Of the plinths, one was taken
by cultists to a secret place on the Isle of Sepras and buried with the body of Hesdeus; the other was captured by the Dark God's forces
and used as a magical focus by Mord Wraiths, until it was lost in a landslide while being transported between the Hanois Peninsular cities
of Carengrave and E'scanter.
3) Guildhall of the Gray Cabal:
This cluster of five spires, built of magical stone, is visible from all of the Vofoti District and one of the first things that travelers
from the northwest see as they enter the city. The tallest of the spires is over one-hundred and twenty feet, a dizzying height for most
locals to contemplate. The guildhall sits back only slightly from the Great Road of Sampatha, dominating the lesser guild buildings which
surround its modest courtyard grounds. Crowning the tallest spire is a gray witchfire that burns in the shape of the guild symbol: a burning
triangle with arcane sigils representing the Mind, Will and Spirit blazing at each corner.
|The Gray Cabal|
Scale: 10 (Regional)
Powers: Craft, Research, Trade
The Gray Cabal is one of the most powerful arcane guilds on the Hanois Peninsula and it has been that way for
hundreds of years. Though most people refer to the guild as wizards, the Gray Cabal was originally founded by mentats (psions). Roughly
three hundred years ago arcane members of the guild gained a majority on the guilds counsel and they have remained in control of the
Gray Cabal's activities ever since. Though an important part of the guild, mentats (psions) make up roughly one-fifth of the cabal's
current membership of Masters, nine Councilors, more than fifty general members, nearly twice as many Students and again as many
Associates, hundreds of subscribing esoteric scholars, and many dozens of visitors. Most members of the Gray Cabal are indeed wizards,
mentats, and a handful of academic sorcerers and priests of Shistar.
While the Gray Cabal is very much in the public eye, members are fairly close mouthed about guild dealings.
Associates and Students are inducted on an invitation-only basis that even pressures from the great guilds and merchant princes cannot
simply buy into. Counted among the finest arcane schools in all the west of the Gulf of Biengyar, the Gray Cabal has a complete curriculum
for practitioners of all levels of skill. Members pay handsomely for access to the first rate laboratories, libraries, privacy, and access
to the academic community of the guild.
Though not merchants, the guild is very well funded through a spidery complex of contracts and agreements with
various merchant houses both in Hana and without. Diverse investments and wisely managed assets ensure that the Cabal can remain neutral
in Hana, or even take sides in a dispute without fear of recrimination if it wishes to.
The guild proper only receives visitors on a case by case basis, ensuring that the studies and lives of its
members remain as private as they desire. Those who wish to deal with the Gray Cabal are advised to first contact known members who live
outside of the guildhall or to leave a letter of their interest with the elemental guardians that watch over the main entrance to the guild
courtyard. Persistence, etiquette, and careful diplomacy is the swiftest way to initiate a relationship with the Gray Cabal.
|Character Level||½ level|
|Wizard or Psion||+2|
|Other arcane or psionic class||+1|
|10+ ranks in Knowledge (arcana/psionics)||+21|
|10+ ranks in other Knowledge skill||+12|
|Can cast/manifest 3rd level spells/powers||+2|
|Can cast/manifest 6th level spells/powers||+23|
|Sponsored Associate accepted as a Fellow||+1|
|Donation or recovery of new knowledge||+14|
|No ranks in Knowledge (arcana/psionics)||-41|
|Lacks Skill Focus feat in a Knowledge skill||-3|
|Proloriate fails to sponsor an Associate||-2/year|
|Does not spend at least one month per year at college||-10/year|
|1 For each Knowledge (Arcane) and Knowledge(Psionics).
2 For each Knowledge skill other than Arcana and Psionics.
3 Cumulative with cast/manifest 3rd level spells/powers bonus.
4 Maximum three times per year. Minimum value of donation or discovery: 1,000gp (Associate), 5,000gp (Fellow), 10,000gp (Proloriate), 20,000gp (Master)
There are two ways to join the Gray Cabal. Firstly, one can apprentice to a member of at least Fellow
standing. During this time they have the same status as a Petitioner and rather than paying guild dues they pay (often a princely
sum) to their mentor in return for their tutorship. A mentat or spellcaster who has finished their apprenticeship (through a guild member
or elsewhere) and who wishes to become an Associate must have an introduction made for them to a Proloriate. If the Petitioner makes a
good impression and the Proloriate is willing to sponsor them then they gain the rank of Associate.
Associates (sometimes called Probates) typically live outside of the guild and pursue their own agenda,
using the guild to assist them in their research. Active or not, all associates are sponsored by a Proloriate from whom they can seek
advice. The actions of Associates reflect upon Proloriates and an embarrassing, lazy, or reckless Associate may be dismissed from the
guild if they shame their sponsor. Successful and active associates may be raised to the rank of Fellow after having proven themselves
reliable and by consensus of the Proloriate Council. A Proloriate is typically a benign mentor and counselor to an Associate; their
relationship is less intense than that between apprentice and master. Associates are expected to pay guild dues of 100gp per month
to offset the cost of laboratory equipment and compensate their sponsor.
Fellows are full members of the guild, with a vote on the Great Council, and their reputation as a guild
member often precedes them during diplomatic engagements. They gain full access to the libraries of the guild and most Fellows have
minor collections in their own specialized fields of knowledge. Fellows are able to store their equipment and wares within the guild
vaults and they may temporarily reside on guild property in basic, often cramped or shared quarters with other Fellows. Most fellows
choose to live outside of the guild, nearby and on their own property. Fellows are expected to help increase the knowledge of the guild
by performing and assisting in regular research, typically this is a few hours each week. Fellows that fail to fulfill their obligation
of research are rarely dismissed or demoted, though they may never advance; a Fellow's affiliation rating does not drop beneath 11 when
they fail to produce meaningful research. Fellows pay guild dues of 50gp per month.
|Title: Benefits and Duties|
|3 or lower||Not affiliated, a student, or a petitioner with no benefits.|
|4-10||Associate: Access to guild property and lower libraries. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to Spellcraft checks when learning new spells and a +1 bonus to all Knowledge checks when using the lower guild libraries.|
|11-20||Fellow: Gain a +1 circumstance bonus to all Diplomacy checks made in the guild city. Access upper guild libraries and gain a +2 bonus to Knowledge checks when performing research there. Gain access to guild vaults for storage. Requies meaningful research, make DC 18 spellcraft/psicraft check once per month; failure indicates loss of 200gp as repayment for wasted resources and affiliation score reduced by 1.|
|21-30||Proloriate: When crafting magical items you can scavenge materials from the college - spend only 90% of the normal gp cost to craft an item. +2 circumstance bonus to all Diplomacy checks made in the guild region. Receive a private guild apartment. Must sponsor an Associate.|
|31+||Master: Private laboratory and residence suite. No guild fees. Spend only 80% of the normal gp cost to craft an item. Gain a +4 bonus to all Diplomacy checks made in the guild region. Thrice per month you can requisition any arcane scroll of 800gp or less from the college stores. You must replace these scrolls with scrolls of equal value within one month of taking them.|
After lengthy success and tenure a Fellow may be raised to the status of Proloriate by suggestion of a
Master and consent of the Proloriate Counsel. Proloriates continue to perform research for the guild and they often take on the additional
duty of sponsoring one or more Associates. This sponsorship typically involves providing academic advice, critiquing Associate research,
and grooming them for advancement into full guild membership. Proloriates have a lot of power in the day to day management of the guild.
Some Proloriates rarely sponsor Associates, preferring to maintain their status through gifts to the guild in research and wealth, though
a Proloriate who successfully raises an Associate to Fellow status gains prestige and a useful ally within the guild. Proloriates are
given a permanent and private residence in the guild, have right of first access to guild facilities, and can use the guild stores to
facilitate the creation of magical items. Proloriates pay guild dues of 50gp per month.
When a Proloriate has served for many years, demonstrated rare excellence in their craft and an unwavering
dedication to the guild they may be given the Cowl of the Master. Masters of the Gray Cabal operate with impunity to lesser ranked members.
They are not required to pay dues, though many give generously to the guild far in excess of regular guild dues. Masters are not expected
to sponsor Associates, though occasionally a Master will take a particularly gifted Associate under their wing. Much of a Master's time
is spent either in research, travel to exotic locations in search of knowledge and artifacts, or delicately maneuvering the guild through
the politics of the region. Though only the Proloriate Counsel can confirm a new member of their rank, only a Master can nominate
a new Proloriate in the first place. Masters are granted spacious residences within the guild, often including private laboratories for
their special and secretive projects. They have full access to the stores of the guild, allowing them to acquire lesser secrets of magic
at a whim. Exactly how many Masters are members of the guild is unknown, though they are thought to number as many as members of Proloriate
rank. Among the Masters of the guild are its three executors, those masters with the highest affiliation rating. Traditionally, one of these
three executors is a mentat. The executors command the guilds complete resources, direct the use of the guilds executive powers (Craft,
Research, and Trade) and are its ultimate authority.
4) Temple of Arden: This minor temple of Arden is
tended to by two longtime residents of the Vofoti district, chaplins Udarsh
u'Tosoti and Sayar u'Rudii. Built from crumbling sepif stone and roofed
with bamboo and dried, woven jungle leaves, the Temple of Arden is a welcoming place for all in need. Udarsh and Sayar have been ministering
to the eastern Vofoti community for almost two decades. They are familiar with many of the locals and the stories of the Vofoti district.
The temple is a three room affair. The front room serves as the chapel. The remaining two rooms are off to one
side, one serving as a storage room or makeshift healing room, the other is the quarters of both Udarsh and Sayar. The church is open daily,
though even late at night the chaplins rarely turn away anyone in need. Udarsh and Sayar are respected as just and wise men by many local
organizations, even the criminal ones. They preach a soft justice that focuses on the righting of wrongs, forgiveness and compassion,
and the call redemption.
5) Moon of Good Cheer Inn: This inn is a mainstay for traveling, successful merchants who need a clean
bed, a relatively secure private chamber, a hot meal, and other comforts of the wealthy. A bargain by the standards of most adventurers,
two silver pieces per room, plus one silver for each person beyond the first, secures all of these comforts. For a couple coppers more a
hot bath can be drawn and for a few more coins the pleasures of the cosmopolitan river district can be discretely brought directly to
one's bedroom chamber. Guests of the Gray Cabal occasionally stay here while they await their audience and
travelers from far and wide can be found at the long dining tables on the first floor. There is plenty of stabling for all the inn's
guests and slaves can sleep in the stables for free, though what they are fed is left to their master. Three floors tall, the Moon
has twenty rooms of modest size. The second and third floors are entirely guest rooms. Rooms on the first floor are meager in size since
half of the level is a common room. Late arrivals can sleep on the floor of the common room if the rest of the inn is full and provided
they do not mind waking up an hour before dawn when the inn staff arise. Food is brought in from local restuarants and vendors since the
inn has no kitchen of its own, so service can be a bit slow, but the inn has a well stocked wine and beer cellar, so one does not have
to wait to slake their thirst.
The Moon of Good Cheer is run by a reformed doppelganger
called Setven. These days he mostly keeps the appearance of a jovial, rotund local with a thick pillar of a beard, bright green eyes, and
oiled curly hair. With his thick fingers he deftly retrieves the coins of his paying patrons and with his heavy arms he frequently gestures
about and loudly commands the servants of the inn to their duties. Very few locals know of Setven's changeable nature and he prefers to
keep it that way, but rumors of his past persist. Setven was once a highly skilled assassin and it is said that he still has excelent
contacts in that business; one need only pass him a piece of red parchment with the name of the person to be killed and the price that
one is willing to pay. If the price is too low, Setven deliberately tears it up without saying a word, but if he thinks that the offer
is reasonable he will nod, slip it into his pocket, and pass it on to his contacts.
This district, smallest of the three wealthy sepif districts, is the quietest and most exclusive. To the northwest, the merchant princes
of the Kithrapas district guide the flow of wealth from the western half of the world. In Shinveta, to the southeast, the most powerful
guilds of Hana hold sway over the cities inhabitants and reap the rewards of their conspiratorial monopolies. However, the lords of Pizratri
are what the locals call petroikos, old money. Their wealth is vast and self-sustaining, their spy networks well entrenched, and
their assets are diverse and hidden beneath layers upon layers of misdirection and secrecy, allowing them to live concerns that occupy
most merchant prince households.
Residents of this wealthy neighborhood serve the interests of these princes of princes. Many residents are
also families of specialized trades that have been favored for a generation or more by the same merchant prince for the quality of their
wares. For the impoverished and even some of the modestly wealthy, to live in the Pizratri neighborhood and to have a stable lord who
sponsors your work with a constancy that your grandchildren may depend upon is an envious lifestyle. Like the princes above them, these
families smile their fake smiles and dance a delicate political dance at the strings of their lords, often playing the role of middlemen
whose duty is to obscure and faithfully execute the will of their merchant house.
Luscious setrine trees shade the avenues of Pizratri, filling the air with their sweet and spicy smell.
By night, gutter-guildsmen remove filth from the streets, carting most of it several miles to be dumped in the jungles to the north,
into the Vofoti river, or into the Bay of Tushar. In the heart of the Pizratri district, beneath the heights of the sepif, are wide and
low-wall surrounded compounds that contain varieties of merchant businesses and dwellings, each compound behaving somewhat like its own
small villages and separating one city block from another. Their walls add a layer of protection against rogues in the night,
deter wandering undead and curious tourists, and helping to preserve the exclusive feel of much of the district. At its fringes, Pizratri
is more like its neighboring districts. West and east the clear avenues give way to haphazardly arranged fiefdoms of minor merchant houses
while to the south the quiet steadily gives way to the endless bustle of commerce along the Road of Sampatha.
Hidden from the avenues where the wealthy might travel, are the tents of porters and low craftsmen whose
trades are still necessary for the function and convenience of the district, but whom the merchant princes do not care to see. Most of
the servants of each household have no possessions to call their own and live entirely at the whim of their masters. Their lives are
often better than those who work in Nop Haztno or Puryat Dubala, but their lives
are not their own. Wealth and possessions are the pleasures of an exclusive few.
During the day the atmosphere of Pizratri is one of brisk business. Servants of the merchant princes travel
from one trade house to the next and deliver their masters wishes, then from there do the trade houses dispatch further servants to
gather or further delegate whatever is needed. Wealthy merchants and princes from other districts move along the streets, almost as
though parading their wealth about, as they visit and skillfully employ their influence.
By night the streets are quiet, but sounds of exclusive parties and social gatherings light up the estates
of the wealthy. A young dilettante with the right connections could find entertainment at a different festivity each night, every night of
the year, and many of the disaffected youth of wealthy families who were not born into a position to inherit power do spend their nights
in this manner. Travelers should not be deceived by the wealth of this neighborhood, the streets are only marginally safer than anywhere
else in Hana. The close proximity of the sepif means that undead and other nocturnal creatures come out to prey at night alongside
the robbers and cutthroats who eagerly hope for a wealthy youth to stray from the company of companions. Rather than patrol the district
with their guards, the merchant houses keep their swordsmen on their properties unless one of their important members wishes to travel
1) Guildhall of the Carpet Weavers: Little better than an organization of slavers, the Guildhall of the
Carpet Weavers presides over carpet businesses; sweatshops of women and children whose fingers are small enough to tie the thousands
of miniscule knots that are necessary for the manufacture of a quality hanoi carpet. Eventually, when they are no longer able to perform
their work because of repetitive injury to their hands or from going blind, they are set to making cheap reed mats, cast away, or sold off
to become porters, prostitutes, or enter into other low professions. Traditional silk loom weaving is also the purview of the Carpet
Weavers, but the any silk business is heavily influenced by the powerful mercantile Silk Cartel. The Carpet
Weavers guild vigorously defends its position as an elite supplier of the finest carpets to the wealthy and its exports command excellent
prices in foreign lands. Its manufacture of woven reed floor covers are mostly exported abroad since most any local is capable of making
their own floor coverings for their tents.
The Carpet Weavers Guild is located on the southern fringes of the Pizratri District, several streets back
from the Great Road of Sampatha. It is a large, painted, clay-brick building, two floors tall, whose rafters are filled with hanging
carpets. All around it are tents of its exporter merchants who loudly compete for any customers attention, eager to take an order for
a uniquely made carpet back to their pavilions elsewhere in the city, where their laborers work day and night.
2) Guildhall of the Strong of Anshur: When Cariatoti, a champion of the gods of good, and his
companions defeated the Pit Lord Ibrakal, and toppling it from its mountain throne and back to the howling halls of Eldin, an angel of
the heavens descended to them and named itself Anshur. The angel took Cariatoti into the heavens, as he had been mortally wounded in
the battle, and blessed his followers with a commission to defeat evil wherever it is unearthed. At its blessing, the sword of Cariatoti
blazed with holy flame and was given to his son, Meddecci. For many years, Meddecci led the Strong of Anshur until he too was wounded in
glorious battle against evil and like his father was taken into the heavens.
|The Strong of Anshur|
Type: Fighting Company
Scale: 5 (City)
Powers: Crusade, Inquisition, Raid
|Character Level||½ level|
|Completes an assigned mission||+1|
|Recruits a new member||+1|
|Base attack bonus of +5 or higher||+1|
|Base attack bonus of +10 or higher||+11|
|Has 5 or more ranks of Knowledge (planes)||+1|
|Has 10 or more ranks of Knowledge (planes)||+11|
|Has Exalted status and one or more Exalted feats||+1|
|Exclusively worships being other than Anshur||-22|
|Fails an assigned mission||-2|
|Has no primary allegiance to or alignment of Good||-22|
|Betakes actions which harm a guild member||-23|
|1 Cumulative with previous bonus.
2 The highest rank such a member can have is Blade.
3 A suggested minimum, though actions resulting in a reduction greater than -5 may also result in ejection from the guild.
Now Harchad Fudail leads this band of holy warriors.
The past two decades have not been kind. Many of the holy warriors were slain during the time of the Black Scourge and their numbers are
now few. At the direction of Harchad they traveled to the city of Hana with aspirations of a gaining new allies and plans of bringing
new hope to the corruption stricken city.
The Strong of Anshur seek to discover and destroy deviltry and the influence of the infernal. Their core
beliefs espouse the protection of the weak, the redemption of the lost, and the destruction of the unrepentant wicked. They venerate
the powers of good, calling upon the archangel Anshur to guide them and lend its power in their righteous crusade. In Hana they plainly
pronounce their presence, working alongside churches like that of Arden and
Lathidus. They oppose all who would consort with evil spirits and serve or call
favors of creatures from the lower planes. Evil religions are also often their enemy, though their primal concern is to oppose demonic
The guildhall of the Strong of Anshur is a bamboo walled compound which contains tents and a tall stone plinth
on which a statue of Anshur proudly raises a glimmering sword to the heavens. During ceremonies a hidden reservoir of oil is lit in the
statue, causing the sword to appear to burn. Members of the guild live and train within the compound. They live simple lives, provided for
by donations from the Church of Arden and mundane valuables recovered from evildoers. Less well known is that they also receive backing
from House Birendra. They accept contracts and act as holy mercenaries to several good aligned churches, but
actively pursue their own agenda as well. New members and guild business is usually settled during meetings which take place on the
fifth of each month, though any guild member of Blade status or greater can call for a gathering of the Strong. The fifth of the month
of Assiras holds special meaning to its members for this is the day which Cariatoti was taken up into the heavens. Many members maintain
that Cariatoti continues to watch over the Strong of Anshur from his saintly position in the heavens.
|Title: Benefits and Duties|
|3 or lower||A unaffiliated ally, squire, student, junior member, or potentate with no guild benefits.|
|4-10||Footman: Welcomed as a member of the Strong of Anshur. The guild provides you with your weapon, armor, and shield of choice whose combined value does not exceed 100gp × your affiliation score. You may call for sanctuary in the guildhall of Anshur.|
|11-20||Blade: Receive healing (cure wounds, remove disease) at 75% market cost from allied churches. With the support of any Illuminated, you may call a Gathering of the Strong for a vote on a course of action. You may be asked to lead a squad of Footmen and a generous donation of any bounty recovered from enemies of the guild is expected.|
|21-30||Illuminated: You may induct new members. Any weapon you hold can shed glimmering flames of light in a five foot radius and acts as a holy weapon for the purpose of penetrating Damage Reduction -/Evil. The guild depends on you to find and organize contracts and to lead its men into battle against infernal forces. In the company of those you lead, you must defeat a CR 11 evil outsider to attain this station.|
|31+||Champion of Anshur: You gain a +2 sacred bonus to attack rolls against evil outsiders and a +2 sacred bonus to your armor class when opposing evil outsiders. Once per day you may rally fellow Strong of Anshur with your battle cry, temporarily suppressing any penalizing moral effects for all within 30 feet of you, as well as granting 1d8 temporary hit points and a +1 bonus to attack rolls to your allies for 1d4+1 rounds. You gain a +2 circumstance to diplomacy checks with good aligned outsiders. In the company of those you lead, you must defeat a CR 15 evil outsider to attain this station.|
The Strong of Anshur recruits new members who they have observed to be champions of good. Members are expected
to be upright citizens, though there is no expectation of charity or compassion; the guild turns all resources it can recover towards its
fight against demons. Members rarely leave the guild for extended periods unless commissioned by their leader to travel for a particular
reason, often involving the recovery of a holy artifact or the destruction of an evil spirit. Members are expected to assist each other
and to report any news of demonic influence to the guild
Though a martial group, the Strong of Anshur has a loose hierarchy. Members are asked to voluntarily obey
the commands of those that have been greater entrusted with the blessings of Anshur and decisions which affect the entire guild are
voted upon democratically. The leader of the guild does so through divine inheritance, when one leader dies the Sword of Cariatoti
appears in the hand of whomever is most deserving.
3) High Temple of Zhakrin: The High Temple of Zhakrin
is built from enormous black basalt slabs of stone, brought from the city of Tarsus, over seven-hundred miles distant, nearly two-thousand
years ago. excepting its broad dome, the entirety of the three floored building occupies an excavated pit whose walls are lined with
large black squares of stone, also imported. A pair of staircases descend down to the lower level of the temple grounds and visitors
entering the sepechural temple must pass between two tall, four-sided black obelisks with inlaid purple stone patterned with various
holy scripts and stories of Zhakrin's power. Two more rise by the entrance into the temple proper.
The lower grounds which surround the temple proper are brick laid avenues, decorated here and there with
statues of famous zharkinite holy figures, some free-standing and others set in shrine-like alcoves set in the stone walls that line
the great pit which the temple rests within. Vines and some small plants are allowed to grow here and there, but for the most part the
lower grounds are spartan and quiet. Along its perimeter there are heavy slabs of stone bar entrance into the catacombs of the temple,
where its priests are interred. Some of these catacombs are as ancient as the temple and there is great speculation of what riches and
secrets are locked away within them.
The temple proper is a three-floored building whose top-most level is only slightly taller than the walls
of the surrounding stone-lined hole in which it is built. Much of the temple building is taken up by its worship hall, the offices of
its astrologers are located in its top most level. Beneath are several underground levels containing the church libraries, meeting
rooms, and the offices and residences of its ranking temple priesthood.
The temple of Zhakrin is open to the public from dusk to midnight and from dawn to noon. The remainder of the
day and night the temple is only open to recognized members of the church and their guests. Worship is available daily at various times.
The high temple is run by worshipers of Zhakrin known as Sepulchites, the Guardians of the Dead,
though all worshipers of Zhakrin are welcome to its services. The work of the Sepulchites is to assist the living with preparation for
the transition of life to death. They are divided into two sects. The Ushers of the Dead provide guidance and counseling to the living.
The Champions of the Dead defend the spirits of the dead from the living, ensuring that their rest is eternal and undisturbed. In a city
such as Hana, where ancient restless dead venture into the streets at night, the services of the temple of Zhakrin are greatly appreciated
by much of the populace and priests of Zhakrin are accorded a great deal of respect.
4) House Nayan: Principally a banking house which operates investments in a variety of shipping
ventures throughout the Gulf of Biengyar. House Nayan is led by Hammurai Nayan, an elderly wizard who came to Hana from the United Kingdoms
in the days before the Black Scourge. There is some speculation of who will be appointed the next ruler of the house since Hammurai
has no progeny of his own, despite his great harem of concubines. Some say that his favorite apprentice will take control of the house,
though some in-fighting among his students is expected if this is the case. The banner of House Nayan is a gray band with a silver coin
on whose face is a three masted ship.
5) House Vushra: Politically powerful and influencial within many of the strongest guilds of Hana,
the reach of House Vushra is one that extends far beyond the borders of Hana. Yet, it attracts little public mention, except for the
occasional whisper or fearful speculation of its princely ruler, Ro Vushra. This is because a variety of merchant houses are deep in
the pockets of House Vushra, allowing Prince Ro Vushra to act through veils of intermediaries.
House Vushra's grounds dominate a central corner of the largest sepif in the Pizratri Complex. It's silver
capped minarets and windowless towers can be seen from miles away to the south. Rumors, many of which are true, say that the palace
of Vushra also extends deep into the stone of the sepif as well, where a man can be locked away and forgotten, and where the spirits
of the dead prowl and wail. Most visible though is that part of his palace which rests in plain view; an imposing building whose only
windows are those painted upon it, surrounded by many towers that which rise up from behind
vampire rose and
assassin-vine covered walls.
The gardens within are well guarded by animated topiaries, statuary created by Vushra and a variety of deadly plants and beasts that
have been trained by Vushra's son, Hetos.
The Vushra family may look human, but they cannot possibly be. Most people know only that Ro Vushra
has lived a very long life. Some say that the son adopts his fathers name when they pass on. Very few though know that Ro Vushra
has lived for hundreds of years that his son has likewise enjoyed an unnatural longevity due to their state of undeath. In truth,
both Ro Vushra and his son are vampires, among the oldest public figures "living" in Hana.
House Vushra is fairly insular, usually acting through its pawns or occasionally sending its emmisaries
forth to deliver its will directly. Very rarely does Ro Vushra make a personal appearance at any social gathering. His son, Hetos, is
only slightly less reclusive about public visitations, however he frequently attends parties under the name and guise of Vuspryra
Ridtyrradin, the extraordinarily wealthy second son of an influencial banking family in Carengrave.
The banner of House Vushra is a golden ram-horned dragon sinister, with a single glittering eye in its
right hand, set against a deep purple background.
6) Barrister Guildhall: Even in a chaos driven city like Hana there is a need for lawyers and
contracts. Members of the Barrister Guild specialize in the laws of foreign lands and in the negotiation of contracts between both
merchants and the powerful merchant princes. Rather than traditional book of law barristers, members of the barrister guild function
more as diplomats for hire.
The Barrister Guildhall is a beautiful, three-floored, stone building with stucco walls that have been
decorated with beautiful mosaics within and large, polished blocks of green tinted granite for its floors. The outside of the building
is cornered with columns and painted a stately white. A high wall of stucco and stone, topped with a spiked iron trellace surrounds its
luxurious gardens and guards keep watch over the grounds by day and night.
The guild guards turn away anyone at the gate who is not properly attired in clothing which attests to their
(or their master's) wealth, though a suitable bribe will suffice in the absence of good clothing during regular guild hours. Servants of
the guild and couriers constantly arrive and depart on errands within the city as well as to and from foreign lands.
At the middle of the Road of Sampatha, as it passes through Hana, is the Shinveta district, named for the great complex of sepif which
dominate all northerly views of its marketplaces. Shinveta, like Kithrapas and Pizratri, is a district of wealth and power distinguished by
the powerful guild houses and merchant princes which are located along its streets.
Shinveta rarely sleeps. By day the district is flooded with wealthy patrons and the servants of merchant princes.
Caravans travel from the Road of Sampatha and into the heart of the district to deliver goods to minor houses where they will then be
redistributed to the rest of the city after the minions of the merchant princes have their first choice pick. By night drunken debutantes, the
wealthy sons and daughters of merchant households wander in revelry to houses of pleasure while their parents host charming and sparkling
parties for their own political advancement.
Visitors who walk the streets of Shinveta can briefly forget the rampant poverty that sprawls throughout much
of Hana. Most buildings are made from stone that has been stolen from the Sepif over centuries past. Minor merchant houses are sprinkled
throughout Shinveta, their gardens and walled properties giving the district the authentic feel of a hundred fiefdoms. Unlike Nop Haztno,
the streets of Shinveta stay the same from day to day.It is common to see the parade-like passage of merchant princes and the elite carried
about on divans or hidden in silk shrouded palanquins, accompanied by a small fleet of guards brightly attired in light silken clothes
befitting the colors of their house. Even the beggars of Shinveta could be said to be better off than their kin in Nop Haztno, though
there are notably fewer of them. Everywhere there are signs of wealth; metal goods, stone craft, dining houses, jewelry, and the studios
of fine craftsmen and artists.
Though wealthy, anyone native to Hana will tell you that the streets of Shinveta are paved with the same dirt
as the rest of the city. This is the polite way of saying that there are just as many dangers and desperate people walking the streets, even
if they may wear better attire. Travelers of Shinveta are slightly safer walking the streets alone at night then in nearby Kithrapas, but
undead do still wander out from the Shinveta sepif at night to prey on those who travel alone. Locals whisper of vampires and ghouls who
borrow the flesh of the living so that they can masquerade among them in the dim torchlight of night. Besides these nocturnal predators,
there are still pickpockets on the streets of Shinveta, though its the daring rogues and burglars that one truly need be concerned with.
A visitor who spreads his money about during the day, parties drunkenly into the night, and then collapses in his hotel without securing
his belongings can expect to be stolen upon by visiting thieves.
1) House Prassana: A reputable merchant prince of modest standing, whose palace is located atop of one
of the Shinveta sepif. House Prassana is mostly known for its membership with the Spice Cartel, though the house
also owns a small shipping fleet and is a quiet supporter of the Monastery of the Shadowed Path. House
Prassana's standards are presented on a vermilion colored field with gold edging. House Prassana is ruled by
Prince Anisha Prassana.
2) House Adadsi: A diverse household of merchant enterprises that mostly profit through exploiting the
desperate and spreading misery. Once a respected banking and exchange merchant house, House Adadsi has converted its wealth endeavors into
such enterprises as press gangs, slavery, prostitutes, debt collection, and other low services.
Prince Radashan Adadsi is well known for his cruel jealousy and debauched
vainity. The standards of House Adadsi are set in bright crimson upon a dark purple backdrop.
3) House Rajaniish: This merchant house, situated atop one of the Shinveta sepif, is a member of
the Silk Cartel. House Rajaniish is well known for its aggressive, protectionist, and sometimes disreputable
market practices. The standards of House Rajaniish are presented with purple on a black background. House Rajaniish has been led by
Prince Votos Rajaniish for over one-hundred years, yet despite his human
appearance, Adadsi looks aged little more than twenty and five years.
4) House Darpana: House Darpana is a minor merchant house that got its start as a trade route broker.
It is also a house of relatively new and minor standing in the Spice Cartel. House Darpana once was allied to
House Adadsi, but has recently realigned with House Prassana. As a minor merchant
house, Darpana wears the colors of its strongest greathouse ally. The sign of House Darpana is a diving falcon, printed in gold on
vermilion in respect to its alliance with House Prassana. House Darpana is led by Prince
House Darpana is a comfortable two-floor estate, roughly 20 rooms in size. It's square stone building is
surrounded by a low, ivy overgrown wall. The building is built around a square inner courtyard, open to the sky, that is filled with
exotic flora collected from foreign countries by emissaries of the house. Balconies from the second floor surround and look down into
this inner garden. Prince Darpana usually meets with visitors in a large chamber to the left of the garden, as one enters from the front
house antechamber. His meeting room is appointed with lush carpets, the scent of incense, and pillows for visitors to recline upon. Prince
Darpana rarely meets with visitors without being accompanied by his steward, Tereveti
Prahakar, who waits behind him to assist with any questions. Visitors to the Darpana household can expect to be serviced with the
tradition of foot washing and oil before they are introduced to anyone of importance.
5) House S'vitra: A minor merchant house that is allied to the great House Tarendra. House S'vitra
is of respectable, though somewhat young standing in the Metal Drovers Guild. The sign of House S'vitra is a
gorgon rampant in green on black, the colors of House Tarendra.
6) House of the Lamp: A premier gentleman's house of entertainment that has solidly and successfully
set itself apart from the brothels of At'tapri, the pleasure district. The House of the Lamp is a tall building, five stories tall,
and carefully crafted from stone, imported wood, and bamboo and silk screen walls. Surrounding the outside of the tiered, almost oriental
building are a walled sanctuary of beautiful gardens with numerous secluded corners for private meetings.
Entertainers of all trades, from the physical pleasures to dramatics to conversationalists to acrobats to
brilliant Rucchi game players find employment within the House of the Lamp. The very best of these are placed on house payroll, while
others pay a fee for the opportunity to entertain within the establishment. The gardens are free to whomever wishes to enter, but most
of the buildings require that the visitor be a paying patron.
The House of the Lamp has a strict dress code for those who wish to enter. Clothing must indicate affluence
and style. While patrons as powerful as merchant princes can be forgiven for showing up in a style that is out of taste, the guards at
the wall gate deny entrance to anyone attempting to enter that does not live up to the standards of the establishment. What happens to
one's clothes once inside, that is left to the patron to decide.
Besides its entertainment, the House of the Lamp is also an excellent place for holding secret meetings. The
proprietors and employees of the house are all trained in how to keep secrets and deflect information seekers, they also understand that
the best kept secrets are those which no one knows. Visitors who require the highest of secrecy can be assured that the workers of the
Lamp intentionally avoid asking questions or listening in on patrons conversations. It is also said that there are numerous secret rooms
and passages within and beneath the House of the Lamp, passages which lead to hidden rooms in neighboring buildings or underground.
7) High Temple of Arden: Certainly one of the most extravagant buildings of Hana that is neither a
guild nor the palace of a merchant prince. The Temple of Arden is surrounded by a low five foot, stucco surfaced outer wall of stone.
It is one of the few non-merchant house buildings that has its own stone instead of clay brick, silk, or bamboo construction. The
quarter-mile wide temple grounds are filled with gardens of spice trees, carefully tended ponds of fish, winding pathways, private
benches, beautifully carved spires and obelisks covered with prayers, and palace guards. The Temple of Arden is well aware that they
are surrounded by hundreds of vying faiths and thousands who do not cherish Arden so much. The temple building is a tall four floored
complex that is visible from the Great Road of Sampatha. It is constructed with wide outside hallways that look down to the gardens and
out to the sprawling city. Within are dozens of meeting rooms, inspired works of art, minor sanctuaries, dormitories and priestly
quarters, classrooms, a library, a hospital, reliquaries, burial chambers, and the great sanctuary which is also the largest single
chamber in all of Hana. The catacombs beneath the church which contain its oldest artifacts and crypts are said to be even more vast
then the temple itself.
The Temple of Arden is administrated by High Priestess
Inika Tripoteri, a handful of bishops, and a great many functionaries. The temple is open daily to the general public, but in truth the
temple operates at all hours of both day and night.
8) The Cutting Blade: Master weaponsmith Drishti
S'vitra is proprietor of the Cutting Blade, a specialty shop for seekers of edged weapons. Built from sepif stone, this large forge
is operated by three other weaponsmiths under the supervision of Drishti and numerous apprentices. The building has three interior rooms,
the largest of which is the forge room, dominated by the massive bellows, fiery oven, and tool racks. To one side is a store chamber for
securing valuables and through there a third chamber where two of the smithies live and watch over the place at nights. In addition to its
staff, House S'vitra posts two guards on the premises. There is no store front, visitors are welcomed directly
into the front area of the forge where they can see work being done, but Drishti has no patience for tourists and if a visitor doesn't
quickly state his business then he is shooed away. Most work requests can be accomodated within a couple days, though seekers of the
mastercraft work of Drishti should be willing to wait several weeks. The Cutting Blade opens early in the morning, is closed for
several hours during the afternoon, and opened again once the day begins to cool, until sunset.
9) Guildhall of the Rohinish: The Rohinish, also known as The Quiet Moon, is a guild of mercenaries that
specialize in tracking and bounty hunting. Along with these services, the Rohinish also performs reporting services for patrons
who just want to have someone tracked down and surreptitiously watched. The guildhall is built from sepif stone, a tall finger of a building
surrounded by a couple smaller buildings. The main building is mostly quarters and a meeting hall. Neighboring buildings contain a small
smithy, stables, stores and an aerie for messenger falcons. The guild boasts a membership of almost 80 members, though less than a third
of this number are resident in Hana due to the transient nature of their business. Guild leaders keep quarters in the guild and the Rohinish
provides its own guard services, allowing it to remain independent from the merchant princes.
Joining the Rohinish is uncomplicated and requires only a bit of coin and passing a test where a senior member
plays a sort of cat-and-mouse hunt with the supplicant throughout the city. Dues are taken out of contract fees before they are ever
assigned and payments on contracts are disbursed to the bounty hunter upon completion. The guild provides training and intelligence on
activities within the city, as well as a small amount of political immunity. Bounty hunters between assignments can shelter in the yard
of the guild, senior members can usually find a sheltered bed within the hall if they are in need.
10) Guildhall of the Silk Cartel: The Silk Cartel is one of the most powerful organizations of Hana and
the surrounding region. Its influence is greater than that of individual merchant princes and its influence reaches deep into neighboring
countries such as the United Kingdoms, the free cities, and the
Westering Kingdoms. As befits an organization whose power rivals kings,
the Silk Cartel maintains a vast guild house in the center of the Shinveta district, directly upon the Road of Sampatha, in the center of
the city. Its fortress-like grounds are riddled with hallways and meeting rooms. The treasury of the Silk Cartel is much speculated upon,
but only the most brazen, desperate, or suicidal of rogues would even consider it a tempting target. In truth, much of the wealth of
the Silk Cartel is spread through its member houses, investments, and in tangible goods. Exports from the Silk Cartel reach lands even
as distant as the Eastern Empire. Chapter houses of the Silk Cartel can be found in
cities all over the Hanois Peninsula and in large cities of neighboring kingdoms.
The Cartel is led by a counsel of powerful princes from the great merchant houses, each individuals of
tremendous power in their own right. Since each of the counsels leaders have positions of great influence in often numerous other
guilds, the market resources of the Silk Cartel are effectively endless when presented with a need that a majority of its counsel
can agree upon. Individually, ruling members of the Silk Cartel are only slightly less fractious with each other than they are with
non-member merchant houses. Rising to the top of the Silk Cartel is a feat of political skill that only the greatest of masters can
Membership in the Silk Cartel is mandatory for anyone wishing to do business in the silk market. Anyone
who thinks to oppose the Silk Cartel in this regard is quickly crushed and left hanging from a pole at the waterline for the harbor
zombies to consume. Members with market share and diverse contacts may eventually rise to positions of importance within the guild,
but its leadership is entirely based on merchant households which have already proven themselves successful in numerous enterprises.
The guildhall is guarded by the guards of the merchant princes, who are rotated through duty on a regular
basis. The cartel also employs a number of skilled wizards to maintain its magical wards and deter intruders.
11) Guildhall of the Spice Cartel: The Spice Cartel, like the Silk Cartel, is a guild of power that
rivals kings, though its influence could be said to extend even further. With oversight of drug trade, tobacco, spice, herbs, and cooking
seasonings, the Spice Cartel holds great sway over numerous markets. Like the other great guilds, the individuals who lead the Spice Cartel
are each of great power in their own right, often overseeing numerous smaller guilds and having investments and operations in many markets
that are not overseen by the cartel.
The Guildhall of the Spice Cartel is located in the center of Hana, along the Road of Sampatha. Its grounds
are unceasingly active, caravans and messengers leave and arrive minute by minute without pause throughout the year. The central guildhall
is a palatial affair, gilded with precious metals, beautiful artwork, sculptures, and signs of wealth suitable for welcoming visiting kings.
Surrounding the low and wide, golden painted counsel dome are nests of minaret topped towers that fly the banners of the cartels leading
merchant prince households. Wide, breezy hallways with walls open to the outside look out over impressive gardens whose scent waifs over
the nearby neighborhood and covers up the less pleasant scent of horses and laborers.
Any who wish to sell spices within Hana or any of the neighboring region are required to become members of the
Spice Cartel. Those who refuse are quietly pressured until either the merchant suffers some unfortunate accident or until they acquiesce and
become a guild member. Membership is not without its advantages though. Like any great guild the opportunity for making contacts in the
spice market is tremendous. Need someone with boats to make a shipment? Need guards to watch over a caravan? Need a reliable drover? Need
a storehouse or mill for handling extra inventory? All of this and much, much more can be easily arranged for guild members who get involved
in cartel activities. The Spice Cartel maintains chapter houses throughout Hana and in many cities throughout this and neighboring regions.
12) House Saladahi: A minor merchant house that maintains its wealth through moneylending and inventment.
Vaddruopti Saladahi, the elder of the house, is a member of modest standing in the Guild of Coin. Several cousins of his also operate within
guild circles. House Saladahi yearns to improve its power, but it is shackled by the fact that the merchant houses that borrow from it are
well connected enough to set their interest rates or go elsewhere. Consequently, House Saladahi is a home of accountants and finance
advisors looking for an opportunity to apply their skills into another market. Several of its minor members are barristers to more powerful
houses, but House Saladahi knows well to not share the secrets of the superior merchant princes.
The colors of House Saladahi are green and gold, braced in a thin stripe of woven silver and black, colors that
belong to its primary patron, the powerful House Vushra.
Tenkshystra, "The Grinder" District
Better known as "The Grinder," Tenkshystra is an urban wasteland where only the most desperate criminals, diseased, impoverished, and
unfortunate reside. Locals call it "The Grinder" because of what a life lived in Tenkshystra does to the spirit. Those who have dwelt too long
in the Grinder have a haunted and empty look in their hungry eyes, their bodies worn to skin and bone from exposure to the elements. It
is a landscape of waste and refuse. When the powerful rainy-season monsoons sweep across the peninsula, Tenkshystra is hit the hardest
by the wind and flood-water, leaving little behind but destroyed third-hand tents, broken pottery, and stinking refuse washed ashore from
the rest of the city.
Visitors of Hana should avoid traveling through the Tenkshystra District. Located along the eastern side of the
Bay of Tushar, south of the transient Sampatha District and north of the seedy At'tapri Pleasure District, it is the worst part of Hana.
Except for merchants who enslave and abuse the desperate population of Tenkshystra, most residents of Hana pretend that Tenkshystra doesn't
exist, spending their time in safer and more populated Sampatha, Nop-Haztno, and Puryat Dubala
districts instead. Travelers of the Road of Sampatha who seek the exotic pleasures of At'tapri are advised to travel before dusk and to plan on
not returning until dawn, though there are also boats which can safely deliver those who possess a few extra coins for the trip.
There is one road that passes cleanly through Tenkshystra, from Sampatha to At'tapri and thence to outer fishing
villages and eventually ending in Sagar, the City of Evils. Ramshackle buildings built from old canvass and driftwood line its sides, though
anyone with any sense will save their coin for other districts rather then spend it on the scams and pitiful craftsmanship found here. For
those who care to make a purchase, bartering is often safer than any display of money in Tenkshystra. Travel through the rest of The Grinder
is often difficult. Broken paths wind through the garbage and uneven earth, providing a crude means of regular passage that is only familiar
to the locals.
Besides the dimensions of criminal activity that infest the Grinder, it is also a convenient haven for creatures
which prefer the convenience of living near the urban centers that they prey upon. Like many other diseases, lycanthropy is a frequent
problem in the Grinder and it is well known that several clans of wererats freely operate there. Undead, some mindless but others
intelligent, travel easily in the grinder, hiding beneath the filth during the day and emerging at night to wander into neighboring
districts at night. Due to these dangers, the Grinder can be a haven for hunted criminals since few merchant prince guards will pursue
Unlike much of the rest of Hana, Tenkshystra does not bustle with activity during daylight hours. Many of its
inhabitants go into Sampatha or Nop-Haztno to beg during the day, leaving the Grinder a quiet wasteland. Some go to fish along the derelict
and trash strewn beaches. At night a few go to work in At'tapri pleasure houses, but again the Grinder is quiet as those who return there
hide and shiver in the dark, hoping that on this night some creature does not come to feed upon them.
1) The Four Pillars: Erected in AC128896 with the help of the Church of Arden and a generous donation
from House Prassana, the Four Pillars represent the four virtues of Arden: charity, peace, mercy, and compassion.
This is the base of operations for a band of heroes
who chose to build in The Grinder to further their charitable work of bringing healing and hope to the districts wretched inhabitants.
The Four Pillars is a modest, bamboo walled, open-air compound which shelters several pavilion tents, a
minor hospice, and the sleeping accommodations of its members. Several templars of the Church
of Arden rotate weekly through duty at the compound and a regular staff of warriors also protect it. Services of healing, food, sanctuary,
and a small school dedicated to the martial arts of the Shadowed Path are located within.
2) Theater of Swords: This massive circular coliseum of stone sits at the edge of the grinder, just
outside of the bustling Sampatha District. Many locals and foreigners come here, eager or curious to watch the orgies of violence which
take place. No mere gladiatorial combat takes place. This is where slaves and innocents clumsily fight to the death, are fed en masse
to vicious creatures, or are slowly torn apart by sadistic blood-letters. This is not where trained fighters battle for the delight of
the crowd, but where wholesale slaughter is committed. Riots occasionally rage through the crowds, turning the whole coliseum into a
bloodthirsty brawl. Without a central authority policing the place, these riots sometimes spill out into the nearby neighborhoods.
The Theater of Swords is run by a loathsome man known as The Butcher (Barbarian 14), who receives tenuous
support from House Vushra, though why the prestigious House Vushra engages the Theater of Swords or what
it gains from the affiliation is a mystery. The relationship between the two is a private affair and not advertised. The Butcher is a
frightful looking man of great girth and afflicted by some tenacious disease that causes lesions all over his face and body. He
surrounds himself with well paid and capable private guards and rarely makes appearances during the performances, preferring to remain
somewhat behind the scenes and dealing strictly with the business affairs of the theater.
The well guarded truth of the matter is that The Butcher is a powerful
ghoul lord who, along with its many vile undead servants, feast upon
the carcasses of the deceased during interludes in the violent entertainment. The Butcher keeps his nature secret, wearing heavy clothes
and rarely dining anywhere that he can be observed, his ghoulish servants bringing freshly dead meals to him.
Warrens tunnel through the ground beneath the massive theater, providing shelter for the undead amidst their
twisting and confusing passageways, as well as a place to store captured creatures to be used in the theater's entertainment. Unwilling
combatants are given drug cocktails or subjected to magics which fill their minds with a lust for battle before they are set loose into
the theater's arena floor. Combatants are gathered from Tenkshystra, taken from Merchant Princes who have condemned the unfortunate to
this fate, and some come of their own free will.
Besides the ghouls, creatures, and combatants, the theater is also called home to several priests of
Azhull and a few others who follow similarly minded small gods and demons.
Most powerful among them is Iostir Xellor (Cleric of Azhull 16), a wicked man who occasionally wades into the bloodier of arena
conflicts and slaughters all who come against him in glory of his terrible deity.
The Theater of Swords has sixty foot tall outer walls, eight broad entrances lead to stairways up into its
auditorium seats. The ground within the building is stained with blood. The outside of the building is decorated with columns and massive,
brutal looking iron swords hang from enormous chains over each of the passages to the inside. The coliseum is open to the night sky,
allowing the sound of its combat to echo over Tenkshystra.
3) Shrine of Vushundra: Construction on the Shrine of Vushundra was begun in AC12895 following the
return of the lost bones of Saint Vushundra, an
Ardenite native to Hana who displayed divine power and great bravery during the
time of the Black Scourge. Following the death of Vushundra, the bones were to be transported by boat back to Hana, but were lost when
the ship which carried them sank at sea. For many years they lay unfound until clues led a
band of heroes to the shipwreck. The same heroes suffered their
own shipwreck while transporting the bones back to Hana and in a great storm they and the relics were washed ashore
upon the beaches of The Grinder, not far from a small church of Arden. Since their boat sank far from Hana, the heroes had no idea how
they had been transported nearly one-hundred miles to the shores of Hana, but this was not the only miracle that took place. Following
their arrival at the tiny church of Arden, it is said that an effigy of Vushundra dripped blood from the carved wound in its side and
that a spear of light shown upon the church from the heavens throughout the stormy day.
Due to these auspicious signs, the Church of Arden quickly set about the building of a massive temple to
Vushundra, a beacon of hope for the poor of Tenkshystra whom Vushundra had worked among during the early years of his ministry. Though
likely to be in construction for many years still, plans for the temple include a massive cathedral, a special vault for viewing of the
saints bones, and a nearby hospice dedicated to healing the poor.
4)The Devil Stone: Situated on the fringes of Tenkshystra, off the beaten road that winds southward
from the Sampatha district to the At'tapri District, is a featureless, weatherworn and ancient stone obelisk that stands roughly twenty
feet tall. Local legend says that if you stand in the shadow of the obelisk at night that a stranger will come with offers of worldly
wealth, pleasures, and power for the price of their soul.
Isle of Sepras
Known for its many temples and hot springs, this island is populated by pilgrims, cult followers, tourists, and some notables of Hana.
Few merchant princes build upon Sepras, preferring the proximity and esteem that accompanies being closer to the sepif complexes. Sepras
is steep and hilly, its soil a mixture of basalt stone and clay. The island has been slowly sinking for many centuries, perhaps an inch
every twenty years or so, thus many of its old coastal buildings are partially sunken. All around the island there can be seen ruins of
even more ancient buildings beneath the waters surface.
The island is accessible by ferry barges which shuttle visitors to or from the island for a silver coin each
way. Barges are often little more than large flat rafts that are moved across the harbor by means of slaves pulling on a rope or chain
that connects the island to the mainland. They are often overcrowded, but they provide an eyeful sampler of the wide variety of pilgrims
that visit the island. Barge travelers are often subjected to the preaching of various worshipers and cultists who loudly compete for the
attention of the captive barge audience. A trip from the mainland to the island takes about an hour to complete. Water taxies scurry around
the island, providing easy transport around the island and from the barges, which often cannot directly beach on the island because of the
sunken ruins in the water. The streets of the island are crooked, often narrow and steep, interrupted at level spots with standing-room-only
bazaars that cater to the needs of the island. Food and other goods are often more expensive on the island, since everything must be brought
across the harbor. Travelers to the Isle of Sepras should be well aware that no barges travel to the island at night, and so unless they
are willing to pay for a private boat they should either plan for sleeping accommodations or return to shore before nightfall.
Nights on the Isle of Sepras can be a confusing and even dangerous experience for first time visitors to the
island. It is important to understand that everything from vile demon-worshiping fanatics to sedate sun god followers are present on the
island. During the day, most of the blatantly evil cults keep a low profile, but at night there are parades through the street and sometimes
a gawking tourist is swept up and carried off to be that nights sacrifice. Chanting, screams, and music echo through the night air once
the noisy din of the day has subsided. Torches colored with chemical compounds burn brightly over temple entrances and robe wearing acolytes
and priests can be seen congregating in the temple foyers of a thousand centers of worship.
1) Temple of Chishleen: Cut from the shell of a colossal conch shell, the Temple of
Chishleen rests along the low northern shores of the Isle of Sepras. When
the wind blows across the island tip the sound that it makes whistling through the great shell can be heard by passing ships.
Worshipers of the goddess come here to worship her aspects water and weather. Services are held daily on the water shore beside the temple
when weather permits, which is most of the time, or inside when the weather is particularly bad. Locals say that the voice of Chishleen
can sometimes be heard in the sounds of the shell when terrible storms blow their winds through it.
2) House Etash: A fortress which is ruled by a fearsome elder
beholder known simply as Lord
Du Etash. This beholder is known to be a keen businessman, but it is ostricised by the merchant princes for its habit of eating
people that it disagrees with, regardless of what station the victim may hold in society. Lord Etash is feared by island locals and
it is also the source of a great many rumors. Most of the rumors surrounding Lord Etash have to do with its skill at magic. It is said
that it has cut out many of its eyes and replaced them with magical gems, some say that Lord Etash may even be a
lich and that these gems hold parts of its soul. It is also said that
a daring rogue once stole one of the gem-eyes of Lord Etash and that the beholder will pay handsomely to any who return it.
Lord Du Etash lives in a thick, square tower that is surrounded by a high wall, covered in man-eating vines.
Strange monsters, said to be the failed creations of Etash, prowl the ignored gardens that grow between the walls of the keep and the
surrounding curtain wall. At the top of the tower is a large crystal sphere which it is said that Etash observes the stars through.
3) Temple of Asesh Barid: Also known as the Cult of the Heavenly Cloud, members of Asesh Barid
pursue an aggressively transcendental regimen of alienist practices, hallucinogenic drugs, and other consciousness expanding acts. They
believe that by doing such things that they can gain godlike insight into the nature of existence. The Temple of Ashish Barid is located
on the northwestern side of the Isle of Sepras, high on the crest of a hill.
4) Temple of Anrad: The cult of Anrad the Endless preaches that self-divinity can be achieved through
acceptance and detachment from all worldly things and emotions. Anrad cultists believe that they are reborn again and again in a state of
perpetual spiritual growth, until their spirits are pure enough that they become enlightened and divine. To this end, they follow the
teachings of Anrad, founder of the religion and a mythic figure who presumably achieved a state of divinity through this very practice.
The temple of Anrad is a large, square, four-story building on the western side of the Isle of Sepras. Adherents of Anrad are allowed in
to successively upper chambers of the building as they are deemed sufficiently enlightened. Followers of Anrad are aggressively evangelical,
believing that they must find and rescue reincarnated worshipers of Anrad so that their spirits can continue on the path of spiritual
5) Temple of Arden: Despite its status as a world spread religion, the temple of
Arden on the Isle of Sepras is a modest building. Priests at the temple say that
this is because the work of Arden is best done among the masses that populate the mainland and that travelers to the Isle of Sepras have
enough religion of their own already. The temple is a cathedral-like sanctuary with private quarters accessible from hallways that run
along the sides of the building. The building is situated in such a way that the magnificent stained crystal window at the rear of the
temple is often lit by the northern sun, depicting a white dove taking flight with a palm leaf clutched by one foot. Outside the temple is a
small priory and monastery for worshipers of Arden who have come to the island on journeys of spiritual reflection. The Temple of Arden is
open daily. Supplicants who wish to make use of the monastery should inquire with one of the temple priests as accomodations are limited.
6) Guildhall of the Pran-Rashmi: An semi-informal group of well-to-do wizards who study the various
cults and religions that populate the Isle of Sepras. The Pran-Rashmi often meet with cultists in an exchange of philosophy, believing that
they can help these cults achieve a more meaningful religious experience by educating cult leaders in logical practices, eliminating
contradictions from religious dogma and helping the religions make more sense. Most members of the Pran Rashmi are cheerful and welcoming
of inquisitive visitors, provided that they can keep up with the academic conversation and contribute interesting bits of philosophical
insight. Failing that, visitors who bring wine or food to their irregular evening meetings are also welcome. Members of the Pran-Rashmi
spend most of their daytime in private pursuits or working with various cult and religious groups.
New members are welcomed into the Pran-Rashmi through a loose and tacit approval of whichever members are
present, having already spent several weeks occasionally joining in on guild meetings. No formal dues are collected, members are expected
to contribute when they are able to the food and drink at the table of the guilds evening meetings or risk being criticised for having
empty or tight pockets by their fellow guildsmen.
The guildhall of the Pran-Rashmi is a many tiered and scattered collection of buildings that are built haphazardly
down a particularly steep part of the island, perched over the harbor waters. The Pran-Rashmi keep a good collection of scrolls that address
a wide variety of topics including mathematics, arcane practices, mythology, religion, history, and philosophy.
7) Temple of Dev Devrot: Located on the eastern side and central length of the Isle of Sepras, the
Temple of Dev Devrot is a sprawling complex of small buildings, each dedicated to one of the mysteries of divinity. Worshipers of Dev Devrot
explore the very nature of divinity and believe that by worshiping all gods of all pantheons, even those which have not yet come to be,
that they can achieve a certain spiritual understanding of the multiverse and its most divine fundamentals. Dev Devrot is a reasonably good
place to get basic information on the many cults and religions that fill Hana. Religious debate and the scholarly exploration of religion
are common activities at this temple.
8) Temple of Prithi: The Temple of Prithi is one of many shahiran (serpent worshiping) temples
in Hana and on the Isle of Sepras. It is located on the western side of the island, perched above an artificial chasm that is filled with
thick jungle gardens. This jungle sanctuary is filled with various snakes and is a place that worshipers from the temple go in search of
divine experiences. The temple itself resembles two wide discs set into the hillside, one held above the other by heavy pillars. Vines
are allowed to grow wild around and up the pillars. Above the temple, at the forefront of the ceiling ledge is the holy symbol of
Prithi, a livid yellow disc with the likeness of a half-moon resting on its convex side, cradling a slit that is reminiscent of a snake's
eye. At nights a fire is lit behind the sign, illuminating the crescent moon and the serpent eye. The inside of the temple is cut out from
the body of the island. To one side there is a wide auditorium where worship and feasts are held. It is a large chamber that is supported
by massive hooded cobra statues whose fanned backs support the high ceilings; here too grow vines. Down a separate hall are private
chambers for priests of the temple.
Worshipers of Prithi are inviting and welcoming to curious and new visitors. Services are held at night when
the temple is gently flooded with hallucinogenic vapors which sometimes give visitors the impression that snakes are crawling in the vines
and shadows of the temple. The temple is open during evenings and nights. Visitors are not welcome during the day. The Temple of Prithi is
led by the High Priest Sedaneej Sasiir.
9) Tower of the Dead: This four story tower of stone is built on a hilly rise that drops steeply off
on the side facing the water. Long ago this tower was part of a larger temple of tyrannical law, called the Monastery of Inculcation.
Followers of the monastery practiced a brutal regimen of brain washing and thought purification through rigorous and orderly trials. As
part of their vendetta against the forces of chaos, the Monks of Inculcation would hunt down vulnerable proponents of chaos and imprison
them atop of this tower where they would be exposed to and worn down by the elements until they perished, all the while as monks
unceasingly took turns exerting upon them their sinful indulgence in chaotic deed. These demonstrations were meant to represent the direct
conflict and triumph of law over chaos. One night, after hundreds of such trials had taken place, there was a terrible storm which caused
the earth beneath the monastery to shift and slide into the sea, leaving nothing behind but the tower. None have since reclaimed the tower,
saying that it is haunted by hundreds of spirits who died from exposure while under the merciless eye of the Monks of Inculcation.
10) Temple of Arnav: A five tiered building set into the side of the Isle of Sepras, along its
southwestern shore. The first floor of the building and most of the second are entirely flooded, due in part to the island's slow sinking
and testament to the age of the temple. Tourist visitors and sincere pilgrims frequent the holy water-pipes of Arnav, which are essentially
large bongs whose smoke is pressured upward by the motion of the waves that lap at the temple. Priests of Arnav believe that
exhaling ones prayers of from them brings their prayers closer to the ears of the spirits of air and water, then they breath in the
divine breath and receive enlightenment.
11) House Birendra: This mighty fortress is the home of the retired human hero Lord Birendra, known
as the King of Warriors and once a powerful priest of Harushta. Now said to be late in his seventh decade (AC12896), Birendra lives alone
on his personal wealth while his sons and daughters travel the world and make names for themselves. Lord Birendra is a quiet supporter of
the holy mercenary group called the Strong of Anshur.
12) Temple of Swareepa: A temple of light worshipers who revere the sun and flame. They worship by
meditating upon a fire whose flames have been flavored with chemicals, causing it to burn with a golden color, and sitting in their
sandy worship center while exposed to the noonday sun. By staring into the colorful flames and warming their bodies they seek inner
peace and spiritual unity. By resting in the sun they seek to full their bodies with life-giving warmth.
Their temple consists of little more than a low stone wall enclosed sand floor with a fire pit in its center,
placed in such a way that the sun shines all day upon the temple. Accomplished Swareepans tattoo a golden flame upon the center of their
lower forehead as a symbol of their faith.
13) Temple of Prem: The holy Baths of Prem are attended to by worshipers of Prem, a hedonistic god
of lust and physical pleasures. Both male and female adherents populate the lavish temple grounds, willing to join with visitors in worship
of their deity, however their services and worship is not free to non-members of the temple. Followers of Prem believe that mortals can taste
divine enlightenment and inspiration during experiences of intense mortal pleasure.
The Baths of Prem are so named because the temple is built around several natural hot springs. The water from
these springs are channeled into marble baths of varying privacy and size. Smaller channels and waterfalls spill from the upper baths and
down the hillside to the lower baths, circulating the water and keeping the facilities clean. Opulent side chambers spread around the lower
part of the baths where worshipers can engage their hedonist god and where visitors can procure the temple's services. Irregular orgies of
worship are held typically during the middle of the month when the moon is full, on days of celebration, and sometimes for little reason
other than spontaneity.
Local Words and Phrases
Hana borrows its name from the name of the Hanoi Peninsula and its native language is the same as that used by all of the peninsula
south of the Great Daul Swamps. Being a cosmopolitan hub of merchant activity, through which all ship-bound trade flows west to east
and back, Hana borrows many words and not a little slang from a variety of languages. Here then are names of things that one might find
Herappa: A common broad-leafed plant that grows typically four to eight feet tall. Its trunk is
similar to a coconut tree and its leaves grow several feet long by a foot wide. They are used for privacy and for their unique and
pleasent scent that helps to mask the stench of Hana. Herapa is extremely popular for its narcotic properties. The leaves are
dried, ground, and smoked by much of Hana's populace. It is a mildly addictive drug which provides a brief, light, euphoric high and
dulls its users emotional extremes. It does not impair its user physiologically, like an alcoholic drink might, but the sense of
well-being that it instills can lead its users to take unnecessary risks. While under the effects of Herapa, a users Wisdom is reduced
by two. Even the poorest of the poor can occasionally afford to indulge in Herapa.
Petroikos: Old money. Specifically, natives often use this word to to describe the elite and
ancient merchant prince families of the Pizratri District.
Ravitita: The largest meal had by inhabitants of Hana during the hottest part of the day, a couple
hours after noon. Most of the city shuts down during this one to two hour period.
Sepif: These are massive stone structures which dominate the northern horizon of Hana's city skyline.
Left behind by some ancient and forgotten civilization, they resemble enormous pyramids whose tops have been removed. A typical sepif
is between one-half to one mile wide and anywhere from three-hundred to five-hundred feet tall before it plateaus. The wealthy elite,
mostly merchant princes, build their palaces on top of the sepif. Stone from the sepif have long provided the means for other wealthy
inhabitants of Hana to build their estates and the streets around the sepif are crowded with such manors and holdings of the rich. However,
most of this stone is old and reused over and over again throughout the centuries because Hana has no natural quarries of its own. How
the ancient races that built the sepif moved so much stone to where it is now is an unsolved mystery, but probably involved either great
magic or tremendous quantities of slave labor. The insides of the sepif are littered with catacombs and passageways, said to be filled
with undead and unwholesome creatures that sometimes come out at night and feed upon the local populace. The perpetually shady avenues
which are formed by neighboring sepif are dangerous places, filled with trash thrown down from the palaces above, festering with disease,
and a favorite hiding place for criminals. Excavating and taking stone from the sepif is discouraged (with executions) by the merchant
princes, who fear that too much excavation could cause a catastrophic collapse that would damage their palaces above.
Setrine: A sweet smelling, broad-leafed tree whose bark makes a nutmeg-like spice. Setrine trees
grow to about fourty feet tall and produce a non-poisonous, bitter, red, berry-sized fruit that birds enjoy throughout the year.
Shahiran: Having to do with serpents, typically referring to the activities of shahiran cults which
worship snakes and Yuan-Ti and other ophidian races. Not all shahiran
activity is evil, but much of it is suspect, exotic, and worthy of a travelers careful discretion.
Travita: A light evening meal had after dark and after business has closed.