A Burnished Throne
The Tyr Region
The remains of Athasian civilization tenuously cling to life in the Tyr Region, an area that takes its name from the oldest city-state. The Tyr Region boasts dozens of towns and villages, but most Athasians live in one of the seven great city-states. Ancient and despotic sorcerer kings rule the Seven Cities, defining life for city-state residents as well as the smaller societies that dwell in the expanses between the urban centers. The Ringing Mountains, a massive chain of peaks, and the vast Sea of Silt border the Tyr Region. Beyond them stretch wastelands devoid of settlements and culture.
The following paragraphs briefly describe the citystates and other major Tyr Region features.
Tyr: The massive Ziggurat of Kalak and the imposing Golden Tower dominate the skyline of Tyr, the oldest Athasian city-state. Its streets writhe with intrigue, hope, and fear as its residents react to the overthrow and subsequent slaying of Sorcerer-King Kalak. After centuries of tyranny, the call for freedom has enchanted a significant portion of the population. While influential factions snatch at power, a steady stream of adventurers seeking fortune and a free life flows into Tyr. King Tithian, the high templar who betrayed Kalak, holds power for now, but no one can say whether that will last a few hours, a few days, or a few centuries.
Balic: Perched on the shores of the Forked Tongue Estuary, Balic is wealthy and touts a rich cultural heritage. Its mercantile prowess brings prosperity, and its Chamber of Patricians upholds the city-state’s democratic pretense. In truth, however, the chamber’s senators answer to Sorcerer-King Andropinis, a dictator they dare not defy.
Draj: Farthest from the hub of civilization, Draj is an isolated city-state embroiled in endless warfare. Mad Sorcerer-King Tectuktitlay rules the City of Moons through fear and bloodletting. Tectuktitlay’s templars, the moon priests, act as bureaucrats and religious enforcers, using propaganda and brutality to cow the populace. Mass executions and sacrifices are commonplace, and the channels cut into the towering Father and Master Temple run with Draji and enemy blood alike.
Gulg: Within the verdant confines of the Crescent Forest, the smallest of the city-states exists as a collective of villages that draws sustenance from the bounty of the lush land. Gulgans have no doubt the Oba, as they call Sorcerer-Queen Lalali-Puy, is a goddess, and most willingly serve her. Lalali-Puy teaches that she and her templars stand as the city-state’s only defense against the primal spirits that burn to destroy Gulg and its people. In truth, Lalali-Puy’s shamans and druids use primal magic to enslave the volatile spirits.
Nibenay: Residents believe Nibenay, the City of Spires, is the last bastion of true civilization on Athas. That vaunted worldview is reflected in every aspect of Nibenese culture, ranging from the city-state’s opulent architecture to its resplendent dance forms. The reclusive Shadow King, who shares his name with the city-state, has spent centuries tucked away in his arcane studies. However, with the news of Sorcerer-King Kalak’s death, Nibenay has begun to take a more active interest in the city-state’s governance and the activities of his numerous templar-wives.
Raam: The populous city-state of Raam, once ripe and magnificent, is crumbling. The hedonistic Sorcerer- Queen Abalach-Re ignores the starving rioters and violent warlord-sword factions as she indulges in every pleasure. Citizens squabble over scraps of food, and fatalism wars with desperation on every filthy, decrepit street of Raam.
Urik: Hamanu, a rigid and brilliant strategist, rules this powerful, militarized city-state. The self-styled King of the World long ago erected fortress walls around Urik, and the authoritarian nature of his rule demands peace and order be kept within the city-state’s gates. Urik’s laborers and crafters are industrious, keeping the seemingly invincible Hamanu’s war machine supplied and providing a massive output of trade goods.
Forest Ridge: A sweeping expanse of lush jungle wilderness beneath the Ringing Mountains, Forest Ridge is a primeval land filled with bounty, danger, and ruins. Fierce, cannibalistic halfling tribes claim Forest Ridge as their homeland. Few travelers journey to the outer edges, let alone the interior, of this teeming land. Most Athasians don’t believe it exists.
Ivory Triangle: Major trade routes cross this wasteland in the center of the Tyr Region, and only a handful of villages and city-state outposts are scattered across the empty land. Both factors make the Ivory Triangle prime hunting territory for raiders and monsters. Its landscape includes the Great Ivory Plain, a salt flat that spans hundreds of miles; the Crescent Forest; the low-lying Mekillot Mountains; and the Beastbarrens, a cursed land that warps the bodies of desert predators.
Ringing Mountains: At the western edge of the Tyr Region, the Ringing Mountains are the largest range known to Athasians. The highest peaks top 20,000 feet, and the lowest passes stretch about 12,000 feet above the lowlands. Tribes of goliaths, halflings, and other folk eke out an existence in the thin air. These herders, miners, and nomads live their lives out of reach of the sorcerer-kings. The high vales are also home to a smattering of monasteries.
Sea of Silt: A great dust sink that extends into the unknown reaches of the world, Athasians consider the Sea of Silt impassible. Silt skimmers and waders can skirt the shoreline where the dust is shallow, but traveling deeper runs the risk of monsters, drowning, and Gray Death—suffocating in airborne dust. Thus, this eastern edge of the Tyr Region lies almost completely unexplored.
Tablelands: An expanse of scrub plains, desert, and rocky badlands forms the western cradle of civilization in the Tyr Region. Tyr and Urik claim dominance over the Tablelands, and most settled Athasians who dwell outside the city-states live in this area. The fortified town of Altaruk, abutting the Balic-Tyr trade route, is an important Tablelands settlement. Oases, such as Grak’s Pool and Silver Spring, and a few well-used caravan routes make this Tyr Region wilderness more hospitable than other areas.