Death In The Desert
In retrospect, I should have named this better.
For the potential players: Please read all this. It’s not necessary, but will help your understanding of the world. If you’re planning on playing, come up with a character(D&D 3.5, starting a 4th level.) All PHB races are alright, other races will need confirmation from me. If you want to be a base class from any of the “Complete *” books, let me know. I’ll probably let you, I just like to stay informed. Clerics/Paladins/Divine magic users, talk to me and I’ll let you know what your deity options are.
A small civilization in a spit of desert has been established for as long as anyone can remember. Several cities are in and around what few precious natural resources are available. Small oases are scattered throughout the land, with a large permanent camp set up by the largest. Water is not in particularly high demand, as the desert is located on top of an aquifer, locked in stone quite a distance under the surface. Each settlement has its own town well where residents can get however much water is needed for daily tasks. Along the northern and eastern borders are huge mountain ranges, over which scarce rainfall comes. Subsistence farming is possible in the very sandy soil, but most of the food production comes from local desert flora and fauna. To the west is a huge sea of sand, thought to be impassable. There are rumors of a great ocean beyond the desert, but nobody has the nerve to attempt the crossing. In the mountains to the east, there is a single, rocky pass. Several exploration parties, many years ago, attempted to discover what is beyond the dense fog and few gnarled trees to the east, but none returned. As of late, all sorts of terrible abominations have been crawling from the eastern pass into Amalshorast, an outpost town equipped with the basic necessities to support a population of about 45 people.
Of the five major cities present, only four are of any material worth. Alennomal, a small town of about 200, has several mining outposts in and around the nearby mountains. The desert does not provide an environment very conducive to forging and metal production, but the residents of Alennomal scavenge enough raw material, whether wood, coal, or metal ore to provide functional metal equipment to the rest of the cities in the area.
Libashim is the southernmost city, renowned for its stone craftsmen and carpenters. Given what little wood there is, the carpenters of Libashim manage to supply the known world with what items that cannot be made from stone.
Arducim is the largest town, located in the northwest. It is the primary center of commerce, followed closely by the central oasis, known only as “the oasis camp.” Merchants and town representatives come from each city, displaying wares to be traded for that which is needed. Bartering is the most common form of exchange, as currency is simply an unnecessary middleman in the minds of the locals.
Feramal is the last of the major cities, a short distance south of Arducim. Feramal was founded on an oasis, so water is in plentiful supply for the livestock that is raised there. Feramallian camels are the best that one can trade for, and ownership of one is quite a social landmark.
Society in the desert is fairly primitive, with status usually based on wealth. What few military heroes there are, are treated with respect and often consulted on diplomatic matters. No true wars have been fought in anyone’s memory, but several scuffles between town guards have erupted in the past. Cooperation between cities is necessary for everyone’s survival. In each city, the races of people is varied, and racism is almost non-existent.(Non-standard races are incredibly rare, if present at all. However, if someone can do a day’s work, nobody cares what they look like.) There are no race-specific civilizations or settlements. A form of serfdom is in effect almost everywhere(a notable exception being the oasis camp). Workers produce what they can for the town leader, who in turn, provides food and other necessities to everyone. The labor system is very simple. If you don’t work, you don’t eat.
In the desert, life is difficult, and one must work hard to survive, but with essentially nowhere to go, people cope. Crime is almost non-existent, as a no tolerance policy(If you steal, you are either indentured or killed, depending on the temperament of the person you stole from) in the past has deterred just about every criminal act since.
You are an adventurer, born and raised in one of the four major towns of the desert. As of late, you have heard news of abominations wandering from the foggy mountain pass to the east. The attacks have been more and more frequent, and more and more severe. Unless Amalshorast gets help soon, the town might be overrun.