Savage Sun of Athas
Ancient and magnificent, Raam has fallen far from its formerly wondrous heights. Centuries of plundering the countryside for its resources, rampant corruption in its government, and the rule of a hedonistic and disinterested sorcerer-queen have brought the city-state to the brink of disintegration.
The alabaster quarries and gemstone mines stand exhausted; reckless agricultural practices have led to disastrous food shortages. In the streets, violent factions sworn to one warlord or another battle for control as the once-vibrant and influential city slips into ruin. Mobs riot daily against their ineffectual ruler, the sorcerer-queen Abalach-Re, and her templars dare not set foot in some of the city’s districts.
Extensive irrigation combined with the water beneath Raam’s holdings have transformed the natural scrubland into a rich, verdant area ringing the city for miles. At its height, Raam rivaled Draj in grain production, and its date orchards were second to none. Now, many fields lay fallow, burned, and salted, the work of raiders and warring nawabs. Such destruction has led to food shortages, driving up prices for the most basic foodstuffs.
Raamites are a somber, spiritual people, now given to a certain degree of fatalism. Before Abalach-Re’s “revelation” many years ago, Raamites venerated a host of mythological figures and held mystics and sages known as saddhus in the highest esteem.
Raam is ruled by the sorcerer-queen Abalach-Re. Centuries of age have not diminished Abalach-Re’s physical allure. Her voluptuous figure is as youthful as it was the day she first seized the throne of Raam. She is the exception to Raam’s rigid castes, largely because she has the power and arrogance to ignore them.
Abalach-Re has comparatively few templars. When she has need of new ones, she performs divinations to discover young citizens who might be suited for wielding magic. Then she removes the candidates from their families, regardless of caste, and trains them to serve her. The templars take new names and exist outside the caste system, like their mistress.
The mansabdars are Raam’s police, city watch, and soldiers. They are a mundane part of the civil administration, supervised as needed by the templars.
Raam’s nobles (known as nawabs), are families of high caste that have amassed wealth and property over the centuries. From their estates (which are fortified with mercenary guards), the nawabs wage war against one another to crush opposition and rally supporters.