Sampranasz

Size: Town

Population: 3,000 (Human – Mulan, Human – Turami) plus 10,000 slaves (50% Human – Mulan, 30% Human – Turami, 20% – Various)

Ruler: Fakh-Ab Sanuet Chahi (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Warrior 5), Precept of Sampranasz.

 

Overview

Sampranasz is a very minor settlement in terms of Mulhorand’s political and economic landscape, it produces a minor crop of papyrus reeds (when compared to Mulhorand as a whole), has poor surrounding soil for agriculture, a shallow coastline which prevents docks from being constructed, and is otherwise far from the main trade routes of Mulhorand.

For the Cult of Set however, Sampranasz is it’s major base of operations in Mulhorand. The incarnation Seti was born here and owns a highly successful trading company that runs information, people, and provisions for the Cult of Set to it’s other growing cells in Mulhorand and surrounding nations. Secretly Seti has purchased (through intermediaries) all other businesses and all the slaves in Sampranasz, he even owns the loyalty of the Precept, there is nothing that happens in this town that is not the will of Set.

 

History

Sampranasz has always been relatively minor in the annals of Mulhorand, it was founded by the Mulan (rather than by one of their godkings), its shallow and marshy coastline was perfect for the papyrus reeds that grew here, but there was little else to make it noteworthy except for a larger than average concentration of Colossi standing amid ancient ruins.

Twice the settlement was destroyed in Mulhorand’s history, first was early during the Orcgate Wars, when the Colossi suddenly came to life and tore apart or stepped on almost every building, erecting a ring of strange obelisks and a central steppe pyramid in their midst. The Mulan were forced to abandon the settlement for 8 months (or risk being squashed by the tireless automatons) and move elsewhere.

Just as suddenly the Colossi inexplicably ceased their toil and became dormant once more. Sampranasz was rebuilt and became a sleepy reed farming and fishing village once more, until 957 DR when the Ship of the Gods erupted and a tsunami swamped the coasts of Unther and Mulhorand. Again the Mulan rebuilt Sampranasz, and slowly the town has expanded to its current height.

Sampranasz was hard hit by the Plague of Dragons that arrived in 1318 DR, which claimed more than a third of the population in 3 months. In the following years, the economy of the town was revitalized by the efforts of Sekeot Amsiith and his trading company the Desert Winds, which managed to successfully navigate a route through the Raurin Desert from Murghom to Durpar. The Desert Winds repeated the feat on subsequent trips and Sekeot Amsiith quickly grew to become the richest man in Sampranasz.

Sampranasz is fast becoming a vital part of Mulhorand’s trade, with rich cargos brought to and from Durpar regularly. Rich noble houses are seeking to expand their influence in this growing settlement and have brought with them more slaves and education, which in turn has seen the services and population of Sampranasz swell.

 

Life and Society

Sampranasz is not typical of most backwater settlements in Mulhorand. It’s buildings are of the sunken mud dome that is typical of ancient Turami design. It has no defined streets (houses are built wherever people wish to construct them). There are no temples here (yet), a limited number of shops, and almost no inns or services to cater to travelers.

Citizens in Sampranasz survive by fishing or providing a service for the fishing industry (fixing boats, making nets and rope, etc) or they harvest papyrus reeds far along the coast, or process the reeds into papyrus (drying and preserving them). Life for regular citizens is difficult because the most productive reed beds are land owned by the churches, and are rented by large land owners and noble houses where thousands of slaves work the year round.

The success of the Desert Wind has changed things in recent years. The riches acquired by the trading company have been put back into the town and more reed beds are being cultivated. The added wealth in the town has seen the growth of other services, shops, taverns, tailors, cobblers, etc, to cater to the newly rich Amsiith family. This in turn has seen the churches take an interest in the settlement and temple construction is in progress along with roads and buildings for other noble houses who wish to establish their own farms and caravan companies to rival the Desert Wind.

Sampranasz is a growing settlement, with all the rewards and problems inherent with that growth.

 

Law and Order

Sampranasz is governed by Precept Sanuet, a retired military commander in the Legion of Dawn, given this position as a reward for his service. Sanuet has thus far kept the laws of Sampranasz in line with the laws of Mulhorand, although he is considering confiscating all unused land (land not owned by a church, noble house, or permitted trading company) for a days ride around Sampranasz and making it the official property of the Church of Horus-Re.

This act would remove the livelihood of the citizens of Sampranasz, and force them to find other means of generating wealth, but it is normal for such land grabs to occur in larger settlements and for citizens to become service providers (shops and craftsmen) instead of farmers.

Those desiring the services of the Magistrates of Osiris must wait for one to visit from other nearby temples (located in Skuld, Gheldaneth, or Neldorild usually), wait for a temple of Osiris to be built (although Sanuet has been strangely reluctant to approve the proposed building of such a temple – citing unstable foundations in the area as a reason), or travel to the nearest temple and seek the services of a Magistrate.

 

Politics

Sampranasz is one of the major precepts of Mulhorand, with responsibility for the entire coastline of the Menesankh from 2 days north of Neldorild to within sight of the city of Skuld. Much of this coastline is filled with marshland and reed beds and is sparsely inhabited, the interior is mostly poor soil and fit for scrubland grazing but there are isolated settlements (usually less than 10 families per settlement) spread throughout this 30 sq mile landscape.

Fakh-Ab Sanuet Chahi is responsible for the governance and order of this land. It’s low value and low population mean that there are few problems with bandits and pirates to deal with and Sampranasz is the only major settlement here, this means that Precept Sanuet has few challenges to his leadership from internal or external sources as few in the Church of Horus-Re want this job, and most priests in other churches would prefer one of the more high value precepts as a position.

Who Really Rules: Sampranasz is under the firm grip of the Cult of Set. Through his cultists, Seti has encouraged rival merchants to setup trading companies and services in Sampranasz, Seti secretly owns the loyalty of these merchants or of all their employees and slaves. Seti has also rented all the reed beds around Sampranasz (through intermediaries) so that he controls the entire reed economy of Sampranasz. Finally he has bribed and blackmailed Sanuet into assisting him, and the new Precept finds himself quite open to the teachings of Set and the financial rewards it brings.

 

Defence

Sampranasz has limited defensive capabilities for several reasons. Up until now Sampranasz has had very little of value except for some minor reed beds that no pirate would be interested in, it is also far into settled Mulhorand and so has little trouble with bandits or monsters. Only the sahuagin have ever caused problem for the town, and they seem to prefer to not venture through the marshlands (perhaps it tastes unpleasant).

As a minor town it has a small number of Pehtemi available to enforce law and protect it’s citizens. As a former military commander, Sanuet has done as expected, and increased the size of the Pehtemi from 5 regular individuals to 37 regularly employed pehtemi, equipped with a bronze hammer and wooden shield.

The only other defense available to the town is a low mud rise around some of the older mud domes. This wall has not been maintained due to the repeated catastrophes that have leveled the town of Sampranasz over the millennia.

 

Trade

The major economy of Sampranasz is in papyrus which was previously sold to towns and cities in Mulhorand, Murghom, and Semphar, but is now being exported as far as Durpar, and Thay.

Sampranasz also produces fish in enough quantities to trade, but most of this is done on a subsistence basis.

 

Religion

Until recently, Sampranasz has been too small to warrant much attention from the major churches and bureaucracy of Mulhorand. There are of course shrines to all the major gods in Sampranasz where citizens can venerate their gods, but no temples, yet.

The growth of Sampranasz has seen the churches of Nephthys, Horus-Re, Isis and Osiris take an interest and apply to the Precept for permission to build a temple in the settlement. Thus far permission has been given to all but the Church of Osiris, and Sanuet is delaying their application on the pretext that the chosen site for the temple is unsafe, the Church of Horus-Re is happy to increase their own power while seeing the power of one of their main rivals be restricted.

Magic

 

Important NPCs

Sekeot Amsiith (Evil, Human – Mulan, Expert 3, Magic User 12): Sekeot Amsiith was a minor son of a minor merchant family until the Dragon Plague slew his entire family. Selling most of his assets, Sekeot purchased a caravan and pursued his dream to find a route through the Raurin Desert. Sekeot emerged from Raurin a rich man, but very much changed by the ordeal, he is now using the proceeds from his venture to revitalize Sampranasz.

Sanuet Chahi (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Warrior 5): Sanuet Chahi was until very recently one of the commanders of the Legion of Dawn, appointed by the Church of Horus-Re to reduce the power of the Church of Anhur and its control over the armed forces of Mulhorand.

Sanuet served an indistinctive military career, commanding the Legion that protects Skuld and the Pharaoh. He spent 30 years keeping the soldiers on patrol, making sure they never entered the city of Skuld (a punishment for their many failures in defending Mulhorand). Sanuet made a great administrative general, ensuring his soldiers were well supplied, but his military prowess went unproven.

When his gout began to interfere with his ability to march and ride, he was retired to become Precept of Sampranasz. Sanuet has excelled at managing the administrative tasks inherent with the office of Precept, and has rejuvenated the district and city Pehtemi, he has also found the more corrupting nature of his new office to be to his liking, happily accepting “gifts” from wealthy investors, and indulging his passion for food, drink, and flesh with regularity.

Sanuet has found himself repeatedly bribed by local merchants, and has been more than happy to accommodate their needs, until the bribes were to ignore illicit activities or remove the presence of his Pehtemi, and they quickly turned into threats when he attempted to refuse. Sanuet has since become ever more complicit (through deliberate ignorance) in the illicit activities that infest Sampranasz’s secret underworld. He is now quite happy to allow theft, and murder within his district, he is even developing a taste for illicit activities himself.

 

Important Sites

The Desert Winds Headquarters: This large stone building is constructed in the courtyard fashion of most buildings across Mulhorand and Unther, but with the distinctive six pointed star shaped pattern that is the fashion in Mulhorand. The original headquarters of the Desert Winds trading company was the family home of the Amsiith family (a distant branch of House Amseti, a fact long forgotten by the authorities of Mulhorand) that is still present in central Sampranasz, while this building has been relocated to the outskirts where there is more space.

The new headquarters is a huge affair, each arm of the star shape houses a storeroom, workshop, wagon house, slave quarters, etc (all that a caravan trading company might need). Each arm of the star looks after a fleet of caravan that operates a particular route at a particular time. Currently the Desert Winds has 3 fleets that run to Murghom and on to Durpar, while another 2 fleets run to Thay, and one to the Great Rift.

The Desert Winds rent over 200 slaves to operate the caravan company, while a further 700 slaves work the farms that Sekeot Amsiith rents to produce papyrus to trade. Every slave of the Desert Winds is educated to the highest level (equivalent to 10 years study of mathematics, history, literature, which is equal to most noble children in Mulhorand), and they are among its most valuable commodities.

Cavern of the Jackal: Sampranasz is built atop the ruins of 3 other incarnations of Sampranasz and even older settlements of the Turami, Imaskari, and perhaps even older civilisations. When the Mulan first arrived here there were concentric rings of obelisks surrounding a steppe pyramid almost completely buried beneath dusty soil. After 3,000 years of inhabitation those ruins have long sunk beneath the continued development of those Mulan that live here.

The Cavern of the Jackal lies nearly a hundred feet below the streets of Sampranasz, and has been formed by geological events (like earthquakes and tsunami) that have altered the land about it, the remnants were then covered over by the Mulan and forgotten. The Cavern is in reality a series of caverns connected by a tunnel network that may extend under the Alamber Sea.

The largest cavern in this network; the Cavern of the Jackal, contains 23 colossi standing in a circle about 3 concentric half ring circles of  black pillars over 20 ft in height. The colossi are 15 ft tall, sculpted into an oddly humanoid shape, adorned with bronze armour and an armoured headdress in the shape of a jackal (the armour and jackal headdress are made of clay and have been shaped onto the colossi by the cultists before being painted to look real). The far side of the cavern wall is smooth with a single sealed doorway bearing strange magical runes. No one in the cult has yet managed to breach the entrance and discover what is inside, nor can the walls be penetrated.

In adjoining caverns there are quarters for several hundred cultists of Set, and the inhabitants here are busy carving more into the cavern wall. Seti has instructed the slaves here to make enough space to house ten thousand, and has spent considerable time in these caverns attempting to control the colossi (with some success)

 

 

 

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