Raurin

Capital: None

Population: 280,000 (Human – Raurin)

Government: Tribal

Religion: The Old Gods (a mixture of the Mulan deities – some of whom are deceased)

 

Overview

Raurin, the Dust Desert, was the ancestral home of the Raurin people, a tribe of these people would go on to establish one of the most powerful human empires that ever existed; the Imaskari Empire.imas

Once a lush basin teeming with rivers, forests, fields, and all manner of life, it served as the breadbasket of the Imaskari Empire until a terrible plague swept through the empire. In the aftermath of Imaskar’s fall, a new nation known as the Raurin Empire was established by the survivors which became the major trade route for the region. Unfortunately it gradually failed as the once green land was turned into a dust desert.

Now the only things that remain in Raurin are endless miles of baking hot dust, the ruins of fallen empires, and a few scattered tribes of raurinese nomads.

 

History

  • -8350 DR: Nomadic tribes from Durpar led by the great warrior Nemruut settle a vast, fertile plain in the area that will later become the Raurin Desert.
  • -8123 DR: Imaskari artificers create the first permanent extradimensional space. Their fascination with such magic soon transforms Imaskari city design.
  • -7975 DR: Inupras, Imperial City of Imaskar, is founded. The first Imaskari emperor, Umyatin, assumes the title of lord artificer.
  • -7891 DR: Zexthandrim is conquered by Imaskari forces.
  • -7403 DR: Zexthandrim rebels against Imaskari rule and is destroyed.
  • -7100 DR: The Imaskari Empire subjugates Taangan tribes and demands semi-annual tribute.
  • -6788 DR: The western Imaskari outpost of Aerilpar is destroyed by landwyrms.
  • -6779 DR: The fortress city of Raudor has a peasant uprising and is quashed.
  • -6422 DR: Monstrous emerge from the Temple of the Gaping Maw and raze the capital city of Inupras. The Cult of Zargon claims the ruins and renames the city Cynidicea.
  • The Imaskari Empire is split into Upper and Lower Imaskar. The Imaskari city of Solon is founded as the capital of Lower Imaskar. The city of Thakos (present day Saikhoi) is named the capital city of Upper Imaskar.
  • -4370 DR: A suspicious plague decimates Imaskari cities.
  • -4366 DR: Imaskari artificers open twin portals to another world and magically abduct thousands of humans to serve as slaves. The artificers then erect a planar barrier to prevent contact between the slaves and their deities. Over time, the slaves intermarry with the Imaskari, and their descendants become a race in their own right that is later called the Mulan.
  • -3920 DR: Lord Artificer Omanond conquers and restores Inupras, reuniting Upper and Lower Imaskar once more.
  • -3891 DR: Under orders from Lord Artificer Omanond, Imaskari artificers create the Imaskarcana – seven items in which the empire’s immense magical lore is recorded for all eternity.
  • -3234 DR: The Imaskari outpost known as Metos is founded in the Methwood.
  • -2650 DR: The Imaskari port city of Bhaluin is founded.
  • -2489 DR: Arrival of the God Kings: Ancient heroes and kings from the history of the Mulan slaves arrive on Toril in the Teyla-Shan (Godswatch Mountains) after travelling for centuries through the Border Ethereal to rescue their people. Mulan slaves in Raurin begin to revolt against their masters.
  • -2488 DR: Battle of the Whirling Sands: The god-kings and their flying citadels launch a surprise attack on Inupras in the heart of the Imaskari Empire. Horus Helcalliant slays the Lord Artificer Yuvaraj. Mulan slaves everywhere rise up in revolt, other slaves in far off provinces rebel once word reaches them of the destruction of Inupras.
  • Lord Hilather, one of the last Imaskari artificers, escapes the fall of Imaskar by entering into a temporal stasis vault in a secret military stronghold deep beneath the western mountains (present day Giant’s Belt Mountains).
  • Durpar, and Gundavar (modern day Estagund and Var) quickly fall into barbarism without the guiding hand of the Imaskari.
  • -2487 DR: The Twin Empire of Raurin is founded with its two capitals of Mulhawoon and Umthoril in the centre. The Mulan people that would eventually found Mulhorand and Unther are already dividing themselves into separate proto-nations of western (Mulhorandi) and eastern (Untheric) Raurin.
  • -2353 DR: The dreaded Imaskaraloth; the huge red whirlwind encroaches upon the borders of Mulhawoon. The people that would form Mulhorand and Unther begin to flee Raurin and into the Great Vale.
  • -2322 DR: Warlord Khamsa of Umthoril obtains the Circlet of the Empheroah. Khamsa claims the twin thrones of Raurin and marches upon Mulhawoon at the head of a large army, slaying the Pharoah Amun Retep. The Empire of Raurin collapses and the godkings and their Mulan followers leave in great numbers.
  • -2300 DR: Earliest human-built boats sail the southern Alamber coasts as Raurinese refugees flee north and along the seacoasts. Easily attacked and sunk by sahuagin, boats are small and usable only for coastal fishing, not exploration. Raurinese refugees continue their expansions overland.
  • -1922 DR: Mulhorand begins to skirmish with the Durpari barbarians. Many Durpari tribes are wiped out or reduced to a few families over the ensuing centuries
  • -1500 DR: Mulhorandi expansion results in the settlement of the Priador and annexation of Murghôm, the Plains of Purple Dust, and the Raurin Desert. Untheric expansion results in the settlement of the Wizards’ Reach and much of the Eastern Shaar.
  • -1482 DR: Mulhorand conquers the eastern realm of Semphar.
  • -1289 DR: Tan Chin flees from Kara-Tur to Raurin and begins searching for Imaskari artefacts.
  • -1124 DR: The Mulhorandi outpost of Semkhrun is founded in Semphar.
  • -623 DR: Year of Clipped Wings: The Kingdom of Durpar is founded under Maharajah Udandwi, uniting all the trading communities along the northern coast of the Golden Water.
  • -458 DR: Amun-Re is crowned Pheroah of Bakar.
  • -456 DR: Amun-Re comes into possession of the Flail of the Desert Kings. He begins two decades of warfare against the neighbouring nations of Bakar.
  • -451 DR: The Khala of Raurin ally with Murghom against the nation of Bakar. The magical might of Myrkul Bey al-Kursi helps turn the tide in favour of the Khala. In response Amun-Re hires the renowned wizard Amadryk the Sable Spark.
  • -449 DR: The Khala are defeated, a curse afflicts the surviving members by transforming them into hideous creatures part eagle, jackal, and antelope; both sides claim Amadryk enacted the punishment, giving the Khala the form of an eagle, jackal, and antelope in one form.
  • -445 DR: Amun-Re, Pheroah of Bakar orders the construction of a great pyramid to house the wealth of Raurin.
  • -441 DR: The Fall of Raurin: The Treasure Tomb of Amun-Re is completed and the mighty wizard Amadryk works great magics to enchant the pyramid. The Imaskaroloth moves rapidly south and attacks Amadryk during the ritual. In the aftermath the Imaskaroloth is bound to Raurin, and the River Athis dries up. Amadryk and everyone present at the ritual are presumed disintegrated by the Imaskaroloth as no trace can be found of them.
  • -256 DR:  Year of Able Warriors: Satama, a Durpari trader, begins preaching the Adama, a belief system still dominant in the Shining South to this day. The Adama, or “the One,” is the embodiment of the spirit found in all things, from rocks and plants to animals and even the gods; all creatures and objects on Toril are considered manifestations of the Adama. Following the Adama does not preclude worshiping the gods, but encourages fair and just dealings to “honor the Adama.” Belief in the Adama promotes the tenets of the faiths of Zionel (Gond), Curna Oghma), Lucha (Sêlune), Torm, and Waukeen.
  • 109 DR: Year of the False Ghost: A dissident force from Durpar led by a humble merchant; Ambuchar Devayam, conquers the failing kingdom of Solon
  • 117 DR: Year of the Swinging Pendulum: Ambuchar Devayam invades Ra-Khati but is repulsed and flees back to Solon.

Pre Imaskar (-8350 DR to -8123 DR): Beginning in -8350 DR, a large scale migration of Ulgar people occurred, with whole tribes moving north from the lands that would one day become Durpar into the Raurin region.

These nomadic tribes wandered the fertile river basin for over a century, digging through the strange ruins that littered the valley. One such tribe; the Imask, wandered far north beyond the Raurin basin and discovered magical artefacts which led them to huge leaps in their magical expertise and ultimately brought about a new age for the Imask and Raurin people.

Imaskar (-8123 DR to -2489 DR):

Raurin Empire (-2487 DR to -2322 DR): In the aftermath of the destruction of the Imaskari Empire, the Mulan people and their heroes set about building two great cities atop the ruins of Imask where the people of E and Retep would rule over the Raurin people together. The cities of Mulhawoon and Umthoril were situated in the centre of Raurin on either sides of the River Athis, the followers of Amon Retep ruled from Mulhawoon while the followers of the brothers E-Anu and E-Nlil ruled from Umthoril.

The heroes of the Battle of Whirling Sands declared themselves the Empheroah in the fashion of the rulers of Imaskar, their Mulan partners became the Pheroar of Mulhawoon and Umthoril. One Pheroar was chosen to rule Mulhawoon and another to rule Umthoril, together these two would rule the Raurin Empire under the watchful eye of the Empheroah.

The Empheroah crafted the Regalia of the Empheroah and gifted the rod to Mulhawoon’s Pheroar and the circlet to Umthoril’s Pheroar, while the collar was borne by whomever possessed it. Separate the ruling regalia granted power to fight and to command, together they made the holder an invincible warrior and supreme commander of men.

The Raurin people obeyed their new Mulan masters but did not love them and constantly tried to work against them. They were aided by the machinations of some from within the ranks of the Mulan and even one of the Empheroah. Eventually the desert from the Plains of Purple Dust began to encroach upon Raurin and the crops started to fail. Dissent grew among the population and some of the Mulan began to flee Raurin, heading west. Ultimately the rule of the Raurin Empire failed when a greedy and ambitious Pheroar from Umthoril (known as warlord Khamsa) came into possession of the Rod and Circlet of the Empheroah and raised an army of Raurin and Mulan people against the city of Mulhawoon.

The Raurin Empire was destroyed, Warlord Khamsa was slain by the brothers E-Anu and E-Nlil, the Empheroah led their remaining people out of Raurin and west to the Alamber Sea, and so began the reign of the Imaskari Survivor States.

Imaskari Survivor States (-2322 DR to -441 DR): Following the collapse of the Raurin Empire, the Raurin people were left to their own devices by the Mulan. Smaller kingdoms rose and fell in the Raurin basin every few centuries (each ruler styling themselves as Pheroah after the rulers of Raurin and Imaskar), most of them along the banks of the River Athis and in the east of Raurin where the desert had not affected the lands (the western half of Raurin was gradually desertifying from north to south with each passing year). Traders from lands south of Raurin began to flow into the region once again and a route was established through Raurin to the growing empires of Mulhorand and Unther.

Ultimately the desert became too large and the western kingdoms began to fail. A nation known as Bakar was the largest and most powerful, and it’s Pheroah (Amun Re) gathered all the Regalia of the Empheroah (now known as the Flail of the Desert Kings and the Circlet of the Adder) to himself and conquered the remaining kingdoms. amassing all their wealth in a great pyramid that he ordered constructed.

The grand wizard of Bakar began a huge ritual to enchant the pyramid for Amun Re and keep all the treasures of Imaskar and Raurin safe (for him) for all eternity. Suddenly the Imaskaroloth travelled a great distance towards the vast concentration of magic and attacked Amadryk as he was partway through his great magic. A huge and fiery conflagration erupted from atop the pyramid, when the flame and dust settled the Imaskaroloth moved on, Amun-Re and Amadryk were dead (leaving behind 5 large star-shaped gems), and the River Athis had dried up.

The desert quickly consumed the rest of Raurin within a few centuries, and most of the people fled Raurin. Those that remained became nomadic people once more. Curiously enough the Imaskaroloth and the desert remained isolated within the Raurin basin (except for the Plains of Purple Dust that was created by the destruction of Imaskar). Legends arose about Amadryk and how he sacrificed himself to contain the great, fiery, dust genie (called an efreet by those in Durpar who know of the genie from their exposure to people of Zakhara), and that the gems he left behind could be used to restore Amadryk to life and destroy the Imaskaroloth.

The Failing Years (-441 DR to 109 DR): This time was the last gasp of the Raurin people as their lands fell to the desert and the people fled south while others from Durpar and the south moved into the southern regions to keep alternative trade routes open between Durpar and Mulhorand across the desert.

The only nation that survived to this time was that of Solon, ruled from the city of Solon. This kingdom lasted until a powerful merchant prince from Durpar marched north with his mercenaries to conquer the city and end the last nation of Raurin people.

Life and Society

The Raurin region is home to few people, because most cannot live in such a hostile environment filled with monsters. The few humans that make their home here are desert nomads descended from the Raurinese people that lived here before and after the fall of Imaskar. These desert nomads survive on the few oases that dot the landscape, and by raiding the neighbouring nations of Semphar, Murghom, Durpar, and Ulgarth.

There are many tribes of Raurin, including; Baka, Meda, Kartha. There are innumerable tribes that have been lost to thirst, warfare, or the predation of monsters, including; Kalah, Al-Alisk, Pazza, Akhir.

Each tribe has its own customs and traditions, but most are based around the traditions of old Raurin or Imaskar. Slaves are an important measure of wealth, and tribes constantly raid one another or nearby settlements to amass slaves, these raids have few fatalities because the ultimate goal is to steal people and goods. Water is the most valuable substance in Raurin and it is one of the few things the Raurinese will kill for. Honour is also important to the Raurin tribes and so a tribe will not deliberately attack a weaker target, as a result lone travellers or small parties are often left unmolested. Those wanderers encountering the Raurin nomads are welcomed to join the protection of the camp for a night but are expected to provide a gift (water being the most valued), if no gift is provided then slavery is the most likely outcome.

The nomadic tribes wander the deserts of Raurin almost continually, looking for water, and trying to leave dangerous predators far behind. The largest and most successful tribes claim the few oases in the desert and expect lavish gifts from those visiting tribes who wish to use the oasis. The larger tribe would of course never sully their honour by attacking a weaker tribe that came to visit (as long as the visiting tribe does not join the camp then there is no dishonour in them attempting to attack the residents).

In the far south of Raurin, the people are more of Durpari stock than Raurin and behave more like the merchant traders of the south than the nomads of the desert.

Religion

The Raurin Empire, in its few centuries of existence, left a lasting religious legacy to the Raurin people. The practice of worshipping the heroes of the Mulan had only just begun but it persisted long after the Raurin Empire collapsed. Today this hodge-podge of abandoned temples, ancient traditions, and corrupted beliefs is known to the Raurinese people as “The Old Gods” (not to be confused with the Cult of the Old Gods in Unther).

The Raurin nomads provide a variety of offerings and venerations to ward of evil or beseech boons from these gods, such as; Ra is offered at dawn to bring the sun up, Proomethisk to keep away the burning flames, Appela to bring wind, Adanu to make it rain.

In the south, the Durpari traders have brought their own religion to Raurin. Each “god” is actually a facet of the one true god Adama (the name is a corruption of Adanu which means Anu’s Place and was brought to Durpar by those fleeing the fall of Raurin), and thus all the gods of the Raurin are really part of Adama. The Durpari traders are gradually converting the Raurin nomads (especially those occupying the oases), where this occurs the ways of the Old Gods are being abandoned and this is causing further strife within and between the Raurin tribes.

Important NPCs

Amadryk (Evil, Human – Imaskari, Magic-User 20+): Amadryk (pronounced Madrek or Madrok depending upon the Roushoum dialect being spoken)  the Sable Spark was a renowned wizard during the last few centuries of the Imaskari Successor States. He claimed to have come from Durpar where he served the rulers of that land for any years before roaming north to Bakar where he offered his services to Amun-Re.

Amun-Re petitioned the wizard to enchant a great pyramid that would house all the treasures of Raurin for Amun, to keep them from his enemies and ultimately so that he could gather enough power to rival the gods and take his place among them. Amadryk did as he was bid, and using the Rod, Circlet, and Collar of the Empheroah as foci he began a powerful ritual (assisted by the magi of Bakar).

Ultimately the ritual was interrupted partway through its month long casting by the Imaskaroloth. The magical backlash saw the Imaskaroloth bound to the Tomb of Amun-Re, the powers of the regalia of the Empheroah were altered, and Amadryk and everyone present at the ritual were seemingly destroyed.

However Amadryk was not destroyed, and nor was he ever Amadryk. The Sable Spark was an ancient rogue artificer of Imaskar

The Garmsil: Known by many names; the Garmsil, the Skriaxit, the Shaitan, the Imaskaroloth (and to those that have communicated with it; Khalitharius). This “being” is possibly the single most destructive force created by magic; a gigantic whirlwind that strips flesh off the bone, erodes buildings, and reduces everything it touches to a fine dust within moments of contact.

The Imaskaroloth was created by the Imaskari artificers at the Battle of Whirling Sands. When the Mulan heroes arrived at the gates of Inupras atop three flying battle barges and the Mulan slaves rose up against the Imaskari, the Empheroar of Imaskar called as many artificers to him as he could contact. Hundreds came and did magical battle with the Mulan invaders.

With the tide of battle turning against them after Horus Helcalliant slew Empheroar Yuvaraj, the remaining artificers used an ancient magic that was last attempted 2000 years earlier. The magic was first found in ruins present in Raurin before even the Imask arrived, the artificers quickly lost control of it and it consumed them, then it left the Purple Palace and consumed the next building and its occupants. It kept moving from building to building, destroying it and everything within it, growing ever larger and more powerful. The Mulan forces were powerless to stop it and so fled south, letting the Imaskaroloth move north, consuming every drop of magic it could find.

The Imaskaroloth is intelligent, it contains the intellects of every artificer that created it, but it’s primary and most powerful intelligence is that of Khalitharius, the artificer who led the ritual. Few beings have ever bothered to attempt to communicate with it, fewer still have been successful, of those few two of note are; Keoth Amsetis who is now known as the godking Set of Mulhorand, and Myrkul Bey al-Kursi who is now known as Myrkul the god of death.

The Imaskaroloth is confined to remain within a 500 square mile radius of the Tomb of Amun-Re by the same magic that destroyed Amadryk’s body and bound him to 5 star-shaped gems. It is drawn to concentrations of magic which it feeds off (although it takes time to destroy permanent magical effects, and cannot destroy the most powerfully enchanted items). Khalitharius desires above all else to be free of his confines within Raurin so that he can destroy the godkings, their empires, and all the Mulan people. Should anyone bring any of the Stars of Mo-Pelar to the surface of Raurin (most are hidden inside magical buildings impervious to the attacks of the Imaskaroloth) then the Imaskaroloth will become aware of its location and move to intercept it, travelling at a speed of between 5 and 30 miles an hour, otherwise it spends the bulk of its time atop the Tomb of Amun-Re (where it knows a Star of Mo-Pelar to reside) apart from brief wanderings across the Dust Desert (where it suspects another Star to lay.

 

Geography

The Plains of Purple Dust: This region of the Raurin desert is not technically located within Raurin, it sits just north of Raurin covering the lands south of Murghom and Semphar but north of the mountains surrounding Raurin. It is characterised by a fine blood red sand.

The Giant’s Belt: Impassably high mountains that cover the southwestern edge of the Raurin region. Rolling Stone Gap is a 30 mile stretch of rolling hills between the Giant’s Belt and the Dragonsword Mountains.

The Giant’s Belt is named for the actual giants who live here among the wind swept peaks. These giants resemble the nomads of the Raurin Deserts and have been dubbed Sand Giants for their unique adaptations to the desert environment around them.

The Dust Desert: The western half of the Raurin desert. This desert was the first to form following the destruction of Imaskar and the creation of the Imaskaroloth which wound its way south turning the lands into a vast dusty plain which was soon nicknamed the Dust Desert.

Oasis of the White Palm: This oasis lies on the very edge of the Dust Desert between the desert and the Athis Valley. It is home to a large tribe of Raurin nomads that are beginning to embrace the Durpari ways and abandon the Old Gods and old traditions. Some of the nomads are resisting this change and have discovered and now inhabit the Tower of Set lying beneath the settlement around the oasis.

The Font of Time: Located somewhere in the Dust Desert in the shadow of the Dragonsword Mountains is a pool of pearly white water (mildly poisonous to drink) that is said to allow the viewer to travel back in time to a point during the First Empire of Mulhorand.

The only known evidence of this pool’s location is from the grimoire; Unique Mageries, by Nezram the Worldwalker. In his account he writes of gazing into the pool in the light of a full moon and being transported through time, and requiring the same action to return to the present. Nezram does not reveal the pool’s location, nor does he indicate if actions taken in the past have any effect upon the present, but if one can affect the present then it may explain how he has accumulated so much knowledge and power.

The makers of the pool are unknown, although the Church of Thoth have claimed it was made by the God Thoth himself, given it’s location in the Raurin region it is possible that it was constructed by the Imaskari (or someone from an even earlier time), but it is not known if the Font of Time was ever used (or if it would even allow travel forward in time when it was created, or if it allows travel to different times and the First Empire of Mulhorand was just it’s last destination).

The Tower of Set: Located on the very edge of the Dust Desert, 40 miles north of the northern edge of Hinjaz. Its location has remained a mystery for so long because the tower actually lies deep beneath the surface of the Dust Desert, right beneath the Oasis of the White Palm.

The tower was likely an Imaskari building that the Mulan hero Keoth Amsetis claimed for his own. Following the fall of the Raurin Empire the tower was likely abandoned and covered by the Dust Desert, but at various times in Mulhorand’s history Set was known to have returned to the tower.

Some Raurin nomads have begun to inhabit the newly discovered tower and are making extensive use of the artefacts discovered within; including the Circlet of the Adder and the Star of Khan-Pelar.

The Desert of Desolation: The eastern half of the Raurin desert. This desert formed much later as the changing climate in Raurin spread the desert further east. By -623 DR the eastern half of Raurin was also desert except for the Athis Valley which remained lush and fertile until -441 DR when the spring at Terbakar dried up and the desert slowly claimed the valley over the next few centuries.

Medinat Muskawoon: Once the capital city of the Raurin Empire, and before that a major settlement of ancient Imaskar (whose name is lost to history), this city is now a cursed ruin devoid of life surrounded by a sea of sand melted into glass.

Medinat Muskawoon was one of the few places oases outside the Athis Valley that was not completely claimed by the desert. The River Athis flowed north to Medinat Muskawoon where it formed a lake known in legend today as Me’at Halwa, a name formed from the corruption of the words meaning north and stream. The Meda tribe of the Raurin people survived here as the desert surrounded them until the time of Amadryk’s Ritual when the Athis River suddenly dried up.

The city lasted barely fifty years before starvation and thirst caused the inhabitants to descend into anarchy and tear the place apart. The last caravan to pass through here from Murghom reported undead monsters created by a strange wasting disease. Only one member of the caravan party survived to crawl back to Semkhrun and he told a tale of nightly stalkings from an unseen foe before hordes of walking corpses assailed them and they were forced to take shelter in a broken tomb when one of their party found magical artefacts that attracted the attention of the Garmsil and when they used these items it turned the dust demon into a fiery conflagration that melted the very sand into glass. Only he survived by cowering in the tomb and he wasted away to a corpse within a tenday.

The city of Medinat Muskawoon contains many of the ornate buildings created by the Empire of Raurin (built out of the shell of one of the cities of Imaskar). It is filled with public baths and huge pyramid temples that housed the clergy and the faithful dead that worshipped one of the many heroes of the Mulan as gods. There were also a great many obelisks made of crystal that were left behind by the Imaskari, when touched by someone carrying the right key or struck to produce a particular musical chord, they would be whisked away (plane shift) to one of the extra-dimensional spaces the Imaskari were so famous for creating. The Citadel is the most well known of these spaces, accessed by striking the twin amethyst pillars outside the temple of Ra to produce a particular note from the overlapping resonance. Nobody has ever returned from The Citadel so details of its interior are all rumour.

The Citadel: Few can speculate what the original purpose of The Citadel was when the Imaskari constructed it. Those arriving via the amethyst pillars are deposited in one of three places (chosen seemingly at random); the Garden, the Black Abyss, and the Tower.

The Garden is a vast cavern filled with a variety of plant and animal life that has adapted to live in this isolated environment, no longer requiring sunshine but sustained by the magical fields of this place and happy to feed off intruders. The Black Abyss is a large chasm filled with a variety of bizarre environments that defy logic (burning slime pools, rocks that drain water from anything touching it, rivers of blood that run up walls). The Tower is a seemingly endless array of floors each with its own time differential so that those in one floor could exist many years faster than those on another floor.

Each of these three chambers is home to clans of people that have been trapped in the Citadel and forced to survive however they can. Each chamber has a door that one can only exit if they possess the right key (which just so happens to be one of the Stars of Mo-Pelar). The door opens for 10 minutes onto a circular room with many doors, two of which lead to the other known chambers, and one of them leads back to Raurin. There are many unknown chambers but only 5 known Stars of Mo-Pelar, and three of those are keyed to the known chambers listed above.

Phoenix: Known as Kahathaeg when it was constructed by the Raurin Empire, this large domed settlement was built atop ancient Imaskari ruins that housed a number of magically compelled servitors; including a genie, a number of sphinx, a phoenix, and other extraplanar beings.

The Empheroah and Pheroah of Raurin as well as their close kin used Kahathaeg as a retreat to revitalise themselves while being cared for by these servant creatures. When Raurin fell it was barely a century before the city of Kahathaeg was surrounded by the desert and soon after covered with sand. It soon became lost to the Raurin people with its name corrupting to Karthag and then later being known as the city of the phoenix for its legendary healing powers to those that can find it (and for one of the servants rumoured to dwell here).

Hinjaz: These “hills” are referred to as such because they are dwarfed by the nearby Dustwall, but in reality they rise to nearly 6000 ft in places. Originally named the Harjab by the Raurin Empire, these hills had a reputation for being magical places full of strange creatures that served to guard the Valley of the Gods from unbelievers.

The Hinjaz (like their sisters the Elhinjaz) are noted for a peculiar red tint when viewed from far off, and for their stable populations of exotic pegasi. Their are rumours of a family of flying, lion like creatures known as “the Sphinx” that once guarded the Valley of the Gods from plunderers, although they have not been seen in many centuries.

Crypt of Badr Al-Mosak: Hidden in an oft overlooked valley deep in the Hinjaz there is a 15 ft marble statue of what looks like one of the Empheroah of Raurin, the marble is of a variety of hues which give it realistic skin tones and colouring to its decorations. Surrounding the statue, cut into the ground, are stone seats arranged in a circular pattern.

The statue and seating are completely free of detritus and activity, this is due to the antipathy effect placed here by the Empheroah to prevent people from disturbing the resting place of one of the Lord Artificers of Imaskar. There are numerous statues to the ancient rulers of Imaskar hidden all over Raurin and beyond and the tombs beneath these statues often house dangerous magics and the undead artificers that refuse to rest peacefully.

This particular tomb is famous for the master thief Badr Al-Mosak who crept into the bedchambers of the chief of the Kartha tribe of Raurin and stole one of the fabled Stars of Mo-Pelar from his magical chest. Pursued by the tribe across the desert he was already in fear of his life when he came into contact with the antipathy effect, he found the secret door and crept into the tomb. Once inside the deep tomb he became stuck at the very bottom of a shaft because he could not approach the surface without coming into contact with the antipathy effect again. Without food or water he soon perished and added his corpse to the number of undead roaming this tomb.

Tomb of Amun-Re: This great pyramid was constructed as a homage to the sacred tombs in the Valley of the Guards (and quite often was made of stone taken from the same tombs). Amun-Re had commissioned it’s building upon acceding to the throne of Bakar. It was designed to house the greatest riches of Imaskar, Raurin, and all the successor states, and ultimate the body of Amun-Re himself in the hopes that he could use it in the afterlife to join the old gods of Raurin.

This treasure tomb is possibly the greatest dungeon in all of Raurin (with the possible exception of the Tower of Set or the ruins of Inupras). Its many levels hold a myriad of traps and illusions (magical and non-magical) to confuse and slay those attempting to plunder the tomb. The treasury rooms are home to ancient riches including exquisite pieces of artwork, sculptures, jewellery, weaponry, and armour, it is also home to as many magical artefacts from across Raurin that Amun-Re and his servants could acquire. However these treasures are guarded by even more fiendish traps as well as undead, magical, and constructed guardians that slay those touching a single coin. Amun-Re’s favourite trap was a breed of scarab that looked like a variety of gemstones but would burrow into the skin once touched by human flesh and would activate other nearby scarabs to form a swarm.

The upper layers of the pyramid were devoted to the Old Gods of Raurin and housed quarters for the clergy of these gods, many of whom were transformed into undead or terrifying monstrosities in the aftermath of the Ritual of Amadryk. Deep in the bowels of the pyramid tomb is the fabled stone of Mo-Pelar, which is guarded by the undead form of Amun-Re himself.

Athis Valley: This valley was once sacred land to the Raurin Empire, known as the Valley of the Gods through which flowed the River of Life from the magical spring in the temple city of Terbakar down through the valley and heading north to the twin capitals of Mulhawoon and Umthoril.

The valley was sheltered on the east and west by a range of tall hills known as the Harjab and Elharjab (words meaning magical hills) and all passes into the valley through the hills were guarded by temple cities (including Tirbakar and Tirpazar) and enchanted gates known as the Gates of Shule (literally spell-gates) which cursed those not anointed by the old gods.

After the fall of the Raurin Empire the Athis Valley quickly became the only inhabitable region (apart from small oases in the deserts) in Raurin, and the Raurin people crowded into the valley carving out small kingdoms for the various tribes. Skirmishes between these kingdoms resulted in most of the great pyramids and buildings of Raurin being demolished in the Athis Valley and their stones used to rebuild the successor states.

Gates of Sule: These great stone arches (originally known as the Gates of Shul to the rulers of the Raurin Empire) guarded the four passes (north, south, east, and west) into the Athis Valley, inscribed onto the gates in a Roushoum dialect similar to Mulhorandi (but using the draconic alphabet) are the words “curse thee who enter unbidden”.

Those who passed beneath the arches were enspelled with permanent and powerful curses unless they had taken part in ceremonies provided to pilgrims into the valley by the temples of Tirbakar and Tirpazar. Today the Gates of Sule have been drained of all power and only 2 of the arches still exist; one in the south is partially sunken into the sand, one in the north is completely submerged beneath the desert sands. The exist purely as way-markers into the Athis Valley, their function and meaning long forgotten.

Pazar: During the time of the Raurin Empire this was known as Tirpazar (literally the fortress of Pazar) and guarded one of the four known passes into the Athis Valley.

The River Athis once created by the Empheroah of Raurin, flowed up to the gates of Pazar where it had been carved into the Elharjab Mountains. Unfortunately the rock was primarily limestone and the river carved its way into the bedrock causing the city to descend into a deepening sinkhole that was continually filled in with soil and the city rebuilt atop it.

Following the Ritual of Amadryk, the River Athis dried up but the city of Pazar continued to be swallowed by the sinkhole and was then quickly covered with sand as the desert claimed the valley. Only those buildings on the very edge of the fortress were left uncovered by the sands and even they have begun to slide into the bowl of Pazar. In the centre of the bowl of Pazar is the tip of a tall pyramid (the rest lies hidden beneath the sand) with a small, partially covered entrance carved into the side of the pyramid.

Pazar is home to one of the Stars of Mo-Pelar (Aga-Pelar), kept inside the pyramid in the centre of the city deep in the central burial chamber where the rulers of Pazar where interred in great sarcophagi.

The Dustwall: In Durpar the Dustwall refers only to the southern mountain range bordering Raurin and Durpar, but in reality all the mountains south and west of Raurin are part of the same impossibly high mountain range (among the highest in Faerun), the average height of these mountains is 15,000 ft, the tallest mountain called Adama’s Wrath is 22,000 ft.

On its southern side the mountains are breached in only 3 places; Northknife Pass (which is frozen over for half the year), Blood Gap (enters into the deadly Scarlet Jungle), and the Gates of Iron.

Legends say that these mountains were raised by the cataclysm that destroyed Bakar and brought destruction to the people of Raurin. Most assume this means that the mountains were created by the same disaster but Imaskari records clearly debunk that possibility, however it may be that the mountains were quite literally raised higher by whatever magic Amadryk worked that day in -441 DR.

A large tribe of warlike and primitive humanoids known elsewhere as orcs have taken root in the Dustwall Mountains. It is unknown how they arrived thus far south, but they have only been sighted in the region in the last 400 years and their groups now number over 5,000 fighting members.

Gates of Iron: The Gates of Iron were built during the height of Imaskar and were supposedly (according to legend) built by the dwarves to keep Imaskar’s armies out of Durpar, however many sages believe that Imaskar ruled Durpar as a vassal state during its height so the legends may be incorrect.

The Gates of Iron were magically reinforced and sealed, there are none today that have any idea how to open the gates and they have remain closed for several millennia (since the fall of Imaskar).

Northknife Pass: This is one of only three passes through the Dustwall (the others being the permanently sealed Gates of Iron, or the deadly Blood Pass), and is considered the safest and most accessible despite the pass being 9000 ft above the lowlands of Durpar, completely frozen over for 3 months of the year, and difficult to traverse.

Important Organisations

Malatath: This organisation is little more than a whisper on the tongues of those that have skirted to close to the ruins of Raurin and Imaskar. Those that survive talk of withered corpses that stalk the living during the night and constantly murmur the word “Malatath”.

Some have decided that the undead monsters are connected somehow and that Malatath is the being that controls them and directs them to hunt down and feast upon those that trespass amid the ruins, adding fresh corpses to the wandering hordes.

Unknown to most, Malatath is a corruption of ancient Roushoum words for “prophecy” and “two”. It is a name coined by two past Lord Artificers of Imaskar that were preserved in magical stasis at the point of their death in the hopes they may be restored later once the secrets of death were finally unveiled. They were then interred in tombs (not unlike the Crypt of Badr Al-Mosak) near what is now known as Medinat Muskawoon and Phoenix.

The Ritual of Martek drained the last vestiges of life from the two emperors of Imaskar and turned them into powerful undead. They established communication with one another and made a pact, together the two will bring undeath to the Raurin people and then re-establish the Imaskar Empire as an eternal nation, to achieve this aim they have directed nearby wanderers to enter certain ruins and tombs of lost Imaskar and release the undead trapped inside (usually to the death of the wanderer) which are easily controlled by the two masters.

The Sandvoyagers Guild: The primary organisation present in Raurin today is the Sandvoyagers Guild; a group of tradesmen that have a substantial deal with the rulers of Durpar (renewed annually) to have a monopoly on access to Raurin through the town of Bralizzar (the other routes being permanently closed or too dangerous).

The Sandvoyagers Guild is on of the many fronts for the ancient secret society of the Amethyst Sodality (although the name whispered among paranoid commoners is the Secret Imaskari Empire) which aims to control trade through all the lands once ruled by the Imaskari Empire.

Important Items

The Black Sword: This sword was constructed to end the life of the Empheroar of Imaskar. It’s powers and the very intelligence that drives it is entirely dedicated to the destruction of those that rule the peoples of Imaskar.

Now that Imaskar is long dead the sword considers all those of Raurin descent (including the people of Durpar, Mulhorand, Raumathar, Ulgarth, and Unther) to be the people of Imaskar and will impel the wielder to assassinate the rulers of those lands.

History: This sword was originally crafted at the behest of Empheroar Blaek of Upper Imaskar in -3942 DR upon hearing that Empheroar Omanond of Lower Imaskar was attempting to reconquer Inupras and reunite the Imaskari Empire once more.

Using dark arts Empheroar Blaek bound the soul of the most evil murderer of Upper Imaskar into the sword, turning the blade black as night, and enchanted it with powers to help the wielder resist the powerful magics of Imaskari artificers and an intelligence driven towards murdering the Empheroar of Imaskar.

The sword was finished and gifted to an artificer from Lower Imaskar. It spent the next few years controlling its owners and launching them in suicide attacks at Empheroar Omanond until eventually it decided the task was too difficult and so changed it’s target. In -3920 DR Blaek’s Sword was found plunged through the neck of Empheroar Blaek as he lay in his bed just as his servants came to rouse him with news that Inupras had been restored and he had been summoned by Empheroar Omanond to the Purple Palace. His attacker (his own bed servant) was stood looking dazed next to the body and protested his innocence before his lying tongue was removed and he was dragged away for execution.

The sword was kept in a guarded vault beneath Thakos until the fall of Imaskar where it was seized by an artificer in a desperate attempt to save himself from rebellious slaves. A black bladed sword of similar description has been used in several assassination attempts of the rulers of the lands of Mulhorand, Durpar, Ulgarth, etc, and it is now known as The Black Sword for its colour and a corruption of its original name.

Powers: Blaek’s Sword is magically enhanced to be super sharp and hard enough to cut through granite. It also grants the wielder powers to conceal himself from sight and sound (causing shadows and silence upon command) as well as the ability to resist even the most powerful magics hurled by Imaskari artificers (spell resistance, dispel magic). Finally the sword the sword (and only the sword) randomly teleports between 1 and 10 miles away from its current location in the event that it’s wielder is slain or otherwise incapacitated.

Curse: Blaek’s Sword possesses the soul and intelligence (although not the memories) of the most evil and renowned murder of Upper Imaskar at the time of its creation. It is cunning, ruthless, determined, and without mercy. This intelligence is more than capable of possessing all but the most disciplined wielders and has done so repeatedly at crucial moments to slay its target (often at the expense of the wielder). The intelligence otherwise remains hidden, sending malevolent thoughts to the wielder and urging it closer to the target but never communicates openly unless the wielder happens to be an Imaskari artificer or someone as evil and ruthless as the sword.

Circlet of the Adder: This item was originally known as the Circlet of the Empheroah, crafted by the Empheroah of the Raurin Empire for the Pheroah chosen to rule in their stead. It was supposed to make the wearer eternally loyal to the Empheroah but one of its creator’s made the circlet so that the wearer was loyal to him first.

The circlet appeared as a thin gold crown that settled around the ears with an ankh motif at the forehead with a large pearl at the head of the ankh.

History: The Circlet of the Empheroah was part of the Regalia of the Empheroah and symbolised the right to rule of the Pheroah in Mulhawoon. It was always worn by the Pheroah at all times until it vanished in -2322 DR and came into the possession of Warlord Khamsa of Umthoril.

Following the destruction of the Raurin Empire the circlet vanished, occasionally appearing as the regalia of one of the Imaskari Successor States, it most famously appeared atop the head of Osiris upon his coronation as Pharaoh of Mulhorand in -1050 DR (he died immediately after) and was subsequently lost until Amun-Re scoured the forming Dust Desert to acquire it. It was worn by Amun-Re while the grand wizard of Bakar; Amadryk, performed a great ritual that unfortunately attracted the unwanted attention of the Imaskaroloth.

It has been lost to history ever since but was secretly recovered by Set himself who altered it to allow him to forcefully create Divine Minions of Set just by touching someone.

Powers: The original powers of the Circlet of the Adder were to make the wearer a great commander of men, allowing him to raise huge armies and inspire them to heroic deeds and amazing feats. When combined with the Rod of the Empheroah it made the bearer of both almost unbeatable in the arts of war.

Since the ritual of Amadryk, the Circlet of the Adder was lost to history and it is unknown if or how it was affected by the great magics unleashed that day. Set secretly recovered the circlet some time after the ritual and spent considerable effort reworking his original creation.

The Circlet of the Adder now has the power to imbue those touched (humans only) with divine power, making them into “Divine Minions”. These Divine Minions are perfect physical examples of humanity; strong, agile, sturdy, and beautiful. They are also fanatically devoted to Set and the wearer of the circlet and will obey any command given (including inflicting harm or death to themselves).

Curse: There is undoubtedly a curse surrounding this item but it is known only to Set. Masters of lore unknown to mere mortals would speculate that those handling the circlet who are not servants of Set may face a painful death or eternal servitude to the Lord of Jackals.

Flail of the Desert Kings: This item has been known by many names over the millennia since its initial creation as the Rod of the Empheroah; one of the twin regalia of the Raurin Empire. Mulhorandi records indicate that this item may have been fashioned from the remains of items carried by Empheroar Yuvaraj while mounted on his skeletal dragon during his final battle with Horus Helcalliant.

This item appears to be a thin rod of metal with a plain metal orb atop it. With the push of a button the orb detaches from the rod but remain connected by a chain which enables it to be used as a flailing weapon (hence its modern name).

History: The Rod of the Empheroah was crafted by the Empheroah of Umthoril in the year -2487 DR and gifted to the ruler of Umthoril; one of the Pheroah of the Raurin Empire as a symbol of his right to rule. It served as regalia of Umthoril for over a century until it came into possession of Pheroah Khamsa who came to be know as Warlord Khamsa.

Pheroah Khamsa suddenly came into possession of the Circlet of the Empheroah when a travelling magic entertainer gifted the circlet to Khamsa. Upon donning the circlet, Khamsa was overcome by his desire to rule all of Raurin. Using the powers of Rod and Circlet he gathered a great host and marched upon the city of Mulhawoon. His victory and subsequent death at the hands of E-Anu and E-Nlil ended the Raurin Empire.

The Rod and Circlet of the Empheroah were lost for centuries, occasionally one would appear in the possession of one of the Pharoahs of the Imaskari Successor States, most famously appearing in the hands of Osiris in -1050 DR when he briefly claimed the throne of Mulhorand and perished immediately after, the Rod was lost in the subsequent confusion and civil war. It wasn’t until Pharoah Amun-Re of the kingdom of Bakar that both items would be possessed by one person. Amun-Re was also consumed with a lust to rule over all. Bakar conquered its neighbours and Amun-Re began construction of a great treasure tomb to store all the wealth of the region to protect it from thieves.

It is from this time that the name of this item changed to the Flail of the Desert Kings for its battle function and its usual owners who where either Pharoah or became Pharoah of one of the desert kingdoms of Raurin.

Following the destruction of Bakar and the desertification of Raurin, the Flail of the Desert Kings disappeared. Some believe it still lies somewhere in Raurin, either atop the Tomb of Amun-Re or carried inside the Garmsil, others believe it was discovered by the Raurin nomads or the Durpari traders that most often frequent the desert. The truth is that a strange sceptre is rumoured to lie somewhere in the undercity of Unthalass with links to “star spawn” creatures which match the altered powers of the Flail of the Desert Kings.

Powers: In it’s original form, the Rod of the Empheroah granted the wielder unparalleled abilities in combat; increased strength, speed, and stamina, resistance to damage, and the ability to inflict devastating blows with each strike.

During the ritual to enchant the Treasure Tomb of Amun-Re, Amun-Re was wearing the Rod and Circlet of the Empheroah while he took part in Amadryk’s ritual. The arrival of the Imaskaroloth disrupted the ritual and caused a significant magical fallout with many unforeseen consequences. The Rod of the Empheroah was altered to incorporate the magical nature of Amadryk (who is not who he claimed to be), the rod is now a part of Amadryk (along with the Star Gems) and as a result he cannot be destroyed while they exist.

The Flail of the Desert Kings still grants all the abilities it did previously, but now anyone struck by the orb-head of the flail has a chance to become one of the “star spawn” (named for the star shape that appears on their forehead like a brand) and is now under the command of the wielder. However the ultimate controller of the “star spawn” is Amadryk (who still lives and is aware of any new “star spawn” created as they are linked to him) who can command them to act contrary to the wielder of the flail if he so wishes.

Ultimately any “star spawn” are gradually consumed by some ethereal wasting disease so that they gradually phase out into some kind of ghostly form before disappearing altogether (Amadryk drains their life force).

Curse: The Rod of the Empheroah greatly enhanced the aggression of the wielder, making the meek brave, and the warrior into a rage fuelled berserker. Following its alteration by Amadryk’s ritual, the Flail of the Desert Kings now drains the life force of anyone wielding it, turning it into a ghostly, spectral undead creature (at which point it can no longer grasp the flail and so cannot be drained anymore).

The Stars of Mo-Pelar: Once known as the Collar of the Empheroah, this set of 5 star shaped gems were part of an ornate collar often borne by the wife of one of the Pheroah of the Raurin Empire.

History: Crafted by Lumira Ishtaria for her love; the first Pheroah of Mulhawoon Pelah Retep, the Collar of the Empheroah was often regarded as the weakest part of the Regalia of the Empheroah, and yet its powers granted the wearer wisdom and abilities to ensure the Raurin Empire would last.

Over the years the gems were named for important members of Pelah’s dynasty; Mo-Pelah, Aga-Pelah, Shah-Pelah, Khan-Pelah, and Melos-Pelah. Time corrupted these names to smaller shorthand versions of the original names and the history of these people were lost.

It was the first of the Regalia to go missing when an assassin with a blade of pure midnight assassinated the consort of the third Pheroah of Mulhawoon and fled with the necklace.

The collar was eventually recovered by Amun-Re’s agents where it was worn by Amun-Re himself during the ritual of Amadryk. As the ritual was disrupted the collar was destroyed, leaving only the 5 enchanted star gems that were scattered to the far corners of Raurin.

Powers: The five star gems of the Collar of the Empheroah granted the wearer the ability to use True Seeing, Regeneration, Telepathy, Spell Recall (the ability to recall previously cast spells), and Vision (the ability to see visions of the future) once per day.

Now that the collar is destroyed leaving only the star gems behind, the gems themselves still provide their abilities (one ability imbued into each gem) to anyone holding a gem, the ritual however altered the gems so that they now contain the fractured soul of Amadryk himself, making him a demi-lich of sorts with each gem as one of his phylactery.

Curse: The star gems have no malign powers when used, and can be used any number of times without ill effect. If Amadryk’s body is slain, anyone holding one of the five star gems may become possessed by Amadryk and the new host for Madryoch the Ebon Flame.

Fauna

Phoenix: The Raurin Deserts are supposedly home to one of the legendary phoenix who are much sought after by those with magical skill for the many unique properties it possesses.

The phoenix of Raurin is believed to derive from the legend of Phoern Aryx, the Bursting Flame, a renowned Imaskari artificer who was unusual for his selfless nature and also for taking the essence of a fire elemental within himself.

Phoern Aryx was slain by the Mulan of the Raurin Empire along with every other Imaskari artificer they could find, but upon his death he was transformed into a great flaming bird (which also consumed his slayer). The phoenix, as it came to be known, was clearly intelligent and spent a great deal of time amid the ruined menagerie of Phoern Aryx, protecting his descendants from harm.

In time the Raurin Empire erected the settlement of Karthag (Modern: Phoenix) around the menagerie, for the natural spring waters that the phoenix bathed in were said to possess healing properties. Curiously enough Phoern Aryx’s descendants also possessed some of the fire spirit within themselves, and some magical force could transform them into fiery beings which could become lesser versions of the phoenix upon their death (termed phoelarche and phoera).

The phoenix and the lesser phoelarche and phoera are implacable foes of evil, flying as far away as Mulhorand, Thay, and Durpar, to rescue innocent individuals from their plight.

 

Local Lore

Dust Devils: The deserts of Raurin have always been plagued by dust devils; whirlwinds the size of a humanoid that wander a seemingly random path through the sands until they come within sight of a humanoid and then pursue that creature until its death (or it travels out of sight). The Raurinese nomads say that these dust devils are possessed by the souls of evil men cursed for transgressions against the laws of the old gods, the Durpari claim they are natural phenomena caused by temperature differences during the day-night cycle of the desert, the Mulhorandi believe they are spawned by the Skriaxit itself.

Sages of Imaskari lore note similarities between these dust devils and the Plague of Shartra (darkness) during the Second Age of Imaskar. Numbers of these dust devils in Raurin appear to have spiked with the final collapse of Medinat Muskawoon, in accordance with the account of a single caravan guard that made his way back to Semkhrun in Semphar. There are even rumours of dust devils now spotted across the Goldenflow in Semphar where there had been none previously.

If these Dust Devils are able to spread a contagious disease that causes the infected to become one then those that plunder ruins of the Second Age of Imaskar should be especially wary.

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