Under the Dark Sun
A Quick Guide to Tyr
For over a millenniun, Tyr has stood.
During the past thousand years, the city has labored beneath the oppressive eye of Kalak, Tyrant of Tyr. Under the fearful shadow of his defiling magic, Tyr has festered from a small oasis settlement to a sprawling and corrupt metropolis. Renown for wealth, power, and a steady though meager production of iron, Tyr is perhaps the most decadent city-state in a decadent land. Here, where human life costs less than a drop of water, a person can buy anything or suffer any fate. All but the poorest Tyrians own slaves, and nobles tend to vast plantations by the lash. Indeed slaves outnumber freemen two-to-one within the brutal city-state of Tyr.
As you approach the city, you pass through verdant plantation-lands where crops receive more water than the unnumbered slaves who tend to them. These fortress plantations belong to the city’s nobles and garner great wealth for them by providing nearly all of Tyr’s food. Standing armies fiercely guard each plot of land.
Once within the gates of Tyr, the throng of odd caravans, tang of exotic foods, and heavy rattle of strange dialects unsettles you: Every athasian city-state follows unique laws and customs. Those unfamiliar with the ways of Tyr may run afoul of it’s templars or worse yet, Kalak himself.
As in most Athasian cities, the sorcerer-king leaves day-to-day business to the templars – his faithful. On the streets, the black cassocks and imperious manners of Templars set them apart from all other Tyrians. These men and women wield great power, checked only when their actions may offend Kalak, a superior templar, or a noble. Tyrians generally avoid the templars, who, on the slightest whim, can imprison slaves and citizens alike. Of late, the templars of Tyr have been preoccupied, spending their careers upon Kalak’s massive public works.
Indeed, for the past 20 years, the templar’s lives have centered on a huge stack of stone – King Kalak’s Ziggurat. Dominating the center of the city, the square-stepped tower rises in sharp-edged splendor over the neighboring slums. Only now, after 20 years of construction, does the massive ziggurat near completion. For two decades, lash-stripped slaves have have borne massive blocks into place and mortared them together with their own blood. Now the streets and markets ring with the rumors that King Kalak has commanded his templars to finish the tower – finish it before month’s end. No rumors tell why dread Kalak is building the ziggurat and dark looks dissuade those who may ask.