A PLAYER’S GUIDE TO PHOENICIA
A city of various cultures slowly blending in a melting pot, Phoenicia lies forever in the outskirts of the Known World around a cataract waterfall as impressive as the Iguazu Falls. In Phoenicia, psionics had come with a large amount of Vedan refugees escaping a terrible invasion. And the Hellenes conquered the city soon after that. Supernatural activity is seen around every corner, or perhaps it is no accident that adventure finds a place here. Either way, the city of Phoenicia abounds with danger, mystery, and adventure.
This chapter is designed so as to introduce you, as a player, to what Phoenicia is all about. This is so that you can create and run a character in the city. This city is one of three whose culture is naturally centered on psionics. Unlike the other two, which have radically different cultures. Phoenicia has a heavy One Thousand and One Arabian Nights influence with Indian and Ancient Greek influence in the city. So keep this handy while you play in the campaign, and be prepared to discover the information you learn in these pages. It is only the briefest of overviews.
INTRODUCTION TO THE CITY
The city is called Phoenicia, which is the Gateway to the Orient to Westerners, and the Gateway to the West to Orientals. You are either a native or you recently arrived there. Native or not, you do know a few things about this city. The city is literally a crossroads: located on the Sardis River Cataract, the Silk Road and the Spice Route ends here – usually for the shipping of silk and exotic spices to the rest of the Western World.
However, the city is ancient, having been built on the ruins of previous invasions past. As an important crossroads, many empires have sought to control it. And many empires have. Phoenica is a strange dynamic place, and has recently came under control of the Hellenic Empire. However, in centuries past, a large influx of Vedans from the mythical kingdom of Vedicia have come to the city and they brought with them the power and knowledge of Psionics, as they fled a terrible invasion of a joint orc, drow, and human army into their Empire.
As a result, Phoenicia is the cradle of psionic thought. The home of a thousand schools and the Seven Sages, most – if not all – denizens of the city is psionic. Despite all this, Phoenicia is place where a strange breed of men and women that calls itself “adventurers” come to find their fortunes. Phoenicia draws adventurers like moths to a flame. From expeditions on the Silk Road to protecting caravans along the Spice Route, to delving the ruins of what lies beneath, there is fortunes to be had and money to be made in adventuring.
Phoenicia is part of an Empire that is either on the edge of braking or is unsure if it knows it has been toppled. However, the city is poised to prosper in the initial breakdown. Having been conquered by a rival empire two hundred years ago, the empire that is crumbling is the Medean Empire. With the rise of the Parthians and the conquering of the Hellenes, two different Princes of Medea claim what is left. Progress across this empire seems to be on the decline, while the Hellenes seem to be on the rise. When the Hellenes conquered the city of Phoenicia, the Medeans had lost an important gateway to the West.
Many races have come and gone, and good struggles against evil, and order against chaos. But wickedness only threatens the light, so they do not yet consume it. After all, not so long ago the first men and women who were called adventurers came to this city and returned from the catacombs; returned from the Silk Road, or survived the Spice Route laden with gold and magical treasures from the places where they have been. Today, Phoenicia attracts many would-be adventurers – hoping to strike it rich in gold and silver. Those who make it back tell of the ancient passages below the city, or the magnificence of the Middle Kingdom, or the exoticness of the native land of the Vedans. They also tell of the dangers. Mystical beasts and unknown monsters are found along these routes. And devious things of horror found beneath the city. Monsters with cunning no human, dwarf, or elf could even match. As a result, entire industries have sprung up catering to these adventurers, creating an economic boom in the city despite it’s reliance on the Spice Route and the Silk Road. As a result, on the crossroads of East and West, a new form of economics, politics, and social structure is struggling to be born in a semi-quiet revolution.
Creatures and individuals are drawn to this large gathering of adventurers, magic, and psionics. The needs of these adventurers are prompting new devotion to magic, science, and religion. In the burst of the needs of adventurers, some old religions are experiencing a renaissance; while new ones are being born as old ones die. Many adventurers are also applying to learn psionics from Rishis and Gurus, sparking new philosophic thought about Psionics. Phoenicia, on the Crossroads of East meets West, is quickly becoming something new.
Phoenicia is an Urban campaign setting. It is one that deals with dungeon delving and a starting point for exploration along the Silk Road and the Spice Route. Pretty much, you can expect about 50/25/25 split between Urban Adventurers, dungeon delving, and exploration along the Silk Road or Spice Route into fabled and mythical kingdoms. The first will involve a suprising array of organizations and individuals that live in this fantasy city.
While the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights provides the backdrop of the city, with a healthy dose of Ancient Hellenic and Ancient Indian culture, the focus is really on the rules. Especially the Psionics rules, as the city is meant to showcase the Psionics rules. Pretty much that means monsters are everywhere. Psions are common, and people walk around in a panoply of armor. Humans who stroll down the street often rub shoulders with elves, elans, maenads, dwarves, Halflings, gnomes, half-orcs, and even more exotic beings.
A campaign in the city is with the psionics rules turned up. Most everything revolves around psionics in one way or another. After all, the things that make the d20 System (Pathfinder) unique –power and the creatures of the Bestiaries, have shaped the reality of Phoenicia. The Phoenicia campaign is a fantasy that people would label “high,” it is also an urban fantasy, for the campaign mostly takes place within, beneath, or outside the city of Phoenicia.
Phoenicia is a major city of about fifty thousand people. It is located at the far edge of the Hellenic world on the Sardis River, around the Sardis Falls. The Sardis Falls is a cataract waterfall. The City is split into four quarters, bisected by the escarpment that produces the waterfall, and the river itself. The Sardis Escarpment, which is five hundred feet high, is twenty miles long running north to south. The Sardis River has a drainage basin about fifty miles inland. Druids and priests of Buddha, preserving the beauty of the falls, tend to the falls’ natural beauty. However, carved out of the escarpment is the two great Temples of Zeus and Buddha.
Phoenicia is an ancient city that seethes with mysterious legends and rumors. These tales tell of ancient battles fought, and earlier cities erected on the site. Of dark priests and dark gods, of forgotten kings and mighty wizards and mightier psions. Many such stories are somewhat true, for recent excavations have revealed a vast complex beneath the city. Accordingly, the Middle Kingdom has felt that it could ship silk to the Barbarian Lands of the West and has opened up trade a little more than five hundred years ago – building the Silk Road. Similarly, the mythical lands to the south and east trade in spices from the common (peppercorns, cinnamon) to the extremely rare and valuable (saffron). In the case of the latter, Phoenicia is the westernmost city of Oriental Culture. It is this place that thousands of refugees from the destruction of the Vedic Empire fled to.
Of late, Phoenicia is known as the City of Psionics. However, it is gaining a reputation as the city of Adventure in the East. Like it’s counterpart – Marsela – treasure hunters and explorers flock there to explore and plunder the labyrinth beneath the streets, to travel the Silk Road, and to explore the Spice Route.
If the stories about the catacombs are correct, they include the following:
1. The sewers of the city.
2. Vast stretches of ancient subterranean passages and chambers of cities long past.
3. The remains of a prehistoric city.
4. A vast underground passage to the Center of the World.
As for the Silk Road, if the stories are correct about the land between the Middle Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom itself, they include the following:
1. The Middle Kingdom is ruled by men, who are yellowish white in color and have exotic, slanted eyes.
2. They regard all outsiders as barbarians.
3. The land on the Silk Road is patrolled by robbers and bandits as well as monsters beyond imagining.
4. The Middle Kingdom protects its Northern and parts of its Western Borders by the use of an amazing stonewall.
Phoenicia itself lies in a Mediterranean environment, about five miles from the Great Sea. The land is fertile, and the environment about is humid and sticky. Some thirty miles to the south and east is desert. The city is an independent City State that is nominally under control of the Hellenic Leonid Dynasty.
The city is a republic, ruled by a Senate, at the head of what sits the Archon; and the House of Representatives, at the head of which sits the Speaker. The other main rulers are the head priest of Azura Mazda (Zoroastrianism), and the Mother Superior of the Maidens of Silence. Other leaders include guildmasters, the heads of the noble houses, and a few wealthy merchants. Lately, at the opposition of the Guildmasters, the Senate has voted to remove Guild Monopoly protections on the commodities that Phoenicia sells.
The current Archon, Agapetos, controls the Expeditionary Army and Navy. The city watch operates under his direct command from his fortress on the Severian Hill. The Archon has about twelve units of hoplites under his control – Ares’ Sons, Athena’s Pride, the Lions, the Expeditious Brigade, the Sparti, the Amazons, the Dragons, the Red Tigers, the Sharks, the Ferocious Agoutis, the Stealthy Leopards, and Rama’s Knights.
The Senate acts to make foreign policy. The House of Representatives is charged with making domestic policy. The Laws created by the House is for the city of Phoenicia. While the Laws created by the Senate affects foreign policy of the little city-state. The Speaker controls the City Watch.
THE AUTHORITIES AND THE LAW
To police the streets, the Speaker of the House do command a force of more than five hundred City Watch guards, including a few dozen elite auxiliaries. While the constables in other countries are thought of as glorified street sweepers, with little competence or the desire to actually enforce laws, this is not true of the experienced guards of Phoenicia.
Still, this well trained and well paid force pretty much has its hands full in maintaining order in the city. In order to help enforce the law, the Speaker has allowed a nunnery of Vishnu called the Sisterhood of Krishna. The nuns patrol the streets and make arrests, even though they are not sanctioned to do so officially. A eunuch always accompanies a small unit of the Sisters to speak on their behalf.
Still, neither the City Watch or the Sisterhood of Krishna are willing to go down into the depths to fight monsters. Nor are they likely to help against noble families, or powerful groups in the city. Well, of course, these groups would never break any of the law. Perish the thought . . .
THE FORCES OF FREEDOM
Aside from the Law-enforcing authorities, Phoenicia has a strong element of personal freedom. Defending the people’s freedom and liberties are not only the Archon and the city’s Expeditionary Army and Navy, but several orders of what can only be explained as knighthood also safe guard the Republic. These include the Keepers of the Title, the Order of Light, and the Knights of Phoenicia uphold such concepts as personal liberty and nobility. There is even presence of angels in the city – no one sees them of course. But they range from aasimars to half-celestials to true angels. Paladins, Mind Knights, and clerics of good deities and the Spirit of Truth help Pheonicia deal against the forces of darkness and tyranny.
THE FORCES OF EVIL AND TYRANNY
In every nation, there is a faction of people who want to take away the freedoms of the people and set themselves up in their stead. Besides the criminal lords that control hired killers and organize crime, they war amongst each other as well as against the law. These criminals deal with extortion, smuggling, gambling, usury, and prostitution. They also deal in treason.
Beyond them, there are worst forces in that lurk in the dark. There is the Brotherhood of the Skull. The society is so secret no one knows who they are. Dwelling among the crypts are depraved worshipers of Kali. People the Cult of Kali abhorrent because of what they do. Lastly, there are things from the lower realms: actual demons and devils. Some are tieflings, but others are full-blooded fiends.
THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY
Phoenicia is a trade city. It serves as a link between East and West, linking the Spice routes and the Silk Road to the Western World. About two-thirds of the population is human, with the remaining third being (most populous to least): the dusky Desert Elves, Dragonwall dwarves, half-giants, xephs, maenads, gnomes, half-elves, orcs and half-orcs, the elans, and others – lizardfolk, ogres, and far stranger things.
TECHNOLOGY OF THE CITY
Phoenicia’s technology is comparable to Hellenistic Technology at the late disintegration of the Greek Empire – When Rome is about to be forced to conquer the East. About Middle Iron Age; Steel is being developed in specialized recipes – Steel is rare, but iron is plentiful. Despite this, glass is being used, and a special glass – called glyss – is solely produced here.
Glyss, which is made by influsing copper fumes into normal glass, has unusual properties when handled by a psionically-gifted individual. Glyss actually becomes stronger. Also, bronze is still used in complex gearworks. The clock in the Norwestern Quarter of the City, keeps time because of a powerful mechanism that is like the Antikythera mechanism. The mechanism uses gearworks – cogs and gears – to keep time. Aside from that, Phoenicia has become sophisticated in its iron age technology. For instance, psionic smiths who are capable of telekinesis can make superior Steel alloys by psionically aligning each iron crystal which each piece of carbon and other materials under heat. Phoenician Steel, a rarity, is an expensive metal produced by psionically-endowed metallurgists.
There are smiths who even work with crystal. Large semi-precious crystals can be shaped by psionically-endowed crystalsmiths to make various items out of crystal. The crystals are often re-enforced by telekinetic manipulation to produce crystalline weapons and shields; but other crystalsmiths create unusual crystal trinkets.
The source of copper for Phoenicia is the malachite, chalcocite, and tetrahedrite mines in the northern hills. Tin Oxide is imported from far away lands, however. As for the source of iron, the Phoenicians are forced to import iron from the Dragonwall, which is far to the north. As for crystals, the main sources of crystals are the quartz mines in the southern hills; where Phoenicians also mine gold and silver. Although, the crystalsmiths will still work with rubies, diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds from far away. And even a good piece of tetrahedrite will be shaped by the crystalsmith. Sometimes crystalsmiths “grow” their crystals using alchemy before working them.
The metallurgists of Phoenicia have learned to smelt copper from tetrahedrite using psionic methods. The other metal that is smelted from the tetrahedrite is antimony. So far, an industrial use of antimony hasn’t been discovered yet, so it finds some use in alchemy. The metal is toxic, so the smelted antimony are stored underground in protective bins until an industrial use for the metal can be discovered.
DISTRICTS OF THE CITY
Phoenicia lies on the Sardis Cataract, and is Quadrisected by both the Sardis River and the Sardis Escarpment which is five hundred feet high. The city is split into four quadrants. The upper part of the city that is close to the falls is known as the noble’s district, which is bisected by the falls. The noble’s district on both sides often benefits from the natural beauty of the cataract. From there, the city radiates out on the escarpment and below the escarpment. At the pool of the cataract lies the Middle of the city. And about three miles out of the pool is the riparian docks where ships that sail up the river come to trade. This is the docks district. On top of the escarpment and radiating out are the major overland merchant sections of the city. As one moves east on the Northeast Quadrant of the city, one comes to the Gate of Silk. This is so named because it is the terminal of the Silk Road, where silk merchants from the East come to barter and trade silk. Occasionally, one sees merchants from the mythical Middle Kingdom coming to directly trade their wares with the West. Here, there is a small Chinatown district to help these lone travelers feel welcome. A bridge, known as the Bridge of the Phoenix, stretches from Chinatown, across and over the Sardis River, into Veda Town. Here, Vedan culture thrives.
OR LOWER NORTHERN CITY
Below the falls, the docks is nestled on both sides of the river. The buildings here stand tall. The Sardis River is wide and deep, partly because of the volume of river water that falls over the cataract. The Docks district is full of warehousing, shipyards, hostels, and taverns – designed to cater to sailors and merchants on the wide and deep Sardis river. There are no schools found here. So, several ships often moor here in the deep river waters at any given time. It has a reputation of being a little rough, but this part of the city is responsible for much of the trade with the rest of the Hellenic World. The ships unload and load their cargo, and sail down the river into the sea on their way to Marsela, Alexandria, or even to fabled lands to the Northwest.
An influx of Hellenes and elves come through the Docks every day. The elven ships that come often bring Elven Goods to trade with the Middle Kingdom. The Hellenes bring Hellenic goods. And other ships from more distant and fabled locales bring even more exotic goods into the city.
The Agorae built here are nothing more than strip malls, or true malls. Here merchants sell their wares in Market. Merchants set up shop in the Agorae to trade with the poor to poor middle class. Here, you can buy almost anything to keep your life going: foodstuffs, vegetables, fruit, simple cotton cloth, olive oil, and many other goods. Carpet shops and even a slave market are found here. Slaves sold here are mainly work slaves and concubines; no courtesans are sold here.
Market District contains a few low cost psionics schools. They aren’t really good, most teachers are of poor quality. The brightest pupils are forced to leave the city limits to seek out one of the gurus to learn how to control their talents. Despite that, good professional performing psionic schools can be found in Market District. Young performers are taught psychometabolic, telepathic, or telekinetic talents in order to perform for their bread. Acrobats, levitation shows, and mentalism shows are very prevalent here. Not to mention a few prosperous charlatans that use roguish tricks or underhanded magic that seem like psionics.
This is the city that the Hellenic Invaders built. With the Fortress of Ares guarding the district, the town is chock full of gymnasiums, agorae, podiums, and has five of the city’s open-air theaters. At the gymnasiums, athletes train to get in shape, bathe, and discuss the news of the day.
The podiums have many philosophers that come to discuss philosophy and pontificate on their wisdom and learning. Small academies have opened up everywhere to teach the philosophies of the Hellenes to willing students. But the most popular are the academies of Natural Philosophy and Pythagoreanism. The least popular are the academies that teach the Western Style of Magic. Few Wizards are made in Hellene Town.
By far the most spectacular part of Helene Town is Gods’ Street. Terminating at the Great Eastern Temple of Zeus, there are temples to all the Gods of the Western World, and not just the Dodekatheon. Temples to the elven deities, chthonic gods, and dwarven deities are built here. There is even an altar dedicated to the Unknown God as to make sure no other god has been forgotten. The followers of the Spirit of Truth have claimed that the Spirit of Truth is the “unknown god.”
Gate Beautiful, or the Beautiful Gate is a gate made of painted, polished marble. It leads to the Way of the Dragonwall, and is the youngest gate built. Gate Beautiful leads into Hellene Town, and is guarded by archers and spearmen. The Gate Beautiful is called that because the gate is made to resemble a rainbow. The Hellenes have painted the gate to look like a rainbow, using all seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Four statues guard the gate. A statue of Athena and Aphrodite – the Goddesses of Wisdom and the Tender Passions – guard the outside. Their significance is that Phoenicia is a city of wisdom and love. On the inside, the Gods Hermes and Ares stand guard – signifying that both trade and danger may lie outside.
Several stables are here. Horses are mainly stabled, as some exotic species such as riding lizards. Horses are more popular, since this is the road that is the overland route to the Hellenic World.
This part of the Town dates from Phoenix’s founding of the city. Many of the buildings here are old and in shambling ruins. There are also entrances into the lower catacombs in Old Town, and as a result a neighorhood has been renovated to deal with the catacombs of this part of the city. Old Town is home to Delver’s Row, where many adventurers come to outfit themselves to go down into the Northwest Quarter’s Undercity and the Catacombs. Rows of taverns are built here, to allow for employers to seek to hire adventuring parties can post their announcements. It also has a few shops and plenty of residential areas.
Besides the shops that adventurers often frequent (Phyrhos’ Weapons, Jabbar’s Fine Armory, Nashwan’s Outfitters, and Rashidah’s Curios), many adventurers frequent Jawahir’s clothier’s on Sun Street and Glazia’s Gymnasium. Potions and Elixer’s Old Town branch offers a large stock of potions for sale.
The most popular adventurer hangout in the Northwest Quarter of the city is Orpheus’ Palace – which is a tavern and inn located in Delver’s Row. However, many people seem leery of both the Ghost and the Spider inn (which has a back door to Murder Row) and the Black Unicorn (which caters mostly to Halflings). Nuwaira’s Psychic Creations has just barely opened and caters to Psychic adventurers; while M’ummar’s Astrology, also in Delver’s Row, caters only to arcane spellcasters.
OR LOWER SOUTHERN CITY
The Barrens is a terrible slum that is sick with poverty and crime. Rumors abound that the City Watch won’t go down into the Barrens. They are only half wrong – the City Watch is reluctant to patrol this part of town. The streets have no names, and most of the buildings aren’t marked. A few have become dangerous to live in, condemned to be destroyed.
Still, worshipers of the Spirit of Truth are determined to go into the Barrens to help change people’s lives here. They are spreading the truth of the Law of Attraction, helping many people attract goodness, energy, and abundance into their lives. If the worshippers of the Spirit of Truth can succeed in bringing the people up and building new lives, then people can start bringing themselves up out of poverty.
On the southern side of the Docks is Rivertown. So called, because many of the inhabitants live on the river or very close to it. The Riverfolk, as they are called, live on houseboats. The area is poor, and the place also reeks of disease. They commonly dump their sewage into the water – the same water that often provides for their food. They come to Phoenicia looking for a better life. The City Watch doesn’t operate here, so this part of the city is believed to be lawless. However, the people are law abiding, and many often go into town on worship day or market day to barter and trade for goods.
Phoenicia has a very large graveyard, a true Necropolis, on the Southwestern Quarter. The vast Necropolis is built on rolling hills, which is completely covered by crypts, tombs, mausoleums, and graves. The entire Necropolis is walled in, with guards posted at every entrance. Even in a city where the Spirit of Truth is worshipped directly you get the superstitious. And the Superstitious often have their beliefs about the Necropolis realized. The guards are there to warn people not to go in at night and to watch for grave robbers. Many people believe that the undead (vampires, zombies, ghouls, ghasts, the whole lot) roam the necropolis. And many, including the priests of Hades and Vishnu, do their best to contain the outbreak.
This place has architecture made of adobe, baked mud. This is because this town attracts many people from the south also coming in to look for a new start in the City of Wonders. The people who come here are desert peoples who are tired of wandering and also merchants from faraway southern lands. Some of them are Bedouin Elves, others are sand Halflings, and many are Xephs and Half Giants from their homelands.
Adobe Town caters to the people of the desert and the semi-arid lands. The cuisine here is of a desert flair. The outside gateway to Adobe Town is the Southern Gate. The southern gate is made of Adobe and contains many markets where the traders of these areas can trade items of value for gold, silver, and other commodities.
OR UPPER NORTHERN CITY
Western Noble’s District
Here, the nobles who subscribe to a Western, Occidental Culture, live. After all, there is no shortage of wealth, and here the wealthy Hellenes come to live in their bountiful estates, mansions, and villas. It is also here that the mansions become increasingly Persian in architecture as one moves towards the East. Mansions with spiraling minarets and towers extend high into the sky.
Travelers from below the Escarpment can only enter the district by taking a psionic elevator that lifts them five hundred feet into the sky, or take an extended climb of stairs beside the Great Statue of Zeus. There are rest hostels along the way to help people rest up the escarpment. Climbers, however, are gifted with a spectacular view of the Sardis Falls and are surrounded by natural beauty that is maintained by temple priests. As beautiful as this area is, the wealthy on both sides have claimed this area for themselves, forcing the poorer people to live below the falls or to live outside of the falls.
The largest estates of this part of town has been held by the most influential of the Aristocratic Class of Hellenes. It is also here that the best schools of magic and psionics are found. Apollo’s University, built around the temple of Apollo, is where people have come to learn magic. Again however, the university does not have as many students enrolled, as the university teaches Pythagoreanism and Platonic thought along with magic. The competitor, The University of Psyche, teaches the Will and the Way method of psionics. Here, students learn telepathy, telekinesis, and clairsentience, while the more athletic learn the arts of Psychometabolism. Psionic healing is also taught here, graduating disciples of Asclepius who use psionics to heal their patients.
It’s this district that holds the Senate Building and the House. The buildings have been renovated lately to take on a more Arabian outlook, while still keeping the colonnades. The noble quarter holds the Temple of Dionysius, and also holds the greatest and most opulent theatre in Phoenicia. It also holds the Musical Conservatory, fabulous eating establishments, and many sites of interest. Including the Park of Succulent Delights (or the Park of Obscene Statues, depending on who you talk to).
Persian Town is all Persian. The place is chockful of examples of Persian Architecture in the Razi and Azari styles. While Zoroastrian temples abound, they are built with domes, minarets, and houses that follow the look of many Persian cities.
Many of the middle class that is neither Hellene nor Vedan live here. Counting themselves as “Persian” or “Arabian,” the people here live and dress as if they are from the Middle East during the tales of Arabian Nights. However the prevalent religion here is Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic religion that worships Azura Mazda. The people here are generally good and the crime rate is low in the city.
Chinatown was built to house the small population of people who immigrated here from the Middle Kingdom. Here they maintain their culture even though they do not consider themselves to be subjects of the Middle Kingdom. The small town sprang up around the Silk Gate in order to cater to the few merchants that come from the Middle Kingdom to trade silk directly. Some are veterans of the Wars that happen frequently in the East, and are often deserters or losers of a battle. So far, only Buddhist priests cater to the Spiritual Needs of the people and no one from the Middle Kingdom as of yet declared that they are worshippers of the Tao (although there has been a few Tao Sorcerers that live in the area).
OR UPPER SOUTHERN CITY
Vedan Noble’s District
The Noble’s district is on the other side of the Sardis Falls. It’s a Vedan district in architecture. The architecture resembles that of Persian architecture, with high spires and minarets. The Kshatriya caste typically lives here since they are the nobles in the Vedan caste system (the Kshatriya are the warriors, the landowners, and the policy makers of the Caste system). It is mostly the Kshatriya caste that usually have the time to adventure, so most Vedan adventurers nominally come from the Kshatriya caste.
The homes that have been built here is amid simple, glorious natural beauty. And the Kshatriya often have others to maintain such beauty. However, the largest estates in this part of town belong to five of the most influential families, which can be identified as Rajahs. The Rajahs maintain positions on the Senate, and part of the House, where they speak on behalf of the Vedans that live in the Vedan part of the city. It is also this part of the city that the grand temples to Brahma and Vishnu were built. As most Brahmins can be found through most of the Vedan quarter, some of them live among the Kshatriya caste.
One of the important schools here is the Chakra School. Here Psionics is taught according to the Chakra method. The psions that are produced are easily either Seers or Egoists with a smattering of Savants. However, this school has produced only a tiny fraction of Shapers. Shapers from the Chakra Psionics School are incredibly rare and are thought to be madmen or men of genius; or perhaps both by the rest of the Vedan community.
This part of town is where the people in the Vaisya and the Shudra castes live. The entire neighborhood is divided by industry. Those who spin cotton into cloth are found in their own little section, and those who run inns and restaurants are found in another section. Smiths – whether they are crystal, black, or bronze; are found in still another section. Here there are many temples dedicated to the Hindu Gods – including Shiva, which has become increasingly popular as the Hindu population of the city is heading into an era of great change.
This part of town is where the Spices come from fabled lands. As a terminal of the Spice Route, this part is definitely very Vedan with small mixes of Persian architecture here and there. The place is glamorous, making it one of the richest parts of Phoenicia. Here, spices of every kind can be found for purchase. Not only spices, but other goods. The Spice Market also has the largest slave market in Phoenicia; where slaves are bought and sold for just about any purpose.
Many of the spices processed here are repackaged and ready for shipment on the boats to the Western World or placed on caravan shipping routes North and West of the Dragonwall. Guarding the Spice Route is the Spice Gate. It’s built of granite stone, and ringed by wooden pillars and covered with ivy. Here camel caravans come in, sell their spices, and then leave with goods produced in Phoenicia.
THE BLACK MARKET OR UNDERMARKET
Although not actually a district, the Undermarket is accessed by a wide staircase in Delver’s Row. It is currently the place to go for most adventuring gear for adventuring in the catacombs of the entire city. After all, you can find people selling potions, scrolls, and most anything else you need.
Also located is the so called Delver’s Guild that provides assistance in the form of maps, reference materials, and equipment to explorers of the ancient cities below Phoenicia. The maps point out the nearby entrances to the sewer system and tunnels that lead deep into the dungeon as adventurers have called it. Nearby, is the square of the Phoenix Egg, a strange natural sculpture of pumice stone that resembles an egg.
The presence of the Delver’s Guild makes the city a center of employment relating to dungeon exploration. So, people who hire adventurers often post bills of employment in the guild’s meeting hall. So, a number of market establishments hire out scouts, guides, porters, and guards and can provide skilled labor to pick locks, cast spells, and perform most other necessary services.
As the city grew, often more people have come to live in and around the Undermarket and through the underground levels. People have seen representatives of races that aren’t particularly welcome everywhere else – lizardfolk, goblins, hobgoblins, blues, orcs, minotaurs, and so on.
THE LOOK OF PHOENICIA
Phoenicia looks like Baghdad from the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights combined with the architecture of Ancient Greece and the Architecture of India. Actually, only a few, new buildings, shows a blend of all three traditional architectural styles as cultures continue to blend together to make something new. Still, the place looks like it could fit in a movie like Kismet or The Thief of Baghdad.
Phoenicia is in a Mediterranean type of climate, with semi-arid plains and deserts not too far away. Oleiculture – or the culture of olives – is practiced here, making Phoenicia a major producer of olive oil. The weather of Phoenicia brings heat during the summer and coolness during the winter. Sometimes, it may even snow.
Rain comes from the Great Sea to the west during the spring and summer, and comes in thunderstorms and pleasant rain. Sometimes the rainshowers are just sprinkles, making it a joy to be in the rain.
The touch of psionics is producing a people that are becoming more and more individualistic and free. Despite this, there is an increasing feeling of connectedness among the people – creating a strong balance. The people are slowly and unconsciously recreating their city and society. Although strong divisions – such as the Vedic Caste System – still exist, some people are making it their mission to create a city where poverty could be extinguished. From the look of it, the amount of crime and wickedness in the city means that there is still a long way to go.
Phoenicia has a total of twelve noble families, all of whom enjoy special status by their ancestral rights. Although certain barriers to a truly mobile society are slowly eroding, Phoenicia’s traditions still grant these houses hereditary seats on the Senate. Not to mention that many of them are affluent, and with their wealth comes influence. The original four noble houses were once the seats of real power in the area, serving a dynasty of kings. With the Vedician refugees came four Rajahs that were Maharajahs that controlled city-states in mythical Vedicia. Then the other four Hellenic Noble Houses are descendants of the General and his aides that were responsible for conquering the city by way of the Sword. The noble houses are as follows:
Ø Perseus: The House of Perseus is a merchantile house, and is quite wealthy but not well regarded. Abner the son of Perseus is the very old head of the house. Currently, people wonder who will take over when he is dead. Perseus was the Quartermaster of the army that conquered Pheonicia.
Ø Ramachandra: A house of warriors, Ramachandra maintains what some say is a private army. Members of this house traditionally dress in red, and are said to train as knights or military orders. Ramachandra, led by the Rajah Kumar Ramachandra, has a strong presence in the Senate and the House where the Rajah speaks on the State’s Security.
Ø Náretar: This High Elvish family are a family of scholars. House Náretar rarely finds time to involve themselves in the squabbles of other families: both in the Senate and out of the Senate. The family is mostly made up of elves, and they are descended from the Allied High Elf General Náretar. Currently Ruinener Náretar is the head of the Náretar family.
Ø Jagganath: This Kshatriya family controls the Spice Trade in the city. The family was made wealthy by controlling about 40% of the Spices that come to the city and moves out of the city. They were the ones responsible for building the Spice Market, and some of their number lives there still.
Ø Kathar: A Phoenician noble family, they are one of the four that is directly related to the old Phoenician dynasty. Kathar produces talented, glamorous, and attractive children. Shaneen bint Jamal al-Kathar leads the family and is a great patron of the arts.
Ø Beldine: The Beldine is a Phoenician noble family. They control the Bazaar in Phoenicia. The Bazaar district contains everything you might want to buy from carpets to spices to precious stones to Assassins to the entertainment of a fine dancer for a night. Malazar al-Beldine is the current head of the household, a fifty year-old lush who is smarter than he looks. His rival is the corpulent Salah el-Jaq.
Ø Wazeem: Another old Phoenician family. This family controls the copper extraction out of the hills, controlling the Tetrahedrite mining operation specifically, and copper mining generally. The head of the household is the matriarch Istilah bint Salah al-Wazeem. She is only Thirty years of age, having inherited the position from her father after he died in a mining accident.
Ø Dāwūd: The house of Dāwūd is the legal ruling family of Phoenicia. The family have been gathering a number of “King Men” ever since. However, the house of Dāwūd is amid a powerful revolution brought by the Adventurers and may not have time to gather enough support to overthrow the Republic of Phoenicia at this time. The current head of the family is Mustafah al-Dāwūd is young, but his brother belongs to a society so secret he’s not allowed to talk about it.
Ø Lycourgos: The house of Lycourgos is descended from the General that lead the Hellenic armies invading Phoenicia. They control the phalanx Ares’ Sons, and the regiment known as the Spartiates. The leader of the house is Linus Lycourgos, who is fifty years old and thinking of retirement. His youngest son is one of the adventurers who are exploring the Silk Road.
Ø Nikandros: The last of the Hellenic noble houses is the house of Nikandros, which means “Man of Victory.” The last of General Lycourgos’ lieutenants, the Nikandros family is represented in the House of Representatives. They currently make money on the shipping trade.
Ø Rajani: Another kshatriya family, this one has made a difference in goldsmithing. Although not a true banking firm as we understand it, this family controls about twenty percent of the goldsmithing business in Phoenicia. The current head of the household is Lakshman Rajani; who is forty-six years old.
Ø Somasundara: The last of the influential noble houses, this kshatriya family currently a group of Amazon warriors; the family is matriarchal and for power struggles the family is currently upside down. The women do battle, and the men stay home. This poses some trouble when an Amazon of the Somasundara family is captured. Some captured Amazons opt for suicide to protect their virtue.
WHAT BRINGS YOU TO PHOENICIA?
The mighty size of the city and it’s location are breathtaking. The cataract is absolutely awe-inspiring to some visitors and some people who live in the city. Not to mention the two temples symbolizing the city is where East meets West. Visitors often come to Phoenicia with some purpose in mind, often to get something done. Whether it be to tour the city, to sell a magic or psionic item, or to spend an enjoyable evening out on the town. Most people need to know where to go to get the things that they need; or they can spend time wandering the maze that is Phoenicia.
People who bring a large amount of valuables from ancient civilizations can find the services they need in the Northwest Quadrant or the Lower Northern City. Most especially the place to visit is Delver’s Row, where there are several shops that pay for items of antiquity. There is also a museum that would pay for antiquities, if they can be verified as items of antiquity. Sometimes, one can find buyers on the docks; who will take the antiquities with them.
The Moneychangers control banking in Phoenicia and are located in the Upper Northern City. The Moneychangers operate the sort of banking we are used to, and they will often exchange gold for a certificate of deposit. So far, the Moneychangers are honest but the government are watching their activities like a hawk; as the Moneychangers are held responsible for the decline and destruction of Salithis. The Moneychangers have more branches in both Noble Quarters and the Lower Southern City.
People interested in carrying on trade can visit any of Phoenicia’s marketplace districts: the Bazaar in the Upper Northern City, the Market in the Lower Northern City, the South Market in the Lower Southern City, and the Grand Bazaar in the Upper Southern City. Merchants must purchase a permit to setup a booth or other presence in the marketplace.
Merchants who are interested in buying goods in bulk for transport or for sale in another city will find what they need in purchasing a warehouse or warehouse space. Warehousing is found in all four of the quadrants of the city. The cheapest are found in the South Lower City.
Setting Up Shop
People who wish to set up shop may wish to purchase a place of business or other space in the city. A poor shop (often for trades or services) can cost about 2d4x100 gold pieces. These can include rough shelves, a sales counter, and a backroom for storage. An average shop costs 2d4x500 gp, and these include polished wood flooring, handsome shelves, a picture window, and glass cases. Going upscale may cost you 2d4x1,000 gp or more and has marble flooring, locked display cases, leather chairs, and many other luxuries (even a glass ceiling).
Followers of Truth
The Followers of Truth, or the Spirit of Truth, are the followers of an unreligion. The whole religion is essentially unorganized. However, the Followers of Truth regard all as equal, and their leader – Saul – as first among equals. The Followers of Truth have one goal, to transform Phoenicia into the perfect city and in so doing, change the World, no matter how long it takes.
Their view of society is a free society that follows the Laws of the Universe rather than the silly little laws of Men. The Followers of Truth want to transform the society in the city from being corruptible and impure to the pure in heart. They do this by believing it can be done, and they work toward that goal. The Followers of Truth teach the Law of Attraction method of learning psionics.
The Lords of the Skull
The Lords of the Skull are a dark organization who opposes the Followers of Truth. They wish to someday take away the Freedom of the society. Dedicated to the Prince of Lies, the organization is devoted to increasing Law in the Land of Phoenicia for security reasons. No one knows who they are, but they are an insidious organization with clear goals and dark intentions. They also teach the Law of Attraction method of learning psionics.
The Moneychangers are a group of bankers who want to systematically control the city’s money supply. The moneychangers are also insidious, but not as insidious as the Lords of the Skull, but once they control the money they will be able to control how the laws are made in the city. The Moneychangers who are open – the ones that change foreign currency into Phoenician currency – have a reputation of being deceitful and duplicitous.
Hermes’ sons are the local guild of thieves. The sons of Hermes worship Hermes thieving aspect and they work to the betterment of the poor. Still their petty crime upsets the tranquility the Republic is trying to present. The guild’s headquarters is said to lie deep below the city.
Homayoun Crime Family
Probably the most powerful crime family in the City, the Homayouns is certainly the oldest. Ascarus Homayoun is the aging head of the organization, with his grandson, Sargon, serving as his second in command. Sargon has at least two sisters and brother – Xerxes – who broke from the crime family a long time ago. Shalazar the Serpent, an infamous wizard, works for this crime syndicate.
This crime syndicate is behind a number of criminal endeavors: gaining profit from theft, extortion, smuggling, illegal gambling, assassinations, and trade in various illegal commodities (slaves, drugs, evil magic items).
Five years ago, adventurers penetrated the ruins of the undercity and returned with treasures. The amount that they’ve returned with was beyond comprehension, or that they were brave enough to go down there and return was startling enough. They were the core inspiration for the Adventurer’s Guild, which has been growing in influence. The adventurer’s guild offers its members information about the exploration of the regions below Phoenicia, and the exploration along the two trade routes. The guild also maintains the city’s best collection of maps of the underground realm and the two trade routes. In addition, they have a large library for research.
Hospitalers of the Sacred Flame
While the shrines of Apollo act as expensive hospitals, healers and physicians dedicated to Agni the God of Fire or the Zoroastrian God provide inexpensive healing services to the poor. However, Agni’s priests apply fire in their treatments and it’s said to be agonizing.
Disciples of Achilles
The Disciples of Achilles are an order of chivalry that follows a heroic, knightly ideal of Achilles. Its members strive to be courteous, kind, and righteous in deed as well as in manner. The Disciples of Achilles oppose disorder and needless warfare. Although sometimes hot tempered, the order has been good for Phoenicia as many of its members are held to higher standards than other fighters. They have a fortress outside of Phoenicia where they train as hoplites.
The Order of Rama
An order of Chivalry among the Vedans, the Order of Rama admits only the Kshatriya caste. They follow the example of Rama of the Ramayana. They oppose evil in all of its forms. The Order of Rama revere Vishnu – especially as the Avatar Rama. The Order of Rama are comparable to medieval knights, although they aren’t as romantic as the medieval knight.
A Battalion that worships Ares, Ares’ Sons is concerned with the defense of the city and participates in Expeditionary excursions for defense. Ares’ Sons worship the God Ares through the study of martial arts, martial discipline, martial exercise, and war games. Since they often represent the god, most people in Phoenicia have a high regard for the god of war and his cult has become a bit more popular as a result. Although not a warrior society, Phoenicia has seen some success against marauding orcs, goblins, and the occasional warlike Desert Elf tribe.
The Mind Knights of Phoenicia
An ancient order dedicated to combating supernatural threats in the city, especially demons, evil wizards, and dark psions. An official order dedicated to Athena, they are comprised of psychic warriors and soulknives. The Mind Knights do their best to use their skills in battling evil. The Knights work with the City Watch and other groups dedicated to battling supernatural threats.
The Magician’s Guild
A group where the Wizards in the city can study, learn, and gain support. Unlike in other cities, this guild is underground. With the populace equating all Arcane Magic with the black, demonic magic of warlocks; wizards have come under persecution. Although the witch-hunts are over, there are still people who will form a lynch mob if someone is practicing magic openly. The Magician’s Guild hides under the Blue Recluse Inn on Tavern Row.
The Shadow Council
The Shadow Council practices dark, demonic magic. Comprised solely of warlocks, this group attracts those who are hungry for power and are willing to consort with evil demons or genii to get it. The Shadow Council originally started among the orcs, but spread to humans, gnomes, and elves. The dark Shadow Council conclaves outside of the city around an ugly, ancient ruin; inside the city they congregate under Kent Rowe’s Tavern.
There are many religions within Phoenicia; it’s impossible to list them all. However the faiths that are growing rapidly are faiths connected to Change. Shiva, Kali, the Spirit of Truth, Hermes, Ares, and Apollo have faiths that are growing extensively. Still, the largest faiths are those related to Zeus and Buddha. Still, there is no law restricting a man’s faith as the young people are swayed to Shiva or Khali, or Hermes and Apollo. There are so many faiths that a visitor would say that the people of Phoenicia are drunk with religion at first glance. Such minor faiths include Celestia – the Elven Spirit of Expression; Teogorn, the Dwarven God of Peace; and Sarti, the Goddess of Mercy. Phoenicia’s pantheon is chaotic and unorganized, so you will be able to create a god with the help of the DM.
THE WORLD (AND BEYOND)
The World of Terre has but one moon hanging in the sky. Most people believe that the moon orbits around the world, and that the world circles the sun. Beyond are the stars, although most people don’t have any concept that there are other garden worlds beyond their own. Natural philosophers say that the world is made up of matter and energy (which is expressed as fire, air, water, and earth). Natural philosophers also put forth that the theory of the Atom. Most people have seen the power of magnetism, lighter-than-air gases and do not fear these things; but lightning and thunder frightens people even though Natural Philosophers explain thunder by rapidly expanding air.
Most people understand that there is an Ethereal Plane (called the “Aethereal Sea” by learned poets). The Aethereal sea is a magical place that shares the same space as the world but is apart from it. Other people understand that there is a spirit world, and a place of shadow. Most people also can see seven planets in the sky, and believe each planet is a Heaven one can go to after death. People believe that angels and other beneficient supernatural beings come from the planets.
The Hells are thought to be below, and are imagined to be places of everlasting torment, fire, and darkness. Hell, the Void, the Dark Realms, the Netherworld are reserved for demons and devils. It is a place where the evil and wicked will go to receive their just rewards.
There are references to myth and legend of people traveling to the realms beyond, even other worlds; but no one has done it in quite some time. However, demons and angels have been seen in the world and clearly they have come here from beyond human senses. So, such places such as the Heavens and the Hells exist are beyond question.
OUTSIDE THE CITY WALLS
Although the campaign takes place in the majority vicinity of Phoenicia, there are lands beyond the city. People understand that the Silk Road and the Spice Route takes them to, in their mind, magical kingdoms. The Magical Middle Kingdom is a land of strangeness and even stranger magic. Of mysterious frightening monsters and people with yellowish skin and angled facial features.
The Mughal Kingdoms are in the lands of the Vedans, and that they are a wondrous place of stranger magic and strange customs. To the north is the Dragonwall where tribes of human barbarians live and beyond that are the Hordelands, where orcs both noble and savage live. To the West is the Great Sea and the Gnomish Archipelago Kingdom – of which the island of Cyprus lives the Gnomish King. Further to the West and to the North are the Hellenic Kingdoms of Man, the fabled lands of the Grey Queen, and the city of Massalia and it’s small Empire. Beyond that are barbarian lands unknown. To the south is the lands of the Desert Elves, and beyond them the lands of the Sorcerer Kings – where they enslave shapers to force them to manifest anything out of the Aether.
To the Southwest are the lands of Aegypt and the Empire of the Golden Pharaoh. The empire of the golden pharaoh is a place of ancient magics and winding sands. Further West is the island kingdom of Falastir where the noble King Nestor lives. Beyond that is the Western Ocean, uncharted waters where it is said hides a kingdom of humans under the sea. However, under the Great Sea is the kingdom of the Merfolk. Beyond the known world is unknown.
CREATING A CHARACTER FOR A CAMPAIGN SET IN PHOENICIA
There are several races in Phoenicia's city limits. All of them could be used for creating your characters. Unless otherwise mentioned, you use the Core Rules for all character creation details. Yes, your DM is the final arbiter of what is and is not allowed in your game.
Although most people call them "dwarves" their own name for their own race is zwerc. There are three dwarven clans known to the people of Phoenicia. The Bright and genuine Ironhammer clan, the shamanistic Wildstone clan, and the ashenskinned firey bearded Vulcan Clan.
The Ironhammer Clan is the clan that is the most used to living in city life. Although they transformed the Mountain of Arat into their colony, part of the Ironhammer clan have moved North and West to mine the great mountains (its been 200 years, so it's supposed that there are new clans descended from the Ironhammer Clan). It was the Ironhammer Clan that first worked with ore and made Iron. They gave the gift of Ironmaking to three human tribes who eventually solved the Riddle of Steel. It was these three tribes that gave birth to the Iron Age. Ironhammers are white and fair, with blond to light brown hair. It is fashionable for Ironhammer men to be fullbearded, and Ironhammer women to shave their stubble and be beardless. Use the standard rules for creating an Ironhammer Dwarf.
Wildstone Dwarves exist in the Valley of the Tiger River. One of the tributaries of the River Sardis. The Wildstone Dwarves worship the Spirits of the Valley and are in particular bonded with the tiger spirits (while the orcs' supreme animal spirit is the wolf). It is said that their gift to mankind was the making of bronze out of copper. The truth of the matter is that the Wildstone Dwarves perfected the art of making beautiful bronze swords using a stone mold, and they taught this technology to humans. They are less stout than Ironhammer dwarves, and they have a swarthy complexion. The men are clean shaven but they sport sideburns. Their hair ranges from Auburn to black hair.
The Vulcan Clan comes from Vulcan Island, where it is rumored that they serve the God Hephaestus. In truth, they are more likely cursed by some god because of their ashen skin and firey beards. Also called "deurgar" the Vulcan Clan have natural psionic talent. The gift these dwarves bring to the people of Phoenicia is the working of the very rare metal known as ferroplasm. Use Deurgar in Psionics Unleashed to create a Vulcan Dwarf.
There are three elves in Phoenicia. All of them descended from trans-dimensional travelers and belonged to five different tribes then. The tribes since became civilized. Most elves look the same, the High Elves are descended from the Tribe of Pelasgus, while another group of elves, called the Masallian Elves, are descended from the Tribe of Javan or the Fair Elves. The two tribes of elves don't regard each other very well. This because of the Pelasgiri Elves invaded the lands of the Fair Elves and utterly destroyed and enslaved most of the people. The Pelasgiri Elves became the High Elves, and are distinguished by their long flowing hair, pointed ears, and noble features. Use the standard "Elf" in Pathfinder for creating a High Elf. There are two more elven races: the Desert Elves and the Massalian Elves.
The Gnomes are frequently mistaken for halflings (or the other way around). They are pretty rare, being an island people scattered among the islands of the Great Sea. Gnomes have the reputation of gypsies, and they favor song, epic storytelling, and magic over most anything else. The Gnomes of the island of Cyprus, however, favor building machines. Use the standard "Gnome" in Pathfinder for creating a gnome.
Half-Elves and Half-Orcs
Half-elves and Half-orcs are rare, these races are so more common in Phoenicia than in many other places. Half-elves may have High, Massalian, or Desert Elf parents and a human parent; while Half-Orcs may come from elven and orcish stock, or human and orcish stock. The latter is very rare.
Halflings were originally associated with the lands of the fairies. However, due to their stature and willingness to live in Human lands, they were eventually called "halflings" due to their stature. The name stuck with them. They are small, fair, and nimble; but their childish size does not usually carry a childish manner. Nomadic halflings use ponies to pull their carts, while settled halflings build burrows or houses. Use the standard "Halfling" in Pathfinder to create halfling characters.
According to Elven myths, the Elven Gods, the Halfling Gods, the Creator, and the Dwarven Gods divided the World amongst themselves. The Dwarves claimed the mountains and their rich ore deposits; the Halflings claimed the verdant valleys between those mountains, and the Elves claimed the verdant forests. This left the deserts for humans. This turned out well, since human civilization arose in the desert where humans were forced to work together. As a result the humans spread throughout the world. They are the most prevalent of the races of the world.
Elans are humans transformed by psionic ritual that is somewhat similar to the same ritual that creates a Psionic Lich. However elans are created by a secret society that isn't spread out over the whole world. The transformation gives them partial immortality -- eternal youth and death only by violence. The trade off is memories of a profession and any skills, although life memories persist. The current elan council is favoring humans with Auburn hair; but transformations happen very rarely. Use the rules from Psionics Unleashed to create elans for a Pathfinder game.
Desert Elves are descended from the third Elvish Tribe. They live in the arid and semi-arid areas of this region of the world, and are living a pastoral existence herding sheep, goats, and cattle. They are typically have bronze skin, dark hair, and blue eyes.
+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Strength: the Desert Elves and are physically weaker than their High and Massalian Elf cousins. But they are also much more hardier than their kin.
Medium: Haldamírdor are medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Low Light Vision: Desert Elves can see twice as far than humans in conditions of dim light. See Chapter 7 of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook.
Elven Immunities: Desert Elves are immune to magical sleep effects and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
Desert Hardiness: the Desert Elves gain a +4 racial bonus on fortitude saving throws made to resist the effects of hot weather.
Elven Magic: Desert Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance. In addition, elves recxeive a +2 racial bonus on Spellcraft skill checks made to identify the properties of magic items.
Keen Senses: Desert Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
Weapon Familiarity: Desert elves gain the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the scimitar, rapier, and short bow (including composite shortbows) as bonus feats. They will treat any weapon with the word "elven" in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: It's a conceit to think that all elves speak the same language. The Haldamírdor speak Arquilisen -- the desert elf language as well as common. It's not related to Elven, but belongs to an entirely different language tree. Desert Elves with high intellgence scores can choose from the following: Celestial, Draconic, Elven, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
One word, this race is driven by hate and revenge against High Elves for conquering their ancestral lands. But their race was nearly wiped out by northern forest trolls, which race has also earned their hatred. As a result, they rebuilt their society relying on Fiendish magic. While not strictly evil, a Massalian Elf tends to use Fiendish, shadow, or Warlock magic to fight fiends. They look like High Elves except for their eyes, which blaze with fiendish energy. Stats are below.
As Elf in the Pathfinder game except for the following ---
• Weapon Proficiency: Massalian elves receive for free the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longbow, composite longbow, short sword, and warblade. They will treat any weapon with the word "elven" in its name as a martial weapon.
• Bonus Languages: Like before, it's a conceit to think that all elves speak the same language. Massalian Elves speak Telendori -- the ancient, Fair Elf language as well as common. It's some what related to regular Elven, as it is part of the same language tree. Massalian Elves with high intellgence scores can choose from the following:
Abyssal, Draconic, Elven, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Infernal, Orc, and Sylvan.
Abyssal, Draconic, Elven, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Infernal, Orc, and Sylvan.
Maenads: Once they were human, however an ancient accident has caused crystals to be embedded into their skin. What is worse, the accident has caused them to be more emotional than usual. Through the generations, the Maenads have bred true; and so have their traits. Phoenicia is one of the few cities where they are welcomed and tolerated. Use the rules in Psionics Unleashed for creating Maenad characters for Pathfinder.
Half-Giants: The breeding of humans with giants produced half-giants. Born with buff musculature, half-giants were gladiator slaves of the Sorcerer Kings in desert kingdoms. Many have escaped and formed small tribes or bands wandering the area. Use the rules in Psionics Unleashed for creating Half-Giants.
Aasimar: These are graced with the blood of celestial beings. These individuals are graced with angelic beings in their Family Tree.
Elves, Dark: The dark elves, or drow, are part of the fifth tribe of elves to come into the world. One must delve deep into history to understand what had happened, but most drow are deep in the Earth. Sadistic and cruel, they revere dark and evil gods who urged them to conquest and dominance.
Orcs: The orcs of this world is described in great detail on this blog, and so forth. Sufficeth to say that they are a race of barbarians. Orcs worship their ancestors instead the Fiends that they once did. They are also strongly shamanistic and feel a strong kinship with the wolf spirit. Orcs are mostly found in the Hordelands, but certain tribes have come out of the south and have run afoul of the humans here.
Tieflings: These individuals have Fiendish blood -- the blood of demons or devils -- flowing through their veins. Thus somewhere in their ancestry they have a fiendish ancestor. They are a rare but significant force in Phoenicia.
The Unwanted: The city is also home to goblins, ratmen (Slitherin or Skavin) and other unwanted elements. Most people call these things an infestation than anything else and want to drive them out. These unwanted beings contribute nothing to the city's civilization, but they prey on its populace, stealing and robbing what they need.
You are either from Phoenicia, or have come to the city from elsewhere. So, if you are playing a city native, you should think about what district you grew up in and where you live. So you should consider some of the organizations involved; and decide if you have any affiliation with them – or aspire to have one.
If you are not from Phoenicia, then I help you out in creating a background by providing details about the lands that surround the city. Create a motivation of coming to the city. Also, get with your fellow players and decide about why you’ve come to the City of Phoenicia.
A few guidelines on how the Character Classes work in Phoenicia.
Barbarians: Most human barbarians are from the Dragonwall, the group of mountains that separate the Hordelands from the southern part of Civilization. Barbarian Orcs are from the Hordelands. Elves who are barbarians tend to be desert elves, while there are no dwarven or elan barbarians (unless you have an interesting backstory).
Bards: Bards fit very well in an Urban campaign centered around Phoenicia. Singers, dancers, musicians, acrobats, and orators that pontificate on the local podiums count as bards. Bards with psionic talent (usually wild talent) have been known to incorporate psionics into their performances. Those with PK or Telepathic abilities are the more common. Bards with PK ability often use levitation of objects, while bards with Telepathic ability are known as mentalists. Bards with Clairsentience abilities are known as street psychics. People who are martial art performers, however, are of an entirely different class.
Clerics: Clerics are pretty respected among society. Clerics of Zeus have some political clout and often have to compete with the Brahmins. You can work with the GM to choose a deity that suits your needs. Note that Buddhist monks are considered to be of the Cleric class, not the Monk class.
Druids: Druids are priests or shamans that respect nature. True druids are very rare and most orcs are of the Shaman class. The few druids that exist are among human barbarian tribes and the few high elves that come to live in the city. There are no druids among the Desert Elves, who have more monotheistic leanings (unless you have an interesting backstory). Druids aren't often found in Phoenicia, and therefore the least common.
Athletes (Monks): members of the Monk class are called Athletes. Athletes who tend to adventure wish to follow in the footsteps of Hercules, or the Dioskouroi. The traditions of the Athlete started in the West, and specialized in boxing and wrestling. Their more competitive friends typically shun athletes who adventure, since they use their unarmed combat not for competition; but for survival.
Fighters: Fighters can come from any walk of life in Phoenicia. Phoenicia has several orders of chivalry you may want to join. There is also the Guild of Swords, or the Order of Strength. Many fighters get their start in the Arenas; others join the with the army.
Paladins: Phoenicia has several orders of Chivalry you might find appealing, including the Order of Achilles or the Society of Rama. The two orders have a friendly rivalry. Also, see the discussion in the Cleric entry above about choosing a god to serve your needs.
Rogues: There is a whole society of thieves devoted to Hermes (Hermes' Sons). Remember, though, thief is but one option. There is the espionage route -- because Phoenicia has an entire agency dedicated to espionage called Secret Intelligence. Orc rogues belong to the orc Society of Serpents (which means that they are more sophisticated than they let on). Some rogues act as merchants and artisans, while others are rakes. Not surprisingly, this is due to their skillfulness. Thus, as far as hero classed people go, this class is the most represented in the city.
Sorcerers: Not surprisingly, in a psionic city, Sorcerers are rare but more common than wizards (or their variants). The Bloodlines that are the most common are Abberant, Abyssal, Arcane, Destined, Dreamborn, Elemental, and Infernal.
Wizards: Wizards take a scholarly approach to magic. They tend to look at magic as a science. However, in a city of Psionics, they are extremely rare. So rare that if someone saw a wizard working magic, they would most likely confuse him with a psion. However, people confuse the Wizard with their more malefic counterpart -- the Warlock. Wizards accused of working Dark, Fel Magic have little hope of proving their innocence but are commonly executed by drinking hemlock poison. Wizards, whether apprentice or master, tend to hide their art.
Psion: Psions are the most common of the psionic classes. They are typically learned and have learned psionics according to one of three methods: the Will and the Way, the Chakra Method, and the Law of Cause and Effect method.
Psychic Warrior: Like the fighter and the Paladin, there are some chivalristic orders that one can join over time. Psychic Warriors can also start in the arenas.
Soulknives: Soulknives typically train by using their psychic energy to create a mindblade. There are many options for soulknives, however. The same chivalristic orders and espionage are good options for Soulknives; also many soulknives act as paladins for their people. A good number of soulknives operate in the City Watch. They are the rarest of the psionic classes.
Wilders: Typically untrained, wilders have uncontrolled psionic potential. Without the formal training, their powers are connected to their emotions. Wilders are found among the poor and among those who can't demonstrate self control. They are the second most common of the psionic classes.
Before Player Characters should create their characters, they should feel that Adventurer fashion errs on the side of the practical rather than the gaudy. Most adventurers in Phoenicia are fully dressed, showing little skin if any they would show. Although everything is a matter of taste, there are a few daring adventurers that would wear less than what is practical. A typical Phoenician adventurer will not go nude or even half naked on adventure unless she or he is sure of his or her abilities, or it’s for religious reasons, or he or she is making a personal statement in fashion, or he or she is simply being foolish.
There are dangers out there, and a naked adventurer – unless he is capable of casting spells or manifesting psionic powers – is a dead adventurer.
LIVING IN PHOENICIA
So, what does the average Phoenician know about his or her city? Here are some basics:
• Humans are the most common race in the city.
• The Phoenician year is 365 days, with 12 months, and a seven day week. Every four years, one day is added at the end of the year.
• The Phoenician climate is a Mediterranean climate; more akin to the Climate of Southern France and the Levant. The winters are cool and the summers are warm. During the summer, there is the occasional thunderstorm.
• Pheonician men either wear loose clothing, like a chiton or a lungi, or clothes out of an Arabian Nights movie (long, billowing trousers and a vest) with sandles or shoes.
• Women are expected to wear a chiton and himaton or sari; however in this new age young people are becoming more daring! Near nudity or full nudity is becoming common among both sexes. As both wizards, philosophers, and psions hunt for the truth and pontificate their findings, people are becoming comfortable with more revealing clothing or nudity; and its more acceptable for women to cross-dress a little. It's still common to see a Phoenician man or woman to be fully clothed or half clothed; but near nudity or nudity in public places are increasing in frequency.
• Men usually keep their hair short and are clean shaven, it's become fashionable among some in the Persian section to wear turbans.
• Women typically like to wear their hair long and styled. Some daring young women, however, are experimenting with "hair dyes" and short cuts.
• The typical commoner earns 1 sp to 3 sp per day. A silver piece is often called a "dinar" or "drakma" (the dinar is more popular).
• The Moneychangers control the banking industry, but it's different. You rent out a personal vault which you can store large sums of cash and use certificates of credit to represent the amount you have in the bank.
• Buildings have primitive glass windows which are teased into shape by stretching. The windows are translucent, although some glaziers are working on a blowing technique to get transparent windows.
• Most buildings, not all of them, have indoor plumbing. The pipes are made of non-rusting metals (like lead).
• You can hire a messenger to carry notes and packages anywhere in the city (these messengers worship Hermes or Siva), and this typically costs 1 sp per delivery. There is also a psionic messenger service.
• Chariots are widely available to take you where ever you want to go. This service costs about 1 sp per trip within the city.
• Most Phoenicians fear the undead that is rumored to stir in the Necropolis. However, more people fear fire, thieves or robbers, and plague.
• Ratmen (Slitherin or Skavin) live in the sewers.
• Rumors often speak of cults worshiping the dark side of Shiva or Khali are finding new members these days.
• Spells that make people do things that they normally would not do, like Charm Person or Dominate Person, are illegal. So are their psionic counterparts (but evidence of the second is hard to find). Spells cast and psionics used for entertainment purposes are the exception.
• Spells or psionics that create Undead or spread plague is considered to be a capital offense.
• Most shops and businesses close at sundown, which means business hours are longer in the summer than in winter. Few are open seven days a week.
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