On Ibis, City of Sorcerers – Part Eight

Ah – the final preview of Ibis. I have about 30 more locations to write and a few maps to draw to finish the city-state for inclusion in NOD #5, along with the second level of the dungeon that appears in NOD #4, Mines & Mining, Mystery Men!, the Illusionist class and whatever else I come up with. I’m including the map so you don’t have to go looking for it in post #1.

47. Narmer’s Bakery: Narmer’s bakery is, on average, the busiest spot in the Souk from dawn to dusk. The first round loaves appear at the crack of dawn, and Narmer (5 hp) and his little legion of assistants work through the day producing bread and pastries. The building is a single-story number and constructed of adobe bricks. It has a small portico and a striped shade, under which loaves are displayed in wooden boxes. One of Narmer’s sons, a teenager named Minkah (5 hp), sells this bread to pedestrians. Inside the building the heat can be intense. Narmer has three large ovens and almost two dozen assistants. Along the northern edge of the building, by arched, barred windows, a number of tables and chairs are set up for customers. Narmer’s eldest daughter, a fifteen-year old beauty named Jenday (6 hp) who wants more than anything to study magic at the university, waits tables, servng pastries and sweet tea and searching for get-rich-quick schemes.

49. Scriptorium: Aten (3 hp), an intense academic with tanned skin, red hait and dark, brown eyes, oversees seven scribes, mostly students working their way through university or former students not capable enough to find a job in the queen’s bureaucracy. Aten is irreverent and well-spoken and is devoutly lawful. He has a wife named Tabia (4 hp) who came to Ibis after being rescued from slavery by a band of qamouli.

51. Edfu the Carver: Edfu is an aging romantic who dreams of daring adventurse in faraway lands. Unfortunately, he’s unfit, near-sighted and has just a touch of arthritis, so he settles for tales brought to him by magic-users who hire him to carve their staves and wands. Edfu is a master at his craft, and though he takes a bit longer than others, his products are always of the highest quality. On more than one occaision he has produced a wand or staff to be enchanted by a wizard, and in fact he has multiple powerful wizards in his clientele. The wizards, lawful or chaotic, like Edfu (it’s hard not to), so thieves’, assassins and even bureaucrats leave him alone.

53. The Mortuarium: This building is both a mortuary and a shrine dedicated to Anubis. It is overseen by Yafeu, a priest of Anubis, who has several embalmers under his command. The process of mummification is expensive, costing anywhere from 500 gp to 5,000 gp, and is mostly used by aristocrats and merchants.

Yafeu is also responsible for overseeing the burial of poor citizens in communal tombs outside the city-state. These structures are built of adobe brick and consist of a long tomb building atop a 6-ft tall platform. The bodies to be interred within are salted to preserve them and then place in long hollows in the floor with a few grave items. These holes are covered with heavy stone tiles, and then a new layer is added. The tombs usually top out at 20-ft in height and are hallowed to keep the ghouls at bay.

Yafeu has pale skin, blond hair pulled back in a tail and brown eyes. He has a “dusty” appearance, like an old bottle of wine, though his exact age is indeterminate.

| Yafeu: HP 13; AC 7 [12]; Save 13; Special: Spells (1st), turn undead. Sable robes over leather armor, silver headband, silver holy symbol, silver-tipped mace.

55. Shashi the Leatherworker: Shashi is a young woman who hails from Kirikersa, the great port city of Lemuria. She has ebony skin, black hair worn in beads, bright and green eyes. Shashi is tall and fat, and keeps five husbands and six children in her home in the suburbs of Ibis. This building is her workshop, where she employs an apprentice (her daughter Sumati) and a local journeyman named Hamut. Shashi is a quick-witted prankster who specializes in crafting fine leather armor and saddles, leaving lesser items to her helpers. She is lawful and gives potential customers a good looking over to make sure they are not thieves.

On Ibis, City of Sorcerers – Part Seven

The penultimate preview of Ibis – one more to go and then I get into Mystery Men, The Gods of the Motherlands and Western Venatia, a land of blue-blooded knights, black-hearted robbers and silver-tongued merchants.

37. Three Cockles: This restaurant, owned by an émigré from Nomo named Malvina (3 hp), is under a bright blue sign decorated with three large cockle shells. The restaurant caters to expatriates from Nomo and the other city-states of Umbriago. They are an unruly and dangerous bunch, but the restaurant is usually full of laughter and singing with only the occasional duel. Duels in Malvina’s are done in a painted ring. Combatants are tied left wrist to right wrist, and engage in pummeling and wrestling until one person submits or is unconscious. Wagers fly all about the room during these bouts, and both winner and loser are treated to a steaming plate of food and a mug of wheat bock.

When one enters the Three Cockles, their eyes are immediately drawn to a number of large, steaming cauldrons in the center of the room. These cauldrons contain all the fruits of the sea – cockles, salty sea slugs, clams, oysters, fish (in a stew with saffron, scallions and dark wine), crayfish, squid and octopus tentacles, etc. A pot of garum is on every table.

The owner of the establishment, Malvina, is a youthful woman with a hard face and eyes that look right into a person’s soul. She has tawny blond hair, usually pulled back in a bun, dark brown eyes and is quite tall for an Umbriagan woman. Malvina is a divorcee, having once been married to a minor magus of Ibis; she now carries a chip on her shoulder toward all magicians, students and intellectuals.

Besides her waiters and cooks, Malvina also “employs” a band of pikeys (gypsy halflings) who skulk about the room picking pockets and doing odd jobs. The halflings live in the cellar in squalid conditions, and have been forced to serve Malvina because she holds their grandmother, a fortune teller, captive in her chambers above the restaurant. They are always under Malvina’s watchful eye, and she also has a bull mastiff on guard in her room. The halflings are beaten savagely by Malvina if they are caught plying their trade, but always wind up back in the restaurant when things cool off a bit.

39. Goldsmithy: Svalgault (gnome, 1 hp) runs a very successful shop of jewelers and goldsmiths, all of whom are gnomes. The ground floor of Svalgault’s is a workshop of tiny tables and shelves and a locked, freestanding vault containing anywhere from 20 to 80 pounds of gold and silver, and maybe 1 to 10 pounds of platinum. The floor above has been extensively altered from its former state. It has been bricked in to create a system of artificial burrows for the gnomes and their little families. The top floor contains Svalgault’s palatial residence, a seraglio of clockwork doxies, expensive rugs from Ishkabibel and beaded curtains from Ophir.

The gnome jewelers specialize in astrolabes and amulets. Like svalgault, they have light brown skin, salt-and-pepper hair and blue eyes. Svalgault is possessed of an impetuous curiosity and loves to play a good prank (though he never mixes pranks with business). When challenged or contradicted, he flies into a terrible rage, and can fight as a berserker. He is a frequent guest at Malvina’s [37], and she knows well that he and his people must not be targeted by her little band of captive thieves.

41. Exotic Redsmith: Xihuitl (4 hp) is a tall, thin woman with cinnamon skin, dark brown hair, brown eyes. She is immaculate in her appearance, wearing a white tunic, leather sandals, copper jewelry (including a nose stud) and she has three black lines tattooed on her chin, running from her lips to her neck. She is an immigrant from far-away Hybresail, brought to Ibis (via Ianus and Ophir) by her husband, a roughneck sailor from Tremayne who spends most of his time at sea. Xihuitl is a kindly but jealous woman who makes a living as a redsmith (i.e. she works in copper and bronze), specializing with vats and cauldrons (she made the cauldrons in Malvina’s Three Cockles restaurant [37]).

Xihuitl has a young son, Coyotl, who is always by her side and learning her craft. He is possessed of a wondrous intellect and frightening psychic powers (treat as a level 5 psychic). Coyotl has wicked eyes, and his piercing stares have been known to unnerve even the most stouthearted barbarian.

Xihuitl’s shop is cluttered with keepsakes from her husband’s travels and with wooden idols from her native land. A seemingly harmless iron trunk in one corner is large enough to hold a person, and the interior is lined with long spikes. Xihuitl uses it for sacrifices, a handy spout siphoning the blood into a ritual bowl of jade (worth 35 gp). She makes these sacrifices infrequently, and maybe tellingly, she usually chooses sailors who remind her of her errant husband.

43. Masoleum of the Golden Princess: This building is a tall, narrow pyramid of limestone clad in white marble and topped with beaten brass (the original gold was stolen many times). Entrance is via the ghoul tunnels under the city or through a secret entrance on the southern wall that leads to a short tunnel and a sudden fall (10-ft).

The pyramid is home to a mummified princess called Hashminepsis and nicknamed the Golden Princess from her habit of bedecking herself in a ridiculous amount of gold jewelry. Her wickedness carried her into the afterlife as an avaricious, undead monster, now attended by scorpions, the ghouls of Ibis and ladies-in-waiting (wights), as well as an ill-tempered and sarcastic idol of the scorpion goddess Selchis.

Treasures: 1,300 gp, two sunstones worth 1,200 gp each, a jade mask worth 95 gp, a necklace of gold discs worth 9,000 gp, a brass ankle chain worth 100 gp and a jaw of dust of appearance sealed with wax.

| Hashminepsis: HD 6+4 (37 hp); AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 fist (1d12); Move 6; Save 11; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Rot, hit only by magical weapons.

| Lady-in-Waiting: HD 3; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 claw (1 hp + level drain); Move 9; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Drain 1 level with hit, hit only by magical or silver weapons.

| Ghoul: HD 2; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d4); Move 9; Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Immunities, paralyzing touch.

45. The Lamb and Scallion: This low building is actually constructed about half above ground and half below. One enters by descending wooden stairs, and wide ledges around the exterior of the room hold low tables and woven mats for seats. The room is always stalked by the owner, Hasani (2 hp), the owner, a large, red-faced man with a bushy black beard and sunken eyes. He always wears rich clothes and a large, white turban and carries a ciphering stick (for recording one’s bill) and a large knife that he enjoys flashing in people’s faces. Naturally, Hasani is a coward at heart, and quickly backs down when challenged.
He employs several cooks who prepare rich dishes of antelope steaks, legs of mutton and goat stew, spiced with pepper, saffron and other exotic products of the far south. Pantries connected to the main room contain barrels of sweet ale, spiced wine, bottles of rum and brandy and wheels of cheese.

Hasani has five wives, all of whom work as waitresses in the restaurant and make a game of stoking their husband’s jealous disposition. He has but a single son belonging to his third wife and adopted as his own. Adom is a layabout and a wastrel who is always working a scheme to get rich. He is a fair swordsman, but shys away from adventuring.

| Adom, Fighting-Man Lvl 2: HP 13; AC 9 [10]; Save 15. Short sword, dagger.

Thanks to Tony Dowler at Year of the Dungeon for his dungeon maps, the format of which inspired my little mausoleum.

On Ibis, City of Sorcerers – Part Six

Six more locations for Ibis (use the keywords below for the other posts – they’re becoming too numerous to link).

25. Coffee House: The broad, single-story building sits between the University and the Souk, and attracts a higher class of person than the Spotted Sphinx. The interior walls of the coffee house are lined with velvet couches, with a number of small, circular tables placed so that patrons have ready access to their drinks and the delicate, exotic viands served by the host. A back room serves as a kitchen and pantry, and it is here, in locked iron chests, that the precious coffee beans (worth 100 gp/lb) are kept and later ground. In the center of the main room there is a gilt, marble table holding several charcoal braziers. Bronze flagons of water are set on grates over these braziers to be heated, with the host and a number of serving boys in silk tunics pouring the water through the ground beans into silver carafes, which are then served to the customers, along with porcelain cups.

The host is named Baruuf, and he is a spindly, supplicating old gentleman of 40 winters, usually wearing an embroidered robe of damask and brocade and a neat turban pinned with a silver brooch. Baruuf works for Panth, a retired warrior and trader who established a well armed caravan to traverse the eastern Nabu to the highlands beyond, where the finest coffee is grown. Panth, nicknamed thus for his dusky skin and fighting prowess, is in the coffee house most days, conversing with clients and making deals. Although no longer the juggernaut of his youth, he is still tall and broad shouldered. He wears expensive silk robes and adorns himself with multiple pieces of gold jewelry (600 gp worth, at minimum), and always keeps his falchion (treat as battle axe) under his robes. He keeps his pet fox on a chain nearby.

A carafe of coffee costs 10 gp, and one can order light fare of an exotic nature to go with their coffee – a typical bill runs 50 gp.

| Pantha, Fighting-Man Lvl 6: HP 31; AC 8 [11]; Save 11.

27. Temple of Isis: This four-story structure has a commanding view of the Souk and the Road of Kings. The building is constructed of marble-clad limestone, and is topped with a brazen dome and a spire in the shape of an angel. One enters the building through a door of white wood hammered with golden nails. Inside the door is the main hall of the goddess. The main hall is 35-ft from marble floor to ceiling and contains a chryselephantine idol of Isis and numerous columns covered in the strange pictoglyphs of ancient Nabu. The northern wall of the main hall contains an entrance to the inner temple and three balconies overlooking the hall. These balconies are each a series of arches and can be accessed by a locked door.
Beyond the main hall are a number of vestibules and concealed staircases that lead into four floors of living quarters for priestesses, storage rooms, meditation areas, a hospital floor and offices. Amazon guards are posted inside the entry door and at the top of each staircase, and males are not permitted into these areas unless they are accompanied by a priestess, for the temple is overseen by a sisterhood of devout nuns.

Beyond the living quarters lies the inner sanctum of the temple, with a smaller idol of Isis enthroned and holding the infant Harpocrates. This statue is carved from marble and clad in gold leaf (worth 5,000 gp). Beneath the inner sanctum, accessible via secret trapdoor, are two levels of catacombs and tombs in which are interred former nuns and priestesses, as well as a former princess of the old royal house in a secret vault. Another secret vault in the catacombs holds the temple’s treasure: 2,100 cp, 730 ep, 1,100 gp, a brass coronet worth 175 gp and a chalcedony worth 1,250 gp.

The high priestess of the temple is Manesha, an older woman with olive skin, silver hair and soft, hazel eyes. Manesha is very short and thin, and wears silk gowns of the ancient style underneath more conservative blue robes of office. She is usually adorned in a wide necklace of gold and sapphires (500 gp) and ivory bangles on both arms (100 gp total). Twenty nuns dwell in the temple and tend to sick and infirm women and children. Some wander the streets collecting alms for the poor and sick.

| Manesha, Adept Lvl 7: HP 24; AC 9 [10]; Save 9; Special: Spells (2nd), healer.

| Priestess (5), Adept Lvl 1: HP 1d6; AC 9 [10]; Save 15; Special: Spells (1st), healer.

| Sister (15): HP 1d4; AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 12; Save 18; CL/XP A/5; Special: None.

29. Lecture Hall: The main lecture hall of the University is a three-story structure, with each level ringed by an arched portico. Within the portico are dozens of plain rooms containing a dias for a speaker and benches or chairs for students. The uppermost level contains rooms for the ten scholars on the faculty and a large room, library and laboratory for the headmaster, the archimage Randac (a notorious libertine in his youth made honorable by age and infirmity). The faculty and their specialties are as follows: Anioth (law), Haluim (arithmetic), Minia (geometry), Falanes (medicine), Shakir (astronomy), Amsi (music theory), Thema (grammar), Nekhbet (logic), Zalika (theology) and Astarte (rhetoric). Most of the scholars are level 3 adepts (sages), but Nekhbet is an elementalist (and a playful rival of Randac).
| Randac, Magic-User Lvl 11: HP 32; AC 9 [10]; Save 5; Special: Spells (6th). Sable robes of office, a golden amulet bearing the all-seeing eye (symbol of the university), a slim wand of cherrywood tipped in gold and a silver dagger.

| Nekhbet, Elementalist Lvl 5: HP 10; AC 9 [10]; Save 11; Special: Command elementals (see NOD #3 or treat her as a magic-user with many elemental spells). Black robes, a silver amulet bearing the all-seeing eye, the tools of an elementalist (usually carries an athame and goblet).

31. The Bearded Beauty: The Bearded Beauty is a social club of magic-users, illusionists and elementalists. The exterior walls (mud brick) are painted with the picto-glyphs of ancient Nabu, with the most prominent image being a beautiful queen wearing a false beard.
The club is two-stories tall, with the upper story containing the infamous “chamber of doors” and living quarters for the club’s landlord, Butros, and his staff. The ground floor contains a spacious common room, numerous small tables, four large tables and five semi-private booths obscured by thick, velvet curtains. The room is kept fairly dark and is lit by tallow candles. The walls and ceiling are decorated with stars and crescents of sparkling, polished tin.

Butros is a young man, a former student of Randac [29] with a young, pretty wife named Tabia who has recently been replaced by a succubus. Butros has bronze skin, sandy brown hair. He is a nervous chap, but very courteous and does his best to keep his clientelle happy. Besides three serving wenches, Butros employs a man named Karmaz-Kan. Karmaz wears a simple leather harness and loincloth and has deep, crimson skin and a mane of shining black hair. He came through one of the doors in the “chamber of doors” and found work here as a bouncer after he adjusted to the heavier gravity.

The aforementioned chamber of doors is located on the second floor in the center of the building. It can be accessed by a single door of golden wood that moves around a bit. Inside the room there are a dozen doors, incuding two flanking the entry door but not apparent from outside the room. Each of these doors leads to another place or dimension based upon the position of the stars. The ceiling of the room is glass, and there is a broze astrolabe in the center of the room to make last minute observations possible.

| Karmaz-Kan, Fighting-Man Lvl 4: HP 24; AC 8 [11]; Save 13; Leather harness, long sword, dagger.

33. Akiiki the Bricklayer: Akiiki is a mature man, short and wiry with skin baked into a deep, leathery brown. Akiiki has a fear of beautiful women and married a plain woman named Jendayi (an excellent weaver) and has four children. He shares his 4-story home with boarders and his aging parents. Akiiki is an excellent bricklayer and owns two brick-making operations located just outside Ibis. Despite his success and his family, whom he loves dearly, he remains a bitter man who dreamed of grand adventures in his youth.
35. The Academy: The academy is a fighting school run by Bovis, a young-looking man with alabaster skin, pale blond hair and blue-green eyes. Bovis is a swords-man of considerable skill, and considers himself an artist. As such, he is rather bohemian – unkempt, broody and chaotic. He is a frequent visitor to the coffee house [25]. The academy is a two-story building with a training hall on the bottom floor and living quarters above.
| Bovis, Fighting-Man Lvl 4: HP 29; AC 7 [12]; Save 13; Leather jack, long sword, dagger.

Art by Edmund Dulac, via Golden Age Comic Book Stories

On Ibis, City of Sorcerers – Part Five

Six building descriptions for Ibis.

Part One (Map)
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

1. House of Three Leopards: A wayfarer’s inn (map above), popular with traders, caravan guards and sailors. The inn is constructed of adobe bricks and painted with a coat of yellow paint. The sloped roof is clad in red tiles. The inn has a shaded courtyard decorated with potted palms and a long taproom that serves an excellent short beer and other simple fare. There are five dormitories (6 sp a night), six shared rooms (3 gp; single bed, don’t always choose your roommate) and four private rooms (7 gp a night).

A stairwell in the taproom leads down to the cellar, where the innkeeper store kegs of beer, bread, vegetables and expensive bottles of wine. A secret door behind the wine rack leads into a smuggler’s den. A door in the den opens to a subterranean dock and a flooded tunnel to the River of Death [A]. The den currently holds twelven marten skins worth 8 gp each, 25 ingots of zinc (5 lb, worth 8 sp each) and an olivine worth 155 gp.

The landlord of the House of Three Leopards is Hermess, a spare man with stringy white hair, piggy brown eyes and a pleasant smile. Hermess (4 hp) is paid by the smugglers, but is not one of their number and will claim he knows nothing about their hideout. His wife, Ucheb, and three children live on the ground floor in two connected rooms.

The smugglers are led by a fence named Aylana, a short woman with salt-and-pepper hair, alabaster skin and brown hair. Aylana is a former sailor who turned to crime when she lost a foot to a sahuagin attack. Aylana wears wooden hoop earrings inlaid with silver that are worth 100 gp and speaks goblin.

| Aylana, Thief Lvl 3: HP 10; AC 6 [13]; Save 13; Special: Back stab for double damage, thievery, decipher script. Leather armor, dagger, keys, brown hooded cloak. Sharp mind, contrarian.

| 1d6 Smugglers: HD 1d6; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 18; CL/XP B/10; Special: Surprise on 1-3 on 1d6.

3. Zacoran the Chymist: Zacoran (3 hp) sells alchemical ingredients and concoctions, magical spell components (5% chance to have what you are looking for, charges 1d6x100 gp for each rare component) and there is a 1% chance he is trying to shift a magic potion or spell scroll (1d6 x 500 gp). Zacoran is a cynical man, and loud and obnoxious. He carries a wicked-looking dagger and is not shy about brandishing it if he feels he is being cheated. Zacoran is a member in good standing with the merchant’s guild [34]. His shop is guarded by an animated carpet. See “Urban Adventures” in NOD #2 for information on alchemists.

| Animated Carpet: HD 1 (7 hp); AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 (no damage); Move 6; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Grab and hold.

5. Ramord the Wig-Maker: Ramord (5 hp) is a maker of wigs from human, goat and horse hair. He is well regarded in the neighborhood and is an outspoken advocate for the poor (though stingy in his own right). Ramord’s specialty is beards, specifically the false beards employed since Nabu times by nobles and merchants to make themselves appear more stately and elegant. Wearing such a beard, which requires the use of spirit gum, gives one a +1 bonus to reaction checks in Ibis. Ramord is a paunchy little man with pudgy but nimble fingers. Naturally, he wears a fine beard (not overly long), but his head is bald.

7. Ismid the Lapidary: Ismid (1 hp) is a scrawny young man with olive skin, thick, black hair and large, dark brown eyes. He cultivates a professional appearance, a powerful lense always hanging around his neck from a brass chain (worth 45 gp) and his clothes always neat. Ismid is single, but shares the room above his shop with his elderly and ailing father, an old soldier who was cashiered with a miniscule pension by the queen. This has stoked a burning resentment for the ruling class in Ismid, who now hosts secret meetings with agitators in his attic. The group wishes to throw down the old ruling caste and install a republic in imitation of the city-state of Antigoon. Ismid is capable of identifying the value of gems and fancy stones, and usually has a collection of minor stones (100 gp value in total) on hand for sale or trade.

9. Sudica the Chandler: This four story building houses three apartments and a chandler’s shop on the ground floor. The chandler, Sudica, is a tall, skinny woman with olive skin, dark brown hair and eyes. She has a foul personality and leads a solitary life, dipping her candles and preparing her scented soaps. She shares a room with her grandmother Nathe, who despises and fears her, for Sudica has an obsession with ghouls.

11. Granary: This two story building of thick stone is a granary that is half full of emmer wheat. It is guarded by a mature woman named Melig. Melig has alabaster skin, sandy brown hair and dark, burning eyes. She is quite short and stout, looking much like a dwarf but with finer features. Melig is a retired fighting-woman who is married to a papyrus collector named Kaval. She carries a short sword of blue-steel and wears boots of elvenkind. She is bored with her job as a guard and uninspired by her marriage, and if a better offer comes along, she will probably take it.

| Melig, Fighter Lvl 3: HP 17; AC 3 [16]; Save 14; Chainmail, shield, short sword, boots of elvenkind.

Tomorrow – final part of Mines & Mining.

Sunday – six more building previews.

On Ibis, City of Sorcerers – Part Four

A few more streets today, and then in a few days I’ll preview about half of the building locations.

Part One (Map)
Part Two
Part Three

D. Court of Spirits
This open yard is filled with patches of slender white mushrooms about 9-inches in height. The courtyard is not paved. In the middle there is an old, dry well (that might lead down to a dungeon, if a Referee is so inclined). The buildings that surround the yard back up to it and have any windows that might look over it boarded up or painted, except for the hostel [40].

On moonlit nights, the mushrooms awaken and become mushroom fairies that look like crude little dolls of white clay wearing mushroom caps and glowing as brightly as the moon above. These fairies will form circles and perform a very slow dance. Standing in the midst of one of these circles has a random effect:

Effect
1. In the blink of an eye, 10 years have passed. To observers, you simply blink away, but you will return to this spot 10 years of game time later unaware that you have been away.
2. You are teleported to Fairyland for 1 year and replaced by a wicked changeling. Observers will not see the switch, but may discover the change later.
3. As above, but instead of being replaced by a changeling your trip to Fairyland lasts for 10 years to you, but occurs in the blink of an eye to observers. You reappear aged a decade and with one level of druid or magic-user (or one extra level if you are already a druid or magic-user). Alternatively, a Referee may wish to play out your time in Fairyland.
4. Hypnotic patterns drive you mad unless you pass a saving throw.
5. You gain fairy sight (i.e. permanent detect invisibility), but you also see people as their inner (and often horrible) selves and lose 2 points of charisma as you find people unpleasant to deal with.
6. You are transformed into a werewolf. This will not become obvious, even to you, until the next full moon.
7. You are transformed into a mushroom-man.
8. You grow the ears and tail of an ass, effectively lowering your charisma by 1.
9. You are split into three separate beings, each with a portion of your personality and a third of your class levels.
10. You now bear an invisible fairy mark. Fairies are more friendly toward you (by fairy terms) from now on (i.e. +2 reaction adjustment).
11. You spontaneously learn a 1st level magic-user spell, but forget it and one other spell within 1d6 days. While you know the new spell you can cast it once per day. Once it and the old spell are forgotten, you will not remember ever knowing them and they will be replaced in your spell book with an unflattering sketch of your mother.
12. You think you’ve been transformed into a werewolf, and will act the part at each full moon until someone gives you a proper slap upside the head and calms you down. Nonetheless, you will go through the motions again at the next full moon.

E. Silver Lane
This narrow, noisy lane is named not only for the commerce that occurs in its confines, but also for the quartz paving stones that are streaked with silver. The bakery at the end of the street was once a noble villa, hence the higher class of paving. The buildings here rise a minimum of 10-ft and thus provide shade for most of the day. Many of them have rooftop gardens.

Crowds: The streets here are always crowded with customers, apprentices running errands and masters coming or going from lunch or home.

Random Encounters
1. Cart loaded with bread headed for a temple; pushed by two apprentices and guided by a third waving a stick
2. Disgruntled mercenaries (2d6)
3. Gaggle of 2d6 students visiting the scriptorium
4. Guardsmen (1d6 + sergeant)
5. Sly man begging alms and picking pockets (Thief Lvl 5)
6. Thugs (1d4+1) sent by the thieves’ den to collect protection money (Fighting-Men Lvl 3)

F. Court of Purple Dreams
The Court of Purple Dreams is dominated by a tall, pyramidal mausoleum of Princess Hashminepsis, who passed from NOD over 400 years ago (or should have). The buildings surrounding the court back onto it, and thus the court is very private and quiet. Running under its purple pavers are tunnels connecting to the sewers and allowing easy access for the ghouls of the under-city to their mistress’s tomb.

Crowds: There are no crowds in the Court of Purple Dreams, ever. Random encounters only occur here at night, and are usually with unpleasant things.

Random Encounters
1. Ghost, seeking to warn you away from certain doom
2. Ghouls, seeking fresh meat
3. Imps, seeking distraction
4. Midnight Peddler, seeking customers
5. Necromancer (Lvl 1d6+2) seeking counsel
6. Vampire and 1d3 spawn, seeking a warm drink

G. The University
The old University dominates the central portion of the map. Paved with aged limestone stained yellow with time, and walked with sages similarly aged, it boasts the finest library known to mankind (at least in the Motherlands and their environs).

Crowds: The University is always crowded with sages, students and apprentice magicians, as well as their servants and tradesmen who have been called on to provide some service. At night, it is more quiet due to curfews, but is still prowled by rakes, harlots and the more cunning students.

Random Encounters
1. A dozen young students trailing behind a harried scholar
2. 1d6 upper class-men and their valets
3. A magic-user and his apprentice
4. A rake coming to collect a debt owed by a student
5. Adventurers seeking a sage
6. A monster escaped from the subterranean vats

Art by Giovanni Batista Tiepolo: Banquet of Cleopatra (1743)

On Ibis, City of Sorcerers – Part Three

This continues the preview of Ibis, City of Sorcerers.

Part One (with map), Part Two

C. The Souk
The Souk is both a street and a market that stretches across the enter of Ibis, beginning in the accom-panying map, and extending well to the east. Along the souk are factories, dozens of markets (i.e. armor market, animal market, cooper’s market, etc) and a few counting houses, not to mention a large guard tower with its own dungeon. The road is paved with limestone from start to finish.

Crowds: The Souk is always crowded with people. At any given time, most of the citizens of Ibis, at least those without servants, end up on the Souk shopping for necessities and luxuries. Water bearers are common, as are peddlers selling honey cakes, boiled eels, salted dates, candied scarabs and other delicacies. Entertainers perform with pipes or juggle or do bits of acrobatic daring in the middle of the street for copper scruples. Guardsmen are ever present, clad in ring mail and carrying light crossbows and pole arms and usually accompanied by a sergeant in a dashing yellow turban with an ostrich feather.

Random Encounters
1 Adventurers (see end of article for sample NPCs)
2 Guardsmen (1d6 + sergeant)
3 Mages (two, preparing to duel)
4 Pick Pocket (save or lose a wallet ot purse)
5 Noble Retinue (Aristocrat with bodyguards and slaves)
6 Priests (1d6+6 carrying an idol and chanting)

Guard Tower: The guard tower is a remnant of one of the gatehouses that guarded the entrance to the old city. In fact, it still has a gate, though it is always left open for the old wall has since been torn down and recycled into building material for newer buildings.

The guard tower consists of an east and west tower, both rising four stories in height and being 20-ft in length and width. The west tower has a cellar that is used as a temporary dungeon – a few manacles on the walls and a hot poker for troublesome prisoners. The top story of the west tower serves as an office of sorts for the captain of the guard, Khnemu, a surly old gentleman missing an eye and most of his teeth.

Khnemu can be seen from time to time passing from tower to tower (they connect on the third story, over the portcullis) or wandering the souk inspecting the activities of his men. He wears a shiny cuirasse over a scaret tunic and baggy pants of white or grey and carries a light mace and dagger. In tow is a taller man with narrow eyes and a long, waxed mustache. This is Khnemu’s lieutenant, Zahur, a fair man with an eye for the fairer sex and a plan to outlive his captain and eventually ascend to his vacant position.

The remainder of the towers is given over to basic supplies, weapons (light crossbows, bolts, pole arms) and barracks for the fifty men assigned to the Souk and the surrounding streets and alleys.

Merchant Stalls: There are nine merchant stalls on the portion of the Souk that appears on this map. It is rare that one is closed during the day (1 in 20 chance). In general, assume that a merchant has what a player is looking for on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6.

C1. Jamila (3 hp) runs a stall selling hot drinks (tea, from a rusty samovar) and rolls spiced with cinnamon. The quality is poor, but the food is cheap and thus the stall always attracts a large crowd, mostly of laborers and bearers. The men and women chatter away at the stall and a person who spends a little time a few coins will usually (90%) pick up a rumor or two. Jamila (2 hp) is an elderly woman with reddish-brown skin and thick, silver hair that hangs down to her waist and is usually clasped back in copper bands. She is helpful enough, but move slowly, so most of her regular customers help themselves.

C2. Nexu (5 hp) is a clumsy oaf who runs a fruit stand, selling dates, figs and almonds. He currently has a croopy cough, turning often from negotiation (he loves to barter) to cough into his sleeve.

C3. Nit (4 hp) is a painfully thin woman with yellowish, leathery skin and limp, black hair. She always wears a tattered black robe and sells religious scrolls (hymns, not spells) and incense. Her work is of low quality and her prices very cheap. Nit (3 hp) treats haggling with contempt, for she considers her wares to be sacred and, thus, worth every scruple she asks. Most folk find her unpleasant to deal with – her eyes are always flitting about nervously, and she never smiles.

C4. Serq the bubasti (a cat-woman, see NOD #3 for more information) runs a fragrant booth selling bottles of scent. Her perfumes are excellent, and she is capable of concocting scents to attract and repel all sorts of natural (and monstrous) creatures. The centerpiece of her stall is a wooden idol of Bast, the cat goddess of the Nabu, and her own three black cats. Serq is cheerful and mischievious, but a bit on the covetous side, especially when a handsome stranger is nearby. She enjoys chit-chat, and it can be difficult to get a word in edgewise once she starts gossiping.

C5. Ubad is a nervous man in thick blue robes and a blue veil. He explains his veil by claiming to be a nomad from the vast desert of Nabu, but a true nomad could see through this easily for his accent is wrong and his slang is gibberish. Ubad speaks with a hollow, raspy voice. He serves watery soups with bits of unidentifiable meat floating in it, and cold, sweet tea that he keeps packed in wet towels. While his drinks seem popular with customers, few eat the soup because they suspect that Ubad is a ghoul.

C6. Funsani (3 hp) is a mournful, sickly widower who sells fish pies and other pastries. His stall consists of three of four wicker chairs beneath a shade and a wooden cabinet (that he carries on his back when coming and going) containing his wares, which he bakes fresh each morning. Funsani is a soft-hearted man and very sentimental (he has a locket with a lock of his dead wife’s hair in it).

C7. Hathor (1 hp) is a middle-aged woman who sells robes, tunics and other bits of clothing, all of the finest quality and intended as formal wear. While she often has one or two objects pre-made (or never purchased by the person who ordered them), she makes most items from scratch, and can usually be found in her booth sitting cross-legged on a woven mat, sewing or embroidering. She keeps two or three bolts of cloth in her stand, but has more cloth in her home. She is a devout worshiper of her namesake and attends prayers daily.

C8. Sabola (6 hp) is sadistic old bastard who runs a booth selling talismans, herbs and holy water, all of it authentic and of high quality. His talismans have a 1 in 6 chance of granting a +1 luck bonus to any roll, but will only do this once. Sabola has six children who help in his booth and who often receive a sound cuffing from their father when they are lax in their duties. He gets his wares from a holy woman who lives on the outskirts of town, and who can perform faith healings for a price.

C9. Moswen (6 hp) is a callous and barbaric woman, a true chaotic with a cynical sense of humor. She is tall and broad shouldered, and most suspect (correctly) that she has ogre blood flowing in her veins. That said, Moswen is married to a (corrupt) guardsman and has born him five atheltic children, two or three of which are usually helping at her booth. She sells maps to the various ruins and sites in the Nabu Desert (with about a 15% accuracy rate) and also deals in poisons, but only with folk who speak the cant and know a pass-word they can get from the local thieves’ den.

On Ibis, City of Sorcerers – Part Two

This post details the River of Death (area A) and the Street of Kings (area B), along with some of the booths on the Street of Kings. Part One is here.

A. River of Death
By the time the River of Death flows into the marshes, it divides into numerous channels both big and small. Ibis is built on the banks of the largest channel at a place where the land rises about 15 feet above the surface of the river. The river here is black with sediment and its banks are choked with papyrus reeds and inhabited by crocodiles and hippos. An ancient nixie dwells in the river, seducing men and then drowning them when they attempt to embrace her.

Crowds: During the day, the river is always busy with mercantile barges and fishermen. At night, the river is largely empty.

Random Encounters
1 Crocodile (3d6)
2 Hippopotamus (2d6)
3 Nixie (max hit points)
4 Royal Barge (Nobles, bodyguards)
5 Smuggler (Thief Lvl 3 with 3-6 underlings)
6 Specter

A1. Smuggler’s Tunnel: A tunnel here is obscured by reeds and barred by a locked grate. The tunnel allows enough room for a man in a rowboat or on a raft to pass through without scraping his head. The tunnel leads to a small loading dock with a locked door. The door opens into a secret room in the cellar of the House of Three Leopards [1].

B. Road of Kings
The Road of Kings extends from the northern gate (the Thoeris Gate, named for the giant statues of the hippo-headed goddess that flank it) to the Gate of the Moon that opens to the west. Along most of its length it is paved in dingy limestone and cut by wheel ruts. In several places (such as [13] on the map) it is marked by a deep, open sewer with small drainage tunnels that lead to the River of Death and are known to harbor the city-state’s ghouls.

To the north on our map, the Road of Kings passes by the Nomarch’s Palace, a large fortress and the city’s treasury. To the west, it leads to an industrial area of tanners, phosphorous makers, smiths, dye shops, shipyards, stone cutters and an orichalcum foundry.

Crowds: During the day, the Road of Kings is crowded with artisans, beggars, townswomen and other folk just going about their business.

Random Encounters
1 Adventurer (see end of article for sample NPCs)
2 Caravan (1d6 traders with 2 camels each)
3 Guard (1d6 + sergeant)
4 Mage (two, preparing to duel)
5 Noble Retinue (Aristocrat with bodyguards and slaves)
6 Priest (1d6+6 carrying an idol and chanting)

Nomarch’s Palace: The nomarch’s palace is a sprawling complex of dozens of buildings (guest houses, barracks for the Mameluke guards), mostly faced by white marble, and gardens (kitchen, medicinal, orchards and pleasure gardens). The entire complex is surrounded by a 20-ft tall wall patrolled (inside and out) by Mamelukes (see below) who are sometimes accompanied by chained leopards. A small portion of the gardens appears on the map [20].

The main structure of the palace is a three story rectangular building comprising over 200 chambers, including a shrine of Bast, guest rooms, a massive throne room, chambers for the nomarch and her ladies in waiting. major domo and other servants.

• Besheva, Gynosphinx: HD 8 (47 hp); AC 1 [18]; Atk 2 claws (1d8); Move 18 (Fly 24); Save 8; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Divination, dispel.

• Faki, Major Domo, Magic-User Lvl 7: HP 26; AC 9 [10]; Save 9; Special: Spells (4th); Black robes, long, pointed shoes tipped with golden horns, a polished ebony staff of divination tipped with a ruby worth 1,000 gp, silver dagger, scroll of protection from evil. Mature aristocrat with tanned skin, black hair and long beard, brown eyes, heavy-set. He is mean with money, but virtuous. Keeps a harem.

• Mameluke: HD 3; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 weapon (1d10); Move 12; Save 14 (12 vs. spells); CL/XP 3/60; Special: Adept spells (1st). Chainmail, shield, curved long sword, jezzail (treat as heavy crossbow). The Mamelukes are slave soldiers raised as warrior-mages loyal to the nomarch.

• Mameluke Captain: HD 5; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 weapon (1d10); Move 12; Save 12 (10 vs. spells); CL/XP 3/60; Special: Adept spells (2nd). Chainmail, shield, curved long sword, pistol (treat as light crossbow).

Merchant Stalls: There are 16 merchant stalls on the portion of the Road of Kings on this map. It is rare that one is closed during the day (1 in 20 chance). In general, assume that a merchant has what a player is looking for on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6.

B1. Bes the Spice Merchant (2 hp) offers a small variety of spices. He charges double the normal price for his spices, but they are of the best quality and are double-wrapped in cheese cloth. Bes is a drowsy man (his wife keeps him awake all night with her snoring) with very dark skin and a bald head.

B2. Mukamutara (4 hp) is a grouchy old woman with beady eyes and a perpetual sneer. She always has a bright green parrot on her shoulder. Mukamutara is a witch of some minor ability, and sells magical charms and protective amulets. Her charms are of very high quality (10% chance of actually working) and go for 10 gp for a basic love charm to 100 gp for an amulet that protects one from possession by evil spirits. Mukamutara has a problem with men, and charges them triple what she charges women.

B3. Astennu (2 hp) is a nervous, chubby little man who designs and sells a wide variety of turbans and hats. His hats are mediocre, but his prices are a bit steep. Astennu keeps five ostrich feathers (worth 5 sp per feather) under his counter. He also sells a balm made from beeswax and other secret ingredients that he claims cures the gout (or any other complaint a customer might have, including mummy rot! Of course, it has no curative abilities).

B4. Tumaini is a retired adventurer who sells adventuring supplies (rope, torches, 10-ft poles) and maps (he has one that he claims leads to Necropolis, and another to the ruins of Timulus). His prices are quite reasonable and of good quality. Tumaini has a booming voice and is tall and muscular. He would be quite handsome if not for the gaping scar across his face and his glass eye (which always seems a bit off-kilter) received in battle with a wyvern.

• Tumaini, Fighting-Man Lvl 3: HP 14; AC 8 [11]; Save 14. Keeps a shield and curved short sword handy, and a dagger on his belt. Nervous around mages.

B5. Raziya (2 hp) is a trader who once plied the length and breadth of Nabu, Pwenet and the Wyven Coast. She is now too old to run a caravan, but her three sons have taken over the business and keep her supplied with a miscellany of armor and weapons. Currently, she is hawking a set of polished bronze greaves, a suit of armor made from bulette hide and a suit of full plate mail that bears the mark of Guelph and is thus of the highest quality (though it smells like something died in it – which is accurate). Raziya is quite greedy, but has a soft spot for a handsome man. She wears loose silk pantaloons of blue and yellow, a purple bodice set with tiny pearls (really alabaster) and a billowy chemise of peach and green.

B6. Nassor (3 hp) is a dour man with a booming voice who calls out “Bows – Bows – Finest on two continents!” as he works on a short bow of laminated horn. He currently has three short bows and two long bows ready to go, along with two dozen arrows of various weights and lengths and a few bow strings. Nassor’s bows look good, but are not of the highest quality (-1 to hit), though they are sold at half-price. He likes to gossip, and seems distressed (he owes money to the local thieves’ den).

B7. Gahiji is a pleasant little man with a round belly and several jiggling chins. He dresses in a simple white robe and adorns himself only with a band of iron on his left pinky. Gahiji has a sallow complexion and dirty blond hair. He is a necromancer of middling abilities who sells minor enchanted items (potions, scrolls, maybe a magical dagger or amulet) taken from tombs and burial sites by the city-state’s ghouls. Roll three minor magical treasures for Gahiji’s stand, and allow for a 10% chance that he has a medium magic item and a 1% chance of a major magic item. Minor items usually sell for around 1,000 gp, medium for 5,000 gp and major items for 10,000 gp.

• Gahiji, Magic-User Lvl 3: HP 5; AC 8 [11]; Save 13; Special: Spells (2nd). Wears a ring of protection +1.

B8. Nuru (1 hp) is a stone carver who produces little idols of Bes from soapstone and (1% chance) more valuable materials like turquoise, lapis lazuli or alabaster. Her partner, Shabat (COM 3 hp), is an excellent cook who sells humus and cold vegetable soups from the same booth. While Shabat is rather petite and plain, Nuru is more heavy-set and a bit androgynous with her short hair and baggy clothes. Her idols are of average quality, but she sells them at a dear price. Bartering annoys her.

B9. This raucous booth is filled with a dozen squawking birds (parrots and a macaw) and a few yapping little dogs. The animals are trained by Zesiro, a loud, obnoxious woman who loves to haggle.

B10. Kamilah is a rather mannish-looking woman (maybe an exiled amazon?) who runs a booth selling crossbows of excellent quality and, for those who know the thieves’ cant, concealable weapons like spring-loaded daggers and slim swords hidden in walking sticks. Kamilah is cheerful and loves to barter. Those who get the best of her are usually invited to the Spotted Sphinx for a drinking bout that might last long into the night.

• Kamilah, Fighting-Woman Lvl 1: HP 6; AC 9 [10]; Save 16. Owns leather armor, a shield, heavy crossbow (+1 to hit), short sword and dagger. Usually just keeps a dagger handy.

On Ibis, City of Sorcerers – Part One

Ibis is a city-state dominated by magic-users and illusionists. Mages hold most political power and form the bulwark of the city-state’s defenses. It is situated on the delta of the River of Death, a landscape of lush hills, sparkling lakes and reed-choked river banks. In ancient times, it was the major sea port of the Nabu Empire, which occupied a savanna that stretched from the shores of the Golden Sea to the rain forests of Cush. Nabu was ruled by an aristocracy of pale skinned wizard kings and queens called pharoahs. These men and women plumbed the depths of knowledge arcane and scientific, and in their quest to bring the world under their yoke destroyed themselves, turning their lush parklands into a terrible wasteland. Ibis alone among the great city-states of Nabu was spared.

In the intervening centuries, Ibis managed to survive and then thrive. For a short period after the collapse of the Nabu Empire, it fell under the domination of the Purple Kings of Ophir (see NOD #2), but that was short lived. Only 200 years ago it was the eastern jewel of the Empire of Nomo, which itself fell due a cataclysm not of its own making. During the Nomo domination, its old university flourished and the city-state began to attract philosophers, sages and sorcerers to delve into what knowledge of ancient Nabu was saved and to quest into the desert to find lost lore. Ibis is again a free state, ruled by a secretive nomarch and beginning to look across the Golden Sea with hungry eyes.

Ibis is ruled by the Nomarch Besheva, a gynosphinx of great antiquity, she having siezed power after the end of Nomoan rule. Besheva is assisted in her rule by a privy council of great sorcerers, warlocks and witches and by a council of commons consisting of the heads of the city-state’s noble families. Besheva dwells in the Old Palace, a sprawling estate of gardens, courtyards, barracks for the pastoral guard and slave-soldiers (see below), a shrine of Bast, guest houses and a manor containing a throne room, living chambers for the nomarch, her ladies in waiting, her major domo and hundreds servants.

The city-state’s high priest is a member of the privy council as well as heading the city-state’s college of priests, the Grand Temple of Thoth and the Eldritch Order of the All-Seeing Eye, a brotherhood of magic-users.

The jewel of Ibis, though, is its University. While small by modern comparisons, it is one of the larger such institutions in (or near) the Motherlands, and over the years has attracted many of the finest young men and women from families noble and mercantyl. While many think of it as a school for sorcery, this is quite incorrect. The university at Ibis teaches rhetoric, history, geometry and mathematics, above all else. Several of its faculty, however, are magic-users of some minor ability and sages who have picked up a spell or two in their day, and these individuals have several apprentices to whom they pass on the lost arts of ancient Nabu – think of them as teacher’s aides who can throw a spell or two but still have to attend Master Hahmet’s lecture on the ninteenth dynasty.

Because the city-state has attracted so many magic-users in its day, it has acquired a reputation for wizardry, and in truth has more alchemists, wand carvers and cauldron makers than the average city. In addition, magical items are more common in Ibis than in other city-states and may be available for trade.

Ibis’ magic-users, like their kind everywhere, are an eccentric lot. Because of their political power, they tend to be more arrogant and overbearing than elsewhere. Those who go to far are punished for the hubris by a clandestine band of assassins.

All of the divinities of the Nabu pantheon (NOD #3) have temples and shrines in Ibis, with the largest temples being dedicated to Thoth, Isis (and her trinity) and Anubis. Foreign deities such as Hecate, Sabazios and Mercurius are represented on the college of priests, and there are also dozens of obscure cults dedicated to saints, archangels, chaos lords, archdevils and demon princes.

Most crime in Ibis involves the black market for magical items and rare spell components, which are supposed to move through the temple of Thoth. Thoth’s diviners spend most of their time trying to suss out smugglers.

The Citizenry
Nabu’s human population is made up of a core of true natives who can trace their families back to the days of the Nabu Empire, the descendants of more recent immigrants (mostly from Nomo and the Golden Coast) and old noble families who, again, can trace their bloodlines back to the empire.

The true natives have dusky, reddish skin and black hair, with green eyes predominating. The noble families have pale, milky white skin that becomes a mousy gray as they age. Their hair is as black as night when they are young, but in their old age becomes whispy and silver. Nobles have large, almond-shaped eyes that range from hazel to a dark brown that is almost black.

Most Ibisians dress in long caftans of bright, cheery colors and wrapped turbans, usually of black or white. Others wear baggy trousers and loose shifts with ruffled collars and long, sleeved robes. Feathers are a common adornment in turbans. Ibisian women of the noble caste wear more form-fitting gowns of silk and adorn themselves with jewelry, especially head bands of cloth-of-gold. They carry ostrich-feather fans to shade themselves from the sun and the eyes of common onlookers.

The people of Ibis speak a dialect of the ancient language of Nabu. It is a poetic language, soft and pleasant to the ear. Almost all Ibisians speak (or at least understand) the common tongue of the Mother-lands, and usually speak it in the dialect of Nomo, as that empire conquered Ibis and ruled it for two hundred years. Educated Ibisians speak elven, and it is the principal language spoken at the University.

Ibisians are an independent bunch. The non-magical folk are hard-working and not entirely enamored with mages and their followers. The common people tend to rally around Isis and her priesthood, while the artisans favor Hathor.

For entertainment, Ibisians prefer dice games, wrestling, and horse and chariot races. Magic-users favor more lofty diversions, such as dragon chess and cockatrice fights. Magical duels are officially illegal, but occur regularly nonetheless.

Ibis is built on the Ishka Delta, where the Ishka River meets the Golden Sea. This is a very fertile area, and the entire delta is under the domain of Ibis. Beyond the delta and river is the demon-haunted desert, which hides ancient ruins and royal crypts.

Ibis’ economy is based on agriculture, fishing, paper-making and alchemical manufactures. Precious metals from the surrounding wastelands and highlands flow into the city-state via miners and is minted into gold, silver and copper coins. Gems are rarely traded in Ibis, as they are too valuable as alchemical components.

Exotic Customs
Animals are sacred in Ibis and not to be harmed or killed except by specially sanctioned priests who perform killing in hidden rituals and only outside the city-state. This makes meat somewhat more rare and expensive (double price) in Ibis than in other places. Fish are not included in this prohibition of harming animals, and thus feature prominently in the local diet. The penalty for harming or killing an animal is several months in the Nomarch’s dungeon and a thorough lashing, with repeat offenses resulting in the loss of a hand and then an eye. Attacks on cats or the sacred ibis is punishable by mutilation or death.

Locals do not speak of the dead without casting their eyes to the heavens and then dropping a coin (usually copper) on the ground. These coins are usually picked up by beggars, who are permitted to do so, but are considered unlucky for others (5% chance of the perpetrator suffering a -1 penalty on all rolls while the coin is in his or her possession).

Foreigners are scanned for magical auras. Each magical aura on the person costs them a gold coin (two if they are using foreign coinage). Naturally, this means that there are moneychangers set up along the road leading to Ibis.

Ibis, City of Sorcerers Map

Here’s my draft map for Ibis, City of Sorcerers, showing the university area (its the collection of large buildings roughly in the center of the map). The upper right-hand corner is a corner of the Nomarch’s estate – the kind of gardens that a brash rogue from Cimmeria might stalk through on his way to liberate a tower from jewels. The lower left-hand corner is occupied by a bit of the grounds of the grand temple of Thoth, the patron deity of Ibis. The upper left-hand corner is taken up by curve in the River of Death and some quays, as well as a little cave that leads to … something.

Spit-Balling Ibis – City of Sorcerers

I began working on Ibis, the City of Sorcerers today – drawing a thumbnail sketch of a map, shooting around ideas for locations I want to place thereon (is that a word?). Thought I’d share, and ask if anyone has ideas for things they think should be in a pseudo-Egyptian city-state with a bunch of sorcerers residing therein (not that’s a word).

– A bend of the River of Death with quays, crocodiles, a noble barge, maybe a half-submerged grotto filled with things unspeakable.

– An Inn (obviously I’ve put a lot of thought into this one).

– Clock shop – or general place to buy mainsprings and weird bits of mystic engineering.

– Tavern – a beer hall of some sort, lots of students, raucous – no magical stuff allowed, only for the normal folk who put up with enough magic during the day …

– A den of thieves in an old, abandoned granary – stone tower, cylindrical, secret passages to a hidden quay (for smuggling), maybe to the beer hall, maybe into the sewers.

– A souk running through the neighborhood – lots of peddlers in tents/booths.

– Workshops – leatherworker, dry goods, pointy hat shop, fine wands and staves, weapons and armor, a tailor (mystic gowns for men).

– Mausoleum of a Nabu princess/queen.

– Temple of Thoth – big compound.

– Subterranean temple of Seth – hidden under something innocuous, maybe the wine cellar.

– Flophouse, apartments surrounding an open yard filled with weird mushrooms and mushroom fairies.

– Bakery / coffee house.

– A tavern with a wine cellar.

– Gardens of the Nomarch.

– Tower astronomical observatory.

– University – dominates the center of the map – library, lecture hall (old hall, new hall), shrine of scribe goddess, vaults holding magical experiments, manse of the chancellor, laboratories.

– Fortune teller.

– Animal Market – large building, selling camels, horses, maybe more exotic creatures.

– Temple of Hathor – temple whores

– Tavern frequented by mages, maybe with portals to other places and times.

– A pleasant grove.

– Barber/surgeon.

– Tobacconist – herbalist – pipes and other smoking paraphernalia.

– Sewers – open in a few places, tunnels inhabited by ghouls (the Mortuary Society, a recognized guild in Ibis charged with dealing with carrion).

– Guild of Astrologomages, Planet-Masters and Weather-Watchers.

– Orichalcum foundry and jewelers dealing in astrolabes and amulets – maybe a gnome factory.

– Emporium with weird doo-dads – no two of the same thing, nothing overtly magical, owner pays for rarities in coins of rose-gold.

– A mortuary for all of your mummy needs – maybe an adjacent shrine of Anubis.

– Wizard towers like minarets

– A serpentarium, for all of your asp and cobra needs.

– A used chariot shop, because I love the 3 Stooges [okay, maybe I’ll leave this one out].

– Stone carvers – long factory, many monuments half-finished

– Vat and cauldron maker

– Printing shop

– Foreign merchants – true factory

– Industrial area with tanners, phosphorous makers, alchemists, smiths – have a tavern for working joes and host cock fights/bear baiting

– Scriptorium

– A snake charmer

– Physick who doubles as a detective

– Lapidary shop; meeting place for conspirators who want a republic like Antigoon

– Maybe a nice collection of low-level magic-users – diviner, necromancer, conjuror – along with an illusionist and elementalist. These will be spread throughout the aforementioned locations, so as not to make them too obvious – retired adventurers who have sought a safer life of commerce.

– Monsters – were-cobra clutch, vampire and minions, mummy and ghoul attendants, bandit king and men – laying low and recuperating, vaults of synthoids and homunculi, a well of souls

So – anything obvious that I’m missing here. I’ll fill the gaps with other artisans, maybe a set monster encounter or two, but anything else?