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Veiled Alliance

A DARK SUN Sourcebook

by Allen Varney

TSR, Inc. TSR Ltd.


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ISBN: 1-56076-313-2

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1
Veiled Alliance
by Allen Varney

Table of Contents

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Chapter 1: The AllianceAn Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Chapter 2: Inside The Alliance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Chapter 3: The Alliance in the Seven Cities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Tyr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Balic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Draj . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Gulg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Nibenay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Raam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Urik . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Villages and Oases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 88
Chapter 4: The Veiled Alliance Campaign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

Credits
Designed by Allen Varney
Edited by Doug Stewart
Project Coordination by Timothy B. Brown
Cartography by Diesel
Typesetting by Tracey Zamagne
Graphic Production by Sarah Feggestad
Cover Art by Brom
Interior Art by Tom Baxa
Special Thanks to Warren Spector Rick Swan Don Webb

2
In my seventh year my family visited the elven and preservers alike-and not only blame, but de-
marketplace, amid Tyrs slave warrens. Through a spise them. For protection from nearly universal ha-
mob of haughty merchants and greedy tradesmen I tred, the good wizards of Athas and their allies have
saw a squad of King Kalaks soldiers moving from formed secret societies, collectively known as the
booth to booth. People crowded into the bazaar as Veiled Alliance.
tight as kanks in harness, yet they gave the patrol This sourcebook describes the Alliance in a
plenty of room. DARK SUN campaign: its secrets, notable
A soldier spotted a thin old woman in Raamian members, activities, and its role in adventures. Indi-
silks. He cried out and the leader, a big mul, vidual entries describe the seven city-states Alli-
grabbed her. He demanded, Where is he? ances in detail, and they also give further
Whats the contact word? information about the city-states themselves, adding
The crowd around me fell silent. I could feel their to that in the DARK SUN boxed campaign set.
tension and their hostility to the patrol. One of This background helps flesh out any adventure set
these days. . . one man whispered. A compan- in a city-state, even scenarios that dont involve the
ion hushed him. Veiled Alliance.
The woman spoke, in what I took for a foreign You need the AD&D rule books, the boxed
language. Her words echoed strangely. The air in campaign set, and The Complete Psionics Hand-
the marketplace, still and charged with energy, as a book to use this supplement. The Dragon Kings
calm before a storm. Then she hobbled away. The hardcover rules supplement should prove useful as
soldiers stood stock-still, but they trembled. I no- well.
ticed a plant sellers booth behind the patrol; the Everything that follows is for the DMs eyes only!
green plants trembled in the same way. Players should stop reading here!
The old woman spoke again as she walked, mut-
tering, yet every word carried perfectly. Waves of air Key Concepts
rippled about her, the way the air waves on the hori-
In reading this book, keep the following ideas in
zon. The blur vanished in the crowd.
mind. They help in understanding the Alliances
I saw a heavy fist rise into view, then another, then
purpose, both on the world of Athas and in role-
vanish again. She cried out. Others attacked her.
playing adventures.
A round me, people shouted, urging them on.
Witch! they chanted. Kill the witch! By the
1. Each city-state holds a different Alliance.
time the soldiers woke, the crowd had finished her
The seven do not belong to one united group,
off, and worse. The mages death did not satisfy the
they do not cooperate, and they share no leaders.
mob; her body suffered much more. When the mul
Members of one Alliance do not automatically be-
leader shouted, Well take her and burn her!
come members of another. At best, the different
they cheered.
groups respect each other, and may offer courtesy
For the only time in my life I saw a crowd cheer
assistance to a foreign member who arrives in town.
Kalaks guards. For the first time I saw wizards
For that matter, an individual Alliance usually
magic. For the first time I understood its peril.
numbers its members in the dozens. Because many
of its members command powerful magic, an Alli-
About This Supplement ance can marshal far greater power than its size may
Magic has left the world of Athas a deadly desert. indicate.
Its people blame all magicians for its ruin, defilers

3
2. The Alliance does not hold lofty ideals. components, magical items, and the like. It ma es
The organization primarily exists to help its pre- rescues, springs prisoners from captivity, and inter-
server members to survive. individual Alliances in rupts dangerous ceremonies. Who does it enlist to
the Tyr Region fight the sorcerer-kings and destroy do all this? Thats right: the player characters.
defilers but only to survive. Alliance members have Any good or neutral character, not just a pre-
their own goals, but rarely espouse causes to better server, can join an Alliance. These organizations
the Athasian condition. Like most people on Athas, need everyone who can help them. They treat non-
its wizards find brute survival challenging enough wizard auxiliary members well, though not as
without creating new goals and potential new ene- well as preservers. Also, most Alliance missions re-
mies. quire stealth, and small groupsabout the size of a
group of player characters.
3. The Alliance offers an excellent premise for any Note a less obvious advantage for the overworked
city-based Athasian campaign. DM: the Alliance operates in strict secrecy. Not
Though not in itself heroic, the Alliances goals even its members know all its operations. If you have
often match those of heroic player characters. no plot-related reason for the heroes to embark on
The society fights evil defilers. templars, and an adventure, dont wait. The Alliance offers every
sorcerer-kings. It sends members on quests for spell excuse to keep its reasons mysterious!

4
No all-encompassing Veiled Alliance exists. other scattered villages and oases. These typically
Rather, a different Alliance holds power in each take orders from the nearest city-state chapter. No
city-state. All serve much the same functions, but known Alliance chapters exist in the Crescent For-
each operates in a unique, strongly independent est, on the islands of the Sea of Silt, nor in other
style. This text calls these Alliances chapters, but remote areas.
remember that the individual chapters obey no cen- Size: No one but its leader knows a chapters
tral, over-arching authority. sizethe result of the need for secrecy common to
Though independent, the chapters recognize one all underground movements. No member knows
another and maintain friendly, if guarded, relations. many others, lest the member be captured and be-
They share a common system of recognition signals, tray vital secrets under interrogation.
so that refugees from one city may safely contact an- An effective chapter generally must include at
other citys chapter, and certain customs and princi- least a few dozen members, and in large cities mem-
ples, such as a reliance on secrecy and on requital, bership could reach over 100. The actual size
the notorious prohibition against resignation from should remain unspecified in the campaign. Wiz-
the Alliance. Most important, all Alliances obey ards comprise about half the membership; auxilia-
the Five Aims. ries, supporting members from other classes, make
up the other half. Chapter 2, Inside The Alli-
Scope and Motive ance, discusses auxiliaries in detail.
Beginning Wizards rank between 1st- and 4th-
The Veiled Alliance exists to protect preservers
levels. A quarter or more of the membership range
from physical, mental, and magical attacks by all
from 5th- to as high as 8th-level. Wizards above
enemies: sorcerer-kings, templars, defilers, the gen-
8th-level generally help lead the organization, or
eral citizenry, and even the dragon. Preservers auto-
serve as elite agents or envoys who set their own
matically earn its protection, but not all
agendas. Similar figures apply to the auxiliary
automatically acquire membership. A wizard must
groups of fighters, rogues, psionicists, and priests.
earn affiliation. Other characters may join under
Activity: Only the leader, if anyone, knows all of a
certain circumstances. These auxiliary members
chapters activities. No other member ever sees
also gain protection. Defilers cannot join the Alli-
much of the whole. Alliance members work in a fog
ance. Only good or neutral characters may join.
(or, more appropriately, a sandstorm), seeing a few
The organizations undertake many varied activi-
others now and then; perhaps a shadowy figure or
ties, yet all serve this relatively narrow purpose. If
two in the distance, and nothing beyond.
anything threatens a preserver or preserving magic,
Occasional reports passed through a chapter may
the Alliance vows solemn opposition. Conversely,
help explain strange occurrences in the city-state,
the organizations (as opposed to individual mem-
but these usually come after the fact. Spectacular
bers) care nothing about threats to others. No Alli-
incidents surprise everyone except those directly in-
ance takes official action to free ordinary slaves, for
volved in planning and execution. This fog makes
example, nor to provide disaster relief, nor to battle
adventures in the Alliance mysterious affairs. Small
monsters.
events can have great effects, and the characters sel-
Vigorous Alliance chapters exist in all seven city-
dom know what their missions will achieve until
states. Minor Alliances, or sometimes single con-
theyve succeeded.
tacts, also exist in the village of Altaruk and a few

5
Goals and Doctrines closure of the Alliances existence and activities.
They would accompany Divulgence with public
All Alliances have vowed allegiance to a set of five
education about the differences between preservers
goals, or Aims. Only members know the Five
and defilers. Then, at last, the long breach between
Aims, ranked here in order of priority.
the preservers and the populace would begin to
The Chief Aim: Protect the Alliance heal.

In the past this goal often meant maintain secre- The Second Aim: Protect Preservers
cy. To date, the Alliance has survived only by
The Veiled Alliance began with the need to pro-
stealth, and acting only covertly. Powerful defilers
tect good wizards from the wrath of a society that
and agents of the sorcerer-kings constantly search
does not understand them. Despite the changes
for Alliance members, hoping to track them to the
that beset Athas today, citizens still revile all wiz-
chapter headquarters. Preventing discovery has led
ards, including preservers. The Second Aim re-
to many harsh measures -principally requital, the
mains vital. The Alliance devotes itself to guarding
fabled resign and die policy.
preservers and their magic, even wizards who claim
As the winds of change sweep over Athas, Alli-
no membership in the organization.
ance chapters debate the meaning of the Chief
Aim. Now that Tyrs sorcerer-king has fallen and The most common methods of Alliance protec-

more may follow, some believe secrecy no longer tion for preservers include:
Safe Harbor. Every chapter maintains numer-
serves the organization. In Tyr particularly, a few
vocal members support Divulgencepublic dis- ous hideaways around its city-state. A member in

6
immediate danger may shelter there for an hour, a and nonhuman, lend their special skills to Alliance
day, or a month. missions. The founders knew that they must offer
Transport. A wizard or auxiliary who cannot protection to auxiliaries in order to ensure loyalty
find long-term safety must leave the city-state for and preserve needed skills for future missions.
good. The Alliance arranges safe, one-way trans- The motive behind the Third Aim betrays an un-
portation, usually non-magical to avoid detection. derlying cynicism, but in practice the Alliance re-
Transplants. When receiving a wizard from spects its auxiliaries, and some achieve very high
elsewhere, an Alliance chapter can create a new, se- status.
cure, and permanent identity for the refugee. This
includes a name, home, position, and fraudulent re- The Fourth Aim: Oppose Defilers
cords of birth, tax payments, and so on. They may
To some, defilers embody the worst imaginable
use illusion or polymorph spells to expedite the secu-
evil. To them, defiling magic does not just destroy, it
rity of the transplant. The Alliance generally exe-
offends the universe. But most oppose defilers for
cutes this difficult task only for important and
practical reasons.
powerful wizards, and seldom if ever for auxiliaries.
Active defilers call undue attention to
Recruitment. Chapter members who discover
magicianshostile attention. Defiling magic ruins
a novice with native magical ability but no training
the land for future spell-casting, let alone anything
can try to recruit the novice for the Alliance. This
else. Defilers compete with preservers for valuable
delicate operation involves a long probation period,
spell components and magical treasures. Some
while senior members investigate the recruit for any
chapters crusade to destroy defilers for ideological
evidence of deception.
reasons.
Instruction. A wizard who demonstrates a
Chapters almost always avoid direct confronta-
need for a particular spell or magical item may con-
tion with powerful defilers. The Alliance usually at-
tact the Alliance. They may refer the wizard to an
tacks defilers indirectly:
instructor.
Whispering Campaigns. The people of Athas
Rescue. Enemies who capture a preserver sel-
hate all magicians alike. Some Alliance members
dom execute the wizard outright. They usually con-
covertly circulate rumors that expose defilers, hop-
fine and interrogate the prisoner first. During this
ing to provoke mob justice. To other members this
period, before the inevitable execution, the Alliance
tactic itself seems evil. The practice raises contro-
may try to rescue the wizard. They first try to sub-
versy.
vert a guard or extricate the prisoner through
Theft. In contrast, no one in the Alliance dis-
stealth. If this fails, an open assault on the jail cell
putes the practice of stealing a defilers spell-books
may follow. This desperate stroke, involving grave
and magical items. The Alliance always prefers
danger to the cloak of secrecy, occurs only to rescue
stealthy burglary to direct confrontation with the
an extraordinarily important prisoner.
owner.
The chapter leaders claim magical items (usually
The Third Aim: Protect Auxiliaries
with a cut for the burglar). They only debate wheth-
Auxiliaries are non-wizard members of the er to destroy stolen spell-books. Preservers cannot
Alliance. These supporting fighters, priests, psioni- use defilers spells as written, but (rarely) they can
cists, and (occasionally) rogues and druids, human adapt the spells. The leadership sometimes keeps

7
defiling spells in its library. The rationale: Know contests always fight to the death. A defiler who
your enemy. refuses the challenge becomes fair game for ambush
Vandalism. When you cant steal, destroy. and other tactics.
Known defilers in secure lairs may find their en- Duelists fight fairlyon the Alliance side, at any
trances booby-trapped, food spoiled, and sleep im- rate. The challenged party wins about a third of the
paired by sudden noises outside. A harassed defiler time. A victorious defiler may leave the scene unhin-
may rashly expose magical ability publicly, or at dered, and the Alliance ma es no official reprisal.
least decide to move elsewhere. (Note that Alliance As a practical matter, the defiler may soon vacate
vandalism never destroys living plants or animals.) the city-state anyway as unofficial retaliation be-
Subversion. If a member discovers a novice de- comes a constant nuisance.
filer, the local chapter often covertly contacts the be-
ginner. The wisest preservers remove the young The Fifth Aim: Undermine the
defiler to the wilderness and discuss the proper ways Sorcerer-kings
of magic, hoping to convert the defiler to the study
The Alliance also opposes the sorcerer-kings for
of preserving magic.
practical reasons. Only the monarchs possess the
The next step varies among chapters. Some orga-
strength and will to eradicate a chapter. The kings
nizations demand the defilers conversion on the
and their templars initiated the war, but every chap-
spot, and permanently disable or eliminate any who
ter stands ready to continue it. This Aim, in princi-
refuse. Others, more humane (or more naive, ac-
ple, calls for the overthrow of the kings. In practice
cording to viewpoint) return the defiler safe and
this amounts to constant small-scale harassment.
sound, hoping the defiler will voluntarily take the
This war remains undeclared. Most Alliance
new path and join the Alliance. Members by
chapters have avoided open attacks against a kings
choice do better than members by compulsion,
interests which could fatally endanger the veil of se-
they say.
crecy. They have acted entirely covertly-to date.
Both approaches have imperfect records of suc-
Now some chapters debate open warfare as the
cess. Most chapters decide methods case by case. A
counterpart to Divulgence.
chapter never tries to subvert an obviously experi-
The Alliances most common methods of fighting
enced defiler (above 5th-level), for they assume the
sorcerer-kings include:
student has irrevocably taken the path of the defiler.
Propaganda. Efficient rumor mills circulate
(A converted defiler must start over at 1st-level.)
news (usually even true news) of slave uprisings, be-
Ambush. Alliance leaders of neutral align-
trayed templars, and covert resistance. Naturally,
ment may actually lure powerful defilers to a prear-
no one who hears these rumors ever learns their
ranged location, then pounce in surprise. The
source.
leaders reserve this desperate method for immediate
Sabotage. Food consignments mysteriously
and extremely dangerous defiler threats. On the
spoil, weapon carts en route from the armory to the
other hand, chapters led by lawful good characters
palace throw wheels and collapse, or swords and ar-
tend to prefer the. . .
rows break. The roof of a templar headquarters col-
Duel. Every decade or so a lawful Alliance
lapses, apparently from faulty construction. Ail of
leader becomes so concerned with some particular
this keeps the Alliances agents busy.
defiler that the leader actually challenges the defiler
Betrayal. The enemy of my enemy is my
to a wizards duel. The participants in these single

8
friend. Members sometimes learn information that endanger much of the organization. Therefore,
could damage a sorcerer-king if revealed; for in- PCs in Alliance adventures discover few details of
stance, army deployments in hostile territory. The the organization, and those only through close con-
Alliance anonymously passes this information to an tact with the Alliance.
audience that can use it best, often a rival sorcerer-
kings agents. Organization
In most cases the Veiled Alliance has found it too
Like other revolutionary groups, the Alliance uses
dangerous to infiltrate or try to subvert a kings
a cell structure to ensure that no member out-
orces. Most chapters rely not on spies but on close
side the core leadership knows much about the or-
observation or reports from sympathetic allies. The
ganization, and cannot betray much under
exceptions, the Draj and Raam chapters, use a risky
interrogation.
but productive strategy of large-scale infiltration.
Hierarchy: Outside the central leadership, or
Council, the membership falls into small groups, or
The Aims in Practice
cells. A cell typically holds three to six members, oc-
Sometimes chapters honor an Aim more in the casionally more -in other words, one group of play-
breach than in the observance. This happens most er characters.
often with conflicts between the Chief and Third The cells are linked to the central leadership and
Aims, when attempts to rescue a member would vio- each other by lines of communication. Cells pass
late secrecy. messages back and forth through a long chain of
In practice, an individual member often attempts cells in a bucket-brigade fashion.
such a rescue, especially when he regards the victim The leadership ranks cells according to how far
as a valued comrade. The senior leaders seldom en- from the Council they are along the chain. These do
courage such rash action, but they usually ignore not represent military rank, power, or seniority,
the violationas long as the rescue succeeds! merely location. First-rank cells link directly to the
They handle other conflicts less easily. A chapters central leadership. Second-rank cells link to first-
leader usually resolves them, deciding (for instance) rank, and so on. The link structure resembles a
whether a particularly bold sabotage attempt merits three-sided pyramid, with the Council at the apex,
the risk, or whether to send valued, high-level pre- three first-rank cells just below it, and the rest ar-
servers to invade a powerful defilers home. ranged in ranks down the sides (See diagram).
Notice that each cell in the second rank connects
Other Goals
directly to one of higher rank, two of the same rank,
and (in large chapters) three of lower rank. Each
The Alliances share obedience to the Five Aims.
subordinate cell thus becomes the apex of its own
Individual chapters sometimes have additional
little pyramid. All these links represent one member
goals, unique to their situations.
in a cell, who knows one contact in an adjacent cell.
With three first-rank cells, and three more ranked
Structure and Communications
just beneath each one, the number of cells in a rank
Chapter organizations vary slightly, but leaders multiplies quickly: 3, 9, 27 . . . . By the third rank,
always keep them deeply secret. The rank and file the Alliance has 39 cells. No chapter has yet needed
gain only sketchy information about the methods of a fourth rank.
operation. Anyone caught and interrogated cant

9
Cell names: Each cell code name comprises two his third-rank contact in Mekillot Water, as does
parts. The first takes the name of the first-rank cell Kyuln for his in Mekillot Air. In case anything hap-
above it. For instance, a third-rank cell under the pens to Judriath, each of them also has a unique,
first-rank cell Mekillot always has the first name same-level emergency contact (different from Ju-
Mekillot. The cell members or their contacts out- driaths) in Inix Silt or Inix Dust.
side the cell select its second name. Note: Phronta does not know the others con-
How it works: As shown in the diagram, Ju- tacts, nor do they know hers (or each others). They
driath, Phronta, Dahn-gen, and Kyuln belong to dont even know how close their cell lies to the
Mekillot Fire, a second-rank cell. Judriath (alone) Council. So, if captured, the victim knows only the
knows one member of Mekillot Cleric, the first-rank other three in Mekillot Fire, plus one emergency
cell above her own. She receives messages through contact and (in Judriaths case) one higher-level
that contact, then spreads the news to the other contact.
three in her own cell. Now suppose the templars destroy Mekillot Fire.
If anything happens to that Mekillot Cleric con- If even one member escapes, that member can pass
tact, Judriath knows an emergency contact in Inix the news up or sideways along the chain of cells so
Silt, another second-rank cell. The contact in Inix that it reaches the leadership. If no one escapes, the
Silt can pass Council messages sideways to Ju- orders still get passed down to lower levels by the
driaths cell. emergency routes.
What happens then? Phronta takes Judriaths Communication Time: A typical cell meets week-
message and passes it to her own contact in Mekillot ly. The meeting days stagger between ranks, so that
Earth, one rank below. Dahn-gen does likewise for cells of a lower rank meet the day after those of a

10
higher rank. This lets messages filter down to all mentous event. It simultaneously links the active
members within a few days. membership of an entire city-state. Though vast,
The Council can readjust meeting times to re- time-consuming, and dangerous, the psionic under-
verse the flow, in cases when information-gathering taking produces rewards. In under a minute of
becomes vital. They can also call emergency meet- shared telepathic contact, dozens of wizards and
ings, but the time of transmission seldom falls to less auxiliaries can voice their opinions and reach con-
than a day-the price of secrecy. sensus.
Leaders: In general, each chapter follows one pri- Each participant, located anywhere in the city,
mary leader and a small number of lieutenants. feels a psionic contact. The willing participants
Three lieutenants each take charge of one branch of physical surroundings seem to vanish with an imme-
the cell pyramid; each lieutenant can initiate an op- diate shift to an imaginary psychic space. Each per-
eration along that branch on his or her own author- ceives the space differently, but always in neutral or
ity. They reveal themselves to lower ranks only by comfortable terms. Other individuals in the Cathex-
code names, such as Silk Wyrm or Guthay. is appear to the observer as unrecognizable points of
Other lieutenants work as special envoys or elite color, and they communicate soundlessly, guaran-
advisors. Strictly speaking, they have no authority teeing anonymity. Leaders appear as especially
to initiate operations. In practical terms, these bright or large spheres of varying colors.
powerful mavericks dont pay much attention to Then the leaders jointly propose the issue of de-
rules. If they see an immediate need, they may ferret bate. Each speaker in Cathexis may present or ab-
out a particular cell and take command. They send sorb an opinion with the speed of thought. Debate
the cell members on the operation, then vanish mys- can proceed hotly and heavily for several exchanges,
teriously. then closed, voted on, and Cathexis cancelled.
Council leaders often come from the highest When the participants return to physical awareness,
ranks of society, and each commands enormous only a minute or so has passed!
power. Every junior member soon learns to heed the The great virtues of Cathexis entail great cost.
Councils infrequent pronouncements closely. The Only teams of high-level psionicists may execute
Council sends orders down all the branches of the one, and then only after elaborate preparation. The
pyramid. process physically drains the executors and has
However, for the most important matters the or- sometimes killed them. Therefore, leaders usually
ganization reserves a secret and powerful instru- reserve its use for emergencies. In a given chapter
ment. Cathexis has seldom occurred more than once in a
decade.
Cathexis Gaming the Cathexis: A character may use any
telepathic psionic ability normally in Cathexis. At
Several Alliance practices arouse controversy.
the DMs discretion, some metapsionic abilities
How can an organization that keeps its membership
may also work in Cathexis. Other classes of psionic
secret ever have open discussions and debate? Psi-
ability, physical abilities, and magic do not work in
onic and magical communication can take care of
Cathexis.
some conflict. But what about disputes that involve
For telepathic abilities, treat all targets as though
the entire society? The solution: Cathexis.
within sight. A character must move psychically
In most chapters Cathexis marks a rare and mo-

11
next to another character to use powers that require pants body, physically or psionically, the partici-
touch. This works like movement in the Ethereal pant instantly drops out of Cathexis and can defend
Plane. All observers can see the motion, but they normally. The DM can allow surprise bonuses to
cannot see telepathic powers in use. the attacker as appropriate.
Conduct telepathic combat normally, as though DUNGEON MASTER Note: A Cathexis
time passes at its regular rate. Attacks and defenses requires at least three to six days to prepare, several
work normally; attackers must establish contact psionicists of 10th-level or higher, and (optionally)
when usually required. Touch contacts require a empowered receptacles or other sources of PSPs,
physical attack roll. For convenience, assume that such as lesser psionicists.
Cathexis lasts only long enough for a participant to In game terms, Cathexis tremendously expands
conduct one psionic combat. the telepathic disciplines of mindlink, send
When Cathexis ends, so do all psionic contacts thoughts, and ESP, in conjunction with variants of
made through it. Permanent effects such as the metapsionic devotions magnify, psychic drain,
mindwipe remain afterward, but ongoing, constant- and receptacle. Each psionicist in the group must
ly maintained effects such as domination end imme- have all these as prerequisites. Each psionicist may
diately. Optionally, all hit-point damage and other link up to five other minds, and each fully charged
physical losses accumulated in combat may hit the receptacle adds five more minds to the total. The
physical body all at once, possibly requiring a Con- operation lasts one minute and drains all PSPs
stitution ability check or System Shock roll (DMs available. Optionally, injured, ill, or frail psionicists
discretion) to remain conscious. must make a system shock roll after Cathexis ends.
If someone in the real world attacks a partici- The Cathexis effect works better as a storytelling

12
mechanism than as an explicit game device. It Watchful Eyes (Enchantment, Greater Divination)
dramatizes the great power of the Veiled Alliance (7th~level Wizard, 6th~level Priest spell)
and the issues that confront the organization. To
that end, atmosphere should take precedence over Range: Special
rules mechanics. Components: V, S M
Duration: 12 hours per level
Watching the Troops Casting Time: 1 round per object (min. 1 hour)
Area of Effect: Special
The cell structure prevents a chapters leadership
Saving Throw: None
from knowing its membership. Some leaders who
find this unacceptable use a spell called watchful
The spellcaster must choose easily sortable objects
eyes.
to enchant, and must make them identical (within rea-
A wizard or priest casts a watchful eye spell on a
sonable limits). The objects together undergo an elab-
collection of small items: feathers, coins, daggers, or
orate curing process that somewhat resembles the
anything portable. For the duration of the spell (a
metapsionic method of empowering an item. This
matter of a few days) all spellcasters who attended
the casting may tune in any of the objects and takes the spellcaster at least one hour per day for one
month. If the spellcaster skips a day the process must
sense anything in their vicinity as though present
themselves at the scene. The spellcasters cannot cast start again from scratch.
magic or use psionic abilities through the eyes. Each spell enchants up to 100 identical items.
The spellcaster must touch each item during cast-
The eyes in use: The three Alliance lieutenants
each take a third of the enchanted objects. The ing. If the spellcaster has more than 100 items, he or

leaders pass the eyes to the first-rank cells with the she may cast watchful eyes consecutively. so long as
command, Divide these evenly among your mem- the curing process continues daily.
bers at the next meeting and have them pass the Any number of spellcasters may attend. When
items down the chain. Have every cell repeat the the caster finishes with the final item, the spell acti-
vates for all items at once. The items appear un-
process.
The eyes gradually filter out through the Alliance changed but now detect as magical for the duration
structure. The Councils spellcasters follow their of the spell.
Thereafter, those who attended all the castings
progress, noting the carriers at every step and the
faces of those who attend each meeting. Beyond the may select and tune in on any enchanted item up to

second rank the eyes become so diffused that the 100 miles away, as described above This takes 1d6
rounds. (Note: the clairsentient effect works nor-
casters look in only sporadically. After the spell
lapses, a new command filters down the line: De- mally, independent of circumstances: for instance, it

stroy the objects. works even if the item is concealed. The DM may
assign negative modifiers for extreme range, pres-
ence of interfering magic, etc.)
The watchful eye carriers only become aware of
this magical sensing if they would ordinarily detect
magic used in their presence. Detect scrying identi-
fies the item, but nothing can trace the clairsen-
tience back to its source.

13
This spell requires one other material component: sure where sources had reported great amounts.
a conventional magical scrying device, such as a This led to the destruction of entire cells.
crystal ball, which is not expended in the process. Then a watchful eye scan of the Tyr membership
Alliance leaders find the watchful eyes enchant- showed a young wizard named Rathoras visiting a
ment expensive and time-consuming, but effective. high-ranking templar shortly after King Kalaks
They guard its secret closely, and most other spell- death. A Council wizard recited this account to an
casters have never heard of it. Some monarchs know eidetic psionicist:
of the spell, but not the procedure. They would pay Rathoras: I have more news, my lord.
a fortune for it. Templar: Of those magicians? Stand up, idiot! Our
How did these few sorcerer-kings learn of the beloved Tithians latest edict commands that no one
watchful eyes spell? The answer lies in the greatest kneel to us anymore. Fft! What news?
danger facing the Alliance today. Rathoras: I sabotaged their raid on the old library as
you ordered. The guards found them all, but. . .
Subversion and Threat Templar: But they all died in the battle, yes, I heard.
We do still keep tabs on things, though without Ka-
Scholars of nature (such as exist on Athas) have
laks blessing, only the strong survive. Great Drag-
studied a tiny insect they call the myrmeleon,
on, I sent you to find their headquarters and you
commonly known as the antlion.
bring me news three days old! You havent
Excavating a conical hole in the desert sand,
found their stronghold yet, have you?
writes Davester of Tyr, the creature burrows out of
Rathoras: Well. . .
sight at the base, then waits, sometimes for days.
Templar: Well, indeed.
Ants and crawling mites stumble over the rim of the
Rathoras: We. . . uh. . . my lord, the magicians
hole. The quarry-tumble downward, where the sly
Council sent things to everyone in my cell. Feathers.
myrmeleon leaps from the sand and pounces, fixing
Templar: Feathers.
the victim in fearsome mandibles.
Rathoras: This is one of them. They said to carry it
The entire squalid drama takes place within a
with me. It holds a virtue of some sort, but I fathom
round no larger than a gladiators helm. Yet noth-
it not.
ing in the deserts larger predations so conjures in
Templar: Bring it over here. I will have a look at it
me true fear as that vision of pitiless patience, that
myself, through my glass. This has a virtue of its
silent unblinking alertness for a single mistake, min-
own, you know. . . Gad, its scrying us!
gled with a rending, bloodthirsty ferocity at the
Rathoras: Oh, no! My lord, I neverNo! Please
kill.
Templar: You idiot! Ill crush you like I crush this
This account may have helped name the newest
Rathoras did not return to later cell meetings. But
menace to the Veiled Alliance: the Myrmeleons,
the Alliance knows now that enemies, even defilers,
agents of the sorcerer-kings who have finally infil-
can circumvent all its security and corrupt its ranks.
trated the chapters. After generations of security
The Alliance has responded with still greater se-
many now fear a strike from within.
crecy and caution. The world grows yet more hos-
Awareness of this new threat grew slowly. First, a
tile, but their commitment to their mission never
few missions went dangerously awry. Soldiers ar-
wavers.
rived with no warning, or searchers found no trea-

14
Each citys Alliance operates, communicates, and Recognition Signs
administers justice as uniquely as the whorls of a fin-
The unified system of recognition signals that
gerprint. This section discusses their similarities.
works in all cities gives the Alliance a double-edged

How to Find the Alliance sword. Travelling members need set signals to gain
Alliance recognition and help in new cities, but es-
Do They Really Wear Veils?
tablished signals open the chapters to infiltration.
Frequent change seems unworkable, so the chapters
The short answer: No.
agreed to live with the situation and redouble their
The short answer requires qualification. Many
vigilance. During the campaign, infiltration may
people in all seven city-states wear full or partial veils.
prompt them to reconsider this decision. But for
Veils keep the omnipresent desert dust and grit out of
now, these remain the standard signs:
the eyes and nostrils. If a member happens to wear a
General recognition: The first speaker in casu-
veil, the wizard looks no different than half the peo-
al conversation uses the password phrase My fa-
ple on the street. Some chapters do wear veils during
ther is a templar. The listener responds with My
rare, secret ceremonies, but not in public.
mother is a gardener. The first answers, You
Contacting the Veiled Alliance would be simple if
come of good stock.
all members had to go about veiled. Defilers and
In the silent recognition signal, a member holds
sorcerer-kings alike would applaud this policy, but
the two middle fingers of one hand together, sepa-
Veiled in this sense means secret. Secret soci-
rating the first and little fingers from them slightly.
eties dont get far by imposing dress codes.
Other members respond in the same way, or (more
often) acknowledge the gesture with a meaningful
Likely Contact Sites
stare or nod.
In most city-states the Alliances instruct members On Athas, usually only merchants and the nobili
to watch for and protect preservers, following the ty shake hands. In an Alliance handshake, each
dictates of the Second Aim. Because Alliance mem- person applies slight pressure first with the thumb
bers function at all levels of society between sorcerer- then with the little finger. This works only for hu-
king and (usually) slave farmers, they cover their manoid races, of course; elves rarely shake hands.
territory well. Furthermore, the search for exotic General warning: This is useful when the
spell components may send them far afield into the speaker is being coerced into luring other Alliance
surrounding territory. members into a trap. To indicate danger, use a sim-
In game terms, this means that PCs may find an ple rub of the right eyebrow, three fast coughs, or
Alliance member in nearly every public domain. some version of it smells strange here.
Taverns and marketplaces work well, but many oth- I seek contact: Rub the left hand across the
er sites fulfill the same story function with novelty bottom of the face, as though imitating a veil. In
and flair. The pampered house-slave may belong to conversation, ask to find a merchant who sells fresh
the Alliance and meet the heroes in an estate court- fruit, but not too sour. Variants include meat
yard. Auxiliaries work in guild halls, thieves war- (not too dry), pottery (not too expensive), etc.
rens, and taxidermist shops. . . even in guard Need help quickly!: Clear the throat three
barracks! In Raam and Draj, the royal palace itself times rapidly, look up, and conspicuously straighten
harbors Alliance members! the shoulders as if stretching. Help seldom arrives

15
immediately, as members exercise extreme caution Joining
in a crisis.
Short-Term Assistance
This place is unsafe: Draw a long breath
through pursed lips, then exhale through clenched Most preservers belong to the Alliance. If a mem-
teeth, or observe that its getting hotter here. ber identifies a non-member preserver, the member
teaches the signs for I seek contact and Need
Contact Procedures help without mentioning the Alliance. The
signs are presented as a general, If youre in trou-
When an Alliance member meets someone who
ble, try these.
purports to belong, wishes to join, or is seeking as-
This means that when an Alliance member helps
sistance, the member exercises caution. The mem-
a preserver, the member doesnt even know whether
ber agrees to little at the first encounter and
the rescued wizard belongs to the organization. Af-
arranges a follow-up meeting within a few hours (if
ter giving the help, the member may try recognition
the situation permits).
signals or subtle questioning to find out, perhaps
Then, by regular or emergency channels, the mem-
with the idea of recruiting the rescued wizard. More
ber calls in several others, usually the rest of that mem-
often the member simply departs.
bers cell. One, the spotter, can detect lies either
magically or psionically. The spotter accompanies the
Recruitment
member at the next meeting. Other members offer
back-up, hiding inconspicuously with weapons ready The Alliance, of course, constantly seeks new
or surveying the scene clairvoyantly. members. Secrecy makes recruitment a slow, deli-

16
cate matter. Make this process a deeply mysterious, to a grassy or forested area, where entry may entail
atmospheric event in the campaign. great risk (for instance, getting into the sorcerer-
First, the recruiter drops subtle hints that others kings gardens). They cast illusions and protect
like you live in this city. To non-wizards (known as- themselves from observation. Then, surrounded by
sociates of a preserver) the recruiter may say, Oth- vegetation, they ask the candidate to cast a spell.
ers like your friend could use your help. If the wizard claims not to have any memorized
If the candidate shows no interest, the attempt spells, the members allow the candidate to study an
usually ends there. Given even tentative interest, the elementary spellbook entry suitable for apprentices,
recruiter says, If you wish to learn more, go about such as a cantrip or light. If the wizard refuses to
your business. For some time we will watch you. If cast a spell, the members may attack or simply
we like what we see, well contact you again, and leave, depending on circumstances and suspicion
never mentions the Alliance by name. level; in any case, the candidate fails the test.
Next come days of observation. A PC need never Of course, if the candidate casts a spell and vege-
become aware of the scrutiny, and members dont: tation dies, the members attack the defiler.
help the candidate except in grave danger. The ob- Illusions: Now that defilers have begun infiltrat-
servers look for evidence of non-evil alignment, non- ing the Alliance, most members inspect Green Test
defiling magic, useful skills, or simple bravery. candidates more alertly. They question every spell
After an interval, a second contact leads to a for- effect as a potential illusion; they may recruit psioni-
mal invitation. The recruiter names the Alliance, cists to check for psionic manipulation; they some-
describes its mission, outlines the local chapters times frisk the candidate for concealed magical
doctrines, and stresses the policy of requital-a can- items. (Remember that a magical item creates its ef-
didate who accepts membership and later quits be- fects without defiling damage and a user can acti-
comes a fugitive marked for death. vate many concealed items mentally or without
The candidate can refuse now without prejudice. obvious gestures.) Discovery of deceit usually leads
As a formal courtesy, the recruiter asks the candi- to confrontation.
date to keep the meeting secret, but this promise The second step: Non-wizards, and wizards who
does not bind the non-member. The same candidate pass the Green Test, now receive a missiona proof
may even receive later invitations from others of dif- of their commitment, the Test of Action. The
ferent cells. If the candidate accepts the invitation, Alliance may ask the candidate to steal a local defil-
the initiation begins on the spot. ers powerful magical item, rescue a captive pre-
server, or undertake some other dangerous
Initiation Ceremonies adventure.
When they fulfill the mission, the candidates take
All Alliance chapters begin initiation with the oaths in a solemn ceremony and become full-fledged
same first step, but thereafter each follows its own Alliance members. Groups form their own cells; in-
procedures. Initiation tests two criteria: first, that a dividuals may join an existing cell or start their own.
candidate-wizard uses preserving magic; second,
that the candidate shows intense commitment to the Duties
cause.
Recruits vow fulfillment of these duties:
In the first step, called the Green Test, heavily-
armed members of a cell take the candidate wizard 1. Obey the Five Aims.

17
2. Obey Council orders. Meetings
3. Hold regular meetings but vary locations.
Most cells meet every five to seven days and meet-
4. Cautiously seek new members.
ing times vary around the clock. A group of adven-
5. Never resign, and enforce requital on those
turers, as a single cell, automatically fulfills the duty
who do.
to hold regular meetings.
Some chapters may require additional duties.
Circumstances: Meeting dates may move in re-
The Alliance imposes no code of behavior beyond
sponse to changing situations. For instance, a
the Five Aims, nor does it restrict movement. Mem-
sorcerer-kings crackdown on Alliance activity may
bers may come and go freely from the city-state.
delay cell meetings. By contrast, in a crisis the
When an entire cell leaves a city, simple etiquette
Council could accelerate the meeting schedule to
calls for a farewell message, delivered by the usual
daily or even more often. In campaign terms, adjust
channels, to the Council. They usually find out
meeting times freely to suit a storys needs.
soon anyway, and a polite message, followed per-
Activities: Meetings usually serve just to inform
haps by magical or psionic communication with a
the cell that all its members still survive. That done,
Council lieutenant, forestalls any suspicion of an
they may pass on messages from higher or lower in
unannounced resignation.
the hierarchy. Then members discuss problems or
If a group of Alliance PCs depart a city without
discoveries or simply gossip.
this courtesy, they may find an unwelcome surprise
Locations: At the end of every meeting, members
when they return!
determine a new site for the next meeting. The loca-
tions never repeat more often than once every few

18
months. Inconspicuous, open sites work best to time, and the recipients cell meets the Council
avoid both scrutiny and ambush. Typical locations member there to get the mission. Or it may speak
include private homes, back rooms of taverns, shop the mission itself, if its simple.
attics, or prominent features outside the city. Alternately, the enchanted object may let a
Most player character groups dont worry about Council mage or psionicist home in on a partic-
this, because theyre usually together anyway. ular contacts mind. After the contact touches the
When the characters need to declare a formal site, object, the link opens and the Council official gives
let the players suggest locations. the mission details.
Passwords: Along with the next meeting site, each Faster methods: A Council lieutenant may simply
meeting ends with a choice of password. Members drop in on a meeting. The Council mages have tre-
must give the password at the next meeting. This mendous abilities, and if they want to find a meeting
helps detect helps shapeshifters and other impostors. location, they can. A high-level visitor usually car-
Passwords are often obscure magical terms like ries a token of identification or has a display of ap-
Cathexis. Let the players suggest suitable pass- propriate skill ready. Though risky, this method gets
words for their characters. a mission off to a dramatic start.
Emergency meetings: Each cell member knows
where and how to reach the other members of the Typical Preserver Missions
cell. In an emergency a member rushes to another
Because the Council itself commands such magi-
and gives the appropriate signal. The two, having
cal power, it need not call upon preserver player
agreed on a meeting site, split up to summon the
characters for magical protection. Instead, the Alli-
other cell members.
ance usually assigns missions to lower-level pre-

Operations servers that involve important but troublesome


detail work.
The Alliance campaign focuses on missions from For example, the Council may send a preserver
the Council hierarchy or other sources. Remember, and companions to a distant oasis to obtain an exot-
though, all mission types may require support from ic spell component. The preserver might visit a li-
other character classes. brary to obtain a scroll or research text. Though the
Council regards these missions as simply logistical,
Mission Notification they may be used as a pretext for exciting adven-
tures.
The Council originates most missions, passing
On the other hand, the Council may specifically
them down to the appropriate cell in several ways.
pass along a truly challenging mission such as,
Through routine channels: The Council usually
Kidnap the local defilers apprentice. The lead-
employs either psionics or an item enchanted with
ers could handle this themselves, but they might
the magic mouth spell. The Council spellcaster de-
wish to test the preservers skill or leadership quali-
scribes a member of the cell and sets the spell to
ties.
trigger when that member enters the objects pres-
ence, then passes the object down the hierarchy with
Typical Warrior Missions
specific instructions that guarantee it will reach the
appropriate cell. Most chapters think of warriors as muscle, and
The magic mouth may speak a meeting place and their missions reflect this attitude. Orders may come

19
down to a gladiator to rendezvous with and guard a Thieves and rogues enter the strongholds by stealth
visitor from another city. If a fugitive preserver needs or trickery and replace the items.
sanctuary, a fighter sets up the refuge, then guards it.
Rangers receive escort missions. When fugitives Typical Psionicist Missions
need safe passage from the city, rangers guide them
Like rogues, psionicists engage in reconnaissance,
to a new and distant home, using their knowledge of
sometimes without ever leaving their chambers.
the desert to ensure safe passage.
Clairsentient scanning, object reading, probability
travel, telepathy, sight link, and many other disci-
Typical Priest Missions
plines fulfill a role in Alliance missions. The Coun-
Any priest auxiliary can count on missions to heal cil often assigns psionicists to parties of adventurers
a wounded preserver. This may call for a routine trip who lack their skills.
across town to a wizards hide-a-way or the infiltra- Powerful psionicists typically either rise to Coun-
tion of a slave camp. cil positions or ask the Council not to bother them
But the priest has other roles in the Alliance. much. When in the mood to help, a high-level
Even in a world without gods, human societies have psionicist may teleport a fugitive to a safe haven,
rites of passage, and elemental clerics can adminis- plant subconscious impulses in the brain of an Alli-
ter these where templars are not welcome. These ance enemy, or wipe a troublesome enemys mind
ceremonies include confirmation of birth or adult- altogether.
hood, naming, feast, fast, atonement, purification, Very powerful psionicists (21st-level and above)
and any number of calendar ceremonies such as eventually come to the attention of the Order. This
planting and harvest. shadowy and secretive organization tolerates the Al-
The Alliance may call upon druids to negotiate with liance, but forbids entanglements in its intrigues.
NPC druids for safe passage through guarded lands.
This could expedite a rangers escort assignment. Requital
Finally, priests often command powers of oratory
The Alliance uses requital (pronounced with
and persuasion that the Alliance exploits in whis-
a long i, literally meaning return or repay-
pering campaigns against defilers or the local
ment) as a euphemism for assassination of depart-
sorcerer-king.
ed members.
Requital goes back to the Alliances earliest days.
Typical Rogue Missions
In the centuries since many members have argued
Steal the local defilers favorite magical item for the policys repeal, but supporters point out its
this is an easy and frequent choice for rogue mis- invaluable role in the Chief Aim of protecting the
sions. Others include tracing a sorcerer-kings Alliance.
agents or defiler movements, and whispering cam- Every few decades the controversy leads to a split,
paigns. with part of a city-states membership starting its own
One risky mission inverts the traditional theft requital-free Alliance. This naturally leaves the apos-
mission. The Alliance sometimes places magical tates vulnerable to requital by loyalists, and civil strife
eavesdropping devices in a defilers hideaway or in follows. So far the loyalists have always won a pyrrhic
templars quarters. These devices work for only a victory. The squabbling cripples the chapter, creating
short time and require frequent replacement. unrest in other chapters for decades.

20
Procedure probably goes unnoticed until 24 hours after their
next meeting was to occur. Then a Council member
When a cell learns that one of its members has
tries to contact the cell leader by magic or psionics;
defected, it must immediately notify the Council by
success in the attempt depends on circumstances,
all feasible channels, and then hunt down and kill
but allow it if it furthers the story or brings no harm
the member. The message prompts emergency
to the PCs. If this does not allay suspicions, a rene-
meetings and so reaches the Council with unusual
gade party that remains in the city soon encounters
speed, perhaps a day at most.
the full might of the Council. For the attackers, use
Then the Council contacts the original cell, learns
the party described above, but triple their numbers.
what it can, and verifies the resigning members
death. If the member has not died, the Council
sends emergency hunt-and-kill orders, with a de- Healing the Breach
tailed description of the target, to all members. At Can a renegade return to the Alliance? Possibly,
the same time it begins its own hunt. but it takes work.
The high-level wizards of the Council can search The repentant member must first reach a Council
a city-state quickly using the locate creature spell in member and explain his reasons without getting killed.
conjunction with far reaching III (two spells from the If the Councillor believes the members story, several
Tome Of Magic). If they cannot find the target in psionicists scrutinize the members brain intensively
the city, they send the news by the fastest means to for lies, suspicious memories, and post-hypnotic sug-
the Councils of other cities Alliances. gestions. They search for any evidence that the mem-
Members hunt the escapee as a matter of princi- ber betrayed other members or Alliance secrets. This
ple, or as a result of orders. Others may join the long and exhausting process lasts at least eight hours.
hunt for more tangible rewards. The Alliance anon- A sorcerer-king, an advanced being, or a psionicist of
ymously circulates a reward notice for the targets the Order could conceal ill intent from this scrutiny;
body. The reward ranges from 50 gp for a rank-and- lesser mortals cannot hope to do so.
file cell member to 5000 or more for a renegade A member who fails this test suffers a mindwipe,
Councillor. The Council uses every magical and psi- feeblemind, or other awful punishment, followed by
onic means to guarantee the authenticity of any execution. A member who passes the test enters a
body offered. period of probation. The Council circulates a mes-
In game terms, a member who resigns from the sage calling off the kill order. Close day-to-day scru-
Alliance encounters one attack from former cell- tiny follows, similar to the original admission
mates within 24 hours. The next 24 hours bring 1d6 process, but more strict. A Council member may
attacks from low-level parties. The day after that, subject the probationer to psionic scrutiny at any
the Council descends on the renegade with one at- time, and often does.
tacker from each character class, each of 8th-level or If the member endures all this, the Council begins
above. (For level, use the leaders listed in the appro- initiation anew, with a Green Test and Test of
priate city entry in Chapter 3, or roll 1d8+7.) If the Action. A member who passes these can rejoin the
renegade somehow escapes, 1d6 further attacks by Alliance, theoretically without taint of suspicion. In
mid-level parties follow each day he or she remains practice, the taint remains until the member carries
in the city. out some unusually rigorous or exceptionally dan-
If the whole cell has gone renegade, the departure gerous service.

21
The bulk of this supplement describes individual Members behave like genuine heroes, self-assured
Veiled Alliance chapters in each of the seven city- and pure, in a fashion rare on Athas. This style
states. Each entry includes most or all of the follow- makes for upbeat and fast-paced adventures. Use it
ing: if the PCs should make a positive, dramatic impact
on the campaign.
Overview: Every chapter has its own style, Aggressive, Struggling (Gulg): The chapter still
goals, and challenges. Each entry summarizes the actively tries to meet its goals, but fails to overcome
chapters features, general approach, and degree of powerful enemies. This type of campaign, heroic
success. but tragic, suits Athas well. Adventures have an
The City: A brief description of the local cul- edge of desperation that produces drama.
ture. Aggressive, Unknown (Draj): This mysterious
History: The founding and past accomplish- campaign style emphasizes secrecy and quick
ments of this chapter. escapesthe party seldom knows the results of its
Problems: Local issues and challenges peculiar vital missions. This campaign emphasizes the Alli-
to this organization. ances internal secrecy as well, with mysterious con-
Contacting the Alliance: How to get in touch tacts handing down enigmatic missions for
with the local leadership. inscrutable purposes.
Initiation: Each Alliance chapter has different Defensive, Successful (Raam): The chapter
ways to confirm new recruits. This section gives local mainly protects the status quo. It guards preservers
ceremonies that can become scenarios. and stops the enemys various nasty plots. Here
Leadership: Description and statistics for the player characters valiantly defend the good, perhaps
major NPCs who run this chapter. as the last bastion against the forces of evil or chaos.
Headquarters: Description and map of a Defensive, Struggling (Urik): Enemy strength
chapters headquarters. and internal strife overwhelm the Alliance, but it
Adventure Hooks: Short ideas designed to in- hangs on in what seems to be a vain struggle. This
spire adventures appropriate to this Alliance chapter. somber, tragic campaign forces the heroes to their
greatest courage and self-sacrifice.
Campaign Style Defensive, Unknown (Nibenay): A nightmare
setting of attacks from unknown quarters, cryptic
An Alliance adventure depends on the Alliances
perils and perhaps even betrayal. This dark, even
role in the campaign: Has it done well? Does the
Kafkaesque campaign tone, produces good horror
chapter even know how well its doing?
adventures.
The six following entries offer six different ap-
The first entry, Tyr, remains undefined. This text
proaches. Each approach offers a different adven-
assumes that the Alliance campaign, like most
ture style.
DARK SUN campaigns, begins in Tyr. Choose
Aggressive, Successful (Balic): The chapter vig-
the campaign style you like best, based on the other
orously pursues its aims and usually meets them.
entries.

22
Overview Unusual sites: Shown on the Tyr city map in the
boxed campaign set.
Campaign style: Undefined.
Tyr, in the last days of Kalaks reign, appears in
With King Kalak dead, Tyrs members hotly de-
detail in the boxed campaign set, in the adventure
bate a central issue: Divulgence. Those who argue
Freedom, and in the first DARK SUN novel,
for immediate revelation include several Myrme-
The Verdant Passage. This section outlines some
leons. Others favor continued secrecy. On each side
events in the city since Kalaks death. Further infor-
a few members argue for a middle course of gradual
mation appears in the Dragon Kings hardcover
revelation.
rulebook and the second novel, The Road To Urik.
In this turbulent time, the player characters can
Even with Kalak dead, Tyr has had to rely on the
exercise decisive influence. If they support Divul-
only people skilled in running the city, the templars.
gence, they face the long-term challenge of revealing
They have no spells now, and their traditional in-
the Alliance to the public without invoking a mob
fighting has escalated even further, but they remain
attack.
in power. Now, though, the templars cannot display

The City their previous high-handed arrogance, and every


ranking templar travels with bodyguards to protect
Population: 12,000 (70% human, 10% dwarf, against roaming lynch mobs.
6% mul, 3% elf, 1% half-elf, 9% half-giant, 1% The mobs comprise many former slaves, freed by
thri-kreen, a few halflings). King Tithian (one of Kalaks former templars) but
Emblems: Formerly Kalaks profile; currently un- not yet employed in paying jobs, and disaffected
decided. freedmen who seek advancement through thievery.
Economy: Iron, silk; economy currently in col- Soon after his coronation, Tithian created a dole to
lapse. give the mobs a small daily food ration, and they
Noteworthy residents: King Tithian; Timor, sen- have squatters rights in the tumbledown slave war-
ior templar; Banther, arena manager; Mandalis, lo- rens. They remain a menace in the workers and
cal head of The Order. tradesmens quarters, and at times have even ven-
tured boldly into the wide avenues of the noble
Tithian homes.
Human Male Templar Tyrs economy, still in a shambles, is slowly re-
17th-Level building after a disastrous war with nearby Urik.
Lawful Neutral Many former slave workers in the iron mines have
Str 9 Int 18 returned there, this time for high wages-though
Dex 14 Wis 15 some never live to collect their first paycheck, for the
Con 13 Cha 16 work remains as dangerous as before. Rumor says
the templars hire troublemakers to work the
hp: 56 mines by promising extravagant salaries, then get a
AC: 10 week of work out of them and have them conven-
#AT: 1 iently perish in an accident.
THAC0: 10 Culture: For months after Kalaks failed attempt
Dmg: by weapon to attain dragon form by killing the citys entire pop-
ulation in the gladiatorial arena, citizens refused to

23
return there. They still followed the blood sports fa- Simple survival has become its most notable suc-
natically, but only in informal bouts in the market- cess.
place or other meeting places about the city. Now a The society owes much of that success to its long-
group of enterprising gladiators and veterans have time leader, a transmuter named Acritus. For three
reopened the arena with official approval, charging centuries, or so legend says, Acritus diligently fol-
an admission of 2 ceramic pieces (half price for chil- lowed the Five Aims and the principle of requital,
dren) for an afternoons gory entertainment. permitting no controversy on that sensitive point.
In times past Tyrians also sought diversion in He owed his success to a keen understanding of Ka-
singing (dissonant yet strangely moving melodies) laks mentality. Legend claims Acritus gained this
and dancing (a vigorous, rhythmic stomping). The understanding as a boy, when he studied psionic
visual arts found their highest expression in elabo- disciplines with Kalak himself, but few believe this
rate and colorful skin tattoos. In these unsettled legend today.
times, though, few can afford to indulge their vanity Much given to shapeshifting magic, he evaded
or appetite for leisure. certain doom on at least two occasions by its use.
Acritus polyymorphed a volunteer or prisoner (ac-
History counts disagree on this point) into a copy of Acri-
tuss own form, then had the subject slain in public
Tyrs Alliance, now some 400 to 500 years old,
(or apparently slain, again accounts disagree). In
has endured longer than all Alliance chapters. In
both cases, though the victims death dispelled the
the kings ages since, the Alliance here struggled
shapeshift, too little remained of the body to allow
against Kalaks particularly vigorous persecution.
identification.

24
The aforementioned uncertainty of historical ac- characters dwell here in the Elven Market, so many
counts suffuse almost all matters involving Acritus. that one more (such as a mage) usually escapes no-
His greatly extended lifespan, triple the human tice. Characters should check the Drunken Giant
norm, has led to much speculation that the original wine shop.
Acritus died after a normal lifespan, and a dynasty
of wizards impersonated him in the following centu- Initiation
ries. Other rumors say that the wizard shapeshifted
In a time beyond living memory, Tyrs founders
into a large brown stone and still lives, if such a state
built this city in a green forest. In later centuries the
can be called living, somewhere out in the desert.
forest gave way to a tremendous swamp, as Athas
Probably no one will ever learn the truth, for no one
began the gradual decline into its current sorry
has seen the wizard in the last two kings ages.
state. The original city sank in the swamp, but King
Since Kalaks death and Tithians succession to
Kalak ordered a new city built over the old one. The
the throne, official persecution of the Alliance has
dark, echoing ruins of that earlier city, UnderTyr,
ceased. Perhaps the role of the sorceress Sadira in
now offers the Veiled Alliance an ideal testing
elevating Tithian contributed to this happy change.
ground.
Certainly the chaos that long besieged the city also
After the usual Green Test, candidates enter the
played its role, for the government had many higher
undercity by any of various routes. The trapdoor
priorities.
beneath a stone table in the Drunken Giant gets
But the publics resentment of magicians con-
little use. Instead, candidates use other entrances in
tinues unchanged. The disappearance of one old
deserted parts of the Warrens, free from unwanted
threat and the presence of the other has led to the
observers. They must enter UnderTyr, find their
current controversy over Divulgence.
way through the vast labyrinth to one of the temples

Contacting the Alliance of the forgotten past, and enter the temple. Only
good and brave characters may enter; the wraith-
The Tyr Alliance, small like all Alliances (it cur- like crimson knights who serve the ancient
rently has fewer than 100 members), cannot moni- powers turn others back. Then candidates return to
tor the city-state and surrounding territories in the surface.
depth. But because Tyr covers so little area, hardly An Alliance psionicist or mage clairvoyantly fol-
more than a square mile, open display of magic in lows the candidates progress. If they succeed, an
any public place often alerts at least one member Alliance cell waits to accept them as they emerge
wizard. If the foolhardy public mage avoids instant from UnderTyr. But if the crimson knights turn
lynching, the Alliance may soon contact him or her away a candidate, the unlucky person finds a power-
with warnings or aid. ful corps of Alliance wizards and warriors, who ei-
Those who want to contact the Alliance without ther kill the unfortunate candidate or pronounce a
throwing fireballs on a crowded street should look sentence of exile. Having learned too much about
for a plaza bathed in bright yellow light. . . sur- the Alliance, the candidate must leave the city by
rounded by six wine shops, two brothels, and a gam- the next sundown or face requital.
bling house, all of which have burning torches in the
sconces outside their doors. (Troy Denning, The
Verdant Passage, page 85.) Suspicious and shady

25
Leadership experience.
Appearance: Matthias is balding, jowly, with
Matthias Morthen
pendulous earlobes, but genial, possessing an in-
Human Male Preserver
congruously wise look. He dresses simply, except for
18th-Level
two enchanted copper armbands, which are legacies
Lawful Good
from his father. The left armband holds a protection
Str 13 Int 23
Dex 13 Wis 12 from evil, 10 radius spell (three charges/per day);
the right, protection from normal missiles (three
Con 13 Cha 17
charges/per day). Matthias triggers them with the
command words borgan and lathro.
hp: 44
Role-playing: Matthias has keen political skills
AC: 10
and avoids offending anyone; play him as compas-
#AT: 1
sionate and avuncular, with a pleasant wit. Player
THAC0: 15
characters should gradually notice his stodginess in
Dmg: by weapon
trying new ideas and his lack of vision. Though a
Proficiencies: Dagger; Ancient History +1, Ancient
sympathetic character, he will eventually provoke the
Languages, Bargain, Etiquette, Heat Protection, Psi-
PCs into major disagreements.
onic Detection, Religion, Reading/Writing, Somatic
Concealment.
Romila Parthian
Psionics: immovability.
Female Human Preserver/Thief
Dual-Class W12/T3
Background: Matthias, now in his late forties,
Neutral Good
has served the Alliance since age nine. His father, a
Str 12 Int 20
Council lieutenant, raised him to carry on the fami-
Dex 17 Wis 11
lys mission. But Matthias worked his way onto the
Con 15 Cha 17
Council by his own merit, through careful study
and attention to detail. He has never known much
hp: 40
life outside the Council.
AC: 7
Matthiass profound learning, skill, and experi-
#AT: 1
ence have earned him wide respect and have
THAC0: 17
brought Tyrs Alliance through difficult times un-
Dmg: by weapon
der Kalak. So far as everyday administration goes,
Proficiencies: Dagger; Animal Handling, Bargain,
Matthias surpasses all others. But now that Kalak
Herbalism, Reading/Writing, Somatic Conceal-
has died, some say the times demand new strategies
ment, Spellcraft +1.
such as Divulgence.
Psionics: catfall.
For new strategies though one cannot look to
Matthias. His lengthy tenure has taught him
Background: Romila grew up as a street urchin in
strength, but has also given him the limited outlook
Tyr. As a young girl she picked a wizards pocket,
of a (albeit competent) mid-level bureaucrat. He re-
found a scroll, and discovered an innate talent for
sists all arguments for Divulgence, citing many rea-
magic. Her victim tracked her and recruited her in-
sonable lessons from his three decades of
to the Alliance, where she eventually rose through

26
diligent service to the position of Council lieutenant. Con 20 Cha 20
From this point her story resembles Matthias
Morthens, and she admires him devoutly. Many hp: 40
regard her as Matthiass other self. But Romila, AC: 6
who is more worldly, knows the need for change. #AT 1
She has become the chief proponent for Divul- THAC0: 18
gence. Dmg: by weapon
Recently Romila secretly fell in love with another Proficiencies: Dagger; Psionic Detection, Reading/
Council lieutenant, Athrialix. He seems to recog- Writing, Sign Language, Somatic Concealment,
nize the pressures she endures and the sense of duty Spellcraft.
that motivates her. In contrast, no one recognizes Psionics: conceal thoughts, psychic impersonation.
the true Athrialixa defiler, and the highest-
ranking Myrmeleon infiltrator in any Alliance. He Background: The late King Kalak gave Athrialix
has been quietly urging her and her sympathizers to many small, concealable magical items and sent him
a dramatic Divulgence. His plan sounds reason- to spy on the Alliance, but the young defiler didnt
able, but he knows it would bring disaster on the locate its headquarters until just after Kalak died.
entire chapter. Now, mistrusting the new King Tithian, Athrialix
Romila feeds and looks after a ragtag band of ur- ponders what new patron to seek-local templars, or
chins who live a hand-to-mouth existence on the another citys sorcerer-king?
streets. These Ragtags serve as her eyes, ears, and Meanwhile, the young man is plotting deep trou-
early-warning system. ble for the Alliance, so that he can spring a plan to
Appearance: Small, thin, and intense, she looks rescue them and thus take control. His well-
younger than one would expect (about 24). She has concealed streak of megalomania convinces him
a poise beyond her years. that he could then lead the Alliances wizards in a
Role-playing: A convincing advocate for Divul- massive assault on the dragon and wrest from it the
gence, Romila seems disturbingly eager. PCs should secret of immortality. Athrialix conceals this mad
note her sensitivity to any questions about Athrialix. notion behind his most potent psionic and magical
She shows less tact than she might, but she serves screens.
capably and means well. Appearance: Athrialix is a very thin, prematurely
Given the choice between her imprudence and balding young man with a few strands of blond hair
Matthiass caution, the party may give up on them combed high over his tanned pate. His high-boned
both. Try to emphasize the two leaders positive cheeks bear gill-like slits, a curious congenital defect
qualities and let them listen to voices of reason when without function except that he can open and close
appropriate. the gills at will. They lend him a perpetually hag-
gard look. He dresses conventionally and walks with
Athrialix Denestor a stealthy, shuffling gait.
Human Male Defiler Role-playing: Never let on that Athrialix contem-
9th-Level (impersonates 5th-Level Preserver) plates insane power fantasies. Like all successful
Lawful Evil (pretends to Lawful Neutral) Myrmeleons, he conceals his true nature with per-
Str 13 Int 22 fect aplomb. He displays great charm toward Romi-
Dex 18 Wis 8 la, but outside her presence he loses interest in

27
discussing her. Alliance enter this ruin. for it holds their headquar-
Notes: Athrialix carries numerous concealed ters.
magical items that he can activate mentally to dupli- In Tyrs ancient history Kalla-Kouro served as a
cate preserver spell effects without defiling the land. public bath. Today Athasians can barely imagine
Create these as the story requires, concealing his de- the idea of a single bath, let alone a public bath-
ception until PCs can root it out. house, and so the large, high building has become a
mysterious antique. A decade ago the Alliance
Hephaestus Domitian Darian Twile found it, excavated a small subterranean headquar-
Human Boy Thief ters, and began an elaborate charade to repel casual
1st-Level visitors.
Neutral Good Illusionists created spectral forms. odd sounds,
and other eerie illusions. They placed magic mouth
This young street urchin leads the Ragtags, the spells on the entrances triggered to shriek menac-
gang of children that Romila has befriended. A ingly when anyone entered. Their illusions made
charming fast-talker, Twile gives the player charac- chunks of rock seem to fall from above as an in-
ters occasional gossip and insights into recent truder crossed the tilting floor. Rogues and clerics
events. But he always wants a price, whether its a passed chilling rumors throughout the Warrens.
ceramic bit or just a mouthful of water. Hey, gov, a Within a week citizens deserted the Warrens
bit of information can fetch a good price in the right around the Kalla-Kouro ruins. Now Alliance mem-
market. You want I should take my merchandise bers live in the vicinity or hold cell meetings in the
elsewhere? areas many tumbledown structures. Only the most
Twile entertains suspicions about Athrialix, but resolute intruders visit the former bath-house, ig-
he wont mention them as long as Athrialix con- nore its illusions, carefully cross the upthrust tile
tinues to make Romila happy. The party also cant floor, and venture into the sunken bath itself where
rely on Twiles information regularly because they the headquarters entrance lies cunningly concealed
can seldom find him. The Ragtags wander the city behind a pile of debris. There hidden psionicist
(and undercity), leaving a trail of petty thefts and guards place strong fears or disquiet in the minds of
minor mischiefs. If the player characters ask others persistent visitors.
for Twile, they discover he gives a different name to If all these measures ever fail to protect the head-
everyone he meets, and grafts new additions at will quarters, Gonazz and Murth stand ready inside the
to his already formidable name. entrance. These two half-giant guards (5th-level
gladiators, 46 hp, N) carry crossbows and obsidian
Headquarters knives, and they stand (or crouch) ready to mow
down anybody who cant give the right recognition
The marble ruin of Kalla-Kouro lies in Tyrs
signs. Unfortunately, the recognition signs change a
northwest Warrens, about as far away as it can get
little faster than they can remember, so they often
from Kalaks ziggurat and still remain inside the city
argue with people asking entry.
wall. The buildings reputation as a haunt of ghosts
(and worse) keeps most superstitious citizens away.
The falling rocks, strange noises, and festering
Map Key
odors fend off the rest. Only members of the Veiled The Council hollowed out this divided chamber

28
by magic and main force. The twin arms of the hall psionicists take shifts, clairvoyantly surveying
chamber originally served two separate functions. the surrounding area, sending routine messages to
Mission planning on the left, led by Matthias, and other Council members, and so on. One room
routine administration on the right, supervised by holds a small selection of spell components and
Romila, have recently become by unspoken agree- scrolls, packed in a couple of trunks for easy porta-
ment separate headquarters for the chapters pro- bility during an evacuation. The sick room holds
and anti-Divulgence factions. healing herbs and poultices in clay jars, along with
The left half: The three rooms comprise Mat- several padded cots and clean linens.
thiass spartan living quarters (guarded by a crystal The Second Room: Romila has converted one
parrot from the Tome Of Magic); a large research of the spare rooms here into another meeting room,
and testing room, a guest room, used as a refuge for where her pro-Divulgence supporters gather to de-
fugitives or interrogation of prisoners, and a meet- bate strategy. All visitors to the headquarters under-
ing room. stand that the second meeting room represents a
The testing room currently holds several obsidian silent, non-threatening symbolic gesture.
spheres, taken from King Kalaks ziggurat after his Since this Second Room debuted, Matthias
death. Kalak required these spheres for his attempt has found excuses to avoid entering this half of the
to transform into a dragon, as detailed in the Drag- chamber, nor has Romila entered his half. If Mat-
on Kings rulebook. The spheres magic vanished thias summoned her there, she would go-probably.
with their owners life, but Alliance specialists have Tension in the stronghold has increased perceptibly,
diligently tried to unlock their secrets nonetheless. as everyone waits to see what happens the day Mat-
The right half: In the various chambers along this thias actually sends for Romila.

29
Safe House in the event of a backlash? Some in the Alliance
find this suggestion despicable.
Another sanctuary in the Tradesmens District,
What about revealing just the names of known
once the official Alliance headquarters, still serves
defilers, then letting mob justice do its work? Would
as an emergency hideout for wizards far from Kalla-
this manipulation of hatred help the lot of pre-
Kouro. A small and unassuming shop that once
servers?
sold musical instruments not far from the arena now
If the wizards divulge their existence, then what?
appears closed and boarded over. An Alliance
Do they take a hand in governing Tyr, or use their
member who whispers the phrase Free Tyr in the
magic to help the city recover? Or should the society
back alley triggers a passwall spell that allows entry
avoid directing its members toward a particular
through a plain adobe wall.
goal, instead letting them pursue their own aims?
The small, dark shop holds a store of food and
Each of these thorny questions has at least two
water, a dozen sets of templar robes and other cos-
sides, and in the Tyr Alliance it seems someone rep-
tumes in assorted sizes, and first-aid equipment
resents every possible combination of views
such as bandages, herbal medicines, and tourni-
remarkable for an organization so small. In
quets. A crystal ball or other communication device
headquarters and at cell meetings, the debate has
lets the user contact headquarters, at the DMs dis-
gone on for months and many exhausted members
cretion.
have begun to think about forcing the issue.
The Alliance operates similar safe houses around
What will happen?: The player-characters should
the city, changing their locations every year or so.
exercise decisive influence on the debate. They may
The entire Council can relocate to any of them at a
act to provoke Divulgence themselves, or they may
few hours notice, making its new headquarters
happen upon a Divulgence plot and prevent it. If
there.
they meet with the Council on a mission, they could

Divulgence in the Game argue persuasively for one side, showing the opposi-
tion the error of its ways. To dramatically demon-
Should the Alliance go public? The DM must strate this, one faction could journey from its
decide according to what direction he wishes the meeting room to the other factions chamber.
campaign to take. What makes the player characters right and their
opponents wrong. The storys plot, of course.
The Issues Everything depends upon the direction the cam-
paign will go.
Almost all residents of Athas outside the Alliance
hate and despise wizards. Can preservers teach the
populace the difference between preserving and de- Directing the Action
filing magic? Will the people listen? Having lis- The beginning of this chapter listed the many
tened, will they care? tones a Veiled Alliance campaign can take. Divul-
What else does Divulgence entail? Public revela- gence and its results can transform the campaign
tion of each members identity? The Alliance head- into a new style.
quarters? If so, how can they avoid attacks from Suppose the campaign should emphasize hero-
fanatics? If not, how can the wizards build the pub- ism, and the player characters should help make
lics trust? Perhaps a dummy public headquarters Athas a better place to live (or at least a less deadly
should be set up, staffed by expendable auxiliaries

30
place to survive in). In this scenario, Divulgence able clues, provoke the player characters to support
should work fairly well. With a suitably dramatic Divulgence, and then bring down disaster on the
demonstration, citizens realize that not all wizards Alliance. Dont! This betrayal gains nothing but
share responsibility for the destruction of Athas. bad feelings and could destroy the campaign.
With genuine aid to the populace, preservers build
support. People come to them for help. Members Adventure Hook
can communicate freely with each other through a
1. The characters hear of the haunted bath-
public headquarters. The publics acceptance
house in the Warrens. Investigating, they discover
comes slowly, but the party can improve the Alli-
the Alliance headquarters and must evade death
ances position through its heroism.
long enough to explain themselves. Morthen over-
If you prefer the somber campaign approaches or
comes his natural caution long enough to let the
dont want to change the Alliances role so drasti-
party face initiation. He needs allies in the Divul-
cally, then Divulgence fails-or would have failed, if
gence controversy. Alternately, the party may find
the player characters prevented it. No one under-
the headquarters during Romila Parthians shift,
stands or cares about the distinction between pre-
and she recruits them for the same reason.
serving and defiling magic. A demonstration of
2. Athrialix has finally convinced Romila to force
magic or revelation of the wizards identities would
the Alliances hand on Divulgence. She and her
bring down the wrath of the entire city, united in
sympathizers plan to go to the market and make
hatred. Redoubled persecution would drive the Alli-
grass grow everywhere, then follow this with a fire-
ance back underground, weaker than before. From
works show and entertaining illusions. This, they
then on, the characters must draw on their last re-
hope, will promote public acceptance. (Talk about
serves of strength to defend their cause.
entertaining illusions!)
Deciding: Each style has its virtues. Decide
The player characters hear about this from Twile,
whether to change things for the better, for the
the street kid, who has also finally seen Athrialix
worse, or to preserve the status quo. Having deter-
cast defiling magic. The boy barely escaped with his
mined Divulgences outcome, plant clues that the
life, and now the defiler hunts him. The player char-
player characters may use to make their decision. If
acters may try to head off the Divulgence, or they
Divulgence would mean suicide, stage a few scenes
might lend their support to make sure it comes off
of lynch mobs pursuing exposed preservers, and let
well. Then they should go after Athrialix. To protect
the party overhear tavern patrons vitriolic expres-
Twile, they should bring him alongat least, so he
sions of hatred against mages.
argues. In the adventure Twile works as a story de-
But if Divulgence would be the best thing that
vice to provoke or sidestep plot complications.
ever happened to the Alliance, the player characters
should detect notes of confusion among the citizens
in the marketplace, and a spirit of acceptance. En-
courage them to risk a few good deeds of magic to
rescue desperate people from their plights, and
stress the rescuees gratitude. Soon the players
should understand that Tyr has grown ripe for
change.
A devious DM might plant misleadingly favor-

31
Overview ments, staircases, and spacious porticos surrounded
by fluted marble columns. Winds sweep through
Campaign style: Aggressive, Successful.
echoing peristyles enclosed by long colonnades.
Balics Alliance has found itself powerful allies. The
Wide streets radiate from Andropiniss central for-
Dictator, Andropinis, continues to oppress and en-
tress.
slave Balikite citizens. One by one, non-wizard nobles
The bloated and egomaniacal sorcerer-king holds
and artists have resorted to the desperate measure of
regular parades in his own honor. In these lavish
Alliance initiation. Most of those who know of the Al-
processions he rides in a wicker howdah atop Holos-
liance view it as one way to strike back at Andropinis.
tos, the royal mount, an albino inix. City guards
The current Council leader shows such wisdom that
and soldiers compel all to attend and cheer. A citi-
the Balic Alliance, unlike all others, consents to follow
zen may only offer illness or severe injury as excuses
a non-wizard. The former slave Ramphion, a popular
not to attend; those who skip attendance end up
rhapsode (poem singer), leads the citys wizards
with illness or severe injury anyway.
though he knows no magic. How did he attain this
Dress: In Balic the patricians wear a body-length
post? In Balic the members elect their leader.
pleated shirt (a chiton), often with a short cloak (a
chlamys) that leaves the arms bare. The cloak, typi-
The City cally expensive linen imported from Draj, bears a
Population: 27,500 (80% human, 8% dwarf, 3% sedate pattern of checks, thin stripes, and some-
mul, 4% elf, 4% half-giant, 1% thri-kreen, a few times even flowers. Women girdle the chiton just
half-elves and halflings; 5% patricians, 15% above the waist and wear their hair curled and
freemen, 80% slaves). Natives are called Baliki- pinned up with bone or wood pins. Noble women
tes. may also wear a waist-length shawl called a peplos,
Emblems: Sun, sheaves of grain (in peace); but this often proves too hot for even the most over-
sword, shield (in war). dressed Balikite matron. Older human males wear
Economy: Grain, salt, olives, kank nectar; live- pointed beards, but young men wear no beard; all
stock, leather; silver. cut their hair short. Both genders wear sandals or
Noteworthy residents: Andropinis, sorcerer-king boots of inix leather.
dictator (21st-level dragon, LE); Oriol of Magesta- Culture: Ancient ancestors of modern Balikites
los, First Speaker of the Patricians (O-level normal developed an elaborate non-religious mythology of
man, 4 hp, LN); Zanthiros, General of the Militia fictional parables, like fairy tales. This legendary
(F13, 70 hp, LE); Orianestra, Palace Songmistress world pervades all the citys culture, drama, epic po-
(R6, 18 hp, LN); Elvar the druid, protector of the etry, and music.
dictators orange groves (DS, 32 hp, N). Poets seldom write their epics; rather, they memo-
Unusual sites: The Megaleneon, the dictators rize and recite them, then teach them to performers
palace; imperial olive and orange groves; Merchant called rhapsodes. A rhapsode recites or sings a por-
Emporiums in the agora, surrounded by the Elven tion of some popular epic as entertainment at patri-
Market; amphitheatres around the city, sites of play cian gatherings, or in the agora for the ceramic bits
competitions; and the Shining Bridges, monumen- of passersby. Many rhapsodes compose their own
tal marble bridges across silt-filled ravines around work as well. The rhapsodes fulfill the same func-
the agora. tions as bards in medieval society, but they do not
Balic looks clean, if not pleasant. Its monumental belong to the AD&D bard character class and re-
buildings feature ordered designs of friezes, pedi- ceive no special class abilities.

32
The cultural scene, though distorted to reflect jurer visited Tyr to procure a spell component, the
propaganda needs, still draws the intense interest of hair of an elf maiden. He learned of that citys an-
patricians and freemen. The city sponsors competi- cient Alliance while fleeing a pack of elf women who
tions among playwrights and rhapsodes, awarding resented his inquiries. Fascinated with the idea of a
high honors to those whose work gains the most fa- secret society, and fully convinced of its need, he re-
vor from the audience. turned to Balic and began organizing his own chap-
Citizens attend these competitions in huge num- ter.
bers, probably as a refuge from everyday oppres- The societys message of struggle against the
sion. Because of this popularity, intellectuals among sorcerer-king found little favor until recently. For a
the Alliance have begun planting subtle messages of long time the electorate tried to reform the govern-
rebellion in their works. Nothing overt, for every- ment through election of templars. This method
thing is translated into mythology, but a message failed.
which is still clear to the more perceptive members of After a disastrous visit from the dragon 50 years
the audience. Alliance authors have even used their ago, Andropinis cracked down even harder on the
plays and epics as covert recruitment devices. populace to get them to rebuild. Amid this latest
oppression, reform-minded candidates for templar
History often won elections, but most soon perished in unu-
sual accidents. The others mysteriously lost their
The Veiled Alliance arrived late in Balic, because
reforming zeal after a visit to the dictators palace.
most citizens here showed slightly more tolerance for
The turning point for the Alliance came with the
magicians. In the last century Darminius the Ab-
recent death of the templar Rampholon. This high-

33
minded reformer won a sweeping victory in the last chain of references to a cell member. Auxiliaries of
election a decade ago, and survived long enough to the Alliance may even work the productions them-
repeal several hated edicts taxing the sale of salt, for- selves!
bidding certain marriages, and restricting the grow-
ing of oranges and other delicacies. Then his son, Inititation
Ramphion, woke one morning to an anonymous tel-
After the usual Green Test, the Council cur-
epathic message. Following its directions, he found
rently favors missions that hurt Andropinis, how-
Rampholons body on the outlying reaches of the
ever little. Go into his palace, break a vase, and
estate, buried under a pile of salt. The same day,
bring back the fragments. Go into his library of
Andropinis reinstated the edicts.
scrolls and steal the oldest one you can find, and so
The templars removal stilled the open unrest,
on.
but in the next play competition Ramphion offered
Less capable candidates must enter the orange
a stunning drama called Heros Burial. It retold a
groves and bring back oranges. The dictator allows
well-known myth of a heros protest against, and
only his highest templars and staff to enter these
punishment by, evil spirits, but recast the story in
gardens. The more fruit candidates bring back, the
symbolic terms that alert audience members could
better their chances.
not mistake. Following the plays victory in its com-
Sometimes its even easier, depending on the Alli-
petition, the Alliance recruited Ramphion and he
ance patron administering the initiation. Given the
quickly rose to its Council. In the next Cathexis elec-
electioneering that goes on for the leadership, a pa-
tion of Council leaders, the membership voted
tron may prefer to induct new members sure to vote
Ramphion its leader. In his four terms since, he has
his way, waiving the usual requirements for a
brought the Alliance to a new height of influence.
while. This has led to some Myrmeleon infiltration
in lower ranks.
Contacting the Alliance
Visitors from other cities who try the usual recog- Leadership
nition signals usually elicit a whispered message or
Elections
enigmatic note: Attend the play.
Theatrical performances or rhapsode recitations Balic cherishes its strong tradition of voting on
occur almost daily at various amphitheatres around important issues. Granted, the votes for the last
the city, usually starting in early morning and finish- thousand years have made little difference and only
ing before the heat of noon. The works not-quite- a small minority, the patricians, can actually vote.
open expressions of rebellious spirit may astonish Nonetheless, the idea of free elections permeates the
the newcomer. These plays enjoy such popularity entire society.
that the dictator must tolerate their subversive ten- Leaders in other cities usually choose their own
dencies. successors. In Urik, rival factions literally fight to
Some works even present wizards in a somewhat replace their lost leader. Only in Balic do Alliance
sympathetic light, or indicate an awareness of the members vote.
difference between preserving and defiling magic. The election for a leader and three lieutenants
These usually mean the author or presenter belongs takes place in a Cathexis ceremony. An election
to the Alliance. The visitor who wants to contact the usually lasts about one minute. The winner assumes
Alliance may start with the performers and follow a office after 10 days.
Elections occur every three years; the next election

34
takes place in the year of Priests Reverence, one Appearance: He is a hale, hearty man in his early
year after the beginning of the standard DARK forties, well dressed, perhaps a touch vain about his
SUN campaign. You may instead hold the elec- carefully curled hair and beard.
tion shortly after the PCs join the Alliance, so they Role-playing: Ramphion displays sharp insight, a
can either run for the Council or exercise influence realistic appreciation of situations, respect for oth-
in the election. If they run, consider adjusting the ers abilities, and delicacy in handling crises-in
number of lieutenants elected, so that every player other words, fine leadership. He tries to conceal his
character can find a spot. boyish fascination with magic, except among
friends.
Ramphion
Human Male Rogue Zaethus Nauripides
9th-Level Human Male Preserver
Lawful Good 8th-Level
Str 14 Int 17 Lawful Good
Dex 18 Wis 16 Str 12 Int 17
Con 13 Cha 20 Dex 14 Wis 16
Con 15 Cha 14
hp: 50
AC: 6 hp: 28
#AT 1 AC: 10
THAC0: 16 #AT 1
Dmg: by weapon THAC0: 18
Proficiencies: Dagger +1, Quarterstaff, Sling; Dmg: by weapon
Ancient History, Disguise, Forgery, Jumping, Local Proficiencies: Dagger, Quarterstaff; Ancient Histo-
History. ry, Etiquette, Modern Languages, Reading/
Psionics: aura sight. Writing, Riding (Land), Spellcraft. Psionics:
contact, mindlink, invisibility.
Background: Ramphion had already won more
than one play competition before his Heros Burial Background: This once prosperous patrician de-
took the Golden Leaf ten years ago. He became dis- votes his small remaining fortune to the Alliance.
affected and distrustful of the city government only He also provides its headquarters. A close friend
after the death of his father; originally he saw the and ally of Ramph ion, Zaethus has known the lead-
Alliance as a worthy cause because it fought the dic- er longer than anyone else in the Alliance.
tator. Zaethus, though a patrician, drew his familys
In the years since, Ramphion has grown less opti- scorn because theater fascinated him. He even took
mistic about the chances of overthrowing Andro- to the stage under an assumed name. He met Ram-
pinis. But he has come to respect preservers as phion when he acted in one of the playwrights first
fellow artists. Magic fascinates him, though he works, and they became friends. Zaethus joined the
has no aptitude for it himself. Ramphions skillful Alliance along with Ramphion, gave up the theater,
oratory and political savvy brought him enough and redeemed his family standing just in time to in-
votes to lead the chapter. Now in his fourth term, he herit the estate. Zaethus still secretly indulges his
has done well. passion for acting in a way that not even Ramphion

35
knows about. ally is a fop, he exaggerates the behavior. This leads
Zaethus wears a ring of polymorphing that allows some to overlook his genuine intelligence and politi-
him to change shape three times a day. An elderly cal skill.
Council wizard bequeathed it to him as a legacy, in Zaethus provides PCs with their easiest path into
thanks for his loyalty to the Alliance. Now Zaethus the Alliance. He will recruit heroes (and most any-
uses the ring to impersonate any of several imagi- body else) who promise to vote for Ramphion. His
nary henchmen whom he pretends to employ. short-term political gains have led to long-term dan-
He journeys to a hideout on his estate under cover ger, as his recruits have included myrmelon agents.
of psionic invisibility (his native wild talent), then
takes another form. Zaethus uses three forms, rep- Sestus Dimosthenus
resenting his three nonexistent henchmen: Mord Human Male Fighter/Defiler
the mul, a half-giant named Hrink, and an elfwom- Dual-Class F7/W4 (pretends to F7 only)
an, Davriana. Lawful Evil (pretends to Lawful Neutral)
The nobleman plays all these roles to the hilt, col- Str 18 Int 16
oring his portrayals with distinctive behaviors and Dex 18 Wis 8
background details. Just as someone begins to won- Con 20 Cha 17
der why the three henchmen never appear together,
he (as Mord) may drop a remark alleging intense hp: 42
dislike of Hrink, or paint Davriana as untrust- AC: 6
worthy. In this way, observers fall to wondering #AT 3/2 rounds
about the individual mysteries, ignoring the larger THAC0: 13
mystery. Dmg: by weapon +2
Appearance: In true form Zaethus appears tall, Proficiencies: Bow, Crossbow, Dagger +1, Sword
thin, in his mid-fifties, with silver hair and lined aris- +1; Blind-fighting, Etiquette, Hunting, Survival,
tocratic features. He dresses in highest fashion, fa- Tracking.
voring paisley designs, and moves with conscious Psionics: aura alteration.
grace.
As Mord, he wears an apron and sandals of inix Background: Zaethus recently recruited Sestus as
leather, and sports elaborate abstract tattoos on the another vote for Ramphion. In fact, Sestus, a Myr-
shoulders and back. meleon agent, serves Andropinis. Trained as a war-
In half-giant form, vestigial tusks grow from his rior and spy, he showed great ability, and so
upper jaw. Long, incongruously blond hair tumbles Andropinis gave him minimal instruction in magic
down his curved back. He wears only a breechclout (defiling, of course), provided him with magical
and a burlap cape. items to pass the Green Test, and told him to locate
In Davrianas form he appears a willowy young elf the Alliance headquarters and leadership.
woman with yellow eyes, tight brown blouse and leg- So far Sestus has completed most of the assign-
gings, leather boots, and a hooded poncho with ment. He has heard Ramphion speak to his cell,
brown camouflage pattern. Her brusque and ar- and he has talked his way into a Council meeting at
rogant manner provokes suspicion in everyone the Nauripides villa headquarters. Sestus could go
around. to Andropinis right now with enough information to
Role-playing: Zaethus acts the decent fop, but is destroy the Alliance.
self-indulgent and delicate of taste. Though he re- But Sestus has ambitions. He believes the Alli-

36
ance holds a treasure trove of magical items some- great family. Zaethus lives here with his elderly wid-
where in Balic, and he wants them for his own. He owed sister, Venithia, and four domestic slaves.
wont report anything definite until those items ap-
pear and he can grab them. He now believes that Map Key
only winning the position of Council leader can
Exterior: The house has two stories, the second of
achieve this.
which is smaller and set forward, leaving an open
Sestus spreads anonymous lies about Ram-
second-story platform in back. This balcony has no
phions plans, and he has begun to sabotage meet-
rail or curb, nor a door into the house, but Zaethus
ings of Ramphions supporters. With the dictators
sometimes secretly climbs here when in elf or mul
cooperation, he has sprung more than one disaster
form, then invisibly spies on those talking in the up-
on the Alliance, disasters caused by Ramphions
stairs rooms or in the portico below.
errors.
The walls of thin brick do little to keep the houses
Soon Sestus will announce his own bid. He will
temperature consistent, but they protect against
get Andropinis to donate magic sufficient to throw
most attacks and resist breakage well.
the Cathexis election to Sestus. Then he will have
Interior: Chalk-white flagstones pave the court-
power enough to head to the Forest Ridge, root out
yard and portico. Rich tile covers most other floors,
and enslave the halflings, and found his own city-
and expensive Raamish rugs adorn the bedroom
state. Sestus dreams large dreams, and only this has
floors. The furniture in every room, though old and
kept the Alliance alive.
worn, shows elegant taste. Scented candles light
Appearance: He is of medium height, wiry, and
(but dont heat) each room during the cold desert
in his mid-twenties; a seasoned fighter. Sestus wears
nights.
armor as heavy as the heat permits, and carries a
Andron (reception room): Zaethus and Venithia
broadsword in a sheath of oiled leather.
greet visitors in this tasteful room, serving sweet hay-
Role-playing: Sestus exudes great confidence and
frond tea, sesame wafers, goat cheese, and various
carries himself with poise. He seldom speaks. A
condiments.
well-trained spy, he faultlessly carries off the pose of
Workshop: This windowless room has thicker
loyalty to the Alliance. However, he has an easily
walls than the rest of the house. Here Zaethus sup-
roused foul temper that may lead him to ill-
posedly dabbles in woodworking, pottery, and other
considered actions.
respectable noble hobbies. In fact, the clutter simply
Notes: While wearing his usual armor and wield-
conceals the trapdoor entrance to the family tomb
ing his usual weapons, Sestus cannot cast defiling
beneath the villa. When the Alliance meets below,
magic.
they wizard lock both this trapdoor and the work-

Headquarters shop door.


Underground: The family catacombs now hides
The lovely but faded villa of Zaethus Nauripides the Veiled Alliance.
stands on a small plantation near the city gate. Over Rough-cut stones line the passage, or dromos, to
the generations, both the sorcerer-kings ruinous the tombs antechamber. The dusty rooms leading
taxes and the surrounding estates shady maneuver- off this chamber each hold the remains of many past
ing have eaten away at the Nauripides lands. Now, leaders of the Nauripides, now one with the dust
surrounded by thin fields of low, dry wheat plants, that coats every surface in the tomb. These rooms
the villa displays the last faded elegance of a once-

37
hold no treasure, only a jumble of tattered cloth, meeting and killed everyone except the witness. The
rotted wooden shields, and other once-prized heir- news travels through the cells by emergency chan-
looms. nels, setting off a scandal and provoking bad feel-
The room marked Library currently holds the ings against Ramphion.
Balic Alliances voluminous records of its history, Only Zaethus knows that these three henchmen
meetings, research notes, and so on. dont exist. Rather than reveal his secret, he con-
The antechamber leads to a domed tomb, or tho- tacts the PCs to investigate what happened. Alter-
los, a circular room with a vaulted ceiling propped nately, Sestus or another rival of Ramphion can
up by a square pillar. This tomb once held the re- recruit the party, asking them to track the three
mains of the Nauripides founder, and it may yet henchmen. The trail leads to Zaethuss villa, where
but Zaethus has emptied the room of all epitaphs alert characters discover the nobles secret sha-
and memorabilia. In this room the Alliance holds its peshifting. Then he recruits them himself, to find
meetings, hides refugees, and sometimes experi- out who impersonated the henchmen.
ments with new spells or recently acquired magical Sestus arranged the attack by hiring three es-
items. This can hold (DMs discretion) the trea- caped slaves and using a wand (a gift of Andro-
sure trove Sestus seeks. pinis) to polymorph them into the desired forms.
The investigation leads to these three slaves, but
Adventure Hook probably no further, for Sestus hired them while in
disguise- himself. The party can clear Zaethuss
A witness reports to the Council that Zaethuss
name before the upcoming election, but they will in-
three henchmen attacked an Alliance cell during a
cur Sestuss certain wrath.

38
Overview divine Tectuktitlay; Flower War Field, outside
Golden Moon Gate; royal menagerie; royal jaguar-
Campaign style: Aggressive, Unknown.
breeding pens; hempworks, slave-powered mills.
Drajs sorcerer-king, Tectuktitlay, hungers to find
Layout: Draj extends over a larger area than any
the local Alliance headquarters. From his throne
other city-state except Raam, and Raam must ac-
room in his pyramid home, the Temple of two
commodate far more people in its equal area. The
Moons, he has ordered three dozen searches
bulk of Draj contains seemingly endless hemp and
throughout the city.
grain fields, carefully segregated into plots and
All the while, the Alliance leaders plot further at-
farmed by slaves. The Moon Priests maintain a bu-
tacks in their stronghold, a few dozen yards beneath
reaucracy as extensive as the fields they supervise,
the kings sandalled feet.
responsible for distributing slaves, collecting har-
Impossible? No. Tectuktitlay built the Temple of
vests, processing fiber, and meting out citizens ra-
Two Moons long ago as a shell directly over an earli-
tions of grain. They also stage an elaborate, annual
er, centuries-old pyramid. This meant a larger pyra-
cycle of fertility rites.
mid for less work. The Alliance works within the
Beyond Two Moon City, the city-state has no for-
smaller, buried pyramid, surrounded by Draji skull
tress walls. Instead, a mud moat surrounds the
racks that animate and chatter in the presence of
squarish central city, separating it from the fields.
defiler magic.
Entry into this mud moat incurs the death penalty.

The City A stone road crosses the moat, providing the only
entrance into the city. At the entrance stands the
Population: 15,000 (60% human, 15% dwarf, Golden Moon Gate, a thick wooden gate inlaid
5% mul, 15% elf, 3% half-elf, 2% half-giant, a few with obsidian and a decorative tracery of copper.
thri-kreen and halflings; 40% freemen, 60% slave, Slaves meticulously polish this metal daily. Golden
fractional percentages of nobles and Moon Priests). Moon Gate impresses visitors with the greatest con-
Natives are called Draji or the Draj. centration of metal in Draj outside the palace and
Emblems: Feathered serpent, smoking mirror, the Temples of Ral and Guthay. A corps of guards
jaguar, and other ferocious creatures. discourage theft.
Economy: Wheat, rice, other grains, hemp; tur-
keys, rabbits, textiles, straw mats, and pottery. Culture
Noteworthy residents: Tectuktitlay, sorcerer-king
The sorcerer-kings in all the Seven Cities rely on
(22nd-level dragon); Chilocotec, commander of the
cruelty and violence. But only Draj makes these
army (Fly, 70 hp, LE); Queen Tionaca, the Flame
part of its very culture. At all levels of society the
Woman (D8/Psi8, 30 hp, LE); Ixtabai the Blind,
Draji value cruelty, strength, and ferocity, and they
master at the House of the Mind, the kings psi-
sneer at weakness or respect for the enemy. Warriors
onics academy (Psi12, 48 hp, LN); and Maxtlix-
enjoy the highest status, rogues the lowest--few
oco, high templar (T15, 45 hp, LE).
rogues remain alive in Draj for long.
Unusual sites: The Two Moon City (the walled
The main Draji ceremonies all involve war. The
administrative compound in the citys center); Fa-
Flowery Wars (training battles) occur twice a
ther and Master Temple (the kings pyramid pal-
year. Soldiers dress in full feathery regalia, with jag-
ace); the tlacochcalco, or arsenal, within the palace;
uar headdresses and many trophies hanging from
Temples of Ral and Guthay, two lavish shrines to

39
wide leather belts. They fight with real weapons, among the slaves and commoners, and more elabo-
which are stone-edged clubs. The winners gain glo- rate among those of higher status. By law, only war-
ry; the losers get exiled. riors may wear more than one feather.
The citys symbols display this preoccupation. Draji families belong to large clans with lengthy
ferocious jaguar, though now almost extinct histories. The eldest member of each clan leads with
outside the Forest Ridge and the sorcerer-kings unquestioned authority. Clan elders gather periodi-
breeding pens, still represents the citys vicious atti- cally in long buildings called tecpans to debate and
tudes, as does the feathered serpent (probably a resolve problems too ordinary and routine to con-
mythical creature). The smoking mirror, a tradition- cern the templars.
al Draji emblem, indicates a polished obsidian slab. The Draji frown on dance, drama, and most mu-
Superstition says that a coward who peers into the sic as deviations from purity. They redirect these ar-
smoking mirror sees a dark reflection that will ani- tistic impulses into the composition and recitation of
mate, emerge from the mirror, strangle the coward, ceremonial chants. The chants beseech Tectuktitlay
and take his place in society. or the spirits of the land not to harm the city, or
Almost all Draj have coppery skin, black hair, thank them effusively for not having harmed it. Of
black eyes, and little or no facial hair. Most have a the other art forms, only sculpture and painting
wide face, thin lips, and a prominent chin. Slaves command respect, and only when they glorify vio-
wear white breechclouts of hemp cloth. Everyone lence and war.
else dresses in loose, bright-colored shirts and skirts. Architecture: The Draj build low, flat-roofed
All citizens except children wear some kind of head- pueblos with small square windows and open door-
dress, as simple as a roll of cloth or giant-hair braid ways. Dyed mats or feather mandalas decorate their

40
walls. roes, though these heroes serve the king. The
Crafts and science: Draj shows proficiency in three Black Guards, enormous obsidian golems,
some other areas. Draji weavers build advanced guard the royal palace and the two temples devoted
looms and Its feather-work excels all other cities save to Tectutitlays glory. The king created the three
Gulg. guards centuries ago, and their facial features all re-
In contrast to its puritanical arts, Draji cuisine semble his: broad, squat, jowly, thick-lipped, and
surpasses all expectations. Slaves predictably receive flat-nosed, with narrow eyes and sharp cheekbones.
only plain bread and raw vegetables, but even com- The Alliances sparse historical records (now very
mon freemen dine well on heavily spiced dishes of illegal) imply that the king originally commanded a
corn, red and green peppers, several kinds of grain, force of several dozen golems. No record tells the
and dried, pemmican-like erdlu meat. Everyone fate of these, if they ever existed. He has not created
washes down the meal with a fermented cactus juice any more golems for centuries, and no one knows
called pulque. the reason for this either. Some speculate that the
The Draj and Raam calendars, though mutually king offended a powerful elemental being who for-
incompatible, predict the motions of the sun and bade further creations. Wishful thinking, perhaps,
moons more accurately than any other in the Seven but no better explanation exists.
Cities. The Draj calendar numbers years in groups The obsidian Guards have become one more
of 90, apparently a sacred number for Tectuktitlay. symbol of power among the many in Draj. The king
Scholars presume this comes from the appearance parades them before his public in semi-annual cere-
of the messenger comet every 45 yearsfor each cy- monies. These parades culminate in a secret rite in-
cle begins with its appearance. Draji astrologers re- side the palace (possibly a magical renewal of the
gard the comets onset as a time of momentous golems energies) attended only by the king and his
omens. Certain years receive extra days to conform highest templar. Tectuktitlay trusts the golems im-
with the heavens. plicitly, to the point of entrusting the lowest levels of
The calendar labels each group of nine decades his palace entirely to them, rather than relying on
in a regular cycle of nine symbols drawn from the weak and fallible mortals.
citys folklore: White Jaguar, Moon, Prince, Red
Jaguar, Blood, War, Black Jaguar, Serpent, and History
Mirror (Prince refers to a set of legends about
Drajs extremely remote location explains the
Tectuktitlay before he founded Draj). Historians
youth of its Alliance chapter, the newest of any in
give each cycle of 810 years an ordinal number, but
the Tyr Region. Historical records fix its inception
common usage seldom requires this.
firmly in the year White Jaguar 1 of the Draji cal-
The DARK SUN campaign begins in Nine-
endar, corresponding to the Tyr calendars Year of
teenth White Jaguar 84. The messenger appears in
Desert Defiance in the 189th Kings Age.
six years, when the calendar is reset at Moon 1.
In that year the messenger filled the sky with un-
usually brilliant light, visible even in daytime. The
The Black Guards
omen prompted Tectuktitlay, for obscure reasons, to
The Draji only call Tectutitlay their hero when hunt wizards with great vigor. To escape the drag-
they see templars in earshot. But citizens voluntarily net, the preserver Diatlaxi fled by night to nearby
name three other famous residents of the city as he- Raam. There he met more danger from the local

41
mansabdars, who at the time were waging one of grew still more austere, and no current member has
their countless minor wars with Draj. They almost satisfied his stringent tests of morality. (Most agree
arrested Diatlaxi, but by chance a Councillor of the no one could have.) The current leader, Chimali
local Alliance happened on the scene and together Zaachila, governs well enough, but she carries a
the two men overcame the troops and escaped. deep secret that prevents solid action. In this atmos-
Diatlaxi befriended the Raamish wizard, named phere, the PCs might provide the first decent lead-
Virvidna. The Councillor, learning of preservers ership in years.
problems in Draj, showed Diatlaxi secret Raamish
intelligence records that told of a passage (then Contacting The Alliance
sealed) into Tectuktitlays palace, the Father and
Close by Two Moon City, hundreds of merchants
Master Temple.
pitch colorful awnings or tents. In their shade they
Impressed with the idea of the Veiled Alliance,
lay out food of all kinds, clay pots, feathered head-
heretofore unknown in Draj, Diatlaxi joined the so-
dresses, bolts of cloth, hemp rope, twisting sticks of
ciety. After a month or two, though, the licentious
mint candy, rabbit skins, gourds, woven mats, cu-
and libertine atmosphere of Abalach-Res pestilent
rios, and spices. Some offer many strange items of
domain (as he later put it) forced the puritanical
mysterious purpose: trinkets, luck charms. . .
Diatlaxi to seek Council permission to leave the city.
spell components?
He returned to Draj and founded the chapter there.
A character with Spellcraft proficiency might rec-
After long study and planning, the group secretly
ognize a component, then delicately question the
entered the kings pyramid by the lost passage, ex-
seller. Use this opportunity to build suspense. Does
plored, and finally set up headquarters.
the merchant himself know what he sells? Possibly,
Despite this audacity, the Council never succeed-
but the merchant may have picked up the compo-
ed in attempts to infiltrate the palace staff. The
nent as a novelty and may instantly turn over a sus-
Raamish Alliance could capitalize on the sorcerer-
pected mage to the city guard.
queens apathy toward her underlings, but Tec-
tuktitlay oversees his Moon Priests with relentless
zeal. He would spot and destroy spies within a week.
Initiation
The Council dares not magically or psionically A wizard candidate here faces the Green Test in
eavesdrop on the king, only a few dozen yards above one of the hemp fields outside the city. Drajs hemp
their heads, for he would detect these and discover plants tower eight to ten feet tall, with thick stalks
them. and high branches that bear deep green, fern-like
The society has tried much but accomplished lit- leaves. Here, in the dead of night, a well-armed cell
tle around the city. It has successfully promoted a asks the candidate to cast a spell. If the plants die,
few rivalries among the Moon Priest templars, but so does the defiler. Unlike other Alliances, the Draji
then those probably would have occurred anyway. leave the body in the open, as an example.
The whole chapter appears ripe for better organiza- After the Green Test, the cell usually requests a
tion. further test. After two or three days, during which
Unfortunately, no likely prospects to provide this the request filters up by the usual channels and
leadership have appeared. The founder, Diatlaxi, back down, the Council usually assigns a rescue
died of old age a few years ago, after a lengthy reign. mission.
He appointed no successor, for over the decades he Rescue: At any time many prisoners await judg-

42
ment on the pyramid. Most of these prisoners com- Psionics: control light.
mitted either major or minor crimes; any infraction
in Draj brings the death penalty, except in rare Background: Like Balic, the Draji Alliance has a
cases (usually involving the nobility) when the king leader of minor magical abilities. Unlike Balic, the
commutes the sentence to exile. Preservers and aux- Draj chapter doesnt realize this.
iliaries never receive this mercy, so the Alliance often Many years ago Chimali, an anonymous O-level
takes a hand, testing candidates in the process. sage in the Two Moon City, researched the cultiva-
Draji society has no concept of jail, so the tion of corn. In her spare time she studied the histo-
guards hold prisoners in detention pens-lines of ry of magic and wizards. Chimali grew obsessed
small wooden pens at various places around the city. with learning some real magic. She deduced that a
Their lax security measures make rescues easier mul slave, Cocoton, served as an auxiliary in the Al-
than they sound. With proper tactics and courage, liance. She asked to join and study magic.
a party can spring a prisoner unnoticed. Impressed by her intelligence and personality, Co-
Four 4th-level warriors guard a typical line of five coton took Chimali to Diatlaxi, the Alliance leader.
to 15 pens, a pair of guards on each end. Each Chimali impressed him also. He took her on as aide
guard carries an obsidian sword (1d6-1 dmg) and de camp and apprentice, and he kept her low skill
the short spear and rope (1d4 dmg, target caught secret from the Council. Chimali pretended to high-
on a roll of 3 or 4). They may also carry small wicker er powers, in order to serve her leader; Cocoton
shields blazoned with the warriors family arms. helped her conceal the deception.
Each pair works a staggered, four-hour shift. When Diatlaxi died, Chimali boldly took the
The wooden cells have walls three inches thick, lead, bluffing her way by using her extensive lore.
wooden hinges, and primitive peg locks. Each cell She has subordinates to cast spells as an exer-
barely holds one prisoner; sometimes the Draj join cise. Cocoton protects her with psionics.
two or three cells together to hold larger prisoners. Appearance: Chimali is an impressive old Draj
woman who appears trustworthy and wise. She usu-
Leadership ally wears a bright smock and fringed poncho. She
draws her long black hair up in a topknot held with
Chimali Zaachila
a wide copper band.
Human Female Preserver
Role-playing: Chimali acts in utter confidence,
4th-Level (pretends to 14th)
never uncertain and seldom deigning to offer an ex-
Lawful Good
planation for a slip. Increase her proficiency as neces-
Str 12 Int 20
sary to continue her bluff, a mere lack of knowledge
Dex 12 Wis 13
should not betray her, as this lacks drama.
Con 14 Cha 21
Notes: When Chimali casts spells (rarely) her
magic produces a bright yellow glow above the tar-
hp: 14
get and a deep, irregular drumming sound.
AC: 8 or less
After the founders death, Chimali publicly
#AT: 1
claimed his ring of protection +2. She later claimed
THAC0: 17
other items that provide protection and conceal her
Dmg: 1d4 or by spell
bluff. Create these as necessary and continue the
Proficiencies: Ancient History, Spellcraft +2.
deception until a player deduces it.

43
Cocoton tack, shielding her but pretending that she shields
Male Mu Fighter/Psionicist him.
Multi-Classed F7/Psi7 Some alert characters may realize Cocoton con-
Lawful Good ceals his inner self if they hear him play his flute.
Str 20 Int 20 When not guarding Chimali, the mul sometimes re-
Dex 13 Wis 15 laxes at night by sitting beneath the moons and
Con 20 Cha 12 playing heartfelt, longing tunes of great beauty and
sadness.
hp: 45
AC: 8 Nauhyotl Chalca
#AT: 3/2 rounds Human Male Preserver
THAC0: 11 12th-Level
Dmg: by weapon +3 Lawful Neutral
Proficiencies: Harness Subconscious, Hypnosis, Str 13 Int 16
Musical Instrument (flute), Reading/Writing, Re- Dex 14 Wis 10
juvenation. Con 14 Cha 12
Psionics: 31 PSPs; all-round vision, combat mind,
danger sense, poison sense, spirit sense; contact, hp: 35
conceal thoughts, ESP, false sensory input, identity AC: 10
penetration, mind bar, mindlink, truthear; aura al- #AT: 1
teration, psychic surgery. Defense modes: All but THAC0: 17
tower of iron will. Dmg: by spell
Proficiencies: Dagger; Etiquette, Herbalism, Mod-
Background: Diatlaxi recruited Cocoton into the ern Languages, Reading/Writing, Spellcraft.
Alliance while the mul was still young. The founder Psionics: control wind.
saw in him an ideal warrior and spy. He secretly
taught him to read and write, and ordered a psioni- Background: Nauhyotl served Diatlaxi well, and
cist to train his mind. the young man fervently admired the founders pie-
Only the mul knows Chimalis secret, and he uses ty, even though, in the elders opinion, Nauhyotl
every power at his disposal to conceal it. Cocoton fell far short of that ideal himself. Now, Chimali
serves Chimali loyally, in more ways than anyone leads the Alliance, and Nauhyotl serves her too, de-
else suspects. He believes she can benefit the Alli- spite her obtrusive mul guardian. But something
ance, given experience. about her bothers him. . . .
Appearance: Big and muscular, Cocoton looks Because of this uncertainty, Nauhyotl hasnt yet
dumb and impassive, for he conceals his native in- reported the templars latest attempt to infiltrate the
telligence. He wears padded cloth armor of Draj Alliance. A mysterious old templar visited Nauhy-
make, and has tattooed both arms with the citys otl in the night. He hinted that Nauhyotl knew
usual symbols of war. something of magic, and of many who practice mag-
Role-playing: Quiet but alert, Cocoton skillfully ic. If so, Nauhyotl might gain wealth and influence
avoids arousing suspicions of his psionic ability. He in return for cooperation with the kings worthy
retreats to safety near Chimali when under at- goals. Nauhyotl said nothing, and the templar de-

44
parted, leaving behind a genuine gold coin. The tunnel remained intact, and generations later
Gold! Nauhyotl had almost never seen it, let the Alliance discovered it.
alone owned it. He decided a hundred times to
throw the coin away, and reconsidered each time. The Kings Palace
He hardly knows what to do.
The upper levels of the Father and Master Tem-
Appearance: He is a bright, upstanding-looking
ple (those built on the shell of the earlier pyramid)
young man, thin and wiry, with an owl-like stare.
contain many administrative cells, a large holding
Role-playing: Nauhyotl means well, at least for
cell, a kitchen, and domestic rooms. A lower level
the moment. But he has unhealthy ideas, feels sensi-
holds rooms where the king confers with his tem-
tive about his uncertain status, and can rationalize
plars and generals.
anything. Not yet corrupted, he may become cor-
The lowest levels of the outer pyramid contain
rupt, especially if the PCs assume greater favor
treasure rooms and living quarters for Tectuktitlay
than he.
and his queen, Tionaca, called the Flame Wom-
Notes: Nauhyotls spells create a shimmering au-
an for her red hair. These levels have no living
ra, like desert air on the horizon, around his hands
guards. Only a Black Guard, aided by lesser magi-
and every object in the affected area. His spells also
cal sentinels, protects them.
create the sound of desert wind and the smell of
(Red hair? Tionaca grew up in Raam of Balilan
dust.
parents, refugees from Andropiniss occasional
purges. Draji soldiers took her prisoner during an
Headquarters incidental war with Raam 20 years ago. Tectuktitlay
The Alliance headquarters resides beneath the saw her among the prisoners, took her as his concu-
shell of Tectuktitlays Temple of Two Moons. The bine, and eventually married her. He gave her the
king built this pyramid five centuries ago over the Draji name Tionaca, meaning firelight, and for-
shell of a smaller one he had built eight centuries bade her from using her given name, Niobe. She
before that. He has all but forgotten about the has strongly mixed feelings about Tectuktitlay.)
smaller pyramid, and none of his Moon Priests The Black Guard does not patrol the lowest level.
have ever heard of it. No one enters this level except the king and queen.
During the larger pyramids construction, a band It contains just one room: Tectuktitlays Crystal
of audacious thieves bribed several templar foremen Garden.
to alter the plans. They built a secret entrance from The Crystal Garden: For 14,000 years the finest
the palace grounds inside the jaguar breeding cages jewelers of the Seven Cities filled this room with per-
to the interior pyramid. They planned to steal into fect quartz replicas of plants. Here are ferns, each
the new palace from underneath, then loot the place tiny leaf a faceted stone; spike-leaved maguey cac-
and retreat the same way. tus, their serrated edges fracturing the light into
After the thieves escaped the palace with their rainbows; translucent marigolds and camellias, and
plunder, the templars turned them in to towering palms; even tall corn plants and cotton
Tectuktitlaythough a portion of their loot myste- bushes, every frond and twig translated into glass.
riously vanished. Tectuktitlay had the secret tun- Council members disagree on the rooms pur-
nel sealed-but not filled in. Perhaps he ordered pose. They know that conventional jewelers crafted
this, but the templars failed to carry out the orders. the crystal plants, and they hold no magic except

45
curses inflicted upon anyone who breaks the fragile smaller room lined with wooden racks of human and
leaves. Some speculate that Tectuktitlay practices demi-human skulls of those who have died in service
new curses here, using the crystal plants as victims. to the Alliance.
Between the racks, on all sides of the room, run
The Entrance long vertical slots. Guards staff these arrow slits,
ready with bows, crossbows, and missile spells.
The secret passage begins in the jaguar cages of
Priests stand ready to cast silence, 15 radius, and
the Two Moon City, directly abutting the pyramid.
other defensive spells.
Xicotencatl, a young Alliance auxiliary who works
Over many years Diatlaxi laid permanent detect
in the breeding pens (Ra3, 14 hp, LG) always keeps
evil and alarm spells on some of the skulls. The
the passages cage empty and escorts members to its
alarm does not produce a loud ring, which might
floor trapdoor. All members must give the pass-
alert those in the outer pyramid overhead. Instead,
word, Have you fed the jaguars their erdlu wings
it sets the skulls teeth clattering. As soon as the
today?
guards hear this either they open fire or they ask for
The unlit passage, three feet wide and seven high,
the password (Beneath the kings feet). Only
leads up a very long slanting staircase and levels off
those who answer correctly may enter. (Optionally,
after a rise of 150', at a 30' tunnel. It ends in a 10'-
this version of the detect evil spell can instead detect
square room lit by a single torch that burns end-
only defilers, whether neutral or evil, and not other
lessly, without smoke. A narrow (5 wide) staircase
evil beings.)
leads down 15 feet.
The room offers no cover. The only exit, a thick
The open stairs going down end in another,
door of agafari hardwood, locks from the other side,

46
and Alliance preservers can wizard lock it at short vampiric drain die or lose energy levels. The PCs
notice. A sharply bending anteroom beyond the may have to help find a new headquarters.
door leaves intruders vulnerable to attacks from the 2. A new headquarters? Perhaps the solution lies
arrow slots. below. The Council must clear out a new level of the
interior pyramideither because it needs more
The Headquarters space or to escape the devices radius of effect. The
Councillors recruit the PCs to explore and extermi-
A round the stairwell barricade the Alliance has
nate.
taken over a dozen small rooms, all on the same floor.
Alternately, something evil escapes from the lower
The society has not moved further into the interior of
levels and paralyzes or controls all the Councillors.
the pyramid, because it does not need more space yet,
The PCs must infiltrate the pyramid without falling
and the lower levels hold long standing dangers that
prey either to the guards or the new menace, and
rose from the centuries-old evils of Tectuktitlay.
drive it away.
Each of the twelve rooms has foot-thick sandstone
3. This hook works best for higher-level characters.
walls and a low arched entrance with a thick wooden
Sensational news out of Raam: Two refugee pre-
door. At any time, up to a half-dozen Councillors
servers claim their kidnapped daughter became the
may occupy private quarters in as many rooms. The
queen of Draj! They believe Tectuktitlay has cor-
remaining rooms hold items recently acquired, spell
rupted Tionacas fundamentally good nature, and
components, a non-magical scroll library with docu-
they want to confront her alone to sway her back to
ments dating back before the Draj Alliances
the path of right. The Council debates strenuously,
founding, and two shelters for refugee wizards.
but the prospect of recruiting the queen compels
Chimali discourages magical experimentation
them to attempt the contact.
here, for fear of detection from above. Most mask-
The PCs become involved when the Council en-
ing spells, such as non-detection, require expensive
trusts them to arrange the details. They dont want to
spell components that the Alliance can hardly
risk exposure, so they employ competent auxiliaries
spare. In emergencies she allows it, so long as the
with the arrangements. They insist that nothing in the
spellcasters erect proper magical camouflage.
process reveals the location of the Alliance headquar-
ters. Otherwise, they grant the heroes wide latitude, as
Adventure Hooks well as great rewards if they recruit Queen Tionaca.
1. King Tectuktitlay installs a new device in his Can the attempt work? You decide the outcome
Crystal Garden, directly above the Alliance strong- based on the direction you want the campaign to go.
hold. The evil device vampirically draws life energy Recruiting Tionaca would boost the Alliances for-
from everything in a large radius to grow new quartz tunes tremendously. But to maintain the Aggres-
plants for the Crystal Garden. Unknown to Tec- sive Unknown tone, you may want to leave the
tuktitlay, the item, a cistern or basin, has weakened players uncertain as to whether their characters ac-
the Alliance in its headquarters below. tually succeeded. Perhaps the evil Tionaca only pre-
The PCs learn of this plight during a routine vis- tends to cooperate, but she dares not reveal the
it. They have little time, hours at most, to trick the Alliances strategy to the king-because she hopes
king into giving up the item or to steal it from the to enlist the wizards as pawns in her scheme to take
Crystal Garden. If they fail, the Alliance still sur- control of the kingdom herself and depose Tectuktit-
vives, but those Councillors who fell victim to the lay.

47
Overview Puy, Fetish Keeper (C8, 25 hp, LG).
Unusual sites: Sunlight Home (Lalali-Puys pal-
Campaign style: Aggressive, Struggling.
ace); Mopti Wall, a miles-long thorn wall around
Gulgs Alliance survives mainly because it avoids
city (mopti, thorn tree); the Grove of Mysteries,
directly opposing the citys sorcerer-queen, Lalali-
the forest grove outside Gulg, guarded by the druid
Puy. The organization does not see her as a great
Extambolan (mul, Sphere of Earth, D15, 50 hp,
danger despite her infamous personal cruelty
N).
citizens recognize her as the Tyr Regions only be-
nevolent dictator.
Of the sorcerer-kings, only Gulgs Lalali-Puy
Instead, the Alliance here pursues a still more far-
genuinely wants to rule her city well. Though not
fetched goal. Alone among the seven chapters,
kind by any standard, she recognizes that her for-
Gulgs Alliance works aggressively to restore Athas
tunes depend on the city-states health. As a result,
to its former verdant glory.
citizens of Gulg find life more than halfway livable.
Attainment of this dreamers goal has met little
Only templars and the nobility could call their lives
luck. The principal reason lies with its sole leader,
good, but even slaves live tolerably well, com-
who blindly follows the orders of an entity called
pared to their counterparts elsewhere.
the Shadow Tree. He believes this tree of life,
The reason lies in the societys uniformity, strong
hidden underground, represents a reborn deity.
cultural values, and system of nobility. The culture
The tree actually harbors a duplicitous, irrational
reveres the wisdom of elders, the sanctity of forest
ghost whose instructions will drive the Alliance to
life, artistic expression in all parts of life, and har-
ruin -unless the PCs can help.
mony between society and the wild. Nobles attain

The City their status only through keen understanding of the


forest. Their hunting supports the city and most of
Population: 8,500 (80% human, 5% dwarf, 3% them realize the interconnected nature of life. Other
mul, 7% elf, 3% half-elf, 2% thri-kreen, a few half- cities on Athas seldom reach such enlightened un-
lings and half-giant slaves; 5% templars, 15% no- derstanding. Nibenay, in particular, regards the for-
bility, 20% noble kin, 60% slave). Natives are called est purely as a source of raw materials. This helps
Gulgs. explain the bitter hatred between the two cities.
Emblems: The hegbo, a large lizard regarded as a On the other hand, Gulgs mistrust foreigners
loyal guardian of its young; also many abstract sym- and show little tolerance for nonconformists, exiling
bols. such criminals for life. Those who commit real
Economy: Hunting, livestock; fruit, vanilla, crimes suffer torturous imprisonment until the next
cloves, spices, nuts; copra; textiles, feathers; some Red Moon Night, when eager hunters chase freed
furs and hardwoods. prisoners through the forest.
Noteworthy residents: Lalali-Puy (pronounced Gulgs prize hunting skill. Some outsiders who
pie), sorcerer-queen 21st-level dragon); Moda- know of their deep reverence for animal life find this
gisho, her lieutenant and advisor (male, Tmp18, 60 a curious contradiction. Elaborate Gulg folklore
hp, LN); Taibela, Chief of Thieves, freeman (male justifies the hunt as a contest between hunter and
half-elf, F9/T11, 35 hp, LN); Agafari, real prey. Once caught and killed, the preys spirit es-
name unknown, local head of The Order (female, capes to the forest to inhabit a new body, beginning
Psi21, 70 hp, NG); Spunt, palace clown and slave the contest anew. Hunters thus feel a bond with ani-
(female halfling, T5, 20 hp, CN); and Habban- mal prey. In contrast, they feel only contempt for the

48
humans and demihumans they hunt each Red bead necklaces.
Moon Night, for these opposed the social order Architecture: The Gulgs build their homes with
the ultimate crime. sun-dried clay bricks and thatch their roofs with
straw and vines. They model their homes, called da-
Culture gas, using free curves and circles. Each looks as
unique and interestingly crafted as a fine pot. No-
From time to time everyone observes that no two
bles personally paint their homes ocher and white,
families on Athas seem to have quite the same skin
and sculpt many seats, nooks, and frames in the
color. Though this holds true in Gulg as well, people
clay walls.
here tend toward much darker skin than anywhere
Homes stand in many small complexes, usually
else. They possess wiry black hair and eyes, except
around a well or granary. The layout of the com-
for more than the usual number of albinos (the
plexes varies widely. Some incorporate a small gra-
moon people). Gulgs overall grow taller than cit-
nary in or beside each home, whereas others cluster
izens elsewhere, and tend toward thin builds and
around one large granary. Some stand in orderly
long necks, with a pronounced bulge on the back of
rows; others seem scattered like seeds. Each cluster
their heads.
represents a close-knit neighborhood of people who
Both males and females dress in brightly-colored
watch out for each other. A mix of classes inhabits
skirts; women wear longer skirts hung from one
each complex.
shoulder. Older people wear loose pale-colored caf-
Art: Gulg art displays less polish than that of
tans, a mark of status. Every adult displays some
Raam or Nibenay. More citizens here create art,
sort of jewelry, from heavy earrings to elaborate
but view it as idle pursuit rather than professional

49
discipline. Nearly everyone learns rudimentary the next time the queen decides she needs paper.
painting and jewelry-making as a child and perhaps The Noble Speech: By the queens decree, no-
weaving or bone-carving in adolescence. They prac- bles in Gulg use a consciously archaic form of com-
tice these crafts through life and dispose of the mon speech, taught them when they achieved noble
products casually. Only in the Sunlight Home court status. This high speech uses formal, flowery
do professional artists sharpen their skills to match diction and obsolete words. No one has asked the
those of other cities. queen why she requires this, or at least no one has
Gulg has no written literature or drama. Its folk survived the question. Evidently she maintains the
tradition includes many animal fables and myths, speech patterns of her early court, now 10,000 years
and its vigorous, rhythmic percussion music has in the past.
spread to other city-states. In the campaign, have Gulg nobles speak with
thee and thou, and use stilted speech: In
The Paper Nest truth, I bring grave news from our valiant warriors.
When not around the queen or her templars, a no-
Gulg hosts another secret society besides the Veil-
ble may relax into ordinary dialogue.
ed Alliance, this one sponsored by Lalali-Puy. A
small membership, comprised of the most favored
nobles, carries out one sacred task: making paper.
Red Moon Night
In Gulg as elsewhere on Athas, few cultures make Among several rites that allow candidates to enter
paper in large quantities, and some know nothing of the nobility, Red Moon Night has become the best-
the process. Paper serves as an emblem of office and known.
only the queen and nobility may use it. Whenever the supply of prisoners grows large, as
The Paper Nest, named for the paper wasp nests happens twice a year or more, Lalali-Puy sends
that cling beneath agafari trees in the forest, in- them into the forest, unarmed and on foot, on a
cludes between one and two dozen members at any night when both moons are full. The candidate
given time. Lalali-Puy heads the society herself. As hunters wait an hour, then set off on foot armed only
paper supplies dwindle, she alerts her chief templar, with spear and dagger. Prisoners who survive until
Mogadisho, to gather the Nest. In the dark of morning go free, though the queen exiles them for
night, cloaked by the queens spells, they enter the life. Hunters who bring in one or more prisoners
orest and walk to a baobab grove no other citizen bodies (or just the heads) receive noble status at the
may enter. There they harvest mulberry branches next High Sun ceremony.
from its many bushes. Back at Sunlight Home, they Prisoners include criminals, enemy troops, and
begin the paper-making process in a taboo cham- (the majority) those who simply said one wrong
ber, in the trunk of the Sunlight Homes tree. The thing in the queens presence. Lalali-Puy flies into
nobles vow renewed loyalty to Lalali-Puy, and they terrible rages at anyone who disagrees, makes an in-
leave at dawn. appropriate jest, or does something improper. Be-
The Paper Nests importance lies not in its cer- cause her idea of impropriety varies with
emonial duties, but in its secret power-sharing. On- circumstance, her attendants live in constant fear.
ly here does the queen, otherwise autocratically Occasionally, having condemned the malefactor to
careless of counsel, seek advice from her underlings run on Red Moon Night, she relents and forgives
on issues of the day. They confer with each other as the victim. As a token of her mercy, she merely has
well, setting the direction the city-state will take until his tongue cut out.

50
The frequency of Red Moon Nights varies as the wizard must carry the fetish, touching his skin, all
story requires. If the PCs become prisoners or of- that time. If the fetish breaks contact with the skin
fend the queen, they will certainly become prey in for more than a minute or two, the process must
the next hunt, which should occur shortly. begin again. Also, no one other than the owning
wizard may touch the item. If anyone does, add an-
Rites of Passage other month to the preparation time for each for-
eign touch. A wizard may carry only one fetish at a
All children undergo an arduous initiation rite at
time.
puberty. The child enters the forest alone without
After at least one year, on the night of the wiz-
food or water, cannot eat, and can drink (if he finds
ards birthday, he or she enters the forest and tries
water) only at sunrise and sunset. The child must
to summon the totem spirit. The attempt takes the
walk away from any path or clearing and thrash
entire night. Start with a base roll of 2 or less on
through the dense underbrush.
1d20, add the characters Wisdom saving throw bo-
After three or four days without food the child
nus and Charisma Reaction Adjustment modifier
usually receives a vision, one that often involves
(if any), and add 1 for each year the character has
some beast of the forest. This animal becomes the
carried the fetish.
childs totem, a source of strength and am omen of
A successful roll means the wizard has summon-
destiny. For example, a child who sees a hawk can
e d a n a s p e c t , o r p a r t , o f t h e t o t e m s p i r i t , then
expect to become a scout, probing enemy defenses.
bound it to the fetish and put it to sleep there. If the
One whose vision includes a shrew becomes a gar-
roll fails, nothing bad happens. The wizard may try
dener. After the vision, the child may eat and drink
again without penalty one year later, and prepara-
and can return to the city. There the new citizen re-
tion need not start over. (Note that only an aspect of
ceives a new name, the so-called honor name,
the totem spirit resides in the fetish. The totem still
and instruction in various legends and mysteries
may appear at other initiations, and others may
from the local sage.
summon it.)
Those with magical talent can learn to focus the
After the spirit occupies the fetish, the wizard
totems strength and magic in the creation of a fet-
need no longer carry it, gains no more bonuses for
ish, or embodiment of the totem animals spirit. It
doing so, and incurs no penalty if anyone else touch-
Insists of a bone or patch of fur from the totem
es it. Treat the fetish as a standard magical item,
animal, often decorated with feathers or carved with
except that only that individual wizard may use the
symbols.
fetish.
Creating the Item (Optional Rules) During that night, the wizard also learns and re-
cords in his spellbook the 1st-level spell summon fet-
A wizard who undertook this initiation rite at pu- ish spirit.
berty can create a magical fetish at any level. A wiz-
ard not receiving a totem at puberty must use the Summon Fetish Spirit (Conjuration/Summoning)
usual rules for enchanting an item (that is, achieve Range: Touch
11th-level first). In that case, ignore the following Components: V, M
rules and use the DMG procedures instead. You Duration: Special
may also decide you dont want fetish magic in your Casting Time: 5
campaign. Area of Effect: Special
Creating a fetish takes at least one year and the Saving Throw: None

51
This spell awakens the sleeping spirit bound to Spirit Types
the fetish. The wizard must build a skeleton or
The forest between Gulg and Nibenay can in-
model of the totem animal and incorporate the fet-
clude totem spirits of any or all the animals that
ish into it. This requires one turn per Hit Die the
dwell there. When a PC undergoes initiation, select
wizard wants the summoned spirit to have, to a max-
an animal totem appropriate to that characters be-
imum of 5 turns + the wizards level.
havior. A strongly aggressive character might re-
At casting, the spirit transforms the skeleton or
ceive a panther totem, whereas a powerful but
model into the body it will use. Then the spirit tries
peaceable type would draw the bear totems atten-
to carry out one task the wizard requests, so long as
tion. A stealthy thief might end up with a rat or lynx
it can finish the task before the next sunset or sun-
spirit. And so on.
rise (whichever comes first). After at least one round
Each totem spirit has special abilities, but all have
of bickering, the spirit tries fairly to fulfill the tasks
several powers in common. Only +1 or better mag-
meaning. For example, Rescue me from these ene-
ical weapons can hit a fetish spirit; non-magical at-
mies or Guide me through the forest safely.
tacks do no damage. A spirit can turn invisible at
The spirit has abilities typical of an animal of that
will to all eyes except the summoning wizards, but
many Hit Dice, as well as magical powers.
the wizard who summoned it can always see the spir-
After the spirit completes the task, it tries to es-
it. The spirit cannot attack while invisible.
cape the wizards power. The wizard must make a
Design individual totem spirits as necessary.
Charisma ability check (roll his Charisma score or
Common spirits include bear, great cat, rat, lizard,
less on 1d20). If the check succeeds, the wizard has
bat, toad, and the like. Statistics for all these appear
forced the spirit back into the fetish, and he may
in the first Monstrous Compendium volume. Use
retrieve the fetish from the skeleton or model. Fail-
these statistics, add the special abilities above, and
ure means the spirit has gotten free and may attack
adjust the Hit Dice total according to how long the
the wizard, his companions, or simply escape. The
wizard spent making the skeleton or model.
spirits physical form wreaks great damage until the
next sunset or sunrise, whichever comes first. Dam-
History
age should work against the wizards interests, not
in his favor. Then the spirit vanishes with the fetish, Some evidence indicates that the same wizard
never to return. founded the Alliance chapters in both Gulg and
The first time the wizard summons the spirit, the distant Raam. After Tyr, Urik, and (probably) Ni-
Charisma check takes no modifier. On each subse- benay, Gulg and Raam may harbor the oldest Alli-
quent summoning, the wizard incurs a -3 cumula- ance chapters in the Tyr Region. No one knows
tive penalty to the Charisma check. Also, the spirit which has seniority.
grows more quarrelsome, hostile to the wizard, and Both chapters claim descent from Clennay the
slower to fulfill its task. The DM may impose addi- Impetuous, described as a wild-eyed foreigner
tional penalties if the wizard summons the spirit from the west. Possibly Clennay never existed ex-
more often than once a year. cept in legend, for the two cities report his eventual
Dispel magic and similar spells destroy the spirit, fate differently.
but as long as the fetish remains intact, the wizard In Gulg, Alliance record keepers claim that Clen-
can summon the aspect again, but no sooner than nay tried to create a bear fetish but failed because
one day later. he had not undergone the passage rite at puberty.
The fetish spirit consumed him, transformed him

52
into a bear, and he fled into the forest forever. poreal defiler, centuries dead, in life named Por-
In Raam they say that hunters from Gulg spotted tynx. Perhaps because he had died trying to drain
Clennay and hunted him for sport during a savage life from others to nourish his own, Portynx in death
Red Moon Night. Clennay fled to safety in Raam had grown fond of the essence of the trees of life. He
(conspicuously avoiding Nibenay, for unknown rea- developed his taste in Lalali-Puys own orchard
sons) and founded the Alliance there. This account near the palace, but the templars discovered and ex-
makes no mention whatsoever of fetish magic. In- pelled him.
stead, it claims that Clennay died in heroic battle Finding Aukash and divining his situation, Por-
against the sorcerer-queens templars, his spirit tynx the ghost psionically sent a vision into the pre-
journeyed to Gulg to curse the wizards there for servers mind: the hallucination of a restored Athas,
their cowardice, and the repentant wizards founded loud with bird calls and green with rain forests of
an Alliance to avoid his curse. Gulgs Alliance de- broadleaf ferns, of creeping vines, towering locust
nies this story but offers no speculations about the and cypress and cashew trees, a vision to serve the
origins of the Raam chapter. ghosts own desires for life to drain and destroy.
In the centuries after its founding, the Gulg Alli- Portynx camouflaged his motive, and Aukash took
ance espoused no goals beyond the Five Aims. In the vision as a prophecy. Still deranged, he fell com-
fact, it paid only lip service to any goal beyond pro- pletely under the visions sway, never knowing its
tecting preservers. Gulg had less urgent need to source.
overthrow its sorcerer-king than other cities, and The wrong turn: Portynx sent more psionic im-
Nibenays vehement prosecution of its crusade ages into Aukashs mind. Following these instruc-
against defilers reduced their numbers greatly. The tions, Aukash used a move earth spell to hollow out
Gulg Alliance pursued a low-profile, defensive a space in the grove beneath a dead baobab tree.
strategy, and in this it has succeeded. Then, guided by the ghost, he bravely stole one of
The setback: Ten years ago, Lalali-Puys tem- the sorcerer-queens trees of life and transplanted it
plars discovered its headquarters. They assaulted to the underground lair.
the stronghold, taking the Council by surprise. On- Portynx has persuaded Aukash that the tree rep-
ly one Councillor escaped. resents a deity of the Sphere of Water, long absent
Ordinarily a survivor would retreat for a time, from Athas but now returned to make the world
then return in secret and gradually recruit a new green again. The ghost actually wanted the tree as
Council. But not this time. an endless source of life energy for its insatiable ap-
The survivor, a young and talented man named petite. Residing in it, Portynx has grown drunk on
Aukash-Pad, went mad from grief, or perhaps from its energies and now sends images to Aukash almost
a templars curse. Aukash fled into the forest, hid- at random. The deranged wizard often reads com-
ing in the queens forbidden baobab grove. After mands into these hallucinations, then sends instruc-
days without food or water, he saw a vision of Athas tions to the Alliance based on them. The results
restored to beauty, its stark hills shimmering with vary from fair (researches into high-level spells to re-
fields of clover, shaded by mighty trees, its sky filled store vegetation) to disastrous (public attempts to
with clouds, and the Sea of Silt transformed into a grow grass in city streets).
blue-green ocean. With the vision came the convic- Aukash now leads the Alliance alone. He has dis-
tion that Aukash, himself, must lead the Alliance to pensed with lieutenants, giving orders directly to his
achieve this goal. contacts in the first-rank cells. When recruiting a
But a ghost resided in the baobab grove; an incor- new cell, Aukash makes it first-rank under him, but

53
never tells its members that he himself leads the Al- hunt. To qualify for the Alliance, candidates must
liance. Instead, he conveys orders as though from hunt the member who recruited them, or another
the Council. Few suspect that the conventional mage from the same cell. At sunset the wizard sha-
pyramid structure has vanished, replaced with a peshifts into an animal form, then runs into the for-
dangerously loose arrangement of cells that only one est. (The wizard cannot, under the rules, take on a
commands. new form during the hunt.) After an hour the can-
didate follows, charged with locating and subduing
Contacting The Alliance the prey before sunrise without killing him.
This policy has alienated many members, who
Visitors to Gulg with patience and a taste for for-
cite it as evidence of Aukash-Pads poor leadership.
est life can find a local mage by staking out a forest
Since he instituted this initiation procedure, few
source of spell components. These may include
have tried to recruit new members. Aukash himself
mushrooms, odd-shaped leaves, hardwood, and
became the main recruiter, creating cells answerable
other items. Then they wait; eventually a wizard
directly to him, though the members dont realize
should come harvesting.
this.
For those with tighter schedules, a journey
through several clusters of houses may turn up one
that appears more cluttered and more strangely dec-
Leadership
orated than the rest. Few Gulg homes have doors, Aukash-Pad
which makes the search easier. Magical decorations Human Male Preserver/Priest
dont appear obvious, for obvious wizards suffer in- Dual-Classed W14/Pr3
stant retribution. But adventurers with experienced (Sphere of Water; unaware of priest level)
eyes may spot a concealed glyph or ward, a curious Lawful Good
item that might serve as a spell component, or a resi- Str 13 Int 17
dent who spends much time home, studying. Dex 12 Wis 16
A visitor who finds a presumed mage cannot rely Con 13 Cha 14
solely on the usual recognition signs. Gulgs gener-
ally mistrust outsiders. The visitor must present hp: 34
signs of friendship, such as a token gift or service (a AC: 10
rare spell component usually works). The mage may #AT: 1
then offer a rendezvous, often in the forest, and pro- THAC0: 16
vide the requested assistance. Dmg: by spell
Proficiencies: Dagger; Animal Handling, Heat
Initiation Protection, Reading/Writing, Religion, Somatic
Concealment, Spellcraft +1, Water Find
The Gulgs dislike foreigners as a rule, and their
Psionics: time/space anchor.
Alliance feels much the same. Outlander wiz-
ards receive protection as always, but they cannot
Background: Aukash-Pad grew up in a small for-
usually gain membership unless they have accom-
est village. He showed magical talent early and un-
plished some great deed or otherwise endeared
wisely, then fled the resulting mob and took up
themselves to a member. In this case, the member
residence in Gulg. There he joined the Alliance, re-
may agree to initiate the candidate.
ceived excellent training in magic, and eventually
Gulgs culture stresses the importance of the

54
joined the Council. vincingly demonstrate the error of his ways, perhaps
This did, in fact, prepare him for the shock of by revealing and defeating Portynx, he may submit
Lalali-Puys attack on the old headquarters, and to healing and try to mend the damage he has done.
even for the greater shock of surviving alone. He If you use the optional fetish rules above, Aukash
could have resurrected the Alliance, given time and keeps a small ebony bear fetish that he constructed
his sanity. Unfortunately, a curse gone wrong took as a youth. He summoned the bear once before to
much of his sanity, leaving him open to the ghostly escape the sorcerer-queens attack that destroyed
vision. the Alliance. Aukash fears having to summon the
Aukashs lunatic attempts to restore Athas to its spirit again, for he only just subdued and returned it
former glory have produced an unexpected result. to the fetish the first time.
He studies the ancient lore of the Elemental Plane
of Water, hoping to find wizard spells to bring rain. The Shadow Tree (Portynx)
He scribbles meaningless spell research notes Defiler Ghost
about water, meditates endlessly on them, and per- 12th-Level (in life)
forms purifications he thinks they require. Lawful Evil
The result: Aukash has become a cleric without Str 13 Int 16
knowing it! Each morning he memorizes both Dex 14 Wis 15
his normal spells and his scribbled nonsense, medi- Con 10 Cha 3
tating all the while upon the green visions Portynx
has placed in his mind. This meditation gains him hp: 30
the priest spells that his scribbles alone could never AC: 10
obtain. In the same way he studies the spells #AT: 1
granted to him by the tree of life in his lair. THAC0: 17
Appearance: Aukash is about 35 years old, tall Dmg: 1d6 or by spell
and slender like most Gulgs, with very dark skin and Proficiencies: Dagger; Direction Sense, Modern
shaved scalp. He wears a long linen skirt, yellow Languages, Psionic Detection, Reading/Writing,
with maroon stripes, and a necklace of many small Riding (Land-based), Somatic Concealment, Spell-
bird claws and feathers. craft
Role-playing: Fiercely protective of the Shadow Psionics: contact, mindlink, false sensory input.
Tree and utterly committed to his vision of a re- Special abilities: immune to non-magical weapons;
stored Athas, Aukash feels pity for those who ques- regenerates 10 hp/round when in contact with tree
tion. Nothing can convince him of the truth that of life; can turn invisible at will; Constitution drain
rejuvenating Athas would take thousands of wiz- (see below). Takes double damage from energy-
ards and thousands of years. His compelling oratory draining magic.
has persuaded the more impressionable cells to fol-
low his orders blindly. He never reveals that the Background: See History, above.
Council does not exist. Appearance: Characters should not see Portynx,
When anyone attempts to reveal the true source let alone suspect his existence, until they solve the
of the Shadow Trees visions to Aukash, he attacks mystery of what drove Aukash-Pad to his mad
t h e heretic with murderous fury. quest.
Notes: Aukash-Pads insanity should resist easy Portynx, driven from his haven inside the Shadow
detection and simple magical cures. If the PCs con- Tree, looks tall, bald, and emaciated, with far too

55
broad a grin and too many teeth for a human. His fight him effectively. They can destroy the tree of
skin, once dark, has grown pale. The ghost wears lifes physical form (an evil act); a cleric can turn
protective goggles of the kind many living defilers him (as a ghost); and the spells control undead and
wear (they protect against ash and dust). Leather exorcism also work. Clever characters might lure
pouches seem to dangle from a sash across his chest, Portynx forth with illusions, bribes, or other strata-
but these have no more substance than he does. gems. Taunting and threats, however, dont work.
A glowing, prismatic haze around Portynxs body
shows his incorporeal nature. Chkak-a-chakk
Role-playing: Like most thinking undead, Por- Thri-Kreen Druid
tynx both craves and loathes life. His insanity and 7th-Level
Aukash-Pads reinforce each other. He sends re- Neutral
peated hallucinations to Aukash so that the wizard
will create more life that the ghost can drain. Inside This druid guards the baobab grove that conceals
the Shadow Tree, Portynx has become intoxicated Aukash-Pads lair. An unofficial auxiliary (one of
and irrational, but this effect vanishes when he very few thri-kreen in any Alliance), Chkak cares
leaves the tree. little about the Alliance. It respects Aukash-Pad,
Combat: When Portynx makes a successful at- the only member it knows, and his vision of a re-
tack roll to touch a living target, the target must stored Athas has won it over. It keeps the wizards
save vs. spells. Failure means the target loses 1 point secrets, but it does not guard the lair from intruders.
of Constitution until healed with remove curse or
higher-level priest magic. Subsequent touches inflict Headquarters
cumulative losses, and after the first failed save, the
Gulg natives name several forest preserves outside
target receives no more saving throws against this
the city as The Queens Groves. Lalali-Puy has
attack in that battle. For each point of Constitution
forbidden citizens to enter several areas over the
he drains, Portynx adds 1 to his current hit point
centuries, usually because her armies won victories
total (to its maximum of 30).
there in minor wars against an army of Nibenay.
A target who loses Constitution to this attack
One of these, the Grove of Mysteries, also serves as
dreams often thereafter of trees of life and visions of
an important ceremonial site.
a restored Athas, until cured.
In a different, unnamed grove stand many huge,
Detecting and revealing Portynx: Detect evil and
odd baobab trees, sometimes called upside-down
detect undead both reveal the ghosts presence, but
trees because their twisting limbs look like roots.
detect magic only reveals the magic of the tree of life
Most of these trees died 200 years ago in the battle
he inhabits. ESP and similar effects, carefully di-
this grove commemorates. Some few survive,
rected, may reveal the Shadow Trees secret inhabit-
though, and so the thri-kreen druid Chkak-a-chakk
ant, but spells and devices that detect invisibility do
guards the grove. The sorcerer-queen tolerates its
not, at least while Portynx remains in the tree. Clair-
presence. She doesnt know the druid serves as an
sentient psionic disciplines like spirit sense and sen-
unofficial Alliance auxiliary.
sitivity to psychic impressions reveal the ghost.
None may cut dead trees in a Queens Grove, on
Magical items like a wand of enemy detection or a
penalty of death, for even dead trees shelter animals
potion of ESP also work.
in their branches and rotting trunks. One shelters
Once they find him, the player characters must
the leader of the Veiled Alliance.
drive Portynx from the Shadow Tree before they can

56
Entering the Lair tic, beautiful tree almost fills the entire room, some
90 tall and 30 in diameter.
Deep in the grove stands an especially large, dead
A yard-wide path leads down from the ledge and
baobab, surrounded by a ring of sterile dirt-the
spirals in a gentle incline around the circular cham-
sign of defiling magic. At the base of the massive
ber. This gives characters a fine view of the tree from
trunk a jagged crack leads down to darkness. No
all sides as they descend. This may tempt them to
one suspects that beneath this dead tree, surround-
ignore the six patches of wall where Aukash has
ed by dead dirt, lives Aukash-Pad, the wizard com-
placed more magnetic needles with avoidance spells.
mitted to the greening of Athas.
Anyone who touches these areas, visible on close in-
Using move earth and other spells, Aukash vastly
spection as slightly discolored patches of rock, gets
enlarged an existing grotto under the tree. Then he
flung out from the wall and falls at least 70 feet (7d6
transplanted a tree of life from Lalali-Puys own
damage).
groves. He cast continual light on the grotto walls to
Aukash has placed a patch every six feet along
keep the tree alive, and continual darkness on the
the path for the first 30. Secretly roll a Dexterity
entrance to conceal it.
check for each character who uses the path without
Security: Aukash has contrived similarly inele-
taking suitable precautions; failure means the char-
gant workarounds to protect his home. A small iron
acter has touched an avoidance patch. Fiendish
needle, embedded in a knob of wood in the entry
DMs make all checks simultaneously; a more leni-
crack, carries an avoidance spell; the magic throws
ent one stops making checks after the first failure,
back anyone except Aukash who touches the knob.
thereby warning the victims companions.
A human-sized figure who tries to enter without
touching the knob usually brushes against the oppo-
The Cavern Floor
site edge, tearing open a small paper parcel that
holds a pinch of dust of mind dulling. The path has no other traps. The cavern floor,
The same trigger also activates a magic mouth hard-packed dirt covered with shadows, holds the
spell that creates the sound of panthers roaring knotted roots of the Shadow Tree and a wooden wa-
within the crack. This scares away all but the most ter basin, a shallow dish about 2 in diameter. The
motivated intruders. It also alerts Aukash below, basin, of living wood, grows out of the trunk at waist
giving him time to cast minor globe of invulnerabili- level. Beside it lies a pile of incense granules.
ty and other defenses. Aukash uses the basin for the magic font spell
A thief can use the Find/Remove Traps skill to that the Shadow Tree bestows on him daily. He
detect and disarm the trap. Optionally, non-thief pours clear water down the trunk, purifying it by the
characters who enter the crack without touching the time it reaches the basin. (If you prefer more strin-
knob can make an Intelligence check to notice the gent rules for creating holy water, like those given in
paper, and a Dexterity check to wriggle into the The Complete Priests Handbook, assume Aukash
crack without breaking it. They cannot disarm it. buys the holy water the spell requires.) The basin
The View: Characters, struggling down through holds up to 20 vials, but he seldom uses that much.
the dark crack and onto a wide ledge should find the Aukash uses the incense for the divination spells
view startling. Where they would expect a cave, they that the Tree grants him.
see (from above!) a huge tree of life, the Shadow In a loose patch of earth beneath the scrying basin
Tree, growing green under bright sunlight. The ca- Aukash has buried a leather pouch containing a
verns ceiling glows in perpetual noon. The majes-

57
dozen carved wands of baobab wood, each six inch- Adventure Hooks
es long and inlaid with small gems (worth 1,000 gp
PCs visiting Gulg may find it a decent place by
altogether). He uses these non-magical tokens in the
the Tyr Regions standards, but emphasize that
augury spells he gains from the Shadow Tree.
here, as in other city-states, wizards need protection
The Walls: Scrawled writing covers the walls from
from the vengeful populace. After witnessing or pre-
waist level to as high as Aukash can reach. He stud-
venting a lynching, heroes should want to restore
ies this barely legible mess each day to learn the
the Alliance to health.
clerical spells he unknowingly gains through medita-
1. Early contacts with cell members reveal the
tion or from the Shadow Tree. Much of this foretells
problem. The PCs see, outside the Mopti Wall, a
the days of glory when the Shadow Tree will cause
wizard guarded by Alliance auxiliaries as he casts a
all Athas to bloom.
rejuvenate spell on the wall of thorns. Slaves at the
wall raise the alarm.
Aukushs Chamber
Assuming the player characters help the wizards
Because prolonged contact with the Shadow Tree party rescue him from certain doom, they must
exhausts Aukash, the wizard usually lives and sleeps overcome the Gulgs natural mistrust of outland-
in a small (15 diameter) adjacent cavern. He has ers. They must also overcome Alliance members
cast continual light on an ordinary wooden globe suspicions in order to learn of the Councils
that he can cover when he sleeps. The clean, bare grandiose scheme to rejuvenate the world. Reaching
room contains only a straw sleeping mat, a water the cells next contact up the chain (Aukash-Pad
basin, a clothing hamper, and routine necessities. himself), they may eventually discover the full di-
Here Aukash hides his spellbook, in a wall cran- mension of the problem. If they can trace the wizard
ny concealed by illusionary wall and by misdirection back to his lair, they can discover the ghost in the
to delay detection. Unlike most Athasian Shadow Tree. Then they must fight the ghost and
spellbooks, Aukashs uses actual mulberry-wood Aukash, cure or kill the wizard, and set the Alliance
paper, pilfered from the stores of Lalali-Puys tem- back on track.
plars. He ties the pile of irregular sheets with thin 2. The characters find a fetish among the loot of a
hemp cords. slave tribe, bandit gang, or another defeated enemy.
The room connects with the larger cavern by an They cannot activate it, but soon its former owner, a
open archway and has no other outlet. The air can Gulg sorcerer of great power, locates them by its
become stifling, but Aukash refreshes it with can- presence. Supposing them the bandits who stole the
trips or greater magic. fetish, the wizard steals it back, then summons the
Combat: Aukash retreats to this chamber during fetish spirit and demands revenge!
an attack. He casts globe of invulnerability if he be- The fetish spirit rebels against the owning wizard
lieves the invaders use lesser magic, wall of force if and sets off to menace the countryside. Now the
they use more powerful spells, or Otilukes resilient wizard tries to enlist the aid of the characters he just
sphere against mainly physical attacks. Rather than tried to attack, so they can help subdue and banish
face heavy opposition, Aukash teleports without er- the spirit. (Do they realize he sent it?) In the process
ror (his sole 7th-level spell) to a secondary home they learn of fetish magic and the culture of Gulg.
near his childhood village, miles away. Perhaps they must pursue the spirit back to its
home in the forest north of the city-state.

58
Overview female, C4, Sphere of Earth, LN).
Unusual sites: Naggaramakam, the Forbidden
Campaign style: Defensive, Unknown.
Dominion (Nibenays walled palace complex); the
The Alliance in Nibenay finds the Shadow King
Omnipotent Receivers, a line of huge statues of the
so shadowy, so distantly powerful, that it holds little
sorcerer-king bordering the main road leading to
hope of fighting him. No more could one stop a
the city; the Plain of Burning Water, an area of bub-
sandstorm, they say. Instead they simply protect the
bling hot springs on the citys outskirts.
citys wizards as best they canPreserver wizards,
anyway.
Nibenese humans, muls, and half-elves look at-
More than any other Alliance, Nibenays oppos-
tractive, with round faces, tan skin, and (except for
es defilers with a genuine passion. Elsewhere, Alli-
the muls) black hair. All citizens below noble rank
ances regard defilers as competitors or
wear loose linen blouses and skirts, brightly colored.
troublemakers. Here, it regards defilers as an of-
They wrap their heads in the ubiquitous krama, a
fense against the universe. The Nibenese Alliance
long scarf always marked with a checkerboard pat:
espouses that rarest of commodities on Athas, ideal-
tern of tiny squares. Some older people have blue-
ism.
stained teeth from chewing betel nuts.
In its cause the Alliance employs (or tries to em-
The culture stresses self-discipline, quiet accept-
ploy) an ancient spiritual force called the zwuun.
ance of authority, reverence of the elderly, and po-
This being resides in the hot springs outside the city.
liteness to strangers. Politeness, though, often goes
Alliance members never feel certain of their success
hand in hand with ruthless dishonesty toward any-
when enlisting this fickle creature. The red sun
one outside ones family. The common wisdom in
shines on Nibenay as strongly as anywhere, yet
the Tyr Region has it that a Nibenese merchant
shadow shrouds the results of many actions.
grovels as he offers you a hardwood spear, smiles

The City and nods fervently at everything you say, then swin-
dles you out of your last ceramic bit. And as he
Population: 24,000 (60% human, 10% dwarf, scurries away, the spear breaks in your hands.
4% mul, 10% elf, 4% half-elf, 12% half-giant, a Newcomers to Nibenay may find many local cus-
few thri-kreen and halflings). Natives are called toms curious, if not downright bizarre. Betrothed
Nibenese. couples express their commitment by joining them-
Emblems: Many monsters, both real and imagi- selves at the waist with a long scarf. Friends ex-
nary; highly conventionalized representations of no- change greetings by yanking each others hair.
bles, the sorcerer-king, and various nats; all Children drag life-sized dolls made of straw and
integrated in a complex folklore. rags, called sanshiza (substitute mothers). The
Economy: Copper; rice, fruit, vanilla, spices; be- Nibenese revere cats as vessels of unknowable wis-
tel nut; timber, hardwood weapons; linen and dyes. dom, but despise dogs as vermin.
Noteworthy residents: Nibenay, sorcerer-king Architecture: With the exception of the sorcerer-
23rd-level dragon); Siemhouk, chief templar (hu- kings sub-city, said to be constructed of massive
man female, age fourteen, Tmp15/Psi4, LE); slabs of solid granite and edged with fabulous gems,
Thong Nal, abbot of Exalted Path monastery (aged most buildings are simple structures made of clay
human male, C3, Sphere of Air, LN); and Au bricks and wood. Families dwell in single-room
Treng, abbotess of Serene Bliss monastery (human homes, partitioned by papyrus screens to create a

59
number of variously-sized living spaces. Modest dress in bright orange robes. They grow food, study
rock gardens arranged in intricate patterns compli- rigorously, and meditate. In fact, their regimen re-
ment many homes. Well-to-do families enjoy the sembles that of a dedicated psionicist, though the
company of pets, birds and lizards in particular, and monks gain no powers. (Optionally, you may allow
build special mud houses called milla in which to monks to train in unarmed combat.)
keep them. The number of milla erected near a Citizens venerate the monks. Each of the two or-
home indicates the familys affluence. ders (Exalted Path and Serene Bliss) pledges loyalty
Though quite old even by Athasian standards, to Nibenay, so the sorcerer-king tolerates them.
and certainly predating the citys founding, the Ni- Monks often become the artisans who carve Nibe-
benese cultures origins have vanished in history. nays endless murals. Female monks usually fill the
That Nibenay himself would never, voluntarily, templar ranks.
have instituted some of these customs proves their At some point in his or her life, each Nibenese
antiquity. child spends two 15-day weeks living as a monk.
Male and female monks stay in separate monas-
Monks teries at opposite ends of the city. Children of no-
bles, freemen, and slaves briefly mingle as equals, a
Athas has no gods, yet the city of Nibenay has
phenomenon unique on Athas.
monks. These honor no deity; rather, they seek a
mystical state of nirvana, freedom from physical
pain through extinction of the self. Monks of both Siemhouk, the Priest Child
genders shave their heads and eyebrows, and they Visitors express astonishment that a child has be-

60
come the highest-ranking official in the city. Natives tionalized gestures representing various emotions,
do not express this astonishment, for they place high and flowing arm and waist movements.
value on courtesy. But they still wonder. Three all-night dance festivals (one per phase of
Siemhouk, a thin and spectrally quiet 14-year-old the year), called Starlight Pageants, provide Nibe-
girl, came to Nibenays attention shortly after her nays chief cultural events. On these festive nights,
birth to a high templar in Naggaramakam, the For- dozens of young apsara (female dancers) come forth
bidden Dominion (Nibenays palace). The mother from Naggaramakam. On a platform just inside
died in childbirth, but by various portents Nibenay the city walls, in a grove of trees of life, they perform
came to believe that the womans spirit migrated to a ballet that lasts until dawn. The ballets come from
her child at death. He found amazing magical and a standard repertoire of 231 ancient dances, each
psionic potential in the infant girl, and so he himself set of three associated with one particular year in a
took charge of her rearing. kings age. The stories derive from folklore
As Siemhouk grew, the sorcerer-king secretly modified, of course, to praise the sorcerer-king. The
travelled with the child to distant parts of the region, entire city attends, with the notable exception of Ni-
then to other planes. He taught her magic and psi- benay himself.
onics, as much as she could handle, then protected A ballet follows a specific sequence of move-
her as she fought enemies and gained experience. In merits, augmented by pantomiming actors who
time, with Nibenays constant pressure, young comment silently on the story by facial expressions
Siemhouk achieved prodigious skill in templar mag- and hand gestures. Some of the actors wear gro-
ic, beyond any prodigy listed in the palaces exten- tesque masks, representing monsters and supernat-
sive histories. In psionics she has not made as much ural forces. While the dancers rest between sections
progress; disciplining the mind calls for maturity, of the ballet, actors entertain the audience with jug-
talent notwithstanding, but Siemhouk improves gling and acrobatics.
steadily. The ballets fall into three major styles. The liaka-
Why does Nibenay take such care with this girl? ih represents the dramatic style, a commentary on
Not even his highest templars know his reason. As the tragedy and suffering inherent in existence.
told in the Dragon Kings hardbound, bestial rages Liaka-ih dancers wear veils that completely cover
seize a sorcerer-king who tries to become a dragon. their faces and spot their skin with red paint to sym-
Those rages still await Nibenay, who has achieved bolize blood. The priytu-ih style celebrates joy, a co-
23rd-level and dreads their imminent arrival. medic presentation where the dancers decorate their
Siemhouk has a wild psionic talent, previously un- bodies with tiny bells and blow shrieking whistles to
known on Athas, that lets her calm those rages. elicit laughs from the onlookers. The wriquo-ih style
With her, Nibenay hopes to smooth the potentially honors war; dancers wield wooden daggers and
disastrous transition to his full dragon status. swords, swung violently over their heads and be-
tween their legs.
Dance The small orchestra that plays for the ballets in-
cludes woodwinds, drums, finger drums, xylo-
A major art form among the Nibenese, dance
phones, a woodwind called the ryls, and the khong,
marks all ceremonies, feasts, and even the rare so-
a circular wooden frame lined with copper gongs. A
cial gatherings of slaves. The varied style combines
musician sits within the frame to play the gongs.
stilted postures, quick stamping of the feet, conven-
Only the sorcerer-king owns a khong, for its heavy

61
metal content makes it priceless. fond of poetry and song; reciting a lengthy poem or
During the Starlight Pageants, Nibenays servile singing an especially tuneful melody may sometimes
defilers cast many colorful illusions to enhance the entice the zwuun from the hot springs. The zwuun
ballet. They draw their magic from the trees of life usually appears spontaneously, either because it has
around them, one by one. Sometimes the templars information or because it seeks company.
keep a druid prisoner on hand, to warn them when The zwuun communicates by psionic mindlink. It
one trees life force grows too low. can send and receive telepathic communication with
Even Nibenese caravans employ dance. Enter- an unlimited number of wizards over a wide range,
tainers tag along with merchant caravans or start but it usually chooses to communicate only with
their own, seeking adventure (or maybe escape from those adjacent to its hot springs.
the city guards). They travel between the cities, stop- The zwuuns knowledge knows no apparent lim-
ping at each oasis for a day or a week, and perform- its. It may reveal the location of treasure or mon-
ing for any audience. Many of these gypsy dancers sters, pass along new spell techniques, or reveal a
and musicians psionically entrance viewers, either to cryptic piece of information regarding a problem
heighten their enjoyment or lighten their wallets. currently baffling the Alliance. However, the min-
gling of spirits within the zwuun has resulted in an
Zwuun inconsistent personality. About four fifths of the
time the zwuun helps courteously, but at other times
Hundreds of years ago, a cadre of powerful wiz-
it delights in malicious mischief-making, giving in-
ards devised a method to tie their life forces into the
tentionally misleading information. This manifesta-
natural energies generated by the Plain of Burning
tion of the zwuun may tell a party that huge black
Water. After the wizards died, their spirits lived on,
diamonds can be found inside a nearby cave, when
linked to the hot springs. The Alliance knows the
the cave really holds ill-tempered dune freaks.
manifestation of their collective consciousness as the
Unfortunately, preservers have no sure way to tell
zwuun.
whether the helpful or malicious personality current-
The zwuun appears as a cloud of steam, dozens
ly dominates. The zwuun always communicates
of translucent human and demihuman faces drift-
courteously and seriously, and magical methods to
ing randomly within. It has no physical substance
detect lies give inconclusive results.
nor attributes associated with natural or supernatu-
Still, the zwuun respects a clever mind; if one in-
ral entities; it has no combat statistics or hit points,
terrogates it intelligently and in good humor, even its
and it cannot neither attack nor cast spells (with one
malicious manifestation may respond with indirect
exception, described below). Magic and other at-
honesty. (A black diamond mine, you say? Are
tacks do not affect it.
you certain that these black diamonds dont have
The zwuun appears only to preservers and their
bony, wedge-like heads and sunken, beady eyes?
friends, for the wizards comprising the zwuun were
Ummanything is possible, responds the be-
themselves preservers. The zwuun never leaves the
mused zwuun.) Once per day, the zwuun can cast a
Plain of Burning Water, though it may manifest
special curse spell on any victim within a 50-yard
anywhere in this area, rising abruptly from the wa-
radius (no saving throw). This curse causes any wa-
ters surface in a swirl of mist and vanishing as sud-
ter that touches the victim to become boiling hot.
denly as it arrived. No reliable method for
(Assess damage based on the amount of water
summoning the zwuun exists, though it remains
touching the victim; a cup of water might cause 1d4

62
points of damage, but falling into a stream could be Contacting The Alliance
fatal.) The curse lasts for a full day. The zwuun re-
In a scenario, the dance festivals offer the most
serves its curse for ill-mannered, profane, or other-
dramatic way to introduce the PCs to the Alliance.
wise offensive persons.
The society always has several members in attend-

History ance, observing the defilers who cast the illusions. A


courageous player character can cast a visible spell,
Nibenays Alliance chapter, probably the third then (try to) get away before the mob attacks or the
founded in the Tyr Region (after Tyr and Urik), defilers capture him. The Alliance should follow or
started 300 to 350 years ago, about a kings age af- shelter the party.
ter Tyrs. Its founder, Khmal Langgan, apparently A character who refuses to undertake this risk
received his early magical training as a defiler within may instead try an Intelligence check to observe
the Shadow Kings massive temple complex. In his someone at the festival who shows perhaps too much
youth he escaped (some say the templars expelled interest in the defilers. Then a discreet inquiry or
him), and he gave up defiling magic for good. recognition sign may produce resultsor a stealthy
Khmal travelled the land, started over studying attack in the night, for the Nibenay wizards harbor
magic with a preserver in Tyr, and learned of the suspicions of strangers.
Alliance. Returning to Nibenay under an assumed
name, he started a chapter there. He apparently Inititation
confided something important to his fellow Council
In the last decade the Alliance has asked candi-
members about the Shadow Kings activities. How-
dates for initiation to sneak into a powerful defilers
ever, he instructed them to let this information die
home. The society has located almost all of them,
with him, and they did so. Now, evidently, no one
but it stays a safe distance away. The candidate
survives who knows what Khmal found about Nibe-
must appropriate a magical item or other valuable
nays activities, nor has anyone found a remnant of
items.
his copious records about his days as a defiler in
Lower-level candidates who require a less strin-
Naggaramakam. Unfortunately, Khamal died be-
gent assignment should try to find a templar from
fore confiding to his Alliance comrades the location
Naggaramakam and learn something, anything,
of his records, said to include a detailed floor plan of
about its always-secret activities. The candidate who
the sorcerer-kings palace complex.
returns new information to a contact may expect ac-
The Nibenese Alliance developed its particular
ceptance as soon as the Council can confirm the
hatred of defilers when Thagya Phon rose to the
reporta matter of hours or weeks, as circumstanc-
leadership about 20 years ago. Even then, he did
es allow.
not notably oppose defilers until after he returned
from a desert sojourn with his family, some two years
after that. On the trip a defilers tribe attacked Leadership
them, he said, and killed his wife. Since then, the
society has achieved significant success in its cru- Thagya Phon
sade. No one in the Alliance suspects that Thagya Human Male Preserver
Phon has distorted the events of that trip. 17th-Level
Lawful Neutral
Str 13 Int 18

63
Dex 13 Wis 14 Appearance: Years of depression have taken their
Con 18 Cha 15 toll on Thagya. Stooped, haggard, and pasty
fleshed, he looks more like 80 than his true age of
hp: 42 54. One eye remains permanently dilated (the result
AC: 10 of an injury), giving him an unsettling gaze.
#AT: 1 Personal hygiene ranks low on Thagyas list of
THAC0: 15 priorities. He seldom bathes, his clothes hang on
Dmg: by spell him like rags, his beard grows in shaggy strands,
Proficiencies: Dagger; Ancient History, Ancient and dirt cakes his long fingernails. Horga-at-Horg
Languages, Direction Sense, Reading/Writing, So- urges him to take better care of himself, but Thagya
matic Concealment, Spellcraft, Weather Sense. dismisses manicures, shaving, and similar activities
Psionics: sensitivity to psychic impressions. as a waste of valuable time.
Role-playing: Thagya avoids small talk, recrea-
Background: Thagyas hatred of defilers borders tion, and other diversions. He prefers to spend time
on obsession, but no one knows the real reason why. refining his plans, devising new schemes, or explor-
Until recently, he succumbed to depressions that ing new avenues of magical research.
arose from his wifes betrayal. Thagya compulsively Thagya speaks in whispers, his eyes locked un-
dwelt on the memory of his wife in the arms of a flinchingly on the person he addresses. Newcomers
defiler. Could he have prevented their union? find him aloof and cold. Thagya does his best to
Avoided driving her away to the accursed defiler? contain his emotions; when faced with bad news, he
Could he rekindle their relationship? lowers his head, closes his eyes, and rubs his chin.
In time, Thagya escaped the spiral of depression However, the mere mention of his wifes name may
and accepted the loss of his wife. To this day, he trigger his fiery temper. The raging outburst may re-
maintains that a defiler murdered her. He will never sult in a destructive rampage, ending with his with-
publicly acknowledge that she has chosen a new life drawal to his private chambers and his refusal to see
as an apprentice defiler. If any of his comrades sus- anyone for the rest of the day.
pect the truth, they respect Thagya too much to
confront him. Horga-at-Horg
Except for Alliance business, he seldom leaves the Female Halfling Fighter/Psionicist
Alliances underground headquarters. He avoids Multi-Class F5/Psi5
close relationships with others, keeping even his Chaotic Good
trusted advisors at arms length. A loyal halfling, Str 13 Int 10
Horga-at-Horg, provides his only real companion- Dex 16 Wis 15
ship. His interests include not only magic, but mili- Con 13 Cha 3
tary history, engineering, and mathematics. Thagya
finds solace in nature, and his compassion for ani- hp: 16
mals nearly equals his contempt for defilers. AC: 10
A gleaming obsidian pedestal rises from the floor #AT: 1
of Thagyas spartan quarters. That pedestal, he THAC0: 16
explains grimly to new initiates, awaits the head of Dmg: 1d6-1 (obsidian short sword); 1d2 (blowgun)
the sorcerer-king. Proficiencies: Blowgun, Bow, Dagger, Sword; Heat

64
Protection, Water Find, Weapon Improvisation, send Alliance members on a dangerous mission,
Weather Sense. Horga may ask him to reconsider. Big folk have
Psionics: double pain. families. Is task worth life of a little childs father?

Background: About five years ago, Horga-at- Headquarters


Horg wandered into the forests near the Plain of
The Alliances headquarters lies beneath an area
Burning Water and spotted a plump bird perched
of rolling hills about a half-mile north of the city,
high in a tree. Horga climbed the tree, but as she
adjacent to the Plain of Burning Water. An opening
reached for the bird, she plummeted to the ground,
five feet wide at the base of a weed-covered hill leads
breaking her leg. On one of his rare sojourns out-
to the headquarters. The zwuun frequents the wa-
side Alliance headquarters, Thagya discovered the
ters near the opening, intrigued by the comings and
moaning Horga, helped her back to the headquar-
goings of Alliance members. The sudden appear-
ters, and nursed her back to health. In the process,
ance of the zwuun often startles visitors. It rises in a
Horga developed a strong admiration for the stran-
swirl from the waters surface, peers intently with its
ger, which soon grew to a deep affection. Horga
multiple faces, then disappears in a cloud of mist.
asked to remain with Thagya, volunteering to serve
The opening leads to a low-ceilinged cavern. A
as his bodyguard and companion. Perhaps because
shallow pool of still water, fed by underground
of an aching loneliness, Thagya accepted Horgas
streams, fills most of the floor. Bones of rabbits,
offer. Soon they became fast friends-but she never
birds, and other creatures litter the narrow shore
explained why she left the Forest Ridge.
surrounding the pool. The water emits the faint aro-
Horgas loyalty to Thagya knows no bounds. She
ma of lemons, but otherwise appears normal. How-
protects him from danger, reminds him of his ap-
ever, Thagya has poisoned the pool with a mixture
pointments, and chastises him for going too long
of salts to discourage trespassers. Anyone sipping
without rest. Horga understands little of the Alli-
from the water must save vs. poison or suffer 2d8
ances goals and cares less, but she devotes herself
damage (save for 2d4 damage). A filter in the
tirelessly to the cause; the enemies of Thagya are her
stream that feeds the pool keeps the poison from
enemies. A ravenous appetite remains her only vice;
spreading throughout the water system.
she devours anything even remotely edible, and
Horga-at-Horgs quarters: East of the entrance
sulks when Thagya refuses to let her feast on defeat-
cavern, Horga-at-Horg serves as the guardian of the
ed enemies.
headquarters. She frightens away or murders tres-
Appearance: Horgas pock-marked face and
passers who arent discouraged by the poisonous
bulky body give her a monstrous appearance,
pool. If the trespassers appear formidable, Horga
sharply contrasting with her kind blue eyes. A
secretly escapes through the emergency passage that
smock of lizard hide covers her tanned skin. She
links her quarters with the main chamber and warns
prefers not to wear shoes or sandals; thick calluses
the Council. Horga eats small animals that die
protect her feet.
drinking from the pool; an antidote supplied by
Role-playing: Horga assumes all strangers intend
Thagya guarantees Horgas immunity to the poi-
to harm Thagya, until they convince her otherwise.
son.
Though not especially intelligent, she has common
A large boulder against the north wall conceals a
sense and speaks her mind, even if it means con-
narrow passage that slopes gently into the earth for
fronting Thagya. For instance, if Thangya plans to

65
about 20 yards, opening into the main chamber of ance members try to maneuver them into the cre-
the headquarters. vasse, where they drop 30 feet and land on sharp
The main chamber: Here general Alliance meet- stones (4d6 damage).
ings take place. Many alcoves and ledges serve as A network of passages links the main chamber
storage areas and sleeping platforms for guests. A with several smaller caverns, each with a designated
clear pool provides a source of fresh water. Long sta- purpose:
lactites hang from the ceiling, and trimmed and Thagyas Quarters: This sparse room contains
sanded stalagmites form crude but comfortable only a floor mat, several storage pots with Thagyas
seats. spellbook (actually a disordered pile of non-magical
A soft yellow light bathes the entire chamber, scrolls), and the dusty obsidian pedestal intended
courtesy of the thousands of isha moths clinging to for Nibenays head.
the ceiling. The subterranean isha moths co-exist Moth Hatchery: Glowing isha moths cover the
peacefully with the Alliance. The moths share their walls of this cavern, packed so densely that their
natural fluorescence, and the members grow and light burns the eyes. The moths spin silken webs like
harvest a special fungus to feed the moths and keep spiders, making nests for their eggs. The nests hang
them healthy. from the ceiling like heavy curtains. Shallow pits
A broad crevasse snakes across the floor of the dug in the floor hold fungus and fresh water for the
east end of the main chamber. Instead of filling it in, moths.
Thagya ordered the crevasse covered with a lattice Workshop: Storage shelves packed with beakers
of branches and a layer of dirt spread across the and canisters, long wooden lab benches, and tower-
top. Should intruders invade the chamber, the Alli- ing stacks of scrolls fill this cavern. Thagya and his

66
aides use it for magical and scientific research. Current patients include an immature kank with
Thagyas current project involves an intriguing a cracked exoskeleton, an erdlu with a chronic indi-
application of the isha moth webs. Thagya discov- gestion, and an abandoned mekillot egg which the
ered that soaking the webs in a solution of salts and staff is attempting to hatch. Healers scatter the
herbs makes them waterproof and elastic, capable bones of animals that dont recover on the shores of
of being sewn into airtight balloons. Thagya envi- the poison pool, in the entry cavern, to intimidate
sions immense hot air balloons made from the treat- intruders.
ed webs. Carrying baskets of passengers, the
balloons would make aerial assaults against the Adventure Hooks
sorcerer-kings palace.
1. Thagya at last finishes a prototype hot-air isha
Though he has prepared enough webs to manu-
balloon, complete with a functional steering device
facture a large balloon, Thagya has yet to find a
and altitude unit. He asks the player characters to
suitable mechanism to direct airborne movement.
take the first flight, a reconnaissance mission over
Nor has he come up with an altitude unit to let the
the sorcerer-kings palace complex. If the player
passengers control how high the balloon rises. Re-
characters resist, Thagya flatters, bribes, or begs
search continues.
them as necessary to secure their compliance.
Fungus farm: Long troughs cut into the cavern
The balloon performs as designed; the player
floor hold abundant clusters of greenish fungus.
characters have no trouble getting it off the ground,
Thagyas aides monitor the fungus, adding fertilizer
and the steering device allows for smooth changes of
and other nutrients as needed. Harvested fungus
direction. However, once airborne, the DM may in-
fills wheeled storage bins, which aides push to the
troduce a variety of complications. For instance, a
hatchery to feed the moths.
strong wind may blow the balloon off course, send-
Storeroom: This room holds poisonous salts for
ing the party anywhere the DM likes (near the
the entry cavern pool, antidote wafers for the poi-
mouth of an active volcano, over a herd of grazing
son, dried foods, medicines, and weapons.
mekillots, or into a deep ravine, which may contain
Dormitory: Alliance members and their guests
monsters, treasure, or a community of humanoid
use the many bunk beds here. Some mischievous
savages).
members have carved an unflattering caricature of
2. The balloon may attract the attention of any
the Priest Child Siemhouk in the wall. For amuse-
number of airborne creatures, from giant hornets to
ment, they conduct mock tributes in her honor.
curious air elementals. A hard rain storm may put
Infirmary: This cavern contains beds with soft
out the fire in the altitude unit, causing the balloon
mattresses-of feathers and moth wings. The ailing
to land in the Naggaramakam courtyard; the PCs
and the wounded recover here. A staff of trained
may have to struggle to relight the unit, then take to
aides, including clerics with healing magic, attend to
the air before the arrival of a palace security force.
patients needs around the clock. Both members
and animals receive equal care.

67
Overview 25 hp, LN); Ushuch-Si renowned sculptress (Ri,
17 hp, LG).
Campaign style: Defensive, Successful.
Unusual sites: Royal Barracks, multi-story mili-
The Alliance in Raam negotiates a difficult mid-
tary dormitory; Gallery of the Seven Stars, sculp-
dle course between the Grand Viziers tyranny and
ture museum; artisans plaza; wrestling pits;
the anarchy that her rebellious nobles are creating.
livestock pens; Benevolence Center, communal
In this turbulent city, Alliance members have heavi-
housing complex for the elderly; and the Conse-
ly infiltrated the mansabdars, the local constabulary
crated Sepulcher of Badna (the Big Tomb), a
and soldiers. When the authorities apprehend a
huge mausoleum holding the last 30 generations of
preserver, they quietly funnel the wizard into the Al-
the sorcerer-queens husbands and other favorites.
liance.
With this leverage, the chapter might act more
Raam, the most populous city-state, ranks with
aggressively than it does. However, Raam citizens
Draj as the largest in area. Raam also holds the
have never regarded mundane power as fashion-
most racially diverse population in the region; here,
able, outside of Abalach-Res palatial court. The
humans do not make up the majority. Nonetheless,
Alliances current leaders (including, bizarrely, at
humans occupy most positions of importance. Also,
least one elf) pursue more intellectual goals, notably
travellers face greater language problems in Raam
spell research.
than in other city-states. Every narrow street buzzes
Junior members and visitors sometimes feel frus-
with conversations in half a dozen languages.
tration at their Councils abstraction. The leaders
In past centuries Raam earned wealth by mining
may yet redeem themselves, if their current research
alabaster, sapphires, and emeralds from the moun-
bears fruit.
tains to the south. The mines richest find has be-
The City come legendarythe Star of Badna, a blue
sapphire said to weigh over 200 carats. Folk tales of
Population: 40,000 (40% human, 20% dwarf, this gems hideous curse proliferate as one nears
10% mul, 15% elf, 5% half-elf, 5% half-giant, 4% Raam. Abalach-Re and her highest templars renew
thri-kreen, 1% halfling; 5% priests, 10% templars and strengthen the gems curse annually. Though
and soldiers, 20% merchants, artisans, and land- any citizen may attend this public ceremony, no one
owners, 60% servants and laborers, 5% untoucha- does, for the gems magic has grown so that merely
ble). Natives are called Raamites or viewing it at a distance, without protective talis-
Raamish. mans, causes violent illness.
Emblems: Abalach-Res face; Badna, a four- The gem mines played out years ago, contribut-
armed man in a long loincloth. Abalach-Re devised ing to the problems that now assail the city. This
Badna, the greater power, to justify her author- may help explain why the Grand Vizier has resorted
ity. to claiming authority in the name of a fictitious
Economy: Silver, gems, flint; jute, a fibrous plant; greater power, named Badna. She coerces the
silk; carpets, textiles, art. entire population into pro-forma worship of this du-
Noteworthy residents: Abalach-Re (21st-level bious entity.
dragon, LE); Grogh-En, senior templar, sympa- Shrines: To that end, she has erected hundreds of
thetic to the Alliance (Tmp10, 27 hp, LN); Yestera- tiny shrines called upubadna throughout the city.
Opik, food wholesaler who knows many rumors (F9, Each shrine consists of a crude stone replica of a

68
grinning sun fastened to the top of a wooden post. eyes focused on the street, nodding furtively to ac-
Beneath the stone sun hangs a prayer wheel, a quaintances but rarely stopping to exchange words.
wooden disk about three feet in diameter. Symbols Friends share a communal stew or pipe of tobacco in
cover the wheels rim, each symbol representing silence. A Raam social engagement tends to resem-
obedience, charity, or some other aspect of Badna. ble a funeral service more than a party.
Worshippers must spin the wheel, then improvise a The city suffers from poor medical care, a tragic
brief prayer to Badna based on the indicated as- consequence of the shaky relationship between the
pect. citizens and their leaders. The sorcerer-queen and
A merchant can hardly travel from his home to her aides seem indifferent to public health. Sewage
the trade court without passing at least a dozen up- systems go unrepaired; vermin infect the food sup-
ubadna. Few stop at the shrines, since no mandate plies; hospitals opened one week may close abruptly
enforces worship. Indifference to Badna increas- the next. Chronic diseases plague slaves and arti-
ingly frustrates the Grand Vizier. She weighs vari- sans alike. They die in the alleys and streets, and
ous methods to encourage or require citizens to take garbage collectors haul corpses to the crematory.
her deity more seriously. In this atmosphere of misery, visitors to Raam feel
understandable surprise to find citizens friendly and
Culture polite. Oddly, they react more openly to strangers
than to each other. They commonly view outsiders
In response to the chaos around them, the people
as sources of relief, rather than bringers of conflict.
of Raam have withdrawn into themselves. Worry
They ask, quite courteously, for a scrap of uncon-
creases their faces. They walk with heads bowed,
taminated food, help with hauling a dead relative to

69
the crematory, or advice for treating an ailing child. hind, and quickly loops the ghi around his neck.
The prevalence of fine art in Raam also shocks Before the suspect can respond, the kuotagha yanks
visitors. Citizens struggle to create their own beauty, the ghi tight while kneeing the suspect in the back.
and the results appear everywhere. Ornate murals The knot in the ghi crushes the suspects trachea,
decorate mud huts of slaves. A silver bracelet bear- while the kuotaghas knee snaps his spine. Most
ing strikingly lifelike images of birds and cats dan- suspects die instantly, and the kuotagha then disap-
gles from the wrist of a withered crone. A filthy child pears into the crowd.
carries a gleaming ti-shi, a bell stick covered with (In game terms, a kuotagha makes a normal at-
tiny brass chimes. The music of lutes and tambou- tack roll when using a ghi, modified for surprise in
rines wafts from open windows, offering an ironic his favor. A successful hit means instant death for
counterpoint to the misery in the streets. victims with fewer than 6 hp. Victims with more
Architecture: In sharp contrast to the elegance of than 6 hp suffer 1d6 points of damage and must
the ivory and alabaster palace of the sorcerer-king, make a Constitution check. A failed check means
the rest of the citys buildings look functional and the victim collapses into unconsciousness for 3d6
simple. Due to occasional mild earthquakes, they rounds.)
build with light, cheap walls of wood that minimize
harm to occupants should they collapse. Social Order
Affluent citizens raise their homes on stone sup-
Inviolable social strata, or castes, embrace the
ports, elevating them a few feet from the ground.
whole population. Citizens born into a caste never
The air circulating beneath provides some relief
leave it. Members of one caste cannot marry into
from the heat of the day. Slaves live in tents of ani-
another, nor even associate with other castes without
mal skins stretched over long poles. Destitute citi-
becoming unclean. Each caste may include
zens sleep in the streets.
members of all races.
Laws: Raam has two police forces. The public en-
Castes are ranked from highest status to lowest.
forcers, called the mansabdars, do a lackadaisical The highest status belongs to the priests. (Note that
job, and corruption rules them. In contrast, a secret
this caste does not mean the priest character class!)
police force called the kuotagha brutally enforces
Its members include not only clerics and druids, but
the citys laws. The kuotagha move freely among the
also teachers and scholars. They study elementals
populace, indistinguishable from ordinary mer-
and spirits of the land, which they arrange in a com-
chants and artisans. Chosen for their bloodthirsty
plicated mythology. This caste includes many de-
nature and deputized to administer justice as they
vout clerics, called yogin or saddhus, who have
see fit, the kuotagha induce terror in law-abiding
taken vows of poverty. They usually wear simple
citizens and criminals alike. They presume all sus-
ocher or white garments.
pects are guilty and treat them accordingly; the
Slightly lower in status, the vizier (administrative)
kuotagha arent interested in hearing excuses or
caste includes templars and mansabdars (police offi-
weighing facts. They may arrest any suspect they
cials and soldiers). They wear rich clothing of dyed
feel will interest the sorcerer-queen, but more often
silk. This cloth comes from the Grand Viziers
they execute the prisoner immediately.
prized silk wyrms, kept beneath the palace and fed
The kuotagha carry special weapons called ghi,
well on prisoners. Administrators, mainly warriors
braided strands of leather with thick knots in the
and rogues, collect taxes and provide services. A few
center. A kuotagha approaches a suspect from be-

70
honest mansabdars belong to the Alliance. first to threaten her mothers reign.
Landowners (nobles), tradesmen, and artisans
earn high income, but this carries no status in History
Raam. In the citys current chaos they barricade
For obscure reasons, the origin of Raams Alli-
themselves in homes just short of fortresses, waiting
ance has become linked with that of Gulg. Consult
for the situation to sort itself out. They dress like the
the Gulg entry in this chapter for more information.
vizier caste, but with lower-quality cloth instead of
Whatever the circumstances of its founding, the
silk.
Raam Alliance made a faltering start. Several times
The laborers, the largest and lowest caste, include
Abalach-Res early persecution almost destroyed
servants of the higher castes and vast numbers of
the society. A succession of leaders made feeble at-
slaves who work the fields outside the city. Thin, in
tempts to stabilize the Alliance, but they barely
ill health, and somewhat desperate, members wear
managed to recruit replacement members for those
simple white linen shirts, pants, or loincloths. Wom-
who died of old age, left the city, or fell to the
en scrimp to afford a colorful sari, a full-length cloth
sorcerer-queens templars.
wrap.
A new dawn for the Raam Alliance came with the
For true desperation, though, look to the out-
arrival of Nanda Shatri, a determined, visionary
castes, those who work in the despised professions of
Offspring who promised a new direction for the Al-
mortician, tanner, butcher, and others dealing with
liance, one that stressed long-term goals and careful
dead creatures. Members of the castes consider
planning. The new Alliance, she pledged, would
them so polluted that they must live outside the city
prize intellectual talents as well as magical skills.
walls in sprawling slums.
Under this sensible and inspiring woman, the ranks
of the Alliance soon swelled.
The Offspring
Shatri made three fundamental changes in the
In her thousand-year reign the Grand Vizier has Raam Alliance. First, she has organized the chapter
taken many male companions, for their life or for a into a rigid chain of command, with Shatri herself
year (sometimes it amounted to the same thing). As as Commander. Just below her, two aides of equal
a result, over the past millennium, she has borne authority, the Sub-Commander and the Secretary,
innumerable childrensome say over 400. Citizens have responsibility for administration and general
call Abalach-Res many children and their descen- counsel. Shatri divided the city into four sectors,
dants the Offspring. each with an overseer called the Sectorate. Each
Abalach-Re, hardly a careful parent, abandons Sectorate commands five officers, in charge of Re-
each newborn infant to nurses just hours after the search, Security, Finance, Training, and Informa-
birth and never thinks of it again. The children be- tion. In turn, each officer commands a varying
long to various castes, depending on who in court number of lieutenants.
cares to adopt the childpriests, mansabdars, or Second, Shatri cultivated contacts in every level of
outcaste servants. the government, including the sorcerer-queens
Few Offspring in history have accomplished court, the army, and the templars. She used various
much, and none ever presented a threat to the techniques to keep the informants in line; bribery
Grand Viziers power. The Alliance leader, Nanda proved far and away the most effective. Shatri also
Shatri, an Off spring and outcaste, has become the managed, by lining the pockets of the proper au-

71
thorities, to install a few Alliance members in key purchase from a wizard with no connection to the
positions. Alliance.
Finally, Shatri allocated the lions share of the Al-
liances resources to spell research. Shatri hopes to Leadership
develop spells that will make the Alliance invincible
Nanda Shatri
in a violent confrontation with the sorcerer-queen.
Female Human Preserver/Psionicist (Outcaste)
More importantly, Shatri wants to create a spell that
Dual-Classed W20/Psi5
will facilitate her transformation into an advanced
Lawful Good
being whose nature she barely glimpses: avangion.

Contacting The Alliance Str 14 Int 13


Dex 15 Wis 18
Shatri has become increasingly fussy in accepting con 17 Cha 18
candidates for the Alliance. She discourages direct
contact; if she wants to meet someone, she arranges hp: 40
an encounter herself. However, determined search- AC: 10
ers who make subtle inquiries around town eventu- #AT: 1
ally find a crematory on the citys outskirts. THAC0: 14
The personnel at the crematory deny knowledge Dmg: by spell
of the Alliance, but if the questioner is persistent, Proficiencies: Dagger; Ancient History, Ancient
Nanda Shatri offers a temporary position as a Languages, Astrology, Etiquette, Herbalism, Mod-
corpse hauler. Questioners who accept the position ern Languages, Reading/Writing, Somatic Con-
traipse around the city to pick up bodies for crema- cealment, Spellcraft, Weather Sense.
tion, an awful job designed to test the candidates Psionics:
mettle. Shatris aides observer candidates during this Attack/
period. Following a discussion with her Sub- Level Dis/Sci/Dev Defense Score PSPs
Commander and Secretary Shatri may set up a 5 2/3/10 II,MT/M- =Int 44
meeting. MB,TS

Initiation Clairsentience Devotions: all-round vision,


know location, spirit sense.
Induction into the lower ranks of the Alliance,
Telepathy Sciences: mindlink, probe; Devo-
typically as a lieutenant in the Security or Research
tions: attraction, aversion, conceal thoughts, con-
Office, requires a routine test of courage and ability,
tact, id insinuation, mind thrust, phobia
involving a quest for an unusual spell component or
amplification.
exposing the identity of previously unknown
kuotagha.
Background: An outcaste but supportive family
Those wishing to rise in the ranks must bring
of palace servants adopted the 177th daughter of
Shatri a spell that neither she, the Sub-
Abalach-Re. Nanda Shatri grew into a determined
Commander, nor the Secretary have ever seen be-
and resourceful young woman. She traveled to
fore. Candidates may find such a spell through
many villages outside Raam, where her lowly caste
diligent research, in an unexplored ruin, or through

72
held no meaning. Earning a fair amount of money blingly began their studies in the way of the mind.
through many enterprises, she invested it in the fin- Happily Shatri progressed well and now she takes
est teachers of magic she could find, gradually be- day-long personal lessons from the Alliances pow-
coming a mage of formidable skill. erful psionicist auxiliaries
Following the death of her adoptive parents, Sha- Meanwhile. Shatri has set the Alliance research-
tri returned to Raam and boldly requested an audi- ing avangion transformation spells night and day.
ence with the sorcerer-queen. Intrigued by Shatris They hardly understand what they search for but
audacity, the sorcerer-queen set up a meeting. they follow her with ardent devotion. They race
Much to the sorcerer-queens surprise, Shatri re- against the chaos that must surely envelop Raam
quested authority over the citys crematory. I was soon.
raised by outcastes and have the soul of an outcaste, Appearance: She is in her late fifties, small and
despite my heritage, Shatri said. I feel no shame heavy-set, with unusual poise. Shatri maintains a
in seeking an outcastes job. Shatri asked only that shabby appearance, appropriate for an outcaste.
she be allowed to run the crematory as she saw fit She wears ragged brown smocks and scuffed san-
and keep whatever money she could earn. The dals, tying her stringy gray hair into a waist-length
sorcerer-queen quickly agreed, happy to delegate pony tail. She has sparkling green eyes, a knowing
the distasteful but necessary operation to someone grin, and a contralto voice almost as deep as a
of competence. mans.
Within weeks after assuming control of the cre- Role-playing: Shatri loves to talk for hours about
matory, Shatri turned it into a profitable enterprise. magic. economics and the dozens of other subjects
More importantly, the crematory became a base for that interest her. She has a keen sense of humor, but
the Raai Alliance, of which Shatri had recently be- takes her duties as leader of the Alliance seriously.
come leader. For the last 20 years the Alliance oper- She dismisses the concern expressed by some mem-
ated undetected from the crematory, comfortably bers about her growing obsession with avangion
financed by its profits. transformation, insisting that she can run the Alli-
A few years ago, having gone as far as she ance as well as research spells. She professes com-
thought possible in mastery of magic, Shatri discov- plete faith in her subordinates. though she does
ered vague references to a highly advanced creature keep close tabs on them.
called an avangion. Investigating further, she found Notes: For full rules on the avangion transforma-
hints that she herself might become such a creature. tion process, consult the Dragon Kings rulebook.
But the process required elaborate preparations, ex-
tensive time and resources-more importantly. she Kalihana of the Ormul
needed to cultivate the ways of the mind. Only a Male Elf Preserver (Vizier Caste)
psionically tuned mind could handle the vast magi- 13th-Level
cal energies that the transformation required. (Only Neutral Good
a preserver/psionicist of 20th-level can attempt the Str 13 Int 16
long transformation into an advanced being.) Dex 16 Wis 13
With typical resolve and secrecy Shatri aban- Con 14 Cha 13
doned development of her consummate magical
skills and, at age 53, joined a class of seven-year-old
noble children at a psionics academy, as they fum-

73
hp: 36 Nothing upsets the meticulous Kalihana more
AC: 10 than the time he must spend in the dirty crematory.
#AT: 1 He shares his displeasure with Shatri, who teases
THAC0: 16 him for it; but mutual respect binds them. Both be-
Dmg: by spell lieve unwaveringly in the goals of the Alliance,
Proficiencies: Dagger; Ancient History, Ancient though they disagree on how to achieve them.
Languages, Artistic Ability, Herbalism, Reading/ More than once, Kalihana has expressed to Sha-
Writing, Somatic Concealment, Speller aft. tri his concern that her research is a waste of time
Psionics: astral projection. and resources; Shatri scolds Kalihana for his lack of
imagination. So far, Kalihana has deferred to Sha-
Background: Born to merchant parents in tris wishes, but he grows impatient. If Shatris re-
Raams vizier caste, Kalihana grew up discontented search doesnt bear fruit soon, Kalihana has
with city life and finally ran away to join a nomadic threatened to leave his position as Sub-
elven tribe. Life in the desert proved more difficult Commander.
than hed imagined. After a year of sandstorms, be-
lgoi attacks, and too much kank nectar, Kalihana Headquarters
retreated to Raam.
Exterior
However, during his desert sojourn, Kalihana had
befriended a preserver and had secretly begun study Just beyond the western wall of the city stands an
of the magical arts. Back in Raam, he contacted the imposing granite structure, its walls windowless and
Alliance. For the last six decades he has continued featureless except for a set of double doors on the
study, seeking greater command of magic and all south side. A cylindrical brick chimney rising from
known lore of magical items. the back of the building constantly belches spirals of
It has fallen to Kalihana to lead the Alliance as thick black smoke. The dead of Raam make their
Nanda Shatris Sub-Commander while Shatri pur- last stop here, at the citys crematory.
sues her distant goal. Kalihana only vaguely knows The outcaste Offspring, Nanda Shatri, operates
her purpose, but he pleasantly accepts it as a sign of the crematory, and has for nearly three decades. No
typical human insanity. citizen in Raam has more job security than Shatri,
Appearance: Kalihana has a lean frame, spindly for few would perform the service for any amount of
arms and legs, a pointed chin, and narrow gray money. Both the citizenry and the government leave
eyes. He prides himself in his appearance and Shatri to her own devices, inspecting the crematory
primps before a mirror until every hair on his head only rarely. Consequently, it makes an ideal location
lies perfectly in place. He wears stylish shirts and for the headquarters of the Raam Alliance. Thanks
trousers made from the finest material he can af- to Shatris shrewd business sense, the crematory
ford. turns a profit that fills the Alliance treasury.
Role-playing: A capable leader, intelligent and Two small buildings stand adjacent to the crema-
cool-headed, Kaliana too often betrays the elvish tory on either side. The west building, a one-room
traits of unreliability and arrogance toward non- shack with brick walls and a thatched roof, serves as
elves. Still, when he keeps his fundamental nature Shatris private quarters. It contains only a sleeping
under control, few in the Council can match his fine cot, a shelf for personal items, and a small desk with
sense of politics and negotiation. a rickety chair. The ramshackle structure and mod-

74
est furnishings give the impression of poverty, an im- three consecutive months, Shatri sends word that
pression Shatri intentionally cultivates to discourage they have 30 days in which to claim the urn and
the interest of nosy officials. remove it from the chamber. If the family fails to re-
The east building houses a pottery shop, staffed move it, Shatri empties and returns the urn to the
by three Alliance members who manufacture and pottery shop for resale.
sell funerary urns. The back section of the building Eight small meditation rooms supposedly serve
contains potters wheels, barrels of clay, and other friends and relatives visiting the crematory. In the-
equipment. The front section, the only part of the ory, visitors take urns from the memorial chamber
entire complex that anyone other than an outcaste into these private rooms, which contain candles and
dares enter, displays the wares for sale. benches. City laws require these rooms, but in prac-
tice, no one but outcastes ever use them, for fear of
Interior pollution. Shatri and the Alliance sometimes ap-
propriate them for the societys business.
Subdued torchlight illuminates the polished gran-
North of Shatris office lies the workroom where
ite walls of the entryway. Two huge memorial cham-
Shatri and her aides process and cremate bodies.
bers open on either side of the entryway. Hundreds
The cremation chamber consists of three cylindrical
of filled urns line their wooden shelves from floor to
iron ovens and two small alcoves. One stores coal
ceiling. A ceramic plaque secured to the shelf below
for the furnace; the other contains a pit to hold ex-
each urn identifies the remains.
cess ash. (Shatri sells the ash to farmers for fertil-
Shatri charges a modest monthly maintenance fee
izer.) All three ovens share a common chimney.
to store the urns. Should a family miss payment for

75
Secret Chambers PCs have allied with Shatri, she may send them in-
stead.) After successfully navigating the palaces
The center oven serves as a tunnel leading to a non-
defenses, the aides return with the larvae. (If the
functional furnace with a trap door in the center. The
PCs are stealing the larvae, the DM may develop
trap door opens to a stairway leading down to the Alli-
the theft into a mini-adventure, featuring narrow es-
ances secret headquarters. These rooms include:
capes with the sorcerer-queens security guards and
Meeting Room: A Security lieutenant always sits
a brush with the angry wyrms).
at desk at the bottom of the stairway, noting the
Unknown to Shatri, the mother wyrms can sense
comings and goings of Alliance members. The-lieu-
the location of the larvae. The wyrms escape from
tenants meticulous records tell Shatri the where-
their pens and leave the compound, determined to re-
abouts of all high-ranking members at any time.
trieve their missing larvae. The sorcerer-queens pan-
The meeting room contains several comfortable
icking security forces cannot stop the wyrms as they
chairs, a roster of the members code-names and
make their way through the city, heading directly for
their current assignments on one wall, and a de-
the crematory. The PCs must intercept and stop the
tailed map of the city on another.
wyrms, either by destroying them or giving back their
Library: Neat stacks of scrolls fill this room,
larvae, before they reach the crematory and expose the
sorted by author and subject. For easy reference,
Alliances secret headquarters.
lists of the general contents of the stacks cover the
2. The player characters agree to ambush an el-
walls. The scrolls include research data, personal in-
derly defiler named Urax while he takes his nightly
formation about the sorcerer-queen and her aides,
walk, in order to interrogate him about a series of
maps of other cities, and reference material.
unusual experiments he has allegedly conducted on
Storage: Emergency rations, weapons, clothes for
behalf of the sorcerer-queen.
disguises, and spare lab equipment.
The ambush goes off without a hitch. Unfortu-
Conference room: This small room contains only
nately, Urax has a weak heart and succumbs to a
table and a few chairs, used by the Sectorates for
heart attack during the confrontation. Unless the
planning sessions.
PCs think of it themselves, Shatri tells them to bring
Infirmary: A recovery area for sick and injured
his body to the crematory. No sooner does the fur-
members, also occasionally used as a guest room.
nace begin to heat up than the surprised player
Research laboratory: Shatri and her assistants use
characters hear a banging inside the oven! A gro-
this sophisticated laboratory to conduct magical re-
tesque creature shambles out. (Make this a zombie
search. It holds equipment and supplies for research-
made of ash or a fiery skeleton; the exact nature of
ing both magical items and spells. Stacks of scrolls,
the creature is up to you).
comprising the spell research library, line long shelves
Apparently Urax had relied on his cremation
against the walls. Tables and shelves hold test tubes,
burners, beakers, potions, and herbs. fires and pre-arranged this transformation. The
PCs must help Shatri destroy the creature, then dis-
cover how to permanently dispose of the remains.
Adventure Hooks This may require burial deep in the earth, sealing
1. Shatri orders her aides to sneak into the them inside an obsidian crypt, or exposure to the
sorcerer-kings palace complex and steal the larvae glow of the Star of Badna.
of Abalach-Res personal silk wyrms; Shatri needs
the larvae for her spell research. (Alternately, if the

76
Overview lies at the center of Urik, but more accurately Urik
lies at one corner of the complex. The Mighty
Campaign style: Defensive, Struggling.
Kings massive estate extends from the heart of the
Templars in Urik teach the citizens their sorcerer-
city in a broad wedge out to the base of Sunrise Hill,
kings approved doctrine of order and of change.
where the ancient Observatorys many balconies
These abstract principles underlie all of existence,
and platforms stand to watch the dawn.
the doctrine says. Order means death or stultifying
Destinys Kingdom, called simply Destiny in
misery, whereas change liberates vitality. Hamanu,
conversation, could hold the entire city of Tyr, with
the Mighty King, clearly has high ambitions to cre-
room left over for Gulg. Only Raam and Draj cover
ate change throughout the Tyr Region.
more land. But the vast complex consists mainly of
The Alliance in Urik concerns itself with change
dry desert; the sorcerer-kings magic raised its high
of a different kind: overthrowing the king. However,
wall and many buildings, but his city has too few
Hamanus powerful army makes this unlikely. Fur-
people to maintain the grounds. This demonstrates,
thermore, the Alliances longtime leader has van-
as many features of Urik do, how Hamanus ambi-
ished mysteriously, leaving two rival Council
tion exceeds his resources. Of course, observing this
factions to struggle for the societys leadership.
in a templars presence guarantees an instant death
The City sentence. So says Hamanus Code.
Law: In Urik the law reigns supreme, or so claims
Population: 32,000 (75% human, 5% dwarf, 3% Hamanu. In fact Hamanu dictates all laws and
mul, 2% elf, 1% half-elf, 10% half-giant, 3% thri- changes them at his need. But for civil matters in
kreen, 1% halfling). Natives called Urikites or which he takes no personal interest, the Urikite code
the slightly derogatory Uri. stands unsurpassed in the Tyr Region for utility,
Emblems: Hamanus face; Hamanu in battle comprehensiveness, and ruthlessness.
dress; Hamanu surrounded by red fire; and so on. Hamanus Code, as some call it, relies on the
Economy: Obsidian; water; slaves; silk; pottery. principle of talion, or punishment in kind. If an at-
Noteworthy residents: Hamanu, sorcerer-king tacker cuts off a victims hand, the attacker loses a
(21st-level dragon); Babantylos, chief astronomer hand; if a thief steals food, the thief must work to
(P10, Sphere of Air, 30 hp, LN); Tamarapal, High earn that value of food for the victim, and may not
Priestess (Tmp14, 20 hp due to old age, LE); eat until then. The Code emphasizes loyalty to Ha-
Bianeser, priestess and imperial consort (Tmp6, 20 manu and the templars, and secondarily a rigid civil
hp, LN); Mulgan-dur-g an of Zolpatl, commander order. (Hamanus rhetoric as a force of change
of halfling infantry (F3, 45 hp, LN). only applies outside his own city, it seems.)
Unusual sites: Destinys Kingdom, palace com- Order and change: The Urikite philosophy of
plex; Temple of the Mighty King, shrine to Ha- amukash revolves around an endless struggle be-
manu; Little Jungle, fenced area of army grounds tween these two abstract principles. The templar
given to halfling huts built in jungle style; Royal scholars of Destinys Kingdom teach that Order
Observatory; Three Sisters Observatory; obsidian currently dominates, and so Athas is stagnating,
mines, Mountain of the Black Crown; Potters even dying. The Mighty King will assert the cause of
Court, pottery market. change, they say, and restore vigor to the world.
So far the king has not established much vigor
Hamanus palace complex, Destinys Kingdom, even in Urik. His vaulting ambition has diverted

77
much of the citys economy to the building of monu- conflict with Hamanus Code. Only the templars of
ments, though not to the ruinous extent that the late the Temple must obey this stricture, and then only
Kalak required in Tyr. Hamanu at least keeps his during their infrequent shifts on the altar. (Adven-
people fed, if the bare subsistence rations of moun- turers who try to take advantage of this rule more
tain wild rice he allots qualify as feeding them. than once or twice certainly incur a stern revenge
Temples: Like Tectuktitlay in Draj, Hamanu from off-duty templars.)
styles himself a god. He has erected a huge shrine to Dress: Urikites wear square-cut hair styles with
himself just inside Destinys walls. Here his priests elaborate tight ringlets; men have square-cut curled
and priestesses preach the coming glory when he beards. Some wear a brimmed fez.
conquers the world. Priestesses outrank priests in Lower classes wear a white linen shirt with short,
the temple; both belong to the templar class. tight sleeves, knee-length. Upper classes wear the
The Temple of the Mighty King hardly qualifies same shirt to ankle-length, but with a striped or dia-
as a holy place, even by the low standards of Athas. mond pattern and topped with a girdle trimmed
Hamanu indulges his various whims with the priest- with tassels. An elaborate scarf indicates the wear-
esses, and he codifies this behavior by forcing the ers station; the longer and richer the scarf, the
Temples staff to acquiesce to parishioners desires. higher the social rank. Citizens wear the scarves on-
At all times, one priest and one priestess sit on ob- ly in the evenings and at night, after the heat of the
sidian thrones on an altar. If any parishioner tosses a day.
gold coin in his or her lap, then for the next hour Among all Urikites and by law, only templars
that templar must obey the parishioners wishes in may wear a cloak, and only the sorcerer-king may
all matters, save only those that injure someone or wear a cloak with a fringe. Templars cloaks are

78
bleached white (another unique honor). Hamanu History
keeps a huge selection of cloaks and changes them
Uriks Alliance chapter almost certainly arose
daily or more often; popular belief has it that he
soon after Tyrs. By ill chance Kalak identified one
need never repeat the same pattern in an ordinary
of Averils original seven Council members in Tyr, a
persons lifetime. Some say presenting Hamanu
summoner named Vintalus. Warned by his familiar,
with a fine new fringed cloak earns his favor, if he
Vintalus fled the city moments before the guard pa-
likes it; but presenting him with a cloak he dislikes
trol destroyed his hide-a-way. He took refuge with
leads to disaster.
friends in Urik, instructed them in magic, and slow-
Urikites enjoy competitive sports, such as arm
ly built a Urikite Alliance.
wrestling and a hoop-rolling game known as pichut,
The chapters eventful history in the four or five
as well as story-telling and dancing.
centuries since encompasses unusual highs and
Architecture: Buildings range from crude dome-
lows. Popular legend tells of a wizards war some
like slave quarters made of brick and sticks to the
time in the foil owing century, when the open desert
spectacular ukrikets, glistening obsidian towers with
between Tyr and Urik flamed in the night with mag-
open observation platforms at the top. The ukrikets
ical lights. The next morning, investigators found
serve both as guard posts and demonstrations of
bones, splotches of odd fluid, fused black glass, un-
Hamanus majesty. Ornate obsidian statues of Ha-
canny crawling things, and other evidence of wiz-
manu line the neatly-kept streets. So do immense
ardry.
brick walls covered with white glaze, on which artists
This battle marks the only direct conflict recorded
paint elaborate scenes of Hamanus exploits.
between Alliance chapters. Fragmentary records in-
dicate that one society wished to unite with (that is,
Pottery
gain control of) the other. Even at this late date,
Urikites consider pottery not only an esteemed each society blames the other for the aggression. In
trade but a fine art. The whole Tyr region holds the event, both sides lost and retreated, not unlike
Urikian pottery in high regard for its fine workman- the recent conflict between Tyr and Urik following
ship and traders get high prices for the citys Kalaks death. Both Alliances grew perilously weak
dishes, plates, and a variety of decorative pieces. for a generation, and no Alliance has tried to con-
Potters make their wares from the soft gray clay trol another citys chapter since that time.
found in abundance near the citys obsidian mines. When the Urik Alliance returned to strength in
They add dyes and ground minerals to produce the following centuries, Hamanu learned of its
crimson, green, blue, and other brilliant colors, power and hunted its members mercilessly. He
then knead the clay into shape on the dozens of pot- made repeated inroads against them, and the last
ters wheels scattered throughout Potters Court. incursion fragmented the society for many years.
The Courts immense stone kilns raise the local Decades ago, a great preserver named Morlak fi-
temperature to almost unbearable levels, so potters nally restored the Alliance, and under his leader-
operate the kilns during the evening and at night. ship the chapter has taken particular interest in
Potters decorate their pieces with lustrous glazes overthrowing the sorcerer-king.
(the popular metallic colors contain little actual Unfortunately, Morlak recently disappeared
metal), and detailed carvings of animals, astronomi- without a trace and without a successor. The squab-
cal symbols, and images of the sorcerer-king. ble over the chapters new leadership and direction

79
has led to a new fragmentingtwo rival factions. The member carries away the pot to a safe place
Player characters who arrive in Urik encounter not and speaks the keyword to activate the spell. Each
one, but two Alliances. cell has a unique keyword that always activates the
messages for that cell. The pair of lips animates and
Contacting The Alliance speaks the message. Then the member passes along
the information at the next meeting.
Visitors and novice wizards know nothing of the
Myrmeleon infiltrators sometimes argue that the
recent split. So far as they know, theyre simply con-
Alliance should use the spells to foment unrest
tacting the Urik Alliance, whether in a tavern, mar-
among the citizenry. For example, the spell should
ketplace, at the Observatory (home of a dowdy and
activate when anyone approaches, speaking words
doddering old diviner named Thassaphar), or in the
such as Hamanu must fall! This plan, of course,
Potters Court, the nominal headquarters.
would implicate the potters guild, which has here-
Actually the characters contact only one of the
tofore escaped connection with wizardry.
two factions, and they cant control which one! This
becomes important when they choose a side, for
Inititation
they automatically make enemies in the other fac-
tion. The player characters can encounter either Though other chapters like to offer initiations
faction; choose the faction they meet according to based on breaking into the sorcerer-kings palace,
the needs of the story. in Urik this presents little challenge. Destinys
Kingdom covers a vast area, and the guards cannot
Magical Pots hope to protect every foot of its wall. An intruder
can walk almost openly inside the compound with-
Three Alliance members work among Uriks pot-
out expecting to see a patrol.
ters. Acting on Council instructions, these wizards
Instead, each Alliance faction has adopted alter-
cast magic mouth spells on bricks and pots, or
nate initiations designed to evaluate a candidates
sometimes on the governments message tablets.
integrity.
The spells convey information to other members.
Every pot with a message carries a symbolic pair
Leoriciuss Faction
of lips worked into its design, either embossed or
painted. A second symbol represents one Alliance The candidate stands before Leoricius and a
cell; each cell has its own symbol, such as a dotted cadre of his trusted aides, or before a cell contact,
square, a candle flame, or a cats eye. After com- and answers questions. Typical questions include,
pleting the pot and casting the magic mouth spell, If magic brought this plight on our world, should
the wizard carries it to the marketplace, where one we not, for morality, outlaw magic altogether? and
of several merchants (all auxiliary members) puts it Should a wizard devote most of his energies to im-
on sale at a ruinously high price. proving his own skills or should he concentrate on
A cell member who sees this pot for sale offers a devising ways to help others? Leoricius has no
price containing an agreed-upon passwordfor in- right or wrong answers; he wants to see the candi-
stance, This pot looks likely to crack around the dates ability to reason. All too often he hears the
rim, but it looks worth a ceramic piece. The mer- worst possible answer, I dont know.
chant then sells the pot to the member, though both Finally Leoricius gives the candidate a small flask
may put on a show of haggling, if observers notice. of water, then leads him to a dying plant. Assume

80
this is your entire ration of water for the day, he you see in Potters Court. Better this, they reason,
tells the candidate. Would you use it to revive this than letting potential members get away to the rival
plant, or would you save the water for yourself? faction.
Ideally the candidate saves the water for himself.
(Even now, plants outnumber strong men and Leadership
women.)
Morlak
However, a candidate who answers in the
Human Male Preserver
wrong has the opportunity to defend his answer.
15th-Level
A well-reasoned defense carries the same weight as
Lawful Good
the right answer.

Background: Morlak assumed leadership of the


Thanias Faction
fractured Alliance in the wake of the Week of the
Initiation here involves a simple task, compound- Red Hood, an intensive seven-day sweep of the city
ed by an unexpected problem that tests the candi- by a vicious security force hand-picked by the
dates ability to think quickly. For instance, the sorcerer-king. The soldiers, their faces concealed by
candidate may receive a pot inscribed with a pair of red hoods, ferreted out members of the Alliance
lips, with instructions to take it to Potters Court and slaughtered them on the spot, killing dozens.
and give it to a particular individual, whom the Alli- Outraged, Morlak organized an underground net-
ance tester describes in detail. work to hide the survivors. For some time after the
Unknown to the candidate, no such individual Week of the Red Hood, Hamanu believed he had
will appear. Instead, an aide follows the candidate wiped out the Alliance. In fact, two dozen members
and observes how he handles the situation. A candi- hid in safehouses throughout the city. When they
date who leaves the pot unattended in the desig- emerged, they proclaimed Morlak the new leader of
nated location, or worse, asks a stranger to care for the revitalized Alliance.
the pot, fails the test. Should the candidate wait pa- Their confidence lay in Morlaks inspiring de-
tiently at the location for the specified individual to meanor, compassion, and careful decisions rather
arrive, the tester sends a different person who does than in his background. Morlak had no close
not fit the description given. This new person tries to friends and kept his upbringing and personal life
convince the candidate that the Alliance sent him. secret. He said only that he had misspent his life as
A candidate who refuses to hand over the pot passes a withdrawn scholar before he joined the Alliance.
the first part of the initiation. A successful Green I knew first-hand of Hamanus plan to destroy the
Test ensures acceptance by the faction. Alliance, he said cryptically. Yet I did nothing.
The blood of our brethren stains my hands as much
The Tests in Practice as it does Hamanus.
Morlak seldom asked others for advice. A smile
Failure to join one faction actually increases the
only rarely creased his face, yet he seemed to find
candidates chances in the other. Also, each faction
pleasure in the oddest things. He would watch in
competes strongly for the allegiance of members, or
fascination as an ant struggled to drag a crumb to
potential members. So a contact may coach the
its hill, or study the edges of leaves for hours. Faced
player characters before the initiation, saying, We
with a difficult decision, Morlak ascends to the sum-
prize lucidity of thought, or Dont trust everyone

81
mit of a high hill where he spends the rest of the day Reading/Writing, Sign Language, Somatic Con-
alone, in thought. cealment, Spellcraft.
During such a period of meditation, Morlak dis- Psionics: telekinesis.
appeared. One morning he walked to the hilltop
and settled comfortably on a bed of weeds, just as he Background: Leoricius supervised security for
had done countless times before. When his body- Morlak. He a ways assigned at least two veteran
guard, the trusted Leoricius, returned for him at guards to Morlak wherever he went. One morning
sunset, Morlak had vanished. To date, no clues re- Morlak announced he would spend the day medi-
garding his disappearance have surfaced. Most in tating atop a high hill outside the city. Leoricius dis-
the Alliance fear the worst, though some suspect missed the security guards, taking that duty on
Morlak vanished for reasons of his own. himself.
Appearance: Gaunt and pale, with sunken eyes While Morlak meditated, the bored Leoricius
and thin lips, Morlak resembled a corpse as much wandered the area. He discovered a shallow valley
as a healthy 50-year-old man. He moved slowly and occupied by several sunbathing maidens. Leoricius
deliberately, speaking in low tones, almost a whisper. concealed himself behind a rock and watched the
He favored long white gowns that covered most of maidens for the rest of the day. At sunset, the maid-
his bony body. So heavy were the gowns that most ens departed, and Leoricius returned to Morlaks
would find them unbearable in the heat of the day, hill. But Morlak had disappeared, with no evidence
yet Morlak showed no discomfort. of a struggle and no sign of a trail.
Role-playing: Awkward in the company of others, Leoricius blamed himself for Morlaks disappear-
Morlak preferred solitude, avoiding small talk, gen- ance. He vowed to take over the leaders responsibil-
tly steering conversations to polite resolutions as ities, an action he felt sure would meet with
quickly as possible so he could go his own way. He Morlaks approval. I was closest to Morlak, said
brooded incessantly, as if wracked with guilt, evok- Leoricius. I knew him best. He would want me to
ing both respect and sympathy from his followers. carry on his work. With that, Leoricius closed the
subject.
Leoricius the Untameable Many members of the Alliance, however, did not
Human Male Preserver (Invoker) share Leoriciuss assumption. They believed that
14th Level the ambitious Leoricius had disposed of Morlak
Lawful Good himself. Led by the half-elf Thania, they left the old
Str 13 Int 20 headquarters in Three Sisters Observatory to form
Dex 15 Wis 12 their own faction in Potters Court. Leoricius de-
Con 20 Cha 13 nounced them as traitors; they likewise denounced
Leoricius and his followers.
hp: 38 The members who stayed with Leoricius hold him
AC: 10 in high regard, impressed with his magic abilities.
#AT: 1 Leoricius specializes in combat. He developed a
THAC0: 16 (+3 Strength bonus) single-minded devotion to Invocation and Evocation
Dmg: by spell spells in his early years as a sorcerers apprentice.
Proficiencies: Dagger; Ancient Languages, Engi- Appearance: In his late 30s, he looks younger; he
neering, Heat Protection, Modern Languages, is of medium height, has a strong build, curled

82
brown hair and beard; flaring eyebrows and intent Sign Language, Survival, Water Find, Weather
gaze; blue eyes. He has a strong baritone voice and Sense.
carries himself regally; he frequently oils his smooth Psionics: enhanced strength.
skin to give it a lustrous sheen. He wears baggy linen
trousers and prefers to go bare chestedto display Background: Lodo served Morlak as aide and
his rock-hard muscles. secretary, and he now serves Leoricius the same way.
Role-playing: Leoricius commands respect, and Over 40 years ago the dwarf found his focus, Help
genuinely believes in the Alliance cause, but he the Alliance leader, when Morlak and several
shows little tolerance for disagreement. His faction Council members saved his life.
attracts followers who share his commitment to the By chance the young Lodo had been wandering
goal of overthrowing Hamanu. The rival faction be- by a former Alliance headquarters just as Ha-
lieves (with reason) that the Alliance has no chance manus forces discovered and assaulted it. Morlak
to succeed. Leoricius believes these members show and the rest drove off the attackers at great cost,
cowardice and lack of imagination. and incidentally, Morlak rescued Lodo from certain
Leoricius, an invoker, behaves snobbishly towards death at a half-giant guards hands. The young
most other schools of magic. He respects summon- dwarf, searching for a life purpose, resolved on the
ers and conjurers, and to a lesser extent transmu- spot to help the Alliance in all things, and in prac-
ters. But he derides other schools as airy tice this amounted to helping Morlak.
abstractions, and reserves particular scorn for en- With Morlaks unexplained disappearance and
chanters and illusionists. the new factional dispute, Lodo endured a brief per-
Notes: Leoriciuss spells have a sensory effect of iod of doubt (a rare and shameful experience for a
purple rings of light that descend with a deep hum- dwarf), then decided to choose a leader and stick by
ming and a smell of ozone. As they descend they him. Leoricius does not measure up to Morlak in
create the invoked effect; and touching the ground, the dwarf servants eyes, for the Invoker does not
the rings vanish. have Morlaks long perspective and wise manage-
ment skills. Yet how much better a choice than
Lodo Gansky Thanianot only selfish and short-sighted, but an
Male Dwarf Fighter elf! Despite misgivings, Lodo still devotes all his en-
9th-Level ergies to protecting his chosen leader and the Alli-
Lawful Good ance cause. The membership likes and respects him
Str 19 Int 16 greatly.
Dex 13 Wis 15 Appearance: For a dwarf, Lodo appears rather
Con 20 Cha 14 thinly built, almost like a heavyset halfling. He
wears a gray knee-length skirt with a white belt
hp: 48 commoners garb. No one ever sees him without his
AC: 10 heavy work gloves, a type well known among labor-
#AT: 3/2 rounds ers in Urik.
THAC0: 12 (+3 Strength bonus) Role-playing: Wise, caring, and not impulsive.
Dmg: 1d6 (footmans mace, stone) Though he doesnt know it, Lodo would make a
Proficiencies: Axe, Dagger, Mace, Short Bow, better Alliance leader than either Leoricius or Tha-
Sling, Sword; Blacksmithing, Heat Protection, nia. Make this gradually clear to the PCs; let them

83
suggest the idea to the dwarf, and then role-play the her as a weakling. Thania responded by leaving the
process of convincing the stubborn dwarf his focus Alliance, taking with her a large body of the mem-
of Help the Alliance need not really change. bership who feared Leoriciuss headstrong obses-
Notes: Under his right glove Lodo wears a ring of sions.
sustenance that Morlak gave him long ago after 10 Thania believes that Hamanu retains a strong
years of loyal service. The dwarf mistrusts the ring grip on power, at least compared to the late Kalak of
for its unreliability (his dwarven nature at work), but Tyr or Abalach-Re of Raam. Therefore she intends
he wears it out of loyalty to the departed Morlak. to lie low, executing covert actions to disrupt the sta-
tus quo, but generally remaining out of sight until
Thania and unless a full-scale citizens uprising occurs.
Female Half-Elf Preserver To complicate matters, Thania must juggle her
12th-Level Alliance responsibilities with raising her infant son,
Lawful Neutral a six-month-old named Tasham. The father of her
Str 14 Int 18 child, a merchant named Rumirock, died in a me-
Dex 14 Wis 14 killot accident, leaving Thania alone with their ba-
Con 13 Cha 18 by. Though Thania has so far neglected neither the
Alliance nor her son a growing number of faction
hp: 34 members wonder if her devotion to Tasham will ulti-
AC: 10 mately weaken her effectiveness as a leader. The
#AT: 1 sickly Tasham, who seems susceptible to endless af-
THAC0: 17 flictions, demands more and more of her time.
Dmg: by spell Appearance: Thania has small black eyes, short
Proficiencies: Dagger; Artistic Ability, Herbalism, silver hair, and small ears pressed flat against her
Pottery. head. She wears a flowing white smock and long
Psionics: mindlink, contact, ESP. black scarf embroidered with red lace. At just over
six feet tall, she presents an imposing figure, offset
Background: The daughter of two healers, Tha- by an easy smile and melodious voice.
nia received an extensive medical education as well Role-playing: Though caring and wise, a tenden-
as training in the magical arts. Her medical skills cy to hesitate flaws Thanias personality. Too often
served the Alliance well in the aftermath of the she withdraws and waits when direct action would
Week of the Red Hood. Thania risked her life on serve her better. Aware that some see her devotion to
several occasions to tend to the wounded. One time her son as a sign of vulnerability, Thania overcom-
she singlehandedly drove off a contmgent of ten pensates by boisterous language and an occasional-
Red Hoods to rescue an elderly and badly beaten ly sharp tongue. She views Leoricius as no less than
wizard. Her courage earned her Morlaks admira- a maniac, and sees herself as the only logical succes-
tion and an honored position on the Alliance Coun- sor to Morlak.
cil. Notes: Thanias spells produce an odor of cinna-
Following Morlaks disappearance, Thania dis- mon and oranges, along with a low crackling sound
agreed sharply with Leoricius about the direction of and a dim yellow haze. Her more powerful spells
the Alliance, advocating patience and negotiation create static electricity that makes observers hair
instead of violent confrontation. Leoricius dismissed crackle.

84
Headquarters The observatory bears no resemblance to terres-
trial equivalents -no telescopes yet exist on Athas.
Council leaders originally met in the Three Sis-
Instead, the two-story building offers observation
ters Observatory. They found it ideal, for the
balconies, oversized measuring devices, and a flat
sorcerer-kings astronomers no longer used it, after
roof accessible by a staircase. Leoriciuss faction
the construction of the more elaborate Royal Ob-
meets in a hidden basement room.
servatory on the opposite side of the city.
The observatory stands on a high hill known as
With the recent split, Leoricius (at Lodos urging)
Sunrise Point. It resembles a squat cylinder about
has taken unofficial control of that headquarters.
70 feet in diameter and nearly 50 feet tall. Chips
Thanias faction has moved to a new location, a
and scratches mar the obsidian walls, giving the ap-
small shop in the Potters Court. Each faction
pearance of decades of neglect. The Alliance has
knows the others location, but neither has yet con-
sealed most windows to discourage intruders, and it
templated any drastic, self-destructive action such
has also closed off the western entrance with rubble.
as attacking the rival stronghold or reporting its lo-
Candles, torches, and ceiling globes imbued with
cation to Hamanu. If tension escalates, Myrmeleon
continual light spells illuminate the interior.
infiltrators may counsel these disastrous actions.
Grounds: Several statues representing some of
The Kings Cup Uriks greatest astronomers circle the observatory.
Near the east entry stands a modest guardhouse
Dozens of craft shops line Potters Court, rang- made of mud bricks, the domain of Thassaphar, an
ing in size from spacious warehouses containing pot- elderly diviner and friend of the Alliance. When
tery of every conceivable variety to small specialty strangers approach the observatory, Thassaphar in-
stores featuring only a single product, such as eating tercepts them, politely inquiring about their inten-
utensils or storage jugs. One shop, the Kings Cup, tions. He psionically transmits what he learns to an
specializes in drinking mugs, sparsely decorated but Alliance member inside the observatory, via
well-made and affordable for commoners. Located mindlink.
in a secluded corner of the court, the shop does a If the strangers look young, naive, or easily intimi-
modest business. dated, Thassaphar impersonates a stern bureau-
Inside the shop the visitor sees display racks, stor- crat, demanding to know their birthdays, work
age pots, and two potters wheels-one of which al- history, and other personal information. He stalls
ways seems to be broken. The broken wheel stands them while he meticulously writes down their every
on an frayed mat bearing the symbol of two lips. word.
The mat conceals a stairway leading to a basement If the strangers look like representatives of the king
room that Thanias faction uses as a headquarters. or other officials, Thassaphar peppers them with flat-
tery (Oh, such handsome sandals! Did you pur-
The Three Sisters Observatory chase them in the city, or are you from out of town?),
groveling requests (Look at the shape of this observ-
Named for the three identical granite hills nearby,
the Three Sisters Observatory once functioned as the atory. Surely, kind sirs, someone as close to the king as
you can pull some strings. You can get an audience
main observatory for Hamanus royal astronomers.
with the king, can you not?), or friendly banter
Since the construction of the Royal Observatory, the
(Military men I served myself, you know. Ever
Three Sisters now officially serves as a storage area for
heard of General Johorequ?). He tries to learn as
astronomical records and equipment.

85
much as he can without arousing suspicion. The north wall looks like solid brick, covered with
First floor: The eastern entrance opens to a large a mural of the phases of the moons. By placing a
anteroom. A black and white ceramic mosaic of the hand on the image of the waning moon, a visitor can
constellations fills most of the floor. Should anyone open a secret panel, revealing a stairway that leads
step on the mosaic, the pressure triggers a mechani- to the Alliances basement headquarters.
cal device in the Alliances secret basement room, Basement: The Alliance headquarters consist of
alerting them. Walking on the green ceramic bor- a single room with tile floors and ceramic brick
ders of the constellation mosaic avoids activating the walls. One wall bears the etched names of Alliance
alarm. The Alliance has imbedded similar warning members lost in the Week of the Red Hood. Each
mosaics in the floors, just beneath the sealed win- meeting begins with members touching the wall and
dows, in case an intruder dislodges the mortar try- bowing their heads for a moment of respectful si-
ing to enter this way. lence.
Most rooms on this floor originally served as con- A round wooden meeting table stands in the mid-
ference and study chambers. After the construction dle of the room. A trapdoor beneath the table leads
of the Royal Observatory, these rooms became stor- to an escape tunnel that winds deep into the earth,
age areas. Some now hold ancient records (mostly opening in a weed field about 100 yards away.
old and outdated astronomical charts) or spare Second floor: The second floor has storage areas
equipment (barrels of graphite for polishing lenses, like those on the first floor, as well as several private
stacks of blank papyrus scrolls, and rulers of various offices originally belonging to the observatorys one-
lengths). One conceals the secret weapons cache: time resident scholars. Now that the scholars have
knives, daggers, and blowguns. died or relocated to the new Royal Observatory,

86
these offices contain desks, chairs, empty shelves, What Happened to Morlak?
cabinets, and not much else.
At the behest of Thania or Leoricius, the PCs
The largest office belonged to a brilliant and ec-
might search for the missing Morlak. They may
lectic researcher named Ubukez, whose interests in-
find one of the following solutions to the mystery of
cluded not only astronomy and mathematics, but
Morlaks disappearance:
medicine, anthropology, and meteorology. About a
1. Hamanu captured and imprisoned Morlak.
century ago, Ubukez wandered into the desert, pre-
The Mighty King holds him hostage as a trump
sumably on a research project, and never returned.
card in case of an Alliance uprising. The player
Most of his records remain in his office. Alliance
characters must make their way through a subterra-
members have examined Ubukezs records, but
nean cavern network, winding beneath the royal
have found nothing of interest. An open skylight
palace, to liberate Morlak.
lets observers study the skies above.
2. Hearing that an Alliance underling saw
Roof: Obsidian tile covers the roof, except for the
Morlak in a marketplace, the PCs interrogate mer-
open skylight that serves as part of the second floor
chants, bribe lowlifes, and evade Hamanus security
ceiling. Reclining chairs enable astronomers to ob-
forces. Eventually they discover Morlak wandering
serve the stars without straining their necks.
the streets as a brainless beggar, the result of acci-
dentally rubbing a cursed gem that afflicted him
Adventure Hooks with a feeblemind spell.
Thanias baby comes down with a bad case of 3. Morlak wanted the two factions to come to
Toks Fever, which could prove fatal if left untreat- terms and thought the best way to achieve this was
ed. Thania believes that the ancient scholar, Ubu- to withdraw and let them realize they needed each
kez, had developed a cure for the fever. Further, other. While pretending to mediate, he consumed a
Thania thinks the cure may lie in his notes in the potion of diminution and hid in a hole in a tree. He
Three Sisters Observatory. She sends an emissary has monitored the activities of both factions ever
to the observatory to ask for the notes. Leoricius re- since, disappointed that they have been unable to
bukes the emissary. Enraged, Thania vows to get find common ground.
Ubukezs notes, whatever the cost. Morlak appears to the PCs and implores them to
If the PCs have allied with Thania, she may order act as intermediaries in a settlement between the fac-
them to sneak into the observatory and steal the tions. He promises to reveal himself once the fac-
notes. If they have allied with Leoricius, they may tions have reached an agreement. He will not
have to prevent this theft. In either case, a violent participate in the negotiations, believing that his
clash probably erupts between the two factions at presence will cause Leoricius and Thania to behave
the observatory. Here the player characters may try as they think he wants, rather than as they truly feel.
to heal the breach between the factions, but this Meanwhile, Morlak plans to search for and re-
probably comes only after one or the other leader cruit new young preservers. His investigations may
dies. inadvertently result in one of the two options dis-
If Thania gains access to Ubukezs notes, obtain- cussed above.
ing the materials necessary to cure her baby may
require delicate negotiations with dune traders or
adventures in other cities.

87
The Veiled Alliance maintains a strong presence mainly they serve another function. Every guard on
in the trading outpost of Altaruk and a small con- the battlements knows of the Green Test. When any
tingent in the slave village of Salt View. Uriks min- wizard asks entry, the guard demands to see a can-
ing village of Makla usually bring in one or two trip or other spell. He observes the thorn bushes
preservers with every slave shipment, but these closely during the spellcasting. If they survive, the
dont live long enough to develop a useful support guard allows the wizard in. Otherwise he sounds the
structure. No known members live in the villages of alarm.
North and South Ledopolous, Ugo, or Walis. Of course, a crafty defiler can easily foil this crude
The many smaller towns that dot the desert land- test, but its very existence shows that attitudes in Al-
scape may include one or two citizens who know the taruk differ greatly from the rest of the region. Wiz-
societys recognition signals, but these owe alle- ards at the outpost thank the one person responsible
giance to no chapter and make no reports to a coun- for this.
cil. No Alliance member should rely on these
contacts, who often prove only temporary. Arisphistaneles
Human Male Preserver/Trader
Altaruk Dual-Classed W4/Trad12
Lawful good
A caravan stops over in Altaruk every three weeks
Str 15 Int 17
or so. Those that serve the Balican merchant houses
Dex 16 Wis 16
of Wavir, Rees, and Tomblador (the villages spon-
Con 18 Cha 18
sors) stay for two or three nights. Others must pay 5
gp per caravan mount each day-a ruinous total
hp: 50
that restricts their stay to one night per trip.
AC: 8
Between caravans, residents endure a tedious life
#AT: 1
of bad meals, boring guard duty, and routine main-
THAC0: 15
tenance, punctuated by episodes of stark terror dur-
Dmg: 1d4 (dagger) or by spell.
ing the occaisional giant attacks. In this, village life
Proficiencies: Dagger; Appraising, Bargain, Dis-
resembles that in an army camp or fortress. Citizens
guise, Forgery, Reading/Writing, Somatic Con-
pass the time gambling, competing in wrestling or
cealment.
knife throwing contests, or, remarkably, learning to
Psionics; feature alteration.
read. Altaruks leader permits all citizens to read.
He also has introduced other radical ideas that have
Background: Born to cruel slave parents in Balic,
made the preservers hard lives almost pleasant.
Arisphistaneles ran away at the age of 10. He
promptly fell into trouble with a templar, but a pass-
The Alliance in Altaruk
ing wizard rescued the boy and adopted him. Aris-
Only in this small village does the general popu- phistaneles developed intense admiration for magic,
lous realize the distinction between preserving and but little talent for spellcasting. Still, he joined the
defiling magic. This has made life much easier for Alliance in Balic and served it loyally.
the Alliance. His real talents lay in business. After managing
A round the fortress walls grow tall pyracantha his adoptive fathers affairs, the youth joined the
thorn bushes. These provide some defense, but merchant house of Wavir and rose rapidly in the

88
firm. He never lost his commitment to magic, takes self-righteous offence at the way mages here
though, nor an accompanying belief that all think- parade around in the open. He has roused the
ing beings have a right to literacy. When the House wrath of his patron, Cecrops Rees, grandson of the
of Wavir appointed him to supervise their trading patriarch of the House of Rees. In the best inter-
post at Altaruk some three decades ago, he quietly ests of the firm, Cecrops has hired a couple of half-
began implementing his ideas. As long as the bai- elf mercenaries to infiltrate and subvert the
ante sheets continue strong, the sponsoring mer- compound. The Captain hires these mercenaries
chants look the other way. just as the PCs arrive. Their mischief (arson, sabo-
Appearance: Arisphistaneles is age 54. He wears tage, rabble-rousing) begins shortly thereafter, im-
Balican clothing, the chiton and chlamys, and plicating the heroes.
leather armor. He is of average height, muscular
build, though paunchy, and bald-in fact, com- Salt View
pletely hairless. Some speculate that the Captain
The Alliance in Salt View
must have dwarf blood in his past. However, a small
proportion of Athasian humans have no natural In contrast to nearby Altaruk, people in this bois-
body hair. terous slave village hate wizards as much as other
The Captain exploits this using his psycometabo- Athasians do. The uneducated, even savage resi-
lic wild talent, a rare and minor variant of metamor- dents form mobs and lynch those even suspected of
phosis. Arisphistaneles can change his facial magical ability. Between lynchings, they spend their
features and fingerprints, the shape of his hands, leisure time in an endless cycle of gambling, drink-
and so on. He can grow webs between his fingers ing, and brawling. For a change of pace they stage
and toes, or point his ears. He sometimes uses the cruel animal fights, more ruthless than those in any
last trick to impersonate a mul, a handy disguise. city-states arena.
Role-Playing: He is outspoken, haranguing, cur-
mudgeonly, but amusing and charming in his way. NPCs
Abusive toward those who question the wisdom of
Citizens of Salt View know of only one wizard:
teaching slaves and soldiers to read, and harshly
Old Hildera (W3. 8 hp LN), an aged woman who
taunting of those who refuse the opportunity to
once lived in Tyr as an Alliance apprentice. But
learn. But Arisphistaneles regards those who show a
many decades ago, someone discovered her powers
thirst for knowledge as his blood kin.
and her teacher had to smuggle her out of the city
Note: The trader character class appears in the
ahead of an angry mob. He sat her up in this distant
Dune Trader supplement. DMs who lack that book
village, where she cleans shacks and tents using can-
may substitute rogue for trader.
trips and unseen servant spells. In the decades since
she came here, she has never found anyone who
Adventure Hook
could instruct her further in magic.
Despite Arisphistaneles good offices, some in Al- Because of her gentle nature and low prices, the
taruk still maintain the old prejudices against wiz- villagers tolerate her, though no one will appear in
ards. Some of these have high-level connections with public with her. Desperately lonely, she has Begun
the merchant dynasties that sponsor the village. instructing a few village children in minor magic.
Amphiucus, a mul trader for the House of Rees, Should the adults discover this, they would instantly
hang her.

89
No one knows that another, more powerful wiz- 15; Int 17; Wis 12; Cha 10.
ard, lives in Salt View. Phriantus (W 10, 35 hp, LE)
is a Balikan defiler who once served Andropinis. He Regg (7th-level diviner): AL LN; AC10; MV 6;
plundered one of the kings most advanced HD 7; hp 20; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg by spell;
spellbooks and several devises that hid him from SZ M; ML 10; Str 14; Dex 15; Con 15; Int 17;
magical or psionic pursuit. He fled Balic and Wis 12; Cha 10.
reached Salt View before discovery of the theft.
Since then Andropinis has slain more than a Lost Oasis
dozen templars, by way of encouraging the survivors
Many years ago one Lionus, an invoker from Ba-
to hunt Phriantus more aggressively. But Phriantus
lit, discovered ancient scrolls relating to the early
has changed his appearance, aura, profession, and
history of the dragon and the sorcerer-kings. He
habits, while he waits out the kings wrath and stud-
never told anyone what he found, but he left shortly
ies the spellbook. It holds 10th-level spells that far
after and took up residence at this oasis, near the
outstrip his ability-nothing less than psionic en-
ruins of Kalidnay. The old hermit has explored the
chantments, the most advanced magic on Athas.
ruins ever since, growing riper and hairier with each
season.
Oases Despite a lack of results and numerous close calls
Few oases support a permanent population. Two with death, Lionus still believes the destroyed city
that shelter individual preservers, Alliance mem- holds some powerful secret. He tells visitors, with
bers, deserve mention: Graks Pool and Lost Oasis. some excitement if not coherence, his theory that the
dragon destroyed the city. The sorcerer-king here
Graks Pool tried t do somethin. . . against the dragon, may-
be. . . dunno. Tried t kill a whole lot o folks.
Grak the half-elf employs many mercenaries, in-
Maybe some kind o folks we never heard of. Dun-
cluding one preserver-his own brother, Regg. The
no why. You help me explore, I just know well find
two stick by each other in a world that mistrusts
somethin.
them both.
Lionus has explored some of the extensive ruins
Regg, a 7th-level diviner, spends most of his days
and thinks he may have befriended the local druid,
studying magic, sometimes via psionic communica-
the thri-keen Darwadala. Though not quite crazy,
tion with Alliance wizards in distant cities. In this
the old wizard ha had little social contact for dec-
way he learned the Alliance recognition signals.
ades and barely resembles his old Alliance associ-
Out of boredom, rather than treachery, Regg
ates.
passes reports of interesting or suspicious travellers
to any Council member who asks. He enjoys talking
Lionus (5th-level human invoker): AL LN; AC 10;
with visitors and would gladly reveal his abilities to
MV 6; HD 5; hp 15; THAC0 13; #AT 1; Dmg
another preserver.
by spell; SZ M; ML 6; Str 12; Dex 13; Con 15; Int
16; Wis 7; Cha 8.
Grak (7th-level fighter): AL LN; AC7; MV 6; HD
7; hp 24, THAC0 14 (+2 to hit from strength bo-
nus); #AT 3/2 rounds; Dmg 1d6+4 (metal
morningstar); SZ M; ML 10; Str 14; Dex 15; Con

90
This chapter discusses some of the issues involved proverbial. His underlings knew Daclamitus as a
in running Veiled Alliance adventures, either alone cunning man, as evasive as a jarbo. His endless de-
or in a connected campaign. votion to self-advancement earned him the nick-
name the Sleepless One. His zeal in tracking
The Alliance In Adventures traitors soon brought him the respect of Kalak, who
granted him nearly unlimited power as his senior
Noble Quaestor at your initiation you asked of
adjutant.
the founding of our society, What great wizard
Daclamituss office let him indulge certain private
brought all this about? What traitor betrayed its ex-
ambitions, including an interest in ruins and objects
istence to the sorcerer-kings? and you wondered
of magic. Perhaps he hoped to obtain some device
why we smiled. We had no time then to expound
from ancient days that would let him rise farther
upon the questionthe guards attacked then, as
even to the black throne of Tyr
you no doubt recalland thus my reply has had to
It happened that a group of adventurous anti-
wait. The tale begins with Daclamitus, a man of sin-
quarians, having studied ancient texts, set forth
ister nature and dark look, of pursed lips and mea-
across the desert by unknown paths to search for the
suring gaze, cloying to superiors and cruel to
lost city of Kor. After many months, when they did
underlings. The black robes of the templar bespoke
not return to Tyr, Daclamitus claimed their homes
his black heart. But I move ahead of my story. . .
and goods in the name of Kalak. But on a day
Many kings ages past, Daclamitus rose high
blackened by the blowing sand, they returned from
among the templars of Tyr. Even by that evil call-
the wasteland bearing a strange helm.
ings standards, his cruelty and ambition became
Daclamitus ordered the weary travelers seized

91
and imprisoned. But torture could not make them that magic take may forms and perhaps, just per-
reveal the helms powers. They died professing their haps, it could serve not death, but life.
ignorance. Finally Daclamitus heard of a beautiful mage-
For a time the helm lay upon Daclamituss desk. woman who dwelt beyond sparkling water, a wiz-
He sensed its magic, but could not decipher its pur- ard of power and purity. He longed to capture her.
pose. How could he unlock its secrets? The templar felt certain that her confession would
At last desire for power overcame cowardice. teach him, at last, the truths of magic. But for
Alone in his chambers, he put on the helm. As months he heard no more about her, neither her
though a curtain had parted, he saw the evil of his name nor the meaning of this sparkling water. So
life. A spellbinding vision showed how all his actions his persecution continued.
had made his heart small and petty, how he had One night at his palatial home his guards
stamped out all citizens impulses toward freedom, brought him a drunken merchant, a caravan driver.
truth, and beauty. The ancient magic wrought upon The traveller told a story of a waterfall gleaming at
him changed him so powerfully and painfully that night upon a distant peak. The merchant spotted it
he fell into a swoon lasting days. for only an instant, when the two moons took a cer-
When he woke, he felt reborn. He asked his ser- tain position, and this wonder emerged flashing like
vants to bring him the helm, but discovered that out a sheet of silver in the night.
of fear they had torn it from his head and melted it Daclamitus called astronomers and geographers
in a blacksmiths forge. He forgave them this and to his home, so that he could find this mystery by
resolved to begin a new life, redoubling his zeal in a square and compass. His eagerness drew the atten-
high and worthy cause: hunting wizards. He would tion of Antrifos, who made discreet inquiries of a
rid Athas of the magicians who almost destroyed it! servant.
But his political acuity had not left him. He knew The young mans informant told him, The high
that doing this good work required craft and subtle- templar seeks a waterfall in the desert. The sages
ty. If Kalak ever suspected his new nature, the place this miracle at Regal Tar, which I know has no
Sleepless One would fall into a permanent sleep. more water than a bone. Antrifos thought, My
Fortunately, his great abilities in the arts of the mind leader has learned of great power, or he has gone
concealed his thoughts, and his skill in duplicity hid mad. Either way, I shall exploit his lunacy.
his actions. Yet his newfound emotions betrayed Meanwhile, Daclamitus arranged an expedition
him. to Regal Tar. Great was their hardship in the waste-
The washerwomen and the stableboys spoke of land, but at last, in the cold desert night, they came
the templars new kindness, and the tale found its to Regal Tar. Daclamitus scaled the peak alone, lest
way to a skulking, obsequious young man, an ambi- his troops presence alert the wizard. High on the
tious junior templar named Antrifos. No matter to mountain, he saw the twin moons of Athas hanging
whom we speak, the templars hear. Antrifos began low in the sky, like glowing eyes through dark fabric.
watching Daclamitus from secrecy. Above him, a waterfall descended from the jagged
In the following weeks Daclamitus persecuted wiz- summit to a crack in the dark volcanic rock. He
ards in a spirit of righteous vengeance. Even his paused, awed by its beauty, and then, in lethal si-
name could make a mage turn pale with fear. Many lence, climbed up to the crevasse.
of our calling fell to his wrath, but they did not die Filled with wonder, he whispered Kalaks name to
vainly. For as he took endless tortured confessions, silence spells that might sound an alarm. Then he
the templar began to suspect what no templar knew: stepped through.

92
As the curtain of water parted, he entered a gar- cool contralto voice. He nodded, forgetting to scowl
den of green delight. Ferns flourished in each cor- as befit a captor.
ner, grasses and sedge grew like a carpet, and On the long mare back to Tyr, Daclamitus in-
spidery air plants limned every crag of the cavern terrogated the woman, who gave the name Averil.
wall. The pungent air closed in damply and light He asked, Why did you save me from the jag-
diffused through the cave from no clear source. uar?
The templar silently walked deeper into the cave. I value my sanctuary, she said, I swore a vow
He had never seen so much green outside Kalaks that no living thing would come to harm there, if I
gardens. There the plants grew in orderly array. could help it. There I gather everything I love.
This feverish growth, though attractive, struck him On that long trip he asked more questions, and
asundisciplined. she answered frankly. His questions grew less hostile
He stopped in surprise. On a bed of green moss, and more far-ranging. He drank deeply from the
surrounded by a livery of pink orchids, lay a thin fount of her knowledge, first learning of preserver
black-haired woman with tawny skin and finely magic and then, before the trip ended, resolving
drawn features. Daclamitus stared mesmerized. that the way of the preservers should not perish.
Could this beauty command the defiling magic that When the reached Tyr, Daclamitus artfully de-
blighted the world? How could she maintain this ceived his underlings and brought Averil undetect-
sanctuary? Suddenly angry at his own doubt, he fell ed from the torture chambers. He forged the
upon and gagged her then bound her hands with evidence of her death. Then he hid her beneath the
leather thongs. sorcerer-kings very nose, within a secret grotto in
As she stared in panic, he told her, Never let Kalaks own gardens. In his heart love grew for
your guard down while a templar lives. He meant Averil, his daring partner in challenging the evil of
to sound smug, yet as he watched her struggle with the world.
her bonds, he felt only shame, and his voice revealed But Antrifos, the ambitious watcher, did not be-
it. She fell still and looked at him with curiosity. He lieve the record of Averils death. How had the
said, I seek and then, after a pause, he fin- Sleepless One failed to secure more information
ished, learning. The word surprised them both. than this feeble transcript showed? No, he
When he took her from the cave, she put up no thought, he continues his scheme. So Antrifos
resistance. Then he perceived a dark shape against continued to observe. . . .
the darker sky. A low growl, an odor of sweat-now,
in the light from the cavern mouth, a speckling of Story Device
black on yellow furhe knew the beast. A jaguar,
The Alliance works well as a plot device to intro-
from the Forest Ridge, moving to attack!
duce important story elements or expedite logistics.
As he prepared his defenses, Averil managed to
Its high-level mages and psionicist auxiliaries can
struggle free of her gag. He prepared to call for
clairvoyantly locate dangerous or useful NPCs,
help, but he stopped in amazement as Averil said,
provide vital spell components to spellcasters, or
Naurax, back! Dont hurt him. The creature
cast teleport magic to move the heroes rapidly to
halted and growled in frustration. Then, to the tem-
their destination.
plars astonishment, Naurax turned and silently
Conversely, the Alliance can oppose the PCs in
vanished into the darkness.
all these goals, for its own inscrutable reasons. It
Templar and wizard looked at each other. You
could mistakenly believe that the player characters
mean to take me to Tyr, I assume, she said in a

93
intend harm to a preserver, or that the PCs are advance, and often less. This may lead to problems
agents of the sorcerer-kings. The Alliances ob- when non-member heroes, flush with victory on the
struction becomes a useful way to delay the PCs or assignment, try to collect their fees. The patron may
lengthen the adventure. Then, once everyone sorts have disappeared or been executed! Dont pull this
out the mess and the Alliance apologizes, it may ask unless it leads to another adventure to recover the
the heroes to find and root out the source of the bad patron (or the fee). Otherwise, the burned heroes
informationa Myrmeleon, no doubt. will never trust the Alliance again.
Taboos: On the other hand, in a scenarios cli-
max, try not to send the Alliance cavalry charg- Opponent?
ing over the hill with wands blazing just in time to
It usually serves little purpose to cast the Alliance
rescue the hapless PCs. This steals the heroes
enemies of the PCs, unless the players play defilers
thunder, and it makes players wonder why they
or templars. Because of its secretive methods and
bothered playing.
ruthless requital policies, heroes may suspect the
Also, avoid making the Alliance an all-purpose
Alliance at first (and perhaps at second or third).
magic shop. This secret society, fighting for its life,
But heroes and Alliance alike work toward the same
cant afford to provide a handy spot for the party to
goals. Do everything possible to smooth misunder-
drop in and get someone to analyze or buy magical
standings and disagreements. They both have
treasure.
enough real enemies!
If the players complacently rely too often on their
The Alliance can constructively oppose the party
Alliance contacts, try this. One time, when they
in a couple of ways, though. First, an especially
reach their usual rendezvous, they find a burnt
snoopy player may follow a lead more quickly than
wreck, with bodies everywhere and templars waiting
you wish, threatening the surprise you wanted to
nearby to attack anyone who shows curiosity. This
keep for later. In this case, the investigator may ac-
shows the party that life in the Alliance carries as
cidentally run into an Alliance mission. For unre-
much risk as other kinds of life on Athas.
lated reasons, the preservers have blown up the
heros destination, or have temporarily hidden the
Mission Source information source. Do they tell the hero why? Of
The Alliance offers an excellent way to pull the course not-why do they call it a secret society,
player characters into adventures. As members of a anyway?
cell, they receive mysterious orders from a hidden Another kind of confrontation can dramatically
leadership. As outsiders, they get a mysterious visi- introduce the Alliance into the campaign. The par-
tor in the night, offering a perilous task for excellent ty encounters an NPC fleeing a pack of Alliance
pay. (This means the visitor, an Alliance lieutenant, assassins. The NPC begs help. If they help the fugi-
cant afford to risk members on a necessary mis- tive, the heroes face the full might of the Alliance.
sion.) As the conflict develops though, the party should
Adjust this method according to your players gradually realize that the NPC left the Alliance for
style. If they enjoy a sense of mystery, not a word will criminal or cowardly purposes, and that the society
escape the patrons lips. If they suspect mystery as- has good reason to silence the traitor.
signments, the Alliance patron can be more forth- By the time they sort things out, the heroes and
coming. the Alliance should come to respect each other. The
The Alliance seldom pays more than half a fee in players become aware of the Alliances struggle

94
against an unforgiving world. In return, even if the This census implies that about 40-60 preservers,
heroes helped the traitor to escape, the society can not counting the player characters, live in a given
forgive them because of their ignorance. Nonethe- city. If that doesnt suit your campaign, adjust the
less, the heroes should eventually hear that another totals. Greatly increasing the number of high-level
band of assassin mages silenced the fugitive. mages creates a magic-rich campaign, with prolific
wonders and splendid high-level marvels. Reducing
Campaigning the number of wizards creates a more realistic set-
ting, and it increases the importance of PC spell-
Demographics
casters. It may also increase the threat from an
How many preservers live on Athas? How many angry populace: the rarity of wizards magnify the
defilers? The answers determine the size and power deeds of PCs.
of the Alliance, and of its enemies. Numbers of defilers: Defilers outnumber pre-
Numbers of preservers: In the DARK SUN servers in the city-states by a factor of three to five.
campaign background, ten to fifty thousand people Defilers may make up just over one percent of a
live in each of the seven city-states in the Tyr Re- citys population.
gion. Only a rare few. less than half of one percent The distribution of defilers across the levels
of the population, cast preserving magic. matches that of preservers, described above. The
Each city has approximately 15 preservers of 40-70 defilers of level-9 or above may conceal their
great power (above 8th-level), not counting the play- powers well, but sometimes the local Alliance knows
er characters. These, scattered among the levels their identities. These defilers have somehow arrived
from 3 to 20, lead the Alliance. Usually one or two at an understanding with the sorcerer-king. They
wizards of each type (preserver and defiler) follow usually command so much power that the Alliance
their own agendas as independent agents. After all, must tread with caution.
who dares order them to do otherwise? Higher-level All defilers below this rank (some 40 to 100 of
wizards, such as the Great One, ordinarily give 5th-to 8th-level, and up to twice that many below
up societal entanglements and leave a city during 5th-level) hide their abilities. Otherwise, enemies
their ascent to avangion status (explained in the would besiege them. Defilers, mistrustful by nature,
Dragon Kings rulebook). do not take apprentices as often as preservers do.
Below this rank one finds perhaps 12-20 accom- Beginning defilers sometimes discover their abilities
plished preservers (say, 5th-to 8th-level), again omit- by instinct or accident, but this rarely occurs among
ting PCs. Al most all preservers of this rank have preservers.
either joined the Alliance or concealed their power
from its leaders. Tone
As for the lowest rank, the students of magic (1st-
Athas encourages adventures of a far different
to around 4th-level), accomplished wizards of the
kind from other medieval fantasy worlds. Harsh
Alliance keep a total of perhaps a dozen appren-
conditions prohibit high political intrigue and impe-
tices. Probably just as many dilettantes study low-
rial clashes that span continents. Few heroes aspire
level preserving magic on their own. All the
to world-shaking power, instead taking survival as
apprentices and a few of the others belong to the
sufficient reward.
Alliance, which keeps tabs on most of the rest, but
The Athasian campaign calls for a smaller scale,
plenty of beginners always slip by. Like trying to
like that of classic sword-and-sorcery fantasy stories.
count a swarm of bees, says one lieutenant.

95
In these, heroes roam the world, moving from one against one another by giving one member of a cell
situation to another. First they might work as thieves, secret information about another, or it might tell one
then try a hitch in a bandit gang. When everyone in member to withhold vital information from others.
the gang perishes at a monsters hands, the heroes In practice, dont let the Alliance descend to such
then join an army. After a colossal battle where they extremes. This would damage the trust between play-
alone survive, they spend a few months commanding ers, a trust that always proves difficult to repair. A
a company of mercenaries. And so on. player may give others cause to doubt, but dont risk
The Veiled Alliance offers an excellent framework the campaign by encouraging this kind of behavior.
for this campaign style. The societys inscrutable Secret pleasures: Secrecy brings satisfaction as well
methods and wide range of operations can plausibly as obstacles. Between awful ordeals, foster the play-
bring PCs to almost any situation. The Alliance ers sense of adventure. After all, their characters be-
may command them to spy on templars, explore ru- long to a genuine secret society-they have secret
ins, join a caravan, fight a battle, or kidnap a pre- identities. Encourage them to make mysterious jokes
server from a slave tribe. that baffle onlookers. Exchange signals across a
The Alliance also suits the atmosphere of the crowded room with a seeming stranger, and know the
Athasian campaign in that characters face constant thrill of finding a kindred spirit despite true danger,
danger. Never forget the most important factor of a and know the value of their high cause. Played well,
Veiled Alliance campaign. . . these benefits should convince the PCs to behave
even more secretively, just as they would after a dead-
Secrecy ly raid by templars or a berserk lynch mob.
Intersperse the use of the carrot and the stick. Re-
The characters get their mission. From whom?
mind the players at all times that the members of the
They dont know. For what purpose? They may
Alliance must seek the shadows; and they must
never find out. Can they get any help? No. Telling
search very hard, beneath its merciless red sun.
anyone, even a casual onlooker, could mean relent-
less pursuit, arrest, and (at best) exile. If they suc-
The summers night at end, the sun stands up as
ceed, will anyone know? Who can say? If they get
a crown of hostile flames from that huge covert of
tired, can they just bow out? No!
inhospitable sandstone bergs; the desert day dawns
The Alliance campaign has a different flavor
not little and little, but it is noon tide in an hour.
from almost any other kind of AD&D adventure.
The sun, entering as a tyrant upon the waste land-
Even espionage or intelligence missions in more con-
scape, darts upon us a torment of fiery beams, not
ventional campaigns have an end-the heroes reach
to be remitted till the far-off evening. . . Grave is
their home territory, or escape across the battle
that giddy heat upon the crown of the head; the ears
lines, and they can relax. On Athas members of the
tingle with a flickering shrillness, a subtle crepitation
Veiled Alliance can never relax, except among
it seems, in the glassiness of this sun-stricken na-
themselves.
ture: the hot sand-blink is in the eyes, arid there is
Sounds grueling? Yes. Never let the players forget
little refreshment to find in the tents shelter; the
the need for secrecy. If they do, punish their charac-
worsted booths leak to this fiery ray of sunny light.
ters with the consequences.
Secrecy among themselves? Logically, one might
Charles M. Doughty,
expect such a secretive organization to foster para-
Travels in Arabia Deserta (1888)
noia among its members. It might even turn them

96
Veiled Alliance
by Allen Varney

Few safe havens exist on Athas, and fewer still for pre-
servers. In the hidden places of the citiesa potters shop,
a crematoria, even under the very palace of a sorcerer
kingthe Veiled Alliance abides, aiding and protecting
preservers and auxiliaries, and standing against defilers.
In Tyr, Balic, Draj, Gulg, Nibenay, Raam, and Urik,
protection from the dark forces of Athas endures.
Secret recognition signals preserve their identities. For
those seeking membership comes a testing: after true in-
tentions are proven, tests are administered and, if failed,
lead to a terrible death. If successful, the candidate looks
forward to years of perilous work and strifethe results of
which may never see the pages of a journal. And no one
quits the Alliance without facing requital.
Veiled Alliance presents the DM with all
the information required to create Alliance-
centered campaigns on Athasdetailed
information about the five aims, adven-
ture hooks for each Alliance, recogni-
tion signals, and maps of various headquarters. All the
features you need to create thrilling, fundamental
challenges to the Alliance on the ruthless world
of Athas are now revealed.