The Dead Lands of Athas
The city of Nibenay is named after its founder, the sorcerer-king Nibenay. Called the Shadow King by his subjects, Nibenay is a bizarre and enigmatic figure. His subjects see him so rarely that the city is constantly filled with rumors that he has died. Whenever these rumors result in a civil disturbance, however, Nibenay appears long enough to impress upon his subjects that he is still very much alive usually by singlehandedly crushing the rebellion.
The Shadow King lives inside a walled sub-city located in the center of Nibenay, called the Naggaramakam. No free man has ever seen his palace in person, but according to rumor it sits atop an artificial mountain of stone slabs. The palace itself is supposedly a giant bust of Nibenay’s head. The front of the castle is carved into a stone relief of the Shadow Kings face. The sides and rear of the palace are covered with life-sized representations of dancing women, strung together as if they were locks of his hair.
All of Nibenay’s templars are women. It is said that they are all the wives of the sorcerer king. Regardless of the truth of the rumor, it is important to keep in mind that these women have absolute power in the city. Making an enemy of one of Nibenay’s templar-wives can be a fatal mistake.
Every building in the city is carved with stone reliefs. Although the craftsmanship is flawless, the subject matter is peculiar. Often, the relief portrays the self-satisfied smirk of a wealthy noble-usually the person who owned the building when it was first built. Sometimes, the building is carved with the figures of the builders entire family, all engaged in some sort of strange dance. In other instances, the building is decorated with fantastic reliefs of various monsters in the superstitious belief that if the city is visited by one of the terrible beasts it will be flattered by the depiction and leave the inhabitants in peace.
Nibenay sits just outside the northern edge of the Crescent Forest, atop several hundred acres of bubbling springs. The nobles each own one of these springs, which they use to irrigate the fields of rice that feed the city.
Nibenay’s merchant trade is based on the sale of weapons made from wood obtained in the Crescent Forest. Nibenay’s craftsmen are busy day and night felling agafari trees and shaping their extremely hard wood-the next best thing to bronze-into shields, spears, and clubs. The core of Nibenay’s army consists of a thousand half-giants armed with agafari lances and clubs.