The Dead Lands of Athas
The largest city-state in the Tyr Region, Raam is ruled by the sorcerer-queen Abalach-Re, who appears to be fairly uninterested in her city’s well-being. As of late, she has been almost as elusive as the Shadow King of Nibenay, and leaves most of the governing over the city to her templars. Few ever see her outside of the Palace. As a result, the city was always on the brink of rebellion.
The sorcerer-queen of Raam, Abalach-Re, calls herself the Great Vizier. She lives in a beautiful palace with ivory walls and an alabaster roof built atop a grassy knoll overlooking the city. Unfortunately, the base of this knoll is surrounded by a complicated and ugly series of defensive breastworks, ditches, and walls, for Abalach-Re is the most insecure of all the city rulers. The people often speak of organizing a rebellion and openly praise the last attempt to overthrow their queen (though it apparently occurred previous to most of their lives, for no one can remember how it had ended).
Abalach-Re professes to be the representative of the great and powerful entity known as Badna, and claims that her powers are gifts from this mysterious being. According to Abalach-Re’s theory, this mysterious being has picked her to watch over the city of Raam and its people. When she is no longer performing his task well, this same mysterious being will strike her dead and assign someone new to the office of Great Vizier.
Although her subjects pay lip service to the being she professes to serve, and may even attend the ceremonies the templars of Raam organize to honor this mythical creature, few people truly believe in its existence. Instead, many secretly despise Abalach-Re for being such a weak ruler that she must resort to these ploys, and they flout the authority of the Great Vizier whenever they feel they can get away with it.
As a consequence, Raam is an incredibly chaotic city, rife with terrorism and civil disobedience. Templars rarely ever show themselves alone in the streets for fear of being assassinated by the nobles, instead forming brute squads of mansabars with little tolerance for insubordination. The nobles are little better than raiding tribes. Each noble owns at least a small tract of land abutting the roads, and his guards demand a hefty price from anyone who wishes to cross the noble’s land. The merchant houses hire small armies of mercenaries to defend their trading emporiums from armed bands of thieves. The situation is so bad that elves are commonly accepted in the ranks of high society as if they were upstanding citizens!