Sorry for the long hiatus. I've been back in University and have less spare time to dedicate to the blog. City of Thieves, the heist system is still in development and I may be able to run a campaign of it soon. Soon in this case being in the next few months. Hopefully, I'll be able to put actual play reports of the game up on the blog, but no promises.
Anyways, today's post is the result of some collaborative setting generation for an Exalted 3e game that may extend into a campaign, depending on how my players feel about it. While it references several setting details from Exalted, it could easily be changed for use in a different setting. Also, depending on which game my players choose, I'll be posting the details for the one they didn't pick.
The Kingdom of Azara
These harsh desert lands are home to the nomadic herding tribes known as the Azara. Every decade, the scattered tribes gather at a fertile, limestone cavern known as The Caves of Nahas to elect a new leader. If their leader dies before their decade is up, the tribes must reconvene early. Every leader is referred to only as the Ash Khan and does not acknowledge their gender until their term ends. The Ash Khan dresses in concealing robes and veils as part of their office. The Ash Khan conceals their gender in homage to the first Ash Khan a woman who dressed as a man in order to lead their tribe to victory against a roving band of Fair Folk. The election of the Ash Khan is a closely guarded secret. Each tribe of Azara sends a representative to a moot, those representatives deliberate in an isolated chamber under the Caves of Nahas to choose which of their number will become the new Ash Khan. The tribe of the new Ash Khan move into the caves, displacing the tribe of the former leader.
The Caves of Nahas are named after the Goddess Nahas, the Reflecting Sands, Handmaiden of the Sun. She is a minor Deity of Reflected Light and Mirrors. She provides the light that helps make the cavern a lush paradise. She spends most of her time in her Sanctum, among the ruins of the grand First Age project that drew her to the site, a ladder to the sun. She was once praised in proxy to Ignis Divine, his representative in the south, and spends her time turned from the affairs of the world. Perhaps the Chosen of the Sun could shake her from her dull nostalgia. Nahas is not the only god worshiped by the Azara, there is also the Horse God, Tenacious Stallion. Despite his name, Tenacious Stallion has been reduced in the last two decades, barely appearing before his followers. Once he would stud the mares of great champions, but now he lurks in his sanctum below the cavern and refuses all visitors but the Ash Khan.
The caverns are divided into three sections. The first is the Shining Market. Traders from the nearby city states of Zoatham, Dajaz and Gem as well as sundry Guild merchants, all gather in the Shining Market to trade their wares for the finest horseflesh in the South. The tribes of the Azara stay in the Shining Market when they wish to trade their wares for the steel weapons and tools sold in the market. The second area is Svarna Durga, the Golden Holdfast. Svarna Durga is the remains of the ancient temple to Sol and the reason the caves were a pilgrimage site during the First Age. During the Shogunate the Dragonblooded set up a prison for loyalist gods and the Lunar Exalted in the shell of the temple. The Khanate of Ash, a title given to the current ruling tribe, lives within the Svarna Durga. Outside the temple-fortress is a vast Garden, with verdant fields for the tribe's horses to graze. Towards the edges are bee hives and vegetable gardens where the Azara grow onions, melons, millet, date palms, and olive trees. They also hunt the feral temple hippos that swim in the waters around the edge of the garden, but not the guinea pig sized Vasati Hippos as they are sacred to Nahas. The Azara do not raise camels or yeddim as those are seen as merchant's animals and fit only for someone without the skill to raise horses.
The Lands of the Azara are vast but arid and mostly uninhabited. There are six main tribes of Azara, including the Khanate of Ash. The current Ash Khan was responsible for a war against the seventh tribe on a claim of heresy. The only sources of clean water and vegetation are scattered oases and the Caves of Nahas. Tribal leaders and sages pass down the knowledge of locations of clean water, too many of the springs and pools are tainted with disease, oil, or wyld energy.
On the south border of the Azara is the Court of Coal, a group of elementals ruled by 3 Ifrit Lords. Due to an ancient pact with the Azara they are bound to ride to war against the nomad's enemies in exchange for regular offerings. In times of peace, they are aggressive and territorial.
Beyond the south boarder are the boardermarches. Here, scattered cannibalistic nomads trade prisoners of war to the Fair Folk for great vessels that sail across the dust and sand of the arid south but dissolve when touched by water. Riding at the heads of these great raiding parties are the Raksha captains and their Hobgoblin crews. The Raksha call themselves The Fang Jihad.
The West and East border onto lands held by the Tyrant of Gem, the mysterious rulers of Dajaz, and the ruling temple of Zoatham. These marches are haunted by bandits, Fair Folk, and other more mysterious foes.
Beyond the North border is a tribe known as the Surazu. These people were once the eight tribe of the Azara but they, like the recently destroyed seventh tribe, were attacked on suspicion of heresy. Using sorcery learned from the whispers of demons the Surazu were able to repel the combined might of the Khanate of Ash and the gathered tribes. Now, the Surazu live in towers of brass and green fire, riding to war with their servitor-demons on the backs of great flightless cranes. At the heart of Surazu lands is a shadowland, home to a sprawling tea house and opium den called The House of One Thousand Unearthly Delights.