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The Land: The weather in Kalidnay is a study in extremes. During the day, an immense red sun blasts upon the land, driving temperatures up to one hundred fifteen degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Three greenish moons rise in the night sky, while temperatures quickly plunge to just shy of freezing.
Survival in the domain of Kalidnay is a challenge for any character. Water cannot be found except in the two settlements of Kalidnay and Artan-Ak. A constant wind blows across the sands, whipping it into the eyes of travelers and stinging their skin.
The city of Kalidnay is a sprawling place that once held fifteen thousand people, although now it is quite underpopulated. Roughly twenty-three hundred souls make their home here. In the center of Kalidnay stands a ziggurat, an elaborate structure over one hundred feet high, surrounded by a palace complex. These are the only buildings in the city that are in good repair, housing the land's ruler and sorcerer-king, Kalid-Ma. Despite the best efforts of the citizens, the fields around the city of Kalidnay consistently produce poor crops.
Only two hundred people dwell in Artan-Ak, though their community is surrounded by the best farmland in the domain. Over two-thirds of the food grown here is sent to Kalidnay to feed the city. The inhabitants of Artan-Ak are not willing participants in this process; armed caravans are dispatched regularly to escort the harvest to the city. Many in Artan-Ak go hungry every year to feed the citizens of Kalidnay.
Kalidnay is an island surrounded by a basin of loose sand. The natives refer to this as the Silt Sea, and travel here is very difficult. Special equipment (skimmer crafts or specially made shoes that resemble snowshoes) is needed to cross the Silt Sea. The Mists only appear in Kalidnay at night, rising up from the silt that surrounds the domain.
Cultural Level: Classical. (Note: The people of Kalidnay do not forge metal weapons, but instead use stone, bone, and obsidian. This is not due to a lack of knowledge, but due to a lack of metal. In Kalidnay, iron is rarer than water.)
The Folk: The folk of Kalidnay are light-skinned, with hair colors ranging from reddish-blond to black. They favor loose-fitting clothes, with skirts and vests among the most common clothing for both men and women. The people frequently wear masks or veils in order to protect their eyes and faces from the scouring sandstorms that whip across the domain.
Psionics are common among the people of Kalidnay. In fact, not having psionic ability is considered an aberration in this domain. On the other hand, wizards are reviled, often hunted down and killed if discovered. This is because magic in Kalidnay saps life from the land itself.
Water here is more precious than gold. Spitting is considered a grave insult, and crying is an expression of ultimate sorrow.
The people of the domain do not acknowledge any gods, save Kalid-Ma the sorcerer-king, who grants spellcasting abilities to his servants, the templars. Other priests rarely exist, and only those serving elemental powers.
Inhabitants of Artan-Ak hate the city dwellers. In this smaller village, they believe Kalid-Ma has been usurped by head templar Thakok-An. Although they have no love for the sorcerer-king, they blame their current problems on the templar. Renegades and rebels are welcomed here with open arms, but the "underground" is riddled with templar spies.
Arena combat is a popular diversion among the people of Kalidnay. Once a week, accused criminals battle each other to the delight of the citizens.
Native Player Characters: Kalidnay originates in the DARK SUN setting, so characters from this domain should be generated using those rules. All DARK SUN player character races but thri-kreen are found here. It should be noted, however, that defilers must make a dark powers check every time they cast a spell. The percentage chance of attracting the attention of the powers is equal to the level of the spell.
Personalities of Note: A banshee haunts the wastes between the city and Artan-Ak. Known as Uran-Tor, she was an elf templar who devotedly served Thakok-An and purportedly paid for this devotion with her life.
The Law: Kalid-Ma is the undisputed master of Kalidnay, and the inhabitants honor him as a god. He has, however, been in seclusion for over twenty years. His loyal head templar, the half-elf Thakok-An, is the only being allowed to see him, and she carries out his decrees with unswerving devotion.
Encounters: Kalidnites may be encountered in both settlements. In the city, characters have a 40% chance of encountering templars, who will attempt to capture all foreigners so that they may be interrogated by Thakok-An and perhaps be put into the arena to do battle. What few wild animals formerly existed in this domain have been hunted to extinction.
Further Reading: The DARK SUN campaign setting details the harsh world of Athas, which Kalidnay mirrors.
Psychometabolism: animal affinity, adrenalin control, body control, body weaponry, cell adjustment
Psychoportation: teleport, dimensional door, teleport trigger Telepathy (primary): domination (+1), probe, mind link, conceal thoughts, contact, ego whip, id insinuation, invisibility (+1), mind bar, phobia amplification.
Defense Modes: mind blank, thought shield, mental barrier, tower of iron will, intellect fortress
Thakok-An is six feet tall and of average build for a female half-elf. Her braided hair is long and black, accenting the twin yellow orbs of her eyes.
Like many Athasians, she wears a facial cover. A piece of jeweled hide covers the upper part of her face, with two large holes for her eyes and a wide slot for her nose. Her headdress is ornate, with triple ridges running over the skull and down the back. Loose-flowing robes of brilliant white complete her garb. She carries a bone spear delicately carved with symbols and sigils, treating it as a symbol of office, although it is not.
Background: A great city known as Kalidnay once existed on the world Athas, ruled by the brutal sorcerer-king Kalid-Ma. He was noted for his strict laws, and even stricter enforcement. Even his own templars - men and women who served both as his enforcers and the city's religious leaders - were not immune to the law. Thus, Kalidnay had a reputation for being a harsh but fair city, unusual on Athas.
His most loyal templar was Thakok-An. A vicious woman, she retained her post by zealously enforcing all decrees and constantly extolling Kalid-Ma's virtues, appealing to his vanity. Singing the praises of her king was easy, since she desired him above all things.
The sorcerer-king of Kalidnay was unmatched in the arts of defiling magic (a type of spellcasting unique to Athas, where the caster draws life force from the surrounding area to power the spell). He was so strong, in fact, that the sorcerer-kings of the other cities feared him and plotted to kill him.
Thakok-An learned of their plot. Instead of telling Kalid-Ma about the plan, Thakok-An instead chose to save him herself and thereby earn his undying devotion. Maddened by the thought of losing him, she turned to the books of arcane lore stored in the king's palace, learning how to speed the process her king was already embarked upon - that of becoming a Dragon of Athas, the most powerful being on the planet. The price would be high, but she did not hesitate to pay it.
As Kalid-Ma performed the nightly ceremony required as part of his eventual ascension to the rank of Dragon, Thakok-An brought her family to the top of the sorcerer-king's ziggurat. One by one, she slaughtered them in gruesome fashion. The blood of her own mother spilled across the stones of the ziggurat as Kalid-Ma completed the ritual in his chamber below. Anguished cries rose from the city below, as the ziggurat cracked and wave upon wave of powerful defiler magic swept outward from the ziggurat. The people of Kalidnay were completely drained of their life force. Thakok-An crouched on the top of the collapsing building, knowing that something had gone wrong. From what she had read, the ziggurat should not have cracked, nobody else should have died, and Kalid-Ma should have transformed.
Thakok-An awoke amid the rubble atop the broken ziggurat after having been struck unconscious by falling rock. The streets of Kalidnay appeared devoid of life. Climbing to the top of the palace tower, however, she saw lights and smoke at the edges of the city. Looking further, she saw that Kalidnay now sat on a plateau in a silt sea. No other land was visible in any direction.
After a full month of cleaning and restoring the ziggurat, Thakok-An found her sorcerer-king in the underground corridors. Kalid-Ma's body was unchanged, though he sleeps eternally.
Current Sketch: No force has yet been able to awaken Kalid-Ma, nor is Thakok-An certain that she wants him to awaken. In this state, Kalid-Ma belongs only to Thakok-An. However, she is also denied his favor, so the victory is ash in her mouth.
Due to his defiler nature, as Kalid-Ma sleeps, he instinctively draws upon the life force around him to prolong his existence. If he was left unattended, Kalidnay would slowly become mere ashes and bones.
To protect the remaining arable land in Kalidnay, Thakok-An holds regular combats in the city's arena. She has discovered that the life force of those who die in the arena sustains Kalid-Ma's power. So long as he is fed these life energies, everything in Kalidnay is safe, especially Thakok-An.
Thakok-An fears wizards, particularly defilers. Should a powerful defiler cast too many spells, the fragile ecosystem of Kalidnay would crumble. Since any wizard is a potential defiler, she sends them all to the arena.
Closing the Borders: Thakok-An can create a shimmering wall of heat one hundred feet out into the sea of silt surrounding the island. The first ten feet into it, each creature suffers 1d6 points of damage. The next ten feet cause 2d6 of damage, and so on. Creatures immune to fire or heat damage take two less dice worth of damage.
Combat: Thakok-An is an accomplished priest and psionicist. She has no other special abilities.