Since we have no session this week, I thought I'd post some Gudaean background information, beginning with some geographical description and one of my wonky maps.
PEOPLES OF ANTIA ~ THE GUDAEAN TRIBESMEN
GUIDE TO GUDAEA AND THE KINGDOMS OF SEA AND SAND pt.1
Gudaea is a large land bordered on the north east by the Sea of the Sun and on the southwest by the Great River, which the Gudaeans call Allakh's Belt. Between these two bodies of water lies a vast dry wasteland of sand, gravel, and rock which is dotted with small and medium sized oases (called wahha by the locals). The wasteland and the coast are separated by a rocky plateau called the Jebel Aghbar, which is the source of most of the region's fresh water. Ephemeral rivers from these hills feed the wahhas of the valleys just below them, and these are carefully managed by means of dams, channels, and embankments. The land of Gudaea is politically divided into two broadly defined parts: the wastes, wherein lie the oases; and the Mukarribs, also known as the Kingdoms of Sea and Sand. Each of these small kingdoms is ruled by a king, (called Mukarrib, locally) and is centred around a single city. There are six such city-states on the coast which are collectively known as the Kingdoms of the Sea or the Kingdoms of the New Sun. There are also six city-states on the inland side of the coastal divide and these are collectively called the Kingdoms of the Sand, or the Qayr Kingdoms for their closer association with the nomadic Gudaeans.
To the south and west of the Sand Kingdoms lies the extensive desert wasteland which is the traditional home of the tribal Gudaeans, who are collectively known as The Qayr. Many wahha are located throughout the Gudaean desert, but their locations are known only to the various desert clans and the Sahhari (a practitioner of magical art of Sahharia). The desert tribes are the oldest of the Gudaean tribes. They have been wandering the desert since the earliest times, and were often known to raid upon the settled cities of the river valleys that belonged to the now-forgotten Samarran Empire. The body of nomadic Gudaeans is known as the Qayr. Settled Gudaeans are not considered part of the Qayr, though as long as they practice the traditional beliefs they are considered as close cousins.
The Six Mukarribs of the Sea:
There are six Gudaean states along the north and east coast, each centred on a single city. These are:
Barakhish, a city made largely of grey-brown stone and known for its decorated masonry. Barakhish is the northernmost of the Gudaean city-states, and is bordered on the west by the kingdom of Pun, whose king dominates Barakhish politically. To the north is Balarkhan, a city state of the Khash-ga people which is also a vassal state of Pun.
Aghoudan lies to the east of Barakhish and, though not yet a vassal, also finds itself pressured by the King of Pun. It is known especially for its fine, dye-producing shells and its tall baked-brick buildings coated with a particularly white plaster.
Zubbakhar is the next state to the east along the northern coast of Gudaea. It is bordered to the south by the oasis city-state of Haluzu, and to the east by the Sea Kingdom of Hadrama-wat. Zubbakhar is not well known internationally, but is renowned locally for its decorative tiles of blue faience and its craftsmen who use the tiles to make colourful mosaics throughout the eastern cities. The Mukarrib of Zubbakhar is also himself renowned in Gudaea as an expert in the law and judges cases in the palace. It was prophesied once that if the Mukarrib of Zubbakhar should ever leave his palace and walk the streets, a great calamity will befall the nation, and so it is unlawful for him to do so. One Mukarrib did once plan to flout the law, but when word got out of his intention he was stoned to death in the gateway of the palace by an angry rabble which sought to prevent his leaving.
Hadrama-wat is the next city state along the coast. It is located where the north coast meets the east coast of Gudaea, and is bordered on the west by Zubbakhar and on the south by Saldea. Hadrama-wat is known especially for its boat-making and seafaring skills and is the state most likely to engage in a trade expedition by sea. The Mukarrib's palace is not large, but is very old, made of imported Kharak-Shi marble and decorated with Zubbakhar tiles in various half-man, half-fish motifs. The Nayah, Hadrama, is claimed to have descended partly from Bakhr, though this claim is refuted by just about all non-Hadramian people.
Saldea is on the east coast of Gudaea and is located south of Hadrama-wat. It is bordered to the west by both Zubbakhar and Marab, with whom it has good relations. Saldea is most famous for its very tall palms, the trunks of which are exported all over the region for the building of large homes. It also has very fine fruit crops, for it receives slightly more rain that other Gudaean states, and is a prime source of incense. There is a large stone statue depicting a prancing horse near the palace. It is dedicated to an ancient princess named Salamah al-Zarqa, though the inscription is now so old as to be barely legible. This statue is rumoured to be hollow, the inside lined with gold and the princess buried within.
Sifena is the most south-easterly of the Sea Kingdoms. It is rich in agricultural produce of all types, and especially incense. Sifena is bordered to the south by the tribelands of the Kharak-Shi-ahh (Qaroqshia, as they are known in the Middle Kingdoms) and generally has more dealings with those people than other Gudaeans do. Perhaps it is the Kharak-Shi influence, but the people of Sifena are considered somewhat odd by other Gudaeans.
The Six Mukarribs of the Sand:
There are six Gudaean city-states located in the oases which are squeezed between the waste and the coastal range. These are:
Talum, the smallest of the twelve cities, and also the most traditionally Gudaean. The Mukarribs of this state maintain close ties with the the nomadic people of the oases, and many of them prefer to come here to purchase civilized goods for specifically this reason. To them, Talum is the model Gudaean city – small, not too crowded, not too exotic, and its ruler 'barely out of the tent' – which is to say he thinks like a nomad. Talum's economic importance is small – merely a trading post between the northern coastal cities and the wasteland tribes. But its political influence is under-estimated by the other states. The Mukarrib of Talum has the sympathetic ear of many in the wasteland Qayr.
Haluzu is the one of the wealthiest of the inland states, thanks to its strategic location near two mountain passes through which the cities of Aghoudan, Zubbakhar, and Hadrama-wat can be reached. Haluzu is known for its military might, its very large caravanserai, and for the sprawling palace of its king. It is also known for the Haluzu poppy – a species unique to the area which has unusual hallucinatory properties. Haluzu has become an important source of the drug called mekshesh that is produced from this poppy. Mekshesh is usually traded to the coastal cities and the city of Paan in the far south, where there is an insatiable appetite for such things. The Mukarrib uses his army to enforce a monopoly on the trade of the drug. The surrounding hills and valleys are patrolled frequently and black marketeers are punished.
Sanaa lies to the south of Haluzu. Since it is not on any of the important trade routes to the coast, it is smaller and less wealthy than all other cites except Talum. The Sana valley is broad and fertile, and it serves as a bread basket for some of the northern mukarribs. The Mukarrib of Sana was recently killed by unknown assailants, and the young prince is currently assisted by a regent from Haluzu. Sana is home of a small cult of worshippers to a nameless god whose members make a habit of beating themselves in public.
Marab is probably the most important of the Sand Mukarribs. Thanks to a very old and large dam, it maintains a permanent reservoir of water in the hills above the city. The valley below thus has two very fertile oases which can be farmed year-round. The city is not presided over by a Mukarrib, but by an ancestral Queen, whom the locals believe to be the ancient Nayah, Marab, herself. The day-to-day affairs are run by the vizier, but the Queen of the Two Gardens maintains a watchful eye on her domain. Of the gardens of Marab, it is said that a servant woman can walk under the trees of a Marab garden with a basket on her head and it will fill itself with ripe fruit before she reaches the other side.
Shubaiqh is also called The City of Brass. It is located at the end of a long and steep-sided valley in the south of the Gudaean country and here, of all places in the known world, tin is in greater abundance than copper. The gates of the city and the walls of the palace itself are covered in brass plates, and the city is said to be the wealthiest of the twelve for this reason. It is not located on any important trade route, and were it not for the tin trade it would be quite isolated. It has a higher proportion of the people of Paan than all the Gudaean cities except Sayyun, and this fact, along with its isolated located, gives it a reputation for being the most enigmatic of Gudaean cities. This reputation is reinforced by the fact that its Mukarrib is also a powerful Sahhari (Sorcerer). Shubaiqh and Marab are fierce political rivals.
Sayyun is the southernmost of the inland cities, and usually the jumping off point for caravans heading south to the city of Paan. It is not only an important intermediate stop for all trade between the Gudaean Mukarribs and Paan (especially for tin) but it is an important city for the salt trade, too. Salt is extensively mined out in the desert to the west of Sayyun, and it is the only place this particular kind of salt can be bought. From here it is exported into both the Gudaean cities and also to far Paan. There is an important shrine to the Paannite Goddess, Hashtu, here – a popular place of worship with the Caravaneers.
In addition to the twelve cities mentioned above, there are numerous wahha (oases) of various sizes scattered throughout the Gudaean waste. The location of these oases is, for the most part, known only to the nomadic Gudaeans who wander the wastes, and to the traders, travellers, and curiousity-seekers who have dealings with them. Among the known wahha are the following: Zhabiba, Muqqabar, Siwahha, Nabataa, Dhakala, Bahhriya, Salima, Mariba, Rawwaf, Tayama, Markhabba, Tiwali, and Sayyad. These are also the names of associated clans and Nayah.
Tribes of Antia Map March 2011 Small.jpg [ 202.98 KiB | Viewed 5996 times ]
"When preparing a one-shot, prepare it like a one-shot, only shorter." Florian
Last edited by Thalaba on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.