The Water Margin
|Population: 24,000 (60% human, 10% dwarfs, 4% mul, 10% elves, 4% half-elves, 12% half-giants)|
|Water: Hot springs owned by noble houses; water must be purchased|
|Supplies: Exports rice, wood, and copper; imports gold, iron, spices, and livestock|
|Ruler: Nibenay, the Shadow King|
Nibenay lies ensconced at the base of a cliff in the northeast side of the Crescent Forest. The ancient city takes its name from its hidden sorcerer-king, who is almost never seen in public and whose likeness is guessed at on frescoes and wall carvings that decorate the entirety of the city. The entire city tells a story in the form of elegant carvings that depict dances, monsters, and scenes from the past. By decree of the king, all structures within the boundaries of the city must be made of graven stone of one of three varieties, and as a result the city has a feeling of eerie artistic permanence; navigating the city’s districts and streets relies as much upon the statuary as upon any other sort of landmark.
Nibenay’s templars are all women, and are ceremonial wives to the Shadow King. Though few actually see the king (much less cohabitate with him), they carry out his will as part of his family, with the customary power granted from that relationship. Whispered rumors hold that from time to time the Shadow King does consort with a chosen templar, but that his spawn are always monsters.
Nibenay has a highly stratified family-based culture. All freemen and nobles occupy specific castes and roles, and caste mobility is almost unknown in the current day. Polyamorous unions are the norm, with heirs to wealthy families offering dowries to choose their preferred spouses, who in turn become the property of the master spouse. Family loyalty and obedience are highly stressed, but this has caused strife in recent generations, who look back to heroic ideals and romanticized notions of choosing one’s own destiny. Social strata are easily visible as clothing is a representation of shame: the higher a person’s station, the less clothing the individual wears. As an outlet for their regimented lives, the people of Nibenay celebrate highly stylized dances that can communicate complex concepts, and decorate their cities with ever-more carvings.
Nibenay is in a constant state of border skirmishing with the neighboring city-state of Gulg. Nibenese tradesmen rely on the wood of the Crescent Forest to feed the city’s burgeoning trade economy, while the headhunters of Gulg wantonly kill any trespassers in the forest lands that they consider sacred. To date, neither sorcerer-king has chosen to make a decisive move against the other.