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Pre-Game (Turn 0) News
News of the 305th Day of the 40th Year of the Reign of Her Magnificent Highness, Adara the Glorious
The Great Quest of Calipha Adara
"Adara the Glorious has ruled long and well, and has born three children to continue her line. Tariq, the eldest son, is an athlete and wrestler of great prowess, and renowned as the best-dressed man in Shalazar. Safiyah the middle daughter is always polite, and never speaks in public without her old nurse by her side. Rashida, the youngest, is furthest from the succession (or rather, further from the future wife of Tariq), but has many followers supporting her claim already.
Many people have wondered which of the daughters would be next to sit on the throne, or whether Tariq would take a wife who might lay claim to it. Few envied Adara the responsibility of this choice.
But in the first court of the New Year, Adara proclaimed a great quest to determine the future ruler of Shalazar, and of all the Djinn, and of all godly peoples. To the woman who brings the greatest wonder before the throne would be given the hand of Tariq, and the Throne itself. And if a man were to bring forth a yet greater wonder, then he would have his choice of her daughters' hands, and the one of his choice would take the throne.
As of the 305th day, few things had been brought before the Calipha, as no serious contestant wished to set the bar against which others might succeed. And then the Calipha called a great court, for the first of the challengers..."
The Return of Abdul-Assir al Karenz?
"ALL GATHER ROUND AND HEAR THE WORDS OF ADARA THE GLORIOUS, ANOINTED OF SHALIQ AND THE CALIPHA OF SHALAZAR!"
[whispered on the street] "Y'know what I heard? I heard that the Obsidian General hisself 'as come out of the Obsidian City, an' 'e's gonna give to the Calipha that wot freed him." [noises of disbelief and disapproval]
Mysterious Disappearnce of Shipping at the City of Muna
"You haven't got anything invested in shipping, have you? Or fishing? Well, I know it's not likely! It's just that I've heard that Muna - you know, it's up North, on the coast - doesn't dare put its ships out to sea at the moment. They're vanishing, no-one knows why. Well, how should I know! All I know is that the price of lobster has gone up, and I like lobster..."
Malikam of Harbad defeats Brigands, Prepares for More
Malikam of Harbad, the steward of that city, has once more set out to chastise the bandits who infest the trade route leading from Shalazar to Punt. A bit odd that, because the man is a superb general who has been exercising his 10,000-strong army against these bandits for 10 years. Pretty clever bandits to have survived so long. Still, all those troops have headed out into the desert...
Popular Priestess Rises in 'Town of Iniquity'
Amidst a city of pleasures and enjoymen, Yildun priestesses normally keep quiet. But the popular Sassliyah has been preaching in the Hadar city of Gazala to all who would listen for the need to return to a life of respect for Shaliq. Whilst many laugh at the idea of such ideology in a Hadar stronghold, her followers seem to grow by the day, and claim that soon the Steward of the City will have to reenforce the laws of Shaliq in his lustful town.
'Demonologist's' House Burnt to the Ground
Official announcement by Shalazar town criers: "Good people of the district, let it be known that two days ago there was a period of civil unrest and violence. A crowd of men and women caused great damage in a rampage through the thirteenth district of the fourth quarter, proclaiming that a forsaken worshipper of all things black, evil and murderous lived among them. The heretic's house was burned to the ground. Sixteen citizens were injured."
Zaniah, Jerezad unite in caravan
The houses of Zaniah and Jerezad have joined forces in a caravan of exploration that shall set out for the depths of Punt in two weeks. Whilst officially it is on a mission of trade to bring back rare spices from the jungle, sources have hinted that there may be other motives for exploration, and that both the contest of the Grand Calipha and the recent outrage of Marinia weigh heavily on both familys' minds. What is certain is that the caravan is unusually large, and well-defended, but that it is leaving with less pomp than is normally merited when a Jerezad sets out.
Plague of Rats
Message circulated to Shalazar district officials: Warning: all those of frail health and weak constitution should take great care whilst in the northern territories of Shalazar. A great surge in the local rat population is causing rapid spread of fever and disease, believed to be caused by several blockages in the sewer system running under those districts. Greatest care should be taken in those lands belonging to the Great family of the Fesk, as these have experienced the worst of the plague thus far.
Dragon Attacks on Shores of Muna
"...Ruddy great thing, he's supposed to be: big as an island; big as a house! Alright, he's quite young so I suppose he's no more than 100 paces long, but that is big enough! He's sunk all that shipping - gripped it and sunk it in those horrible jaws, eyes like round dinner plates looking mournfully at you as you gasp your last breath... Shaliq be with you too, sister. No wonder Muna's been having problems with its missing shipping. Explains a lot, having a sea dragon on your shores, oh yes..."
Tower Rises from the Izar Orchards
In the orchards of the Izar, about 35 miles to the northeast of Shalazar, a strange new construction has arisen. While the guards do their best to keep people away, a number gave gotten close enough for a look. Reports vary, but the basic description is of a tower between ten and fifty paces high, covered with scaffolding. Rumour tells that this is Hotek al Izar's new construct, and the fact it occasionally belches smoke would seem to partially confirm the tale.
GM's Note: Further news may arise as a result of Player Generation--this is merely the scene setting for the first session. Don't feel that if you don't have your character in yet, the plot has passed you by.