Gates Sample World: The Land of Nenmaa

Today we’re taking looking deeper into the world of Islia, a sample world from Gates, the upcoming game from Stormforge West. So without further ado, here’s James:

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Nenmaa

Nenmaa is a vast desert located in the south western aea of the world. It is also the largest singular empire. Nenmaa’s control includes the southern half of the eastern continent. Nenmaa is an empire ruled by a Queen. Always a queen, a lineage of daughters. They have spread from their desert lands down to a large island to the south, and north into the Central Woodlands. They conquered the other desert peoples of Isla, uniting them under one rule.

Nenmaa is a empire built upon slavery. They do not enslave humans, but rather varrious magical creatures. Most of its power comes from 1001 Djinn bound into servitude. 99 to the city of Nemnei, 200 to keep the land safe, and 701 to expand the empire. 201 of the Djinn designated to expand have been killed, and the rest now realise they are mortal, which has slowed the expansion of the Empire. Other creatures have been magically bound to their servitude as well, including elementals, Lesser Sphinx, and even giants captured from the stone carved mountains.

Nemnei

Perhaps the most beautiful city in all of Islia, it is certainly the largest. Nemnei was constructed by the hands of 99 Djinn who can control the elements of wind, fire, and earth. All 99 helped construct the central palace, which formed the foundation of the city and became the capital city of Nenmaa. When the city was first built, 99 sections of the city, designed with spiraling roads which give the city the appearance of a flower from above, surrounded the palace. Now, the city is much larger with nearly 5 times that number. Each of these sections are large enough to be a city block and make up the several districts of the city.

The Djinn of Nemnei are constantly working to maintain and improve the city. They do not need to sleep, and can move vast amounts of earth, water, glass, and other objects with ease. One Djinn can clean and repair an entire block in one day. Each Djinn is given several blocks of the city to maintain, which they are compelled to do. When they are not maintaining, they are building. Currently, the Djinn are working on a complex sewer system for the entire city, thus the Djinn are harder to find as of late.

Nemnei is a center for trade and politics in Nenmaa. It is also known throughout the world for its beauty. Each of the blocks of the city were hand constructed by a Djinn. By their nature, the Djinn believe they are superior to others, even other Djinn. Thus, they constantly tried to make more and more beautiful crafts to prove they are better. Every street in Nemnei is crafted with tiles that are hand painted. The buildings are constructed of sandstone, colored glass, and seemingly impossible architecture. Trade in the city is plentiful, as craftsmen and tradesmen from all over the world flock to its wealth.

There are ten major districts in Nemnei:
Upper South Craftsman District: Originally this district was a place of wealth and prosperity. Most of its populace have worked in a metalsmiths factory. Unfortunately, a cursed sword was thrown into the fires, which caused a massive explosion. Now, it is a place where the poor and impoverished are forced to live. It is rampant with crime, filled with abandoned buildings, and is avoided by most locals. A tourist may not realise how run down this section of the city is, as it is clean and pristine. A result of the Djinn keeping the city clean.
Palace District: The Palace District is simply the Palace and its surrounding garden. The Palace itself is large enough to house a village, and on most days it does. Diplomats, ambassadors, scholars, and officials live and work within the palace. The Queen and the royal family lives in the palace as well.
Exotics District: This district is a trading hub for all travelers. It is filled to the brim with taverns, inns, merchant stalls, and gimmicks. All year round the Exotics District is handled like a festival, with live musicians playing on the streets, performers looking for coin, and food stalls set everywhere.
Garden District: The Garden District is where most of the cities Wealthy live. It is named thus because the large amount of garden life used as decoration, upkept by Djinn.
Lower South Craftsman District: The Lower Craftsman District has several factories which provide jobs for the middle class of the city. It is the largest and most populated district, but there is little for visitors to the city to do in it.
Temple District: Named for its large temple dedicated to the pantheon of Islia, it is a home for the faithful. There are several smaller, more focused temples in this district as well. The people who live in this District usually work in the temples.
Arena District: Two hundred years ago, the city had an arena which held gladiator style battles as well as public events. However, it was deemed cruel by the queen at the time and the gladiator battles were ended. Now, the district holds a zoo where it once held a prison for the beasts for battle. The main arena is used for various activities, including plays, circus, contests, and speeches. The arena itself is enchanted to enhance all sound within, which makes it perfect for these purposes.
Clay District: The Clay District is situated just outside the walls to Nemnei. Technically, this is not a part of the city. However, it is considered to be. The Clay District is a small village where those too poor to live in the city and those who are not allowed into the city live. Most homes here are temporary, with the only permanent buildings being inns for visitors who arrive at the city at night, when the walls are closed.
Barracks District: This is where the guards of the city live, train, eat, and realx. There is a prison here as well. Most of the people of this district are the family members of guards.
Tombs: Nemnei is a large city which has over a hundred deaths per year. Overtime, this influx of the dead would clog up any conventional cemetery. Thus, the tombs were built. This section of the city is the quietest. It is constructed of many large pyramid-like tombs which house the dead. The dead are placed in plots within the tombs. When full, they are sealed. Some families own their own tomb, but most go into communal tombs.

Quest Hooks:

  • A tomb has been breached, and all of the thousands of dead are somehow missing.
  • A Djinn has been found murdered, and the guard are stumped.
  • The Queen has been kidnapped.
  • A mysterious temple whose doors cannot be opened has been erected overnight.
  • A unassuming commoner is suddenly targeted by over a dozen assassins.
  • The Dreaming Sands

    In the vast desert that makes up the most of Nenmaa’s land, is a stretch of sand that has a silver quality to it. The sand is no more precious than normal, but it does contain high traces of a metallic-crystalline substance. However, the silver quality to the sand is not what makes the Dreaming Sands so dangerous, beautiful, nor fascinating. The Sands have a magical quality to them. Mirages in a desert are not unheard of, but the mirages of the Dreaming Sands is particularly real. Travelers have claimed to have come across entire cities they have never seen before, spending a night of excess and joy before awakening the next morning in an empty desert, just as hungry and thirsty as before.

    These Mirages are rare enough to simply be rumors. However, they are real. They can range from anything from a tropical paradise, a small ocean of gold, illusory travelers who disappear, or even huge monsters which disappear moments before ripping a lone traveler to pieces. Because of these rumors, any fantastic stories of The Dreaming Sands are dismissed as false. This social property of the Dreaming Sands have turned it from an oddity in the desert to a perfect hiding place for criminals, monsters, and others who wish to stay hidden.

    The Empire of Nenmaa used this desert to march an army to a small city state at it’s border. The rumors of an army in the desert were ignored, and the Empire was able to quickly and easily siege the city-state.

    Quest Hooks:

  • A mansion has been found in the Dreaming Sands which seems real, but the inhabitants change regularly. Why?
  • Bandits dressed as strange-otherworldly beings have been raiding the surrounding settlements.
  • Illusions have gave the same dire warning to everyone who passes through the desert. Is the rumor true, or another trick?
  • A guide claims to be able to control the illusions, offering exuberant fees to give a tour of the desert.
  • A hunter claims that a rare, albino Griffon has fled into the Dreaming Sands and is looking for hired help.
  • The Uncovered Necropolis

    This oddity has been recently discovered. While traveling from Nenmaa towards the Central Woodland, a young merchant and his caravan were befalan by a powerful sandstorm. They hid the night in their caravans, but were shocked to discover an entire, ancient city has been uncovered. Since then, archeologists, researches, scholars, and treasure hunters have been sending party after party to discover as much as they can about this unknown city.

    The city is large enough to have 5000 or so citizens, and many of the citizens have been located. Throughout the city are mummified corpses of the past civilisation. They are arranged like they would have been in life. Children in the streets, families dining, and even a king at a large golden throne. No-one has yet discovered why they have died, become mummified, or how the city has been buried for so long.

    The city has tunnels which lead underground in vast chambers which are very dangerous to explore. The civilisation had created golems which guard its treasures, crafted traps that ward off tomb robbers, and strange riddles to keep away the foolish. Even stranger, some of the mummified corpses continue to move deeper in the tunnels. The Queen of Nenmaa will pay handsomely for any treasures recovered, but few are courageous and dedicated enough to collect anything more than common household items.

    Quest Hooks:

  • Deep in the tunnels, deeper than anyone thought possible, is reports of an alien and powerful magic. Something that has never been seen in this world for many thousands of years.
  • A series of cursed magical items have been recovered from the city, and must be tracked down to prevent disaster.
  • A scholar is seeking guards to protect her while she decodes and examines information deep in the city.
  • The Queen has received a formal invitation to a social gathering at the necropolis, but the note was written over three thousand years ago, and no-one knows how it was delivered.
  • New evidence of an artifact locked in an ancient vault is uncovered.
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