War of the Burning Sands
Ancient and magnificent, Raam has fallen far from its formerly wondrous heights. Centuries of plundering the countryside of the Road of Kings for its resources, rampant corruption in its government, and the rule of a hedonistic and disinterested sorcerer-queen have brought the city-state to the brink of disintegration. The alabaster quarries and gemstone mines stand exhausted; reckless agricultural practices have led to disastrous food shortages. In the streets, violent factions sworn to one warlord or another battle for control as the once-vibrant and influential city slips into ruin. Mobs riot daily against their ineffectual ruler, the sorcerer-queen Abalach-Re, and her Templars dare not set foot in some of the city’s districts.
The present difficulties might have been averted by a strong hand, but Abalach-Re had less interest in ruling than in feeding her insatiable appetite for pleasure. Generations ago, she abandoned her royal title and declared herself to be the representative of an all-powerful deity known as Badna. Calling herself the Grand Vizier, a title normally held by Raam’s greatest mystics, she razed the city’s existing shrines and temples, replacing them with new shrines dedicated to Badna. The deity’s image—that of a grinning, four-armed male dressed in a long loincloth—appears all over the city-state. Abalach-Re continues to assure the citizens that Badna watches her closely and will strike her dead if she falters in her duties, but few
believe her anymore.