Following up on this post, here is the original blurb about the cit of Kanebok, the setting of Dead Wizards. I wrote this blurb several years ago and it is presented here mostly as it was, unedited. This will not be the final introductory prose but very close to it as I am keen on keeping this vision as pure as possible. Comments follow the blurb... imagine it being read aloud by Mako Iwamatsu.
From the cataclysms of wizard wars crawled Kanebok, the City of the Exalted Prince. It squats on the edge of a cliff over which spills the dark waters of the River Uth. It is flanked by a desert and perilous badlands. Many old roads converge at its gates and queer vessels from queer lands arrive on the waters.
The Moyirs run the city. Dozens of them compete with one another, cunning and dangerous, backstabbing and plotting, always looking for the angle that will put them in the Mojab’s favor… for the Mojab is the boss of the Moyirs and the de facto ruler of the city. From his Marble Tower of Time he rides a resplendent palanquin of gold and jewels carried by sinewy slaves. The Mojab is the mouthpiece of the Exalted Prince, who is himself a child of the gods. All must answer to the whims and decrees of the immortal Exalted Prince, Supreme Ruler of all the Land, high in his Palace of Glass. Though he is rarely seen, his merest gaze can strike a man dead and his desires are law. On the rare occasion the Exalted Prince enters the city streets he is carried in a glowing howdah on the back of an immense three-headed elephant called Gaj’Uth. A brigade of his arcane guards go before him to clear the path, crushing those who refuse to move and demolishing structures so that not even mighty Gaj’Uth is made to touch the dirty city and its dirty people.
They say to be crushed by the feet of that great beast is to ascend immediately to heaven and be done with this life.
Few are willing to risk it.
You have come by fortune or fate to the city gates, their grisly faces grinning as you enter. Inside are streets of dirt and stone, malodorous, cacophonous… at once a nightmare and a dream. The city is never asleep. It is never still. They say the foolish or brave can find paradise here, if they aren’t swallowed up first.
This is going to be an interesting night, at the very least.
So yeah. Kanebok is meant to be "exotic". I am aware that my whiteness and Westerness means that I am coming from a very particular perspective and that many or most people in the world will have different perspectives on what that means. It's the curse of being human.
Anyway, while not being a direct representation of any culture, this setting is inspired by Arabian Nights types of fantasies, Hollywood-filtered Egyptian fantasy, and various African and East Asian images and ideas I have sponged up over the years. It's a melting post of this stuff... along with a lot of Western baggage, of course. It's the kind of shit a pulp hack writer would slam into their typewriter.
Speaking of which... in my head, Kanebok is the hub for a series of pulp adventures. Each gaming group is like a hack writer crafting their yarns in a shared universe... not unlike the way many authors contributed to the shared universes of Thieves' World or the Cthulhu Mythos. I was chanelling a lot of The Black Company, Conan the Barbarian, and Tales From the Flat Earth when I came up with the idea. I'm not trying to pave new terrain, just running on a feeling here. I hope the end result is something evocative and deliciously pulpy... warts and all. We'll see.
More on the setting and system later.