Powers and Perils


Ba'Ru city has 17.000 inhabitants. It is the hub of Ba'Rual's political and economic power, as well as the country's zenith of arts and sciences. The royal family resides in its palace the greatest part of the year; most of Ba'Rual's noble families have their palazzo's in the city. In the university the frontiers of magic and science are explored and many pilgrims are drawn towards the cathedrals of Metatron, Sabbathiel and Arathron. In the harbour, ships arrive daily from distant lands to sell their wares at the Great Market. On this market, booths from peasants and fishermen stand next to merchants selling Katai silks and Rogizini spices.

Although Ba'Ru is not so big a city, its marketplace is rather bustling because of its key location connecting the central plains with the civilised world. Its greatest competitor in this respect is Asichi, but Ba'Ru has one big asset: its fine armor-industry. To stay ahead of its rival, Ba'Ru has to summon the aid of sea magic to keep the seaway to the port free from the treacherous Ba'Rual Undepths. Despite these efforts, without help of an experienced native navigator, entering the harbor safely requires a difficult navigation skill check.

Encounter areas

Numbers refer to the map.

  1. Royal Palace
  2. Great Market
  3. National Monument (in memory of the sacking of Ba'Ru in 1522 TH)
  4. Market Halls
  5. City Council
  6. Guildhouses: (A. Armorers; B. merchants; C. carpenters; D. masons; E. weavers & tailors; F. jewelers & goldsmiths; G. herbalists & healers; H. producers of alcoholic beverages; I. butchers; J. fishermen & seamen)
  7. Temple of Metatron
  8. Temple of Sabbathiel
  9. Temple of Arathron
  10. University complex (A. faculty of law; B. faculty of theology and philosophy; C. faculty magica; D. faculty of arts; E. faculty of sciences)
  11. Post of the Constabulary
  12. Military Barracks
  13. Shrine of Ben Nez
  14. Ba'Ru Palace (city palace of Xaras, duke of Ba'Ru)
  15. Baste Palace (city palace of Phenubia, countess of Baste)
  16. Arut'An Palace (city palace of Pal Gilliz II, count of Arut'An)
  17. Bath houses
  18. Inn, cheap
  19. Inn, good
  20. Inn, fine
  21. Fine hotel
  22. Festhall
  23. Cemetery

Encounter Area Descriptions

1. Royal Palace

Here, King Kier II of Ba'Rual lives with his family and court. Once a week, King Kier holds public court to receive pleas from the people or to judge juridicial disputes. Most of the time, the palace is a to and fro of agents, foreign embassies and nobles from all parts of Ba'Rual. The king consults the leading families frequently on matters of state and occasionally he is host of nightly balls and dinners. Kier II is a strong and diligent man, who wants to know what happens in his state and insists on full cooperation of his ministers.

Only Ba'Rual soldiers are allowed to man the fortifications: this nationalist pride is the reason why the battlements are slightly undermanned. Lack of number is compensated by quality, though, since most of the soldiers stationed in the palace fortifications belong to the Royal Guard, the elite mounted troops of Ba'Rual.

The royal palace still is not recovered from the sacking of Ba'Ru in 1522TH. Kier II intermittently employs hundreds of masons to restore the fortifications to their old glory, but since the costs are enormous, the works are laid still frequently. The innermost quarters are finished and so have the battlements immediately surrounding it, but here and there, ruins of once-strong towers remain to be seen. Few people believe they will see in this life the palace fortifications restored to their full strength of old.

2. Great Market

"From the quays of the Sea of Cholchara one enters, first, the Fish Market, and then the Great Market. It is a big square, flanked by almost every important building of the city. The temples, the city council, the Halls, the guild houses with their coloured streamers, the university aula, the scaffold: the market square is the center of it all.

At the fish market, every morning the strangest fish, octopi, sharks, tunas, swordfish and beautiful shellfish are sold. The cattle market brings together simple farmers with their cows as well as fierce Zen'da with their warhorses. There are acrobats and fortune tellers, and occasionally more exotic strangers may be seen, such as spice merchants from distant Rogizini, slanted-eyed men from Katai selling silk or blonde-haired barbarians from the north with their golden jewelry.

It is a place of activity and wonders, but also of encounters. Simply enjoy your wine at one of the good inns' terraces and for sure you will meet the person you were looking for: sooner or later everyone passes here."

DM - availability of items is as indicated in Book I + 1D6 %. Three stalls deserve specific mentioning:

3. National War Memorial Monument

"The statue carved from black malachite shows a naked woman, who would have been very attractive had she not had a pair of small horns on her forehead, bat wings on her back and sharp pointed teeth in her mouth. This statue is over six hundred years old. Two statues from white marble were added only one hundred years ago. The latter represent a triumphant knight, lightning bolts in his hand, and a glorious Ahura holding a scale and scepter. The group is surrounded by six brass lions leaning on wooden poles on which Ba'Ru citizens have nailed several leaflets."

DM: the black woman statue represents Naamah, a demonic succubus goddess. The armies from Marentia and Ba'Rual took it in 1524 TH from S'ph'nth as they retreated from the deserts of L'p'nth. The famous artist Varrottini placed the statues representing Ashur and Metatron. Since then it has served as Ba'Rual's national monument.

Citizens leave messages for each other on the wooden poles. Roll 1D6: 1: "Milos, I love you! T." 2: "Geraldo, drink a beer with us tonight in the Red Apple inn" 3: "Joshuan, we miss you, come home soon!" 4. "Marentians are pigs" 5. "Duke Xaras fucks his sheep" 6. "Topuzar Bakery, finest pastries 1CC only".

4. Market Halls

Whereas retailers and small traders have their shops on the Great Market, international moneylending and trading companies meet here. This complex is formed out of several warehouses and slaughterhouses initially not connected to one another. Through several decades of building and rebuilding they grew into a maze of ware- and slaughterhouses used for international commerce.

5. City Council

"Looking at the facade of this imposing building, the eye is struck by the beauty of the artwork of the famous sculpturer Varrottini. The richly decorated structure has a high tower, proudly sporting the golden and azure banner of Ba'Ru city. Two guards in plate mail armor carrying mighty halberds stand next to the entrance portal. Whoever walks past these knights finds himself in the center of power of the burghers of Ba'Ru."

DM - Although the guards are well-equipped fearsome fighters, anyone can enter and leave the building freely.

6. Guild Houses

"The western part of the buildings surrounding the Great Market is dominated by the richly ornamented buildings that house the guilds."

The guilds are constantly squabbling with each other over ritual, political, and economic resources. The most influential guilds are those of the merchants and the armorers; the least powerful are the guilds of non-urban professions, i.e., those of the wine- and beer-producing farmers and of the fishermen and sailors.

Most of the guilds are led by a democratically chosen council. In these buildings, guild members meet to socialize or to debate over prizes, funds, techniques of the trade, and matters of political nature. The city's militia are exclusively recruited under male guild members. The guilds try to monopolize their crafts and trades, so "freelance" artisans and traders risk damage to their persons and properties acted out by guild members. Membership of a guild provides one of the benefits of several forms of social security, as well as of a political platform. Membership costs, however, are ca. 25% of profits gained.

DM - there are also three criminal guilds in Ba'Ru. The assassin's guild is all but extinct due to a rigorous campaign of the Lord High Constable in 1630 TH; the smuggler's guild is small but active; the thieves' guild is the biggest and most powerful of the criminal guilds. It relies on beggars and prostitutes as informational sources.

7. Temple of Metatron

"Seen from the outside the temple complex of Metatron is a white walled fortress, adorned with mosaics of coloured tiles in geometric patterns and towers topped by golden domes. Several heavily armed temple guards man the walls and towers.

Standing next to the open portal there are two magnificent life-sized statues representing winged handsome persons, one male, one female, holding a spear and sword to their sides."

DM - the 20 temple guards are fanatics in chainmail, metal shield and helmet, composite bow, scimitar and fighting dagger. Traps and ward pacts are not yet fit for print.

"Anyone who walks through the portal enters a big crowded square. In the middle of the square, beggars, housewives, soldiers, farmers and nobles alike say their prayers while walking around a fiery column soaring meters upward in the sky.

Dominating the square is a huge golden pyramid, sparkling in the sunlight. There is an entrance into the pyramid. Surrounding square and pyramid are the guests' quarters, stables, hospital, soldier barracks and novite cells."

DM - needless to say that the pillar of fire is holy and magical. The pyramid is made from ordinary sandstone and covered with red copper, magically enchanted to protect it from rust and dirt.

8. Temple of Sabbathiel

"This stern building is made from black stone, with its classical Thaliban front of pillars topped by a tympane, stands on a dais, towering above ordinary city life. Between the black columns stand terrifying statues in polished blood red sandstone showing fierce creatures: muscular, winged warriors wielding whips, flails or flaming swords. Two figures wearing red plate mail and armed with a flaming two-handed sword stand quietly next to the entrance, visors closed."

DM - the guards are well-trained and their plate mail and weapons are magic. Whenever they deem it necessary to attack someone, help from other guards and priests arrives whithin 1D6+1 phases. 1D3+1 turns later the city guard arrives.

"Inside the temple one is almost blinded by a meters high statue representing a winged warrior as seen outside. It radiates a bright golden light. Kneeling before it four Ba'Ru soldiers are praying devoutly. A monk is burning incense."

DM - the light is magical. Any wardpacts are not yet fit for print. On both sides of the statue there are two doors leading to the underground quarters of soldiers and priests.

This strict order of warrior monks regularly aids the city watch in tracking down criminals; moreoften, it engages in within-city crusades to seek out enemies of the faith, i.e., persons and creatures aligned with chaos.

9. Temple of Arathron

"This church and its many associated structures are built of red, white, yellow and green stones, lending it a merry appearance. In the sunny rose gardens, fountains and statues of beautiful winged women abound. This is a place of rest and recovery, and many crippled, sick and elderly can be seen here."

The temple's main function is that of communal hospital. The temple complex consists of a chapel, a hospital and the priests' wings. Arathron is patron not only of healers, though, but of artisans, alchemists and artists as well. In the priests' wings there are many laboratories, libraries and workshops, guarded as usual by sentinels and wardpacts.

10. University Complex

"The visitor walking past the huge and solemn aula finds himself in a garden bordered by a three-tiered L-shaped complex, each side bordering on a round tower. In the garden two professors are debating the definition of justice in front of an audience of several dozens of students."

In the faculty of Sciences, the famous ornithologist Kinzohn can be found, while experts on Bumai tribal life can be met in the faculty of Arts (see the Barual02 adventure). In the faculty Magica, apprentices learn the ways of lawful magic. Here, magical advise can be bought for 1D6 SC, and many law-oriented magical services (spells and the like) are available for the exorbitant price of (MDV*BMC) SC. The faculty of theology and philosophy educates priests as well als scholars in philosophy. The faculty of Law really is the barristers' guild. Since the faculty is by law the sole source of public defenders, in court one is bound to lose any case without the assistance of a professional barrister.

11. Constabulary Post

Throughout the city, posts of the constabulary are placed. Usually it is a small, squat, stone building with a small courtyard, stables, a walled flat roof, and a watchtower with a bell that can be rung in case of need. The building has a common room, a toilet, a kitchenette, an office, and a prisoner's cell with antechambre.

DM - normally, a patrol unit is commanded by a sergeant, leading 8 soldiers and a magic-user. The constables are trained to capture criminals alive, fighting with bolases and inflicting subdual damage with their maces.

In addition to these patrols, there are many more patrols of 2 mounted soldiers of Marentian, Zen'da or Ba'Rual origin. Every mounted patrol and each sergeant has a whistle to signal alarm, so that any cry for assistance can be answered quickly.

12. Military Barracks

"From far away the noise can be heard from smiths forging horseshoes, drill-sergeants training their men, cattle snorting, and soldiers singing or shouting to each other. The barracks are huge compounds of ugly sturdy stone buildings surrounding a big square where the training grounds are, as well as the stables and workshops supplying to the needs of the army."

Since soldiers must be of Ba'Rual descent to guard the royal palace, another solution had to be found for the Zen'da mercenaries and Marentian soldiers stationed in Ba'Rual. Since the sacking of Ba'Ru, the barracks for these troops have been outside the Rich district. By now, the barracks have grown to full-fledged semi-autonomous fortified enclosures, complete with stables, armorers, blacksmiths, workshops, and cooking and storage facilities. The Marentian, Zen'da and Ba'Rual soldiers each have their own sleeping quarters.

13. Shrine of Ben Nez

"From far, a slender pillar of smoke can be seen rising upward from the top of the hill. Also, a fast-moving cloud can be seen swirling around the hilltop. When you move closer, you notice that this cloud is made up of hundreds of birds."

DM - read the following if the characters ascend the hill: "On the top of the hill lies a huge slab of stone. On it lies the body of a dead Zen'da warrior, feasted upon by the birds. Behind the stone stands a totem pole carved in the likeness of a hawk. In front of the scene, a fire burns, giving a sweet scent. Several meters away stands a large skin tent."

DM: the tent is the home of the Zen'dali shaman Gare'Pan, and his daughter Tunara, who also is a shaman. Both are tonah-tied to the hawk.

14 t/m 16: The Rich District

As explained under "5, City Council", the Rich District or "Ru" is a city within a city. It is walled and fortified and it houses the ruling noble families of Ba'Rual. The two gates to the Ru are heavily guarded and it is forbidden to enter the Rich district while armed. In peacetime, there are two exceptions to this rule: first, persons with a station of 4 or higher; these persons may be accompanied by a number of armed retainers equal to station squared; and second, Ba'Rual or Marentian soldiers, but only if accompanied by a sergeant or higher ranking officer.

Anyone who wants to enter the Rich District has to state his name and business to the guards at the gates. This rule is relaxed now and then, since the clerks at the gates have a long job record and know many inhabitants of the Rich district by face.

There are three station 6 families in Ba'Rual, namely the Ba'Ru, Baste and Arut'An families. All have their city palaces within the "Ru"; each one is luxury and comfortable, though fortified and manned with 36 private guards.

17. Bath houses

The bath houses were constructed in the time that Ba'Rual still constituted a province of the Thaliban Empire. Water is supplied by an ingenious system of aquaducts and sewering tubes, while serfs heat the water in furnacing cellars. There are cold and warm water baths, separated for each sex, though it is a public secret that men can meet prostitutes in the massage rooms. The bath houses are a place not only of personal hygiene, but also of relaxation and socializing. Important political decisions often are negotiated within the discreet informal settings of bath houses.

18. t/m 22. Meals, Lodging and Entertainment

All prices are as indicated in Book I. The only fine hotel in town (21), the "Golden Lion Inn," is to be found in the rich district. It is frequented by the very rich only. Entertainment of all sorts can be found mostly in the festhalls (22): fine stage-players as well as rowdy Zen'dali musicians perform here, and this is also where many a gambler, pickpocket and prostitute try to catch a fish. Occasionally, entertainers perform in the city's many inns, which range from cheap (18), through good (19) to fine (20).

23. Cemetery

Alas, young adventurer! Since this is hallowed ground, no undead nor supernatural creatures can be encountered here. Rather, this is a peaceful place.


Mathijs Tuynman

Location on PL Maps