Powers and Perils


Before the year 80SA, the Ro'babzan Plain was home to many bands of hunters and gatherers. In the year 81SA, a charismatic leader (Havaka Silver - arm, 81 - 129SA) forged some of them into the Zimmali, the area's first tribe. The threat presented by the Zimmali forced other bands to unite, forming the tribes that rule the plain to this day. During the years of Havaka's reign; disciplined, purposeful warfare made the Zimmali the dominant force in the area.

Shortly after Havaka's death (0R [129SA]), a Zimmali raiding party discovered a hidden ravine near the great lake. They entered and found K'lza'babwe (the Sleeping City). Through their actions, they broke the curse on this city and woke its inhabitants. As their reward, they were slain.

For five years after their awakening, the city people under Marrani a'Babza prepared their forces and scouted the plains. In the year 5R [134SA], they conquered the nearest tribes. By the year 13R [142SA], with their final victory over the Zimmali, all of the tribes of the plains were subjugated. For the next 300 years, a time called "the Golden Age of the Sleepers" in Ro'babza, the city ruled the plain. Throughout this period, the city people were viewed with awe and reverence. The tribesmen were unlettered vassals with few rights.

In the year 294R [423SA], major raids from the desert, lasting more than 100 years, wounded the empire. On the verge of total ruin, fate brought the city a brilliant ruler who ended the raids. The reign of Ro'mabazai a'Babza ( 408-480R [537-609SA]) saw an end to the Kacili raids and the first good relations with Kirazan. In the year 480R [609SA], he changed the city's policy and granted tribesmen citizenship. (The small revolt that this caused in the city was ended with some well - placed executions.) These reforms spurred economic growth in Ro'babza. The land remained at peace until the year 718R [847SA].

In the year 718R [847SA], Movai a'Babza became emperor. In his three - month reign, his sadistic cruelty split the empire, caused his assassination (by an angry relative of one of his victims) and led to a civil war that ended both the Bazai dynasty and the total dominance of the city in Ro'babza.

In the year 724R [853SA], K'bab Moballi seized the throne and exterminated his enemies. Soon after, Shestar invaded. When K'bab led his army against them, Shestar was badly mauled and forced to retreat in disorder. K'bab devoted his reign ( 724-739R [853-868SA]) to building Ro'babza's army and defeating foreign enemies. Under his leadership, the army was a powerful force. In the wars against the Sand Claw, it captured Kirazan and destroyed their fanatics. After this victory, it marched on Shurikal, destroyed the army of that nation, sacked its royal city and returned with a great deal of loot. K'bab the Conqueror was slain in this great victory, much to the sorrow of his army.

K'bab was succeeded by his grandson Ha'k'ba'baza the Unlamented. During his reign ( 739-802R [868-931SA]) the love of the tribes for the emperor weakened. His perversity, favoritism and obvious dislike of barbarians weakened the empire. Those who suffered his reign lived in constant terror of his anger and his armies were often defeated by Ma'Helas and Shurikal. On his death his body was thrown into the plain to be eaten by hyenas, his heirs were killed and a guard captain usurped the throne. For the next eleven years, civil war wracked the empire. In the year 813R [942SA], the captain was overthrown and a new emperor, Ali Lorca, was crowned.

Ali Lorca, called the Pale Lord, ruled with an iron fist. He reformed the kingdom and brought the tribes and the army under stricter control. During his reign ( 813-842R [942-971SA]) he worked to break down the barriers between city and tribes. Ali was a demanding autocrat who people disobeyed at their peril.

The Pale Lord was succeeded by his son Mahomet a'Zimmala Lorca. In his reign ( 842-874R [971-1003SA]) Mahomet continued his father's work, while ruling with a lighter hand. As a deathbed edict, he formed the Council of Nobility to serve as royal advisors and empowered them to rule until his successor could be crowned. Since the creation of this council, the Lorca dynasty has been stable. The current ruler, Ali a'Zimmala m'Baza Lorca has reigned since the year 959R [1088SA]. He is dedicated to economic growth, the creation of an agricultural society and peace.

NOTE - The Council has a more subtle function. It is composed of the relatives of the major tribal chiefs and city leaders. If these groups revolt during a transfer of power, their relatives are slain. The councilors serve as valued advisors and hostages.


The capital of the nation is K'lza'babwe (40,000). The suburban areas around this city (within about ten miles) contain another 60,000 citizens. The total civilized population is 100,000. There are eight tribes in this nation. They are the N'yetali (26,000), the Zalazibabwe (23,000), the Hobali (22,000), the Zimmali (21,000), the Kunni (16,000), the Zuiassa (14,000), the Niballa (13,000) and the Zi'gzaba (10,000). The total tribal population is 145,000. They can mobilize 29,000 warriors for war. The total population of the nation is 245,000.

Ro'babza's army has two groups. The Guard is composed of civilized citizens and Kacili mercenaries. It has 800 elite footmen (the emperor's own), 3,200 footmen (800 at each fortress), 4,000 militia and 1,000 horse mercenaries (200 in the city and 200 at each fortress). Its total strength is 9,000. The Barbarian Guard is composed of 1,000 warriors, an elite unit who serve for life, and 5,000 warriors who are levied each year for 1 year of service to the empire. The elite and 1,000 warriors are stationed in the city. The others are stationed, 1,000 men each, in the border fortresses. Its total strength is 6,000. The total peacetime strength of the army is 15,000. During a war, 23,000 warriors can be raised.

NOTE - Barbarian warriors in this nation are dedicated to victory. Once they are committed to an attack, they will not retreat unless ordered to do so. If a thousand charge, and all but one is killed, that one continues the attack.


A barter system is used by the tribes. The city has a monetary system. Under the current ruler, the monetary system is being expanded to embrace the entire nation. There is some resistance to this, as the tribes do not understand the need for it.

The heart of Ro'babza's trade is cast iron. They are masters of a lost technique for casting iron. The tribesmen are herders and hunters who have begun to master agriculture. Ro'babza is a poor nation, but it is very powerful in its part of the world.


The city was once cursed by an ancient god. Because of this experience, city people try to appease potentially hostile gods - to the exclusion of those they do not fear. In general, they worship the forces of Chaos. Tribesmen have a shamanistic religion with a great deal of animism. They worship animal spirits as an aid in hunting and herding.


Both peoples are friendly and hospitable. The people of the city are often arrogant and domineering, especially toward barbarians. When survival demands it, they can be cunning and treacherous.

Most tribesmen are kind. They revere their leaders and are generous toward the needy. All are happy to help when they can. In war, tribal leaders are wholly dedicated to victory. They fight until the enemy is destroyed or they are. Tribesmen are noted for their tempers, but have a great deal of self - control. When angered, they can be berserk killers who will do anything to reach, and rend, the target of their fury.

Legal System

The nation is ruled by its Emperor, the Council of Nobility and the leaders of the Guard. The Emperor is advised by the others. His word is law.

Except for his edicts, the nation is an anarchy. The commanders of the Guard rule the city, the chiefs rule the tribes. The Emperor is the linchpin of this society. To be successful, he must be harsh and gentle, kind and cruel, generous and miserly, as the individual situation demands. It is not a position where a stupid man can hope to succeed.

Penalties for major crimes in this nation are harsh. For minor crimes, they are non - existent. The more heinous a crime, the longer the punishment takes to kill the felon responsible. Among the tribes, vendetta is the rule in criminal cases. It is up to the family to avenge the wrongs its members suffer. Where the felon is a city man, he is punished by the Iron Guard or their agents. Controlled anarchy is the rule in this nation. This is especially true on the plains.

NOTE - The elite forces of the Guard, the Barbarian Guard and the Kacili mercenaries (A total of 1,800 footmen and 1,000 cavalry) are commanded by the emperor. Other troops are controlled by their commanders and chiefs.


Ro'babza has close ties with Kirazan


Ro'babza dislikes the people of the Shurani Mountains. Hoping for war against Shurikal is a popular activity in this nation. Ro'babza has little love for Shestar because she feels that Shestar seeks her destruction.


The Old Tongue60%*
Native Dialects80%**

*The tongue of the city (Under the Lorcan emperors, The Old Tongue is out of favor. Ro'babzan has been the official language of the nation since the reign of Ali Lorca. The Old Tongue is still used extensively in the city by the noble and merchant classes.)

** Each tribe has its own dialect of Ro'babzan. They are related to each other and are not related to The Old Tongue. The dominant native dialects are N'yeta, Zalaziba and Zimmali.

Ro'babzan City-Men

Basic Characteristics


Common Weapons

Swords, Spears, Javelins


These people are descended from the sleepers of K'lza'babwe. Over time, they have interbred, to some extent, with the local barbarians. This has darkened their complexions and decreased their size (Their average height was once {78"} . As an example of their size, history says that K'bab the Conqueror was eight feet tall and weighed three hundred and fifty pounds.). The city people have chocolate - brown complexions and straight, thick, black hair. All have aquiline noses, wide faces and square jaws.

Ro'babzan Tribes

Basic Characteristics


Favored Weapons

Spear, Club and Javelin

Earth Equivalent

Northern Bantu stock especially the Matabele.

Other Notes

The Ro'babzans prefer fur and leather clothing. They often carry shields and wear leather vests in battle. Elite warriors are outfitted in scalemail. Most warriors wear fur - covered helmets and gauntlets in battle.

Calendar (Seasonal)

This calendar dates from the awakening of the sleeping city. It is a precisely - detailed, seasonal reference that is of great value to farmers. By its reckoning, the year is 971.

The Culture Book

Population Detail

Ro'babza is primarily a tribal kingdom with a tight, centrally located urban area. There is a single city, K'lza'babwe, with a population of 40,000. This city is supported by 9 townships:

Morcabza[K'lza'babwe]2,630 (zi); 2,400 (a); 2,740 (ha) = 7,770
Ha'k'lza[K'lza'babwe]2,820 (zi); 2,960 (ha) = 5,780
Lorcakali[K'lza'babwe-1]3,780 (zi); 2,780 (a); 2,080 (ha) = 8,640
K'babzaiba[K'lza'babwe-1]3,470 (zi); 2,450 (a); 2,460 (ha) = 8,380
Za'baimma [K'lza'babwe-2]3,220 (zi); 2,860 (a); 1,700 (ha) = 7,780
A'bassali[K'lza'babwe-3]2,570 (zi); 2,670 (ha) = 5,240
K'lzai[K'lza'babwe-4]2,540 (zi); 3,390 (a); 2,980 (ha) = 8,910
Ma'bali[K'lza'babwe-5]2,750 (zi); 2,380 (a); 2,220 (ha) = 7,350
Hahorca[K'lza'babwe-6](population 2,820 (zi); 3,730 (a); 2,590 (ha) = 9,140

There are also 4 fortress towns within the borders:

Ft. Zi'helali[Hele-556]2,610
Ft. Ba Morca [The Zimmali-44)]3,580
Ft. Zi A'ba [The Hobali-661)]2,770
Ft. Lomet [The Zuiassa-443]1,730

The remaining population is tribal and nomadic in nature, comprised of over 5,080 family groups with an average headcount of 25 members. By the tribes, the number of family groups are:

N'yetali 910
Zalazibabwe 805
Hobali 765
Kunni 590
Zuiassa 490

NOTE - Ro'babzan townships are single urban centers which appear to be spread-out cities but are actually composed of 2 or 3 towns that are nearly in contact. Such "multiple towns" use the same name, with each section adding a "quantifier" based on their orientation to K'lza'babwe -- 'zi ("heading towards"), 'ha ("heading away from" and 'a ("center"). Thus, Morcabza has three districts named "Morcabza'zi", "Morcabza'ha" and "Morcabza'a". The "center" district is situated between the 'zi and 'ha districts. Such towns can be quite long and narrow. The end result, if one were to fly high above the city area, is a star-like pattern with the central city and many long urban "rays" following the minor roads out.

NOTE - To locate the forts, track the path from the hex containing the "tribal center".

Burton Choinski

Location on PL Maps