Population: 1,042,470 (68% human, 15% halfling, 10% gnome, 6%
Government: Mercantile Oligarchy
Religions: The Lords of the Grail
Har’Akir! Land of adventure, excitement, and addiction. The present
blurs into the past as ancient ruins and weathered monoliths, once
hidden, come to light. Scouring sandstorms whip away the dunes to
reveal the planed sides of pyramids. Caravans gone astray on the
savannah find the bones of old settlements, their inhabitants gone
but their relics left behind. The tokens and trinkets of bygone
Har’Akir all make their way to the great city of Agazier, to find a
place among the stalls and shops of the city of trade. There, the
battered gold necklace that once hung around the neck of a Luxurite
pharaoh sits in a tangle next to smooth blocks of pesh, while one of
the enigmatic Red Emirs glides by, his madness-inducing visage
concealed behind a bizarre mask.
Situated on the southeastern shore of the Valesian Sea, Har’akir
has traditionally been isolated by geography and culture. The
Adramagdus mountains form the border with Luxur. The
interior of Har’akir is a network of small fertile valleys and
The people of Ha’akir, known as the Akir, are tall, with
mahogany skin and dark hair. They have a reputation for honest but
vigorous negotiation and for the meticulous detail of their
crafts, particularly their pottery and glassworks, but also in the
quality of the sleek, small ships and their superior weaponry.
Honor is the chief virtue for the Akir. All actions contain
either honor or dishonor, and must be judged accordingly. Wisdom
and strength are considered to be nothing without honor. Akir
tales tell of warriors who brave death rather than break their
word, or of maidens who seek the advice of dragons on a
particularly difficult point of honor. Most Akir will go to great
lengths to avoid the stain of dishonor.
The Alwari Brotherhoods
Among the most mysterious aspects of Har’akir are its martial
orders, known as the Alwari Brotherhoods. These holy men dedicate
themselves to years of arduous instruction, ritual and meditation
to develop strange abilities and superb control of their bodies.
Alwari masters are able to break stone with their bare hands or
run up walls as if they were level ground. There are many Alwari
Brotherhoods, each school a rival to all the others.
Honor and dedication are taken extremely seriously by the
members of the Alwari Brotherhoods. The Alwari (there are both
male and female Alwari of all races) live highly structured lives
for the first five to fifteen years of their training, traveling
abroad only after they have proven themselves worthy of
representing their Brotherhood.
Developing the amazing abilities shown by the best of the
Alwari masters takes a lifetime of dedication and focus. As a
result, the Brotherhoods only rarely become involved in the
politics of Har’akir or the outside world. However, every five
years, they do meet, always at a different location. These
gatherings are a chance for each Brotherhood to display its
prowess in competitions, and for old scores to be settled in an
Legends say that long ago in Har’akir there lived the
daughter of a god. The tales differ on which god it was, but the
daughter’s name was Maaliya, and she was the wisest of all
mortals. Kings and emperors consulted with Maaliya on difficult
questions and her fame spread until it reached even the sultan of
all the genies. The tale of her labors on behalf of the sultan are
told in The Thousand and One Faces of Truth.
As a result of Maaliya’s advice, the kingdom of the genies
was saved from ruin, and the sultan swore eternal friendship
between realms. So it has been ever since. Genies are rarely seen,
even in Har’akir, but their presence is felt everywhere. Wizards
keep minor genies as familiars. The powers of genies are harnessed
in magic items, and in the fertility of the very soil. The sails
of the Red Emirs' flagship are always filled with a genie’s
wind. And of course, not a few genies travel the world as mortals
and live amongst the akir.
The history of Har’akir extends back to the Great Cataclym
that destroyed Iridian and Numanthaur. The tribes of the Sheltered
Land lived in peaceful isolation until the coming of the Luxurites
some three thousand years ago. The Luxurites quickly came to
dominate the natives through warfare, trade and religion. By the
rise of Conorria, the natives and conquerors had blended into one
people, the Akir, who paid tribute to the god-king in Luxur.
The first written accounts are found in the White Scrolls of
Forlingon, the elven sage who wrote in the second century B.C.. He
wrote of "a high hidden realm of man on the farthest shore of
the sea, guarded by high mountains and fierce sorcery." The
line of the sultans was already well-established at this time, and
claimed descent from the legendary seeress Maaliya. The Akir first
contacted the Conorrians in the third century A.C., through trade
and piracy. The Akir pirates would remain some of the most
successful on the Valesian sea for more than millennium.
Sometime in the third century, the first of the Alwari
brotherhoods was founded. Known as the
Mahaali Ruwat, or
the Scarlet Dragon, this secretive society was at first hounded by
the sultans, who feared its power. But soon, masters of the
Scarlet Dragon were founding their own schools or wandering
academies, and the Alwari brotherhoods had become a permanent
fixture of Akir society by the following century.
The Beltene Empire invaded Luxur in the first century, putting
its cities to the torch and killing the immortal god-king.
Although these mysterious conquerors waged raids upon Har’akir
for slaves and tribute, it would be many centuries more before
they invaded. Cut off from their gods and their god-king, the Akir
turned inward, naming the lord of Agazier to be their sultan. It
was at this time that the wise Maaliya created the pact between
the sultan of the genies and the sultan of Har’akir.
Of all the lands that would eventually comprise the Conorrian
Empire, perhaps none were as difficult to conquer as Har’akir.
The luxurite priesthoods urged the Akir to resist the alien
Conorrians with all their might, as did the Alwari brotherhoods.
The first attempt to conquer Har’akir was in CY 419, when a navy
under the consul Procalimax defeated the Akir fleet at Orod.
Procalimax’ legions landed and established a camp at what is now
The bitter fighting between genie and war wizard had just
begun. In 428, Procalimax and the IX legion were captured and
slain at Gamela. Sixteen years later, Agazier was put to the torch
by the Emperor Leander. But by the year 501, the Conorrians had
conquered Har’akir. Although resistance would continue among the
mountain tribes for more than two centuries, the Sheltered Land
had become one of the most cultured and wealthy provinces of the
This strength of this relationship was proven in the wake of
the Beltene Wars. The powerful Beltene conquered Har’Akir in 820
and went on to invade and nearly conquer the Connorians, waging
war for the next half-century. But when, in 872, the entire
Beltene Empire disappeared overnight, the Akir were quick to
declare their allegiance to the weakened Conorrian Empire. A
millennium of peace and prosperity followed for the Akir.
In 1791, the Emperor Hadrasius XXI was assassinated while on a
tour of Luxur. Although his infant son, Valerius, was acclaimed
emperor by the Senate within weeks, there were many pretenders to
the throne. Before the year was out, no less than thirteen
claimants had been recognized by one legion or another. Many were
murdered within months, but six, all of them wizards or sorcerers,
named themselves emperor and made war upon the others. So began
the Conorrian Civil War, known as the Mage Wars. These vast and
bloody wars lasted for twenty-six years, and left the empire
Har’akir and Luxur were the seat of the mage Nazeer the
Emerald Mage, who vied strongly for the throne. His genie allies
and the backing of the blue dragon Sargonnaedh made Nazeer a
serious contender, and many believed that he was involved with the
actual assassination of the emperor. It is undisputed that several
of Nazeer’s enemies died of assassination before the war was
over. Markimillien himself defeated Nazeer, capturing the Akir
mage in a magical crystal which he later kept on a chain around
his neck. He also banished the genies from Vatheria for 501 years,
which is longer than his empire would last.
In the East, Valerius retained his throne and was recognized as
the legitimate holder of the Phoenix Throne. But west of the
Conorr peninsula, the empire was under the thumb of the
Mage-Emperor Markimillien I, who founded the Miletian Empire. Har’akir
was part of the Miletian Empire. The surviving mages of Har’akir
were loyal to the Miletian Empire and were instrumental in
developing its famous Blood Magic. The Alwari Brotherhoods were
suppressed during this period, and were believed to have been
The Miletian Empire crumbled under the weight of the Darothic
hordes in 2282-90. When it fell, Har’akir was on its own for the
first time in nearly two thousand years. The Imperial structure
remained active in the Sheltered Land for only a further
generation, until the coming of the Red Emirs in 2313.
Mysterious and otherworldly, the Red Emirs swiftly
came to dominate all of Har'Akir through a combination of powerful
sorcery and generous aid to their followers. Though they
control the cities with an iron fist, they pay little attention to
what happens throughout the rest of the country, so long as trade
In 2587-91 Har’akir fought an inconclusive naval war with the
Valesian City-States which broke the power of the Valesian navy
but resulted in the loss of the Akir port at Tangor. This left Har’akir
with only one major port, Agazier. As a result, the sultan
established new ports, one in the Ahuran strait at Galim and one
at the ancient city of Muzir, in the north. Over the ensuing
century, the naval and merchant power of Har’akir has grown to
dominate the western Valesian Sea.
Har’Akir encompasses many different land types and
climates, almost as varied as the goods in its marketplaces. To the
south, looming mountains slope like spearheads, blocking the way to
Luxur. Flatter foothills and mountain passes offer passage to the
southern country, but most travelers prefer to reach Luxur by ship.
Gnolls live in those mountains, and they know the passes and easy
crossings as well as anyone. Unprepared souls who attempt to
traverse the mountains generally wind up on a ship anyway: in the
belly of a slave galley on its way to the Fleshfairs.
In the north, warm green savannahs stretch for
miles. Clusters of tall trees, with long branches that extend only
from the very tops of the trunks, stand like open umbrellas to offer
moderate shade. Thin rivers and still pools provide water for the
many animals that roam the fertile plains, such as camelopards,
Har’Akiri lions, gazelles, and more. At times, the savannah gives
way to lush jungles that develop around hot spots: underground heat
vents that warm the area, turning fresh water murky and sulfurous
and fostering the growth of plant life. Farther south still, the
plains dry up into arid stretches of desert. The dangers of desert
life—scorpions, jackal rats, sand eels, and ancient curses—are many.
Religion in Har’Akir
The predominant religion in Har’Akir is
Eristemus’s faith, as the god of mercantilism, money, and travel
finds much support among the buyers and sellers of the nation’s
famous markets. Even followers of other deities often murmur a
prayer to Eristemus before engaging in a business deal, or drop a
few coins in one of Eristemus’s tithe-boxes after a successful sale.
Erdhon enjoys the largest following after
Eristemus. In a country with so much sun, and where the heat can
grow intense enough to cause damage or death, it seems only natural
that many would revere the god of the sun. Erdhon’s clerics play a
major role in defending Agazier, and Har’Akir in general, and most
citizens see them as benevolent and admirable crusaders.
Unfortunately, Erdhon’s strong presence here also draws cultists of
Drauluin seeking to destroy the Dawnflower’s followers. Agaleus,
Daria and Valkrys also enjoy moderate followings in Har’Akir. Gnolls
revere Evaless, and many shrines in the mountains pay homage to the
Mother of Monsters.
Creatures of Har’Akir
Many animals on the plains and in the desert are
native to Har’Akir, known in other lands only because of the
luxurious pelts traded in the marketplace. On the plains, the most
common creatures are Har’Akiri lions (great golden beasts with white
manes), gazelles, zebras, blink dogs and camelopards. Jungle areas
include such wildlife as alligators, giant snakes, lizards, stirges,
and tribes of lizardfolk. In the desert, one finds camels, sand
eels, basilisks, behirs, wild horses, scorpions, and buzzards. In
the mountains, there are mountain lions, wild goats, dragonnes, and
Gnolls are the most common monster in Har’Akir and
arguably the most dangerous. Gnolls consider Har’Akir their
homeland, and seem intent on killing or enslaving all interlopers
who dare make their homes there. Gnolls are feared and reviled
throughout the land, but the Red Emirs’ open trade policy means that
gnolls may freely enter the city of Agazier, so long as they come to
barter and behave themselves.
The Red Emirs
The mysterious rulers of Har’Akir are not native
to the area—perhaps not even to Theeurth. They arrived almost seven
hundred years ago, during a time when anarchy and lawlessness ruled
the city. With quiet, direct ruthlessness, the Red Emirs took the
city in hand and drove the unstable elements out. Within a hundred
years, Agazier stood as a shining model of free trade, and within
500 it had established itself as a leading economic power in the
Valesian Sea region.
Red Emirs stand 7 feet tall and seem unnaturally
thin. They wear layers of robes to hide their spindly bodies and
ornate masks of gold, silver, and other precious metals— often
studded with gems—to cover their faces and muffle their voices.
Though many stories circulate as to whom the Red Emirs are and what
they truly look like, no one can say for certain what lies under
those placid masks.
MAJOR POPULATION CENTERS
Agazier - (Metropolis; population
101,840) The ancient
capital is one of the oldest cities on the Valesian Sea. Seated as
it is at the northern end of the Larimean Bay, it is sheltered
from storms, but also vulnerable to naval blockade. Agazier has
four harbors, each sheltered by small outlying islands where much
of the shipbuilding is performed.
This city is all that most foreigners ever see of Har’akir,
for only here are they viewed with anything but suspicion. Agazier
is divided by a steep hill. The poorer classes and merchants
congregate on the crowded shore or on the barrier islands, while
the wealthy live in splendor amidst the wooded slopes of the upper
city. Most of the whitewashed, blue-tiled buildings in the lower
city are crowded, multistory affairs with bridges and buttresses
seeming to connect each one to another. The buildings of the upper
city are stately mansions with enclosed gardens or courtyards and
Muzir - (Small City; population 42,220) Founded by
Procalimax in the year 419, Muzir has maintained the orderly
streets and wide, straight avenues so beloved of the Conorrians.
But in most other ways, it is purely a city of the Akir. Large,
colorful markets fill the wide forums, and intricate mosaics adorn
nearly every building, while the competing calls of the clerics
call the faithful to worship. Situated below a gap in the
northeastern Adramagdus mountains, Muzir is most notable for its
new port and its large military barracks. The aggressive building
program of the Red Emirs has built a powerful naval force with the
intention of protecting Akir shipping from rivals.
Galim- (Town; population 26,430) Located at the western
end of the Marrakhan hills on the Ahuran straits, Galim is less
than thirty years old. Founded in order to give
Har’akir a naval base outside the Valesian sea, the town is
dedicated almost entirely to shipping and trade. Although the
town has a sizeable fishing fleet, food must still be brought by
caravan from the more fertile interior.
IMPORTANT LOCAL SITES
The Valley of the Kings - In the central Adramagdus
mountains lies a valley dominated by two immense statues, each
more than five hundred feet tall and carved into the side of
mountains that face each other across the valley. The figures are
of two men, seated. One wears an intricate suit of armor and bears
a scepter and a sword, while the other wears only a toga and bears
an orb and a rod. Both bear stern faces and crowns. Within the
mountain behind the armored figure is a warren of rooms smoothly
cut into the rock as if by magic. The ancient doors to this place
stand open between his feet. A similar set of doors between the
feet of the unarmored figure have never been breached.
The Eleven Veils of Alzar - In valley in the far
southwest there are eleven streams that plunge out of the mountain
walls and form silvery waterfall ribbons known as the Veils of
Alzar. The mist-shrouded valley is considered sacred and is the
home of a sect of religious warders. It is left alone by all but a
few wanderers and priests. Legend has it that those who spend a
night in the valley of Alzar are sometimes visited by the lords of
the spirit world, who travel through one of the eleven veils.
The Adramagdus Mountains - The border between Har’akir and
Luxur is a region of rugged desert mountains, precipitous narrow
valleys and small, swift-running streams. These lands are the
haunts of beasts, both natural and magical. There are also several
clans of gnolls who make the hills their home. The lone road
running through the mountains is often the target of bandits or the
more clever and aggressive of beasts. Caravans wending their way
through the hills are always well-guarded.