This is going to be a tough game, reflecting all the gritty hardships of the Athas. Do not build me a character expecting to win. This is a game for survivors not heroes. If you are the sort of person who is attached to your equipment or gets upset when his character is made to suffer or look foolish, this is not the game for you. All the elements of the world will be against you. Your weapons will break, you will suffer from heat exhaustion and you will often have to face problems with one hand tied behind your back. Don't expect to change the history of the world. This is not high fantasy, it is very very low.
To reflect the immorality and the selfishness of the world, there will be no alignments. This means everyone is considered neutral. You can lean to the lawful or chaotic side of this alignment but you need not write this down. I will not accept idealistic clean cut heroes but I will likewise not accept down right evil warlords.
This will be role-play intensive. I have DMed quite a few games on this site and I know that in PBP it is the players who make or break a game. Remember, as the DM, I am here to be entertained as well. I will reward experience based on the length and quality of your posts. Character interaction is integral to this game. So, although I expect there to be a certain amount of distrust between the characters, I do not want that to extend beyond the game. If you want to screw over your fellow players, you better do it with 500 words a post and a clear understanding that they will kill you if it fails.
This game will be run in D&D 3.5e and as such I imagine there will be a fair amount of character optimization. This is fine, if you do not do this you will probably find yourself dead anyway, but remember there is more to optimization than just having your character with a high AC and BAB. If you think you can beat this game, you are wrong. So just because I tell you knowledge will be helpful, do not fill up on knowledge skills at the expense of everything else. If I tell you that your tank in full plate will have to fight on a tightrope above a pit of scorpions, don't just make an acrobatic rogue. I can kill whatever you make, so a realistic rounded character with weaknesses is perfect. If you do a good job, I will not be inclined to kill you... so much.Wrapped in hemp against the night, Clet held himself against the baked mud of a doorway, still warm from the sun. He shivered slightly as he breathed out a cloud of mist that quickly evaporated in the dry air. It burned his throat with equal ferocity as the furnace of day.
Two dart dark eyes poked out above the scarf that hid his nose and mouth, keeping the sand out of his lungs. Two sharp ears protruded too, evidence of his proud half-blood heritage. His tatty silt covered cloak concealed his lithe body and a host of weapons; he would not be caught off guard this night.
The city was quiet and cold as death.
The warmongers were sleeping.
Silence consoled the half-elf. If caught, his merchandise would earn him execution if he was lucky. And if he was unlucky, the host of gruesome options did not bare thinking about. He hated Draj. The citizens were a violent bunch who did not appreciate the art of song. He had seen their dances on previous visits and had been repulsed at the baseness of them. How could a society consider thievery and assassination such deplorable crimes while condoning blood sacrifice and real gladiatorial combat? Barbadians and bigots the lot of them. The sooner he was gone from this place the better.
Clet shivered again in the cold. His sharp eyes penetrated the obsidian night and made out two figures moving towards him. They would not have noticed him yet and, from the way they moved, he could tell they did not think anybody could see them. So clumsy these Draji. It was too dark to tell whether these were the ones he had been told to meet and he would not risk revealing his position until he was sure they were. Recklessness did not last long on Athas and in Draj it was doubly so.
Clet watched the figures stop in a doorway, similar to the one that concealed his crouched form. One of them threw a ceramic piece on to the floor. It hissed in the sand and rolled towards the half-elf before circling and coming to rest. Satisfied, Clet stepped out of the shadows. The figures did the same.
He did not hear the sound behind until it was too late. He felt cold obsidian touch his throat and a voice hiss, "Keep your hands where I can see them half-elf! Or I'll slit you from ear to ear."
The two ahead threw off their cloaks and pointed crossbows at his heart. In the dark he could just see the white of their smiles.
He had been betrayed.
The templar stood before a mottled group of grim and dusty bounty hunters. Stocky determined dwarves, poised ever hunting thri-kreen, solitary arakocra and sly dark skinned elves were gathered to hear him.
He was dressed in fine blue cassock decorated with a golden crescent. His skin was soft, puffy and pale; a sign of easy living, plenty of water and rich food. Most who stood before such hard muscled opportunists, gaunt from missed meals and sleeping rough, cowered before them, but not Haman. The high inquisitor radiated his own fear. There was no need for him to exercise the use of the power provided him by the sorcerer king Atzetuk, the man's reputation proceeded him. He was known to extract a confession from the most tight mouthed smuggler, to torture the names of accomplices from street thugs and exhibited the most gruesome of executions.
His eyes looked dark and small in his chubby face. They darted, probing into the hearts of all those gathered. There was a sneer of disdain to his lip as if dealing with these people sullied him and he paced back and forth on his raised dais impatiently. “I have crushed the Veiled Alliance,” Haman spoke with a voice bordering on a high pitched whine, like a gloating child. “Not one magic user lives within our walls. Draj has been cleansed of those who seek to blaspheme by using a power reserved for the God King himself. I have toiled hard but one still escapes my judgment.
“Alisaadi. A witch and a whore. She has defeated my cilops and eluded the retinue I sent after her. She has now reached Bitter Well. Banished, gone, left Draj in peace you might say. Why care for this tick, who without a city from which to suck forth blood, will soon be dead? Her exodus is but temporary. The harlot intends to return and challenge king Atzetuk's rule. As if her crimes were not already enough.
“It is inevitable; the witch must die. I offer 10 gold coins to the hunter who brings me her head. Use whatever means necessary but bring it me severed at the neck.”