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The Empire of Izmer

by Dave Arneson

The Empire of Izmer has existed for over a thousand years. Established in the aftermath of the horrific Great War, the empire is a shining example of stability and prosperity in an otherwise dangerous world.
Sumdall is the centre of the Empire of Izmer, politically, economically, and magically. By far the largest imperial city, although not the oldest, Sumdall has become the most important commercial power in the empire.

[Most of that is a bunch of eye wash. When the dust settled, the mages were in charge, and they let everyone know it. Yah cross 'em, yer history. Smart folks don't go anywhere near this dump. -- Charlie 'The Cutpurse']

Sumdall (Metropolis): Conventional/Magical; AL NG, 100,000 gp limit, Assets 155,000,000; Population 31,000; Mixed (human 79%, halfling 9%, elf 5%, dwarf 3%, gnome 2%, half-elf 1%, half-orc 1%).
Authority Figures: Empress Savina of Izmer, female human
Important Characters: Profion, male human Wiz15; Ridley, male human Ftr1/Rog2; Damodar, male human Ftr7 (commander of the Crimson Guard); Snails, male human Rog3; Norda, female half-elf Ftr7; Elwood, male dwarf Ftr3; Marina, female human Wiz3; Vildan, male human Wiz4; Azmath (leader of the Council of Mages), male human Wiz12.
Notes: There are numerous other powerful people and organisations in the city. Although many magic items are available in Sumdall, the Council of Mages controls almost all of them. The council will not sell any magic item, only trade for an item of greater value or rarity.

As befits a great city, the houses are all well built and sturdy, but only the largest are built out of stone. Throughout the sprawling city, magically erected towers -- created by members of the High Council of Mages -- defy the normal limitations of construction. Indeed magic has touched almost every portion of the city.

[Yeah, maybe where the mages live. The rest of the town got built with what was left over. Only thing magical about it is that the dumps don't fall down. -- C.]

By an early Imperial and Council edict, Sumdall was provided with an extensive sewer system. This has reduced the level of sickness far below that of any other large city. Such farseeing innovations have shown the practical benefits of magic in the lives of ordinary citizens.

[And if ya wanna go anyplace in town without attracting a lot of attention, take the sewers. Be careful though -- there're lots of nasty critters down there, so move quick. -- C.]

A vast area of docks and warehouses covers the river's banks. Most of the city's commercial interests and many of its famed taverns, including the renowned 'Many-Tiered' Tavern, can be found near the river as well.
In Sumdall, wonderful buildings such as the Imperial Palace and the many mage towers pierce the city's skyline. The greatest of these towers, a 1,600-foot-tall juggernaut, belongs to the School Of Magic. Within the city's confines, influential mages have their own towers and palaces. The second highest tower in the city, standing at a magnificent 1,100 feet, belongs to the archmage Profion.

[Yeah, the mages are always trying to one up each other. They ain't what you would call modest. -- C.]

The archmage Profion is regarded as the most powerful mage in the empire. As a member of the High Council of Mages, he has proven his concern for the empire. His tower contains magical research facilities, living quarters, and houses a small staff. Within its structure, great storerooms and libraries hold the magical devices and knowledge that Profion uses to support his ongoing search for power.

[Profion's a good customer, but don't mess with him. There's a story that he has built a big ol' room out of the bones of those who've crossed him. All I know is that lots of people who go in his place don't come out. -- C.]

The great multitowered structure near the centre of the city is the Imperial Palace. It has been the seat of the Emperor and Empress of Sumdall for many centuries. It is perhaps the most beautiful structure of its size in all the civilised lands. Rumour has it that the opulence of its public rooms is outshone by the imperial living quarters, but no one knows for sure.

[Glitz everywhere and lots of gold, but not a lot of magical stuff -- at least not compared to the School of Magic or Profion's place. The imperials are okay. The Emperor's got a nice daughter who even helps out the little guys once in a while. -- C.]

Somewhere within the Imperial Palace lies the Rod of Golden Dragon Control. Only the imperial family can wield its great power and with it hold in check forces that might otherwise seek to harm the empire. All golden dragons, it is said, must obey imperial commands.
Many terrible weapons were created by powerful, ruthless archmages and used long ago in a great conflict. The world was almost destroyed in this legendary war. Among the mighty weapons were devices that could control the great dragons. Many would seek to control the dragons, but only the rod still exists. Through the ages the imperial family has always wielded it wisely.

[Yeah, without the rod the Emperor would be gone. It's the only thing that's keeping mages like Profion from running everything. Trouble is, it's too powerful. Can't use it to stop them magical creeps from doin' tons of little stuff to make everyone else's life miserable. -- C.]

The School of Magic's towers contain the greatest collection of magical artifacts in the world. There is hardly a magical tome or device that cannot be found somewhere within its vast libraries and storerooms. Apprentice mages care for many smaller magical creatures.
At this school, the young apprentices receive their early training. Selected from among the most gifted children of the great families, the apprentices lead sheltered lives full of study and work. Generations of mages have been trained there, and no person can learn to use magic within Izmer without passing through its arcane halls of learning.
Protected from the outside by magical barriers so numerous that no unwelcome individual may enter, the School of Magic is the safest place in the world. Although many have tried to find a way into the school, there is no proof that its magical defences have ever been penetrated.

[All those goodies sitting around gathering dust so a few ancient magic geezers can play with them. It's every street runner's private dream to be the one to break in there and "liberate" a few trinkets. -- C.]

The Council of Mages convenes in a grand building near the Imperial Palace. There the greatest mages in the land sit in council to advise the Emperor on how best to rule. Magnificent decor frames the solemn proceedings that take place. It's this place more than any other that illustrates the delicate balance between the Emperor and his most powerful subjects, the mages.
It is this joint rule by the Emperor and the Council of Mages that sets Izmer apart from other lands and maintains the peace and stability only found there.

[It's more like a stand off. But the big honchos love public display and using big words, so change comes slow enough that the common folk can mostly stay out of the way. A few of us even manage to steal a profit here and there. -- C.]

The land close to Sumdall is dotted with smaller towns and villages. Small farms are everywhere, and the main roads are filled with commercial travellers carrying goods to and from the capital.

[Boring! Nuthin but hard-working stiffs who can hardly feed themselves. Life ain't much different there than in the city. -- C.]