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Nimmur and the Manscorpions

The fertile kingdom of Nimmur, once home to the noble enduks, is inhabited by the brutal manscorpions, who treacherously usurped the Kingdom of Nimmur centuries ago.

Manscorpions

Present day Nimmurians are manscorpions who usurped the land from its previous occupants, a race of winged minotaurs (enduks). The current Nimmurians are vicious, ruthless, conniving creatures filled with hatred. Pity and remorse are unknown to them. They crave the sun but they also fear it, for, due to Ixion's curse, the sun incinerates them if they are not protected from it. Ruled by an overking but split into several dominions or city-states, the manscorpions are in constant strife for personal and regional power.

Appearance: Manscorpions have a human torso and a bony-plated, arachnoid body with eight legs. Their spines stretch out to form a long tail with a wicked stinger on the end of it. Their hands have two thick fingers and a long thumb, giving them the appearance of a scorpion's claws. Though bald, they wear elaborate wigs of shoulder-length dark hair and beards (for the males). These are styled into elaborate, curled rows. The wigs are easily kept coiffured and were based upon the styles popular with the enduks.

They used to be relatively dark skinned, with sandy-coloured tails and lower bodies, but their long tenure underground and the curse imposed upon them by Ixion has turned them horribly translucent, so that their black hearts, ichor, and internal organs now show through in a repulsive vision of nature gone awry. This is not usually apparent to other races because the Nimmurians cover their bodies with a thick makeup to protect themselves from the lethal effect of the sun. Makeup ranges from brown for the lower castes, to red for warriors, and gold with embellishments for the nobility. Priests usually cover their entire bodies with silver runes over black makeup, without which they couldn't cast spells under the sun. When outside, all manscorpions wear masks featuring monstrous grimaces. The masks provide a visor and dark lenses to protect their fragile eyes.

Clothing (usually thin wool) and armour are designed to be worn over the makeup. Most manscorpions wear elaborate shawls or tunics edged with fringes. Filets to keep their elaborate hair in place are popular for both males and females, as are necklaces, earrings, armbands, and bracelets.

Personality: Manscorpions are greedy, self-serving, and brutal. From the enduks they acquired a veneer of civilisation, but the curse that afflicts them made them a paranoid, secretive, and frustrated race. They fear to let others know of their vulnerability to sunlight, though they crave its warmth and illumination. They are warlike and care little for the lives or comfort of others.

Manscorpions are usually neutral and evil in alignment, though some few have a personal code of honour or still worship Idu (Ixion). It is not impossible to find ones such as these who are both lawful and good, it is simply unusual. Though they often appear aloof or reserved, a fierce, angry spirit forms the core of every manscorpion, and competition and aggression burn brightly in each heart. The best of them use these traits to perform great deeds, while the worst give way to their basest instincts.

Lifestyle: To some extent, the manscorpions' lifestyle is dictated by the curse laid upon them by Idu when they drove out the enduks. The Immortal made sunlight excruciatingly painful for them. Normal clothing is insufficient to stop the curse's effects. Only protective makeup and armour can shield them from the deadly rays and the pain. Direct sunlight blinds them unless they wear dark lenses to protect their eyes. Artificial light doesn't affect them.

Because they must constantly shield themselves from the sun, most manscorpions live underground. The cities of the enduks lie atop vast underground networks of manscorpion tunnels, pits, and chasms. Only those manscorpions who have business in the overcities reside there, and even they usually have retreats below ground.

On the surface, manscorpion cities consist of a great many mud brick houses, storehouses, slave quarters, and shops that lie at the feet of a grand palace, a series of monuments (some ruins, some intact), and a great ziggurat that serves as a place of worship. The ziggurat is usually decorated with several colours and has green trees and gardens on some of its levels. Many manscorpions live in these overdwellings, and most visitors assume that the surface picture of the city is the true one. In fact, the surface city usually only holds a fraction of the manscorpion population of the city. The majority of them live in the vast caverns underneath the structures. These are reached by tunnels and sloping ramps constructed under the houses and shops, the palace and the ziggurat. Visitors are discouraged from enquiring too closely about the interiors of these structures in order to keep the underground section of the city secret.

The manscorpions employ large numbers of slaves for raising food, manufacturing fine oils and perfumes, and tending sheep. Manscorpions are omnivorous. Though they prefer meat when available, they can survive on carrion, if necessary. They are soldiers, artists, traders, administrators, and seekers of ancient knowledge-most particularly of lore regarding the ancient star devices, weapons of potentially great destruction, found in many Nimmurian cities. Though not quite as likely to be in positions of authority, a good number of female manscorpions rule dominions and serve as priests, administrators, or troop commanders.

The functional star device in Er and their vast underground warrens are secrets the manscorpions wish to preserve as much as they want to hide their usurpation of enduk land and culture. For these reasons, though they have recently begun to tolerate foreigners in their overcities, they go to elaborate lengths to keep these outsiders away from their ziggurats and the monuments that are the star devices.

The manscorpions adopted the customs, history, and even language of the enduks as their own. They so wished to assume the cultural identity of the enduks, in fact, that they destroyed a great number of the enduks' artworks and historical writings to mask the truth concerning their arrival in Nimmur and their treachery. Though almost everyone calls them manscorpions, they themselves prefer to be called "Nimmurians." Ever since they assumed the ancient Nimmurian cultural identity, they dropped their old tribal structure and in its place created a new dynasty of kings. Today, King Anupalassar II rules over smaller manscorpion provinces owing fealty to the throne of Nimmur. Provincial governors have the hereditary title of prince. The present king earned his nickname, the Firebranded, when his helm was ripped open during an ambush by the orcs of the Dark Jungle. His face was scarred by the sun's rays.

Nimmur is an ally of Herath, although the Nimmurian clergy believe that some day the manscorpions will rule the entire peninsula. On the other hand, Herath hopes to steal the secret of the ancient Nimmurian star devices. Right now, the Nimmurians still have a problem with the unyielding orcs to the south. These orcs are savage creatures that have adapted to the thick jungle of the Orc's Head Peninsula. Nimmur also faces a dilemma with the encroachment of foreign settlers, especially lately as the affluent Herathians move into the city of Er. It is becoming difficult for the clergy to keep unwanted visitors out of the ziggurat quarters in their cities. The manscorpions hope to take the northern coastal lands but mosquito and killer fly infestations have decimated settlers and sheep flocks there in the past.

Equipment: All manscorpions cover themselves with heavy makeup to protect them from the sun and wear clothing or armour. Scribes and other officials might possess clay cylinders with official designs imprinted upon them and stylus and clay tablets for recording transactions or events. Soldiers own their armour and weapons (see below).

Nimmur's Armies

Nimmur maintains permanent, professional troops trained and paid according to precepts laid down by ancient Nimmurian generals. Although nobles compose most of the upper ranks in the army, effective authority is based on actual military rank, not social status.

Towns of a thousand people or more are walled. Most structures are made of dried mud brick sealed against the water by being painted with bitumen. Each town pays for its own army. The troops are disciplined and organized. Each unit of troops wears the same armour and tunics within their respective armies. Conical helms with bronze masks are predominant. Manscorpion armour costs three times that of its human counterpart because of its complexity (larger abdomen and eight leg pieces, tail and sting remaining unarmoured). Nimmurians do not use mercenaries.

For every 100 troops, 20 ride mule-drawn war chariots (two mules, a driver, and a warrior per chariot; short bow, spear, and scale mail). Twenty more use long bows, short swords, and scale mail; 20 are heavy infantry with lamellar (banded) armour and Nimmurian poleaxes (that cause 3d6 points of damage); and 40 are light infantry with leather armour, large shields, spears, and short swords. The war chariots of Er are scythe-wheeled and larger than those of other cities.

Armies break down into battle pincers of 100 troops, in turn splitting into tactical stings of 20 troops. Officers, petty nobles with simple warrior rank, and priests usually ride the smaller war chariots.

Dominions of Nimmur

Asur: Capital's population: 15,100

Army: 4 pincers

Ruler: King Dargon I, The Defender.

Dargon was the previous king of Nimmur. His army slaughtered a great orc war-horde of over 15,000 at the battle of Anusardapal, named after a hero who died there. Now a tired old warrior, he abdicated in favour of his son but retained the honorific title of king. Asur is the dynastic domain. Dargon now oversees spying activities on the Vilaverdans, hoping to capture their fortified port.

Ankesh: Capital's population: 2,500

Army: 2 pincers

Ruler: Prince Sheneser II, Iron Sting.

Ankesh regularly sees raids from Jibar˙ phanatons. Hills and heavy forest present a difficult environment for Nimmurian troops, especially their war chariots. Phanatons are thought to be no more than primitive forest barbarians that present little danger to Nimmur.

Ekiddu: Capital's population: 3,100

Army: 2 pincers

Ruler: Princess Ish-mamna I, Black Heart.

Ekiddu is trying to become a trading town. Unfortunately, its port is shallow and presents no deterrent to the Vilaverdan colonial enclave just to the south. Because of the southern competition, Ish-mamna has decided to attract foreigners to her port by offering them questionable goods and services they can receive nowhere else. Consequently, Ekiddu is where the most foreigners in Nimmur can be found.

Shubat-Nammu: Capital's population: 1,250

Army: 1 pincer

Ruler: Prince Namrud XII, Seven Legs.

Dubbed the armpit of Nimmur, this impoverished state is all but lost in the forest. Many of the manscorpions from this state join the armies of other dominions or become bandits. To improve his state's position, Prince Namrud has recently begun touting the value of his central position among the city-states for trade and defence purposes. In light of the orc raids along the southern trade route to Herath, he has suggested diverting trade through Shubat-Nammu instead. Since his trade route ends in Ennamasur, blocked by the Ganlil River and miles away from Sur, the premiere trading town to the east, no one has taken him seriously.

Suneveh (Northern Shield): Capital's population: 18,200

Army: 5 pincers

Ruler: Prince Enshurnasirpal III, The Impaler.

The ruler of Suneveh has recently acquired medicine that should negate the effects of killer flies on the Wind Flats. Soon, settlers will be sent to support a major northern territorial expansion. This, so the manscorpions believe, should allow them to flank the pesky phanatons and ease their takeover of the prime forest lands of Jibar˙.

Sur: Capital's population: 3, 900

Army: 4 pincers

Ruler: Prince Nergil VII, Cotton Head

All the caravans between Herath and Nimmur stop in the capital of Sur, a rich trading town. The treasures of Sur make a tempting target for the orcs of the Dark Jungle. Most of the forests in the region had been cleared of orcish infestation threatening the dominion during the campaign of Nin-Shurgon. But as King Anupalassar II prepared to cross the Ganlil River on his way back to Er, the orcs arose in ambush. The king received his facial scar during this action. Regardless of how quiet things seem, there is always the chance that an orc ambush lies in wait for the unwary here.

Southern Shield:

Army: 5 pincers

Administrator: Lord Ishme-Hursag

This dominion belongs to the throne of Nimmur. The administrator's responsibility is to patrol the caravan trail and keep it free of marauding orcs-a tough duty. There is usually no sign of the orcs' imminent ambush when it happens. Hundreds of raging orcs suddenly rise from concealed holes dug into narrow forest trails. Others swing down on vines hanging from the trees. Attacks are sudden and deadly. The thick forest precludes the use of war chariots, relegating their use to merely patrolling the trails. This has forced the manscorpions to dispatch teams of convicts and slaves to keep the trails free of vegetation to a depth of 30 feet on either side of the trail. This is enormously expensive and dangerous. Teams require heavily armed escorts to prevent their escape and to keep the orcs from interfering with the work. Captured and wounded are taken away by the orcs and tortured for days somewhere under the dark and mysterious canopy of the jungle. Ever since the Nin-Shurgon campaign, the orcs have discovered the manscorpions' curse, and they delight in tormenting the manscorpions with sunlight.

King Anupalassar II has declared it against the law of Nimmur to venture along the southern trail without a full military escort. Some break the law and later their twisted, charred remains are found, grotesquely propped up on bamboo sticks as a sinister warning to others.

No sane warrior wants to be transferred to this military outpost. Bribery to escape such an assignment is common and manoeuvring to have an enemy posted there is almost as frequent.

Low Realm of Apsur: Total population: 80,000 manscorpions, no outsiders

Army: 12 pincers

Ruler: Queen Tigurta I, The Taciturn.

This is the underground kingdom of the old Sohktars. Its deep caves spread as far as the centre of the Forbidden Highlands with tunnels and cracks connecting to the ziggurats of Er, Asur, and Suneveh, and a few other secret spots in the Forbidden Highlands. Although a subject kingdom of Nimmur, Apsur is at risk of breaking away. The queen is a High Priestess of Nin-Hurabi, who resents the authority of the surface king.

Though ostensibly allies, all the dominions vie for prestige and power and none are above secret raids or nuisance attacks against the others. Political manoeuvring among the rulers is the norm, and opportunistic self-advancement abounds.

Manscorpions as PCs

Though most manscorpions are low, conniving, and cruel, some few of them have good hearts and have recently helped the enduks (and the ee'aar) regain a foothold in Nimmur. Player character manscorpions must be from among the manscorpions who assisted in this retaking the city of Um-Shedu. These manscorpions have subsequently had the curse of their kind removed by the Immortal Ixion. There is one exception to this: If a player wishes to labour under the difficulties of Idu's curse, the DM could allow the playing of a non-evil manscorpion who seeks to throw off the evil associated with his kind and be redeemed through valorous and righteous deeds. In that case, the goal of a campaign (at least for that character) would be to prove his or her worth to such an extent that Idu takes notice and lifts the curse.

To distinguish them from the common manscorpions of Nimmur, those who are player characters are referred to as Um-Shedu manscorpions. PC manscorpions are as likely to be female as male, and there is no sort of ranking based on gender or racial belief in the superiority of one sex over another. Though they no longer need to wear makeup and masks, Um-Shedu manscorpions may feel uncomfortable without them or may decide that wearing them allows them to blend in with the rest of the manscorpion population when necessary. Certainly, on any spying mission, they will not wish to draw attention to themselves by dispensing with the outer trappings all common manscorpions need to survive.

Nimmurian manscorpions have a venomous sting that ranges from a weak sleep poison to one that is instantly lethal. Because the curse has been lifted and they are no longer so filled with vitriolic hatred, PC manscorpions' stings produce only sleep poison, though its efficacy rises with their levels. For every three levels of the character, victims of Um-Shedu manscorpion stings save vs. the poison at a -1 penalty, up to a maximum penalty of -4. Those who fail to save vs. poison when stung by an Um-Shedu manscorpion feel woozy and disoriented during the round after being stung. In the second round, they fall asleep for 2-16 rounds and cannot be roused during that time unless they receive a neutralize poison spell.

Um-Shedu manscorpions are immune to other manscorpions' venom. They also receive a +2 to their saving throws against all other types of poison.

All manscorpions receive the bonus proficiencies of artistic ability (sculpture, painting, and so on) or charioteering to simulate the knowledge manscorpions are usually taught. While non-warrior PCs are less likely to have charioteering, there is no reason to limit the skill to warriors if the player prefers it to artistic ability. It is recommended that PC manscorpions have the reading/writing and local history proficiencies as well, since they probably learned of the true history of Nimmur by poring over old records. No manscorpion, PC or NPC, may begin with a proficiency in astronomy or astrology, as those arts have yet to be introduced in Nimmur. At some later time in the campaign, after they have had the opportunity to be introduced to new ideas and skills, PC manscorpions may take astronomy if they have a non-weapon proficiency slot open. This might even be of particular interest to them if they know anything of the star device in Er.

Miscellaneous: Manscorpions can hold their breath as long as normal humans, but cannot swim at all. Water dissolves Nimmurian makeup in 1d4 rounds. The manscorpions of Nimmur (and Um-Shedu) have infravision and a natural AC of 7. Addition of body armour of AC 7 or worse only improves the manscorpions' natural Armour Class by 1 point. For body armour of AC 6 or better, use the rating of the armour worn plus an Armour Class bonus of 1 point. Shield and Dexterity modifiers to Armour Class work normally. Manscorpions have the following racial modifiers: All manscorpions take an initial penalty of -1 to both Intelligence and Wisdom scores. They gain a +1 in both Strength and Constitution. Though they can reach 18 Charisma, this applies only between manscorpions; penalise Charisma -2 when dealing with humanoids, -5 when dealing with demihumans or humans. Um-Shedu manscorpions are -1 and -4 respectively.

Language: Originally, manscorpions had a racial tongue that consisted of strange hissing and clicking sounds accompanied by varying tail positions and a few words gleaned from Common. This language has all but been forgotten since their takeover of Nimmur. A few scholars still retain knowledge of the ancient manscorpion language but it is a dead language for all practical purposes. Today, Nimmurian manscorpions speak Nimmurian, the language they took from the enduk. Most who have had any dealings with those outside Nimmur also speak Common. Those who have contacts in Herath usually learn Herathi, and more recently, manscorpions living in Er have begun learning Verdan in order to fully comprehend the Vilaverdans who occupy Porto EscorpiŃo.

Character Classes/Kits: Manscorpions may be fighters, priests, wizards, thieves, or psionicists (if psionics are used). Though unsuited to being thieves due to the inevitable clicking or clashing sound they make when moving, some do choose that class. Manscorpions do not acknowledge different schools of magic, and therefore do not become specialist wizards. PC manscorpion priests must worship Idu (Ixion) or Ilsundal (head of the ee'aar pantheon). Manscorpions can choose from the following multiclass combinations: fighter/thief, fighter/priest, or fighter/psionicist (if the class is allowed).

Available kits include Inheritors, Nobles, or Swashbucklers, so long as they meet the class requirements as detailed in the SAVAGE COAST Campaign sourcebook. Furthermore, manscorpion fighters may become Defenders or Honourbound; wizards may choose to be Militant Wizards or Mystics and their priests may be War Priests or may choose an appropriate kit (with DM approval) from The Complete Priest's Handbook. Manscorpion thieves may opt to be Scouts, Bandits, or Spies.

History

Several millennia ago manscorpions were savages who lived in small bands and occasionally preyed upon their neighbours. They were brutal and barbaric, but ultimately scattered into dozens of small, ineffectual bands.

About 1,700 years ago, Nithian explorers moved into the area occupied by the manscorpions, then known as Sohktars, and after coming into conflict with them, drove the Sohktars out. The Sohktars united their small bands into tribes and moved west. During the move, the Immortals removed all knowledge of the Nithians from the minds and memories of the people of the Savage Coast. The manscorpions believe that they simply migrated west, forgetting the reason for their exodus. Eventually, they reached the land of Nimmur, where the indigenous population, winged minotaurs known as enduks, welcomed them. At that time, Nimmur was engaged in a continuing battle with the orcs of the Dark Jungle and the manscorpions offered their help. Both races ostensibly worshiped Idu.

The manscorpions learned civilised ways and adopted the enduks' language, writing, customs, and culture. New priests arose among them, however. These creatures of hate honoured Menlil (Atzanteotl). Their patron's whispers led them to hate the Nimmurians and to desire all the wealth of Nimmur for their own.

Many manscorpions began to heed this counsel. Enduks began to disappear as greedy manscorpions captured them and secretly transported them to Herath, where Herathian wizards performed experiments upon them. These aggressive, conniving manscorpions were eventually found out. The Enduks expelled the manscorpions from their cities. Swarms of manscorpions who remained hidden underground emerged and attacked, seeking to drive out the outnumbered enduks.

The enduks achieved spectacular victories, casting mysterious rays of fire at the manscorpions from strange monuments set at strategic points within their cities. The manscorpions were amazed by these devices, which they had been told tracked the movements of the sun and stars. The star devices, as they came to be known, left fields of twisted, fiery husks, agonised manscorpions burning under the sun. But it was too late for Nimmur. There were too many manscorpions. One after another the besieged towns fell, and manscorpions massacred or enslaved those who surrendered.

The enduks, most of whom were contemplative, religious scholars, escaped with the help of their friends, the ee'aar-the winged elves. The ee'aar took them to the Arm of the Immortals where they could rebuild their society. A few brave enduk priests remained behind to try to destroy the star devices lest they fall into the hands of the manscorpions. Runes chiselled from most of the monuments and broken pieces attest to their success. Only in one city, Er, were they unable to destroy the device before being overcome.

One priest did make it out of Er with the key that allows voluntary control of the star device, but he vanished and its whereabouts today are a mystery. Occasionally, the stars align properly and the monuments in Er send out streams of fire that ignite unfortunate manscorpions, but their lack of astronomical knowledge makes the timing of these destructive occurrences a mystery to the manscorpions. Unknown to them, even if they knew the timing, they could not disarm the device without the key.

The manscorpions believed for a while that they had eradicated the enduks. Destroying much of the enduks' old art and written records, the manscorpions assumed the identity of the other race and began calling themselves Nimmurians.

Their evil deed did not go unpunished. Idu cursed them to burn in his sunlight in retaliation for what they did to the enduks. But after years of crouching in the dark tunnels through which they had reached Nimmur, they learned from Menlil how to make protective body paints, makeup that shielded them from the lethal rays of the sun. They could return to the surface, but only in a very perilous way, for the slightest removal of the makeup could blister and maim them or kill them outright. Returning to the overworld, they claimed the enduk cities for their own. Vast tunnels and underground areas were carved out underneath and between the cities.

Once entrenched above as well as below, the manscorpions profited from their stolen property. Their large flocks of sheep, aromatic resins, exotic perfumes, fine carpets, and exquisite tapestries all attracted trade. Increased demand for goods led to increased taking of slaves. Many of these are non-humans captured on raids; others are visitors who inquired too deeply into manscorpion affairs. Children born into their ranks are slaves as well. Sprawling slave quarters are a feature of each city, and slaves herd the sheep, build the ziggurats, tend the orchards, and do most of the physical labour in Nimmur. The threat of being chased down by the chariots of the manscorpions and having themselves and their families put to death by slow, torturous poison keeps most slaves in line.

Having traded with Herath for some time, they realised they could not keep foreign trade out forever; the manscorpions have grudgingly allowed visitors to encroach upon their surface. Their greed for red steel weapons persuaded them to allow a Vilaverdan trading post on manscorpion land. The manscorpions' leaders believe that it is better to tolerate visitors on the surface-and even trade with them-than to fight them forever.

Up to two-thirds of Nimmur's foreign trade is overland, to and from western Herath. Several tribes of jungle orcs secretly take bribes from unscrupulous Vilaverdan traders to raid caravan trails linking Herath to Nimmur.

The manscorpions export spices, foodstuffs (figs, dates, nuts), salt, sheep, wool, carpets, tapestries, expensive resins, rare woods, fine oils, perfume, and dyes. They import some food (beef, rice, grain), wines, obsidian, silk, leather, iron, foreign armour (upper body only), and weapons.

Foreigners may come and go in Nimmur, though the vicinity of the ziggurats and palaces remain strictly off-limits to outsiders under penalty of death. Visitors are otherwise safe if they don't travel alone. Behind their appearances of neutrality, the Nimmurians conceal their curse, their burgeoning knowledge of the star device in Er, and their vast underground kingdom.

In the last decade or so they have fought actions against the orcs of the Dark Jungle and even attacked the Jibar˙ phanatons briefly before being driven out-their inexperience in forest and jungle fighting defeated them. At one point during the orcish campaign, the star device fired and killed several orcs who had managed to gain ingress to the city of Er. The manscorpions are now more determined than ever to unlock its secrets and use it to dominate the region. During the operation against the orcs, however, a group of enduks and ee'aar, aided by several non-evil manscorpions who wished to make amends for the old betrayal, attacked and managed to gain control of the city of Um-Shedu.

Presently, the manscorpions are quiescent, but war may come again any time. They are unnerved at the presence of enduks and ee'aar in Um-Shedu but have thus far been unable to come up with a strategy for retaking the city. They are planning ways in which they might take the Vilaverdan trading post for their own and they wish to expand into Jibar˙. For now, however, they have their hands full keeping their borders safe and their dominion leaders away from each other's throats.

The Land of Nimmur

Capital: Er (Pop: 19,700 manscorpions and outsiders)

Army: 6 pincers

Ruler: Anupalassar II, The Fire-branded, oldest son of Dargon I. Royal lands include the area around Er and the Southern shield. The family domain is Asur.

Patron: Menlil

Flora and Fauna

Nimmur is an agricultural treasure land. Approximately half the country is covered by rich farmland and pasturage. Though the large rivers are to be found farther east, the western and central portions of the country are watered by numerous streams that flow down from the foothills to the north. Nimmur is able to produce enough food to feed itself and sell its excess to other lands. For the most part, the farm and pasture lands are tamed and free of large predators. Rabbits, field mice, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and hawks are plentiful, as are songbirds, owls, and insects. Occasionally, wolves emerge from the woods to harry the sheep that provide food and clothing for the manscorpions.

Land not under cultivation produces another necessary commodity-mud. Almost every building in Nimmur is constructed of dried mud bricks coated with bitumen. Slave labourers industriously turn out mud bricks for new buildings and repair those that have been damaged.

Light forest covers much of the rest of the country, with a small patch of heavy forest near Ennamasur. Many of the older hardwoods and other deciduous trees have been felled and replaced by orchards of apple, cherry, peach, and even orange trees. Many other trees are valued for their aromatic resins or the rare spices they produce. Again, because this area relies so heavily on agriculture and crops, there are few large predators. Bears and wild cats have been encountered along with wolves in the more northerly woods and foothills, and raids from phanatons seeking to keep their borders safe from encroaching manscorpions are an occasional threat.

The coast offers a few good harbours for traders, most especially at Porto EscorpiŃo, the Vilaverdan trading port, which has claim to the best harbour in Nimmur. This fortified trading centre also features a marvel: the Lighthouse of Porto EscorpiŃo.

The City of Er

Er is the capital of Nimmur both because of its size (it was the largest city of the enduks) and because it is here that the fleeing enduks failed to fully dismantle their star device. The star device consists of two strange looking columnar monuments that stand in the courtyard of the great temple of Er. From that point, a curious pattern is formed by a series of monuments extending throughout the city.

The city itself is a rough circle, with crisscrossing streets and numerous dwellings and businesses and a central market area. Dominating the whole is a walled area that encloses the palace and the tall, colourful ziggurat of the great temple. Foreigners are becoming a more common sight to the manscorpions of Er, but the elaborately painted, masked, and garbed manscorpions remain strange and unreal to visitors.

The Star Device

The ancient Nimmurians were granted special knowledge by Idu. The Immortal taught them how to construct a device that would capture and store the energy of sunlight, moonlight, and starlight. The energy thus stored was directed at the temple, where it was collected and changed into raw power to augment spell effects. These devices were intended to enhance beneficial and protective spells used for the good of the people. Star devices were constructed in almost every Nimmurian city.

To keep the devices from becoming too powerful, they were constructed so as to only function during certain stellar alignments. Though they collected energy all the time, it was only during particular times that the energy could be drawn off and used. The enduks used the devices to augment healings and protections, and for light spells to illuminate their cities.

They also served another function, known only to the priests and the ruler. The energy in the monuments could be directed outward in beams of destructive fire for use against invading enemies. Looking through a viewing crystal, the priests could locate attackers in the city and direct the beams of energy at them through a special key that controlled the device.

This key was also used during the times when the energy was drawn off from the monuments and into a special collector inside the temple. Without the key, the devices can neither release their energy into the collector nor be directed at particular targets. Without the viewing crystal, there is no way to correctly aim the device. The one device still functioning in Er lacks both the crystal and the key. The manscorpions do not know they need them.

There has been no way to safely release the energy since the enduks were driven out. Periodically, the monuments must expel excess energy or risk explosion. They do this by spitting out random streams of fire 12 hours after the time when they would have otherwise sent their energy to the collector in the temple. To the manscorpions, who lack astronomical knowledge, this seems a random and unpredictable occurrence.

The energy from the star device of Er does 10d6+10 points of damage to any target caught within its ray of fire. The ray is 120 feet long and 15 feet wide. For all practical purposes, any manscorpion (except Um-Shedu manscorpions) caught in the ray, even though protected by makeup, is thoroughly crisped, burst apart, and killed (no saving throw) by the direct application of Idu's power.

Um-Shedu

The small city of Um-Shedu has recently been liberated by a determined band of enduks, ee'aar, and non-evil manscorpions. During a recent orc uprising, the group travelled to the Forbidden Highlands and struck down into the city, taking the defenders by surprise and driving them out. They flooded nearby tunnels and blocked others with strategic cave-ins, rendering them useless to the manscorpions. Using the engineering skills of the enduks, the new defenders of Um-Shedu constructed a stone and mud-brick barrier that blocks access to the city from the south, west, and east. To the north, the elevations of the Forbidden Highlands provide protection from creatures that cannot fly.

The defenders have kept their patrols frequent and well-armed. Spies have failed to infiltrate their councils and manscorpion chariots and soldiers are stymied by the barricades. Siege manoeuvres do not work against creatures who have merely to fly elsewhere and return with edibles, and the city is served by an artesian well. Manscorpion spellcasters are countered by ee'aar and enduk spellcasters; despite their best efforts the manscorpions have been unable to dislodge those in Um-Shedu. The defenders hope to fortify the city so it can be used as a staging area from which to launch attacks against the rest of Nimmur.

The Manscorpion Pantheon

The early Sohktari clergy removed all references to ancient Nimmurian patrons, save perhaps in some forgotten ruins outside the cities. They replaced them with an adaptation of their own pantheon.

The beliefs of today's manscorpions of Nimmur reflect the duality in their lives: the dark underworld from which they come, and the sunlit world above for which they yearn-but is deadly. Death under the sun represents a mystical cycle that started with the break from Idu-Ixion and a return through his flames.

Beyond those listed below, many minor Immortals have places in the Nimmurian pantheon, representing various aspects of Nimmurian life. According to ancient beliefs, they are all thought to travel in magical cloud chariots.

The spell effects noted below for manscorpion priests are special powers, not actual spells.

Menlil (Atzanteotl): Menlil is the Immortal who whispered to chosen Sohktars during their aimless journey through the caves of Mystara. He promised them Gilmun, a land of sun and light where they could dwell. It was he who encouraged the manscorpions to turn against the enduks and drive them out, and when they were cursed by Idu for doing so he taught his followers how to fashion protective makeup to shield them from the sun. Menlil is now the patron of Gilmun, the "land-above." Also called The Guide, he stands as the patron of war and revenge, and the chief figure of today's Nimmurian pantheon.

Manscorpion priests of Menlil can cast a cause light wounds spell three times a day.

Nin-Hurabi (Nyx): Nin-Hurabi is the patron of Apsur, the dark underworld beneath Gilmun. She represents earth, fertility, birth, the safety of the caverns, and ultimately, darkness. Nin-Hurabi bears no ill will toward the manscorpions. She only seeks to protect them and believes they should remain in the caves of Mystara. Nin-Hurabi opposes Idu, who is the embodiment of light. She despises the way he cursed the manscorpions. She also frowns on the way Menlil cheated the manscorpions with his shabby makeup trick and how he manipulated them into taking over ancient Nimmur.

Manscorpion priests of Nin-Hurabi can cast a darkness spell three times a day.

Idu (Ixion): Idu was the name ancient Nimmurians gave Ixion, their chief Immortal, who represented the sun. For the manscorpions of today's Nimmur, Idu has become the prince of perversity, an "evil" figure that no one should honour. His perversity lies in the fact that all manscorpions seek Idu's mighty fire and light, the attainment of which brings only destruction. To them Idu is the Immortal who betrayed and abandoned the manscorpions, but also he whom the manscorpions hoped they could honour again. Dying by his flame is both a horrible fate and a highly spiritual act, for it represents the end of a manscorpion's quest and a return to Idu's mythical realm.

Manscorpions honouring Idu are considered evil heretics by the established clergy. A few exist who suspect Menlil influenced their Sohktari ancestors into mistrusting Idu. They also resent Menlil's misleading promise of sun and light.

Manscorpion priests of Idu can cast a produce fire spell twice a day. They also receive +1 to their rolls when trying to turn undead.