Shifty Sands of Athas (Dust in the Win)
Balic: City of Sails
An inside look by Anonymous (Deceased)
Powerbase of Balic Balic is ruled by the Dictator Andropinis, a powerful sorcerer-king who was elected to his post a few hundred years ago. Though the term dictator originally referred to the power of dictating a city policy sanctioned by a democratic assembly of property owners, Andropinis has converted the title and office into one of total authority. Anyone who speaks against him is executed by dictatorial decree. My life is put in danger by immortalizing this truth in writing.
Andropinis lives in a majestic palace of white marble, rectangular in shape and adorned on all sides by magnificent columns. This palace is located atop a stony, fortified bluff in the center of the city. Andropinis’ personal army consists of ten thousand highly disciplined foot soldiers who carry twelve-foot lances, large wooden shields, and thrusting daggers made from the sharpened thigh bones of an erdlu. Balic’s templars are unique in that the free citizens of the city elect them to their posts for ten-year terms. Andropinis is generally tolerant of these elections, though he sometimes lets the citizens know which candidates he would like to have elected. It fairly well known that the last time the “wrong candidate” won the election Andropinis made him “disappear” and, after a sham of a search, called another vote.
Like most Athasian Nobles, the nobles of Balic hold their lands from generation to generation. Most of them make their living from the olive orchards and grain farms surrounding the city, but a few own large parcels of the scrub plains, upon which they carefully graze kanks and other creatures, twenty miles west of the city.
Sights and Sounds Balic’s Merchant Emporiums sit nestled against the base of Andropinis. rocky fortress, in an area called the agora. The merchants do a bustling business in olive oil, kank nectar, and the decorated pottery produced by the city.s famous potters. The Elven Market rings the agora on all sides, so that it is impossible to do any legitimate bartering without first being assaulted with dubious offers.
Tactical Analysis Balic’s secluded location is quite defensible as far as the armies of other city-states are concerned, for it is impossible to approach the city from any direction except the west. Unfortunately, its close proximity to the Forked Tongue Estuary causes the city more than enough trouble from giants who wade ashore to raid. Every citizen in the city, male or female, slave or freeman, is a member of the militia. On a rotating basis, they spend every tenth month helping the normal army patrol the fields and scrublands in an effort to reduce the amount of crops and stock lost to raiding giants.