Shifty Sands of Athas (Dust in the Win)
The Free City of Tyr
A Traveler’s Guide by Rejik Kahn (Former Tyrian Arcane Scholar)
As far as most Athasians are concerned, Tyr has always existed. Certainly it has endured through the entire Desert Age, and even with the fall of its sorcerer-king, it seems likely to endure for centuries to come. And throughout all the long years of its existence, it was a city-state enslaved.That has all changed. In the courts of the other city-states, rumors of King Kalak’s overthrow are only whispered, but in Tyr, the repercussions howl through the streets. Many scheme to succeed Kalak, and the templars and other power groups vying for control struggle to keep the city-state from disintegrating into anarchy at the hands of people eager to enjoy their freedom. Nobles and merchants clamor for influence, and commoners and freed slaves openly celebrate, challenging civic authority and social boundaries at every turn.
In Tyr, a number of groups fight for power in the wake of Kalak’s death. Fortunately for Tithian and the other templars, no single group has managed to consolidate its influence enough to challenge the new king’s rule. Members of these factions meet frequently, sometimes in large gatherings, to make decisions and forge treaties that affect the balance of
power in the city-state. This makes Tyr a flashpoint of intrigue and change on Athas.
Population: Roughly 15,000 within the city walls, and about as many in the noble estates and villages of the Tyr Valley. Humans are the majority, constituting two-thirds of the population. Dwarves, elves, goliaths, and muls make up most of the rest.
Water: Seventeen public wells reach down below Ty to tap one of the deepest, oldest aquifers on Athas, fed by runoff from the nearby Ringing Mountains. A Tyrian Guard detachment protects each well. Tithian (under pressure from others) has declared that each citizen is entitled to one hand-carried container of water per day. Those who try to get around this law risk being exiled. The city-state also has many private wells, such as in the King’s Gardens
and in the Templar District.
Supplies: A wide variety of basic supplies is available in the Caravan and Merchant Districts, as well as in the Elven Market in the Warrens. Most days, a ragtag bazaar springs up near the Stadium of Tyr.
Defense: Most of Tyr’s army disbanded after Kalak fell, but the templars are currently rebuilding it as the Tyrian Guard. An uneasy mix of soldiers who formerly served Kalak, noble house contingents, revolutionary fighters, and freed gladiators and slaves, the Guard forms a standing army of about five thousand warriors of varying quality. The marshal is a mul ex-mercenary named Zalcor. In addition to the Guard, many noble and merchant houses keep large contingents of private soldiers on hand
Inns and Taverns: The Caravan District and the Merchant District have more than thirty inns and an equal number of taverns between them. The Warrens offers more squalid spaces, including abandoned buildings that host squatters
Tyr’s Code of Justice: Under King Kalak, “justice” was synonymous with the whims of the powerful, and no one expected (or received) fair treatment under the law. Today, the commoner-led factions in Tyr seek to address that problem. Bending to pressure from commoners threatening to rebel, King Tithian has charged the templar Tehosian with creating a system of law that presumes innocence unless a jury of three unbiased judges determines otherwise. So far, however, Tehosian has relied on the judgments of templars, nobles, and Tyrian Guard patrols. Those deemed guilty of minor crimes are fined; those found guilty of serious crimes are exiled from Tyr and sold into slavery. Truly heinous criminals are executed in special ceremonies in the Stadium of Tyr.