The following is the first hex encounter I had my players stumble across when we started the First Cities campaign. My plan over the next few weeks is to drop a few more of these on the blog before returning to some more world-building posts.
Located on a windswept grassy hill on the edge of the Sea of Grass, this 10 ft tall statue is made of polished basalt and is shaped like a single fist jutting straight up from a square pedestal. The palm of the fist faces to the southwest (back toward Khamaz), while the top of the fist looks northeast. Along the pedestal there is a message in Im’sarra script – four copies on the southwest side and four on the northeast side. The four messages per side are duplicate versions of the same message, using the four main languages of Khamaz (Salmukaran, Agadian, Niŝiri, and Qattaran). The statue dates to the reign of of the great Niŝiri king Enshakushanna nearly 800 years ago. If translated, it reads:
“Enshakushanna, Great King, King of the Four Quarters, King of the World, Fist of Niŝ, Servant of the Great God, First in Battle, Destroyer of Estates, He Who Lays the Yoke Upon His Foes, conquered all lands, all of them, from the Lower Sea to the Grass Waste. He trod his foot where no king before did. He washed his weapons in the sea. All knelt before him and kissed the earth.
Whoever obliterates this inscription, may Niŝ uproot him and destroy his lineage!”
Design Notes: The name Enshakushanna comes from a real Mesopotamian king of the Ur 3rd Dynasty period, but here I’m using it for the greatest and cruelest Niŝiri monarch (with the Niŝiri being my analogs for the Assyrians). The text of the inscription is closely adapted from inscriptions of the Akkadian king Sargon, who was the first monarch to unite all the regions of Mesopotamia under one rule in the 3rd Millennium BCE. Recalling that encounter, my players got into a great in character debate about entering a land where kings laid “yokes” upon its people. Fear of the Turok Horde (and the imperatives of the game) eventually drove them forward.
Featured Image: Text from the Codex Hammurabi, Louvre, Paris, used by Creative Commons License.