Kharum first rose to power about 200 years ago, when a group of merchants established a headquarters on top of the ruins in order to more easily secure the shipments of gold and gemstones, particularly sapphires, coming from the mines to the west. Over time, their riches accumulated, while skillful trading with Zakhara and Aesidium allowed Kharum to grow past a small trading center into a true power. As to the geography, the south of the continent, where the campaign occurs, is a mix of deserts, mountains, coastal areas and river valleys. Kharum stands at the southern edge of the Raccadun desert, situated atop a massive mesa. It’s interior is explained in far more detail later on. It survives on water being pumped up from natural aquifers deep beneath the earth, which then flows out along its southern edge in an impressive artificial waterfall. Kharum controls the area around it, and further still through agreements with the nomadic tribes that live in the desert. The city has one more advantage, and that is a natural valley going south, stretching from a few kilometers south of the mesa, and all the way south through the mountains down to the ocean at the end.(edited)
To the east, the desert subsides, the land transformed by plentiful rivers coming down from the mountains south. There lies the powerful kingdom of Zakhara, Kharum’s main contender, ruled from the heavily fortified capital city Akhan-Sekh, located at the delta of the river Sekhem. The people of Zakhara are architects without peer, constructing impressive cities and edifices. The two great roads, one connecting Kharum to the Fahl oasis and from there to Akhan-Sekh, the other stretching from the Fahl oasis far north, to Aesidium, are their work, constructed in the past fifty years. Stories claim that Aesidium, when the city was first constructed, paid heavily for the services of a pair of architects from Zakhara, who established most of the city’s fortifications and design. To the north, lies the Raccadun desert, stretching for a good long month of trekking along the Sunstone road, and the small oases it connects. Further north lies Aesidium, a powerful city state that Kharum trades with. Returning caravans are laden rich with goods of the north, ranging from exquisitely crafted instruments, fine tools and weapons, to high quality lumber, works of art and printed books, which are still considered a rarity in Kharum. Stretching south from Kharum, descending from the mountains west is Ahrum’s Run, a long valley dotted by farms and plantations that extends all the way south to the ocean. It is controlled by Kharum and is the city’s main source of food. The sole ground entrance to the valley is heavily fortified, while the southern coast is a good hundred meters above sea level.
Finally, to the west, the desert stretches to the other far coast, which is far far away. The desert is mostly uninhabited, aside for the nomads. Stories and legends tell of lost cities and ancient monsters deep in the desert. A legend also states that somewhere deep, hidden by mirages, shifting sands and fierce defenders lies the lost capital of the Djinn empire, lost forever to the ages. Closer to the city are also the now dried up mines that once used to be rich in gold and gemstones. As the miners left however, many other foul things moved in, and today the mines are given a wide berth.