In answer to Jeff’s 20 Questions:
1. What is the deal with my cleric’s religion?
All clerics are either of lawful or neutral alignment. The forces of chaos doesn’t grant any powers. Spellcasters with a chaotic alignment are always wizards, who rip the basis of their power with their on willpower.
2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
Almost anywhere in the great city of Alanu. Wares constantly flows into the city from its large empire.
3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
The blacksmiths employed by the gladiatorial stables in Alanu are accustomed with providing even the most peculiar creatures with armer. But armouring a monster or bringing an armoured monster into the city, for any other purpose than the gladiatorial games, will probably be questioned. The balance of power in the city is delicate and wearing heavy armor in public is often seen as irresponsible and provocative. Bringing a heavily armoured monster will cause problems.
If you need a armour for your new friend with less questions asked you should travel north to one of the dwarven kingdoms that are protected by or allied with the Alanu republic.
4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
Allitum, archmage of the Magisterium.
5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
Seluku the Hammer, devoted adoptive son to, and captain in the command of, General Balathu. Feared by all dark creatures that dwell in the north, and even more feared by the political opponents of Balathu.
6. Who is the richest person in the land?
Nobik Damu, victorious imperial warlord in the great northern war, 50 years ago. He is an very old miser who’s last public appearance was at the conclusion of the Glorious Purge 9 years ago. He is a conservative but of lowborn background. He prefers to influence politics from the shadows and have never sought to achieve senatorial rank. He seems to enjoy embarrassing his ambitious and frustrated only son Tabik Damu. Nobik Damu seems to alternate between his large city palace at the Spire and his wast lands in the north.
7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?
Most clerics devoted to the gods of Alanu can heal wounds. Easiest is to visit the nearest temple.
8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
Either the nearest temple or the Magisterium. In the city serious diseases are often helped by priestesses of Mother Alissu or priests of Belu. Death isn’t something to be cured. The gods decide who will be reincarnated in time. For mortals to resurrect someone would be the darkest of necromancy as it is a theft from the gods.
Undeath can’t be treated, only destroyed.
9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
All magic users in the Alanu Republic have to be members of or deemed trustworthy by the magisterium. The level of control differs depending on where you are. There exist a lot of illegal magic use in the country side but in the great city it is very unhealthy to be a unregistered magician. The Magisterium generally deals harshly with magical crimes under its own jurisdiction but is at least nominally answerable to the Senate. All legal magic users registered by the Magisterium are officially of neutral alignment, but some magic users are secretly of chaotic alignment. Prolonged contact with the powers of chaos is a capital offence. There also exist secret illegal magical cabals of chaos.
10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
In the City. Many learned men and women especially flock among the temples and schools near the Great Square of the Republic.
11. Where can I hire mercenaries?
In the City. Especially in the city district of Harbour or near the outer gates.
12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Heavy armour or amassing large groups of heavily armed fighters might be seen as provocative and a threat to the republican peace and order. Being a threat to said peace and order can be a capital offence. This is rather arbitrary and depends heavily on the current balance of power and overall political situation. Magic is regulated by the Magisterium and forbidden at many places throughout the city. Especially in the Senate area at the top of the Spire. A few times each year the Magisterium forbids the use of magic in the entire city for a day or two. Mostly without any explanation.
13. Which way to the nearest tavern?
Follow this street. Turn left at the next corner and you will see it.
14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
The countryside outside Alanu is actually rather peaceful. Some small desperate bands of escaped slave creatures, mostly goblins and ratmen, are hiding in trenches, woods and caves but killing them probably won’t make you famous. In large number, maybe.
There are rumours of a group of werewolves that feeds on slaves on the fields and sometimes flying monsters like griffons pass this far south. Killing them might be more worthwhile.
15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
Yes. The Alanu Republic is almost constantly engaged in wars with it’s neighbours. Especially against the dark elves and their allies in the north and against the orcish hordes in the east. The empire of the republic consists of a complex web of alliances, protectorates, provinces, vassals and military districts. There is always some ruler who needs to be assisted or put down.
16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
Yes. The games held at the Great Arena are famous throughout the empire. Most gladiators are slaves owned by gladitorial stables but a brave few are volunteers seeking glory and riches.
17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
That depend on what you mean by sinister. The Alanu republic is ripe with conspiracy but almost all important groups view their activities as means to defend and uphold the true republican spirit and laws.
There exist several secret chaos cults in the city. Most consists of the lowest sort of scum the city can provide the more dangerous ones count influential nobles among their number. Powerful people that stop at nothing to keep their secrets and to continue their unholy quest for unlimited power.
The dark elves of the north, who ultimately seek the total destruction of the Alanu Republic, have a lot of spies in the city. Especially among the non-human populations.
Secret groups of tyranists exists at different levels of society. Some of them still await the return of the Tyrant, despite his apparent execution almost 10 years ago. The Tyrant was a populist military and political genius who, for a while, gained almost total control of the republic until his sudden fall.
18. What is there to eat around here?
Rice, mutton, poultry, cabbage, carrots, olives, pierogi, pizza, dolma, figs, lentils, chick peas, grapes and lots of different sea food. Cows and pigs are rare in the empire of Alanu. The most common food is bread or porridge made of rye or barley. Wheat, a fairly new grain brought from the east has become more and more of a common sight during the last decades. Many conservatives say that the new white bread makes the citizens weak.
19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
During the rise and fall of the Tyrant, a decade ago or so, many important people and families were killed or driven into exile. This has created lots of rumours about great treasures hidden but never collected in secret passages and tunnels under the city. The Tyrant himself is thought to have hidden several important republic heirlooms. Most valuable among those; the Shield of the Republic.
Another legendary lost treasure is the elven crown last worn by Aix, the last elven queen of the city. It disappeared along with the queen when the founding fathers stormed her palace and has been sought after by both the exiles of Alanu and different elven factions ever since.
20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
Probably somewhere among the distant northern mountains where the dragons dwell but there is also rumours of a gigantic, treasure collecting, Kraken hidden in a watery deep under the city, or a least near it.