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Places to Go, People to See: Irijiem, the City of Statues

Places to Go, People to See: Irijiem, the City of Statues

Medusa painted on a wooden shield by Caravaggio, circa 1592–1600 CEThis place—with its endless granite faces leering up at her—this place scared her. There was something wrong here; something wrong underneath the endless sand and the dust. But then, if thieving had taught her anything it was that all the things worth stealing are found in places like this…

Irijiem is an impossibly ancient fortress. Walled on all sides, it is less a city than a gigantic reliquary, drowned in the sand dunes of its own memories. Its name, in the dialect of the local nomads means City of Statues. Or City of the Waiting Dead—depending on how ominous you like your translations. Just who made the endless statues that give the city its name is a mystery as impossible to unravel as the history of Irijiem itself.

Every known race is exemplified among the statuary—from petrified gnomes in the midst of crafting a beautiful necklace to a ravening black dragon. It is as though something or someone scooped up a member of the world’s many species and deposited them in Irijiem. Pass beneath the dilapidated archway into Irijiem’s cloistered avenues and you will be confronted by the eternally watching eyes of the city’s paralyzed inhabitants.

So why come to Irijiem? Why trek into the midst of the desert, braving the enervating heat? People have, of course. And more than people. Irijiem is a paradise for creatures, themselves made or hewn from, rock. Golems stride through the chambers of abandoned palaces. Earth elementals churn the sand beneath your feet. Whatever left Irijiem ensorcelled in this fashion has drawn them here…and the chances are, it has drawn your party of adventurers here too. What lurks in Irijiem’s center? What unimaginable force has left behind only stone, sand, and ruination?

Adventure Fragments

  • At the center of the city are the remains of a fallen God—the statues throughout the city are the members of his cult who gave their essence to sustain his life. The players must find their way to the center of Irijiem’s maze to end the God’s malign influence over the desert.
  • The Rent: A gap, in time and space and reality, was accidentally opened within Irijiem by one of the most powerful sorcerers of the age. In the midst of creating a spell, this new spell turned on him and left the city marked with a terrible petrification curse. Although the city’s treasure vaults remain intact and ripe for plunder, spend too long within Irijiem’s walls and your limbs begin to calcify, your joints refuse to work, and your fingers harden at the tips…
  • Take a look at the statues. No…closer; notice anything? They are all male. Why? Because Irijiem is the chosen spawning ground of Medusae through the ages—the center of the city is a warren in which infant Medusae spawn…what does your party do? Lie in wait for the Medusae as they drag their chosen mates back to Irijiem’s shelter to breed? Or do they take on the darkness of Irijiem themselves and slaughter the infant Medusae before they can grow?
  • Long ago, the duergar infiltrated Irijiem, poisoning the water with dark magic and turning the inhabitants to stone. Now, the center of the city is the opening of a duergar mine, out of which they drag jewels of enormous size and minerals of strange, bewitching hues. But what are they and what is their intended use…?

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