City of Brass (Dungeons & Dragons)
|City of Brass|
|Region||Elemental Plane of Fire|
|Ruler||Marrake al-Sidan al-Hariq ben Lazen, Grand Sultan of All the Efreet|
|Established||unknown (millennia ago)|
|Capital||City of Brass|
|Resources||Tin, copper, diamonds, fireweed, qamh, habbat, tergamit, verdobba, umbellin, crimson rye, sweet shiverrod, heavy woods.|
|Population||4,000,000+ (800,000 slaves)|
|Races||Efreet (40%), salamanders (15%), mephits (15%), humanoids (15%), azer (3%), magmin (3%), thoqqua (1%), other (8%). Slaves: elementals (25%), mephits (18%), humanoids (15%), thoqqua (12%), azer (7%), magmin (7%), salamanders (6%), efreet (1%), other (9%)|
|Languages||Jannti, Midani, Auran, Common, Ignan, Infernal|
|Alignments||Lawful evil*, neutral|
|Religions||Agni, Imix, Kossuth, Freya, Surtr, Hastsezini|
|Allies||Dao (trading partners), devils of the Nine Hells|
The City of Brass is first fully described in the original first edition Manual of the Planes (1987). It is described as "a huge citadel that is home to the majority of efreet" and is where their grand sultan lives.
The history of the City is long and storied. In the Age before Ages it was part of the vast empire of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa. Most relevant to the world of Oerth is the cautionary story of Tzunk, who once tried to conquer it using the Codex of the Infinite Planes. He failed, miserably. Fragments of his body are buried in the Tomb of Tzunk's Hands, a few hexes away from a portal to the City of Brass in the Burning Cliffs region.
Geography and climate
The City of Brass is built upon a 40-mile-diameter (64 km) glowing brass hemisphere that floats (curved side down) above rivers of magma and the fiery lakes and seas of the plane. At the Grand Sultan's command, the hemisphere can sink into a sea of flame so that the ports can be used. The city itself takes up only a small portion of the flat side of the hemisphere, the rest being used for agriculture, mining, hunting, and military exercises.
- The Pits are the mines, where slave races dig out copper, tin, and diamonds.
- The Slag is a dump where tailings from the mines are piled.
- The Obsidian Fields are agricultural fields where fireweed is cultivated as fodder for the nightmare steeds used by the efreeti cavalry. Also grown are food for the efreeti and other elemental races: qamh, a type of soft, spongy grass; habbat, a wild grain; verdobba, a nutty, dark purple tuber; tergamit, a fruit; and umbellin, a spicy brown bean. The bodies of criminals and deserters are used as scarecrows.
- The Sable Forest is a wild woods kept as a hunting preserve for efreeti nobles. The black, leafless trees of the forest, called serpent trees, feed on the heat of the plane rather than on light as do Oerthly plants.
- The Slope is the home of several wild plants, such as ziwan, crimson rye, and sweet shiverrod. These plants are a thorny weed, a soporific, and a poison, respectively.
The city itself is enormous in its own right, featuring towers, domes, and tall spires rising above the brass city walls.
The rulers and most common race in the City of Brass are the efreet, though other races - including humanoid ones like humans, elves, and so forth - are allowed to dwell within the city's walls as well.
The most popular deity among the common efreet, who are largely neutral in alignment, is Agni of the Vedic pantheon, the god who consumes all torches. Agni's faith is only tolerated by the nobles, who dislike Agni's message of redemption and immortality. Also extremely popular among the common efreet is the Norse goddess Freya, called Freyal by the efreet.
The most popular deities among the nobles, who are uniformly lawful evil, are Imix (the fiery Prince of Elemental Evil) and Hastsezini, the cruel Amerindian god of flames.
The fire giant god Surtr has an ugly shrine (the Smoking Hammer Shrine) in the city where the local fire giants leave offerings. The efreet acknowledge Surtr but do not worship him.
The Mosque of Kossuth, Tyrant-King of the Fire Elementals, has fallen into disrepair, as his worship is discouraged. No sultan has dared to tear the mosque down completely, however.
The absolute ruler of the City of Brass is the Grand Sultan of the Efreet, the Lord of Flame, the Potentate Incandescent, the Tempering and Eternal Flame of Truth, the Most Puissant of Hunters, Marshal of the Order of the Fiery Heart, the Smoldering Dictator, the Crimson Firebrand, Marrake al-Sidan al-Hariq ben Lazen. He rules from his Charcoal Palace in the absolute center of the city. There have been many different sultans or sultanas over the millennia due to coups and other deaths. Beneath him is his court, a vast host of sycophants made up of efreeti nobles of various ranks.
The nobles enjoy close relationships with the lords of the Nine Hells, exchanging slaves and perhaps even common efreet in exchange for the power of the baatezu legions. The devils have an impressively-sized embassy within the city.
The City of Brass has very strict laws. The punishment for violating them is often slavery.
The beys and amirs of the City of Brass are each responsible for a thurgur, or military zone, somewhere on the plane of Elemental Fire. Each thurgur contains up to four great fortresses, or albarrana. These thurgur are found everywhere on the plane, and each is ruled locally by a malik or vali. The only albarrana to be named in a published source are the Suhkteh Albarrana (Burnt Fortress), said in Planes of Chaos to contain a portal to the realm of Muspelheim, and Black Fist, which floats upon the Sea of Scorching Waves near the Isles of Scorched Bones, where the skeletons of some long-dead race are said to lie.
The efreet living on the Prime Material Plane are ruled by six great pashas who dwell within the City of Brass, ruling between them six fiery realms in the name of the Grand Sultan.
The City of Brass deals in slaves, both buying and selling them. It also trades in metals, gems, worked stone, colored glass, weapons, and the rare heavy woods of the Sable Forest. Trade with the dao and, to a lesser extent, other races of genies is brisk. The efreet trade slaves, servants, and information with the Nine Hells; osyluths, cornugons, and even the occasional pit fiend are not uncommon sights in the city.
Raw materials grown or mined within the glowing hemisphere of the City of Brass itself include tin, copper, diamonds, fireweed, qamh, habbat, tergamit, verdobba, umbellin, crimson rye, sweet shiverrod, and the aforementioned heavy woods.
A conduit leading to and from the Elemental Plane of Earth, the Iron Crucible, takes the form of a lava tube beneath the City of Brass. Efreet enter it when going to dao lands to trade for precious gems and metals, while dao caravans come through it bearing slaves.
As mentioned above, a portal to Oerth's Burning Cliffs is also nearby. Portals to the Nine Hells abound within the City of Brass; there are several portals to other planes in various places, privately controlled by various individuals. There is a portal to Muspelheim in the Smoking Hammer Shrine of Surtr. The transplanar path known as the Infinite Staircase touches near the City of Brass, across a fire-cracked plain.
The City of Brass is composed of thousands of streets and a number of major canals filled with flammable oil. Canals include the Sahhar Canal, the Albrazi Canal, the Great Canal, the Riqaq, and the Naranj Canal; the Great Canal is the largest, running from the harbor to the Basalt Palazzo of the azer. Brass bridges cross the canals; these can be lifted to let barges past. The main thoroughfare is the Street of Stelae, which joins the harbor to the Charcoal Palace. The streets observe strict curfews every night; anyone violating curfew can be fined on the first offense, lose a hand on the second, and be executed on the third offense.
The City of Brass itself normally drifts slowly; it can be moved quickly in an emergency, but this leaves a vacuum of power among the nearby subjugated races, and so is avoided.
The Grand Sultan has a variety of different military groups.
- The Unquenchable are the palace guard, some 3,000 black-turbaned efreet.
- The Eternal Crimson, 100,000 common efreet foot soldiers.
- Al-Asaf, the Sorrowful, are 25,000 horse archers and lancers who exist only to die gloriously for the sake of the efreeti empire.
- The 35,000 Angels of Death are archers mounted on nightmares, with a few undead mounts as well.
- The Striders are firenewt light cavalry, comprising 10,000 dragoons.
- The Black Eagles, also called the Ashes, are a unit of 3,000 battle-hardened jann.
- The Black Darts consist of 2,000 manscorpion slave-soldiers wielding javelins.
- The Bronze Phalanx are 1,200 azer siege engineers.
- The First Lancers, or Blazes, are 1,000 nightmare-riding medium cavalry.
- The Order of the Fiery Heart is the Sultan's finest company, 500 strong, used as ambassadors, couriers, and commandos.
- The Watchfire Legions are 40,000 efreet irregulars, mainly used as secret police.
- The 50,000 efreet of the Illuminated are the ordinary police of the City of Brass.
- The Sultan's Own, or Jackals, are 5,000 salamanders renowned for their cruelty and sadism.
- The Branded are 150 efreet eunuchs tasked with guarding the Sultan's harem.
The Sultan has a personal fleet of 90 booms and 40 baghla, hulled with stone and capable of sailing over magma. 10% can fly. The navy of the City of Brass includes 18,000 galley slaves, sailors, marines, shipwrights, and so on.
Other RPG companies have published versions of the City of Brass, among them Sir Robilar's City of Brass by Jeff Knight and Robert J. Kuntz, published in 2003 by Kenzer & Company, and City of Brass by Casey Christofferson and Scott Greene, published in 2007 by Necromancer Games.
- Cook, Monte with William W. Connors. The Inner Planes. Renton, WA: TSR, 1998.