The Lack of Metal; Water Rationing

Materials

Metal is rare and extraordinarily valuable as a consequence. Thus most weapons are made of one of the following types of materials:

Bone. Notoriously fragile. Weapons made of bone shatter on a natural 1. Consequently, most warriors carry several backup bone-knives into battle, and any adventuring group is well-advised to have a member trained in the art of bone-carving. Bone armour is the equivalent of chain mail, and breaks if the wearer is critically hit.

Black Glass. Volcanic glass, black and opaque, sharpened to a merciless point. Scrappy mercenaries and desperate pit-fighters dream of the day that they can afford a black glass sword, possessed of a resilience common bone-blades lack. Black-glass breastplates provide AC equal to chain mail.

Iron. Iron ores are collected in the immense mines of the northern cities. Iron weapons and armour are immensely rare and valuable, and most Diviner cities restrict their use to elite warrior-castes. Iron weapons deal +1 damage and have +1 to-hit, and iron armour is the equivalent of plate.

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Water, Currency

The standard unit of water is the drachm. One drachm is enough water to sustain a man for a day. Three drachms occupy one inventory slot.

Thirst. For each day that passes in which a character drinks no water, they take a cumulative -3 penalty to all ability scores. Should the penalty exceed their Strength (or Constitution) score, they die of thirst. (This means that an average character can survive for about 3 days without water.)

The Acquisition of Water. The exact nature of the Water Sight is known only to the Diviners, who intentionally obfuscate the truth of their powers. Can they truly summon water from stones, or are they only drawn to watering-places?

Somehow, water emerges from within the Diviners’ immense palaces, borne out in heavy armoured casks under the watchful eyes of throngs of well-paid guards, to be distributed to those Water Merchants authorized in its sale. Each day, citizens approach the Water Merchant shops, clutching the small stamped coins issued by each city’s government. One brass coin, marked with the Diviner’s countenance, corresponds to one drachm of water.

The wealthy like to flaunt their wealth by wearing their water on their bodies; sometimes, if one peers into their palanquins (escorted through the streets by giants encased in iron armour), one can see them reclining among sloshing heaps of water-bags. Heads of crime families flaunt their status with water in place of jewels or gold.

Brave prospectors sometimes roam the desert with magical equipment that they claim grants them a fragment of the Water Sight. They are tolerated by the Diviners as crackpots, since most of them never return. However, there is one village in the midst of the desert, called Artema, perhaps only legendary, but which caravaners whisper about over draughts of dark beer. The founder of Artema, it is claimed, drove a rod deep into the earth and discovered a wellspring of water beneath. If it exists, Artema is the only human habitation not controlled by the Diviners. And, if that is true, there is no doubt that the Diviners intend to do something about it.

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