Campaign of the Month: May 2014
Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Located just 55 miles south of the Pre-Rifts city of Baghdad in Iraq, Babylon was a city-state which was built and prospered for centuries in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Babylon was at first a small town which sprung up at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. The town flourished and attained prominence and political repute. Babylon eclipsed Nippur as the ‘holy city’ of Mesopotamia around the time Hammurabi first unified the Babylonian Empire, and became the capital city of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 612 to 539 BC.
Almost the entire area around the Babylon of ancient times was suffering from the “Plague of Tongues,” one of the seven Demon Plagues foretold by the Codex of Souls. Because of the loss of language, the entire region was plunged into Chaos.
Locations of note within the area of Ancient Babylon:
Etemenanki is a ziggurat (pyramid-like structure) dedicated to the Babylonian god Marduk by Nabopolassar, king of Babylonia (c. 610 BC). Etemenanki has two entrances – one at the lower levels that is a great archway designed to be used for ceremonies and processions and the lay people. There are shrines and prayer chambers and a treasure room but no living quarters in the step-pyramid. A second entrance at the top of the ziggurat and adjacent to the sacrificial altar is another, more direct entrance, to the throne room of the king of Babylon. The ceiling of this room hides a celestial map of seven important locations throughout the “known world” of the ancient Babylonians – although close examination of this celestial map along side of an Orerry would reveal a hidden eigth location. The throne room was re-designed to be a sacrificial blood-fueled trap, but the spells to enable this effect have since been destroyed.
- Hanging Gardens
One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, they were constructed by king Nebuchadnezzar to please his homesick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the plants of her homeland. The top of the gardens was a door which led to a small time-altered dimension, where the god Mummuu made his home. Inside the god’s home there is an orrery that aligns perfectly with the celestial star map on the ceiling of the Etemenanki throne room. Time inside Mummuu’s residence passes much slower than outside – a fact the god was unaware of until recently brought to his attention.
- The Gate of Ishtar
This beautifully decorated archway must be passed through for those who walk from the city of Babylon towards the Tower of Babel. The gate radiates magic.
- Tower of Babel
The arrogant tyrant Nimrod (the great-grandfather of Gilgamesh) ordered the construction of this tower as a hubristic act of defiance against God. The tower was never completed due to the Plague of Tongues, which some say was the god’s punishment against man for his arrogance. The tower extends upwards to the heavens and downward below the earth’s surface, as deep as it is tall. There is a dark cloud that hangs over the tower, filled with roiling black crackling energy (reminiscent of the god Apsu). Inside the tower is dark, musty, filled with thick floor-to-ceiling cobwebs, and overrun with spider-demons. The greatest of them all (named simply “Widow”) was the goddess Ereshkigal, recently reborn as the greatest of the spider demons. The upper-most levels of the tower were filled with what appeared to be the disembodied tongues of the people, writhing and squirming and animated like little worms. In the furthest depths of the basement did lay a Creature of Chaos/Chaos Demon known as a Nexus Maw. The “tongues” in the tower were its extensions, used to find unsuspecting prey.
- Ubar, the Ectoplasmic City
When King Shaddad defied the warnings of the prophet Hud, Shai-Hulud smote the city, driving it into the sands, never to be seen again. Ubar is an underground city made of ectoplasm (a “Ghost” city) with a lake of antimatter at the middle. The lake was created as the result of a meteorite impact 20,000 years ago, and became known as Lake Eden. The aqueducts which run beneath Babylon and connect to the Tower of Babel also reach to the area of this Lake. The anti-matter in the lake was siphoned and there is now just a crater where the lake once stood. The book “The Nameless City” talks of Ubar: “It was of this place that Abdul Alhazred the mad poet author of the Necronomicon dreamed of the night before he sang his unexplained couplet: ‘That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.’”
A seaside village on the Caspian sea (in Asia Minor), Hyrcania is a people and place untouched by the ravages of time and unplagued by the curse of tongues. A peaceful fishing village that soothes the uneasy mind and welcomes travelers without any pretense of presumption, no matter their outlandish garb and strange language and mannerisms. The people here show visitors kindness and curiosity and appear to just be normal people living in a regular place eking out a modest, humble existence. The father of Zoroastrianism (whose symbol is the Faravahar), Zarathustra, and the world’s first alchemist, Tubal Cain, make their homes here. Hyrcania is not as much of a “where” within Ancient Babylon, but rather a “when” which transcends the time-frame of the Ancient world. There was no plague of tongues afflicting the populace, because it had already been vanquished. There was no Chaos there because it had already been defeated.
This city dedicated to the goddess Ishtar and her cult of holy prostitution was ruled by the best friend of Gilgamesh, Enkidu. The entire town is shrouded in a temporal shell, giving the illusion of continued prosperity and normalcy. But piercing the illusion shows the city is just as ravaged by the Chaos infecting Ancient Babylon as nearly everywhere else. The ziggurat in this city was home to the slain carcases of many creatures, all slain at the hand of Orion, the Hunter. Inside the throne room’s treasure chamber was Enkidu, nearly dead, and hanging as a hunter’s prize. Enkidu’s slow, painful, inglorious death/fate was the concocted by the god’s as a punishment for Gilgamesh and Enkidu, due to their slaying of Ereshkigal’s first husband (the Bull of Heaven). THe only creatures seen moving throughout the city are scorpion-men, serving the hunter Orion.
- Plain of Judea
The Plain of Judea is home to the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Bela. The Dead Sea and and Mount Sodom can also be found here. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are in a state of half-existence, seeming to exist simultaneously in Ancient Babylonian times and in the plane of Hades. The cities of Admah, Zeboim and Bela were razed by the Chaos infecting the land. The Dead Sea hosted a Xiticix-like hive-queen alien intelligence creature within its depths.
- Secret location