Lost City of Fallen Sun
There are many legends amongst the cultures of Fallen Sun concerning a lost city in the depths of the impassable desert interior. Aku-Batambar is the name most commonly given to this lost city, said to have once been the capital of the a'Kesh Empire. Legends almost certainly predate the a'Keshamites, however. Dromad shamans undertake a journey to a mystical desert city as a rite of passage, and the Ura speak of the Home of the Ancestors.
Regardless of its origins, Aku-Batambar is usually referred to as a mirage city. It is seldom found in the same place twice, and its very substance can shift between a vague and insubstantial image to solidity in a heartbeat. Some legends say that people still live in Aku-Batambar, made from the same 'ghost matter' as the city, but most seeking the city encounter only the wild djinn of the desert.
Sometimes traders bring back items made of ghost matter, that they say originate in lost Aku-Batambar. Others speculate that there are more than just the one mirage city out in the desert, each one contributing to the myth of Aku-Batambar.
Cities lost in the desert are a staple of fantastic adventure, and a quest to find Aku-Batambar can involve encounters with dromads, djinn, desert monsters and rival seekers as well as the desert environment itself. According to dromad mythology the city will only appear to one in need, so it may be impossible to find unless the adventurers are suffering the effects of thirst, heatstroke, or both. What lies within Aku-Batambar, and the reasons why adventurers would seek it, depend on the gamesmaster's individual needs.
So-called ghost matter is the insubstantial illusory material that makes up Aku-Batambar and other mirage cities. It drifts in and out of reality, a result of ancient magic beyond the ken of mortals. Ghost matter can exist in several states:
- Insubstantial: In this state it is visible as a hazy, transparent, outline but cannot be intereacted with in any way.
- Incorporeal: In this state the ghost matter remains transparent but becomes more sharply defined. It becomes like other incorporeal matter, with a 50% chance that physical objects can interact with it at any given attempt.
- Solid: In this state the ghost matter behaves like any other corporeal material.
- Invisible: Sometimes ghost matter can retain its solidity, but become invisible to sight. In this state it is treated as an invisible corporeal object.
Optionally, some mortals may be able to exert their willpower over ghost matter. Whilst in contact with the ghost matter the character must make a Use Magic Device check and if successful the ghost matter will assume the state that they desire for one round. A character can Take 10 on this check, which is useful if performing an action such as walking up stairs that will last longer than a round. Concentrating on the ghost matter, however, is a move action.
The DC for this check varies depending on how much ghost matter is being altered. A Fine or Diminutive sized patch requires DC 10. For a Tiny amount of substance the DC is 15. This is the smallest size that a Medium-sized creature can stand on, or would be the equivalent of a typical hand-held object. For an area the size of a Small being the DC is 20, for Medium DC 25, Large ( a 10 ft. x 10 ft. patch) DC 30, Huge DC 35, Gargantuan DC 40 and Colossal DC 45, so it is generally impossible for a normal mortal to affect an entire building, for example.
Some characters may have a greater affinity for ghost matter, perhaps due to a heritage that relates back to Aku-Batambar. The gamesmaster might like to consider the following feat:
Ghost Matter Affinity [General]
You have an affinity for ghost matter and find it easy to bend it to your will. As a move action you can concentrate on a ghost matter item of Small size or less, or on an area of ghost matter no larger than 10 ft. x 10 ft., and convert it from one of its states to another. It will remain in this state for 24 hours or until you change it to another state, whichever comes first.
(c) 2012 The Creative Conclave.