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Most of the Empire's terrain was dominated by the World Pillar Mountains of northeast Zakhara. The rest of the Empire extended into the terrain surrounding the mountains, including the fringes of the Jungle of Monsters in the east, the desert wastelands of the northeastern portion of the Haunted Lands, and the hill country and plains bordering Konigheim and the Utter East in the north.
The River Ruin was used to transport goods and slaves, both by boat during the rainy season and with caravans on the dry riverbed at other times, from the Great Sea to the various provinces of the Empire.
Each of the eight provinces of the Yikarian Empire were classified as either Strongholds—areas without a temple to the Faceless God—or Safeholds—areas that possessed a temple to the Faceless God. Within a Sanctuary, the temple was usually located at the highest elevation.
Yikarian cities differed from every other city on Toril. Where most cities appeared to be a collection of buildings located close to each other, a yikarian city consisted of a single massive building with countless hallways and rooms for the inhabitants. Though a yikarian city was completely connected, certain areas were off limits to common yak-folk. These were usually rooms reserved for religious purposes or for the rulers.
One of the aspects that made the Yikarian Empire so venerable was the singular devotion of the yak-folk to their Faceless God. Yak-men honored their elders and they worked together as a society to expand the Empire and the desires of their god. Treachery and deceit against members of their species was almost unheard of among the yak-folk, giving them a distinct advantage compared to nearly any other race inhabiting the planet. This was counter-balanced by their relatively small population given the arid land in which they lived.
The Yikarian Empire was ruled by the Lotus Emperor—a younger yikarian who was ritually sacrificed to the Faceless God every 20 years. The Lotus Emperor acted as the High Priest for his people and as a direct spokesman for the Faceless God.
Slaves were by far the largest imported item of the Empire. They were also the most vital considering slaves performed a list of countless tasks to maintain order, not to mention their use as ritual sacrifices.
Exports included rich yak-butter, superb incense, bells, and bronze. Additionally, dwarven and human slaves crafted a variety of weapons and armor. These items were traded with Kara-Tur, the Free Cities of Zakhara, and various desert tribes. Some Zakharans believed that the nomadic Al-Badia provided slaves to the yak-folk in exchange for trade items, but this was not proven.
One of the biggest factors driving the expansion of the Empire was the need for slaves to sacrifice to the Faceless God. Conflicts with neighbors kept them from expanding with urgency, but the yikarians had agents hidden throughout the continent of Zakhara, all of whom masqueraded as the individuals whom they possessed through the use of their special magic jar ability.
Aside from the military forces of the yikarians, the mountainous terrain of the Empire provided an ample degree of security for any invading force to overcome. The sheer walls of the towering World Pillar Mountains encircled most of the Empire with stout natural bulwarks.
Despite their bitter differences with Zakhara, the Yikarian Empire would be the first line of defense for the Land of Fate should any invading force decide to attack the continent from the north.
Rumors & LegendsEdit
Barbers and merchants in Zakhara whispered that the yak-folk established a trading outpost at the mouth of a river within the eastern jungle. The existence of the outpost was not confirmed, but such a location would give them access to a host of new potential slaves within the jungle and on the Foreigners' Sea.
The secretive nature of the yak-folk made determining their alliances rather difficult. Rumored allies included the Brotherhood of the True Flame and the Everlasting. The Everlasting were connected with the Empire because they both made use of the marrash. The sha'ir Badiat bint Malin worked directly with the Empire to help corrupt the Ruined Kingdoms.
- Bronze Falcon
- Enlightened Ring
- Fiend's Wing
- Gate of Heaven
- Ghost Leopard
- Red Goat
- Sun's Eye
- Yak's Horn
- ↑ Canon material does not provide dating for the Al-Qadim campaign setting. For the purposes of this wiki only, the current date for Al-Qadim products is assumed to be 1367 DR.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 Wolfgang Baur (November 1997). “Campaign Classics: The Roof of the World”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #241 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 88–95.