Daruna - Shalish Alliance


See The Darunites for an overview of Darunite culture.

The Shalish Alliance is the collection of Darunite towns and provinces allied as a bulwark against the advances of the Kingdom of Light. The primary member of this organization is the city of Shalish, the subjugated town of Goba, and the independent provinces of Bhavar and Chungal.


The Alliance controls a large swath of the central plain surrounding the juncture of the Tana and Chungal rivers.

Geographic Features

Chungal River

The Chungal takes its name from the town of Chungal which lies along its northern bank in the rich lowlands of the river basin. The Chungal is a major tributary of the Tana, its slow but steady waters building from many sources in the Twisted Lands and the northern edges of the Sangha Jungle.

The Chungal is navigable for most of its length throughout the year. It is less prone to spring flooding than the larger Tana making it an ideal travel route. Upstream from Chungal's borders the river divides and splits many times. The three primary flows that feed the main stream are navigable, but lead through wilder and wilder territory, controlled by the Rahk Tribes to the west and south, and leading into the wild Twisted Lands to the east.

Central Plains

The Plains are a large, relatively flat expanse of grasslands and veld that are generally bordered by the Gya River to the north, the Twisted Lands to the east, the Sangha Jungle to the south, and unknown territory to the west. The Tana River winds through the middle of this region. Human settlements line the many river banks and flood plains of this region, while the Rahk Tribes control most of the less fertile areas.

Tana River

The Tana is the largest river in the known world. It winds across the central plains, bringing life-giving water and providing a major transportation route to the various cultures that line its shores.

The Tana fluctuates with the seasons. It is subject to a great deal of flooding in the spring, and reaches its lowest ebb in the fall. The last 20-25 miles of its length are tidal and brackish, its course splitting and merging as it crosses the marshy lands leading to its mouth in the Bay of Svata.

The entire length the the Tana is navigable by fairly large vessels, though the shifting sand and mud banks created by the spring floods make local pilots invaluable. The river serves as a major trade artery for the entire region, transporting goods from the furthest reaches of the Enkaru Kingdom to the Bay of Svata and beyond.

Twisted Lands

These torturous hills and vales twist and turn through the scrub and forest east of Shalish and Chungal. The area is a maze-like no-man's land, occupied by outcasts, bandits and hostile creatures. The area's sole attractions are the many ruins and abandoned mines that dot the region.

Legend claims the hills were raised over once fertile and occupied lands in some great magical cataclysm ages past. The ancient ruins and tombs scattered willy-nilly across the hills seem to support this theory, as the writings and architecture they exhibit do not match any known culture. There are regular expeditions into the Twisted Lands to explore and plunder the ruins and tombs of this bygone culture. In particular the court of Ash-tep in Daruna has funded several major expeditions into the wastes, and rumors abound as to their goal.

Major Cities


Shalish is the largest city of the Shalish Alliance, and is the capital of the province that bears it's name. It is smaller in terms of population than Daruna or Loshma, but significantly larger than any other known city. The city and surrounding lands are ruled by King Lahkim Dashen II. Dashen's nephew, King Anda Kamase rules Goba as a vassal state loyal to Shalish, the result of a successful invasion by Dashen seven years ago.


Goba is a dying city, cut off from the life-giving waters of the Tana River when an earthquake shifted its course 30 years ago. With a shrinking population and only limited water available, the city was easy prey for a military incursion by King Lahkim Dashen II of Shalish, who invaded the city, killed the king and proclaimed his own nephew, King Anda Kamase, ruler.


Chungal is a prosperous city on the banks of the reliable Chungal River which bears its name. It is the capital of the surrounding provinces, and the seat of power of King Adini Parvag.

The fall of Goba was an object lesson to King Parvag, who has devoted a considerable amount of money and time to strengthening the defenses of the city and building a substantial army. Unlike the rest of the Shalish Alliance, Chungal has slightly better access to stone, and the city's defenses reflect this.


Queen Kala Vaita rules Bhavar and the surrounding provinces in the name of her son, the youthful Duri Vaita. Though the Queen has the support of the priesthood, the military is another matter, making the political scene somewhat unstable. Only the recent aggression by Shalish against Goba and the rise of Ash-tep have kept the military in check thus far.

Bhavar is the smallest of the towns in the Shalish Alliance, but benefits from its geography, being the Darunite city furthest up the Tana River. This makes it the preferred trading partner for the various Enkaru and Rahk groups that use the river as a trade route.


The Shalish Alliance is primarily inhabited by the Darunites. This is particularly true in Shalish and Goba, which are much less accepting of other races than Chungal or Bhavar. The population of Chungal includes a small number of Rahk, mostly transients. Bhavar has both an established Rahk presence as well as a fair population of Enkaru.


A majority of the Alliance's population is concentrated in and near the various cities of the region, with the balance spread along the rivers and canals in smaller villages and towns.


The defining features of the Alliance's culture are:


The vast majority of the Alliance worship the Daru Pantheon, with Daru himself as the primary figure of their religious practice. There are small and growing groups who have begun worshiping Ash-tep as the avatar of Daru, particularly in the northern reaches of Shalish and Bhavar.


The primary economic activity of the region is grain production. The majority of the population work the vast fields along the Tana and Chungal rivers. Goats and cattle are secondary food sources, but grain is the foundation of the Alliance's economy.


The needs of agriculture and flood control have forced the development of a considerable number of canals and waterways along the course of the major rivers. These waterways stretch for miles along either shore of the major rivers, providing both water for crops and passage for smaller craft moving between outlying villages and major towns.


There is little usable stone or wood in the region, making bricks the primary building material and pottery the main form of storage. Only the most important structures, palaces and temples, are built of stone. Clay and straw brick, commonly sun-dried as fuel for kilns is difficult to obtain, is used for most other structures. Sun-dried bricks are short-lived, and lesser buildings have relatively short lifespans. Towns tend to rise above the level of the surrounding plain as new structures are built upon the collapsed remains of old.

What little kiln space is available is often reserved for pottery. Pottery is used for every sort of container, dish or household item imaginable. Utilitarian objects are often left plain, but dishes, decorative panels or plaques and other works of art are often colored with locally produced greenish glazes and decorated with repeating geometric patterns.


The Alliance is a true alliance made up of several independent kingdoms. Each of the major provinces is a political entity in its own right.


There are three major and one minor capitals in the Shalish Alliance:


At the highest level the Alliance is made up of four separate governmental organizations, each ruled by a king:

As is common in Darunite culture, kingship is hereditary, but the powerful priesthood has significant influence over the selection of the official heir to the throne. It is not uncommon for a king to appoint a non-relative as heir, nor is succession guaranteed. Coups, whether started by the priesthood, the military, or the common man, are frequent occurrences in Darunite society. Typically the ruling king selects an heir and assures his support by the priesthood and military by offering appointments to various religious and military leaders.

Each ruler has a royal court, which includes representatives of the military, the priesthood and the populace. There are several important positions common to most Darunite governments:

Below the royal court, local government is controlled by a mix of appointed officials, local priests, and the highest ranking locals, typically wealthy land owners or prosperous merchants, elected by members of the Moshan.

Political Relations

The Shalish Alliance is essentially a military alliance sharing a common belief system united against the heretical Kingdom of Light. Shalish, Chungal, Bhavar, and to a lesser extend Goba all participate in this alliance. Though the conflict between the two groups is not overtly hostile, that may change when Ash-tep rises in the spring.

In general the Shalish Alliance has a neutral to friendly relationship with the various Enkaru who live further up the Tana River. Bhavar, in particular, is on good terms with Mabatani, a relationship which strengthens their otherwise weak position within the Alliance.

Relations between the Alliance and the various Rahk tribes of the Central Plains are neutral to strained. Land disputes, particularly in border areas, are common, and both sides engage in overt hostilities from time to time.

The Alliance has no real dealings with the Londari. Most Alliance trade for southern goods comes via secondary trade with Mabatani.

The Alliance has little to do with the Loshmati Realm being divided by both distance and religious schism. They also have little direct contact with the Kogani Tribes, though Kogani goods do reach the Alliance via the Kingdom of Light and Gya States.


Agriculture is the primary business of the Shalish Alliance, with the chief crops being various forms of grain, and fruit, chiefly dates, grown in scattered orchards.


In addition to grain production, the Alliance produces pottery for export. The rich beds east of the Tana River provide some of the finest clay in the known realm. Fishing is also important part of the local economy, though it does not provide much in the way of commercial export.


As with most of the Central Plains nations, the Alliance is rich in food and water, poor in metals, timber and stone.


The Alliance's chief exports are grain and pottery. They also have access to mineral deposits used in the manufacture of several unique glazes and dyes. The Alliance's chief advantage over the other Darunite kingdoms along the river is their superior production capability. The lands controlled by the Alliance are the best of the best, especially the broad swath between Shalish and Goba, the former course of the Tana River.

Most of the exported grain flows west into the lands of the Enkaru and beyond, but some flows north via overland routes, through the Gya States and into the Kogani Tribes.


The Alliance is technologically on par with the other Darunite cultures in the region. They have mastered writing, basic engineering, boat construction, and some forms of medicine, including basic surgery. They also have basic knowledge of chemistry, including the ability to refine Liquid Fire from naturally occurring bitumen deposits.


Darunite farmers use oxen to til fields with heavy multi-bladed wheeled plows. Temple scribes keep detailed records of financial, political and legal proceedings. Pottery is a high art. Roads are infrequent and often poorly maintained due to the lack of timber and stone needed to maintain the many bridges required to cross the network of canals and irrigation ditches used to support agriculture. Boats are a more common form of transport.


Construction techniques are limited by the available materials. Mundane structures are one or two stories high, and feature simple designs built of sun- or kiln-dried bricks. More important structures are made of brick with timber or stone supports. These structures tend to be larger and more enduring. The poorest and crudest form of construction uses bundles of long reeds as a structural material with rough clay walls applied for permanency.

Boats are either short-lived barges built from massive bundles of reed, or more permanent vessels made from precious imported timber.

Canals and waterworks, including aqueducts, are central to Darunite construction, and waterwheels power grindstones used to grind grain into flour.


The Alliance's military forces follow the typical Darunite model of spear- and bow-men coupled with charioteers and an elite guard unit. The scarcity of metal limits the armor worn by military personnel.