Dark Sun: Gulg
Sorcerer-Kings and Sorcerer-Queens are the uncontested rules of their respective City-States. They are immortal in the sense that they cannot die of old age or non-magical disease. In some cases, they cannot be truly killed, but can be stripped of power.
They are masters of combat and magic. Specifically, they wield vast Arcane power, and often mix this power with other disciplines. All can use defiling techniques to power their magic, but not all do so.
Queen Abalach-Re, Great Vizier of Raam
Raam’s Great Vizier is a neurotic and paranoid woman. Interestingly, and unlike her fellow Sorcerer-Kings, she makes no claim to godhood. Rather, Abalach-Re claims to be the earthly clergy of a divine being called Badna.
Regardless of the origins of her power, she is the most openly detested of all the rulers of the City-States of Athas. Whether her paranoia is the cause or result of this contempt is difficult to say. Her people openly despise her rule and her Templars. Her neuroses are seen as weakness, and her Nobles openly discuss her overthrow. Making matters worse, her relations with the other Sorcerer-Kings are no better than her relations with her own people. With such abounding threats from both inside and outside her city, her continued rule of Raam appears to be in danger of coming to an end.
That said, she has ruled Raam in this matter for a very, very long time.
Andropinis, Dictator for Life of Balic
Andropinis is actually the rightfully elected ruler of Balic, a position he has held for over nine King’s Ages. The position, entitled Dictator, originally referred to the power of dictating decrees and mandates of the elected general assembly to the populace at large. It was thus envisioned as more of an executive position than a legislative one. Unfortunately for the proudly democratic people of Balic, they had no idea how long lived the sorcerer would be when they elected him to a life long term. He claims no divinity, and has revealed that his a mighty and immortal warlock. There are rumors the general assembly once voted to have him reveal the nature of his warlock pact (i.e. who is the benefactor). He vetoed the directive.
At those times when Andropinis is willing to hear the dissenting opinions of the city’s general assembly, he gleefully reminds them of his legitimate and life-long appointment. In the hundreds of years he has held the position, Andropinis usurped whatever power the other branches of the government once held, although those branches still exist.
Erosion of democracy notwithstanding, Andropinis is credited with tolerating the most egalitarian of all the City-States. He is a seemingly rational individual, and has created (or allowed) policies that engender a powerful economy. Andropinis interferes little with the elected assembly’s governance of day-to-day life in his city. Socially outgoing and possessed of a powerful intellect Andropinis is known to greatly enjoy sparring in words with able opponents. It was no accident that earned him his life long post, for Andropinis is charismatic and a champion orator.
Lord Dregoth, former God-King of Giustenal
Some Dray speak of their Creator, a former Sorcerer-King who transcended to godhood. The claim he still lives, deep in the bowls of Athas itself. For those who know of such things, the Levy is still collected from Dregoth, a sign that even transcendence is not enough to limit the influence of the Dragon.
Hamanu, The Lion, Warrior King of Urik
Many of the Sorcerer-Kings are avid patrons of gladiatorial sport. From the Forest Arena to the Gladiatorial Coliseum, all the City-States are known for state arenas with regular tournament schedules. Yet, of all the arenas, only The Pit of Black Death of Urik has seen its patron actively participate in the sport itself.
This hands-on approach extends to more than just the games. Hamanu is very active in the rule of his city, passing down edicts and enforcement protocol in the form of his Code of Laws. What’s more, the Lion personally trains with them nearly every day. Not only do his troops bear witness to his physical power, they also see he holds himself to the same standards of discipline he holds his subjects.
Still, while Hamanu’s templars believe he is a god. He does nothing to thwart or encourage his belief.
King Kalak, The Tyrant of Tyr
There can be no question as to the demands Kalak makes upon citizen and slave alike within his City-States. His slaves work seemingly endless shifts in the Iron Mines of Tyr. Kalak appears old and frail, but has the grip of a trained warrior. He rarely works magic in front of his people, but claims he is a god. His Templars viciously stamp out other beliefs, although he does not demand reverence or ritual from his people.
Kalak seems to lack any form of patience, and executes frequently. His Templars are called clergy at times, but are in fact bureaucrats. Templars of Tyr were once known for honesty and straight-forward natures. Templars known to have displeased The Tyrant usually ended their lives as part of the Levy. That seems to have changed recently, as rumors of corruption in the Templarate abound.
Lalali-Puy, Goddess of Forests, The Oba of Gulg
The Oba has achieved what most Sorcerers of Athas can only dream of: she is a Goddess in the hearts of her people. As such, she may be the only Athasian monarch with the genuine support and admiration of her subjects. She peaceably accepted the leadership of Gulg from her people, although they believe it took the sacrifice of 1000 people to bind her to a mortal form. Since that time, her impressive powers and exemplary command of nature rituals elevated her status, in the eyes of her people, from matron to deity.
Lalali-Puy seems to uphold an almost druidic sense of reverence for nature. She is very strict about environmentally sustainable practices to support her city. Further, defilers are hard to find in Gulg, save the Goddess herself. Her slaves are constantly busy planting trees and shrubbery in an effort to expand the Crescent Forest within which her city resides. This, of course, puts her explicitly at odds with Nibenay’s emphasis on a lumber based economy for his city. As the Shadow King decimates the forest from the North, the Oba expands it from the South. This conflict may, ultimately, be the truest basis of the Oba’s status among her people: they believe, rightfully so, that the vast powers of their Oba are all that preserves their lives in the face of the threat of destruction and enslavement at the hands of Nibenay’s Shadow King
Nibenay, The Shadow King of Nibenay
The Shadow King is a bizarre and secretive ruler whose eerie title only begins to convey his nature. Impossibly old, he founded the eponymous Nibenay well over a millenium ago. His citizenry barely knows him to exist at all, as it is his way to spend all of his time within his walled off inner city. His public appearances are so rare that rumors of his death and conspiracy theories of the Templars perpetuating the charade of his existence to maintain their position of power are commonplace. When these rumors and theories are sufficiently pervasive to support civil unrest, usually once per generation, Nibenay himself emerges to quash the disobedience personally. He then retreats back to his sanctum, content to leave matters in the hands of his priesthood until the current generation forgets and the cycle repeats.
All of Nibenay’s Templars are women, and they encourage worship of their husband-ruler. Conjecture exists that each serves him as both wife and priestess. His Templars are the only people to move freely between Nibenay’s private inner city and the larger City-State over which he presides. Slaves that are taken into the compound never return, and Nobles and freemen are never allowed within. The rumors of the dark experiments and practices within the inner city are too terrible to deserve retelling.
The Master and Father of Draj, Tectuktitlay
Tectuktitlay is a vile and tempestuous man whose favorite pastimes are human (or demihuman) sacrifice and basking in the worship he requires of his people. None can say how old Tectuktitlay is, or how long he has ruled Draj because the King prohibited discussion of such information long ago. In fact, The Master and Father of the Two Moons spends a great deal of time and effort in building upon his own mystique. Presumably, this adds credence to his deification. The results speak for themselves: whether or not he is truly believed to be a God by his people, they certainly worship him as such.
Tectuktitlay is among the more hands-off rulers of the Athasian Tablelands. Still, his rule is felt in the form of the tribute he demands of his people and the cultural impact his recreational preferences have on his City. As miserable as its people may be, Draj prospers because of, not despite The Father of Life. He is credited with the invention of the chinampas based agriculture that fill the mud flats surrounding the city with high yield crops (generating the food surplus that drives the economy). Further, Tectuktitlay’s penchant for sacrifice has made a viciously efficient war-mongering machine of his military. Even Hamanu is forced to take note of the might, and constant activity, of Draj’s armies, busy as they are collecting people for sacrifice. And for good reason: Tectuktitlay collects from the people at large when the war prisoner slave pens run short of victims to fulfill his indulgence.
Kalid-Ma, Lord of Death
The city Kalidnay was once a mighty and glorious necropolis-city. The city was more open to magical power than most of its neighbors. Temples, pyramids and great stone statues colored the landscape. Then, in a single night, every living being of the city disappeared, including its ruler, who styled himself as a god of death. Some believe, he finally claimed what was his all along; the lives of his worshipers.
Sorcerer-Kings located out of the Tyr Region
King Daskinor, Goblin-Death
Daskinor, the mad king of Eldaarich, happily uses his name from the cleansing wars. Being that most Athasians have never even heard of goblins, no one seems to care that he eliminated an entire race of beings. (Three races actually, including Goblins, Hobgoblins and Bugbears). Still, everyone knows that Daskinor is completely insane, having developed a severe case of paranoid schizophrenia. His power is still great, although waning. No one has slain him, but his madness has extended to his people. At this point, Eldaarich likely would have fallen without house Azeth, who deals with them constantly. In the centuries of Daskinor’s rule, he has never targeted Azeth, demonstrating that even through his madness, he is still a cunning Sorcerer-King.
Oronis of Kurn
Whatever titles Oronis held have disappeared into the wastes, as most believe his city will. With a population of 2000, it is the smallest City-State on Athas. Oronis wears beautiful silk robes, a golden circlet and a halo of light around his head, and gold painted wood staff. These adornments are in stark contrast to his dying city. In truth, House Azeth wields more power in the city than he does. Still a powerful secret resides in Kurn; one that could bring open war to the Tyr Region; war which hasn’t been seen since the Red Age.