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Friday, May 11, 2012
Dwarf-Land: The Empire of Zoob
Scott of the Huge Ruined Pile remarked that the Empire of Zoob is one of the locations in his very cool Dwarf-Land that he was going to leave for individual DMs to develop. Given the information presented in Scott's original document, here's my unofficial take:
The folk of the Empire of Zoob are a secretive lot, freely sharing only two things with outsiders: commerce (which fills their coffers with gold) and cunningly devised tortures (which they work upon any and all who transgress their elaborate and harsh legal code). The nigh-paranoid secrecy of Zoob extends to the workings of its government. It is known that the Empire is ruled by a Cabal of Magi, but the members of this body never appear in public and only make their will known through edicts issued on anthropodermic broadsheets posted in public fora.
The religion of Zoob is likewise somewhat obscure. It's primary faith, the Cult of the Weird God (liturgically named Undying ul-Zoob-ra in the Empire), is divided into several sects adhering to different interpretations of the pronouncements of the god's numerous (the exact number also being a point of contention) prophets. The Undying ul-Zoob-ra, Himself,--or perhaps an earthly beast holy to the god (this is one of the doctrinal issues the sects argue over)--dwells in a palace-cage in Zoob's holy city of Baphoum. The god (or holy beast) appears as a giant anteater with the ears of an ass and the wickedly clawed limbs of a cassowary. At the Festival of Yala-ul-Zoob, the beast is led through the streets by gilded chains held by his attendant clerics so that his holy talons may trample ecstatic worshippers, thus ensuring their place in Paradise.
Men of Zoob dress in elaborate and colorful robes. They refuse to be seen in public without jeweled turbans and veils that hide their faces, save their kohl-rimmed, exotically colored eyes. Women wear little but gold ornamentation, tiny, sweetly chiming bells, and intoxicating perfumes. The Dance of the Bloody Scimitars, performed by a group of the women of Zoob selected by lottery when an execution draws nigh, is said to be the sight of a lifetime--and indeed it must be, as few if any outsiders survive it.