A person in a garment Description automatically generated



P17467#y1 The Heart of the Bright Lands, Sibola is the oldest City, and the root of the great tree of the Empire. Founded at the end of The Bleak Journey, it lies where the river Havenrill flows into the sea. Sibola is the Father of Cities; if what you seek cannot be found here, then try Durango for your criminal proclivities.

The City of Sibola, from which the Realm gains its name, is an immense city, circular as became the custom from it, with several rings. It is divided into five rings, each of which is separated from the others by a wide channel filled with water and this includes the outer ring, which is reach only through the canals or by one of the bridges – each ring is connected by eight bridges, each bridge tall enough for the great ships or able to be raised for passage during a bells. Each of the eight great roads meet at the center circle, where the high walls tower over the docks and therein lies the seat of the empire and the Imperial palace.


Official Name

The Empire of Sibola


A yellow and black logo

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The Promise of the People












Sama, Sana






7 Pointed Star























Known For












Sibolan Glaive

Light Crossbow


Cold, Dry



Piece Plate

Sibolan Shield









Respect Shown

A bow or curtsey. Women can only ever curtsey.


Women are to be seen, not heard. A woman who does not know her place should be taught it or better controlled by the man in charge of her.

Manners Maketh Man. A man is responsible for the actions of all those in his charge.















See Others

Not knowing their place, animals, uncouth and ill mannered

Others See

Can’t stand ‘em, can’t get rid of ‘em

Sibola is known as both the wonder of the Age, and as stuck hopelessly in the past. This mix of history and apathy are made worse by the continued absence of the Emperor, who decided that Zefir was his personal playground and hasn’t left the God’s Isle in a decade.

Those in Aztlan will tell you that the biggest problem with Sibola is there are too many men in charge of too many things, and this is not a false observation. While not a formal or legal rule in all cases, the truth is that men have the power in Sibola, and specifically Imperial men.

While it is true that the Emperor forbade Bards, there is no truth to the rumor that Empire is without song or music or dance or theater. It is still the heart of the world, and offers the most refined shows, even if they are getting a bit long in the tooth. Bards, being such, are generally unconcerned and simply avoid putting on shows that show the Emperor in a bad light. Wisely, as well: it is a crime to speak ill of the Emperor.

The Lay of the Land

The northern parts of Sibola start at the Gates of Isen, traveling down through the wooded valley that is the realm, surrounded by tall mountains capped by snow year-round. Ships and Riverboats handle much of the trade, but the City has a Gantry and is one of the two terminus points for the Train.

Sibola is mostly lightly rolling hills, with large rock formations that seemingly burst out of nowhere – some are remains of the Skyfalls, but most are simply exceedingly large stone boulders.

Sibola has quite a lot of forest, but fields are readily carved into it, and they produce significant amounts of food, including enough to export (mostly to Dorado and Islandia).

Sibola has several Towns, each supported by various villages, hamlets, and steadings.

Karovia is the best known of them. Monrovia is said to be the gateway to the Savage Lands of Hyboria (and thus Kahokia), Torovia is the major mining town, and Dispavia is a challenge being torn between the influence of Durango and the pull of the great Sea of Tranquility.

The City

The City of Sibola is the largest City in the Empire. It is a massive place, consisting of concentric rings of alternating water and land. The Outer Ring is connected to the Sea itself, entered only through the Gates of Isen, consisting of two massive statues (Dedicated to their patrons) reaching hands across the gate, the arms and clasped hands being the support for the massive metal netting that hangs from them plunging to the seafloor.

P17496#y1 The Vast harbor facilities are matched on the interior and exterior of each ring, except the final two, which have only a single Dock reserved for the Imperial Family and the nobility.

The waterways are crossed by massive bridges that are highly arched over wide passages able to allow five of the largest ships to pass beneath each at a time. Only four bridges cross to The Grand Arc, from which three huge bridges reach the mainland across three major caravan routes into the fields and farms of the folks who live around the great city in an amalgamation of hamlets and villages.

Each Barony is pretty much a large Village or a small Town all on its own and operates as independently as is possible under the Count’s ever watchful eye and the Duke’s administration. The exception is that all Inns are restricted to the Grand Arc, and Pubs are limited to the Outer, or First, ring. The First Ring is the Merchantry, the Second ring is the Guilder, the Third ring is Patrons, and Inner Ring is for Nobility and the Imperial family. The inner rings are walled to the sea, with slim, tall, conical cap watch towers that are spread every 50 feet along the 30-foot-high wall, the stone walls sheathed in a brilliant pink and white marble from the highlands, gleaming and inviting travelers to come to the fairest of all the cities. The walls are thick and house the Imperial Guard.

The Grand Arc is walled only on the landward side, with three mighty gates each housed in a twin towered gatehouse. These walls are of solid stone, the outer edges thicker than a man is tall, the height of the walls reach five stories, and within each of the four sections reside the Sibolan Guard, for the walls are where they live and work.

Outwards from the city, a vast wall rises and encircles the land two miles away from the first water ring, with four mighty gates. Between the first Water ring and the walls lie the vast farmlands that feed the city and house those who farm. Beyond the outer wall lie the pastures and more fields, stretching for at least five miles in all directions.

Do not let your usual first overland experience of Sibola – the high Gate fee of nearly ten shillings, or the high tariffs on goods from outside are but minor exceptions to the beauty and wonder that is the shining city. Sea Tariffs are no different – though there is some truth to the rumor that some baronies will charge overly high dock fees.


Karovia: Along the Pilgrim’s Path to the sacred green, oldest and most noble of the towns. The Baron there is bother to the Seneschal, and one of the most powerful rulers in the Empire.

Monrovia: Gateway to the wild peoples. Lots of contact with Hyborian and Kahokian folks. Site of the Treaty signing.

Dispavia: upstart little town that has far too much influence from Durangan Syndicates in it, known as a major mining town.


As the heart of the Empire, the principal power, there are some territories that it claims for itself, though two are in constant dispute.


A map of a game

Description automatically generated Buyan is a broad, rugged area of land where the two empires meet in the Southeast, and is the site of the ongoing Crusades, and the perpetual front in the war between Lemuria and Sibola.

The only known land route between the two empires lies through the pass that is protected by the Lyonian Town of Kayer Leon, and rather than fight a war there, the Emperors have chosen to take the fight to Buyan.

The Red Sea, southeast of it, is a known range for piracy and considered the most dangerous waters in the world, as the Navies of Sibola, Lyonese, Qivira, and Aztlan are joined by Corsairs and Privateers who engage against the maritime power of Thule and Lemuria within these waters.

Buyan is a hilly expanse, with the Lemurian-held forest to the southwest, and the Western Waste to the north.

Within this vast tract of hills and spare vegetation there stand innumerable keeps and towers, forts and camps, over which the two Empires war, sacrificing much for little gain, trading and taking, moving forward and falling back, as the time and circumstances dictate.

It is a stalemate, and neither side can risk stopping.


P17545#y2 Nestled comfortably in the Sea of Tears lies the island and city of Zefir. It is believed that Zefir could house a hundred thousand families and as many as twenty-five great Realms worth of royalty. It is immense, and the most startling thing about it is that no mortal hand built it.

Zefir was raised, whole cloth, from the Sea by the combined effort of the Seven and presented as a gift following the last War of Succession. The goal (and, thus far, success) of presenting the location was to give the leaders of each of the great Realms a place to meet yearly, at the Grand Convocation, where they collectively make decisions about the whole of Wyrlde.

Zefir is a large island, with sheltered coves, broad beaches, and tropical greenery combined with large areas for growing food and forests for wood. There are twenty-five distinct piers radiating out from it, each one just barely within sight of the nearest two, that are anchored to the seafloor by thick stone plinths and pier supports. Each can moor at least ten of the large tradeships.

Rising from the center of the island, surrounded by great beauty, and reached by five simple roads that are linked from the piers, is a stone city. The walls of the city are seventy-five feet thick and forty-eight feet high, capable of housing a massive army within the walls while also providing them with storage, billeting, and logistics needs. The five gates are flanked by two towers, eight stories tall, which control a series of three gates and can be used to divide and break up those entering for defense.

Within the city center is an enormous twenty-five spired castle of crystal, rising without break from the ground and the central feature of it is a vast chamber with alcoves and side rooms that surround a huge table of white, smooth, stone capped with an unknown metal. Around it sit twenty-five chairs, each equally ornate, and while most of them are blank, 11 have symbolic markings within them that were not put there by mortal hands. The chairs are a marvelously light material but extraordinarily strong. This place is the Council Hall. It has the capacity to support the rulers and their retinues of 50 or so.

Surrounding the Council Hall are shops, homes, stables, toilets, ovens, temples and more, all of them following a fairly simple plan of a single square box with a low walled side garden. Windows are filled with a mica like substance that is clear and hard, and do not open or move – the roof has several vents, however, that can be opened from within through a series of levers built into the walls. A large fireplace sits within each one, and there are rails for curtains across the ceilings. Doors are all hinged without any sign of break so they can be removed – it is as if it was all fashioned of one piece.

There is a strange sense that one gets when at Zefir that makes it uncomfortable for many. As a result, there are few who will live there year-round. The exception is the retinue of The Emperor and the Emperor himself. The Emperor has made Zefir his permanent home, and does not leave, and is guarded by his Imperial Troops and served by his retinue.

Early in the year there is an influx of people for two weeks as the rulers make their way to the island. By Flower 1st, they usually have arrived and set up, and that day is filled with ceremony as they begin the yearly convocation, which will end usually mid-week of the third week of Flower, around the 13th.These trips are both well-known and quite secret – the routes, the approaches, the whole purpose is obscured even though people know this is happening. The level of intrigue and risk of assassination are high.

The Vale of Dreams

P17554#y1 In the South of the seven Seas lies an immense vale cut in two by the River of Dreams, with the Lake of Dreams at its heart, and is the only full water route between the Outer Seas and the Seven Seas.

Laid claim to by Sibola, Aztlan, Dorado, and Qivira, it is a contested and critical space that is also one of the last ways to prevent incursions into the broader Empire by Thulian or Duatian ships.

All of the major Realms that lay claim to it have large garrisons stationed there, and it is an area of intense political and military tension.


Arabesque will tell you about how wonderful Sibola is, and how the Sibolan people are the most incredible and most amazing. They are the heart and soul of the Empire, and Sibola is the Oldest City, the Father of Cities. It is Sibola where we all finally stopped out long and terrible march, the Bitter Road, the Bleak Journey – and Sibolans never let you forget that.

Everywhere else, all the Seven Cities, has come from this one, and the world is defined in relation to it. Sibola has the most people, the best materials, the finest craftsmen, the wealthiest nobles, the most outgoing Merchantry and dedicated Guilders.

Sibola is the baseline against which all others are measured or described, the foundation upon which all others must reside. It is the seat of the Empire, the center of the world, and the people know it. Not just Sibolans; everyone.


Sibolans see themselves as the best of the rest and view their startlingly clean city as a shining example for all those others who were disgruntled and troublemakers. They have a deep and abiding mistrust of Bards and Mages, especially any who have ties to Akadia. This mistrust has two different causes. For Bards, it is simple: one insulted the previous Emperor grievously, and so they were officially outlawed. Performances and such were not, but those who use magic as a part of theirs are forbidden and this was an immense challenge to the College that was eventually raided and shut down by force.

Dwarfs tend to cluster in the fifth Ward, where the Duke is amenable to them, and Elfin softly live outside Sibola proper, especially since the rise to power of Acrasia, slowly swelling the Village of Acrasian, her Fief. Acrasia, one notes, is close to the Princessa.

This is seen as just because the purpose for which they were made is long past, and they are no longer needed. For the most part, Sibolans just hope they will all go away and treat them with a sort of malign neglect.

The one exception is Therians. Sibolans tend to have a deep dislike for them, keeping hold of an ancient tale that speaks of how they harassed and hindered and stole children during The Bleak Journey.

They also are known for clinging to the ancient stories of The Bleak Journey, as they call it. Grudges are almost an art form in and of themselves in Sibola, and people have long memories, even if the tales and stories get twisted over time.


Sibola is not particularly literate, and so each noble has a set of Criers whose job it is to post, recite, and call out the edicts and rulings each day from the previous day to the general public. Criers all have assigned stations along major streets in wards and villages and towns.

All of the Great Houses have members within the elite of Sibola. The major houses are Usher (Royal Family Line), Stark, Walker, Grissom, Kardas and Wikoff. House Wikoff has four of the ten Wards, to the other’s single wards, and Kardas is of course the Seneschal and House of Karovia. Grissom has the village of Verlin and Stark has Lundun. That gives them significant power over trade, though House of Walker has the Port itself.

No non-Imperial person can enter into sanctioned marriage in Sibola. Nor can they inherit. Marriages performed elsewhere are accepted but will not be done within Sibola.

Married Women in Sibola are not able to own property or own a business. They are forbidden to learn to read and are subject to the rules of their eldest male relative or their husband. Women cannot inherit and cannot accrue a debt – the debts of a woman are the responsibility of her keeper. Which is not to say that women are powerless here. They can file for divorce, refuse a marriage, and run an establishment even if it is owned on paper by someone else.

The peculiar thing is that this only applies to Imperial and halfling Imperial women. Elfin, Dwarfin, Nekoan (Sibolans never call them Therians) and other women aren’t even considered in Sibolan law – much like the rest of their kind – and so are often abused and suffer under the laws as they have no legal recourse.

So far, the only woman known to have not only defied this rule but to also lead her own men into battle is Duchess Acrasia Le Fey, the Viscountess of Parsi, called the Witch of Dangeld. Possibly the only woman with any real power in Sibola, she is surrounded by rumors that she uses her witchery to bespell and enchant the men, and few fail to comment on her less than desirable appearance. She is also the only Fay in any kind of power in Sibola. She gained her position through saving the Emperor’s life and easing the burdens of the Empress before he killed her.

All boys are expected to be educated within Sibola starting at age 5, and required to attend compulsory education through the Tanjin, which are walled schools, and at least one, usually three to five, is located in each Ward. There they are educated in mathematics and taught both common and Sibolan, the Imperial language, as well as how to read and write. They are given further instruction in the use of the Sibolan Glaive, a weapon that is most specific to Sibola. The Glaive is sized to the individual (shoulder height), slightly flexible, made of a dense wood and tipped by a variety of possible heads. They are then taught the proper role of men in Sibolan society, and also receive religious instruction regarding the approved ways to worship either Mansa or Kybele.

Girls are expected to be taught at home, by other mothers or grandmothers, Aunts, if necessary, in the tasks and skills of caring for the home, weaving, sewing, cleaning, and child rearing. Reading and writing are very rare among them.


Families generally are extended, with a grandparent overseeing a family of siblings and their children. All households are headed by the eldest male of the household, regardless of where they fall in the family, and they are responsible for the care and situation of all those in their house, but especially children and women. The punishment can be fierce for failing to care properly for one’s household, including summary execution of said family and maiming of the Head of Household.

Marriages are arranged by the fathers of the individuals concerned, and the woman always becomes a part of the man’s family, with a dowry paid to her family for her. Women are expected to support and console their spouses, while men are expected to provide and protect their spouses.

Inheritance is always to the eldest man. Single Women can run households, businesses, and other elements of a family, but once they marry, they are to turn over all of that to their spouse, as it is now their property.

Remarriage is common, though these are often love matches.

Lineage is always traced through the Father, and surnames are taken by all Sibolans, often in accordance with what the father’s work is, especially if it is hereditary (as is the common custom). This can lead to a lot of Smiths, Wrights, Wains, and such, and so the patronym is often added on.


Sibola is ruled over by the Emperor. The title is hereditary, and the House of Usher is the Imperial House. The person many believe has the greatest claim to the throne is Princessa Himesama Usher, but she is a woman and so unsuited to the role. To reinforce this, they will cite the deeply troubled reign of the second ruler, Queen Sibola (there was little troubling her reign). After her there are some five dozen potential claimants, and the court intrigue is said to be devastating. It is rumored among many of them that the Princessa is struck with madness, as well, and refuses to see a Cleric or Cleric of Mansa or Kybele to attend to it. The Seneschal, former Baron of Karovia, Cedric, is certain that things will be fine.

Beneath the Emperor is the Seneschal, who in his absence sees to the day-to-day affairs. Seneschal Cedric von Kardas is seated at present, acting as guardian for the Princessa, standing as Master for her two younger brothers, and apparently keeping his older brother Kardagan within watch. Karovia is the seat of that family, a prosperous but peculiar village nestled against the foothills of the nearby mountains.

Each Ring is divided into Wards by the eight bridges, so that there are 24 Wards in total, spread among the 8 Duchies, plus the Imperial Duchy. They typical Duchy is responsible for three Wards, each of which is directly overseen by a Count, who in turn divides his Ward into six Baronies, very much like the Towns.

The Seneschal oversees the Empire, but it is the Dukes who oversee the city. The Dukes appoint Judges, usually two or three to a Ward, who oversee those civil and criminal matters the broader people do not pick up. The Dukes also man their own Wardens, who act as constabulary and investigative forces for a Ward. There is usually a shift of three to five Wardens on at any given time.

Each Ward has at least one Wardhouse, and beneath it is a set of rooms for keeping prisoners, political and otherwise. Due to the Thieves Guild’s presence, there is also at least one secret jail for those who are suspected of being at risk.

Outside the City proper, there are Barons in the towns, Earls in the village, and Lords in the hamlets who all serve the same basic purpose.

The formal and official stance of Sibola is that it is the capitol and center of a far-flung empire, incorporating all of the other cities as part of itself, and it deigns to offer them autonomy.

The real effect is that ambassadors and related dignitaries are sure to tread carefully and to give at least the pretense to that being true, though no one except the nobility of Sibola thinks this is the case.


One key thing to be aware of is that all nobility is responsible for keeping ready and armed a force of Men-at-Arms who can be called on to the defense or expansion of the Empire. These men are loyal to the noble (or Liege) to whom they are sworn. This is done by household in Sibola – every household is required to send at least one man to defense. Men become eligible starting the first year of apprenticeship and are required to attend basic defense courses (focused on the glaive) and to learn how to march. The most promising are the ones selected for positions that can offer prestige, authority, and income, so there are very few who seek to shirk this duty.

Only men are required to do this, and the penalty for a woman who attempts to disguise herself and is discovered is consignment to the Temple of Mansa.

The Sibolan Guard are all taught the use of short swords, shield, and glaive, as well as the use of Light Crossbows. They are expected to provide their own armor, and they often use a special kind of leather armor supported by brass or bronze plates and studs meant to deflect the blows of weapons. They provide good coverage. Over this is worn a tabard, emblazoned with the Golden Star on a black background with white piping.


The most strained relationship that Sibola has is with Aztlan. East and south, across the seas, Aztlan is the original rebel, and there is still bitterness from that despite being several hundred years ago. This has to do with the rigidity of Sibolan custom and tradition, especially around the role of women.

In the case of those who hail from Akadia, it is far more sinister. An attempted Coup went poorly. The rebellion that followed resulted in all Mages being banned from Sibola for ten years, exiled by force to the realm that became the first vassal state: Akadia. It also proved that the power of Ritual Magic was more than enough to defy the power of the great Wizards.

Duke Letocious Tradin is the current Warden of Akadia, officially in charge of the entire country, but under restriction so long as they do not act against Sibola. He is not known to have traveled there in several years.


They tax somewhat heavily. This is a universal complaint, and the taxes there are higher than elsewhere, but they go to ensure that the community thrives. Even if that thriving is often in the hands of men who feel that they get to determine what Thrive means.


Sibola has a near absolute lock on the Trade with Hyboria, and a strong dominance over trade with Kahokia (though not wholly so). they are, as with the other major Cities (excepting Akadia) a major hub of trade, including the presence of a Gantry and a Station. They have the largest fleet of private ships known, as well, and there is a strong tug between the banks of Sibola, Aztlan, and Lyonese to dominate the monetary scene.

They import a great deal of material for the artisans and craftsfolk, mostly metals and specialty items, as well as a significant amount of meat from Dorado and Qivira.


Noble Fashion

A person in a yellow dress with a black umbrella

Description automatically generated A person in a garment

Description automatically generated The current style in Sibola is markedly dramatic and not particularly practical for anyone. As ever, however, Sibola set the current tone for style and fashion across the Empire, and everyone else responded to it in some form, creating the variety of styles that we see at present, down to the favored colors. As you can see, the current favored colors are Black and yellow.

Culture Heroes

Firefrost Hellwing: A Fay Rogue whose exploits and daring are the very epitome of what became the ideal of the Corsair. He commanded a fleet that held a blockade of the sea of clouds with not a single ship lost – and without the official permission of the emperor.

Jonathan the Just: A Paladin of Kybele whose devotion, dedication, and sacrifice during the Goblin wars is a model for all.

Palaver Wikof: Two hundred and thirteen consecutive bouts in the Arena without a single loss, and then 118 more after that half person D’nym defeated him.

Cultural Weapons

Sibola is famous for the highly decorated armor they craft, in particular pieces, establishing a default basis that has influenced others for generations. Sibolan Armor is formed from solid pieces of metal, typically molded, and precisely fitted, held with a variety of buckles and belts that weave between and within the parts. Like Lyonian Half Plate, it is generally set up in pieces, is expensive, and rarely has any iron it (or if it does, very little). IT is called Piece Plate, and has had an influence throughout the realm in the way people indulge their armor.

Next is the heavy, thick, interlocking Sibolan Shield. Forged from a light but strong wood that is then woven in two layers, stiffened, covered in a thick hide, and then bound in metal and studded, these shields have small hooks that allow them to be draped over a back, buckles for use on an arm, and can be fit together nigh seamlessly. They are five and a half feet tall and two and a half feet wide. Lapped, they can be leaned back and create a ring of near impenetrable protection as a dome for a small unit, and they offer cover even while battling hard.

This is then combined with the Sibolan Glaive. Glaives are as tall as the shoulder of the person who uses them. They are for those untrained in their use, a two-handed weapon, and a common form of weaponry used on Wyrlde – even more than swords. A Glaive is a custom fitted weapon to the person who wields it and balanced for their specific use. They are often highly decorated and very personalized weapons.

One end of this staff like tool of death is typically bulbous, and the other has an axe, hammer, spear, or sword tip. Used in the tight, precise units that make up the Sibolan military, the combination makes them akin to an unstoppable golem of destruction, either mounted or on foot.

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