Seven Towers

10 Apr

Digging around my hard drive today I came across this hand out that I put together for an Ars Magica session. It struck me that it could be useful as a play aid for other games. A Dreamlands session of Cthulhu an Arabic-themed fantasy game.

The conceit of the session that it was originally used in was an exploration of the lost city of Iram of the Pillars. To find the centre of the city (the character’s goal) they had to visit the various towers in the correct order as outlined of the map. The city had a habit of rearranging itself when the characters weren’t looking, so the towers were critical as a navigational aid (tower one being the exit and entrance to and from the city). Oh, and the characters were also pursued by ghuls in the form of hyenas. The towers themselves were in varying states of repair and provided insight to the ongoing concerns of the session (discovering a missing wizard, solving riddles, discovering artifacts).

I provide the original handout with the Arabic numbering (read right to left) as well as an un-numbered version for use by what ever purpose the gamemaster sees fit.

Seven_Towers (1.1 MB PDF)

Seven Towers Unnumbered (604 KB PDF)


3 Responses to “Seven Towers”

  1. Raven August 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Arabic would be anachronistic, having been adopted in the area only long after Irem / Iram disappeared. You would want to use some form of the rune-like Old South Arabian lettering or “musnad” in which the Nabataean and Sabaean languages were written.

    There are TTF fonts available for these…..

    • RPG Plotter August 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

      Thanks for the info, Raven. Always good to have someone across this sort of historical detail. I’ll re-tinker it to something more historically accurate once I’ve gotten this mini-campaign document finished.

      • Raven August 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

        Oh well, if the map was drawn post-Irem/Iram-period by a later Arabic-speaker, the numbers would naturally be in that language instead. But enjoy the TTFs for internal inscriptions.

        I’d predict that without any definite numbering order attached the towers would be referred to by nickname of appearance, as: the Birthday Cake; the Coke Bottle; the Taj Mahal; the Juliet Balcony; the Star Top; the Penthouse; the Tower of Babel. (Varying by game and set of players.)

        That way, when the towers shifted order, or when the explorers had only one tower in view, they needn’t *count*, just go by the nickname evoked by the shape… “Oh, those rhythmic bulges, it’s the Coke Bottle!”

        That the Birthday Cake is the way in and out, and #1 in sequence, is important to learn, but so is being able to reliably recognize, refer to, and rendezvous at this (and each other) tower.

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