Wati, The Half-City
The city of Wati sits on a sandstone shelf at the confluence of the Asp and Crook rivers, which provide it with building materials, rich farmland, and deep harbors sufficient to support a settlement three times its size. But even with its tenacious citizens, abundant fish and game, and thriving marketplaces fueled by the most important rivers in Osirion, Wati is forever a city better known for its dead than for its living. Behind sanctified walls, an entire quarter of the city quietly sits as a massive, urban tomb. Shops, schools, markets, and estates serve as eternal resting places for those lost to madness and disease. To manage such an immense project, the city’s entire economy shifted to the industry of internment. Almost 1,800 years after the necropolis’ inception, many of Wati’s residents continue to serve the city’s funeral industry, either directly as embalmers, undertakers, and clerics of Pharasma, or indirectly by crafting the myriad grave goods all Osirions hope to carry with them into the afterlife. Death has become the city’s lifeblood, and Wati prospers from its morbid specialty.
Knowledge (History) 10/Sebti’s Speech
In -1608 AR, Pharaoh Djederet II ordered the construction of a grand city to mark the birthplace of Osirion’s greatest natural resource: the River Sphinx, springing from the confluence of the Asp and the Crook. With its early foundations magically laid by the church of Nethys, the city sprang to life within just a year. Named Wati, the riverside town soon dominated trade across southern Osirion. For centuries, Wati endured through political upheaval and the births and deaths of entire dynasties as it dominated its younger sister cities of An and Tephu.
Wati’s destiny was forever warped in 2499 AR, when the cult of Lamashtu unleashed the Plague of Madness among the city’s thriving populace. Many of those whom the fever did not immediately kill were driven to murderous insanity, and within months, more than half the city had fallen in painful, anguished death. Most of the survivors fled Wati to make new homes elsewhere, but a stubborn minority remained behind, determined to reclaim their city.
It took almost half a millennium for Wati’s fortunes to reverse thanks to the church of Pharasma. With the tacit permission of Osirion’s Keleshite Sultan, a Pharasmin priest named Nefru Shepses marched on Wati in 2953 AR with a small army, intent on consecrating the entire city to the Lady of Graves and beginning with a new, monumental temple to Pharasma called the Grand Mausoleum. Over the next 30 years, Nefru Shepses and his followers recovered the bodies of those slaughtered in the Plague of Madness from their hasty graves and the Pharasmins walled off the portion of the city that had been abandoned, transforming it into a metropolis of makeshift tombs. Thousands of corpses were given formal burial rites and reinterred in this dead copy of the living city, which continues to serve as Wati’s necropolis today.
The consecration of the city and its necropolis revitalized Wati, and though it never reclaimed its dominance among the cities of the south, over the next 1,700 years Wati grew until its necropolis—once more than half of the city—took up less than a quarter of the city’s total area. Today, Wati continues to produce a great variety of grave goods for Osirion’s honored dead, outpacing even its crop and textile exports. Even Wati’s criminal underworld is said to revolve around death, from the reclamation of valuables to the illicit dealings of human carrion.
City Stat Block
LN Small City
Attributes: Corruption -1; Crime +1; Economy +4; Law +0; Lore +1; Society +5
Qualities pious (Pharasma), sacred site, strategic location, tourist attraction
Population 7,300 (91% Human, 4% Halfling, 1% Dwarf, 0.4% Half-elf, 3% Other)
- High Priestess Sebti the Crocodile female human cleric of Pharasma
- Farhaan male human Fighter/Expert; owns Tooth & Hookah
Base Value 5,200gp
Purchase Limit 4,050 /25,000gp
Current Stock Minor Items – 10/14 | Medium Items – 7/7 | Major Items 3/3