The Island of Krosa
Government and Law
Food and Drink
Glossary of Krosan Terms
- Population: Town: 5000, 99% human. That leaves about 50 elves,
half-elves, and gnomes. There are currently no dwarves, halflings, or
half-orc NPCs living on Krosa. A small elven village is hidden in the
mountains in the northeast section of the island.
About 50,000 humans live throughout the rest of the island, mostly farmers
or fishers on the western half of Krosa. (That's about 70-80 people per
square mile in the human areas.) Outside of the town, they are fairly
evenly scattered throughout the land, with small clusters where there
is a temple, a shop, a smith, and so on.
- Language: Common (Krosan) is the dominant language, with Desert
being known by many educated people.
- Calendar: Solar calendar used by Believers.
- Size: the island is about 30 miles from east to west and 40 miles
from north to south. The town of Krosa is located at the southern tip
of the island at the mouth of the Gatha ("Song") River, and at the base
of Mt. Ruab (approx. elevation 3500 feet).
- Geographical features: Mt. Ruab (with two peaks, the northern
having elevation 3500 feet, the southern 3000 feet) lies to the northeast
behind Krosatown. The Gatha River runs
south from the middle of the island to the town, most of it navigable,
with farmland to the west and jungle and mountains to the east. The Naksh
River runs from the mountains to the northeast coast, with a north branch
and a south branch as its main tributaries. The highlands in the middle
feature steep cliffs, narrow ravines, and high plateaus. Elevations reach
up to about 6000 feet on the peaks.
- Climate: Krosa is a tropical island. The western lowlands and
the western slopes of the mountains get more rain, as the winds coming
from the west carry more moisture than the winds from the northeast.
Temperatures in the lowlands usually range from 60 to 90 degrees F,
with lower temperatures at higher elevations (but never below freezing).
- Flora: about what you'd expect on a tropical island.
Palm trees in the sandy coastal areas, mangroves in the marshier areas,
then evergreen rainforests up the western slopes of the hills. Hundreds
of species of flowering shrubs, including orchids, hibiscus, tree ferns,
etc. Groves of mangos, bananas, cinnamon, cacao, rubber trees.
Lumber trees include mahogany, acacia, eucalyptus, and cypress. Ebony,
teak, silkwood. Rhododendron. Moss-draped trees.
The dryer zones to the northeast have areas of scrub vegetation, grassland,
and near desert (in drought years).
- Fauna: Birds, including peacocks and parrots. Deer, wild boars,
buffalo, monkeys, snakes, crocodiles, leopards, cheetahs, tigers, turtles,
tortoises, jackals, and more. No dinosaurs, though.
- Agriculture: Rice is a staple. Irrigated fields in the western
lowlands. Coconuts along the coasts. Bananas, mangos, assorted melons,
guava, star fruit, assorted "berries" (lychees, etc.).
Oranges and other citrus fruits in the higher elevations on the north
coast. Cinnamon. Cacao (yes, they have chocolate!). Cassavas (a starchy
root.) Coffee. Hot peppers. (Anachronistic diffusion of plants due to
magic, alternate timeline) Eggplant. Tobacco. Sugarcane.
Oxen and buffalo are used in plowing, some milk as a byproduct.
Goats are raised for milk, meat, and their hair.
Donkeys are used as beasts of burden. Horses and ponies are subsidized
by the royal family (no heavy horses).
Chickens and ducks. The monks raise tea up on the mountain by their
monastery, but they are the only ones who like tea, and the product is
not good enough for export.
- Exports: Cinnamon, cacao, cardamon, coffee, hot peppers, tobacco.
Some craft products (cloth, rugs, jewelry, --- pearls, etc.).
The Royal House
The royal house of Krosa traces its descent from the legendary hero Feridun,
who overthrew the demonic tyrant Zohak some 440 years ago. They call
themselves the House of Zimurga, after a magical vulture (the eldest of all
birds) who aided Feridun. Since the kings usually have at least four wives,
and possibly some concubines, a lot of people on the island have one king
or another in their ancestry. There aren't really noble houses besides the
royal house, only various wealthy merchant families, whose fortunes can rise
and fall within a generation or two.
Government and Law
The King (Sultan) of Krosa is considered its military commander. He is advised
by his Vizier, and together they are responsible for keeping the peace,
maintaining the infrastructure (roads, sewers, publicly-owned areas, bridges,
the harbor, water supplies, etc.), relations with foreign powers (including
the Warden of the Wood), defense of Krosa and its people, etc.
Every Tuesday the King hears major criminal cases (mostly what we would
consider felonies: murder, manslaughter, treason, rape, armed robbery) and
pronounces verdict and sentence. Usually, he has been briefed beforehand by
the Vizier and their staff. Lesser crimes (misdemeanors) are tried by
one of five Magistrates appointed by the King. The City Watch acts as the
prosecution (roughly speaking) for mundane cases within the town, and the
Falcons for cases where magic is involved, or the nobility, or other
factors considered outside the scope of the Watch.
Every Wednesday the King hears petitions. In theory, anyone on Krosa can
come to the castle and get a hearing. In practice, the Vizier's staff
"screens" the applicants. A small donation can help. But they are not
heartless, so someone in real need can get through even without money.
The Ulama (priests of Ela), headed by the Imam, is in charge of civil and
religious law. This includes marriage, divorce, contracts, breach of contract,
property rights, civil rights, debt, slavery, magic, etc. The Master of Scales,
who ensures that merchants are using honest measures, answers to the Ulama
and the Vizier jointly.
The Warden of the Woods (the chief druid of Krosa) acts as the leader or
representative of the eastern, wild half of the island. The wild areas do
not have a government per se, but the druids act as coordinators and as
diplomats between civilization and jungle. Individual humans are granted
specific, limited harvest rights in the wild areas, which they may sell, trade,
or pass on to their heirs. These limits are enforced by the druids and all
the forces they may call upon. The rights are magically inscribed on small
sea shells, with a special spell known only to the Warden of the Woods.
Specific laws and customs:
- Marriage: one man may have up to four wives if he can support them
all equally. The father gives the woman a bride-gift, which she keeps in the
case of a divorce. Exception: those who wish to marry a king's daughter pay
the king a bride-price.
- Inheritance: varies. A woman usually gets half the share of a man.
- Prostitution: technically illegal, but not often prosecuted, as long
as the prostitute is part of the informal organization of prostitutes.
- Homosexuality: discouraged for Believers, but not considered a
- Abortion and contraception: legal. Infanticide was outlawed by the
- Gender roles: Women are supposedly to keep to private roles, while
men face the public. Hence, women wear head coverings and possibly veils (for
the wealthy and aristocracy) and long clothing and are segregated in the
congregation. However, common women have to work, so they do. In shops and
markets, they make a pretense of merely offering gifts to their family,
which is why they call their customers "sister" and "brother".
Women in military roles pretend they are actually men. Men are less restricted
in what they can do, though they are not allowed to go into the women's
quarters in someone else's house.
- Slavery: Believers may not keep fellow Believers as slaves, and
are encouraged to convert and free any non-Believer slaves they have.
The child of a Believer may not be a slave. In practice, slaves are rare on
the island of Krosa. A few rich merchants or nobles in the town may have
slaves, mostly foreigners or non-Believers who sold themselves to pay off
their debts or some such. Some criminals are sentenced to slavery.
The king collects a tax (2 percent of total wealth annually), and the temple
of Ela collects the zakat (charitable tithe, also 2 percent of total wealth
annually). This is due on the first of the year. Merchant ships coming in to
trade pay a harbor tax (0.2 gp/person on the ship) that goes towards
maintenance of the harbor and the navy.
The king's tax goes towards roads, walls, the Warband and the City Watch,
sanitation, etc. The temple tax goes towards schools, hospices,
hospitals, health care, charity for the poor, etc.
Nonbelievers must pay a special tax of 1 gp/year per adult (16 and older).
This goes to the temple, as well.
Arcane magic licensing fee: 10 gp/level of spellcaster per year, plus they
must pass a purity examination, to check that they have nor nor are planning
to use their magic in any crimes.
Divine magic is generally accepted, as long as it is not from any evil god
or demon. Arcane magic is not trusted, and subject to a yearly inspection
and tax as stated above.
Magic is viewed as dangerous and corrupting. Anyone who uses magic in the
commitment of any felony receives an automatic death sentence.
Using magic in a lesser crime is punished by cursing, exile, and slavery.
(I.e. the criminal is Cursed, then sold as a slave on the next ship out of
Krosa, and may not return, on pain of death.)
The spellbook of an offending wizard is burned. Also other books, scrolls,
and magical paraphenalia.
Contacting a demon, devil, or evil god is considered a felony.
Appeals: only the Imam may pardon a spellcaster convicted of using magic
in a crime, or reduce the sentence.
Most of the human population of Krosa follow the New Religion, locally
led by the Imam. Some also devote themselves to various mystical
schools (tarika), which tend toward a more emotional, visceral
connection to the divine.
Month of Fasting: July
Month of Pilgrimage: October
Old religion: the Temple of the Flame (Ormaz, etc.) is only sparsely attended.
Druids: the Warden of the Wood is the leader of the druids on Krosa.
It's not uncommon for the peasants to ask for the druids to bless their
fields. The Warden of the Wood has the eastern, wild, half of Krosa
in his charge. He negotiates with the King in determining what activities
are permitted in the east. Special inheritable licenses and harvest
rights are given or sold to specific people. For example, one person
might get a license to harvest X amount of cinnamon each year, and
have the rights to a certain area of the mountain. The druids use all their
divine powers to police such licenses. It is in the interests of those who
own those licenses to stop poachers, as well. People whose livelihoods
depend on the wild half of Krosa often follow the naturalistic druidic
The Sea Dragon cult: sailors and fishermen often secretly (or not so secretly)
worship the Sea Dragon, sometimes while claiming to be Believers. Believers
are not supposed to do this, but some do anyway.
Anahita of the Waters: same as for the Sea Dragon, above.
The clerics and scholars run a number of small neighborhood schools throughout
Krosa, usually attached to the local temple of Ela.
They have a major center of learning at the Madrasa.
Military and Law Enforcement
The King's Warband: the Falcons
Many of these, and all the officers, are ghazi (paladins).
They are the only mounted troops on Krosa. About half their number is
out patrolling the rest of the island at any given time.
They number about 30, total. (Much reduced from the old days.)
Most are from the nobility.
They also escort the tax collectors out in the countryside.
The City Watch
The City Watch is in charge of keeping order in the town of Krosa. They also
collect harbor fees and such, as well as escort the tax collectors in the city.
They currently number about 50 (including secretarial staff), and are mainly
The Krosan Navy
The Krosan Navy consists of a warship in perennial need of repair, a few
ex-fishing boats, and a confiscated merchant ship.
Mostly they patrol the waters around the island, chasing pirates away,
investigating the occasional rumor of sea monsters, and fining smugglers.
Local Law Enforcement
All the citizens in a community are expected to assist in apprehending
criminals. The local priest acts as a judge. In really nasty cases, the
king's Falcons may be called in.
Food and drink
People eat a lot of rice and curry. Fish and goat meat.
Food is eaten with the hands. Don't mix up your toilet and eating hands!
- Grains: rice. Rice is the staple grain on Krosa.
- Meats: goat, chicken, duck, eggs, fish, game. Crabs, shrimp,
squid, shellfish, etc. (but not by devout Believers).
Coffee, tea (rare), fruit juices, goat's milk, cow's milk, chocolate drinks.
Sharbat: iced fruit juices and water. The ice comes from magical refrigeration
Coconut milk. Yogurt drinks.
Believers are discouraged from drinking alcohol, but some do anyway.
Fermented fruit juices of various kinds, rice wine, arrack (palm liquor,
a strong drink distilled from fermented coconut milk), imported wines
from the west.
Oranges, lemons, kumquats, guava, starfruit, watermelons, other melons,
mangos, bananas, coconuts, rambutan, jackfruit, lychees, pineapples,
mangosteen, custard apples, papayas, nuts.
Leafy greens. Water spinach. Eggplants. Cassava. Seaweed. Peppers.
- Spices, etc.: cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cardamon, cumin, others.
- Alim, pl. Ulama: Scholar or cleric. Title of respect.
Denotes a person of learning and rectitude.
- Amir: prince. Used as a title for a ruler.
- Banu Sasan: informal brotherhood of beggars, thieves, and
- Believer: someone who follows the New Religion (the majority
on Krosa). Almost all are humans.
- Caliph: the leader of the community of the faithful (the
- Ghazi: holy warrior. (Paladin)
- Hadith: report of the Prophet's sayings and actions, accompanied
by an isnad.
- Haj: the annual pilgrimage to the holy city
- Halal: permitted, lawful
- Haram: prohibited, unlawful
- Isnad: in oral tradition, a statement of transmission from
speaker to listener in a chain to the current teacher. E.g., "I heard
from A, who heard from B, who heard from C, who heard the Messenger
of God, God's prayers and peace be upon him, say, ...."
- Kafir: unbeliever
- Madrasa: university or college
- Malik: angel (good outsider, in D & D terms)
- Salam alekem: "peace be upon you". Traditional greeting.
- Sayyid: "master". Form of address commonly used by servants.
- Sultan: ruler, military commander. The King. Called the Servant
of the Holy.
- Takwa: fear of God, submission to god
- Tarika: path. Refers to the various mystical schools and cults
within the New Religion.
- Umma: the universal community of Believers
- Wali: a friend of God (a saint)
- Zakat: the religious tax, collected by the Temple of Ela, for
charitable purposes. 2 percent of wealth (not income) each year.
Original material copyright © April, 2001, Celeste Chang
Revised April 5, 2001
Racial statistics and definitions are from the Dungeons & Dragons Core
Rulebooks, published by Wizards of