The free city of Rocanis stands on the south shore of the tree-lined River Selnaga, in the midst of the southern expanse of the Rirorni Plains. It is a city built of wood, often devastated by fires in dry years. It started as a campsite where all the nomadic Rocani tribes met in council every four years, but has grown into a town as the Rocani have begun to be civilized. Although it now has more two-story buildings than you could count on both hands, Rocanis is still somewhat lacking in refined comforts and pastimes. For recreation, the Rocani enjoy horse races, foot races, archery contests, dancing, romancing, swimming, and fighting. They almost always take dares, and they never let an insult go unavenged.
The Rocani are herdsmen by tradition, breeders of horses and cattle, which they sell to the Free Cities of the north and the Delarquan Federation in the west (in fact, they are one of the main sources of meat for some cities in the Federation). They are fierce warriors who hone their combat skills defending their herds against the savages of the Shagornan Desert to the south, driving off rival tribal groups such as the Vehan Khalani to the north, and occasionally raiding the rich caravans that pass by to the northwest, through the Rirorni Plains and the Smoking Plain. The Rocani have done less raiding than usual since the Rirorni War, as many of the men of fighting and raiding age died during that struggle. Lately, some of the clans have made common cause with Rirorni stragglers, or so the rumors run, and the harrassing of caravans is once again on the rise.
Rocanis arena was built by an enterprising young chief named Khel Rojida, whose tribal herds were recently stolen by masked raiders--he thinks he knows which tribe, and it's too big for his tribe to tackle. To support his people he has brought them to town and started this business venture (the idea of sending gladiators after those rustlers may be in the back of his mind).
At one time, the people of Rocanis had some disturbing news from the merchant city of Trocar, to the west. A general named Samir executed the royal family, declared himself King of Trocar, and joined the Delarquan Federation. He seemed to be blaming the Rocani for those mysterious caravan raids. King Samir called for the cities of Jhans, Jhelum, and Sibikhas to join with Trocar in stomping out the "Rocani blight." Eventually Jhans did attack Rocanis and was, against all odds, defeated after a long and bloody battle. (Those interested in a detailed account of the Jhans/Trocar war may request the back issues of the Rocanis newsletter.) In the process it was discovered that the raiders had been Trocaran agents disguised as Rocani.
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