Scroll to the bottom for project overview + instructions on how to participate!


City Design & Atmosphere



  • Ruled by the Ileri (Human) Majority
  • Strict Caste system in place
    • Priests
    • Creators
    • Laborers
    • Others
    • Untouchables
  • Controlled by the Priest Caste

Law Enforcement & Military


Notable Laws


Public Works

  • Water Department
    • Function of the Government
    • Fox symbolism (why ?)
    • Controls the flow of water
    • Proxy control of city
    • Aqueducts move water
    • Natural water heavily guarded
    • Recently increased security
    • Magical water accepted
    • Public Bathhouses are everywhere

  • Bugcatchers
    • Honorable / respected profession
    • Strictly regulated by city
    • Shrouded in mystery (Masonic ?)
    • Potential: Worships old insect deity
    • Processes catches into food
    • Sells to all facets of society
    • Magical food accepted


Recreation & Entertainment

  • Sports!
    • 1 Main Coliseum located in city
    • Privately owned, non-Government
    • Camel Racing
    • Camel Jousting
    • Wrestling
    • Blood sports are outlawed

  • Theaters!
    • 1 Main Amphitheater located in city
    • State sponsored building
    • Performances mostly religious plays
    • Native dances performed weekl
    • Performers are special priestly caste
    • Potential: Seven Dancing Veils


Notable Locations

  • Secret Temple
    • Dedicated to forbidden god
    • Own secret power
    • Hidden underneath city
    • Potential: Scorpion God

Inhabitant Demonym






  • Popular with adventurers
  • Visited by desperate travelers
  • Desert adventuring gear
  • Textiles: Silk, Linen, Cotton
  • Potential: Papyrus textiles
  • Weaponry





Merchants & Buildings



  • Organized Crime Ring
    • Street Urchin foundation
    • Well-organized network
    • Has shops and fences
    • Has Meeting Houses
    • Uses symbol codes
    • Deals in pick-pocketing to extortion
    • High-ranking officials in pocket

Cost of Living

What Is This & How Do I participate?

You may notice over on my worldEMBER kickoff post that the Settlement prompt on my article table says "Build an entire city through crowdsourcing!"... What it means is that I want your help, as fellow worldEMBER participants, to build one of the largest cities to date: Sotep-Shiran.

Sotep-Shiran is the trade capital of the desert region of the Midlands, located in the Untamed Lands- the area of Tolara (where my campaign takes place) that hasn't been claimed by a government yet; largely unexplored and uninhabited, the Untamed Lands are dangerous. It's from that danger that Sotep-Shiran was formed- providing the necessary safety and security the people of the Midlands needed to survive in the harsh desert climate.

It's filled with the Ileri and Enethi, two Ferenian (Human) subethnicities locked in a cultural war with one another; on one hand, you have the Ileri who worship the Goddess of the Water... On the other, the Enethi, worshipers of the Sun- all wrapped up with Ancient Egyptian and Persian influence, and under constant assault from the Khenra.


This is my my baby.
My worldEMBER showstopper


I want it to be big, and glorious, and beautiful, and wordy as hell- and that's where y'all come in; you get to decide exactly how Sotep-Shiran turns out- from infrastructure, to buildings, shop names, and everything in between.

So leave your ideas right here in the comments section of Sotep-Shiran's article, tweet at me on Twitter @yeshummingbird, or hit me up in the World Anvil community Discord Server @LittleLilacFox#1500- and watch Sotep-Shiran develop before your very eyes, influenced by users from our own community!

Item Progress
Government Started
Infastructure Started
Buisinesses Started
Trade Started
Customs Started
Entertainment Started
Underbelly Started
Rumors Started
  • Prompts
    • I enter one of the most notable cities in your world. How do I enter it and what will be my first impression?
    • Is there a geographical landmark deep underneath the surface of your world? How would someone from the surface access it and what would they find?
    • During their activity they missed utter disaster by just a small margin. What happened?

Articles under Sotep-Shiran

Cover image: Way to desert city by Arenir


Please Login in order to comment!
1 Dec, 2018 01:40

I must say, this is the first I've come across something like this! Very interesting!
My two cents for you would be on architecture. Typically in desert areas the building are thick clay and dirt walls that are whitewashed, with wooden frames and half open tops with wood covers. Arched windows cut into the walls with thick ornate curtains to cover them, and a wooden door. I hope this helps!

1 Dec, 2018 01:45

Absolutely! And already mimics the architectural styles of the Ileri and Enethi who make their home here :D Thank you for the additional detail suggestions. They definitely help!

1 Dec, 2018 01:52

In a city like this you'll have an army of well-trained street urchins. Have those ragamuffins report to an organized crime ring that dabbles in everything from pick-pocketing to extortion. They'll likely have well-organized underground networks; shops that are run by their organization and have convenient back rooms where shady deals can be struck.   The real juicy question, of course, is which high-ranking government officials they have in their pockets...

1 Dec, 2018 01:55

Ooooohhhhh Good choice, Koray! And a good question, indeed.   Shocking Twist: It's the High Priest for the local Temple. The real question is which temple? Is it the Ilerian Temple to Water? Or the Enethian Temple of the Sun?

1 Dec, 2018 02:02

And is there a secret underground temple to a forbidden god that isn't worshiped in decent circles that is its own secret power hidden in the dark underbelly of the city?

1 Dec, 2018 02:05

You know... There might just be! But who are they? What is their name... And better yet... Who worships them?

1 Dec, 2018 10:23

There has to be some kind of water guild, right. They control the flow of water in the city, which means they have great control over the city itself. Maybe it is a function of the governing body, or maybe it is a private organization. Either way, they will need guards and a means of distribution.

1 Dec, 2018 12:01

Oh, of course the Government would control it- and naturally the head of the department would be Ilerian. They do worship a Goddess of Water, after all. And perhaps the Enethians of the city aren't too happy about that? Could be why the Water Department's saw fit to increase security around the aqueducts. But what act of pseudo-terrorism spurred the sudden need to increase it? {i]Now that's a thought!

1 Dec, 2018 10:27

There are probably a lot of scorpions and beetles in the city, precipitating the need for bug catchers. These well respected professionals roam the city looking for insect nests, destroying the large ones they find, and processing them into food. Being in the desert, food is scarce in Sotep-Shiran, and bugs are a good, cheap, and plentiful source of protein. Bugcatchers supply many of the city's finest, and no so finest, restaurants, inns, and pubs with insects living and dead. There is a shroud mystery to the Bugcatchers, and some even say they worship an old forgotten insect diety, but those are just tavern rumors, right?

1 Dec, 2018 12:04

Absolutely wonderful idea. And of course, they require a 2 year apprenticeship. Not everyone can just go become a bug catcher, after all- especially not when it involves the city's food supplies.   Rumors have been spreading about a temple beneath the city to some old, forgotten god.... But who knows if the rumors are connected.

1 Dec, 2018 15:13

What kind of sports do they have? Is there some kind of coliseum or arena/ Gladiator fights? Camel racing? Camel jousting? Wrestling animals? How does the city government keep the people entertained. If there is a bloodsport of sorts, is there an anti-bloodsport movement? An organization that is for more peaceful entertainments like theater, arts, and music?

1 Dec, 2018 18:18

Absolutely on all fronts!

1 Dec, 2018 18:39

I imagine this would cater to daring adventurers or desperate travelers, so the market for equipment like waterskins, textiles and cloths, and survival gear would be sizable, if not overwhelming.

1 Dec, 2018 18:43

Good choices! But what weapons are popular? Do they cater to traditional weaponry- or the exotic? Maybe the basic? Are they known for any smithing styles or crafting specialties? And I imagine they'd especially deal in desert specific survival gear. But what about fake items; dupes of the most important things like waterskins and weapons? Is there a black market for counterfeit goods?

1 Dec, 2018 19:00

I'm not sure if your world has it, but if it exists I would suggest this: If your world has magic, I would heavily suggest adding an arcane area to your settlement. The typical depiction of those of arcane power is often academic but reserved, but you could also classify them as sheltered if you want to follow the sickly cliche.   To go with the arcane idea, this could be where all the magical oriented shops, like spell shops, magical artifact identification shops, and anything that could work in a magical sense of the word.

1 Dec, 2018 19:05

Our setting absolutely has magic! I like to describe the setting itself as "Renaissance meets Medieval, smashed over top of Ancient Civilizations and painted in High Fantasy"! XD

2 Dec, 2018 07:20

As far as magic is concerned, specifically spells like create water and create food, are those allowed within city limits, or are they frowned upon because they can undercut city government revenue by side-stepping taxes? Just a thought. Also, as this is a sprawling desert city, maybe the magic use/regulation/study here is a bit more dynamic. These spell casters live in a rough environment and are maybe made of sturdier stuff.

2 Dec, 2018 07:37

I'd say that, even though it would ultimately undercut revenue in the short term, they'd probably encourage the use of spells like create and destroy water since that means the natural water supply (which is already scarce to begin with) would last longer. Plus, magic is still finite. Eventually people will still have to come to them to fill their water quotas even if they have magic in the first place.   Now that being said: The ruling Ilerians do frown on the use of spells not found on the Cleric spell list; Divine magics are the only ones considered acceptable to cast- and all the better if it's something relating to their Goddess Netamesphut and one of her domains.

5 Dec, 2018 18:47

I wanna give you a seed about sports because I got inspired.

Blood Races

Since the banishment of bloody disciplines in the Colosseum, a small group of aristocrats and rich people founded the Sotep-Shiran Blood Race Club (SSBRC). Since that day, they organize weekly blood races outside of town to entertain themselves, which the Colosseum cannot do anymore. Each week, two of them bring a slave. Everyone bets money on who they think will win. The price money is evenly distributed between the winners of the bet, with a slightly larger portion going to the owner of the slave, in order to prevent fraud through intentional loss when betting for the other side. The blood races are made up of a parkour that stretches between two mountains, with new traps and obstacles being prepared by the SSBRC every week.

5 Dec, 2018 20:02

I feel like this would be exactly something that the Enethian lower lords would participate in :D

30 Dec, 2018 01:30

If the city is fortified and on the edge of a major river or ocean, perhaps consider an internal lock system to bring ships into the city and raise them to ground level!

30 Dec, 2018 01:32

Ooh, great suggestion! If could be part of the Irrigation and Aqueduct system they already have in place. I hadn't considered that!

30 Dec, 2018 21:39

After reading through the comments I see that no one has suggested any Customs yet, allow me to be the first. I like to deal with elves, but with the diverse humans you have created in this massive city I think It can fit here as well. With the heat and water being precious, it stands to reason that any greeting would revolve around drinking. Wait hear me out and stop laughing. So when you have two people greeting each other in the street, instead of shaking hands they might make the motion of bringing water to their lips, kind of like saying I would drink in front of you...or more to the veiled point, I trust you. If they scoff someone, they would cover their mouth with their hand, not to ward off germs, but to say that they do not trust you enough to drink in front of you. So there is my 2 cents and I hope you like it.. This is my very first Worldember but I had a blast, just wish I would've seen this earlier:) (and now I can't wait for whatever this summercamp thing is!)

30 Dec, 2018 21:41

This is an amazing suggestion and I'll definitely be adding it to the Ileri's sheet! I hadn't considered traditional greetings at any point, but this makes an incredible amount of sense- and the meaning behind it really adds to its importance! What a lovely suggestion <3   Congratulations on your first World Ember! We hope you'll be around for many, many more :D

30 Dec, 2018 21:52

thanks and I certainly will be! So glad you like it and to be a part of something this awesome

30 Dec, 2018 21:57

Absolutely! I'm glad for your contribution! thank you very much, and welcome to WA ^_^