Egypt & Arabia
Two lands of deserts and mysteries lie to the south of Greece. One was once a superpower, the other consists of a handful of tiny costal kingdoms dependent on trade.
Egypt is a river kingdom, dependant on the Nile for its very life. Once the strongest kingdom in the civilised world it is now old and decrepit. The Egyptians built wonders and temples envied by the whole world but the relationship between the people and their gods failed.
The ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were mortal men worshipped as gods. As each died a great monument was built and distracted the faithful from the true gods who grew weak and withdrew from the world. Egypt eventually succumbed to the rising power of Persia, beginning a century of Persian rule.
That rule was ended a generation ago by King Amyrtaeus who freed the kingdom but the aged kingdom has turned in on itself again. Amyrtaeus died at the hands of another Egyptian and in the few years since then there have been five kings. The current king, Nectanebo, spends his days fighting against internal rivals and Persian attempts at reconquest. In this he is assisted by Athens and Sparta who are keen to keep the Persians distracted.
The land of Egypt itself is desert, vast, harsh and unforgiving, interrupted by the thin line of the River Nile. The river feeds Egypt's cities that line its banks and is always busy with traders going deep in Africa.
The Arabian peninsula is a land of burning deserts and terrifying creatures. Its northern coastline is controlled by Persia but the Empire's influence is constrained by the harshness of the desert and the tribes who make their homes there. The kingdoms of Ma'in, Saba, Hadhramaut, Qataban all sit along the southern end of Arabia and vie for control over the trade routes carrying frankincense, myrrh and spices to the Mediterranean.
Travellers to this place should be well-prepared to face djinn, an entire race of spirits who live partly in this world and partly in another. They appear as columns of smoke or scorching flames and frequent desert caves and mountains. The most powerful are capable of feats almost equal to that of the gods themselves. Whilst there is no organised religion surrounding the beings, there are tribal cults dedicated to local djinn.