#AtoZ: D is for Diwan

This post belongs to the #AtoZchallenge 2024, where I attempt to turn a word a day into something that can be used in Role Playing Games.

A Diwan can be a whole lot of things. It started its life as a clay tablet in ancient Sumer, which then became a state’s register, then a public administration, than the room (reception hall or council chamber) where officials met, then finally into a kind of sofa often placed into those rooms, and finally into works of arts (usually poetry) created on that sofa.

How to integrate it into your typical fantasy RPG?

  • The divan could be a very specific way to cast Speak with Dead, Commune or similar spells, drawing on the wisdom of courtiers or poets (depending on the site’s background). Maybe freshly appointed local notables have to pilger there before starting in their new office.
  • It could also be an usurpator who wants the ancestors to authorize his rule, or a desperate ruler attempting this as a last resort to keep his crumbling realm intact.
  • On a totally different axis, the diwan might be an ancient stone tablet that has been so utterly infused by the idea of law that it acts as a ward against creatures of chaos (like the spell Protection from Chaos).
  • A silver-tongued ruler might use the diwan to enthrall his subjects: As long as one sits on the diwan and does not wear the ruler’s sigil ring, one is affected by Charm Person or Mammal toward the wearer of the sigil ring.

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