Hi, I’m Mac – and Aranthaes is my ongoing labor of love…

This city state has been rolling around in my head for many years, based loosely on real-world locations, medieval politics and the actions of large trading companies throughout history.

It began when I first played D&D in 1985 and I’ve been scrawling doodles and making notes on and off ever since.

At the start of 2023 I decided to actually put these ideas down on digital paper, my theory being that even half-way done it could prove a useful and time-saving tool to any DM looking for new material.

If that’s you – enjoy!

Aranthaes TL;DR

Imagine modern-day Dubai but translated into a D&D world, then rolled back to a medieval-like era. Make it far less hot for sure, moving the city to a Northern Mediterranean climate, think South of France – and then add in the political machinations of the Borgias with a sprinkling of the questionable ethics of early Dutch and English trading companies and you have Aranthaes.

A super-wealthy merchant city built on free-trade and zero-taxation, all based around a belief system where entrepreneurial success and the creation of wealth is seen as being a devout and holy act.

Which required a God or Goddess of wealth. But which one?

Enter Bune…

I decided Aranthaes would be built around it’s population’s strong faith in a goddess loosely based on an existing real-world wealth deity called Bune.

Bune, is a supernatural being contained in the Ars Goetia – an ancient group of texts rumored to have been penned in the days of King Solomon. Whether this is true or not, the Goetia seems to have been in circulation across medieval Europe. It features a list of magical beings, or daemons, along with brief details listing what they are like, what they can do and how they might help a magician capable of summoning them.

This book always struck me as being much like the Dungeons & Dragons’ Monster Manual.

What appealed to me the most about Bune in particular was that rather than being evil, unlike most of the daemons in the book, Bune is said to be kindly and good. An infernal being that’s good? Fascinating.

Researching Bune further, I was struck by just how many people in our current world are still interested in, worship or follow Bune. Many in-depth studies on the deity have been carried out, linking her across different civilizations and belief systems from ancient Sumeria and Egypt, to Greece and Rome, from India to even the Americas.

Now the Work Begins

So I had my deity for Aranthaes, now all I had to do was translate everything I’d researched into a 5e compatible format. Had anyone already made a Goetic daemon into a D&D ‘monster’?

Turned out DM Dave had rolled up a sheet for Stolas back in 2018. Thank you Dave!

And so, inspired by Dave’s Stolas the character of Lady Bune was born, a draconian deity for Aranthaes. A deity who was once an infernal being of great evil but who had, over millennia, taken a difficult journey of transformation – a journey that would be at the heart of her teachings.

The rest is as they say, hundreds of pages of text and illustrations…