The Domiran Empire occupies a large swath of land around the Straits of Armara in the middle of the Centralian Sea. Several other smaller tribes and city states also cluster around the coast of the sea and its islands. Rumors of magic and strange beings abound, but skeptical minds find scarce evidence for either in the lands near the Sea. The use of iron, writing, and animal power are widespread among more civilized groups.
The current Emperor, Aral V, is a good ruler: strong, honest, and intelligent. He has contacted various resourceful people and has now gathered them in his throne room.
“You have been gathered here today because the Empire has a problem, and you may be able to help me solve it. You all know of the Silk road, which leads from the western provinces off deep into the continent. We trade for silk, spices, and other exotic goods along this road, and as a whole send nearly 50 million sesterces a year back down the road in return.
And yet I know nothing of the lands where this money is going, and nothing about the origin of these spices and silk. The writings of historians give reliable, reasonable sounding reports out to the port city of Tarpa in the land of the Gratians, but after that they trail off into traveler’s tales of headless men, singing trees, and giant birds.
I want information. Reliable, first hand information on the entire road from here until wherever it goes. I want to know where the Empire’s money is going, what the secret of silk is, and anything else useful, or even just interesting. Accomplish this task and you will all receive titles and fertile land in one of the new provinces.
Since you are traveling the silk road, I suggest you disguise yourself as merchants. It might be unwise to let the eastern lands learn that the Empire is looking their way. Provisions from the Imperial storehouses will be made available to you, and a cipher book for encoding reports. Send them back down the road with instructions to hand them to the garrison at Pemra. The master of provisions in the antechamber will take you to your supplies.”
This game will use GURPS Lite, plus whatever else I can scrounge up.