The Dying Lands
The original description of Athrandro Kan sent out to all players before the start of the game:
Athrandro Kan is the city you were born in (if you are human) and the city you have grown up in. If you are not human, at some point you were captured by the Guard, or chose to move into the city. The city is essentially an isolated, communist city. It was built by the edge of a large oasis (approximately 3 miles in diameter.) Other than this oasis, it is surrounded on all sounds by desert, and by walls. Huge, stone walls, over 100 feet high, and patrolled by guards 24 hours a day keep out the creatures of the desert, but more importantly keep in the starving cities.
Athrandro Kan operates essentially as a communist dictatorship. The ruling man, Kan, came to power hundreds of years ago, when the night dragon was discovered. It was discovered that the scales of this dragon would transform mortals into powerful, immortal beings. These beings, calling themselves the Dragonborn, took over cities, and have ruled the Desert for hundreds of years.
In the city each person is allotted the food necessary to survive, but in actuality, you’d need three times the rations to be able to survive for little more than a year, and death is frequent. People steal, and people frequently leave the city when there is thought to be an animal outside. The Guard, of course, is allotted more food, and thus Kan keeps them in his favor, insuring that they will never turn against him. The Guard not only keeps people in, but they are the ones who deliver the meager rations to the citizens, collect food from the citizens designated as farmers, and round up criminals.
Despite the fact that money is never used officially, a monetary system has developed, using coins found in the old days. Using these coins (copper, silver, and gold) is not illegal, but it cannot by anything officially. However, there is a thriving black market, and many people who have found ways to grow their own food illegally trade in this currency. Anyone who is not part of the Guard needs this money, or they will not survive.
Its important to note that well life in the city is hard, anyone who did wish to leave would almost certainly die in the desert. The guard keeps people in because Kan cannot afford to lose more works than he already does.