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The great race is a massive event that takes place year around in various areas of Calimshan and ends each year in a pair of annual races, heading one direction around the great desrt, and then the opposite.

Each region has various challenges and benefits and betting between areas while typically a popular aspect of the culture, will be proportional to the population.

Approximately 60% of the population gambles upon the outcome and legs.  Many make money selling materials in promotion and celebration of then races, carving small vehicles or effigies of popular teams and animating them magically.

The great race is a dangerous event for the teams that enter.  Each bringing a custom developed vehicle to the race, of any design they so choose so long as it rolls on wheels in some fashion.  This includes treads.

Magical hovering vehicles were once included however now are only allowed in specific legs.

The great race has its origins in magic carpet races held between the royal families in times past; each family bringing more and more advanced and creative interpretations of 'magic carpet' to the events until such time the carpets were simply replaced by the machinations they were supporting.

It was the weaver merchant, Alrramal fi Almahbal who sanctioned an entire year of his peoples effort upon a single massive tarp of hand woven and buffeted carpet.  He summoned all the country's arcanic talent to come and bless his achievement with the power of flight and then proceeded to construct a bastion of stupendous firepower upon it.  Truly did he wish to win, but his efforts brought about great disaster when the carpet, weighted by the fortress and the many men who manned it, fell in the desert sand and was swallowed during the cataclysm.  So the legend of the great flying bastion of the sands is now told to children as a warning for obsession of power.
Some claim that the lord was able to escape, others say it's all childrens tales.

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Calimshan, The Great City