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Up to date as of February 07, 2010

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Location on World map
Agility Pyramid
Menaphos Sophanem Ullek
Unknown
Sophanem before Contact! quest.

Sophanem, often known as the "City of the Dead," is a settlement located in the southernmost reaches of the known Kharidian Desert. Sophanem straddles the east side of the River Elid, and shares common borders with the neighboring Menaphite capital of Menaphos. The city is most well known for its ceremonial treatments of the dead, which it performs for the majority of the Menaphite nation.

Sophanem was founded in the Second Age, shortly before the reign of Pharaoh Queen Senliten. It remained a relatively small village well into the Third Age, at which point the Kharidian Desert Campaign forced refugees from besieged settlements such as Uzer and Ullek to flee further south for survival. This re-location of most of the desert's populace essentially left Sophanem at the Menaphite nation's center, eventually leading to its incorporation as part of a joint-capital with Menaphos.

In 169 of the Fifth Age, Sophanem was beset by a number of plagues, all caused by the Menaphite goddess Amascut. The subsequent quarantine left the city cut off from the outside world in virtually every way. To access the city, players must begin the Icthlarin's Little Helper quest, although the completion of Contact! opens many features such as the city's bank and a number of shops. Amongst players, it is perhaps most popular for the thieving-based Pyramid Plunder minigame, as well as its efficiency as a base of operations for those exploring the southern desert.

The city's southern border is currently inaccessible, although maps such as the one found in the Runecrafting Guild and those used during charter ship voyages suggest that the city may border the Southern Sea. This may indicate that the city will be opened up further in the future.

Contents

History

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Early History

The exact date of Sophanem's founding is unclear; however, it is known to have occurred some time slightly prior to Pharaoh Queen Senlite's reign over the Menaphite nation, which pre-dated the conversion of the Mahjarrat to Zaros's forces. This places its establishment during the early Second Age, likely within several hundred years of Guthix's descent into slumber at the First Age's closing.

Despite the Menaphite people's long presence in the Kharidian Desert, Sophanem is comparatively young for a Kharidian settlement. Prior to the construction of Sophanem and Menaphos, the Menaphites lived primarily in settlements along the north and eastern rims of the desert, such as the prosperous metropolises of Ullek and Uzer. According to the religious text Tumeken's Dream, which is apparently held in high regard by the current High Priest of Icthlarin, Ullek was a thriving capital city long before Sophanem was even conceived. These early cities' close proximity to the Eastern Sea gave them the ability to trade with regions such as Misthalin, the Hallowland, and the Eastern Sea islands that even in the early Second Age were being settled in to some degree. Sophanem's location makes it somewhat unique amongst early Menaphite settlements in that it is located far from the Eastern Sea, instead relying on the River Elid and Southern Sea for sustenance.

Sophanem's prominence today is not reflected in its early history, during which it was little more than a small trading settlement on the desert's southern fringe. Like its close neighbor, the prosperous city of Ullek, Sophanem was built in a heavily-wooded area thick with lumber, game, granite, and sandstone. These were presumably its main exports, which it could have traded with ease both within the Southern Sea and along the River Elid. Most of the settlements built along the Elid have long since disappeared, and exactly what exists in the ocean south of Sophanem remains unknown to most modern societies. The only people with whom Sophanem is known to have traded are the Bedabin, who lived in the western Kharid and frequented the area to hunt and barter.

The remains of Ullek, one of Sophanem's Second Age neighbors.

Like the rest of the Menaphite settlements, Sophanem was and still is a firm worshipper of the Desert Pantheon. Unlike in later years, however, the Pantheon had little physical presence in Sophanem, instead opting to focus its attention on more established parts of the nation. This idea was further re-inforced when Zaros, a deity of considerable power, arrived in Gielinor from a parallel world in the early Second Age. Zaros waged war on the Menaphites from the area that is now Morytania, which had not yet been settled by the Icyene of the Eastern Lands. The northern parts of the Kharidian Desert became areas of intense combat, as Zaros's vampyre, demon, and human armies attempted to gain a foothold in the region. The Menaphites' human, clay golem, and Mahjarrat forces managed to repel Zaros with comparative ease, eventually forcing him to set his sights on what are now Misthalin, Asgarnia, and the Wilderness instead. Sophanem itself remained relatively uninvolved in the war, its isolation allowing it to avoid anything more than troop and supply provision.

As the Second Age progressed, Sophanem changed little. At some point, the Mahjarrat left the Menaphite people, choosing instead to ally themselves with Zaros, who had, since his failed movement into the Kharid, begun to gain territory north of the desert. With their aid, Zaros managed to expand his sphere of influence to include most of mainland Gielinor east of Lassar. Sophanem itself was mostly unaffected by this, and as the Second Age began to near an end, Sophanem was still a minor settlement at most.

The God Wars and Rise in Prominence

At the end of the Second Age, Zaros was betrayed by the Mahjarrat General Zamorak and subsequently was forced out of the Gielinorian plane. In the wake of Zaros's banishment, most of his empire crumbled fairly rapidly, forcing many refugees to seek survival in the Kharidian Desert. Most of these fled to the western Kharid, where they immediately came into conflict with both the Bedabin people and, eventually, Sophanem. Being disorganized and unaccustomed to desert life, these "bandits" never created huge problems for Sophanem, although their presence disrupted the Bedabin peoples' hunting system.

The Kharidian Desert remained relatively uninvolved in the God Wars, although the Third Age nonetheless brought immediate change to the Kharidian Desert and Sophanem. By the mid-Third Age, climate change began to hit the southern desert hard. What had formerly been lush temperate forests began to heat up significantly, and by Year 3,000 lumber supplies were becoming extremely scarce in cities such as Sophanem and Ullek. Living patterns began to change for Sophanem, which had to gradually shift its industry away from lumber and game. Its dependence upon imports began to grow, causing trade in the Southern Sea to become a necessity.

The Kharidian Desert Campaign, which lasted from 3,000 to 4,000, saw the desert's more prominent participation in the God Wars and the eventual rise of Sophanem. Seeking to gain new land and resources, a number of deities and racial factions set their sights on the northern Kharid, the most numerous of these being Zamorakians and Saradominists. Menaphite control over the northern desert rapidly declined as extremely violent battles destroyed neutral settlements, forcing refugees such as Nardarine to flee further south to escape the conflicts. Lord Lowerniel Vergidiyad Drakan, a mostly independent vampyre lord that had toppled the Hallowland some time after the banishment of Zaros, also sought to extend Morytania into the northern Kharid, although with minimal success. Sometime during the campaign, Uzer fell to the Elder Demon Thammaron, and Ullek was annhialated by the three-faced demon Balfrug Kreeyath.

This violence, and the complete destruction of most of the Menaphite's large cities, eventually forced thousands to seek refuge in Sophanem, one of the last surviving Menaphtie settlements. This inflation in population and cultural significance rapidly turned Sophanem into the Kharidian Desert's largest city.

Travel

Shortcut

A shortcut just east of the bank at the wall leads to the camp just north of Sophanem and west of the Agility Pyramid.

There is also a door at the south-east that is guarded by a Doorman.

Notable features

Sophanem's stall-lined streets following the lifting of the quarantine during Contact!.

Bank

There is a bank in Sophanem for use by anyone who has completed the Contact! quest. It is located below the temple in the north-east.

Sophanem Dungeon

Main article: Sophanem Dungeon

The Sophanem Dungeon is under the bank and features heavily in the Contact! quest. It can be extremely dangerous.

Altar

There is an altar where a player may recharge prayer on the west side of the city.

Pyramid Plunder

Main article: Pyramid Plunder

Pyramid Plunder is in the north-west.

Shops

Shops opened after the Contact! quest:

  • Blades by Urbi (north) - daggers bronze to dragon, scimitar bronze to steel
  • Siamun (tailor shop) (north east) - spinning wheel. After doing Rogue Trader minigame, clothing will be available after bringing 3 cowhides, 3 wolf or snake skins or the shearings of 3 sheep for desert robes OR 3 pots of dye for Menaphite clothes; but he doesn't accept certs (notes).
  • Jamila's Craft Stall (east) - moulds and other crafting supplies
  • Carpenter (east)- nothing now, however does buy willow logs for 40 each
  • Nathifa's Bake Stall (west of carpenter) - bread, cake, chocolate, waterskin(4)
  • Stone mason (south east) - nothing now, but hints at providing services in the future
  • Embalmer (south west store) sells pot, gnome spice, curry leaf, pile of salt, bucket of sap and antipoison potions.
  • Raetul and Co's Cloth Store - stocks various sewing materials and articles of clothing

Monsters

Quests

Trivia

  • Some of the Plagues in Sophanem are very similar to those depicted in the Plagues of Egypt, in keeping with the Kharidian Desert's strong Egyptian theme.
  • Entering and leaving via the gates mandates a chat with one of the Sophanem guards unless you right-click on the gates and select the quick option.
  • Using a spot-potion from the apothecary in Varrock on any citizen results in strange chat about spots.
  • Menaphos and Sophanem have the same letters and are spelled backwards, just that the "p" and the "h" are switched in order to make the cities pronounceable. Soph, a prominent piece of both names, is a Latin root meaning "wise". This seems to play on both Menaphos' and Sophanem's (albeit diminishing) scholarly history.

This article uses material from the "Sophanem" article on the Runescape wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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