Population: Unknown (estimated 15,000 – 50,000 Hobgoblin)
Government: Independent theocratic city-states
Religions: Thule (Chemosh)
Trade: Gemstones, glass, incense
Legions: No standing military (Volunteer militia upon need)
Alignment: LE, NE, CE
Once a great flood plane filled with rich and fertile black earth, the lands of Thule are now rather poor as the ever increasing seasonal rains and hurricanes have washed most of the topsoil into the sea or into the neighboring and lower laying Disputed Territories to the west. Thule is a land of contradictions where the sole purpose of the living is to honor and defend the dead. Land is held in trust for dead ancestors who rule by edict through the priests of Thule.
Life and Society
In the lands of Thule, “Life” is considered a curse handed down from the great god Thule. This curse has its purposes for it is intended to prepare the soul for the afterlife and service to the god in his unearthly realm.
The Priests of Thule rule in the name of the god and the spirits of the ancestors from the great ziggurat temples, which dominate the city-states of Brad-Thule, Churick-Thule and Kraal-Thule. Each autonomous city-state claims a significant portion of land around each city that is used to grow a few simple cereal crops or to support large herds of domesticated bighorn sheep. Each member of society spends two months out of every year in temple service, working farms or herds for the benefit of the temples while at harvest and culling a tithe is sent to the temples of 1/5th of all farm production for the benefit of the ancestors.
From birth through death the hobgoblins of Thule are indoctrinated into the zealot-like religion of the god Thule. Each goblinoid is taught that life and its hardships are present only to prepare a soul for its journey into the afterlife and that death in the service of the god guarantees elevation to a higher status in the realm of Thule. Many goblinoid families regularly hand off excess children to the temples to be acolytes or sacrifices to the god in hopes of increasing their social status in the next life. Personality wise many consider the goblinoids of Thule an overly serious lot with a very intense and overwhelming desire to covert or kill for their religion who are also very uncompromising in recognizing the validity of others beliefs.
The fanatical religion of the region is dedicated solely to the god-king Thule, an aspect of Chemosh. However since the theft of the world and the “great silence” the iron grip is slowly being eroded by the emergence of “Sprit-Talkers” who claim that Thule is not a deity who rewards his followers with everlasting life but instead a great slaver who binds the honored ancestors in shambling corpses which slave away at the direction of the priests. Proscribed by the priests of Thule, these mystically gifted individuals are labeled as heretics and blasphemers who seek to undermine the authority of the god Thule and who endanger the status of all the honored dead in Thule’s kingdom. While the temples still hold power, the underground movement of the Spirit-Talkers is slowly growing.
The priests of Thule who issue edicts in the name of the honored dead of the nation control the government of each city-state. All the dead of the nation who have been determined to be “Thoth,” or blessed in the eyes of Thule, are mummified and taken to the regions temple ziggurats where they are then blessed and then returned to the families. At the equinoxes the honored dead are brought back to the temples where the priests consult with the dead to determine the will of Thule.
There is no standing military, but all the goblinoids of Thule appear to be willing to go to holy war in defense of their religion and honored dead.
Magic and Mysticism
Arcane magic is proscribed, especially any magic’s that be used to communicate with the dead or in the creation of undead. This is a function deemed solely the purview of the temples and their priests. Mystics particularly involved with the Spirit-Talker movement are actively hunted by the powerful temples who view them as a threat to their temporal power.
Major Geographical Features and Locations
Little exists in the land of Thule to distinguish one area from another. It is a harsh and unforgiving land with little potable water and large stretches of dusty inhospitable near desert.
The temples of Thule are engraved with bas-relief that shows the history of the region. From its founding in ancient times as a haven to escape the persecution of the elves to the coming of Thule and the elevation of the honored dead to the present day. The bas-relief tell the various creation myths of the goblinoids as well as a great exodus story detailing their enslavement and attempted genocide by the elves of Valenesti as well as the story of their escape from the elves and their years of wandering and the eventual death of their leader who by the grace of Thule arose again from death to lead them to their promised land.
The goblinoids of Thule have done their best to keep to their traditional borders but since the flooding the lands have slowly become depleted. Even though the goblins look to the next life for all things good, conditions in this life are slowly causing the goblinoids to look out side their traditional boarders in order to seize land, all in the name of the honored dead and the god Thule.
- A Spirit-Talker cell discovered in the city of Churick-Thule itself was found guilty in the temple court and sentenced to mujar-haat, a ceremony where the offenders are literally embalmed alive and then their mummies are ritually burned and destroyed to prevent them from entering the afterlife. However the Spirit-Talkers managed to escape.
- The high priest of the city of Churick-Thule has been preparing for the ceremony of Mar-Duuk. In which he will be transformed into a divine being (lich). The other cities high priests fear his transformation seeing it as a preamble to the eventual invasion of their cities by the powerful priests of Churick-Thule.
- The inhabitants of the sunken city of Aggara seem to have declared a jihad on the temples of Thule. It is rumored that large armies of the drowned have been raised by the priestesses of the sea goddess for some slight made by the god Thule.
There are three cities and a number of “Kralls” which are little villages and farms.
Brad-thule (Small City 6000): The city furthest north, Brad-thule is most concerned with expansion into the Disputed Territories without risking its own existance. Local priests claim that the god-king Thule once ruled from their city, but none outside of Brad-thule believe this claim.
Churick-thule (Small City 8000): Not only believing in the gift of death, the high priests of Churick-thule believe that the gift of undeath is a much greater cause. The other competing cities are concerned by the sept ruling in Churick-thule, primarily because if undead become the majority of the populace, the city’s strength and numbers will not likely diminish over time unless something else is done.
Kraal-thule (Small City 7000): The port city grants the goblin nation direct access to the western seas. Originally inland, the Drowning was seen as a blessing by the surviving citizens. Now the clergy of Kraal-thule hope to expand their reach up and down the shores faster than the other cities can expand on the inland. The quality of goblin-crafted ships has been steadily improving over the years, but the threat of Aggara is being taken very seriously.