Tashramada, Sovereignty of

by Carteeg Struve

Capital: Sahterilka
Population: 275,347 (Human 93%, Corinesti 4%, Gildanesti 3%)
Government: Oligarchy/Theocracy
Religions: Tashrama
Languages: Common, Elven, Hudieran
Trade: Metal, Artifacts, Clams, Corn, Grain Wheat, Leather, Oysters, Pearls, Whale Oil, Wool.
Legions: Tashramada Legion (Svasevta), The Rocuran Fleet, The Hand of the State.
Alignment: LG, NG, LN, N, LE, NE

Before the Drowning, Pelcatis, the nation that would become Tashramada, was much smaller than its current form. The nation of Narstedh, located directly east of Tashramada, was most swallowed up by the Sargassi Sea. The lands that survived merged with Tashramada in order to survive in the time following the Drowning.

In the current age, the nation of Tashramada is a place of turmoil and uncertainty, but it is also a place of steadfast fanaticism. Much of the central to southern regions of Tashramada are covered with a tropical savanna that did not exist prior to the Drowning. The northernmost reaches are covered with both wild and maintained wheat fields.

Life and Society

Even after the Great Lord Sovereign exposed the Elder Dragons as the true powers behind the Tashramadic Church, a vast majority of the citizens in Tashramada held fast to their believes and support of the church. Although there are no Elder Dragons located within its borders, the church was founded in these lands in the 150s AD when representatives of the dragons came and met in secrecy in the capital Sahterilka. The Tashrama became the first strong cohesive power in Tashramada, and so a majority of the people supported them. Since then, their influence within the borders has not wavered.

A few towns in the mid-west of the nation comprise of people who are not so “pious” as the rest of the country. These people primarily support the unified Sovereignties or are apathetic to the situation as a whole. But they are in the vast minority here, and if it wasn’t for their proximity to the main trade routes into FyxZharar, it is likely those towns would had been enveloped by extremists of the Tashrama long ago.

Still, even with the conflict and friction of the Tashrama and the Sovereignties coming to a head, most people continue to focus on their daily lives. The farmers to the north supply much of the Midlands with wheat, corn, and breads. The coastal villages have adapted to their new shoreline and have become experts in fishing bivalves and crustaceans (fish is oddly minimal along Tashramada’s stretch of the Ason Coast). The whaling industry has also taken off. Water buffalo hides have recently become a new major export, and the mining towns scattered throughout the Droakcalm hills on the southern border have been turning out useful metals for over a century with no sign of depletion.

Religion

In the scattered villages, towns, and cities across the heated grasslands, most Tashramans uphold their religious traditions and practices with a devout passion. Up until recently, they had obeyed the declarations of the secretive Tashramadic Council without question. With the Elder Dragons exposed, some sects have appeared who believe that the time of the Council is done, and that worship of the “Gods made flesh” (as they believe the Elder Dragons are) should be done directly. Others believe that the Council comprises of those few chosen mortals who best exemplify their gods teaching and thus should be obeyed as if they were the mouths of the gods themselves.

Followers of the newly reforming Tao-Shin are widely seen as heretics and are treated and abused as such. The severity of how they are treated depends specifically what community they are in at the time. Those few towns more supportive of the Midland Sovereignties tend to be more open to them, but on the whole the number of Tao-Shin followers in Tashramada is extremely small.

Government

The nation of Tashramada is divided between two governments. The Tashramadic Council has had control of the welfare and spiritual needs of the Tashraman people for centuries, but in the last few decades a small and insignificant (at least perceived so by the church) challenge had arisen.

The Council of State (the Locohra) was installed with the backing of the Midland Sovereignties, intended to be a replacement for the secretive theocracy. This government body of twelve plus one chairman (the Sabanya) was created to run the affairs of Tashramada and bring the nation under the rule of the Midland Sovereignties.

The ability for the Council of State to enforce its rule over the nation has been problematic at best. Most towns and cities refuse to pay taxes to them and instead send tithe to the Tashramadic Council. The Locohra has on occasion targeted some towns and begun applying pressure to bring them into their own control. The Tashrama has also applied similar pressure in some western towns that have come under the sway of the Sovereignties. Many times those working for the Tashrama have tried to penetrate the well-armed offices of the Locohra in Sahterilka, but most tries reached very bloody ends.

Military

The Tashramadic church has two local militaries separate from the church’s own guard to protect Tashramada from enemies both foreign and domestic. The Tashramada Legion, formally named the Svasevta (which means “The Breath of God”), is the standing army of the country under the direction of the Tashramadic Council. The Svasevta holds itself to religious and spiritual standards as much as to skill in battle and the desire to protect the faithful. Adherence to tradition is also highly praised within the legion.

The Rocuran Fleet is the naval forces of Tashramada. Up until recently they were loyal to the church, but upon the discovery of the Elder Dragons as the power of the church, the leader of the fleet Adimia Orassa began to lose faith. Quietly he began to hunt through the ranks to find men and women who felt the same way. In time, his heart came to hear the call of one of the true gods, a beautiful spirit of the sea. As the rest of the Tashramadic church began final preparation for the coming war with the Sovereignties, Orassa launched a massive assault against the sections of his own navy still loyal to the church. Now the Rocuran Fleet sails the waters off the Ason Coast, only rarely risking to make port on their homeland. They continue to patrol the sea to protect their homeland, but the remaining navy is hated by those on the mainland who side with the Tashrama.

The Council of the State is not without its own forces. The Hand of the State, referred to by those loyal to the Midlands as simply “the army,” does what it can to keep the towns under the jurisdiction of the Locohra safe and also bring more towns under their control.

In the past several years, the Hand and the Svasevta have battled several times over lands. It is expected to decay into full blown civil war shortly, a war the Svasevta will have the upper hand with if the Locohra does not receive a large amount of outside assistance.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic of any sort is highly prized and respected in Tashramada. There are many sects and parishes that use magic as part of their ceremonies, especially those who hold the Black Branch of the church in higher regard. The use of magic to the Tashramans is a sign of the blessing of talent or holiness, depending on the type of magic being used. To use magic without acknowledging the blessings of the church is an affront to the gods (namely the Elder Dragons) who “gifted the ability to use the magic in the first place,” or so they claim.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Ason Coast: From the Kiyeb peninsula in Tashramada to Emperium Gate in Dhu, the Ason Coast is a famed fishing ground that produces maritime resources demanded in much of the Midlands and Esorucak Islands. Oddly enough, the amount of fish available off of Tashramada’s shore is small, but the waters are filled with other seafood: including clams, lobsters, crabs, sharks, whales, and other more dangerous creatures. As such, “fishing” villages are scattered up the coastline. With there being a local custom of only certain rare types meats from land-based creatures available for consumption, the desire to dine from the sea is very popular in Tashramada.

A local legend claims that a massive sea monster, a dragon of sorts, swims in these waters. But other than a few deaths contributed by most to shark attacks, no clear evidence has proven this beast truly exists.

Droakcalm Hills: Although the weather is identical to the heat in the Heartlands of Tashramada, the Droakcalm Hills on the southern border near the Heskeram Desert form a blocky horizon for those to the north. The plateaus and canyons manned by a number of mining colonies working on delivering steel, iron, and other useful common metals to the nation. Tight and brutal security insures that nothing is stolen by greedy outsiders, including Montegron’s forces, and also that the mining villages and tunnels are protected from the wildlife that roams the yellow and dusty-tan rocks that form these steep cliffs.

Narshik Forest: The only sizable forest in Tashramda lies to the north of the capital between Memorance Lake in Dhu and the Ason Coast. This area receives a high quantity of water from the constant rains that pour down on it, which allows the vegetation to grow and thrive. The reason for the perpetual rain that does vary from light sprinkles to hurricane forces is unknown. Ever since the Drowning, the Narshik forest has been watered from the eternal clouds above it.

In the forest, many variants of the animal-life that desire shelter from the hot conditions of the Heartlands or the civilized settlements around other areas of Memorance Lake live here. A small number of villages populate sections of the forest, mainly by those who give highest respect to the Green Branch of the Tashrama.

The Heartlands: The savannah-like area that covers most of the central regions (and some south) of Tashramada is known as the Heartlands. Villages, towns, outposts, and cities dot a sun-baked land covered in tall grasses and parched earth. Lions, rhinoceros, elephants, giant spiders, and other exotic creatures not often found elsewhere in Adlatum roam here. Traders, travelers, and the army use some of these animals, just as rhino and elephants, as mounts or pack animals. Travelers who do not cross these lands with some method of protection often become prey for the wildlife. After the Days of Darkness, a larger variety of wildlife has been seen in the Heartlands, much of it more vicious and dangerous.

Regional History

The history of Tashramada begins with a land named Pelcatis. It was initially formed as a province of a long-fallen theocracy thousands of years ago. Upon the larger nation’s collapse, Pelcatis continued to exist as its own separate and smaller entity. Although weak compared to its immediate neighbors, it acted as a buffer between several powers that grew and faded over the years.

During the Canon War, Pelcatis sent units into the battle, but were often put under the command of officers from the Empire of Dhu or the nation of Narstedh. Often when Pelcha soldiers were promoted, they were impressed into the Narstedh armies to further show the greatness of Narstedh without Pelcatis gaining any importance in the view of the overall alliance.

The tide of history changed due to both the Drowning and a minor rebellion conducted by Pelcha forces. Tired of subjugating themselves to larger more arrogant powers, Captain Rajani Abhay, one of the few female Pelcha officers disobeyed orders and led her units out of position to prevent a large incursion of minotaurs from pressing south towards her homeland (having been born on the battlefield, Rajani Abhay, ironically had never seen her homeland until her fortieth year). Her superiors were willing to risk Pelcatis’ safety in order to better surround the enemy and destroy the incursion. Captain Abhay did not wish to sacrifice the lives of her own citizens at the orders of heartless foreigners from Narstedh. A large percentage of her forces included men from Pelcatis, and they followed her treason. Those within the unit who showed objection were executed in the night.

Captain Abhay’s forces began hit and run attacks against the minotaurs, slowly cutting their numbers down while minimizing their own losses. However the incursion was too strong compared to their own numbers, and four out of five soldiers in her ranks were slain. Eventually the minotaurs reached Pelcatis and burned three towns. The Narstedh forces nearby under the direction of General Kamsthun were purposefully held back from surrounding the enemy as punishment to the Pelcha who turned against the orders of the higher command. When the minotaurs reached their first city in Pelcatis, Abhay and her remaining seventy men stood at the city gates on the hillside, ready to kill as many minotaurs as they could before the city of Kutaray would be sacked. She prayed for her people to be protected. In a bittersweet way, it was.

The attack began, but the minotaurs never reached the walls. After a massive onslaught of arrows, boulders, and magic, the minotaur army charged up the tall hill to undermanned Kutaray. A roar paused the charge, and every turned to the southeast in horror as a giant tidal wave began to crash over the lands. The minotaurs quickly charged the city again, but this time hoping to get to higher ground. Very few made it in time, and most who reached the city were slaughtered by the defenders. Out of an attacking force of seventy-eight thousand, only twelve made it within the gate. The wave struck Kutaray, destroying buildings, roads, and the hill itself. But days later when the water levels receded, everyone who stood within Kutaray’s walls when the wave struck had miraculously survived. It would take years for families and friends to find each other as many were swept far and wide during the horrors of the flooding, and many were injured severely. But the greatest lost was when it was discovered that Captain Abhay and her remaining men had all perished holding as many of the minotaurs outside of the city as possible. Whatever blessing held for those who within Kutaray’s walls, it did not extend to those outside.

The rest of Pelcatis was in shambles, but even with the destruction and death, many were grateful. The Canon War ended with the destruction of the invading armies, and the two empires that had been using Tashramada as a source of fodder, Dhu and Narstedh, were destroyed. All of Narstedh’s major cities were removed from the map, and Dhu only had a small fraction of land left to hold its name. Over time, the Narstedhi survivors turned to Pelcatis for help, and it was given. What was left of Narstedhi was annexed along with the lands abandoned by the people of FyxZharar who fled into the mountains, turning what used to be a small province into the largest post-Drowning nation of the Midlands in area.

A large period of adjustment followed. For the first time Pelcatis had a shoreline, but the heat from the warm waters changed the landscape. In place of green hills and lush forests, the savannah of the Heartlands formed. Wild animals, many Adlatum had never seen before, began to prowl these territories, trying to adapt to their new surroundings. Many of the Narstedhi survivors built small towns along the Ason Coast and turned to life living off the sea. The northern third of the enlarged country began to grow wild grains and other plants. Pelcatis healed faster than many other countries in the western half of Adlatum, and it became a stabilizing force of trade in the region. But although stabilized, it was not strong enough to keep the peace. Warlords, bandits, and various factions struggled to cut away at the land and rise up from the ashes of the Drowning as powers of their own. True stability would be a long ways off.

In 142 AD, priests began to return to the land, many focusing their attentions on the people of Pelcatis. These Tashramadic priests told of how the gods were forgiving, and that if they ended their squabbling and come to worship in faith again that the gods would accept them. Stories of the healing magic also traveled the land, and with demonstrations of these powers at specific holy sites around the Midlands the Pelcha came to praise the gods and join the Tashrama, the Church of the Divine Ladder. In 230 AD, the selected elites from the major settlements decided to consolidate Pelcatis’ power into a small board made up of the spiritual spokesmen of the various branches of the church. Historians debate as to whether this was the formation of the secretive Tashramadic Council, or if the council already existed and this was merely a handing over a power. Eight years later, Pelcatis changed its name to Tashramada to further honor of the church.

Although none of the Holy Lands of the church were within Tashramada’s border, the theocracy became a meeting place for members of all branches of the faith to come and freely worship and mingle. The government of Tashramada and the leadership of the church became synonymous (although many believe this was actually the case since 230 AD, but the public was unaware of it). The influence of Tashramada grew in the following centuries. By 350 AD, the church had extended its reach into each and every Midland nation.

Soon in the following years, men and women preaching the faith of false gods began to sprout up in the Midlands. Some recognized this faith to be a throwback to the ancient theocracy that existed long before the Drowning. Many of these new clerics showed the ability to demonstrate clerical magic and healing outside of the Tashramadic Holy Lands. In Tashramada and many other places, followers of this new religion were denounced as heretics and persecuted, imprisoned, or in some extreme cases executed. The Tashramadic Council called on all of its priests to preach the good works done by the Tashrama over the last two centuries and to fight these heretics with sermons and proper teachings. For thirty-years the Church of the Divine Ladder struggled to put down the heresy of this Tao-Shin, Church of the Divine Paths.

When the Days of Darkness came, and the beasts of Chaos filled the sky, the Tashramadic Council heard of the deeds of a noble warrior from the northwest who had taken control of many of the Tashramadic armies to the northwest and led them to victory against the darkness. With the Starfall came the realization that the Tao-Shin was swiftly doomed. With the false gods gone, the land was theirs.

In order to further secure their own place in the spiritual needs of the Midland people and also the political control of the region, the Tashramadic Council quietly offered to this praised warrior hero, Lord Montegron, to put him in charge of a unified Midlands. He would be a holy warrior standing tall as an example to all. The populace would praise him, and through him the Council would have a more direct say over the actions of the Midland nations.

Montegron agreed to decision, but upon secretly meeting with church representatives, he added a single stipulation. He would not be a puppet for the Tashramadic Council. He would rule the Midland Sovereignties on his own. Realizing that such an arrangement would make their own say on foreign matters obsolete, the Council attempted to have an accident befall the hero. Their repeated attempts failed, and Lord Montegron began to move forward with the concept of a unified Midlands under his own rule. Both sides kept their earlier negotiations with each other out of the public eye in order to save face, but from that point on the Tashrama and Montegron’s Sovereignties have been at odds with each other. To make matters worse, even while Montegron was in talks to the Tashrama, he had already sent out his own men into the various nations to help stabilize the regions and secure any governments weakened by the Days of Darkness. Their acts became praise for Montegron, and the Lord began to collect the loyalty of the nations under his belt. For years, only Tashramada was outside of his reign.

This changed to a small extent in 409 AD. Sovereign Lord Montegron snuck a large contingent of mages and guardsmen into the capital of Sahterilka, where many believe the Tashramadic Council meetings are held. A noble named Rejada Harshal opened up his mansion to the Midland forces upon suspecting that the Tashramadic Council would soon be excommunicating him. Rejada, who’s father was a Corinesti and mother a Gildanesti noble, allowed his home to become the offices of the newly installed government, loyal to the Midland Sovereignties.

The estate was exceedingly well manned by Montegron’s military personnel, and the Tashramadic Council was unable to uproot the Sovereignties’ tiny hold in the capital. Instead they focused their efforts in keeping the influence of Montegron’s puppet government (the Locohra) bottled up. So far the word of the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron appears to only extend to the extreme western border of Tashramada (where the original Pelcatis used to be) and to wherever the Sovereignties’ forces roam to at the time.

Since Montegron made announced to the people of the Midlands that five powerful dragons were truly running the Tashrama with the Tashramadic Council as their puppets, the Locohra has attempted to push its control into more towns. So far it has had only mixed results. A majority of Tashramada is remaining faithful to the church their have supported for almost 300 years.

Current Events

    • Rumor has it that the Rocuran Fleet battled one of the Sovereignties’ ships when some type of negotiations turned sour. The common belief that the fleet would be joining the Midlands appears to no longer be valid.
    • Nine of the twelve members of the Locohra were assassinated during a number of separate attacks all conducted in a single night. The three surviving Councilmen and Sabanya Kanta Amar have vanished, possibly having gone into hiding.
    • The Tashrama is seeking an alliance with the Aldar dwarves to the south, claiming that the Midland Sovereignties wish to tear apart any religion or faith that does not conform to their own standard, and that soon they will turn their eyes onto Adlarism once the Tashrama has been sundered.
    • Arguments have erupted between Tashramada and Dhu over the rights of artifacts found within Memorance Lake. Many cities and towns destroyed in the Drowning exist in a preserved state at the bottom of this lake, and Tashramada has been sending teams out to salvage what can be found. The weakened nation of Dhu claims ownership over the entire lake and its contents, but Tashramada has countered that it has as much claim to those waters as the remnant of the smashed Empire of Dhu does.
  • A Corinesti trader is quietly hunting for adventurers. She is convinced that the whale meat and oils being solid out of one of the villages on the Ason Coast actually originates from murdered ocean gliders.

Major Settlements

Hrika (Large Town 1,839): In 374 AD, this Corinesti village located underwater off of the Ason Coast chose to show its piety by allowing Tashramada to annex it. Although it is inaccessible to most Tashramadans, this underwater community has held fast to the church’s teachings, even after Montegron exposed the true power of the church to be the Elder Dragons. Most other Corinesti shun Hrika as traitors since they have fully allied themselves with a land-nation. Hrika is located thirty-five miles off of the shoreline.

Pavatan (Large City 10,930): This coastal city to the north stretches for ten miles without going more than mile inland. Pavatan brings in a majority of seafood and imports to Tashramada while farmers outside of the city borders produce much of the region’s grain and corn supplies. Pavatan used to be the second largest seaport in Tashramada, but the larger city of Nubai located north of the capital was swallowed by the sea during the Days of Darkness. The Tashrama has recently bolstered its own military presence in Pavatan thinking it would be a likely target for Montegron’s forces in the coming war. The fishing guild has promised to support the holy army in any and all fashion should war break out.

Sachi Ajat (Small City 6,520): Located in the Droakcalm Hills, this city is the oldest mining settlement still in existence. Although it was built to house those who would cut into the plateaus and hills in the best way possible to extract metals, the town itself appears to had been shaped out of the living rock, as if the land had somehow shaped itself into homes, stores, and roads. Sachi Ajat was built as an intricate maze of crevices (roads) through the rock (buildings) that would slow down any invading force not familiar with the city layout.

Sahterilka (Metropolis 40,442): The walled capital rests south of the Narshik Forest and on top of a cliff overlooking Memorance Lake in Dhu. None of the buildings are flush to the streets. Instead wide stretches of well-tended grass and trees that would find difficulty surviving outside of the capital in the Heartlands buffer the roadways from the homes, businesses, and palaces.

The museums, temples, and palaces are unique in style compared to the rest of the Midlands. Many use high walls with rounded, yet peaked, archways to give a feeling of spaciousness between rooms or to the outside, and tear-shaped domes are often built into the center to show off the high points of the structure. Brilliant red sandstone and marble are the most common materials used in the highly detailed patterns on the walls, and those with wealth use gold and silver as adornments to give the holy city a greater sense of grandeur.

The Harshal palace, where the Sabanya fought to rule Tashramada in a manner loyal to the midland Sovereignties, is no exception. However high walls surround the main building in order to give the many archers a great advantage over any attacking force. Thus only the central dome and its central spire can be seen from the outside, hardly an impressive symbol defying the Tashrama.

It is rumored that the Tashramadic Council also meets within Sahterilka, and many of the temples are worshiped as locations where the Council often meets. Many believe they cycle from temple to temple in order to keep moving. But the truth is that the public has no sure knowledge as to whether the secretive council even meets in Sahterilka. All that is known is that decisions of the Council are first proclaimed to the public here.

Solishairon, Sovereignty of

by Kranar Drogin

Capital: Port Solishairon (Metropolis, 51,445)
Population: 201,546 (Human 87%, Corinesti 6%, Oguna 4%, Gildanesti 3%)
Government: Monarchy
Religions: major – Tashrama (red branch), minor – Tao-Shin
Languages: Common, Elven, Igurni, Trejori
Trade: Reef Fish, Antiques
Legions: Army of Brimstone, Runesheer
Alignment: NG, CG, N, LN, CE

Solishairon (So-lih-shair’-on) is located north of Isryan, east of Kedaltol, and south of the Ogun in the Broken Lands. Solishairon is one of surviving nations from the Drowning and had one of many lasting monarchies from the time before the Drowning. Bordering the ogre lands to the north has allowed for the Oguna to travel into the lands, establishing their own towns there and answering to the crown of Solishairon. The men and women from Solishairon are known for their trading and sailing skills. Solishairon is also home of Brimstone, the dark Holy Lands of the red branch of the Tashrama, and the Red Elder Dragon Traxus.

Life and Society

The nation of Solishairon focuses itself on three pillars: trade, sword, and song.

The first pillar is primarily supported by a strong shoreline fishing industry. Trade was bolstered further by trade with the Hartdar in the west, the Corinesti in the east, the Oguna to the north, and the rest of the Midlands to the southwest. Major imports to Solishairon are antiques from before the Drowning recovered by the Corinesti. Many wealthier citizens have taken to purchasing and trading of these expensive relics.

With a decent amount of trade conducted with neighboring nations, Solishairon has a healthy economy even though it occasionally suffers hardships due to the war-bent red branch of the Tashrama having its Holy Land towards its southern border. After the Army of Brimstone attempted to seize control of Solishairon in 406 AD, the nation’s leader Archduke Terstah Hendurg began to expand the standing army and navy. Citizens began to volunteer in record numbers.

Another major focus for the people of Solishairon is the arts. Many sculptors, painters, composers, chefs, and other artists of all sorts had come to this country to receive formal study. The city of Onster was founded as the new location of the Midland’s premier bardic college, and many other cities have numerous museums and performance centers spread throughout.

The people of Solishairon believe in the importance of their pillars: trade to gain the funding to make society work, the sword to protect the lives from the evils outside of their country and from within, and song to give the defended and funded lives meaning and spirit.

Religion

Many faiths are welcome in Solishairon, which views itself as culturally diverse. Still there are always critics and even dangerous detractors regardless of the religion in question, especially the Tashrama. Only in the towns near Brimstone do supporters of the red branch staunchly defend their territory, preparing for an expected attack by the Sovereignties.

The Tao-Shin has found a small haven here in several towns and cities. Many are finding this “fresh new” religion as a source of inspiration for their art. This results in many people being open to the Tao-Shin, but not overly inclined to join it. A minority of the population does complain about the new religious sect, but in Solishairon there are always some willing to be a critic about anything.

Government

Years the Starfall, Montegron deposed the ruling king of Solishairon on the grounds of incompetence, corruption, and treason. The dukes and guild heads appreciated the removal declared Montegron king. Unwilling to keep his goals focused on a single nation, he appointed Duke Stefan Hendurg to rule in his stead as Archduke, but officially Montegron is the king of Solishairon.

The position of archduke has tremendous influence on the nation, but both Stefan and his grandson Terstah don’t often use this power to any great degree. Matters of military are handled by Batila Commander Strode. Matters of economy are handled by Trade Guildmaster Luccas Serannah. Even though the Guildmaster is not officially part of the government, his influence with the Archduke effectively makes his word on these matters law. During the twenty-six years of Stefan Hendurg rule, he acted to make sure aims were coordinated between those who were experts in their own fields, but otherwise he left most of the decision making to those who knew better than he. Even during the 406 AD attack from Brimstone, he left most of the decisions to Batila Commander Strode and Lord Montegron. After his retirement, his grandson became Archduke and began to use the position solely for the perks. However by neglecting his duties and continuing to allow those his grandfather trusted to run their various areas of Solishairon, so far the nation has been continuing to prosper.

Military

The Runesheer is the joint army and naval forces of Solishairon. Originally formed as a group of soldiers and mages fighting in union during the Canon War, after the Drowning the Runsheer became the official defense of the nation after the original fighting force was destroyed. Since the Starfall, the number of spellcasters within the Runsheer had fallen off, but for the last few years some spellcasting refugees escaping the turmoil in Etlarn have come to Solishairon and chosen to join the local defense while others have joined the workforce.

The second largest military in Solishairon is the Army of Brimstone. The military minded branch of the Tashrama has been trying to rebuild its numbers since the devastating defeat in 406 AD. High Priest Pharon Blayda, who secretly is running the entire red branch of the Tashrama, leads the Army of Brimstone.

Magic and Mysticism

Both arcane and divine magic is generally welcome in Solishairon, although divine magic has had more detractors due to the country’s history with the red branch of the Tashrama. With the slowly growing Tao-Shin offering a ‘new’ source of divine casting, many citizens are becoming more open to it.

Although magic is usually not feared in Solishairon, a majority of the population is vastly ignorant or misinformed about the capabilities each type of magic has, how they works, and what each can do. Many artists also write stories, operas, and songs that exaggerate and over aggrandize things for the purpose of making their works appear more epic. As such, what wonders many spellcasters are capable of tend to disappoint most people, even if they had never seen magic in use before. This has resulted in the minority of available spellcasters to be taken for granted even though their abilities are becoming vital in the further development of towns and cities.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Brimstone: On the southern shore of Solishairon, close to the Isryan border, a fifty square-mile circle of black smoke covers the region. No light source is able to operate within, and nobody’s eyesight whether natural or magical can see through this cursed darkness, with the exception of a few devout. Brimstone is one of the Holy Lands of the Tashrama and home to Traxus, the Red Elder Dragon. Although impossible to see in this land, the interior is a hellish inferno. Even for a good distance outside of Brimstone’s borders, the air is thick with the smell of sulfur. Rents in the land emit smoke and superheated black flames. All of the rocks on the ground are scalding to the touch. Nothing grows in these lands, and rarely will any enter to visit. Even High Priest of the Tashrama Pharon Blayda rarely enters, and does so only to keep up appearances that he is receiving instruction from the Elder Dragon within.

The Domed Towers of Ampyer: Near the tip of Cape Prayer in southeastern Solishairon this is a large gray dome made from unknown material rising up from out of the ground. Partway-up one side of the smooth surface is a small crack just large enough for a man to crawl through. On the inside towards the middle of a flat tiled surface of brown, orange, and yellow shapes, are six towers. Each tower stands at least three hundred feet tall and is connected three-quarters up by arcing bridge-ways, forming a hexagon with each tower at an apex. There are no doors or opening at ground level to any of the towers, but some figure there must be openings higher up where the bridges connect. The dome is gigantic enough that the tower tops are only halfway up to the curved ceiling above.

All magic appears to fail both inside the dome and within ten feet of the exterior. No one has yet been able to climb up the highly polished towers to get to the bridge level in order to investigate the tower interiors. Since the opening on the exterior is jagged, sharp, and difficult to climb to, few ever venture inside.

To the best of everyone’s knowledge, the dome was first seen after the Drowning. There are no records of any such structure existing prior to the Drowning.

Regional History

Solishairon has a long history as one of the oldest nations in the Midlands. When the now lost magocracy of Shyrsa collapsed thousands of years ago, pockets of civilization clung together. One of these fragments became the nation of Solishairon. The ruling family of Joaneir began a rule that would make it the longest chain of generations ruling uninterrupted for a single family anywhere in the Midlands, and possibly Adlatum. The first king, Franko Joaneir, began his reign after leading armies against the armies of a power red dragon (many now theorize the red to had been the Elder Dragon Traxus) during the Dragon Wars of ancient history.

Over the years, as the rival Kingdom of Isryan grew in the south, animosity between the powers similarly grew. War and peace broke out between them sporadically as centuries passed. Many times the reasons for the war were as foolish as an insult given at a gathering of nobles, and some times the reasons were as intricate as a conspiracy in which money was laundered through false trade agreements from one nations treasury to the other. Once around 1498 PD, when Isryan joined the power of a growing theocracy, Solishairon was attacked as part of a declaration of the country’s excommunication.

Then in 1250 PD, Solishairon turned its focus against the minotaurs when a border dispute turned into a full scale conflict known as the Midland-Etlarn War (Etlarn joined the fight on the side of the Midlands, against the minotaurs).

Things returned to normal in 1032 PD, when Isryan broke off from the theocracy by ignoring church decrees and attacking Solishairon on its own, simply to show itself as an independent state. The Premier of Isryan ended the war quickly and paid Solishairon for damages done, but hard-feelings lasted for centuries.

Conflict between the empires ended when the Canon War began in 100 PD. The animosity remained, but rulers from both nations recognized the greater threat and joined forces against the minotaurs. Both nations’ had their borders drastically altered as fighting fronts shifted. One of the largest battles in the Canon War was the continuous seven-year siege against the Joanucian, the capital of the Solishairon Empire. Towards the end of the siege, , the minotaurs took a lance named Megonue, the star metal weapon of Solishairon, from the corpse of King Ranze. Two days later, one the day before the capital was predicted to finally fall to the minotaurs, one wielding the dead king’s own lance, the Drowning ended the war and the city.

Much of the lands that were either still under Solishairon’s control or had been taken by the minotaurs during the war were sent beneath the waves of the newly formed Sargassi Sea. The royal family of Joaneir survived only due to a young Prince Jeorg venturing through a mountain for a magical legend meant to insure his country’s survival and the end to the minotaur threat. He found nothing, but while in the caves, the rock buffeted the impact of the water. He was knocked unconscious, but when he came to, he left the mountain to discover himself on a small island surrounded by water. It would take him a year before he was able to rescue himself and find the mainland that was the remainder of his country. The small port village, which was not a port over a year before, took their prince in and nursed him to health. Upon coming too, he made the village, Port Solishairon, his home and the new capital.

The people of Solishairon quickly adapted. They were no longer the Empire they were before, but they were not as bad as many other locations in Adlatum. Still King Jeorg Joaneir had much to do to keep his surviving nation from ruin. In 14 AD, Isryan began to lay claim to mines on the edge of the Afanstein Mountains that had been under the control of Solishairon. The Drowning had vastly shifted the path of a river that had marked the border of the nations under a treaty written in 108 PD. King Jeorg knew the mines were an important resource to Solishairon, especially during this period of reconstruction. In 15 AD, the two nations went to war with each other for the first time in 125 years. In 23 AD Solishairon surrendered, allowing Isryan to move its control further into what was Solishairon lands.

King Jeorg was able to keep his nation alive, but it would be his son Benedek who would get Solishairon back up on its feet. The economy of Solishairon turned primarily to fishing and sailing, an odd shift for a country that had been landlocked. He also met with the Corinesti traders and lured many into comprehensive deals, keeping their business close to Solishairon shores. Benedek proved himself to be a crafty and ingenious businessman who could out-deal even the shrewdest of Corinesti traders. Often many walked away from talks with Benedek certain they had come away with a great advantage, only to discover they were given a small pittance for a component in a much larger deal involving other agreements they weren’t even aware of.

In 141 AD, King Andras welcomed the priests of the newly founded Tashramadic church. Five years later, Andras became a mid-ranking priest of the church. Good relations between Brimstone and Port Solishairon only late one more year when Andras’ decisions displease the Tashramadic Council and the king refuses to change the laws of Solishairon to meet the needs of the church. Andras dies at sea in 148 AD. Although Andras’ death is an accident, Andras’ son Petre takes steps to try to keep the Tashrama isolated to the areas around Brimstone.

In 300 AD, the Corinesti Trade Wars hit Solishairon hard. With a vast number of trade agreements being unfulfilled as Corinesti businesses continued to go bankrupt. To keep some degree of wealth stored, King Partrick hired free-lance adventurers to go into the deep waters that used to be the center of Solishairon’s civilization and find ancient relics not yet collected by the Corinesti. With the help of spell casters, enough of the ventures proved to be successful enough for Solishairon to make it through the economic depression that followed.

Several generations later, the large “church guard” gathering around Brimstone attracts the attention of Port Solishairon. King Hanos meets with Premier Eleah Dayne of Isryan to talk about the threat he sees in Brimstone. Premier Eleah Dayne publicly supports the church to Hanos’ dismay. In 351 AD, Eleah Dayne is assassinated. Her successor, Premier Yulii Nelens, is a cleric of Erraii in the Tao-Shin. He works with Hanos to publicly speak out against the Tashrama. For the first time in centuries, the two nations work together in an alliance.

The ancient rule of the Joaneir family ends soon after the Starfall. The Days of Darkness left Solishairon in rubble, and Hanos’ successor, his nephew Fered, used the state of his country to pull what money the citizens of Solishairon had left to build his own fortune. As his country starved, King Fered and his closest friends became fat and slothful. In 391 AD, Lord Montegron came to Solishairon and found the weakened state of the country. Disease and starvation was rampant. Farmers could not afford to seed their lands. Oguna were traveling across the border from the north freely to join the Army of Brimstone. With no legal authority, Montegron deposed Fered on grounds of corruption and treason. The people were so happy to have a real leader within their country, the dukes outside of Fered’s graces handed Montegron the crown. Montegron tried to refuse the title, but the people of Solishairon would not hear of it. Eventually Montegron appointed Duke Stefan Hendurg as Archduke of Solishairon. The Archduke would rule in King Montegron’s place, while he fought to rebuild the entire Midlands.

In 406 AD, the Army of Brimstone attempted to depose the Archduke and claim Solishairon as its own. However Montegron somehow knew the attack was coming and assembled the armies of Solishairon, Guiteger, and Isryan. This period of time has so far been the only time Lord Montegron used his title as King of Solishairon to rule its people since he was crowned in 391 AD. Montegron predicted each of the tactics the Army of Brimstone tried to implement, and what could had become the start of a long destructive war was ended in a day. This win convinced several other Midland nations to agree to Montegron’s proposal for a central Midland government under his control.

Since this victory, Solishairon has become soft. Some of the population are convinced that the Tashrama can be easily handled and have no concern about the rebuilding army. They believe they are in a period of prosperity, and they do everything they can to better the arts and appearance of their cities.

Current Events

    • The Army of Brimstone has been constructing trenches, walls, and ships in order to better fortify themselves. They are convinced an attack is coming, and the Runesheer watching from affair are worried that anything, no matter how small, could set off a full-blown conflict.
    • Local authorities are convinced that one or more refugees from Etlarn are spying on Solishairon for their home country, but they can’t tell whom. During a quiet investigation a week ago, a masked individual assaulted one of local guard during the night. The figure told the guard to turn his eyes away from what does not concern him.
    • Two-dozen Corinesti are requesting the construction of a sizable lake away from the Solishairon shoreline so they may live inland in comfort. They refuse to give a reason why, but considering the amount of money they promise to pay the Solishairon government, the Archduke is entertaining the idea, regardless of the Guildmaster’s opinions. The Guildmaster wants someone to hunt through the caves under the proposed site to see why the Corinesti wish to have the lake dug at that particular location.
  • An Oguna male was arrested and convicted for killing a man in Port Solishairon while in the middle of an emotional rage. The Oguna continues to proclaim his innocence although eight witnesses said otherwise. Now, two days after the trial concluded in a decision of guilty, the bodies of two of the witnesses have washed ashore near Cape Prayer.

Major Settlements

Charnod (Large City 24,503): A sizable city just outside of Brimstone, High Priest Pharon Blayda runs the affairs of the red branch of the Tashrama here. The Scalebound “holy man” pretends to carry out the orders of the Elder Dragon Traxus, but in truth Blayda runs the branch from his offices and temples in Charnod. Most who living in Charnod and the surrounding towns are either loyalists to the military wing of the church here, or mercenaries and thugs believing that the growing Army of Brimstone will eventually become a power strong enough to rival Montegron for the riches of the Midlands. Construction of Charnod began in 385 AD during the initial build up to the Battle of 406 AD. Charnod was burned to the ground after that disastrous campaign, but Blayda had it rebuilt to show that “his” church would not be so easily defeated in the long run.

Charnod has few if any of the marks of beauty held by the cities and towns under the Archduke’s rule. Enjoying a soft life is not Blayda’s aims, and he makes sure his growing army remembers that. Almost every building in Charnod can double for a barracks, and many are forced to live in shared residences “so the faithful will know whom they are fighting along side.” Streets are relatively straight lines running parallel and perpendicular to each other. Most buildings are made from wooden planks or logs with the larger ones having stone foundations. Since the Elder Dragon were exposed, Blayda is often seen in public without any illusion guising his Scalebound appearance. “The time for deception has ended.”

Onster (Large City 15,222): Founded as a college town for the Onster Academy of the Arts, the town of Onster grew in population over the years as many graduates constructed their own studios, restaurants, museums, theaters, and other places of business nearby. The city’s three and four floor structures are stylized with statues and relief images. Most are made of marble, sometimes of varying colors. The beauty of the campus and the rest of the city are maintained with great diligence and rival the beauty of Port Solishairon. The school itself now houses over three thousand five hundred students and two hundred staff.

Port Solishairon (Metropolis 51,445): The capital of Solishairon is a vast city with many ornate buildings over four stories in height. The city has ten miles worth of shoreline, some of it dedicated to the ports, and the rest to assist the Corinesti in their trade with the mainland. On both ends of the city, wide tunnels formed by magic out of the rocky ground lead down under the water, allowing air-breathers to venture under the sea to Seaview, an underwater extension to the capital. This is one more example of the further development the city has been implementing over the years. A major development twenty-years ago was the construction of a new sewer system built to lead waste a far distance away in order to keep the waters used by the Corinesti nearby cleaner.

The city has a large number of palaces and manors, with a multitude of fountains at each intersection. Ever street is paved with white cobblestone. Three city parks are spread out to different parts of Port Solishairon, each with a number of trees from different locations of Adlatum. The only part of the city not kept up to the prestige of the rest of the capital is the “Oguna Hovel,” a sizable district where the poorer citizens must live since they cannot afford the high-class style of the rest of the city. Due to recent tax hikes, the population of the Oguna Hovel has gone up by 25%.

Seaview (Small City 5,032): By hiring a number of spellcasters from both the Midlands and Etlarn, an underwater district was constructed at the bottom of the sea a mile out from Port Solishairon. Two major tunnels connect Seaview to the capital. Mainly these tunnels are covered in rock, but as visitors close in on Seaview, rock turned translucent by magic allow the air-breathers to safely see into the underwater landscape around them. Most of Seaview is filled with buildings and roadways similar to that of Port Solishairon’s style, but with much more of the Corinesti flare. Several of the buildings on the outer edge of the clear cavern at the bottom of the sea have pools that open up into underwater passages to allow Corinesti visitors and citizens entry. The city of Seaview was founded in 405 AD, and is seen by many outside of Solishairon as an engineering and magical marvel. To most in Solishairon, the general opinion is that it is simply one more thing the “better society” can produce.

Mauritand, Sovereignty of

by Carteeg Struve

Capital: Losojadan
Population: 140,675 (Human 80%, Hartdar 7%, Gildanesti 4%, Bakali 3%, Mentoi 3%, Sekhnesti 1%, Corinesti 1%, Other 1%)
Government: Monarchy
Religions: None Prevalent
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Hudieran
Trade: Diamonds, Glass, Horses, Slaves, Timber
Legions: The Daimyo Law, Sword Infantry
Alignment: LG, NG, LN, N, LE

Distant from the power centers of the Tashrama, Mauritand’s (Maw-rih’-tand) primary concern is it’s protection of its own people and the Midlands from the wilds of the untamed lands to its south. Lord King Abuyk Nugosh is an open supporter of the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron’s unified lands, but he is quietly struggling to strengthen Mauritand to a point where it can hold its own pride without the need of subjugating his own royal line to a foreign power.

Life and Society

The need to pull income from business labors drives most communities in modern day Mauritand. Those who become the most successful end up gaining influence with town elders, or possibly becoming elders themselves. Wealth is not the only factor in gaining prestige however. Class and keeping close allies are just as important.

Mauritand has a relatively sparse population compared to other nations with the capital of Losojadan housing over a quarter of the populace. The sovereignty is covered with hills of bluegrass leading up to the tropical forests of the vacant lands, and much of the land is used for horse ranging.

Mining is conducted through many of the hills in highly secured regions. Diamonds have been vital to the economy for the last two hundred years. The lumber industry has also expanded into the northern stretches of the tropical forests in the Vacant Lands. But lately there has been an increase in the attacks committed by the cat-folk (Sekhnesti elves) who live in the forests south of the border. This has resulted in a recent shift the slaves taken in from conflict from bakali to the cat-folk. Slavery of other races in Mauritand is still permitted, but most slaves of civilized races are children of slaves. Rarely are their any new human, dwarven, Gildanesti, etc. slaves brought into the market.

Another recent commercial enterprise entering the markets is delverdo, a sport originating from Iveraque. Many of the northern towns have come to love this new pastime, and some entrepreneurs are attempting to find ways to cash in on the sport.

Religion

In early times, the nation held a deep tradition connected to the Tao-Shin faith. But after the Drowning, many people lost faith and little of it has returned since. When the Tashrama began to expand its presence, it discovered no love in Mauritand. All gods were blamed for the destruction of the golden age when the waters came, no matter what religion they were a part of. So after four hundred years of surviving and struggling on its own, Mauritand was not affected by the revelation that the Tashrama was being run by Elder Dragons or the news that the gods of the Tao-Shin had returned.

Strangely, although gods are seen as responsible for the Drowning, most in Mauritand harbor no ill will towards those who do have faith. Clerics, mystics, shamans, druids, and others devote to a higher power are not shunned like those who travel to the border states in the northwest of the Sovereignties (yet there are always exceptions). According to most citizens, to hate those who only see differently than you is a waste of effort and shows a lack of focus. As such, temples to the Tashrama, the Tao-Shin, and other faiths do currently exist in Mauritand. However attendance to their temples is naturally low.

Government

The nation is ruled by the lord king from his palace in Losojadan. For centuries the title of the ruler was Lord Emperor, but upon joining the Midland Sovereignties, Umaka Nugosh agreed to change the name of his seat upon the whim of Sovereign Lord Montegron, who believed the title to be too grandiose when compared to his own.

The Lord King has full control of the nation-wide government and a strong influence on local affairs. In the past one hundred years, the towns and cities came into a common practice of sending the Lord King a short list of candidates for any mayoral spot that opens up. The list usually consists of names of local elders, business leaders, or town favorites. If the Lord King cared to, he would choose from the list the next one to lead. Otherwise he often appoints an adviser to make the selection for him. Some towns elect their mayors for life while others have ten or seven year terms.

Military

Prior to the Drowning, cities and towns were often run by Damiyo, brave and honorable knights chosen to lead for their honor, intellect, wisdom, patience, loyalty, and humility. In modern times, all that is left of the Damiyo is The Damiyo Law, the Lord King’s twelve elite bodyguards. Some say that Jermon Cavlin, founder of the Midland Guard, studied the Damiyo and adopted a few of their practices when forming the elite forces of the Sovereignties. Many in the Damiyo have gently and with good humor said if that were the case, he should have studied more.

The Sword Infantry is an elite army of foot soldiers and cavalry trained to protect the capital and the pasturelands from incursions from the uncivilized cat-folk and bakali of the south. They also serve to protect the general populace when a town or city is in need of additional support. The head of the Sword Infantry, the Blade-Master, is a member of the Damiyo Law assigned by the Lord King to head the Infantry. Other than the Blade-Master, no member of the Sword Infantry is also in the Damiyo Law.

Magic and Mysticism

“Awe and respect; distance and caution” is the common theme of how the people of Mauritand see spellcasters. Even those who have magic users in their families will often stay away from them once they take up any of the arts or practices, but otherwise deference is given to them whether they are near or far.

This custom applies to all casters, although primarily to those of the arcane arts. Respect will be given even if one is seen as an enemy and practitioner of dark and violent arts (although that won’t stop them from trying to stop, arrest, or kill the wizard).

Divine casters are given the same respect, but often there is an underlining sense that they are just humoring them. The power of faith is tolerated, but religion in modern Mauritand has a very weak foothold. People are free to practice their religion, but most of the population sees no real purpose for it.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

The Colored Fields: To the northern reaches of Mauritand, the land undergoes a strange alteration of color. Instead of grasses and plant-life growing green, all of the plants exhibit odd and beautiful variations of color. Grass grows vibrant violets, and trees sparkle with golden leaves in some locations. In other acres the trees shimmer with a shining blue and the shrubs rustle in bright oranges. At times even the sky seems to be different. No explanation has ever been found for the strange yet beautiful colors, and nothing appears otherwise wrong with the wildlife. Yet the lands known as the Colored Fields (even though much of it technically aren’t fields), is a sight many who visit Mauritand wish to experience. Some recent converts to the Tao-Shin religion have come to meditate within these grasslands and woods.

The Doom City of Fuzaidu: The doomed city of Lacada fell under the rule of Damiyo Kensuke Hisorte during an unremembered time in history. The city is a massive multi-tiered marvel that completely covered a lone mammoth of a hill. Each circular level of the city is sectioned off by its own wall of stone and timber, making any invading armies attempts to reach the manor on the top of the hill from any direction extremely difficult. Other than the gates letting people in from one section to another, waterfalls spill out from each tier to the bottom, originating from a giant spring internal to the hill until the falls finally reach the lake surrounding the city.

The exact events that caused Lacada’s damnation varies from tale to tale, but some elements remain the same. The people of the city became complacent with their well to-do lifestyles and began to turn away from the gods. Corruption in the city was everywhere except for one sparkle of light, and that was in their lord Damiyo Hisorte. Hisorte preached to his people, hoping to turn them from their conceited and vile ways. But in the end he failed. A dark shadow fell on the city. What type of shadow varies between the stories, but in the end Hisorte is murdered by his own civilians.

Over the course of a single horrific night, the metropolis turns in on itself. Murder, hubris, greed, lust, wrath, and far worse. The people of the city tear each other apart as evil runs wild. By morning no one in Lacada was left alive. The city of Lacada became the city of Fuzaidu, The City of Dark Souls.

As far as any alive can remember, Fuzaidu is a ruined city of undead spirits and husks hateful of both the gods and the living. Any intruder who enters the city, day or night, will likely be tortured and killed by those the gods damned to remain on the mortal realm, trapped within Fuzaidu’s walls. Corruption lays everywhere. Even the water of the falls has turned to black sludge, and unholy things swim in its waters.

But one light remains in the city. On top of the ruins, the manner of Damiyo Hisorte remains as pristine as its days of greatness. When the gods damned the city and the corrupted souls within it, Damiyo Hisorte refused to go onto the next life. He accepted the charge of guiding Lacada to his heart, and although his own people murdered him and his family, he chose to remain with them. He hopes to eventually turn these cursed beings away from darkness and towards redemption and peaceful rest. Until then, he will not leave them, no matter how many times they turn on his home and slay him, night after night after night.

Falecohvo Ranch: The Falecohvo family runs what is arguably the most successful horse ranch in the entire Midlands, if not all of Adlatum. The ranch has been passed down from father to son for six generations before being passed down father to daughter ten years ago. The Falecohvo family has specialized in breeding stronger and faster horses over the years, and many come to learn to ride as well as purchase the animals. Located on the outskirts of Josal, the ranch has the advantage of not being broken up by the tributaries. Instead the ranch extends over eighty continuous acres near where the Maurtran River begins to break apart.

Although he officially retired, Gosma Falecohvo spends most of his time here with his wife Rudaen, helping his daughter Hannean in choosing which horses to pair together to produce the better stock. Hannean Mavaire takes of the various breeds as well as gives lessons to new and expert riders. The second of Gosma’s three daughters, Noragaen Veliya, is the current Second Protector of the Midland Guard. Since her ascension to her rank, the Falecohvo Ranch has become the number one supplier of horses to the Midland Guard and many of the Sovereignties.

Regional History

The Drowning swept most of Mauritand away, including all of its most ancient history. From what can be gathered and remembered from tales, Mauritand was part of a slightly larger nation that included sections of Iveraque, Hudiechia, and some of the Vacant Lands. But over time this forgotten nation fell apart. In time Mauritand formed, possibly under the direction of its first Lord Emperor, or possibly not. Histories conflict as to whether the Lord Emperor ruled Mauritand in the earliest days or not. These contradictions leave even gnomish scholars in frantic debates whenever a new piece of evidence is uncovered.

What has been generally agreed to (for now at least), is that ancient Mauritand had deeply held traditions linking itself to the Tao-Shin religion. Some historians, but only a bare majority, believe the original Lord Emperor was also the religious leader of the land as well as political. A recent scroll depicts a story suggesting the original line of Lord Emperors contained the blood of the god (or goddess) Tsanahenan. Unfortunately no records could be found to identify the modern name this god uses, if it is a true god at all. Since the ancient Lord Emperors appeared to also be regional leaders of the Tao-Shin faith, it would be expected that Tsanahenan would be recorded somewhere in Tao-Shin writings, but so far no other mentioning has been found. Most historians state with absolute resolve that the story was likely written to further glorify the Lord Emperor and is not based in any degree of fact.

Although the details of the ancient history were lost, many of the events occurring during the last several hundred years up to a thousand years before the Drowning have survived, mainly from records discovered in other countries or underwater by the Corinesti.

The dominant figures of Mauritand’s past underneath the Lord Emperor were the Damiyo. Damiyo were a style of knights who were known for their honor, wisdom, patience, education, adherence to tradition, and finally their skill in combat. They were believed to have trained themselves into a state of being blessed warriors of light and justice. They believed in showing gods of darkness only the respect they deserved as gods, and further more they acknowledge the dark forces by decorating their intricate battle armor with masks of demons. In one of the few books that survived the Grand Library of Losojadan’s destruction, Breath of the Damiyo by Eijin Baota, “The mask symbolizes the inevitable tide of evil needing to turn and devour itself. Our souls and actions are solely for the light, but the mask lets those who forward chaos and destruction know what they see inside themselves as they look inward in their final moments. As the face of the demon flows towards them in battle, they will cower and look away, into their own soul. There, they see the more horrid demon and must come to terms with that during their first moments of eternity.”

Many Damiyo of renown were given charge of lands within Mauritand to rule under the will and guidance of the Lord Emperor. The boundaries of their provinces appear to have charged as often as when a Damiyo is assigned, but often the province would only include a single town or city. Many times when a Damiyo was bequeathed a province, only a small area was given until his ability to “give his land guidance” was proven in the Lord Emperor’s eyes. Once done, the Lord Emperor would then add more lands to the Damiyo’s responsibilities. This suggests that many regions of the country were outside of the Damiyo’s control since the Lord Emperor did not appear to have to remove land from another Damiyo’s province before giving it to another. History also suggests that although the Lord Emperor was sometimes a member of the Damiyo, it was not a requirement for the nation’s ruler. More often than not, the Lord Emperor was never of the Damiyo but had some Damiyo training.

History was replete with times when lands without Damiyo leading them came under the control of a local figure. Even though many of these individuals may be fair leaders, sometimes they may also grow to be warlords. There had been several internal conflicts in which a warlord has challenged a claim set by the Lord Emperor that his or her own lands were to then be set under the guidance of one of the legendary knights. Sometimes a warlord would not wait for such an edict, and they would try to grow their control by attacking neighboring provinces. One legend tells the tale of a warlord who was so successful, for forty years his own lands were larger than those controlled by the Lord Emperor. Upon his death, the warlord ordered the weakened Lord Emperor to take his granddaughter as his wife “so her blood will inject strength back into the line in which wisdom reigns.” The Lord Emperor accepted the old man’s dying wish, and the nation was reunified. His successor, the warlord’s great-grandchild, was said to be the strongest and wisest of all Lord Emperors, Raiusam, with his younger sister becoming the first of the rare few rare women to become Damiyo during the earlier days.

Lord Emperor Raiusam’s era is unknown. Many historians do not believe he actually existed and is only a figure of legendary tales.

During the Canon War, many of the Damiyo left to lead and serve in the armies against the minotaurs. Some served as generals, others as rank soldiers, each to their own talents and abilities. But they were not the only ones to serve. Much of the general population went to fight the bullmen when Lord Emperor Ude, a sixty-year old man well trained in the art of war, led the charge against the threat. During the Battle of Roden in 89 PD, Lord Emperor Ude sacrificed his own life to save the life of a minotaur he had just taken prisoner. The Mauritand forces in the battle became cut off from the main battle lines as a result of treachery conducted by an agent of the Empire of Dhu. The minotaurs swarmed their enemy. The Battle of Roden lasted for two weeks with non-stop fighting. The minotaurs had contained thirty-nine Damiyo along with the Lord Emperor, but the fighting went on for much longer than expected. In the end, tens of thousands of Mauritand’s forces were killed.

When the minotaurs found Ude’s body, a hatred for the Lord Emperor weld up within the minotaur commander. Ude had been a major thorn in their side during the early decades of the war, and he planned to desecrate the body to demoralize the human-dwarven forces. The young minotaur Kol whose life the Lord Emperor saved from a stray arrow, stood against Commander Jorkef. When Jorkef ordered the boy’s execution for disobedience, many of his own men turned against him, remembering Ude’s sacrifice. The Battle of Roden continued for three more days, minotaurs against minotaurs. Jorkef’s forces won the battle, and those who stood with Kol were slain as traitors, but the Commander ended up losing an eye and a leg in the battle. Jorkef was forced to leave combat for the remainder of his days.

There is now a legend in Mauritand of a brigade of minotaur spirits, led by a young one, who roam the borders of Mauritand, seeking to protect those soles who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause of justice. It is said their first appearance was far outside of Mauritand, and that they had participated in three of the lesser-known battles of the Canon War. These ghostly minotaurs wear armor that is a blending of Mauritand’s own and that of the minotaurs of old.

Two more Lord Emperor’s would fight in the Canon War, and both died. The Lord Emperor Urati died the hour before the Drowning began to engulf the continent. Having failed to protect his injured sister from a group of human mercenaries working for the minotaur army, he saw the coming wave and believed the world doomed for his inaction. He begged the gods’ forgiveness and took his own life moments before the wave struck. The remaining Damiyo honored their fallen Lord Emperor by standing guard against the coming water. The wave wiped the noble heritage from the face of Krynn. Whether located on the fronts, in Mauritand, or even at the doomed marriage of Roric Heymelion and Pharaceilia Heratecin in Drejor, every one died.

For Mauritand itself, the wave and floods swept almost every standing structure (and almost all of the population) into the Sea of Tears. Only a small percentage of the original Mauritand population survived, and most were men and women away to the north fighting in the war.

In the following years, the Midlands were in flux. People were searching for lands of stability where there was little to be had. Many foreigners from the north settled in the Mauritand region in order to escape Iveraque’s constant flooding. Many individuals came to the south to take advantage of others in their desperate situations, and some regions of Mauritand were claimed by the wild. Encounters with the bakali of the Vacant Lands escalated into warfare. Eventually the industry of slavery of captured lizard folk helped to stabilize the country. Slavery had always existed in Mauritand as far as any could recall, but this was the first time foreigners were bought and sold.

Mauritand recovered as many who initially came south to take advantage of the destitute began to turn to other avenues of business. Within a generation Mauritand was rebuilt by those who sought to exploit it. Loret Nugosh, a veteran of the Canon War and a distant relation of a previous line of Lord Emperors, was installed officially as the new leader of Mauritand, but it would be thirty years before his reign would be recognized by all of the current territories now within Mauritand.

Business and work ethic became the new code in the following century. During the years in which the Lord Emperor’s word was weak, those business leaders who had hands on experience in rebuilding the individual towns or building new towns from scratch became the elders, the new warlords of Mauritand. Swords and war changed to money and negotiations. The Damiyo was reformed in a fashion under Ashina Nugosh in 40 AD as his personal bodyguards, now called the Damiyo Law, but the control they once had and the awe they inspired were lost, even after imperial control was fully reestablished.

During the Days of Darkness, the forces of Chaos flowed over the borders like a tidal wave. The Lord Emperor Umaka Nugosh’s son Abuyk saw the Damiyo Law fighting with every ounce of their being to defend his father and sisters. The image was burned into his mind. He believed in those days the Damiyo of old had truly been reborn, but when the time to rebuild came, everything not only returned to the status quo, but it turned in Abuyk’s eyes for the worse.

Conflict with the Sekhnesti (called the cat-folk locally) escalated as the timber companies began to press into the forests of the Vacant Lands after the forces of Chaos destroyed the forests in eastern Mauritand. When Lord Montegron helped press back the incursion, he was able to convince Umaka to bring Mauritand into the unified Sovereignties. Montegron also convinced Umaka change the name of his title to Lord King, believing the title Lord Emperor was too glorified when compared to his own title and that of the other kings and queens of the Midlands. Abuyk watched as the pride of Mauritand diminished.

A decade later, Abuyk became the Lord King of Mauritand after Umaka suffered a stroke. Publicly the Lord King supports the Sovereignties and the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron, but his aims are reaching higher. He dreams of Mauritand standing on its own and the Damiyo returning to their old noble glory, replacing the business men with knights of valor. Ironically, he is seeking aid from their old enemy, the bakali. Montegron currently has no knowledge of Abuyk’s traitorous interests.

Current Events

    • It has been rumored that the Sovereign Lord has explicitly forbade the Lord King Abuyk Nugosh from appointing any of the Damiyo Law as a city mayor. This comes after the former major of Losojadan put Damiyo Sumsata, his own grandson, on the list of candidates to be considered for his replacement.

 

    • Abuyk has somehow been traveling to Fuzaidu to meet with Lord Kensuke in Fuzaidu to learn more about the Damiyo of old. How he is getting by the cursed souls safely is unknown.

 

  • Ten bakali were murdered one night on the border town of Hekaja. The raiding party that committed the killings was spotted crossing back into the Vacant Lands. The party seen was fully comprised of bakali, not cat-folk.

Major Settlements

Hekaja (Village 433): This tiny village was built in 418 AD when a group of freed bakali slaves promised the Lord King to serve Mauritand, the country some of them were born in, by watching a stretch of the southern border that had before been lightly protected. Previously this land was not viewed as a weakness during the days when the bakali were seen as the major threat from the south, but with recent attacks by the cat-folk, the need to keep an eye on more of the land near the tropical forests is becoming paramount. Many of the bakali citizens were given their freedom for unknown reasons by someone high within the national government.

Josal (Large Town 4,825): This town was founded by foreign travelers and carpetbaggers in the years following the Drowning. Even to this day, most of the family names in the city sound as if they were from elsewhere in the Midlands.

The coastal town of Josal is cut up into many minute pieces by the Maurtran River, which breaks up into several small tributaries before letting out into the Sea of Tears. This results in the town being interconnected by a network of bridges extending from island to island to mainland. Josal is also bisected over the famed Kavite Bridges by one of Mauritand’s major roads leading directly to the capital to the southwest.

Josal has a strong fishing industry and also produces medium to small size boats. However it is better known for the ale produced by the local brewery and the horses bred at the Falecohvo Ranch on the eastern side of town.

Losojadan (Metropolis 39,305): The capital is a large city located near the southern coast of Mauritand. As such militia, Sword Infantry, and Damiyo Law protect Losojadan from the uncivilized threats not too distant in the Vacant Lands. The city is a major port and conducts constant trading with the Corinesti Trade Guilds. The center of the city, away from the docks, is a secured city seemingly separate from the rest of Losojadan. This inner city is dedicated to the wellbeing and lifestyle of the Lord King.

Prior to Mauritand joining the Midland Sovereignties, only the Damiyo, the Imperial Family, and those invited by them could enter its secured walls. But now, under the Sovereign Lord’s orders, any who have a need to deal with their Lord King or those within the Mauritand government may enter. The Midland Guard also has established a small local headquarters to assist in protection of the southern border within the Central City.

Kedaltol, Republic of

by Gerrin

Capital: Kedaltol
Population: 470,000 (Hartdar 94%, Human 3%, Gnome 1%, Other 2%)
Government: Republic
Religions: major – Reorx (Reorx), minor – Ki Ulit (Kiri-Jolith), Tonol (Mishakal), Slinoter (Shinare).
Languages: Common, Dwarven
Trade: Mercenaries, Gems, Steel, Metal Goods, Marble
Legions: Ice Legion, First through Fourth Legion.
Alignment: LG, NG, LN, N

The republic of Kedaltol (Kehd-ahl-toel’) is a singular province that is controlled by its capital of the same name. It is primarily mountainous but does contain a few valleys where agriculture flourishes. The republic borders Vjenor and Trejor on the west, Dejor, Gulteger, Isryan on the south, Solisharon on the east, and Ogun, Sakkaras to the north. This nation is a well settled nation but it still contains a few unexplored parts. A great highway runs through the nation connecting all of its major cities.

Life and Society

Life in the republic is one of handwork, but the citizens here live in more comfortable lifestyles then others around western Adlatum. Most dwarves here have some interest in the trading markets of the world and most businesses provide services that are related to trading. The businesses of Kedaltol employ small armies to protect assets and to assist with the movement of goods throughout western Adlatum.

The military of Adlatum contained five legions that all serve directly under the High Warden. The Ice Legion was a famed and legendary force that specializes in fighting in extreme conditions. The size of each legion was 10,000 dwarves led by a High General. All citizens are required to take part in militia duties although some citizens were exempt from such service.

The legal system of Kedaltol was based on a written code of laws created by the Council of Elders and enforced through the High Warden’s courts. Magistrates traveled to local villages to administer justice, while judges held courts in the three major cities. Sheriff and town watches enforced the laws of the land and detained prisoners until the arrival of a magistrate or judge. Also under the law males and females were recognized as equals.

The office of the High Warden ruled the Republic; the warden was selected by the Council of Elders. The High Warden governed the nation with both executive and judicial powers. The legislative power lied within the Council of Elders.

Religion

There was no formal religion recognized, but most dwarves recognized Reorx and honor his memory. There were three other churches, Ki Ulit (Kiri-Jolith), Slinoter (Shinare), and Tonol (Mishakal) that had limited power in the Republic. Since the battle against Chaos, these churches had become places of learning and now specialized in training in fighting, business and healing. The Priests of the gods continued the ancient practices and hope that their teaching would someday bring back the gods.

Government

The High Warden and Council of Elders rule the government of the republic. The High Warden carries unlimited executive and judicial power. He appointed judges and magistrates to oversee the everyday judicial activities of the empire but heard any special cases. The High Warden was also in control of the five legions of the military.

The High Warden had five Wardens under him who oversaw the various parts of the government. They were the Warden of Trade, Warden of the Mines, Warden of the Legions, Warden of the Law, and the Warden of the Realm. These Wardens oversaw the day to day problems of their specific areas. The Wardens were appointed by the High Warden and served their posts until either they retired, died or the High Warden left office.

The Council of Elders was the lawmaking body of the realm. It was a 300-member body that draws its members from the six clans of the Kedaltol. Each clan was allowed a 50-member representation and council members were appointed by clan leaders to the position. This position was considered a great honor in dwarven society and council members were quite proud of their position. The council had one extremely important task and that was to appoint a new High Warden, when the old High Warden died or retired.

Military

The Kedaltol military was under the direct command of the High Warden. Handling the day to day operations of the military was the Warden of the Legions. The military consisted of five legions that were placed throughout the realm. Each legion consisted of 10,000 members and additional units that made up the Engineer’s Division, the Supply Train Co., and the Field Hospital Corp.

Guarding the capital was the famed Ice Legion who is currently under the command of Gen. Copper Ironsong and was positioned in and around the city. This group specialized in fighting on different terrains and rarely left the Republic. Its primary duty was to protect the High Warden and members of this legion took their jobs seriously.

The other four legions were spread around western Adlatum. The First and Second Legions were still located in the Republic. The First Legion had been placed in the western city of Ilberdin and was under the command of its military governor. The Second Legion was scattered throughout the realm is in charge of guarding the roadways, mines and small communities scattered throughout the Republic.

The Third and Fourth Legions are currently on loan to the Midland Guard and have been placed under their command. These two legions are comprised mainly of heavy infantry troops that are supported by human forces. The legions are currently scattered in the Midlands and are the command of Gen. Tolk Brokenaxe and Gen. Unthor Marblebranch.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic in the republic was almost unheard of and was rarely seen in public. Prior to the attack by Chaos few dwarves could use the earth magic that the Adlar dwarves possessed. Many of the dwarves that could use magic keep their talent in hiding fearing that they would be treated differently by other dwarves. Following the Days of Darkness there was no accounts of dwarven sorcery.

The dwarves had relied heavily on clerical magic in the past as they had always felt a close connection to Reorx. Even following the Drowning and God’s Departure the temples of Reorx remained a focal point for many dwarves. These temples not only encouraged the practice of worship but also were a meeting place for the workers of metal to exchange ideas. With no true dwarven clerics left, mystics have taken over most of the clerical duties in the Temple to Reorx. The other temples employ mystics to some extent but not on the same level as the Temple to Reorx does. There are also mystics who wander the land offering healing to those in need. They exchange their services for small items of need so that they can continue their journey.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

The High Gate: A pass that was the first defensive location in the Pullonas Mountains and guards the road that led to Kedaltol. It was constructed during the Canon Wars to prevent raiding parties from attacking settlements outside of the capital. The gate was a massive gate that stands 50 feet high and was a 100 feet long. It was placed in the middle of high wall, which was built in a pass and was manned by several hundred Legionnaires.

Mount Mazama: A large mountain that the dwarven capital of Kedaltol was built into. The peak of this mountain contains snow year around. The dwarven capital was built underground this mountain.

Iron Mines: These mines are the newest discovered mines south of Red Home. The mines appear to contain an abundant source of metals and gems that should keep miners busy for centuries to come.

Valley of the Lily: This valley is the primary agriculture growing area for Kedaltol, which is located near the city of Red Home. Many villages have been built throughout this large valley and much of the land is cultivated for farming.

Tomb of the Missing: This tomb was created by Ren Copperforge following the Drowning as a tribute to both the lost armies of Hammervald and to Hammervald itself. Inside are the remains of several dwarven warriors whose bodies were found but their names were unknown. Also inside are the personal effects of many of the victims of the drowning. This tomb is considered one of the most sacred sites in all of Adlatum.

The Watchtower of Tildon: This watchtower was built in the western part of the republic following the Drowning by members of the Ice Legion. The dwarves built this tower to scan the horizon for possible survivors. It was the place where the Sundarin/Kedaltol Pact was signed and has been an instrumental tool in keeping peace in the west.

Beacon of Sacrifice: The beacon was constructed on top of Frost Mountain and tribute to all who fell saving Adlatum from the dangers of Chaos. The beacon is actually a lit flame of natural gas that was leaking out of the top of the mountain. Dwarven engineers tapped the gas and now control the flame. It burns in memory and is a place of pilgrimage for travelers from all over Adlatum.

Regional History

The Republic of Kedaltol was founded in 2612 PD in the Pullonas Mountains as a safe haven for dwarves. The capital city of Kedaltol was designed to be a fortress and quickly became a large dwarven settlement. Also near the city there were numerous small mined that contained various metals and gems and miners flocked to this area beginning a brisk trade. Several other settlements sprang up all throughout the Pullonas and quickly the mountains were filled with dwarven settlers and miners.

Within a few years the dwarves of Kedaltol have grown to large for their current surroundings. Seeking a more spacious surrounding the dwarves sent explorer Nolas Copperforge to explore the area to the west. In his exploration he discovered the Nolas Mountains and their inexhaustible sources of metals and gems. His discovery caused many of the dwarven settlements to become abandoned and torn down. By 2253 PD only three fortresses, Kedaltol, Red Home, and Ilberdin, remained standing.

Much of the focus for the dwarves prior to the Canon War was on the Hammervald Empire to the west. Although Kedaltol was considered a province of the empire, little changed over the centuries as most dwarves considered the Pullanos Mountains not worth the time mining. The three cities almost disappeared as mines were continually closed do to the lack of a labor force.

When the Canon War began the dwarves living in the Pullonas Mountains found themselves in one of the key staging areas for dwarven armies. As the decades passed on many dwarves traveled from other parts of the Hammervald Empire to live in the cities found in the Pullonas Mountains. These cities grew and became key strategic areas for the dwarven armies.

The drowning changed the geography of the mountains little but yet affected the dwarves living there deeply. Many of the dwarves were cut off from their homelands and were shocked at the destruction that occurred across Adlatum. The dwarves living in the mountains were fortunate to have several key government figures living in Kedaltol. These people would reform the nation and put the name of Hammervald behind them in honor of those who had perished under the waters. In its place they chose to honor the original settlement of the Hartdar and became known as the Republic of Kedaltol.

In the years following the Drowning the citizens of the Republic of Kedaltol have had their economic successes and failures. Shortly after the drowning many of the older mines were reopened but these mines proved to be shallow and were closed quickly. It took the dwarves decades to find suitable replacement mines.

The dwarves had begun the trading festival called the Remembrance in honor of those who were killed during the Drowning. The festival quickly grew as Midland merchants traveled to the dwarven city of Kedaltol to trade for new wares. This also allowed dwarves to return home and conduct clan business.

Prior to the return of the gods, the dwarves of the republic had experienced the discovery of several new mining sites that proved to be profitable. They also met the Sundar and Nordar dwarves and were startled to learn that there were survivors. The Sundar and Hartdar signed a mutual agreement pact that would profit both sides.

After the return of the gods, the republic experienced a golden age as their goods were highly sought after all over Adlatum. The dwarves had also discovered mines containing dragonmetal and began to secretly create new weapons and armor out of the rare metal. The dwarven cities expanded and grew and several new settlements were built throughout the Pullonas Mountains.

When the forces of Chaos attacked the Midlands the republic answered the call for help. Sending their best legions to the front lines, they battled alongside humans and Sundar dwarves to turn the forces back. The Pullonas Mountains were affected little physically by the attack of Chaos but many dwarves carried the scars of that battle for years to come.

Current Events

    • The Midland Guard has asked for more soldiers to help support their missions.

    • Goblin tribes in the north have begun to raid settlements.

  • Dwarven craftsmen are in high demand as nations all over the Midlands are still seeking their work. High Warden Calan Copperforge has decreed that all contracts for foreign jobs must be accepted through the office of the Warden of Trade.

Major Settlements

Local cities control their own government with approval of the High Warden. The largest settlement is in the southern part of the Pullonas. It is home to the Council of Elders and the Ice Legion. It was founded after the departure of the Hartdar from the Adlar dwarves.

Kedaltol (Megalopolis 121,000): The largest city and capital of the Hartdar dwarves and the gem of the Republic of the Kedaltol. It is a five level city that was the original settlement of the Hartdar following their departure from the dwarves of Heskeram. The top level of the city contained the government offices and the Palace of the Warden. The middle levels are a combination of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. The lowest level offered access to the nearby delvings and contained the city’s smelters. The Current High Warden is Calan Copperforge (LG male Hartdar noble 5/fighter 6)

Red Home (Metropolis 89,400): The second largest city of the Republic was one of the fastest growing cities. With the discovery of new mines around the city, dwarves flocked to this area seeking work. It was a city that consisted of three levels and was partially built into the Pullonas Mountains. The city was legendary for its defensive measures and was considered the most defensible location in all of Kedaltol. The government of the city was a three-member council that oversaw the military, mining and everyday affairs of the city. The current leaders are General Chane Stonekiller (LG male Hartdar fighter 11), miner Sledge Coalgate (NG male Hartdar fighter 4) and city representative Jinna Axehome (NG female Hartdar commoner 7).

Ilberdin (Large City 43,200): The westernmost city in the Pullonas Mountains and the smallest of the three fortress cities of the Kedaltol. It was located by the newly excavated iron mines of the empire and is the home of the Ilberdin’s School of Mining. The city contained two main levels and was placed on top of the peak of Blackfrost. The current governor of Ilberdin is Gen. Gran Ironstone (LG male Hartdar fighter 12)

Iveraque, Sovereignty of

by Carteeg Struve

Capital: Krasevlu
Population: 165,698 (Human 84%, Hartdar 7%, Corinesti 5%, Gildanesti 2%, Half-Dwarf 2%)
Government: Monarchy
Religions: Tao-Shin, Tashrama
Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, and Hudieran
Trade: Shrimp, Octopus, Tuna, Beans, and Wines/Spirits
Legions: The Ersciton, The Marnalzu
Alignment: All

The kingdom of Iveraque (Eye’-ver-ack) is a small lush nation still prone to flooding during hurricane seasons. The warm seasons dominate the year, but a steady rainfall and cool winter helps keep the land fertile and fruitful. The nation is run primarily by a vast number of Families who control their respective territories. In the past fights have broken out between them, but the strength of the ruling king or queen has consistently been able to keep these breakouts localized. The royal claim has been based off of the fact that the Nilonè Family has been dominant for the last hundred years, a fact that is coming into question lately.

Life and Society

Although it is not the breadbasket of the Midlands, a large amount of seafood, beans, and spirits are produced in Iveraque. A vast majority of the businesses that gather and produce these products are owned and operated by the Families. In Iveraque’s history, competition between the businesses was as often settled by bloodshed as was by better sales. This often makes life difficult for the commoners who worked the lands and shops, for they were targeted more often than direct members of the Family (in order to not encourage a direct retaliation).

Very rare would a full-blown war erupt in the common sense of the word. Often Family Wars involved strategic hits, kidnappings, disappearances, and other criminal acts that made tracing personal involvement difficult. So many people could live normal lives during these periods of strife, and only on occasion would personal loss strike them hard. But over long years, eventually everyone became affected by these conflicts.

The rule of Montegron has quieted the Family Wars over the last thirty years (when Iveraque officially acknowledged Montegron’s reign). Since then the Families have needed to be more cautious in how they deal with each other in order not to catch the attentions of those higher up on the food chain. This had made things much easier for the commoners in some regards, and more difficult. With the conflicts between the Families lessened, the Family Heads are now using their time to exploit their own workers even more than before, making their lives not much better than indentured servants in some areas or serfs in others.

Religion

The heads of the Families often try to show themselves to have religious piety matching those of the common folk, but the truth is that it is primarily just a show. They see religion as simply another way to control and manipulate the people, or as a way to put them into a better light. As such, some of the families were members of the Tashramadic church during its heyday, but beyond going out to publicly celebrate the holidays or giving a small donation to the church, they had no real interests in the Church of the Divine Ladder. After the outing of the Elder Dragons, the number of Families still belonging to the church is less than a handful. Most of the commoners have turned their backs on the organization that had deceived them for so long, and so the need for the Families to keep a connection to the Tashrama vanished instantly. Only in the city of Menan has the Church of the Divine Ladder held on to any significant following.

However, with the sudden appearance of the Tao-Shin, some of the people are beginning to turn to this old-faith returned. The popularity of the Tao-Shin is small but growing quickly, and several Families are quick to show themselves “honestly with their people” by not waiting to show their own allegiance to the true gods. Others however are hesitating. To join another religion so soon after the collapse of a previous one invites them to look foolish if the Tao-Shin proves to be another hoax. Still, the general population remains needing something to believe in, and the Tao-Shin has been the most likely candidate to appear.

Government

Previously the government was generally ruled by whoever headed the strongest Family in the nation. Often this led to multiple powers running different regions with conflict in areas that were in dispute. This changed in 233 AD when the Nilonè Family came out on top after succeeding in manipulating three other Families into annihilating each other. Since then, Nilonè had kept dominant control. And so long as loyalty, respect, and revenue is given to Nilonè, each Family is allowed to govern their own territories internally with minimal interference. The current king of Iveraque is Gianvuoto Nilonè.

Military

Each Family has its own militia, however the Ersciton (the Nilonè militia) makes up a large sum of the nation’s armed forces. After Montegron’s reign came to include Iveraque, the Sovereign Lord informed all of the lesser Families that the monarch had the right to order any of their own militia as if they were part of the Ersciton. Since then, the Families have so far obeyed that order.

The Marnalzu is the name of the nation’s naval defense. When the Drowning altered Lake Aquila into the smaller Aquila Bay, it was recognized that the capital was now much more open to sea-going traffic. A small collection of ships posted near Krasevlu was all that protected the capital and the palace for a hundred years. In 380 AD, Ombrarra Nilonè ordered the Marnalzu, the navy of the ancient Iveraque Kingdom, be reconstructed. Today the Marnalzu is one of the stronger militaries in the southwest.

Magic and Mysticism

Arcane and divine magic is fairly uncommon in Iveraque except around the major cities. Most people view magic when they do encounter it with awe and suspicion. Mages in general have been proven not to be trustworthy in the long run, although they may be useful in the immediate. In Krasevlu and Menan, some businesses and government officials keep mages on staff. A majority of the populace does not understand the difference between arcane and divine magic, and therefore their views of mystics and clerics are the same as wizards and sorcerers. “Magic is magic.”

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Ombra Wildlife Preserve: King Gianvuoto’s fascination with the world around him led to his founding of a wildlife preserve in central Iveraque. This large swath of area contains a large number of animals and plants (both mundane and magical) from all over Adlatum. Rumor has it that he is in talks with the Corinesti, trying to get them to bring unseen wildlife from the distant lands of Krynn those land-bound on Adlatum have no access to while many believe the Corinesti do.

Although the territory allows a large number of animals to roam within the preserves borders, often some hunters have been known to illegally enter in attempts to harvest creatures, whole and in parts, that would be difficult to obtain without traveling to distant locations.

Sognasia: The crystal palace of Iveraque once stood on the shoreline of Lake Aquila, but the Drowning eroded the land around its foundation, leaving the beautiful and elaborate structure standing completely within the water of Aquila Bay itself. For over two hundred years the metallic and crystalline structure was a beautiful but unstable ruin lying offshore, but after Queen Michela Nilonè took control of her household and a majority of the nation, she started the reconstruction and rescue of the complex with the help of both human and Corinesti laborers. Now the palace is a vast complex of towers, bridges, walkways, courtyards, and wings rising up out of the shining blue water. The main entrance to the palace is a long arcing bridge connecting the gate-doors to the mainland with giant statues of past rulers and people of renown lining each side.

Tiarlasono Stadium: In the city of Vernoa, a massive stadium draws many spectators every year. The structure is one of the few standing buildings said to have been constructed during the days of the ancient kingdom. What it was originally used for in unknown, but currently Tiarlasono is used for two national loves: the sports of bullfighting and delverdo. Delverdo is a game involving two teams trying to score goals with normally five balls in play. It is only recently beginning to catch on outside of Iveraque in Mauritand.

Regional History

In more ancient times, the Kingdom of Iveraque was ruled by a strong central monarchy that prided itself on power and glamour. However that era of avarice and domination passed into conflict long before the Canon Wars, and smaller territorial factions struggled against each other for the years to come. These factions were initially comprised of noble remnants of the lost age. But as years went on, large families who had gained influence through acts both criminal and legitimate in nature replaced these noble bloodlines. However it would be centuries before any of them could claim to have a majority over the nation for any extended amount of time. Many believe that when the star metal weapon of Iveraque was lost during the monarchy’s downfall, it was decided by higher powers that Iveraque would never again have a true leader. As time passed, many details of the ancient kingdom were forgotten. Exactly what the star metal relic of Iveraque was, none could remember. Even the name of the royal family had disappeared from memory. Some scholars debate on whether Iveraque ever had a star metal relic.

The Canon War was a time of great manipulation, intrigue, and violence in Iveraque. Those Families who sent the most to defend the Midlands from the minotaurs were thanks by their competition with subversion and undermining. The more one group sent to the lines, the less they had to protect themselves at home. Those Families that sent little to none, they often became the stronger power within Iveraque’s borders. Soon many of the Families who had sent their sons and daughters to the lines allied with each other to pool their resources against those who sought power in Iveraque at the possible cost of Iveraque itself.

The Militias War lasted from 89 PD to 53 PD. It was not a civil war in the fullest sense, but strategic attacks, threats, kidnapping, and other acts of hostility were at the highest rates recorded. The war ended when an explosion of unknown origin, presumed magical, destroyed the Ravaldi Estates when six of the Family heads were meeting together. Since the meeting was a mixture of supposed allies and supposed enemies, nobody has yet been able to sort out who or what was responsible for the blast. After the incident, those of influence in Iveraque were able to minimize activities against each other in favor of focusing on the Canon War.

In 7 PD, Iveraque’s war efforts floundered. Most of the Families began to debate the need to send their own forces abroad to fend off an enemy that has not impeded on Iveraque’s soil. By 4 PD, most Families brought their surviving sons and daughters home while other nations were still sacrificing their own. This was a harsh hit to the human-dwarven forces in the war, especially when it was discovered over three years later that many businesses in Iveraque had begun to openly trade with the minotaurs for goods and profit. The Empire of Dhu threatened Iveraque with military action, but nothing ever came of it. Dhu was spending all of its resources fending off the minotaurs. They couldn’t afford a two-front war.

The Drowning killed many and reshaped the coastline. But other than giving an opportunity for younger weaker Families to take the place of stronger ones who were wiped out in the floods, Iveraque did not change that much. The palace of Sognasia had been occupied by many who tried to claim control over the entire nation, but it never was truly a seat of power for ages. And since the palace was now a ruin out in the waters of the reformed Aquila Bay, it was likely never to be again. Everywhere else, pieces were picked up, and business as usual was continued.

Dynamics of the usual shifted in 233 AD when a weaken family led by Harnando Nilonè successfully manipulated the three largest Families in the nation to effectively annihilating each other. Since that time, the Nilonè Family has ruled Iveraque as dominating influence on the lesser territories. Harnando’s daughter, Michela, took control one-step further when she hired human and Corinesti laborers to renovate Sognasia. By 249 AD she had moved all operations into the palace and declared herself queen. None of the other Families had enough backing to challenge the claim.

Over a hundred years later, the royal line suffered from an internal coup. The elegant and alluring Ombrarra Nilonè was not expected to rule the Family when she was young, but her ability to coerce, manipulate, charm (through both mundane and magical means), and eliminate opponents and pawns eventually let her take control from her uncle Abramno, who barely escaped Iveraque with his flesh, mind, and soul intact. Most of the nation was unaware of Ombrarra’s private practices, but she had a fascination with creatures of the divine realms, especially the demonic beasts of the Abyss. While not orchestrating events both within Iveraque and in other neighboring nations, she dedicated herself to the study of dark magic and the forever “living” creatures of nightmare and torment. As Ombrarra’s skills in controlling the demons she summoned increased, more of those who plotted her downfall from both within the Nilonè household and without either vanished, were found mutilated, or found insane.

Yet during her reign the nation flourished, and the common people came to love her. This love she reveled in.

Her secrets were finally exposed to the public during the Days of Darkness. As the creatures of Chaos swarmed in from the southeast, she called upon all of her strength to summon the strongest creatures of darkness she could. With gods of all kinds resisting the oblivion, she discovered she did not need to exert her strength in controlling these monsters. Upon summoning them, they willingly fought to fend off the tide of annihilation for their own destruction was also at hand.

The people of Krasevlu were initially terrified, but as they saw their queen summon demonic forms to fight the invading army of horrors, they began to rally. A third of the nation’s population died, but in the end credit for the survival of the city went to Queen Ombrarra. Exhausted, she did what she could to send the demons she bought to Krynn back to the Abyss. Most did, but not all. Some disappeared, making it seem as if they had been sent back, but in truth they sensed the Starfall before the night sky had even shown. They knew the world had changed, and opportunities would present themselves. Still, with the Days of Darkness too soon ended, they retreated to separate shadows to watch and plot.

In the following years, several of the demons let loose by Ombrarra appeared in various locations and caused mayhem. But the people believed them to be remnants of Chaos, and so the Queen’s actions on that day were not questioned. But by unknown means this information was given to the rising star Lord Montegron. Using this information in 388 AD he blackmailed Ombrarra into tying Iveraque to his unified Midlands. Ombrarra tried to use her talents on the lord to put him under her control, but this backfired disastrously.

After Montegron had departed, Ombrarra summoned a creature of seduction and ordered it to go after the lord and undo him. Instead of leaving the capital it reshaped itself to that of a devilishly handsome male. After some time, it was able to guise itself as a young Mauritand lord who came to Iveraque to do business dealings with the Marcari Family (whom the creature had terrorized into assisting). Not recognizing the creature, and being to vane to believe one of her own servants would turn on her, she became seduced by the man.

In time, her desires for the lord began to distract her from everything else. Her own plots and manipulations fell apart, and yet due to her lust she could not see control falling from her fingers. After a single weekend alone with the creature at a get-away cottage in the east, her brother Reniar found Queen Ombrarra mentally ruined. Insane and unable to speak coherently, none could determine what exactly happened to her. Her lover had disappeared and the entire Marcari Family was found hang from nooses in their homes, all suicides. No one could even remember the handsome lord’s name. It was later realized no one ever asked him what it was.

The worst matter was kept from public ears. Mystics were called forth to tend to the queen, and they made the horrifying discovery that although her body was alive and her mind operating (even if shattered), her soul was no longer present. The Queen was nothing more than a babbling empty shell. At this point, Reniar was made king. Six months later, Ombrarra gave birth to a son.

Considering what happened to his mother, the Nilonè was exceedingly cautious of the newly born Gianvuoto. The boy was raised with all of the privileges in a royal family, but it was quietly decided that Reniar’s own children would be the next to rule. That was the plan, until Montegron made passing mention to Reniar at an annual celebration that he could not wait for Gianvuoto “to come of age and rightfully succeed his mother.” With that one brief comment heard by nobles and royalty from several nations, Reniar’s ruling lineage was doomed.

Soon after, others in the Nilonè Family plotted to have Gianvuoto killed in an accident, but Reniar heard of this plan and saved the innocent child at the cost of his own life. Montegron then sent a contingent of the Midland Guard to Iveraque to act as protector for the child until the throne could be handed to him from an appointed regent.

As Gianvuoto aged, he showed a propensity for both cruelty and incite. The talents of the mother had passed on to the son tenfold. Even before the age of fifteen he was able to guide the regent into taking directions he wanted, including ordering the deaths of some of his own allies. According to many who knew better, Iveraque was under Gianvuoto’s rule when he was only twelve.

Gianvuoto grew into an extremely handsome young man (although some say he is more “beautiful in a manly fashion”) with dark hair and features. The few inhuman physical traits he had were easily kept hidden. His face resembled his mother’s, but his eyes were clearing that of his father. He also apparently shared his father’s desire of physical intimacy. The only woman who resisted his charms was a Midland Guardsman by the name of Qialna. The Gildanesti woman was so dedicated to her duty to protect the to-be king that she resisted the desire to bed with him. This rejection only caused Gianvuoto to double his efforts, but Qialna remained pure.

In 405 AD, Gianvuoto was coroneted as king of Iveraque, but the ceremony was interrupted when a mage attempted to incinerate the young man. Qialna impaled the would-be assassin through the heart as he released a fiery spell. Both died. The incident shocked Gianvuoto who at first couldn’t understand Qialna’s sacrifice for him. After a week of seclusion, Gianvuoto came to realize he did have a love for the woman.

Over the following years, Gianvuoto decided he would not allow himself to simply fall into the lust for corruption and evil his parents had reviled in. He began to spend time studying humanity and decency, trying to learn how to exert his will over his urges. Using time to meditate, he was able to temper the demonic-blood in his vanes and behave more as a human would. He never sought to repent for his past actions, for he believes them to be the early steps of a journey in self-improvement. It was self-control he wished for.

Over the next ten years, Gianvuoto ruled using acts of violence only when strategically necessary, and not when it would only give him pleasure. He expanded his research to include the practices of many races and even animals. His interests in learning about the world around him matched his mother’s interest in the creatures of the Abyss. In 418 AD, the king ordered the construction of a zoo near the capital and also a wildlife preserve further away in order to allow him to study different communities of creatures without leaving Iveraque.

In order to further extend his practice in restraining his Abyssal desires, he has sent out to hire a monk-master so he may better calm his blood and mind through meditation. Lord Montegron has not been pleased with Gianvuoto’s recent practices, hoping instead that the king would be more aligning the Iveraque forces together for the coming war with the Tashrama. But Gianvuoto has been suspicious of the Sovereign Lord’s motivations and has dragged his feet in getting his country on a war footing.

Current Events

    • In order to better relations between Iveraque and the Midland Sovereignties, Montegron has sent Gianvuoto a monk-master of his own choosing to assist the king in his training. Several captains in the Ersciton are not finding his monk very trustworthy.
    • Abele Roma is the head of a small Family gaining power in eastern Iveraque. It has been discovered that Roma is the grandson of Abramno Nilonè, the Gianvuoto’s great-uncle and former king. Rumor is that Roma believes that he himself is the rightful ruler of Iveraque and is positioning himself to seize control.
  • The wine made by the grapes grown just outside of the wildlife preserve is causing those who imbibe it to behave strangely. With so many magical creatures concentrated in a relatively small area, it may be affecting the nearby plants. Or is someone else doing something to the grapes?

Major Settlements

Barlona (Large City 17,638): Resting over the Acousta River, Barlona has the largest concentration of dwarves and dwarven-kin in Iveraque. It is also has the largest number of churches that used to be dedicated to the Tashrama. In 357 AD, in order to show his religious-side to his devout people, Lambra Selivè had eight cathedrals and churches built within his territories. Three of them were built in Barlona itself. Although the churches were abandoned after the exposure of the Elder Dragons, a very elderly Lambra is seeking a worthy follower of the Tao-Shin to donate the land to. Barlona is known for its architectural style along with it being the business center of several wineries, many whose vineyards lie in the Selivè territory.

Krasevlu (Metropolis 27,003): The capital of Krasevlu is nestled around the shoreline of Aquila Bay. The city has still not reached the population it had prior to the Days of Darkness, and Krasevlu has adjusted accordingly. Many older abandoned buildings had been taken down to widen the streets and line the roadways with cherry blossom trees and statues of renowned heroes and figures of the past. The Sognasia, the royal palace, rests out in the waters of the bay and near the shoreline it is the dominating aspect of any view. Near the city edges ports allow for the fishing industry to thrive along with the naval shipyard. Areas closer to the palace are dedicated to catering to the needs of Corinesti traders and other sea-bound folk.

Menan (Large City 18,320): Caspra Leonal runs the port city of Menan and a small amount of land around it. This makes her territory fairly small compared to the others while still having a very sizable and relatively secure population. Menan is a major educational center, even containing a few small schools to the different studies of magic. This city is one of the few holdovers where many in the population continue to have support for the Tashramadic church.

Vernoa (Large City 12,737): Vernoa the largest city in the southern district of Toscalise, controlled by the Pisoia Family. It is famous for being the birthplace of the sport of delverdo, the national pastime. The Tiarlasono Stadium attracts many sporting enthusiasts and tourists every year. Vernoa is also a major trade stop near the border with Mauritand, and the flux of products coming and going brings healthy revenue to both the city and the Pisoias.

Isryan, Sovereignty of

by Kranar Drogin & Carteeg Struve

Capital: Iqurliny
Population: 320,583 (Human 89%, Corinesti 6%, Gildanesti 4%, Gnome 1%)
Government: Democratically Elected Monarchy
Religions: Tao-Shin, Tashrama
Languages: Common, Elven, Gnome, and Trejori
Trade: Metal, Artifacts, Clams, Corn, Grain Wheat, Leather, Oysters, Pearls, Whale Oil, and Wool
Legions: Army of the People, Coastal Line, National Navy.
Alignment: LG, NG, CG, LN, N, LE

Isryan (Is’-ree-an) is located south of Solishairon and Kedaltol, east of Guiteger, and north of FyxZharar and Tashramada. The nation is the largest of all the Midlands nations in terms of population, with well over 300,000 people living in it, and the largest elven population of any other Midland nation on Adlatum. For having such a diverse population, they became a democracy following the Drowning. They also have the largest standing army of any other Midland nation on Adlatum with nine legions. The men and women from Isryan are known for their producing great mariners and swordsmen infantry.

Life and Society

The people of Isryan are a spiritual people, even if their specific faiths and believes are in opposition with each other. Many traditions of the old theocracy have survived, often drastically changed, since the ancient days of the empire. Although the worship of the Tao-Shin had fallen away over the centuries until the true gods’ return in 350 AD and 421 AD, a segment of the populace has come to apply their spiritualism to the Tashrama.

Other than being a spiritual people, patriotism is also strong and healthy. Since they see Isryan as a lasting segment of the theocracy, the strong sense of spiritualism also bolsters their love for their country. Lately the youngest generation has begun to transfer their love of Isryan to the Midland Sovereignties as a whole or to the Tashramadic Church, depending on which side of the conflict the individuals have sided with.

Religion

The Tashrama gained much support from Isryan during the first century of its existence. After the fall of the Tao-Shin church during the Starfall, the Church of the Divine Ladder spread through Isryan very quickly. It was only in 406 AD, when the Tashrama’s army at Brimstone was revealed to be a major threat, did the popularity of that church begin to fall. When Lord Montegron exposed the church’s power to be that of five powerful Elder Dragons, the church’s hold in Isryan fell again. However, a large portion of Isryan still is loyal to the church after all these years. But with the return of the true gods, the Tao-Shin has begun to lure in those who had been put off by the revelations about the Tashrama. Their size is nowhere near to matching even the record low numbers the Tashrama has currently, but if current trends continue, the Tao-Shin may become a major influence on the region.

Government

The nation of Isryan founded the first democracy in the known history of the Midlands. However the ability for the populace to change or curb the actions of their government has been curtailed by Lord Montegron’s reorganization after the Days of Darkness. The head of state, the Premier, is elected by the people to a life-time term, and the requirements stating who can vote in these elections have become so strict that now only a mass of several hundred elites make the decision. In addition, Montegron himself can remove a candidate’s name from the election ballot if he so chooses.

Although Premier Avex has proven very popular with the people for the last several decades, the recent reorganization of Guiteger’s government into a form closer to Isryan’s pre-Starfall days has made some people question the Sovereign Lord’s twenty-five year old decision.

Military

The main body of Isryan’s defense is the Army of the People, although it is simply called ‘the army’ by most citizens. The bulk of the force is made up of volunteers who either enlist or go through a six-year period of schooling and training before directly joining the officer corps. All boys of the age of sixteen to seventeen must attend schooling that combines military training with classes on honorable and spiritual behavior. Women are allowed to take this training if they volunteer to do so. Those men and women who wish to join the officer corps are given the chance to continue their studies for four-years after the required two-year training is up. Anyone who wishes to become an officer after this offer is given and rejected must go through the full six-year curriculum before being accepted, unless they enlist and try to become an officer through hard work and promotion.

In times of war, there have been a few cases where a draft was put into effect. Those who had completed their two-year training are eligible to be drafted. The Premier is debating a measure that would require women to take the two-year program the men must take now, however the general populace of Isryan does not yet seem open to the idea of making women eligible for the draft.

One subsection of the Army of the People is the national navy. In 9 AD, several small towns on or near the new shoreline began to construct boats to begin a livelihood off the sea. But it was soon realized that there was a much danger in and on the water as the land had before the Drowning. The towns began to build ships for the specific purpose of protecting the fishermen and other sea-going vessels. The towns and rebuilt cities joined together to form a cohesive fleet, and in 54 AD the Army of the People began to directly fund the naval fleet in return for giving those sailors official rank within the military.

In 59 AD, the Coastal Line was commissioned as an elite block of sailors, guardians, and ships operating for the good of their nation. Although the national navy has its own ranking system, it is considered a sidearm of the army. The Coastal Line however, is considered an elite sidearm of the navy and is only called in when circumstances require their talents on land or sea. It is rumored that the Coastal Line has even conducted missions into the small portion of the black cloud of Brimstone and returned. The government denies it.

Magic and Mysticism

Divine abilities are seen by many to be a sign of spiritual completeness. When one is able to use such talents, it means that the magic user has attuned themselves perfectly to one spiritual sense or another (i.e., nature, the gods, a cause, etc.). Even if someone is considered an enemy, most Isryan’s will give more respect than someone from another nation may believe the enemy deserves. Recently this mostly applies to the clergy of the Tashramadic church. The Isryan government sees the red branch of the church as a direct threat to security and will take whatever actions are needed to protect itself and end the threat, but it has also gone out of its way to be polite and give respect to those high ranking officials within the church. Still, Isryan does have several warrants out demanding the arrest of several Tashramadic priests involved in the Army of Brimstone’s attack against Solishairon in 406 AD, and they will not hesitate to arrest them if the chance is given.

Arcane abilities is another matter but not far off. Demonstrating the talent to shape, destroy, and affect the world by use of magic not divinely achieved is seen by most as a wondrous and horrifying concept. Most believe it is the first step in mortals striving to become like the gods, but how that is reacted to varies from community to community. Some will retreat in fear. Others will worship the caster as if they were a partial deity (although a very weak one) themselves. Many others see such acts of spell casting as hubris and will take whatever actions to stop such heresy. One cult of druids and rangers has been found who take in (or force in) arcane casters and convert them to their own nature-bound ways, encouraging them to abandon arcane for divine magic.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

The Tall Fields: The southern regions of Isryan used to be an ordinary stretch of wheat fields and farmlands. In 384 AD, a sect loyal to the Tashrama came to the providences during a period of drought and famine. For three years the sect wandered the lands that were slowly turning into a dustbowl. In the autumn, on the forth year in 388 AD, the fields from the edge of blight to the southern border of Isryan began to grow. Wheat, corn, barley, and many other plants grew to record heights, and the magic bestowed upon the land continued harvest after harvest. Whether through the intent of the sect or by a lack of control in the magic, the plants grew from five to ten times their normal sizes. The famine ended as quickly as the food could be harvested and shipped to the starving. Although the sect disappeared before the plants grew to such incredible heights, many farmers joined the Tashramadic church. A few however are no longer as appreciative, since a few rare plants have become hostile, and mobile.

Huvado: During the reign of the theocracy, one small county dedicated itself to the Path of Power. A collection of six towns surrounding the lord city of Huvado were consistently focused on promoting their beliefs to any willing to listen. Although forceful in their methods, those on the Path of Power were tolerant of visitors who wish to follow other ways. A half-century before the decay of the theocracy had clearly begun to tear away at the nation’s stability, all seven communities vanished. Oddly, each town on the exterior appear to each be in different stages of preservation. The southern town of Valmanor is in immaculate condition, but with no people in it. Bryal’s buildings are standing but with moderate damage. The further north the outer town is, the worse the condition. Schangel, the northernmost town, is the exception. The buildings, along with the people, no longer exist. But that area does have one quality identical to all others: almost all who walk into these towns are never seen again. As for the condition of the Lord City Huvado itself, with no one able to get close to it, that is unknown.

Regional History

The nation of Isryan was formed thousands of years ago when the Tao-Shin theocracy crumbled under the weight of political and ideological friction that had built up over centuries of diverse interpretation of scriptures and political convenience. As one of the larger providences it was home to the earliest theocratic capital, but after skirmishes and silent departures dissolved the once great empire, the providence of Isrynonamae held a majority of itself together to form the nation of Isryan. In the centuries to come, the borders would shift as smaller nations were absorbed or fell away. Sometimes squabbles with neighboring nations would adjust the nationalities of those living in border towns as well, especially near Solishairon. But Isryan endured and struggled to keep some of the traditions salvaged from the forgotten theocracy alive, even as it formed an identity of its own.

When the Drowning hit Isryan, the nation was lucky in one sense because they only lost a few hundred acres to the Sargassi Sea. For this good luck, they lost their leadership and an artifact. The former capital of Atlitium was swallowed up by the Sargassi Sea, and now lies at the bottom of it along with the star metal greatsword Loadbarer that was held by the king. At the time of the Drowning, Isryan was a monarchy. Their King of Isryan, Jakys Arderne, along with all of his family was in the palace in the capital, and all were killed when the sea swallowed them up. This left the nation leaderless.

At first, the minor nobles of the nation went to war with each other, but the general population would not support this war. Instead an election was held, something that had never been seen before in all of the Midlands. Two nobles were in the forefront to win, but a young noble by the name of Cakah Iqurlin won over the population, and he served as their leader for the next ten years, taking the title of Premier.

During his time, Cakah had the capital moved to his fortress of Iqurliny, a port town, and a huge city grew up around there in time. Isryan and its capital of Iqurliny quickly grew as a cultural and trade leader in the whole of Midlands. In the year 5 AD, the Corinesti elven nation sent traders to the capital to establish trade. Cakah was more than happy to sign trade agreements with the elves.

For a number of years, Isryan had problems with the nation of Solishairon to the north in the Mining Rights Wars. From the years 15 AD to 23 AD, a series of border skirmishes took place between the two nations. Even though they are termed Wars, they really weren’t. The conflicts came to a conclusion when three legions from Solishairon and two legions from Isryan confronted each other in the Battle of Crotili near the small village of the same name. What should have been an easy win for Solishairon wasn’t by far. The better-trained warriors of Isryan decimated Solishairon’s three legions, resulting in thousands of deaths. Solishairon lost the mining rights near the Afanstein Mountains just over the eastern border of Kedaltol.

Ten years later, the nations of the Midlands began to do extensive rebuilding. A cleric by the name of Svebic Dularin was elected to power as clerics all over the Midlands came to power to form the Tashrama.

The Corinesti Trade Wars of 300 AD affected Isryan greatly. Three of the greatest Corinesti houses were based in Isryan, and much destruction was caused to the coastal cities including the great capital. When Isryan’s Premier threatened to kick all the Corinesti out of the nation if they continued, the elves wisely took their fighting off their land.

When the gods returned to Adlatum in 350 AD, half the nation of Isryan was extremely happy for their return, and half were not. When many prophets of the gods started sprouting up with their followers, the Scalebound attacked them immediately to try and stop the spread of religion. Isryan broke out in outright civil war, with the current Premier named Eleah Dayne siding with the Scalebound.

One year later in 351 AD, some unknown assassins killed Eleah, and the support for the Tashrama collapsed. Churches seemed to sprout up over night, mostly worshiping the gods of good and neutrality. Evil had a few temples that were tolerated by the populace, but not many at this time. A new Premier was elected in a one Yulii Nelens, who happened to be a new cleric of Erraii (Paladine) in the Tao-Shin faith.

Over the next 32 years, Nelens ruled with both mind and heart. Although he never pushed his faith upon his subjects, the teachings of the god were at the very center of his decisions and policies. In 359 AD, the Premier wed Luriana Skelva. A scandal broke out in 363 AD when it was discovered that Luriana used to be a thief and assassin for a foreign power before coming to Isryan. There was even some doubt as to whether her name was truly hers. But the questions died down when the Premier’s three children, all identical triplets, were born in 365 AD.

In 378 AD, Nelens informed the public he would not seek another term as Premier. He stated his desire to rest from service to his nation and instead focus on his family. “To serve my people, my nation, and my god had been the greatest drive in my life. Never would I dream that there could be something more important to me than all three. But I found it. Erraii bless everyone, I did in my wife and children. For a long time I have done what I could to serve everyone as they deserve, but my energy is not as it used to be. Priorities must be decided on, and I choose my family.”

Nelens endorsed Judarn Provess to succeed him, and Provess showed himself to be a very capable political leader in earlier years. But in 379 AD, Provess died from a sudden heart attack while visiting a group of cities smashed by a sudden hurricane that appeared in the Sargassi Sea. The next front-runner was Vayvanne Cloves, a woman who Nelens never trusted. When Nelens learned through unknown channels that Cloves was sympathetic to the aims of the Tashramadic Church and Brimstone, Nelens reluctantly stepped in to replace Provess as a candidate for Premier. Nelens won by the smallest of margins. Although Cloves lost, her supporters gained much more influence throughout the government.

The reign of Yulii Nelens ended shortly before the Days of Darkness in a manner similar to his predecessor. While walking through the streets of Iqurliny, an unknown man simply walked up to a small space amidst Nelens’ security and fired a crossbow bolt close-range into Nelens’ chest. Nelens’ was brought to a healer as soon as they could, but it would be a week before the Premier returned to consciousness. The would-be assassin was arrested, but nothing but the barest details could be determined about his identity. He was a human with the facial traits of being from Tashramada, but his accent pointed him to be from Galachot. Nothing more was found out about him, and the failed assassin was dropped into a dark dungeon to be forgotten about.

The Premier never recovered fully. Physically and mentally weakened, he resigned from his post. But upon his announcement the sky grew black, and the horrors of Chaos descended on Isryan. The horde swarmed Yulii Nelens. His protectors had no ability to stop them, and when the horde separated from the stage on which he stood, the Premier was gone. At that point, all of Chaos’ forces began work on destroying everything.

Many of the cities were torn apart, deformed, or vanished by the time the assault mysteriously ended. With the Premier gone, Cloves made a play to seize control of the government, but a group of warriors blocked Cloves’ path into the reconstructed palace. Clove’s troops attacked and killed most of them, but one archer among the warriors was able to shoot Clove’s in the back of the head as she fled the battle. Four of the assassins were captured and arrested, but after several years, Lord Montegron and his followers came to Isryan and forced their release. Two members joined the group that would become the Midland Guard. Another left to travel to Solishairon to combat the growing threat of Brimstone. The remaining man, the archer who went by the name Skyhawk, chose to stay in Isryan and help rebuild.

Lord Montegron took control of rebuilding efforts and adjusted the highest levels of governmental structure. Instead of a ten-year term for the office of Premier, the election would determine a Premier for the duration of the winner’s life. To keep a sense of continuation to the democratic process, he also determined that upon the Premier’s removal, death, or resignation a new election would be held to choose the next Premier. In order to assist in the stability of the government, during a period between the loss of a Premier and the induction of a new one, Montegron would appoint a regent to run the state’s affairs. He also adjusted the rules determining who was allowed to vote in elections.

Dulasa Avex, a former carpenter who had returned to her old life rebuilding destroyed homes, was elected Premier in 390 AD. Since the beginning of the following year, she has ruled Isryan with a questioning loyalty to Montegron and has kept Skyhawk near her as an advisor, protector, and possibly lover.

In 406 AD, Lord Montegron personally returned to the region to lead a conglomeration of armies from Guiteger, Isryan, and Solishairon to smash the Army of Brimstone to the north of Isryan’s borders. Somehow Montegron knew the Army of Brimstone was planning an attack again Solishairon’s government and rallied the forces against them in a very violent but decisive victory against the militaristic wing of the Tashrama. This victory brought many of those who were skeptical of Montegron’s international rule to the belief that the unified sovereignties were necessary.

In 421 AD, an aged Premier Avex continues a strong rule with a youthful yet human-looking Skyhawk at her side. At this time, her primary concern is that the Army of Brimstone appears to have been rebuilt and is ready to launch a new attempt to seize control of local authorities.

Current Events

    • For years, people traveling the Tall Fields have seen figures, somewhat humanoid, moving through the grain. Descriptions suggest these beings may be plant-based, at least partially. A few weeks ago traders came across an abandoned village in the Tall Fields. Signs of fighting are all over the place.
    • Although strong, Isryan’s forces will have to be split between a northern front against Brimstone and a southern front against Tashramada should war against the Elder Dragons break out. Considering that some of the Isryan population is more loyal to Tashrama, the country will likely be torn apart by the conflict. The Premier is desperately seeking options to try and keep Isryan whole.
  • Three adventurers who entered the surrounding towns of Hudavo twenty years ago have recently walked out. One was a youthful elf when he entered, but now he appears to be over a millennium old. The next adventurer was a human male of thirty upon entry. He walked out the same age as when he disappeared. The third was a young woman who has returned as a tiny babe. None have been willing to tell anyone about what they found, but they are desperately seeking others to assist them in their planned journey back.

Major Settlements

Cyandra [DM’s option] (Small City 11,584): This secluded settlement was purposefully built after the Drowning in a large box canyon near the Afanstein Mountains where the mining towns are. With only one path winding in and out of the city, it is easily defended and those who the inhabitants do not wish to enter are kept out. It is unknown why most of the city keeps itself away from others, and most Isryans see Cyandrans as recluse eccentrics, barely Isryans at all. Cyandra’s secret is that a large portion of their population has psionic abilities. Since this talent is not understood or tolerant, Cyandrans have withdrawn themselves from the rest of Isryan and the world. Local farms existing on nearby plateaus assisting in the city’s self-reliance, but recently the city’s population has been growing to the point where either it must become more open to the outside world, or else accept starvation to curb their numbers.

Iqurliny (Metropolis 84,321): The capital of Iqurliny is a multi-tiered city surrounding Jolyn Bay. Records indicate that prior to the Drowning and the Canon War, Iqurliny was made up of buildings that often reached up as high as ten to twelve stories tall. During the Drowning, most of the city was destroyed. Much of the area Iqurliny took up sunk into the newly formed bay. But the people did what they could to rebuild. Although the buildings are nowhere as high as before, the city was constructed in three layers with bridges and walkways connecting the upper-levels of the buildings with each other and ramps and stairs allowing traffic to flow between the layers. The Premier’s Palace is the second largest structure in the city, connected to all three layers with two additional floors raising it up higher than any other building.

The largest building in the city is the newly refitted Davsfort Tower. It is the only tower of Pre-Canon War Iqurliny still standing. For centuries the ruined building barely poked up out of the bay while passing ships gave it a wide berth. But ten-years ago a Corinesti trading family bought the landmark from the city and began to rebuild it. Now it is larger than the palace, when the underwater floors are considered, but it still only rises up to one level above the city’s top tier. The Corinesti family Khelanna says they plan to make it into a trading center once bridges and pathways can be constructed over the water, but it still doesn’t explain why so much space is needed.

Mangonello (Large City 18,534):The sister city of Maskaska, Mangonello is a city dedicated to the research and practice of faith and spiritualism. Many schools are in Mangonello, each studying as objectively as possible all of the different types of beliefs that exist in Adlatum. The greatest structure in the city is the Achpago, a massive temple originally constructed in the days of the theocracy. It contains a central complex filled with chambers and courtyards of many styles ranging from simple to ornate and from stone to wood to glass with everything in between. Extending from the central complex, and connected by tall rounded archways, are three significantly sized wings. Each one was dedicated to a certain path in the Tao-Shin faith. After the Tao-Shin’s fall, the building had been used for a variety of purposes over the centuries. Currently the Tashrama has ownership and use of it.

Maskaska (Large City 19,849): The sister city to Mangonello, Maskaska is a city dedicated to sorcery, even though the rest of the nation keeps itself more in focus with the divine as opposed the arcane. Many foreigners jokingly refer to it as Little Etlarn, but most locals take offense when compared to the magocracy of the east. There are five independent schools of magic in the city, and many businesses and people of power come to Maskaska to fund research in new magic that would give them a leg up. A board of deans from the five schools runs the city, and often the laws are lenient on magical experimentation other places would try to prevent. It is this liberal enforcement that attracts more seedy elements willing to pay for research done by mages willing to think “outside the box.” But regardless of differing opinions on many issues, Maskaska and Mangonello remain close in their relations.

Hudiechia, Sovereignty of

by Carteeg Struve & Nael

Capital: Rebria
Population: 128,000 (Hartdar 48%, Human 37%, Half-Dwarf 5%, Gnome 5%, Adlar 3%, Other 2%)
Government: Egalitarian Council
Religions: Nekkarb (Shinare), Mirac (Sirrion), Melik Suud (Reorx), Anphlasaad (Habbakuk)
Languages: Common, Dwarven
Trade: Exotic Dyes, Mineral Wealth, and Trained Engineers
Legions: No formal military
Alignment: NG, LN, N, and NE

Hudiechia (Hoo-deech’-ee-ah) is an egalitarian mixed society of dwarves and humans. The area was settled initially by small groups of allied Midlander and Hartdar dwarves after the Drowning. It is also one of the few places where a large number of half-dwarves are known to reside and live in general peace and acceptance.

Life and Society

Life in the Archenwald, the raised stone platform tiers that make up the city of Rebria are fairly comfortable. The city itself is supported by elegantly crafted stone arches and reinforced stone platform tiers. It is topped with minarets and a multitude of water cisterns that have been constructed to provide the only sophisticated indoor plumbing in all of Adlatum. By Council decree no building on the Archenwald may be built of wood. Instead most buildings are formed from pour stone, a malleable mixture of burnt lime and concrete mortar reinforced with iron rebar. This mixture allows for lightweight building materials that can be shaped into many different forms that are absolutely watertight. Beneath the Archenwald is the Foul Burg, or as it is sometimes called the Undercity. The Undercity is home to the itinerant traders and those trades that cannot be supported in the Archenwald such as the ironmongers and dyers guilds.

Everyone, regardless of race, is a member of a guild. To be a citizen is to be a part of a guild. There are more than 300 acknowledged guilds, each guild has one vote that it casts in order to determine the five members of the Guilded Faction of the ruling council. The other two factions consist of the five members appointed by the Engineers and the five members of the Foresters association. The current Regent of Montegron is Dalys Thal, a half-dwarf who was appointed directly by Montegron to lead overseeing the Council of Fifteen.

Humans and dwarves share the land equally at least in theory, while dwarves seem to make up the majority of the population, humans seem to supply much of the ingenuity that has sparked the dwarves into creating one of the most unique societies of Adlatum.

Religion

The religion of Hudiechia reflects the ethics of its residents. Reorx, Nekkarb (Shinare), and Mirac (Sirrion) are revered, as are Anphlasaad (Habbakuk) and Miraphayt (Mishakal). Although the Midland names for the gods are used in Hudiechia, just as often the dwarven names are often used as well.

Government

The government of Hudiechia, as mentioned above, is a council of elected and appointed individuals representing the guilds to which every citizen belongs to, as well as the two largest consortiums made up of those self same guilds. Up until the Council of Fifteen and Lord Montegron made a treaty of non-aggression and trade, the Council ruled the area with little dissent and much mutual benefit to its citizens. After the compact Lord Montegron established the Regent, an individual who would represent Montegron’s interest in the area. The Regent has the ability to veto any council decision, but does not have the authority to instate new policy. He may request that a member of the council present his wishes to the council for consideration however. The current Regent is a half-dwarf by the name of Dalys Thal (NE male half-dwarf noble 7); a self-serving sycophant of Lord Montegron who believes his human heritage makes him superior to his dwarven forefathers.

Military

All citizens living in Hudiechia are considered to be part of the military. There is no official standing army, however a small contingent of the Midland Guard has taken up residence and recruits from the local citizenry. The Regent has lately had several members of the Council ask to have the Midland Guard recognized as an official guild of the city.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic and mysticism are more common in Hudiechia than in most other dwarven lands. It is assumed that the large number of humans present has slowly modified the dwarven mindset. While wizards and sorcerers are rare, Wood Witches and Fire Weavers make up the majority of the divine magic users available outside of the temples. Wood Witches (Plant Mystics), Fire Weavers (Fire Mystics) Stone Brothers (Earth Mystics), Dowsers (Water Mystics) and Wind readers (Air Mystics) are fairly common.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Buraachak: Once a city larger in population than Rebria, Buraachak was destroyed during the Days of Darkness. Almost the entire population was killed protecting themselves from Chaos’ horde, but in the end the platforms and pillars were twisted and smashed and the land cursed. The few survivors found were insane and could tell no cohesive tale of what happened. Those who have since traveled into the ruins during the night and escaped all tell various stories of horror, none consistent with another. The wise avoid the ruins at all cost.

Lonespire: A left over from some forgotten time, Lonespire is a ruined keep located on a treacherous rock outcropping, which might at onetime have had a fortified bridge. Many have tried to scale the cliff walls leading to the tower but none have ever returned. Theologians and historians have noted that the appearance of the tower closely resembles the myths concerning the Bronze Tower of Lesuthiyat (Morgion) located in the Abyss. The Lesuthi clergy are silent on any association between the two locals.

Low Vale: A deep valley located in the north of Hudiechia Forrest. It is said that a great battle during the First War of the Prophet was fought here. It is now a semi-sacred place teaming with oddly fearless wildlife.

The Spill: Located at the western end of Tamerlane Pass, the spill is a series of narrow cutbacks leading down the mountainside. In bad weather entire trade caravans have been know to be washed over the treacherous path as devastating flash floods stream down the trade way.

Tamerlane Pass: A profitable trade way from east to west bringing much needed wood and mineral wealth to the eastern kingdoms and coveted spices and silks to the west. It was recently constructed within the last ten years, granting the southern kingdoms faster access to the opposite side of the Midlands. The pass was Lord Montegron’s idea and its construction was completed ten years ago.

The Wax Forest: An anomaly discovered after the Days of Darkness where an entire potion of the wood seemed to melt under some intense bizarre heat. Over the last few years a strange waxy substance seems to have covered everything. This substance is highly flammable and slightly caustic to the touch, but when processed correctly produces many alchemical substances.

Regional History

The ancient history of the region known as Hudiechia is vastly unknown by the civilized world of Adlatum. The thick lush forests are sub-tropical in nature with some southern areas beginning to resemble the tropical vegetation of the Vacant Lands. This cuts down on visibility in most places and allows for easy ambush, which many believe is what happened to earlier explorers.

The Thunderhead Mountains to the east and south protected much of the forests in the western half of the land, but what happened to the rumored inhabitants is unknown. It was said a mysterious and territorial race of elves used to live deep within the forests and mountains, but historians have yet to find any definitive proof. The only evidence that the area was once settled is the fact that the language of Hudieran is said to have originated in the region. There are also accounts of battles during the War of the Prophet having been fought there, but many of the specifics of that ancient history were lost with time.

After the Drowning, one large group of tradesmen and artisans sought to escape the wrath of the gods by heading into the previously avoided region. This group of travelers was made up primarily of Midlander humans and Kedaltol Hartdar displaced hundreds of miles from their home, many of whom were not even sure of the survival of the rest of their families and friends. But stuck between known regions of devastation and an unknown land lush with vegetation, clean water, and rocky mineral deposits, the choice for them became obvious.

Throughout the forest and the mountains, relics of a lost civilization were found. In many cases, it did not look like they were lost for very long. But regardless of what was left behind, no complete villages or cities were discovered. They’d marble statue on top of a fountain in the middle of the forest in one spot, and a grandiose archway leading nowhere would be found miles away with nothing but wilderness in between. No roads were found. No farms were found. Just random items that said civilization had been there, and nothing else.

Several historians claim that these items were washed into place from elsewhere during the Drowning, or that other parts of settlements likely built with weaker materials were washed away. However the diaries of a few of initial immigrants said they saw no signs of debris or that the items had been washed into place. One diary had an entry that claimed they found no sign of the Drowning at all. Many historians discount their statements based on the fact that these initial settlers were untrained in what to look for to make such assessments.

Soon the settlers came to realize how dangerous the region was. Wild predators, quick sinking swamp bogs, and poisonous mobile plants began to whittle away at their numbers. Even in the mountains beasts that blended into the surrounding rock feasted from the camp while most slept and others stood watching their surroundings. Using their skills and training, the men and women began constructing massive platforms called the Archenwald, lifting them away from most predators. Traps were set to ensnare many of their would-be killers, and meat and plants were provided to settle their appetites. Many became skilled in not only hunting the creatures in the trees and rocks, but new and innovative ways were developed to fend off the wild and help the town of Rebria prosper. Various tasks were given to groups of individuals who showed promise in their related fields, and the initial guilds were born.

Each guild did not only have the duty to provide the essentials needed for Rebria’s survival, but they were also tasked to come up with new and better ways to provide those same needs. In time wells were discovered in caverns deep under the ground, and wells were constructed through the massive stone pillars supporting the city. Later generations would then come up with methods of using air and pressure to push the water up to higher levels in order to make retrieving the water more accessible. Some plant-based substances that were initially poisonous to the settlers were discovered to become medicines for several illnesses when combined with other mixtures. Simple machines of weights, swings, and pulleys allowed people to have easy access to the ground while also being able to quickly pull up ramps and stairs to seal off hungry wildlife. Methods of grinding and disposing of waste were also refined over the years.

The centuries passed, and the population grew with new settlements were founded elsewhere in Hudiechia. For centuries the only major settlements were Rebria, Fort Donnacadh, and Buraachak, but many other smaller towns sprouted up in time. Still, contact with the nations outside of Hudiechia was kept to a minimum. The Drowning was a sign that the gods cursed rest of Adlatum, and that the key to a good life was by remaining in Hudiechia and letting the ways of the cursed land alone.

Rebria continued to grow in population, but the ground beneath wouldn’t take additional weight from move pillars holding up more of the city. Most of the wildlife had learned to keep distant from the city, so many of the underprivileged had begun to build homes on the ground underneath the platform high above them. The Undercity, or Foul Burg, was born. Eventually, the Undercity began to make a living for itself and several guilds found that operating on the ground made things must more convenient. With enough protections around the city, most thought the older threat from their environment was all but gone.

The Days of Darkness changed much for Hudiechia, if not during the horrors but after. As the hordes flew out of the Path over the other side of the mountains, much of the wildlife became twisted and perverted by Chaos’ touch. Shadows in the forest became hungry for marrow and life itself. Other creatures bore into men’s minds and drained them of their ability to think and apply their skills, rending them useless in the eyes of others and themselves. During the struggles, many people were torn apart or maimed beyond recognition. The greatest damage to the nation wasn’t realized until after the Starfall, when the entire city of Buraachak was found destroyed. The city platform had collapsed and all of the pillars impossibly twisted and ruined. Not all were dead, but all of the so-called survivors had been driven insane. Up to this day, Buraachak is left alone as a place where Chaos took root and make it His own. The stories of those who venture into the ruins at night vary wildly, but always those who make it out refuse to go back.

Buraachak took with it over half of the nation’s population, and the loss of many other isolated villages and towns depleted the population even further. The creatures roaming the forests, mountain passes, and caves did not all revert back to normal “safer” predators after the Starfall either. The land truly became even more dangerous than it was to the initial settlers almost four centuries earlier. The ruling Council came to the conclusion they needed help.

A small body of travelers was sent out into the Cursed Lands (what the Hudiechian’s called the rest of Adlatum) to search for a foreign body strong enough to establish diplomatic and trade ties to. They say the rising power of Lord Montegron, and the Council agreed that he would be the one to pull Adlatum out of its accursed state brought on by the Drowning.

Lord Montegron was initially shocked by the arrival of the representatives from Hudiechia. When planning on unifying the Midlands, he had discounted the commonly thought haunted region as too dangerous a place to risk sending anyone into. But now he had its civilized people begging for assistance.

And so he gave it.

In return for his assistance, and help from the nearby Midland Sovereignties, he would assign a Regent to be his representative in Hudiechia’s Council of Fifteen. No decision of the Council would be allowed without the Regent’s permission. As a check to power the Regent would not be allowed to propose or enforce policy, but he would be given the right to call a member of the Council to hear his suggestions. It would then be up to the called member to present the suggestion or not. Eager to join the growing superpower of the Midlands, the Council agreed.

Montegron’s forces found Hudiechia to be a much tougher land to assist than was first thought upon signing the agreement. The wildlife was found to be untamable and almost at times unbeatable. Several members of the Midland Guard lost their lives or simply vanished as Rebria and other settlements scrambled to rebuild and improve their defenses. In time the city was refortified, and many of the Midland Guardsmen who transferred out of Hudiechia said the land was the harshest training ground they had ever seen. One guardsman who was lost for over a year told his superiors “It was if the Days of Darkness never ended.”

Upon such reports, Montegron decided that those people who had the potential and willingness would be sent to Hudiechia to train. The casualty rates for this training is known to be exceedingly high, but those who survive are often on the fast track to promotion (or even assigned to dark ops).

To further assist the people in rebuilding their economy, Montegron ordered the construction of a road cutting through the impassable mountain range in the east, leading to the cities and towns in western Tashramada who were loyal to the Sovereignties. Many gnomes risked moving to Hudiechia to learn of their laws and legal structure, as no record of that nation’s events had been known for hundreds of years (a great tragedy by gnomish standards).

For the last twelve years, Dalys Thal has been Montegron’s selection for Regent. Although Hudiechia has a measurable number of half-dwarves within its population, Thal has adopted several of the prejudices of the outside world. Specifically he believes that his human blood makes him superior to his dwarven kin, but he is also suffers a mild depression over the fact his blood is tainted by his dwarven heritage. This has made Thal a pain to deal with in the opinion of many of the Council, but others have come to realize that when Thal speaks for Montegron, regardless of the spirit of the initial treaty, Montegron’s will is made reality. And lately, Montegron has wanted the hard working populace of Hudiechia to produce devices and equipment for the upcoming war with the Tashrama. This puts many people in confusion in how to handle many of the political and economic decisions. Most do not want to be pulled into a war that most feel do not involve them, but yet the assistance of Sovereignties and especially the Midland Guard has given the nation a second chance.

Current Events

    • Adlar dwarves from the east have begun preaching The Path and are seeking converts in Rebria. Some of the more fanatical have taken to wearing red robes and inciting small riots.

 

    • Montegron has requested that a large number of siege engines be constructed and sent to his forces along with teams of trained sappers. He is also pushing, via the Regent, for the Council of Fifteen to recognize the Midland Guard as an official guild.

 

  • Caravans traveling between settlements have begun disappearing in the middle of the forest regions. Scouts in the area claim to have seen creatures during the night resembling mutated centaurs with the upper body and heads of insects.

Major Settlements

There are no large settlements other than Fort Donnacadh and the capital Rebria, although the growing Tumask is beginning to be considered as one. Most settlements are itinerant or semi-permanent mining and logging camps, or small Fortified Clan Holds.

Fort Donnacadh (Small City, 10,000): Also known as the Large Fortified Clan Hold called by residents, Fort Donn began as little more than a small hill fort built to protect the small farms of the region from hostile invasion. Since then it has grown into a relatively large Fortified Clan Hold. Fort Donn is also home to the largest concentration of half-dwarves in the region, Dalys Thal. The Regent was born in Fort Donn.

Rebria (Metropolis, 28,545): The first major settlement of Hudiechia, it was constructed in the years following the Drowning in efforts for the initial settlers to escape the predators of the forest. Made up of raised stone platform tiers called the Archenwald along with the poorer Foul Burg beneath, the city is an engineering marvel in the middle of a dark forest filled with violent creatures and natural traps. The Midland Guard has one of its elite training facilities located here.

Tumask (Small City, 5,013): Instead of being fully supported by pillars, the platforms of growing city of Tumask project outward from the mountainside of the Thunderhead ridge. By reshaping the rock face, Tumask has limited the number of passages leading into and out of that side of the city while insuring access into the mines buried deep underground in the mountains.

Guiteger, Sovereignty of

by Carteeg Struve

Capital: Novkia
Population: 175,093 (Human 84%, Hartdar 9%, Half-Dwarf 6%, Gnome 1%)
Government: Democratic Parliament (former Oligarchy)
Religions: minor – Tashrama (Green branch), Reorx
Languages: Dwarven, Common, Trejori
Trade: Horses, Wine, Rum, and Barley
Legions: Ington’s Will, Noble Bands, Stonewall Cavalry
Alignment: LG, LN, N, LE

The nation of Guiteger (Goo’-tehg-er) has change types of governments many times over its long history, and its latest experiment in mob rule is being watched with mild curiosity and humor from several of the neighboring nations. The Guiteger nation strongly supports the Sovereignties under the Great Sovereign Lord’s rule, and is also a major trading ally with the dwarven nation of Kedaltol to its north. However the current political climate is beginning to destabilize.

Life and Society

Guiteger is a major trade route connecting most trade from the west to the east to the north. Trade with the dwarves to the north is very extensive, and with the Thunderhead Mountains blocking or retarding most travel from the west coast to the east coast of the Midland those wishing a simple pass from one side to another must pass through Guiteger.

The citizens of Guiteger, the Guiteg, are a hard working people whose main focus is on the production of alcohols including rum, beer, and wine. Horse trading is also popular, especially with the Drejori breeds. The people of Guiteger, including the humans, are also considered master craftsmen, having learned many skills from their dwarven neighbors. The Guiteger people are strong backers of the Sovereignties although a minority of religious people are nervous of anti-religious sentiment growing to the point of being directed at all religions and not just the hated Tashrama.

Religion

The gods forsook the nation of Guiteger. At least that is how many citizens see it. The Tashrama has never been welcome by most of the populace here, and neither will any new faith that comes within this country’s borders. To make matters worse Glastious Forest, the Holy Land of the green branch of the Tashrama, has begun to creep and grow over the western border from Drejor. This has resulted in a backlash against many of those who had faith in the other Tashramadic branches or even the Maker God (known primarily by the dwarven name of Reorx here). Those who do have faith in some higher power, whether it is Tashrama, Tao-Shin, or specific gods have been wise enough to keep relatively quiet during this troubled time. Those more vocal in the cause of spreading the word have met with unfortunate responses.

With such a close relationship with the dwarves of Kedaltol, a number of humans had begun to learn the dwarven methods of construction. With this relationship, the word of the Maker God Reorx also spread, leading to Guiteger to have the largest group of humans who worship this deity. They do not even refer to him by the common Midland name often associated with this being, Melik Suud. With the recent anti-faith sentiment, the Guild of the Maker (a large union of human and dwarven workers) are doing what they can to only show off their professional duties, and not their religious aspects.

The government has taken a negative view towards the Tashrama, but remains to be neutral in regards to those faithful to Reorx or the Tao-Shin. The pseudo-independent guard Ington’s Will is striving to keep the peace as best it can while at the same time fending off the threat of the expanding dark forest to the west.

Government

The democratically elected parliament is in a tentative state currently. The representatives of Parliament are elected by the citizens of districts comprising of several towns and cities each. The representatives then elect a Prime Minister for as long as both the Prime Minister and the Parliament wish to keep him in office. The thirty-member body decides most decisions of law, but whenever a vote results in between 40-60% voting in favor or against a decision, the Prime Minister makes the final decision. Before voting, the Parliament allows for a maximum of four-hours to be dedicated to debate. Once that time expires, a vote must be taken.

The old noble families who had been ousted from their seats of power five years ago are trying to manipulate the representatives into undermining the Parliament as a whole. Many towns under the control of these nobles do not participate in the voting process even though they are invited to do so.

Military

The general army was put together under the reign of the Oligarchy but was controlled by Auger “Sawblade” Ington (LG male half-dwarf fighter 12/legendary tactician 3/Midland Guardsman 1) directly. Funding of their actions had been under the control of the Noble Seats ruling the government. Afterwards, complete control over military use was given to the Parliament, but most generals have stated their loyalty if first to Guiteger and second to Ington. Ington however has sternly told them to follow the directions of the Parliament.

There are two elite factions within Guiteger. One is the Stonewall Cavalry, an expert collection of horse riders who serve as reinforcements during times of conflict. They are known to travel on their steeds over long distances in short time in order to solve any problems that may arise. When massed together in combat, they are a force to be reckoned with. The Stonewall Cavalry is structurally part of the overall Guiteger Army. Their horses are mainly Drejori (the breed), but are raised in Guiteger.

The elite force of Guiteger that is separate from the army is a unit known as Ington’s Will. The unit was formed after the Starfall by a small number of fighters within the traveling band who would later become the Midland Guard. When Ington was given control over the devastated nation of Guiteger, these men and women chose to stay behind and help keep the area stable. In later years, they developed their own view of how the Will should be managed, and became a beacon of light and hope for those in the ruined nation. They fight directly under Ington’s command, and act for the cause of justice and good. For many in Guiteger, the Will is more highly respected than the Midland Guard. Every so often, Ington or another of the Will find new members both in and outside the national army who wish to do what they can to keep the Guiteg people safe.

A collection of fighting forces besides the Will is also in existence. The noble families who were ousted from their seats of power have small groups of soldiers of their own. These noble bands are loyal to their specific family and work to strengthen their master’s influence on the land. Currently the nobles wish to overthrow the Parliament, but they do not wish to go against the will of Ington and possibly anger the Great Sovereign Lord over their southern border.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic of all types is distrusted in Guiteger. With the Drowning placed at the feet of the gods and people needing to surviving hard times on their own, magic of faith was never accepted by the Guiteg people. When the Days of Darkness tore the land apart, many saw the powers the destructive forces of Chaos had as an extension of magic, and so after the Starfall magic of all kinds became hated.

Ironically, this led to Guiteger having one of the few state-funded schools of the arcane. Since sorcery was distrusted, anyone who showed an inclination to magic was legally forced to enter the state-run School of the Arcane in order to hone their skills. This way Guiteg mages would be trained to use their talents properly with the least amount of risk to the populace. Guiteg mages who had graduated the school in Saadow are not fully trusted, but they are at least tolerated more than those who never were under the state’s direction. With the return of the moons, the school is seeking to enlist wizards in order to bring the newly returned magic under the Parliament’s direction.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Coral Mountain: The Drowning did not just sweep things away. It also pulled strange things ashore. Coming to rest in Guiteger, a mountain-sized collection of coral lies in southeastern Guiteger. This mammoth is covered in a variety of colors not seen in above-water nature. In the decades after the Drowning, the mountain has sunk partially into the ground, and water had poured out of the mountain into the long scar Coral Mountain ripped into the land before it had come to a complete stop. Once the water began to flow out of the porous structure, it has not stopped. Yet once the scar was completely filled, Coral Lake did not increase its area even though more and more water could be seen pouring out. The mountain is located in the middle of the wide northern end of the lake. The lake thins out to a point as the shoreline continues south.

Adventurers had crossed the water to explore the alien tunnels within the mountain, but the only woman to return came back insane, unable to speak. Since then few have explored the region. As the centuries rolled on, forests of tall trees began to grow up out of the water as if there was no lake on the ground. Stories of creatures being seen walking on the outside of the mountain during the middle of the night also began to be popular among the locals.

Glastious Forest: The forest is the Holy Lands of the green branch of the Tashrama, and unlike the lands for the other Tashrama it is growing. Mainly situated in the nation of Drejor, it has recently expanded over the border. The forest is a dense location from where very few return. It is believed to be home to many fey creatures that support the insane Green Elder Dragon Glastious along with several humanoids who have forsaken civilized life.

The Hanging City of Rothlessa: When the city of Rothlessa was destroyed in the Drowning, the isolated hill it was on was pressed and rolled upwards, tipping the city to an eight-five degree angle. Most of the structures were destroyed, but a large section of stone foundations, walkways, and roads remained intact while at the extreme incline. There are a couple of buildings that had somehow help together, but they were much more the exception than the rule. Only a portion of the city exists, but less then a half square mile of the city hangs barely supported with the lowest portion of the marvel one hundred and twenty yards above the base of the often green hill. Villages around the site take advantage of people traveling to see the strange ruins by making the area a tourist spot. However no one is allowed into Rothlessa itself since the structures are believed to be unstable.

Regional History

Long before the Drowning, Guiteger was a collection of city-states ruled by individuals claiming themselves to be monarchs and warlords. Conflict was often settled with bloodshed over these centuries as control of territories shifted chaotically. This came to an end in 1098 PD, when Gambriel Guiteg, a Tao-Shin cleric of the Path of Power was able to convince five other warlords to bend knee to her. This cleric of Rasala Hage (Takhisis) launched a strong offensive across the states and brought them under her control within the span of seven years. She let her five loyal warlords act as governors over segments of the nation, but she ruled above them as both a High Priestess. As famous as she was a star metal staff of unholy light known as Innerdark.

The nation of Guiteger was founded as a theocracy under the tenants of the Tao-Shin faith. Followers of the Path of Power continued to rule until halfway through the reign of Gambriel’s granddaughter Ines Johan, in 1001 PD. Seeing the needs of Guiteger changing, she had an epiphany and changed from the Path of Power to the Path of Light. The infrastructure of the theocracy remained the same, but the goals of the government shifted to helping its citizens rather than securing a domination of them. In 965 PD, the government changed again when Ines was murdered by lesser clerics of the Path of Power. Ines’ son Merko revealed the plot, and the Archcouncil appointed him the next High Priest of Guiteger. Merko was a cleric of the Path of Serenity, and he restructured the Archcouncil to include priests of all three paths, not just Light or Power depending on who was ruling at the time. Three years later, when the transformation was complete, he resigned from his post and disappeared, never to be seen again. His last message to the Archcouncil was “I have only prepared Guiteger for the next leg in its travels. There are many roads to come and not all lie directly before us. The Gods have shown me not my density, but the beginning of my next road. I will return to my country and the Middling Lands when I am needed.” He disappeared without a trace, taking Innerdark with him.

In 760 PD, the Archcouncil was showing itself to become a bed of corruption. Every law and ruling was declared to be the will of the Gods, and those who disagreed with the decisions were excommunicated. The Archcouncil also began to counter the decisions of the Tao-Shin churches outside of Guiteger. The friction within the faith came to an end in 749 PD when High Priest of Alnath (Sargonnas) Rainer Nadlis realized that the religious friction within the Tao-Shin would be damaging to everyone in the end. He held on to his personal faith in the Path of Power and the Tao-Shin, but he resigned his post within the church. However, he did not resign his position as the head authority within Guiteger. He forcefully disbanded the Archcouncil and over a bloody eight months turned Guiteger into a monarchy, with himself as king. On his deathbed, he declared that the lineage of rulership would always pass from parent to child, and proclaimed his estranged son, a priest of the Path of Light, as his heir. His young son, Ruben Nadis, had been horrified by his father’s actions over the past several years, but he knew the restoration of a corrupt body was not what Guiteger needed. He resigned from the church as well and took the new throne of Guiteger. A golden age for Guiteger began as a new leadership focused on helping its people came to be. Although human, his reign lasted a staggering hundred and twenty-one years, and he had twenty-three sons and daughters from the three wives he had wed over the years. Legend says than when he died, he looked no older than fifty.

The golden age ended in 123 PD when civil war tore the nation apart. Imbalance in taxing laws between districts led to an uprising in the northwest. When the national army put the rebellion down, false rumors spread that Queen Chrystan’s army had massacred thousands. Karole Elverd, a man thrown out of the Queen’s guard when he had made indecent advances on Chrystan’s daughter Lena, formed a band of those wanting to overthrow the “corrupt and murderous throne.” The civil war lasted for six years, and ended when Elverd beheaded Chrystan himself in front of a public crowd cheering her death. The princess had escaped the capital of Novkia the night before the final siege began. Rumors of where she vanished to were always widespread, but a fictional tale named “Lena of the Fallen Light” had become popular in the following years. Elverd took control of the government as “Chief Guardian of the People,” but this title was a thin mask for the new dictator.

Complications in Elverd’s reign began when the Canon Wars began. Unwilling to let the minotaurs sweep in and take what he had already laid claim to, Guiteger joined the human-dwarven alliance against the threat. During these years, relationships between Guiteger and Kedaltol blossomed as trade increased and tactics used by the humans and dwarves were exchanged.

When the Drowning came Karole Elverd’s great-grandson, Sebas Elverd, lost his seat of power in Guiteger along with his life. The entire Elverd family was lost, along with most cities. Being so far inland, Guiteger buildings had no design for withstanding flooding. Almost every location was decimated. The century of strong military control was at an end. A dark time of anarchy began.

Plague, famine, and death were common in Guiteger for the next three hundred years. Pockets of villages sometimes came together to support each other, but rarely did any real security come of it. At best, so-called “nobles” enslaved section of the population and declared them to be the serfs of their fiefdom. With no opposition, these nobles gained in wealth as others suffered.

The Days of Darkness unleashed a nightmare upon the Guiteg people. With most of civilization still in disrepair, the creatures of Chaos tried a different assault upon Guiteger. Everyone’s dreams began to come true. People gained massive wealth from nowhere, rendering the values of the coin worthless and inflating the prices of everything beyond the reach of everyone else. Others were forced to fall in love with those who desired their attentions, even if they were wed to another. Those who despised others suddenly saw them drop dead in painful and horrible fashions. Towards the end, many of those surviving the chaos wished themselves dead, and their desires were granted. Very few monsters of chaos went into Guiteger, as such there was nobody for the Guiteg to fight but each other, and once the Starfall ended the war for everyone else, Guiteger continued to rip itself apart.

The chaos did not end until over eight years later when a band led by to-be Great Sovereign Lord Montegron came into the land. Montegron, along with Jermon Cavlin and many of the men who would later form the Midland Guard, took it upon themselves to bolster the forces of a few of the surviving noble families and quiet the land under their rule. It was not an easy task. During a battle between Montegron’s men and a village of insane men and women twisted during the war into savage horrid shapes, Montegron was almost murdered when dragged off by a mob of the human-beasts. One of Cavlin’s men, a half-dwarf named Auger “Sawblade” Ington, led a group of six into the village and were able to rescue Montegron from being hung and devoured.

Once the land was quelled, Ington decided that Guiteger needed some of them to stay behind to keep the peace. Partially as thanks for saving his life, Montegron handed Ington the right to be Guiteger’s new king. Ington knew Guiteger would need close support from Kedaltol to rebuild itself yet again, and being the son of an exiled dwarf, he knew his becoming king would not help. Instead he took an “advisory” seat to guide an oligarchy run by the five noble families. Together the Noble Seats would run Guiteger, rebuild a national defense, and set the path for the future. However when some of Ington’s men chose to stay with him, Ington came to have his own small elite guard to help protect their new home.

Thirty-years later, Ington came to see his mistake. The nobles never had the wellbeing of Guiteger in their vaguest thoughts, and he could see none of their heirs bettering their parents and siblings. As Guiteger’s situation deteriorated, Ington proclaimed to the nobles that their rule was ended. In the midst of the arguments that followed, the nobles demanded to know what type of leadership he proposed to put in place. Ington told them, “I don’t know, but it would be better to let the whims of a random mob rule this land than you five.” Later that night, Ington decided to do just that.

Over the next year, he took direct control of the government but began grouping towns and villages together on the maps. Each group of towns would let their own people vote on whom to be their representative in a board of Parliament. Then the Parliament would choose its own leader. At first Montegron was furious to hear such a weakly structured government was being installed in his Sovereignties, but after thought he has come to bless the plan for unknown reasons. Not all towns participate in the new government however. Many are under the direct control of the old nobles, and they are doing what they can to prove this democratic parliament to be a failure.

Current Events

    • Rumors are circulating that Lord Bermarg is a follower of the red branch of the Tashrama. Bermarg has stated this is slander coming from the Parliament itself, trying to defame his name and distract attention from the failures of the new government. Bermarg is demanding an investigation to know who started this falsehood.
    • The Guild of the Maker is planning on investigating the Hanging City to see how it is holding itself up at such a dangerous angle. Many of the nearby villages are demanding they stop. They make most of their money off of tourists coming to see the wonder, and they are worried that if the Guild visits the city, they will end up destroying it.
    • The water around the Coral Mountain have begun to change into a strange mix of brilliant colors, and the trees growing up out of the waters are becoming encrusted with what looks to be coral and other undersea life. Witnesses are reported to have seen fish, eels, and other creatures from the water flying up out of the water and drifting in mid-air before returning to the colorful liquid. The villagers want somebody to risk going to the Coral Mountain itself to find out what is happening in the mysterious mass.
  • Villagers living near the encroaching Glastious Forest are coming more violent as they rage against the trees. They have begun to argue with each other more, and brawls have broken out. In the small town of Keegsa, where the Forest is almost on its doorsteps, fights have broken out in ten of the homes. Seven people were killed, and now ten are missing.

Major Settlements

Erraii’s Cliff (Small City 7,450): After the completion of the two-layer city of Saadow, the Guild of the Maker met with the Trading Union on developing an outpost on the northern border with Kedaltol. The plans have expanded into the creation of a large multi-tiered cliff-side city built into both sides of a canyon cutting deep into the mountains. The start of the project at Erraii’s Cliff has been slow going, but two tiers above the ground level have been built on both sides of the canyon pass currently and work on the third has begun. Traders and other humans and dwarves have moved in, believing Erraii’s Cliff to be a major center for Guiteger’s economy in the future.

Novkia (Large City 24,343): The capital of Guiteger is a large wheel of a city with the Beurn River running through the middle of it. A redstone wall circles the outer edge with four main gates leading in from the north, south, east, and west. Novkia was destroyed during the Drowning, but after the Days of Darkness Ington renamed the large town of Landof, located near the site of the lost capital, and had the Guild of the Maker begin expanding the city to accommodate the five ruling lords along with the army headquarters. After the Nobles Seats were expelled, Novkia became the location of the meeting hall of the Parliament.

Retiera (Small Town 1,846): On rare occasions, some of the gnomes of Gnomorrah tire of their lives in the midst of bureaucracy and paperwork. Upon reaching an older age in which their finances are to adequate levels, these few leave Gnomorrah to live a quieter life. Retiera is a popular town where many of them come to retire. Retiera is almost entirely populated by Mentoi from Gnomorrah, and very few of them have full families here. A majority of them at most have come as elderly couples with their children in the prime of life, either still in Gnomorrah or working elsewhere in the Sovereignties. The town was founded shortly after the Gnomorrah Civil War when several elderly gnomes did not wish to spend their remaining years cleaning up the legal mess left by their younger heirs.

Saadow (Large City 38,544): The city of Saadow is the most populated settlement in Guiteger and is seen by many to be the greatest achievement of the Guild of the Maker.

The greatest success in reforming civilization was the city of Saadow, which rebuilt itself in the form of the city-states of ancient history. The city was rebuilt under the direction of human descendants and dwarven children of those who fought together during the Canon War. The dwarves taught the humans many of the dwarven construction techniques, and the newly formed Guild of the Maker began to rebuild Saadow in 278 AD as a place both livable and defensible. Lord Meinha was grateful for the development on his territories and ordered many of his slaves to join the guild before joining himself. Prior to moving to Saadow in 285 AD, Meinha was one of the men personally involved in the manual labor. Once the city was suitably completed, he freed the serfs and slaves who had performed well in their duties to reconstruction. A nightmare began however in 299 AD. As the city settled into the ground, a quake caused the city to sink a full three feet. Examination of the ground showed the land underneath had been softened by the Drowning long ago. The quake destroyed the single layer of crest holding the city up. Soon Saadow would sink under the earth.

The Guild of the Maker began its greatest feat to date. With a blending of dwarven-taught construction and human ingenuity, the Guild began to dig tunnels under the city and construct and second layer to Saadow underneath the first. This lower level was resting on the solid rock beneath the sinkhole, and with the buildings up above resting on the buildings constructed beneath, the city stopped sinking. Bridges and raised platforms were made for roads and walkways, and the soft earth was removed. Now Saadow is a two-layered city with the bottom recessed into the ground. The top layer is relatively level with the surrounding ground with many areas open to allow viewing of the city below. Saadow is a construction marvel, and many Guiteg people came to living in the accomplishment. Since much of the construction had been done during the Corinesti Trade War, the Kedaltol neighbors to the north supplied almost all materials. Currently, Saadow has a higher population than the national capital, Novkia.

Gnomorrah, Gnomish City-State of

by Carteeg Struve

Capital: Gnomorrah
Population: 80,472 (Gnome 97%, Dwarf 2%, Human 1%)
Government: Republic
Religions: minor – Melik Suud (Reorx) and Nekkarb (Shinare)
Languages: Gnomish, Common, Dwarven
Trade: Bureaucracy, Machines, Paper, Siege Weapons, Steam Powered Ships
Legions: Gnomorrah Regiments, The Mountain Naval Force.
Alignment: LG, LN, LE

Gnomorrah (No-more’-ah) is a small gnomish nation, in terms of land size, located in the northern part of FyxZharar. A single stretch of valley cuts southward twenty miles through the northern edge of the Thunderhead Mountains near the Guiteger border. Throughout this valley, and on and in the immediately surrounding mountains, settlements cover almost every inch of space.

The gnome civilization has existed here for many, many hundreds of years. Although a few gnomes involve themselves in technological engineering, primarily in steam powered mechanics, a vast majority are much more interested in social engineering, law, and record. Gnomorrah was built as a haven for record, bureaucracy, law, and technological experimentation.

Life and Society

A vast majority of those who live within Gnomorrah are very focused on their individual professions. Whether someone is a gnome or from another race, anyone who isn’t a workaholic will be hard pressed to make any type of life for themselves here.

Most are obsessed with record keeping, legal interpretation and improvement, and general social engineering. The goal of many is to eventually create a utopia for all races, involving a perfect governmental system running the society, a perfect language for communication without misinterpretation, a perfect record of procedure for all things that can be done in life, and thus perfect peace. Unfortunately, very few agree on what is required for such a society.

A small part of the population is also involved in technological advancement. It is believed that a small ship of unknown origin was carried across the oceans to Adlatum on the Great Wave. The ten gnomes aboard survived and merged in with Mentoi society. Their technological knowledge was combined with Mentoi precision, and several devices operating on steam-driven power were constructed. Today, several devices make life easier for those living in Gnomorrah, even though only a limited few understand the complicated controls used to run them. Included are railway cars, automated lifts, and garbage disposal units.

Religion

Many gnomes have either a detached sense of the world they chronicle or they are so fixated on their roles as advisors, diplomats, arbitrators, politicians, and such that religion does not enter into their lives, except for maybe doing work for or with any church.

The exceptions are the church of Melik Suud (Reorx) and Nekkarb (Shinare). In the past, Suud had been honored as the founder of their race and thus the Chief Executive Founder of the Mentoi society. However beyond that he faith does not add much for the development and maintaining of society. In that, the honoring of him is only to honor, and not worship.

The gnomes have similarly honored Nekkarb for her faith’s teachings in communication and business management. However Nekkarb’s church does support communication, trade, and other methods of negotiation. For this, Nekkarb had established a majority hold of the pious within the Mentoi society.

With Gnomorrah so closely linked to politics throughout the Midlands, gnomes and Midland humans use the same names for the gods and share many of the same legends.

Government

“There will come a time when mortals will have uncovered and explained all mysteries the universe can possibly present. The last to be solved will be the understanding of gnomish bureaucracy.” This quote from Etlarnic scholar Shera Rosio is not far from the truth. The operation of the Gnomorrah government is so complicated that no one outside of the gnomish race can follow how it works. The government’s structure also appears to be changed constantly as theories on how to improve it are always put into effect, experimented with, monitored, analyzed, removed, changed, upgraded, undone due to political backstabbing, and revamped again.

The most consistent parts of the government are the High Legislative (First Rank) Body of Legality, the High Legislative (Second Rank) Body of Legality, the various Lesser Legislative Bodies, and the Chief General Executive of Gnomorrah. The total number of legislative bodies (high, lesser, and other) varies frequently along with the number of representatives in each body. The Chief General Executive is the official leader of Gnomorrah, however the other branches of the government have several methods to override decisions through a very lucrative and lengthy process.

Military

Gnomorrah has never had a strong military presence until Lord Montegron of the Midland Sovereignties sent reinforcements to protect his interests in the region, but there are several small units made up of Gnomorran citizens. The various Gnomorrah Regiments are spread throughout the valley and mountains, acting also as a policing force.

The one military branch Montegron is trying to have disbanded is the Mountain Naval Force. Seen by many as unnecessary, the navy was constructed for the off chance that a Second Drowning would permanently sink the lands underwater. Since Gnomorrah was actually founded by gnomes on a beached ship, a proud tradition has attached itself to the navy. A half-dozen sizable steam powered ships are located near the highest peaks of Gnomorrah and are kept in pristine condition in case the dreaded day comes.

Magic and Mysticism

There is not much use for magic of any sort in Gnomorrah, however there are some who study magic in its various incarnations as a separate branch of science. There have been a couple of times in history in which magic was made illegal during some social experiments, but these bans rarely lasted long.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

The Gnomorrah nation is comprised of a single long valley stretching north to south from the northern edge of the Thunderhead Mountain chain along with the immediately surrounding ranges. Lakes and rivers flow through much of the valley, and gas vents naturally heat many ponds. These vents are what inspired the steam powered technology after the initial gnomes settled here.

Regional History

As the waves pulled back from Drowning, many things had been driven hundreds and thousands of miles from where they originated. One was a ship of gnomish design that was thrown north and then dragged back south into the Thunderhead Mountains. The dozen surviving gnomes were not Mentoi, and with their badly damaged ship stranded in mountains they began construction on new homes.

Using their skills, they designed methods of gathering steam from pools of water heated by underground vents and using the steam to power other devices, most of which made from parts of the cannibalized ship. During this time, many travelers were building homes in the newly re-established FyxZharar. Mentoi met these strange gnomes and investigated their world, for they had never seen its like before. So these gnomes were watched, and their technological skills were analyzed. A damaged valve one day resulted in an explosive rupture, killing nearly all of the ship’s survivors, but a few of the Mentoi took to applying their own skills in steam-powered engines, and the settlement’s future was forever changed.

The city-state grew as most gnomes found the settlement of Gnomorrah and chose to reside there. An official government was formed in 4 AD to begin the job of a state-wide census, making it easier for those who arrive to see if loved ones had survived and made it to Gnomorrah. The census sheet was the first record kept, and the original tabulation for the year is on display in the State Archives office.

As more and more people arrived, the bureaucracy blossomed. The government grew, and so did the need for paper. Factories were built to process wood and other materials in order to help in the expanding economy. Even today, the paper mills generate the greatest amount of income for the region.

In the later years, foreign rulers slowly learned of the meticulous work in the theory of law and advancements of record keeping in Gnomorrah. Representatives from these countries were sent in hopes of establishing good relations, and most were successful. In the Midlands, it became common practice for a king, queen, premier, or other executive to hire Mentoi as an advisers, scribes, court historians, legal advisers, arbiters, and even politicians. Although some rulers needed to learn how to deal with the Mentoi’s odd behaviors at times, their ability to remember minute details of the law and figure out how to manipulate the system into producing a most desirable result made an occasional frustration seem vastly trivial. As such, many governments keep close tabs on the up and coming professionals coming out of the Gnomorran schools, hoping to use new talents to their advantage. At the same time, this allowed gnomes with various theories on social engineering to influence policy in foreign lands and examine results on larger scales throughout the Midlands and beyond.

The technological advancement of Gnomorrah was much slower. Those Mentoi who analyzed the devices used by the city’s founders found many unstable faults. After the initial explosion that almost destroyed the colony right after its creation, three Mentoi gnomes turned all of the devices off and began to rework the principles applied to make the engines work. The science was rebuilt from almost scratch, but after generations, a more stable steam engine was designed and constructed. In the centuries that followed, the technological advancement of Gnomorrah has been very slow but very steady. Sizable drills have been used to dig into the mountainsides to expand the city. Tracked cars are used for faster transportation as well as the movement of heavy loads. Also, the heating of houses and the powering of mills are now done with the technology left behind by the city founders. Unfortunately for non-gnomes, the controls used to operate the machines were made for those with Mentoi minds. This leaves anyone of another race baffled by the insanely complicated controls that any Mentoi can figure out with relative ease. Some do struggle to learn, but very few have ever succeeded.

Detailing the full history and inner working of Gnomorrah would be a vastly time-consuming undertaking, but one period sticks out as the greatest threat to Gnomorrah’s survival – the Gnomorran Civil War.

In the late months of 368 AD, Gnomorrah’s newly installed Chief General Executive Panoryesh came at odds with the High Legislative (First Rank) Body of Legality on a wide variety of issues many of which involved his ability to deal with foreign powers without having to bring every and all agreements or even suggestions back to the highest ranking legislative body within the nation. Specifically, he was getting frustrated at always having to do it, and always having his initial agreements reworded, reorganized, rewritten, and sometimes re-thrown out. Unfortunately for Executive Panoryesh, the legality of such matters was clear (for a gnome anyway), and unless the High Legislative (First Rank) Body of Legality, or three of the other ranked High Legislative Bodies along with approval from all six of the Middle Legislative Bodies, volunteered to change the laws they themselves supported, Panoryesh’s desire for ease of control would remain a dream.

Over the next several months Panoryesh hunted through the law books, court rulings and even traffic ordinances trying to find a method to subvert the stranglehold his opponents had on the government. He finally found it in the form of a small loophole describing the rules in which the populations of the Legislatures were determined. The short of the legalese came to the following details: (1) a new representative could be appointed if a current representative was dead, incapacitated, or sick; (2) the appointment would be voted on by the legislature in which the seat in question presides; and (3) if the legislature cannot make a quorum of 50% of its members, the appointment will be decided on by the Chief General Executive.

Executive Panoryesh proceeded to use an executive privilege to keep all windows and doors open within the government halls (by law the highest ranking member of the government gets to control the steam powered humidifier and any other climate controlling device, of which the windows and doors qualified). Over the following winter months, most of the Legislatures got sick while Panoryesh made sure to have a private cleric nearby to keep himself healthy. Once all of the Bodies were over half sick with colds and flu, Panoryesh declared to several of the courts that he was going to appoint a replacement government seat-by-seat with gnomes from lesser-powered Bodies who supported his efforts.

These details are an oversimplification of the laws and do not give a perfectly accurate description of the situation, but for the sanity of anyone trying to understand gnomish law, it does give a general approximation with the benefit of actually comprehending anything.

The current Legislatures attempted to block the attempt, but the courts sided with Panoryesh due to the wording of the laws. However one member of the High Legislature (Second Rank) Body of Legality, Hayglmarch, noted that according to the wording of the laws, a member of the Bodies could only be removed from his/her seat if they were “deathly ill.” The courts, to Panoryesh’s annoyance, agreed.

As such, by mid-369 AD, two entirely legal governments took form within Gnomorrah: one comprised of Panoryesh’s appointments, and the other being the original members who did not vacate their seats. The Civil War had begun.

The Civil War was at first not one fought with weapons. The two governments began to battle for control and jurisdictions by passing law after law against the will of the other. Much to Panoryesh’s annoyance, the newly installed Bodies were so busy in legal combat with the original Bodies, they never had time to pass the change of rules needed to give him control over foreign affairs and diplomacy. Instead chaos irrupted.

Both sides passed bills, laws, and proclamations as each government tried its best to out-legislate the other and gain control. Meanwhile, the people were caught in conflicting laws, impossible procedures, and no way to act or not act without violating even the slightest ordinance. Due to the nature of gnomish society, law enforcement was forced to carry out all laws regardless of which side gave the orders. Things descended even more when both sets of Bodies began manipulating the committee that controlled the Gnomish Dictionary Standards. The definitions of words were changed in attempts to make the laws passed by the enemy Bodies mean something completely different than intended. Eventually laws passed that altered the Gnomish Dictionary Standards themselves began to mean something different than were intended, and laws began to be passed which in the end meant something different than what either side wished.

Society began to crumble. The gnomes themselves could not make heads or tails of their own system, and physical altercations became commonplace. Most of the war had taken place on paper, but by 374 AD the number of deaths attributed to the war reached 9,000.

The war hit a climax during the latter end of 374 AD. After Executive Panoryesh was arrested for jaywalking in his own home, he broke out of prison easily (since locking cell doors was illegal after dinner hour). In a moment of insanity, he broke into the Records Hall and begun to burn all legal documents passed from 369 to 374 AD. Unfortunately his attempts to destroy only those records failed. The entire building caught fire and many of the documents were lost, along with Panoryesh.

All of the documents however had copies stored in multiple locations throughout the nation, but Panoryesh’s death served as a wake-up call to those in the two governments. Over the period of six months, the two sets of Bodies met and began to work together to find ways to sort out the laws and even the language. Due to gnomish culture, the concept of simply ignoring the laws passed during the war was both alien and barbaric to them. Instead, the slow process of untangling the mess was begun. Officially the war was over.

It would be decades before everything would be straightened out. Many gnomes today still believe that more damage was done to Gnomorrah, and thus the world, during the Civil War than had been done later during the Days of Darkness.

The rise of Montegron’s unified Midland Sovereignties after the Starfall had an overall positive impact on Gnomorrah. The added layer of government on top of the pre-existing nation government increased the need for paper and paper-related products along with those versed in legal and social studies both in Karsuhon and abroad. Much more recently Montegron also began funding to the technological engineers, hiring them to build siege weapons and other machines to use against the Tashrama in the coming war. Just recently, three steam-powered ships were constructed and transported to the Sargassi Sea for launch. Most of the operators on these ships are gnomes, but humans and dwarves make up most of the command staff and the military personnel. This period of time has so far tripled the economy in Gnomorrah, and so long as Heriacious’ forces don’t penetrate into the city-state and kill everyone, it may signal the coming of a Golden Age for Gnomorrah.

Current Events

    • There is a mild pollution problem growing in the area. The paper mill factories take up a sizable portion of the manufacturing business in the city-state, and the factories tend to constantly emit black smoke up into the sky. The Astronomical Society has lodged a complaint against the nearby factories and is threatening to take their business elsewhere if something is not done.
  • Chief General Executive Advaford’s (LN male Mentoi expert 9) mother was dying from a hereditary illness that often strikes the elderly members of the family, but a mid-ranking priest of the Tashrama healed her. Sovereignty officials are claiming the priest made her sick to begin with, but evidence seems to point to the contrary. Considering Advaford’s support for the war machine has brought untold riches to his people, he secretly is having people investigate the priest. The priest was arrested by Sovereignty guards but has recently escaped.

Major Settlements

Gnomorrah (Megalopolis 70,324): For almost four centuries, the nation of Gnomorrah and the city of Gnomorrah were synonymous. Once other settlements were founded outside of Gnomorrah but under Gnomorran law, the city became the capital to itself as a nation. Surprisingly for a hyper-bureaucracy, there is no city government. The national government runs all layers. Since the population of the city is almost 90% of the country, many still speak of the city and the state in the same terms.

The city includes all areas within the valley, the sides of the mountains facing the valley, and any settlements constructed under the mountains. Many of the oldest structures, including the main hall where the Legislative Bodies are, appear as large stone and metal structures on the mountainsides, but they also extend deep into the mountains for added security for both personnel and preserved records.

Steeleera (Small Town 1,325): Only after the Starfall did smaller settlements under the Gnomorran government come into being just outside of the valley. The town has a relatively even mix of dwarves, humans, and gnomes. Steeleera was constructed by the wealthy half-gnome Steeleera Smythree who wished to have a small settlement isolated from the rest of Gnomorrah in which she could conduct her social experiments at her whim with minimal oversight from legislatures. The highest legislative bodies granted permission and watched with interest.

Human and dwarven volunteers built the town on the far side of one of the mountains forming the valley, and Smythree is allowed (within reason) to alter the laws and social mixing within the small town at her leisure in order to analyze and record her results at a rate much faster than other places where such experiments occur. The town has been in operation for twenty years, and Steeleera’s publications in the Gnomorran Journal of Societal Research are some of the most read and dissected in the Midlands.

Citizens within the town are not forced to remain under the odd executive authority the town has, and all understand the additional trials involved in living in Steeleera. Those who tired of the experiment are free to leave, and other volunteers are often brought in upon Smythree’s request.

Jamra (Village 542): The newest settlement of note in Gnomorrah is Jamra, a tiny schooling village made up primarily of students and staff. Those few gnomes who have the talent and skill to construct steam-powered engines and the machinery that implements that technology have found dwarves, humans, and others willing to learn how to construct, maintain, and use that knowledge. This village is located just past the southern tip of Gnomorrah’s main city and was put together at the request of several non-gnomish citizens of FyxZharar who had experienced gnomish technology and desired to learn its secrets. Lord Montegron funded the construction of the town personally and hopes to see the school-town grow.

FyxZharar, Sovereignty of

by Carteeg Struve

Capital: Karsuhon
Population*: 217,547 (Humans 70%, Hartdar 16%, Gildanesti 6%, Gnome 4%, Corinesti 2%, Oguna 1%, Other 1%) *Does not include Gnomorrah.
Government: Republic. However the Great Sovereign Lord of the entire Midlands rules his monarchy from FyxZharar as well. Decisions of the Sovereign Lord trump that of the republic.
Religions: Tashrama (white branch)
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Elvish, and Gnomish
Trade: Gems, Metal, Wool, Goat Products, Minting Coins, and Weaponsmithing
Legions: Army of the White, Midland Guard
Alignment: All

Modern FyxZharar (Fihks Zhah’-rahr) is divided up into three areas: the Midland nation under the power of the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron, the mountain passes and tunnels under the control of the White Elder Dragon Heriacious, and the gnomish nation of Gnomorrah. Although most of FyxZharar viewed as under the direct control of the Sovereign Lord, it is possible to traverse the nation’s twisting passes and roadways without being noticed by loyalists of either Montegron or Heriacious. However, once one comes within proximity of the passes and roads controlled by either the Lord or the Dragon, being noticed is almost assured.

The small twenty-mile long nation of Gnomorrah officially recognizes itself as part of the Midland Sovereignties, but the complexities of gnomish society and law are so intricate that Montegron’s unified government rarely involves itself in their internal affairs.

Life and Society

The style of life of those in FyxZharar varies greatly both on exactly where they are living and what type of life they are striving for. Those living in the farming communities in the flat valleys can live a fairly sheltered life away from most of the traffic that comes and goes from the cities. Those in the more developed regions exist in a very urban environment, dealing with everything from schooling and research, to governmental affairs, to military life, to that of a common merchant. Those living within the areas controlled by the White Elder Dragon Heriacious sacrifice much of the comforts of city and country life to spend time away in caverns, meditating and studying the arts gifted to them by their grand white god.

The attitudes of people within FyxZharar are just as various. In the republic’s capital of Karsuhon, loyalty to the Sovereign Lord is very strong. However, many within the city and surrounding Sovereignty-controlled settlements only wear their loyalty skin-deep. Their primary concerns are in taking in the grand wealth of knowledge that can be found or discovered in FyxZharar. Many towns visited by both the Sovereignty and those loyal to the Elder Dragon make themselves hospitable in whatever manner will let them be in peace at the time. Also in other locations, dedication to one side or the other may be consistently shown.

Surprisingly, although two opposing forces have their seats of power so close to each other, most of the conflict tends to occur out away from them. Up until now, neither side has believed they were in the best position to win a direct conflict against the other without take more loses than can be considered acceptable. With the war about to begin, this situation appears to be changing.

Religion

FyxZharar is home to a Holy Land of the Tashrama, the lair of the White Elder Dragon Heriacious. The Great Sovereign Lord may have outed the Elder Dragons are the true powers behind the church, but Heriacious herself confirmed the fact by appearing in public and openly declaring her divinity. Since then many have left the Tashramadic faith, but a large segment of the population remains faithful and believes Heriacious’ claims. With the cities of Breenaak and Karsuhon so close to each other, views of religion in FyxZharar are almost completely polarized between support for Tashrama and support for the Sovereignties. As such, most other faiths have little to no influence on events, with the exception of Montegron’s own secret faith.

Government

There are three governments in operation within the borders of FyxZharar. One is the gnomish government in Gnomorrah that is so confusing most non-gnomes cannot make heads or tails or it. Officially that government is under the jurisdiction of the Midland Sovereignties, but due to the complexities of Mentoi bureaucracy, Montegron and other Sovereignty officials leave it alone.

The other two governments are in direct opposition to each other. One is the government of the Midland Sovereignties under the control of Great Sovereign Lord Montegron, and the other is white branch of the Tashrama under the control of the White Elder Dragon Heriacious. There is a national government, a republic under the direction of Presider Gardel Legna (NG male Midlander human noble 7), which deals with FyxZharar’s internal affairs, but most consider this a local extension of Montegron’s power. Meanwhile, in Breenaak, the faithful of Heriacious view themselves outside of the Sovereignties’ jurisdiction. Prior to the revelation of the Elder Dragons many thought Head Priestess Aynal Teralshall ran the local branch of the church and Tashramadic territories. But the truth was that Teralshall had always been working underneath the direction of the Elder White. These lands are effectively under a theocracy.

Military

A small weak local army does exist for the nation of FyxZharar. They are often referred to as the General Militia although they are officially named the Army of FyxZharar. The bulk of FyxZharar’s strength lies in the elite Midland Guard (a.k.a. the Midguard). Headquartered in Karsuhon, the “rare few” are rather abundant here. The army is sometimes weakened when members of the Midguard require additional hands to venture out and perform services and duties for the Midlands. Often the Midland Guardsmen will take soldiers from the army to assist them in their endeavors.

The Army of the White is the military force of Heriacious and the white branch of the Tashramadic faith. As friction was mounting, the dragon knew a confrontation with the Sovereignties was unavoidable, and being a tactical expert in warfare she set out to build her own fighting force among the faithful.

Coincidentally, both the Midland Guard and the Army of the White had new commanders put in charge of them recently: Second Protector Noragaen Veliya for the Midguard, and General Damrye for the Tashrama.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic in almost all forms exists in FyxZharar. The mystics, “priests” of the Tashrama, are praised among supporters of the White and hated by supporters of the Sovereignties. Montegron keeps an abundance of sorcerers on staff to assist in magical needs, and Heriacious has also done the same. With the return of the moons, both sides are weighing the advantage gained by possibly including wizards in their ranks, and so a few are in attendance, but how useful they will prove themselves in comparison to the sorcerers has not been determined. The clerics of the true gods are extremely few, but they are quickly scrambling to have some impact on the coming war for better or worse. Odds are they will have little to no impact since so much build-up to conflict has occurred prior to the gods’ return.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

The nation of FyxZharar is covered in sharp high peaks, vast deep chasms, green valleys where the air is warmed by pockets of natural gas buried deep in the earth, misty hilltops, stretches of rivers rushing down from icy summits, and lakes formed by water that rushed in during the Drowning that could not recede.

The passes and roads throughout FyxZharar wind, twist, and branch off in a myriad of directions. Two towns only a few miles away might require days or even weeks of hiking in order to travel from one to the other. Although the construction of tunnels are being done in order to make traveling through the lands more convenient, it is still heavily suggested that any newcomers to the region hire a guide in order to not get lost in their journeys. Even many of the locals do not seem to know every possible road or path through the mountains. The gnomes who used to be the original inhabitants also claim that many of the older roads were changed, reshaped, or broken apart when the Great Wave came.

A hard land to navigate, FyxZharar’s scenery is still counted as one of the most pristine in Adlatum.

Regional History

Prior to the Drowning, the gnomes of Gnomorrah controlled the majority of the mountains, and FyxZharar was a minor kingdom existing primarily in the hills and only a small fraction of the taller mountains. With the exception of a collection of human and dwarven settlements, and items in caverns suggesting some earlier civilization unknown to history, most other races had not settled into the immediate area.

Everything changed when the Drowning came. Although the mountains were high enough to allow many to escape the rushing waters, much of the ocean still poured over and through the lower hills, valleys, and canyons that are scattered throughout the land. Many of the settlements within these areas were flooded as much or even worse than those on the plains. In some places, when the waters receded, deep lakes and rivers replaced valleys and gorges. Towns and villages remained covered for hundreds of years.

However, more to the center of the mountain, the land was high enough to avoid just about all of the damage. Much of the gnomish civilization survived, but much was also destroyed when water poured through caverns to the mining and farming towns in the valleys. The town of Glickanree was completely lost not by the water, but when the rushing floods struck the top of an over-mined hill. The pressure resulted in the ground heaving upward and collapsing upon everyone below. When the land calmed, a quarter of the population was verified dead while another 10% were never found. The dwarven population in the outlying areas suffered similar casualties.

Months went by, and efforts began to rebuild devastated lands the sea had given back. But they were not allowed to. Other surviving races began to seek higher ground, fearing that a second devastation could strike at any time. The influx of coin dwarves, humans, Gildanesti, and others resulted in the pressing the gnomes out of many areas where they had already settled, and in some cases, rebuilt. The gnomish nation of Gnomorrah was pressed northward and then surrounded by the growing Midland nation of FyxZharar.

In the following centuries, several relics were found within the deep maze-work of caves that network through the mountains. With the discovery of old tomes and other artifacts, many scholars and mages from all over Adlatum came to study and expand their knowledge in their respective arts. The perils of the complex network of caves beneath the summits were quickly learned by some and ignored by many more. Many of those who risked their lives to discover the knowledge and artifacts of old were never seen again.

In 130 AD the White Elder Dragon Heriacious learned of the relics buried deep within the mountains of FyxZharar and sent many of the faithful to search the caverns for items of use. Regardless of the nearby proximity, the mountains, caverns, and canyons makes traveling between the capital and the entrance of Heriacious’ primary lair a long and treacherous journey. Heriacious’ primary concern is learning about the forgotten civilization buried in pieces down below, not the current one nearby. She gathers Scalebound who think that the dragon’s backing and knowledge of the caves will give them an added advantage in finding the buried secrets and making use of them.

After the Starfall, the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron chose to place his seat of power in the middle of the Midlands. Although Karsuhon was within fifty miles of Heriacious’ layer, he realized that the city could be easily defended by any attack by the Tashrama or her secretive Scalebound. Both Montegron and Heriacious have had groups continuously searching the deep tunnels beneath them for anything to be used to their advantage.

When Montegron exposed the Elder Dragons are the true powers behind the Tashramadic church, Heriacious revealed herself openly to her followers and declared her divinity. Several who had lost their faith tried to flee Heriacious’ lands, but her military killed a large number of them before they could escape. A large number within Breenaak remained faithful however. During the Days of Darkness, Heriacious was seen during the conflict with the chaotic forces although her identity remained a mystery to many. The older followers remembered her when she showed herself to her believers, and they bowed before the beast who had tried so hard to prevent her people’s destruction.

Current Events

    • The tunnels underneath the mountains are a maze and complex webbing of darkness and mystery. Both the Sovereignties and Tashrama have sent explorers down in hopes of finding relics from an unknown lost civilization not recorded in any history. No one seems to be certain such a civilization existed, and no one knows what may be found that could be of any worth, especially in the coming war.
    • After the funeral of Second Protector Jermon Cavlin late last year, his son Evtra Cavlin vanished. No one appears to have any knowledge of how he disappeared or where he could be.
    • Great Sovereign Lord Montegron has ordered a majority of the Midland Guard back to FyxZharar after years of having them out trying to strengthen the local government forces in each of the Midland nations. Also large portions of the General Militia are being put under the direction of Midland Guardsmen. This may be the first open prelude to war against Heriacious and the Tashrama.
  • A small unnamed organization operating out of Unadesum is trying to find a way to dismantle the power of the Sovereignties and the church in unison, hoping to deflate the damage a war will bring without letting one side triumph over the other. The leader of this organization is attempting to find clerics of the true gods, hoping such a holy person will be able to provide a miracle the Midlands desperately needs.

Major Settlements

Breenaak (Large City 24,090): The lair of the White Elder Dragon Heriacious resides within the mountain of Breenaak. The Scalebound live under the mountain cap with the White, while others who believe in the Elder Dragons’ divinity reside within the city outside of the lair’s main gate. Although Breenaak is a short distance geographically from the enemy stronghold in Karsuhon, the mountains and chasms make any land-based travel between the two settlements the equivalent of hundreds of miles longer.

Gnomorrah (Metropolis 70,324): The civilization of Gnomorrah used to cover much of the FyxZharar Mountains, but the influx of other races seeking higher ground after the Drowning forced the talker gnome civilization back into a small area. Now the main gnomish settlement comprises of a single area in the Thunderhead mountain range of 300 square miles. They are now completely surrounded by the Sovereignty of FyxZharar, and many humans bitingly refer to it as “No More-uh.” Officially the gnomes are considered part of FyxZharar, but beyond that they are relatively autonomous. Many of those from Gnomorrah seek work elsewhere, including in the capital Karsuhon without much thought from anyone. A rare few more work for those loyal to Heriacious, but that number is much less. Since much, but not all, of the Sovereignty has no interest in intruding upon Gnomorrah, current relations between the gnomes and the Sovereignty as passively pleasing.

Paper mill factories take up a sizable portion of the manufacturing business in Gnomorrah, and these factories tend to constantly emit black smoke up into the area. Thousands of businesses and offices are littered throughout the mountain chain, and many more departments and agencies exist in order to regulate each and every industry in existence. Red tape is said to be Gnomorrah’s number one product. This is not far from the truth since a literal red tape is used to bind many of the papers and binders together.

Karsuhon (Megalopolis 106,574): The capital of FyxZharar is sometimes referred to as “The Pinnacle of the Midlands.” This is both because of its placement high up in the mountains and because it is the center of power for Montegron’s reign. Broken up into a myriad of layers and sections covering the edges of a complex series of canyons, chasms, and mountain sides, Karsuhon’s population is the largest of any city in Adlatum, if not all of Krynn. The city is home to a large number of businesses and schools, including three universities. One of the schools is completely devoted to the study of arcane arts of several types.

Within one of the mountains, Montegron had the Palsidion, a massive underground fortress, constructed in order to insure additional protection from any possible attack the Elder Dragons’ or other possible enemy. The headquarters of the Midland Guard also resides there along with many of the mages who have sworn allegiance to the Great Sovereign Lord.

Trebiers (Small City 8783): Located on the border between FyxZharar and Tashramada, Trebiers is located on the major roadway between the two nation’s capitals. It is a major trading post, home to a large fort that houses a large number of smaller stores, businesses, and even an auction house. During the Drowning, Trebiers was somehow missed by the wave of water as it submerged the rest of the lands around it. Although credit is given to a freak coincidence in how the surrounding hills are laid out, others believe another more powerful hand was involved.

Unadesum (Large City 15,024): Before the Drowning, Unadesum was the capital of FyxZharar. After the Drowning annihilated just about everything, Unadesum was rebuilt as a lakeside city at the base of one of the largest waterfalls in Adlatum. Mining, farming, fishing, and trade with the Corinesti provide the city with most of its income. Many think there is a dragonmetal deposit located in the mines behind the waterfall, however both the city and the nation deny it.