by Carteeg Struve
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.