by Kranar Drogin & Carteeg Struve
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.