Countries, Kingdoms, and City-States of Faerun

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Plays as: Havardr
Joined: 06/09/2010
Countries, Kingdoms, and City-States of Faerun
So! I decided it was high time I made some sort of contribution to the general reference section. In the following posts I'll be outlying general reference material (taken from the FR-Wiki, Campaign Guide, Campaign Setting, and various other AD&D and v3.0-.5 sourcebooks). I'll be starting with some basics, popular settings, and moving on to more obscure/specifics later on.

I'll also add information on cities/kingdoms/et cetera per request, just send me a PM and wait a few days. So, without further adieu!

EDIT: Since I'm a little... backed up, with requests, I'll just put a + next to anything thats done.

1) Amn +
2) Calimshan +
3) Tethyr +
4) Cormyr +
5) The Anauroch +
6) The Vilhon Reach
7) The Bloodstone Lands - Damara & Vaasa
8) The Shining South - Halruaa
9) The Shining South - Luiren
10) The Shining South - The Shining Lands
11) The Shining South - Durpar
Plays as: Havardr
Joined: 06/09/2010
Re: Countries, Kingdoms, and City-States of Faerun
1a) Amn
1a- Introduction
1b- Government of Amn
1c- Social Structure of Amn
1d- Cities/Regions of Amn
1e- Religion of Amn
1f- Organizations of Note
1g- Amnian Slang

1a- Introduction: Amn, known as the "Merchant's Domain" is one of the mercantile capitals of Faerun - and also one of its youngest countries. It stands as one of the richest countries along the western coastline of the continent, and along with Calimshan and Tethyr makes up the landmass known as the "Lands of Intrigue". The dreams of the majority of its population of some three million people focus on the obtaining of great wealth and status - and indeed, wealth is the driving force in determining one's standing in Amnian culture. While priests and clerics are accepted in Amnian culture, arcane spellcasters are not - and all arcane spellcasters are required by law to register for arcane licenses, or face harsh retaliation from the government.

1b- Government of Amn: Amn is led by a group of individuals known as the "Council of Six". The members of this council serve for life, and their identities are kept a closely guarded secret - thus, nobody knows who to bribe, assassinate, or manipulate. Infact, to reveal a member of the Council's identity is an offense with only one punishment under Amnian law: Death. Slow, torturous death. Typically, in public. As the name suggests, there are six positions on the Council - when one councilor dies, all those below him move up one rank, and the lowest rank is filled with a new councilor elected by the Council from the wealthiest families and merchant companies in Amn. These ranks, from highest to lowest, are the Meisarch (Speaker of the Council, oversees watches kept on unregistered wizards and adventurers, prevents monopolies from forming), the Tessarch (Oversees courts and the judicial system, mediates in conflicts between merchant families and houses), the Namarch (regulates imported trade; works with the Pommarch to maintain trade routes), the Iltarch (oversees intelligence agencies, hires agents [oftentimes, the Shadow Thieves] to do the Council's bidding, and spy for Amn), the Pommarch (regulates exported trade; works with Namarch to maintain trade routes), and the Dahaunarch (oversees and maintains the armies of Amn).

Other than the Council of Six, the Merchant Families and Mercantile Houses of Amn hold a great deal of political sway. As the holders of a great deal of the countries wealth, the richest families in Amn are equivalent to the nobility of other countries. Much of their sway comes from debts owed to them by poorer families or failing companies: if someone needs a loan, or has a small request, they come to a rich family for help. The request is almost always fulfilled, and in a timely fashion. Later down the line, however, they are expected to return the favor. Merchant Houses are companies formed by two or more minor merchant families - successful companies often bring great status to their members, and oftentimes partner families will combine their lines by marriage. While these families and companies hold great sway in the neighborhoods and towns they are prevalent in, the Council of Six still maintains overriding authority.

1c- Social Structure of Amn: Unsurprisingly, wealth is the primary factor in where one stands in Amnian society. Wealth is shown in more than just how many coins one owns, men of high status are expected to act the part and own property in the right locales (in Amn, importance is laid on WHERE one owns land, not how much land one owes - Athkatla's Gem District and the area surrounding Lake Esmel are considered to be the finest places one can live). Rich men are often expected to hold lavish parties, own fine art and possessions, and give expensive gifts. Many people of lesser nobility dress ornately and lavishly, but this is frowned upon by the richest and highest classes of Amnian society, who often dress in plain, humble clothing.

A sort of "scale" has been established in Amn, based off precious metals. Calling someone a metal below their rank is seen as a grave insult, while comparing someone to a higher ranking metal is a compliment. These ranks are:

Ore- A strong insult to anyone. Beggars, paupers, and criminals are Ore.
Bronze- The Lower Working Class. People who try (poorly) to imitate the rich are often called Bronze as well.
Copper- Middle Working Class. Hardworking, industrious commoners who don't try to act above their station, and are more respected than those that do.
Steel- Military Men, or Upper Working Class.
Silver- Common Merchants who's fortunes are on the rise, or show great potential.
Gold- Rich men who inherited wealth, or show remarkably little business sense.
Platinum- Heads of Mercantile Houses/families.
Adamantine- Self-made men. Rich merchants who made their own money with hard work and remarkable business sense. "New money", first-generation money.
Mithral- "Perfection". Mercantile geniuses. "Old Money". Second- and beyond generations.

Many outsiders are confused when they hear that adamantine ranks lower than mithral, but purity of 'metal' is what determines a metal's rank on the scale. Adamantine may be stronger and more valuable than mithral, but it is still an alloy (of pure adamantium and steel), and thus, ranks lower than the more pure rare metal mithral.

1d- Cities/Regions of Amn:

-Athkatla (pop. 118,000) is the Capital of the Amnian Empire, known across the realms as the City of Coin. The city's market is its main attraction: Waukeen's Promenade, an open air marketplace that is twice the size of those found in most other cities. You can find almost any item in the Realms here - provided its legally obtainable. Athkatla is also the center of Amn's government, and is considered to be THE place to be by Amnian high society. It serves as Amn's main port, and thus almost all imports/exports from/to Maztica pass through Athkatla first. Athkatla also boasts one of the largest Waukeenar temples in all of Faerun: Goldspires, a temple set above the bay of the port that is, by itself, the size of a small town.

-Crimmor (pop. 35,000) is the "caravan center" of the Amnian empire. Almost all trade heading north through Amn by land will pass through it, and the city boasts a large number of colorful inns and taverns. It is a fairly warm, and inviting city. It is also one of the most crimefree cities on the face of Faerun, as (ironically) the Shadow Thieves forbid any theft from occurring within its walls as payment owed to a wealthy Amnian family - and they are not afraid to enforce their ruling.

-Eshpurta (pop. 24,000) is the main military city of Amn. The majority of the business that occurs here relates directly to Amn's military in some way: the production of arms/armor, contraction of soldiers and officers, mercenary companies, et cetera. The majority of the small mining operations focused in the dangerous Troll Mountains is headquartered in Eshpurta. The city is considered to be a low-status backwater by high ranking Amnians.

-Keczulla (pop. 47,000) is a large mining city, one who's fortunes are on the rise. It was founded hundreds of years ago when large veins of gold and iron were discovered near it, and then depleted after a few hundred years of mining. Recently, however, rich deposits of precious gems have been uncovered, and mercantile houses are flocking to the city. The city is also home to the majority of Amn's unregistered mages, who hide their true identities from all but each other.

-The "Sythillisian Empire" controls all of Southern Amn, including the port city of Murann (pop. 43,000). The Empire rose up in 1370 DR when two ogre magi led an army of orcs, goblins, and giants out of the Small Teeth mountain ranges to attack nearby cities in order to seize control over ships and carts laden heavily with Maztican gold. For the last two years, they've controlled the southern lands of Amn, and have resisted all attempts to dislodge them from their conquests - both by the Amnian military, and by several adventuring groups.

-Lake Esmel is a large lake in central Amn, a vast expanse of blue freshwater. Several hotsprings have been discovered along the western edge and shallows, making it an extremely popular vacation spot for Amn's wealthy. Local rumors consist mainly of sightings of an aquatic monster of some sort in the lake, but most dismiss them as sightings of one of Amn's local dragons, Balagos the Flying Flame.

-Shilmista forest, also known as the Forest of Shadows, is home to a tribe of elvenfolk. The local elven king has declared that any who fell either elf or tree shall be put to death - and sees to it that this order is rigorously kept. The local elven population is small, though, due to the Elven Retreat, and maintains a relatively nomadic lifestyle - keeping on the move in small, difficult to find campsites.

-The Cloud Peaks mark the boundaries of Northern Amn, and are home to many minor white dragons. They are mined heavily for iron, silver, gold, and gems. The Trade Way winds its way northwards through these mountains, into the Sword Coast.

-The Troll Mountains are a range of relatively unexplored peaks in north-eastern Amn. While precious gems of many sorts have been prospected within the reach, the local troll population has deterred almost any mining operations. The trolls here are unusually intelligent, and quite well organized, and many scholars believe that they are the remnants of a once larger kingdom of trollfolk. Balagos the Flying Flame, an ancient red dragon known to be of massive size and of an even more massive temper, roosts in these mountains. Other oddities include a small, isolated temple of Tempus that is struck by lightning daily, and the Wailing Dwarf - a four thousand foot high slab of rock that stands in the western reaches of the mountain range. It is carved to resemble a dwarven male, and named for the sound of the wind passing through the hollows of its eyes, ears, and mouth.

1e- Religion of Amn:
-Waukeen holds what is closest to being the "state religion" of Amn, as her edict to seek out wealth goes hand in hand with the 'Amnian mentality'. Athkatla's Promenade and the temple Goldspires draw Waukeenar from around Faerun, and many temple services come in the form of lavish banquets and parties funded in joint effort by the many rich families of Amn.

-Lliira and Sune are also quite popular in Amn, as Amnian society encourages revels, festivities, and large lively parties. The typically flamboyant garb of Sune and Lliira's clergies find more acceptance with the minor nobility in Amn than they do almost anywhere else in Faerun.

-Chauntea holds a great deal of respect in Amn, as most citizens are intelligent enough to realize that a large majority of the economic success of the country depends on having an agricultural surplus. While richer families tend to offer only a few prayers and donations when entering into business deals, or as the harvest approaches, the lower classes and agriculture-based merchant houses revere her just as fervently as the wealthy revere Waukeen.

-Helm and Ilmater hold some minor worship in Amn, almost purely in Southern Amn (seen as a side effect of the Tethyran love of these two deities). Despite this, Helm holds a small temple in the city of Athkatla, and many Helmites come to Amn to make their way to Helmsport in Maztica - despite the atrocities their church is committing in those lands.

-Worship of Cyric is on the rise in Amn, since the Godswar and the Death of Bane. Many former Banites, Bhaalites, and Myrkulites have converted to his worship, and it is becoming increasingly prevalent within the ranks of the Shadow Thieves.

1f- Organizations of Note:

-The Shadow Thieves of Amn is, predictably, a large thieves' guild. It is headquartered out of Athkatla, and oversees the majority of criminal activity within the boundaries of Amn and the Sword Coast (with a growing share of the action in Waterdeep). Formerly focused in Waterdeep, it was rooted out by the Masked Lords there, and resettled in Amn - some say by invitation of the Council of Six, as Waterdeep is viewed as Amn's main mercantile competition. Gambling, larceny, protection rackets, smuggling - the Shadow Thieves have their fingers in any illicit activities.

-The Cowled Wizards are Amn's local mage-cabal, and are the only arcanists within the borders of Amn that are granted any degree of trust or respect. They view themselves as the saviors of the Art, and gather arcane knowledge to be distributed to those that they deem worthy. They operate in cells - each town and city has at least one Cowled Wizard living within it. Athkatla, as the capital of Amn, is home to the first (and largest) cell of Wizards. By day, their members work as alchemists, apothecaries, librarians and the like - by night, they attend local meetings in heavy robes and deep cowls that mask their identities. Complete secrecy is not required, however, and any Cowled Wizard is permitted to share his identity with family, friends, and correspondents. The Cowled Wizards operate an (in)famous facility known as the Spellhold, somewhere off the northern coasts of Amn. Here they store rogue mages and other 'magical deviants' - the Cowled Wizards are responsible for policing, observing, and capturing arcanists in Amn as deemed necessary.

1g- Amnian Slang:
-"Good Business" is a term used in Amn for "Hello" and "Goodbye".

-"Sold" is often used instead of 'convinced' or 'influenced' when dealing with plans and business deals: "You've sold me!". Amnian politicians and merchants often say that "Anyone can be sold."

-"Bought" is used in a similar fashion as "sold". "Did you buy that?", "I'll buy it.", "I've been bought!", for example. Acceptance of a deal, explanation, offer, or plan.

-"Foreclose" is another mercantile euphemism. It can be used in a variety of different manners: to stop, over rule, take over, or hijack something from someone else. Or to steal from someone. Or for murder.

-"Pearl" is used as a euphemism for luck. "Finding the pearl" means good luck, while "losing the pearl" infers bad luck. The Amnians so strongly relate pearls (especially black pearls) with luck that many Amnian Tymorans include a pearl in the center of Tymora's coin.

-To call someone a "dragon" is to call them a miser, politely. They spend little or none of their money, but they spend it well and wisely - but they simply do not show enough wealth to maintain social status.

-To call someone a "kobold" is to call them a miser, impolitely. They spend little or no money, and when they spend it, they spend it stupidly or foolishly.

-"Red Ink" means bad luck. 'Crimson Ink' means the worst possible luck. "My life is written in red ink" or "The ink couldn't get any redder" are two such examples.

-"True book/clean books/other books" are another mercantile reference, referring to the corrupt business practices of embezzlers. They can be used to express astonishment/disbelief ("True Book?"), derision ("Whats your clean book say?"), accuse others of lying ("Right, now read from your other books!"), or a request to tell the truth ("Give me the true book!"), depending on tone and context. A very grievous insult is to accuse someone of writing their true book in red ink.
Plays as: Havardr
Joined: 06/09/2010
Re: Countries, Kingdoms, and City-States of Faerun
2) Calimshan
2a- Introduction
2b- Government of Calimshan
2c- Social Structure of Calimshan
2d- Cities/Regions of Calimshan
2e- Religion of Calimshan
2f- Organizations of Note

2a- Introduction: The massive desert at the southwest edge of Faerun, Calimshan is a land of vice and decadence: one is either very (extremely) rich, or very poor. It boasts a highly magical past, a highly corrupt present, and heat. Lots, and lots of heat and sand. Confusingly to outsiders, even the poor commonfolk of Calimshan seem to accept these things as how life works, rather than simply up and move away.

2b- Government of Calimshan: Calimshan is ruled by Syl-Pasha Ralan el Pesarkhal, Caliph of Calimshan, Syl-Vizar of Calimport, and Pasha of all Pashas. He, along with his children (who all have been granted/married into positions of high authority around Calimshan) hold absolute authority within the boundaries of the kingdom. Below the Syl-Pasha are his many advisors: the sultans, ynamalikkar, yshahs, vizars, sabbalads, druzirs, and pashas. These men do everything from handle foreign affairs, keep the army organized and supplied, run police forces, and act as local governors. Other than the Syl-Pasha and his advisors, other individuals/organizations that hold clout and say are highranking military officers, and wealthy mercantile guilds.

2c- Social Structure of Calimshan: Calimshan is a land of vice and riches, and thus, how comfortably/well one lives is far more important than how much actual wealth they possess - how many slaves one owns (and their quality), bottles of fine wine, lavish manors, the size of one's harem, et cetera. A man who can pull in favors to life the easy life is respected just as much for his cunning as a man who does the same through hard work is. A great deal of importance is placed on individual's names, and Calishite names follow a fairly rigid structure. Title Personal Name yr/yn Mother/Father [/i]al/el[/i] Family name. For example: Pasha Amid yn Bhalar el Mjoal is a pasha named Amid, son of Bhalar, of the Mjoal family.

The people of Calimshan have a fondness for titles. Many Calishites claim openly quite contrived, longwinded titles that make most foreigners blink. Any Calishite can claim any title they please, but what really matters in Calishite society is one's ability to make others call you by your preferred title. In this way, one's true social standing is measured. While it is perfectly acceptable to debate another man's claim to a title in public, it is considered highly insulting and extremely derisive to do so.

Calimshan's social ladder is organized as follows:
Slaves- The lowest rung. They have no rights, no freedom. Often are treated as cattle. Intelligent slaves/harem slaves are often, however, treated exceedingly well - far better than those a few rungs up on the ladder than them, even.
The Labor Class- The destitute/working poor. A small step above slaves. The only real difference between them and slaves is their freedom; a point the labor class clings to pridefully.
The Skilled Labor Class- Lower middleclass; artisan, craftsfolk, and other skilled laborers who's jobs cannot be done well by those without extensive training. Rank-and-file militarymen also fill this class. While they aren't often praised by their 'betters', extremely skilled laborers are often shown off or praised at social events.
The Merchant Class- Middleclass. This class ranges from those treated little better than laborers (peddlers, shopkeepers), all the way up to the Pashas (guildmasters) who are treated as part of the upperclass, on par with foreign nobility. Landowners, successful merchants, and priests of any religion fill the gap.
Military Officers- These men are seated slightly above the Merchants, if only for the fact that they're better trained and better armed than their mercantile countrymen. To become a military officer is considered the highest honor/standing one can achieve, short of joining the next class.
The Advisor Class- The Ruling/Upper class of Calimshan. Consists of pashas, appointed officials, high ranking military officers, local mayors/governors, et cetera.

2d- Cities/Regions of Calimshan:

-Calimport (pop. 193,000) is oftentimes cited as being the largest city on the face of Faerun. It boasts a massive population of both free men and slaves, that oftentimes swells as tourists and merchants flock to and from the city. It is a place of extreme vice, and almost anything one wishes can be purchased here - for a price. It boasts two great arenas, several large palaces, lavish bath houses (that often double as Sharessan temples) and almost any other building one can imagine. It also serves as the Syl-Pasha's seat of power, and thus the governmental center of all Calimshan.

-Almraiven (pop. 44,000) is home to Calimshan's largest shipyard, and boasts a healthy, and oftentimes fluid, amount of activity from Calishite mercantile guilds. It is also home to Calimshan's premier colleges of magic, and thus, forms the arcane center of the kingdom.

-Memnon (pop. 29,000) is Calimshan's northern garrison city. It serves as a mercantile and fishing port, and a caravan stop, as well. Many of its citizens are soldiers, who quite actively patrol the surrounding lands for any hints of "northern aggression". The city's main draw are its walls, tall and thick, and cut from some unusual smooth, black stone that seems to suck heat out of the surrounding air.

-Suldolphor (pop. 144,000) is the easternmost city in the kingdom of Calimshan, a wealthy and intrigue-ridden place. It could almost be considered a city-state of its own, but it pays taxes to the Syl-Pasha so that its people are left be to do as they please. Regardless, it serves as an important economic and military city for Calimshan.

-The Calim Desert fills the western heart of the kingdom. It is not a natural desert, but a vast expanse of sand and salt created when two powerful genies were imprisoned here as they battled each other. Legends say that when the genies' minds break free of their dormancy, the desert rages with its most violent sandstorms. Great lost cities are said to be hidden here, by the sands - and even greater dangers and treasures within.

-The Forest of Mir is a hilly forest that is full of small giants, goblins, and drow. Here these monsters form petty kingdoms of their own, fight amongst each other, and occasionally raid Tethyr or Calimshan from the "safety" of their forest. An abandoned old elven city, Myth Unnohyr, is said to be somewhere within the Forest's reaches. A strange magical shield surrounds it, turning helpful magic into harmful magic. Within, great magical artifacts are thought to reside.

-The Marching Mountains form one of the northern boundaries of Calimshan's political power. They are home to many orcs and ogres who raid the lands south of the mountains. A radical human group known as the Janessar also uses the mountain range as a base of operations, organizing raids on slave plantations and caravans from here - with lofty dreams of ending slavery and bettering the lives of Calimshan's lowest social orders.

-The Spider Swamp was formed when, legend states, a powerful marid (water genie) was slain between two rivers. The swamp is inhabited by a race of intelligent shapeshifting spiderfolk (the aranea) who trade frequently with the Calishites - but it is otherwise left alone by all but the most foolhardy adventurers. Several clans of lizardfolk and bullywugs also call the swamp home.

2e- Religion of Calimshan:
-Azuth is one of the most, if not THE most, commonly worshiped gods in Calimshan. There are large temples and shrines to him in every single Calishite city and town. He's worshiped far more than even Mystra is, as the Calishite people are not concerned with encouraging magic as a force of power or an art, but as a controllable commodity.

-Ilmater is extremely popular in Calimshan, particularly with the lowest classes and the slaves. Every town and city has at least one shrine to the Crying God, and innumerable Ilmatari abbeys and hostels can be found outside of the cities, offering sanctuary, education, and salvation to all who come in peace. One of Calimshan's otherwise unimportant cities, Keltar, boast the largest Ilmatari temple anywhere in Faerun, the House of the Broken God.

-In a land full of harsh storms and environmental extremes, the worship of Talos flourishes. The Calishites refer to him, however, as Bhaelros. Many cities have shrines and temples to him, and he receives much worship from travelers and merchants who wish to stave off his wrath.

-Shar receives a great deal of worship in Calimshan, as the local culture and environment breed ruthless individuals as a matter of course. The largest, oldest, and most opulent Sharran temple in all of Faerun rests underneath the streets of eastern Calimport.

-Sharess is extremely popular in Calimshan, as Calishite culture encourages hedonism. Many Calishite bath houses function as Sharessan temples, and innumerable festhalls and taverns have small shrines in her honor. Sharess herself visited Calimshan during the Time of Troubles by inhabiting the body of the Syl-Pasha's favorite concubine. While other gods fought each other and died, Sharess waited out the Godswar in decadence, debauchery, and indulgence - things that both her, and the Calishites, adore. The Festhall of Eternal Delight in Calimport's waterfront is now run by Lady Iamar yr Sharess, the Syl-Pasha's former concubine, and is the largest center of her worship outside of her Holy City of Nathlekh.

-Tyr receives heavy worship from Calimshan's soldiers and military, and from the adventurers who pass through, or the young idealistic Calishites who seek wisdom and experience in order to fulfill their duties well. The Calishites refer to him as Anachtyr.

2f- Organizations of Note:
-The Four Families of Calimshan control almost the whole of the countries underworld activity. These four families hold themselves to certain rules (An individual's family is not to be harmed, unless they're personally tied up in the business at hand [IE: Their son stole from you, himself] - harming innocents is bad business. Meetings must be held in temples or holy places - who dares lie on holy ground? A person's legitimate title does not matter in the underworld - a lesser public servant who uses his position to fuel his slave trade could be considered a sultan amongst criminals. Criminal activities must always be discussed at night, underground, or in specific secure rooms made solely for that purpose - silence save in darkness, people who fail to uphold this rule risk forced branding or tattooing. Women are equal to men only in the Underworld - their lower status elsewhere makes it easier for them to go about business unnoticed, and many of the most powerful and cunning crimelords have been women, or even haremslaves.). The rules of the Four Families, ironically, tend to be more forgiving, and much more organized and clear than the laws of Calimshan itself. The four families are:

The Pesarkhals: The syl-pasha's own family. El Pesarkhal (the syl-pasha, that is) cemented his power by marrying off his children to the other underworld families, and spreading them throughout Calimshan in positions of power. The other underworld families run most illicit activities for him - through a healthy amount of maneuvering and 'persuasion' from his sons and daughters. El Pesarkhal himself never takes a direct hand in any criminal activities, but his sons and daughters control crime in several major cities, including Keltar, Memnon, and Calimport itself.

The Kahmirs: The former leaders of the underworld in Calimshan, before the Darkstalker Wars (a series of gangwars and criminal rivalries caused by the death of all Bhaal worshiping assassins upon Bhaal's death creating a power vacuum by removing the previous crimelords' best enforcers) almost wiped out the family line itself. The power of the Kahmir family lies in gambling rings, extortion, slavery, and more legitimate ventures like trading and mercenary work. These days, though weakened, they work willingly as a subordinate of the syl-pasha, and still manage to control the underworld activities of a few large cities, namely, Manshaka and Schamedar.

The Vyndahla: The Vyndahla family is well known as a puppet of the Rundeen, a fact that the other families of Calimshan are not ignorant of. The Darkstalker War robbed them of some of their finest men, and now they stand as the third largest crime family in Calimshan. They control the cities of Almraiven and Volothamp, but work actively to gain power and prestige for their family, in order to expand their influence. They are the only one of the four families which actively plots against the Pesarkhals, conniving with the Rundeen to break the syl-pasha's control on Calimshan's criminal activities.

The Syl-pasha, in response, is merely waiting for the opportune moment to crush the entire Vyndahla line out of existence - along with their Rundeen masters.

The Ahimar: The Ahimar are newcomers, upstarts that owe their power to El Pesarkhal. They're known for two things: Secrecy, and the ferocity with which they claim and defend their interests. With El Pesarkhal's aid, they clawed their way up from utter obscurity during the Darkstalker Wars, and now serve El Pesarkhal as subordinate controllers in Keltar.

-The Twisted Rune is based out of Calimshan, a cabal of undead spellcasters (liches, dracoliches, vampires, and more) that spend their time manipulating the politics of the mortal world for their simple personal entertainment. They have vast resources and power at their disposal, and unlimited time to kill, and have all discovered that manipulating "puny mortals" amuses them to no small end. Despite the undeniably evil nature of the members of this cabal, they work together in (more or less) harmony and peace, and have a strong grip over the politics of Calimshan. While they have spies in most places in Calimshan, they do limit their activities quite purposefully - this is all a game to them, after all. And whats the point of a game with a certain outcome?

-The Rundeen are a merchant collaboration run out of Calimshan - they don't wish to control Calimshan itself, just its sea trade. They have control over the legitimate mercantile activities related to maritime affairs in many cities (allowing their employees to gain superior rates when buying goods they'll need, or selling ones they've produced) and have secured major banking interests in several others. Recently, they've secured a stake in the slave trade going out towards eastern countries - the route is simply too dangerous for other merchants to take, because of the heavy amount of Rundeen-sponsored pirates and brigands plaguing the route. El Pesarkhal is not blind to the Rundeen's activities, but has yet to take any open movement against them. Until his powerbase is absolutely unshakeable, and unless said activity will destroy the Rundeen completely or make them fully subordinate to him, he is content to bide his time and wait - personally impressed by the amount of business his rivals have managed to control.
Plays as: Havardr
Joined: 06/09/2010
Re: Countries, Kingdoms, and City-States of Faerun
3) Tethyr
3a- Introduction
3b- Government of Tethyr
3c- Social Structure of Tethyr
3d- Cities/Regions of Tethyr
3e- Religion of Tethyr
3f- Organizations of Note

3a- Introduction

While Tethyr is one of Faerun's most ancient human kingdoms, most people look on it as a relatively 'new' state - if only because of the twenty year long civil war (the Alemandrian Interregnum, named after Prince Alemander; who murdered his family in an attempt to seize control of the country - which resulted in a massive widespread witch-hunt by the commonfolk across the entire country, butchering any noblefolk they found for ten days in a row before the civil war began). Stability and peace have only just recently been restored to the region, and it looks like - so far - it will stick.

3b- Government of Tethyr

Tethyr is a limited monarchy, headed up by Queen-Monarch Zaranda Star Rhindaun and King Haedrak III (also known as 'Lhaeo', formerly the personal scribe and servant of Elminster). What sets Tethyr apart from other feudal powers such as Cormyr, can perhaps be seen most easily through the Queen's own words: "The Monarchy and its authority depend soley and absolutely on the goodwill of those ruled, rather than the opposite as we once held. I shall be queen and monarch for as long as our people deem me worthy, and not one moon more. The nobility's right to rule may be approved by godly forces, but in Tethyr we shall accept only those that show their inherent nobility and right to govern in the eyes of those they govern. This decree permits no mob rule, but states to the people, the State, and the Gods above that rulership is a responsibility to be protected rather than a privilege to be abused." - In Tethyr, the nobility of one's actions will garner far greater sway than the nobility of one's blood.

To ease the burden of leadership that is placed on the Queen-Monarch, Tethyr is split up into a number of Duchies, which are in turn split up into a number of Counties (containing no less than 3 villages/towns per county). Each Duke levies two armies: a smaller one for their household guard and to serve as an organized force to defend the duchy, and a larger one to be given up in service to the Monarch. Each Count appoints local sheriffs, and helps in training local militias (who may very well be levied to serve alongside Ducal Armies in times of crisis).

3c- Social Structure of Tethyr

Racially, Tethyr is dominated by humans and halflings - with humans accounting for between 35-50% of the population, and hin for 20%. The rest is a mix of halfbreeds, gnomes, elves, and the rare occasional dwarf. The Tethyran people are a typically hardworking and honest lot, so they find themselves with close ties to the local halfling population (who are reputed to produce the finest wine in Tethyr, if not along the entire Sword Coast), and the few remaining dwarves. Half-elves are accepted by most local humans, but the local elven population almost unanimously has dubbed them as "abominations", and hates them with a burning passion. In past years, any non-human was distrusted fervently, but the new found prosperity and peace that has resulted from peaceful co-existence has made it so that only the oldest and most muleheaded Tethyrans bother with their old racist tendencies.

Tethyr is further broken up into a number of social rungs: The Royalty at the top (Haedrak III and Ziranda), the Nobility (Dukes, Counts, and Knightly Orders), and the Commoners (Craftsmen/Artisans, Farmers, Merchants, Everyone Else) - in that order. While the Queen appoints Dukes and Counts, she has promised that they will only remain in power so long as the Commonfolk deem them worthy. Thus far, the commoners have accepted her appointments as wise and just, and her promises have yet to be put to the test.

3d- Cities/Regions of Tethyr

-Darromar (Pop: 69,000): The capital city of Tethyr, and personal home of the King & Queen-Monarch. The standing garrison of Darromar are some of the best trained and best equipped one can find in the entire region, and many mercenaries and adventurers find ample employment here hunting monsters in the area. It also boasts a magical academy that draws numerous wizards and sorcerers seeking refuge from the magic-oppressing regions of Calimshand and Amn.

-Mosstone (Pop: 1700): Mosstone is a small trade town on the Trade Way road, well known for its local druidic grove. Almost two hundred powerful druids call the town and the neighboring regions of the Wealdath home, and they keep an active role in local politics, oftentimes directing the locals away from decisions that would anger the already brooding elves of the Wealdath. The Druids of Mosstone are the only humans and half-elves that the Wood Elves of the Wealdath trust, and view as honorable.

-Myratma (Pop: 51,000): The local culture and customs in the city of Myratma are more Calishite than they are Tethyran, but the city still pays their taxes out to the Queen Regent, none the less. It serves as Tethyr's main agricultural port, and is striving to regain a sense of civic honor and pride after being the seat of a particularly rebellious noble family during the Interregnum. Myratma is also notable for its Jaguar Guard, a group of exotic warriors in the city's service hailing from Maztica.

-Riatavin (Pop: 86,000): Up until a few years ago, Riatavin was part of Amn. However, because of Amn's decision to focus on sea-based trade, the amount of attention Riatavin received from both local merchants and the government waned dramatically; and so, the city defected to Tethyr. It receives a great deal more attention and support from the Tethyran government, and is quickly becoming a key point in the economy of Tethyr, as many find it cheaper to ship their goods overland to Riatavin than down around Calimshan by boat. The city also boasts a large number of quite proud wizards and sorcerers, who no longer need hide their identities as they did when Amn ruled them.

-Velen (Pop: 14,000): Velen is Tethyr's main fishing port and naval outpost. It's notable also for being very thoroughly haunted, but the local population is so cheerful and lively that most visitors are lulled into believing that the rumors and myths are gross exaggerations. Any adventurers willing to take to the seas to defend against the local pirates always receive a warm welcome in Velen.

-Zazesspur (Pop: 116,000): Zazesspur is a melting pot of Amnian, Tethyran and Calishite culture and architecture. The kingdom's former capital city, it's split into two sections seperated by the Sulduskoon River. The local government consists of a council of noble lords, who resent the loss of regional prestige due to the moving of the capital to Darromar.

-The Omlarandin Mountains: These mountains are barely taller than high hills, but are famous for being one of the only places in Faerun where one can find omlar gems, rare gemstones that are particularly well suited as magical conduits. Only a handful of suitable omlar gems have been unearthed in the last century or two, but those that are found have always fetched a king's ransom on the market. The mountains are dangerous, however, as they're home to large populations of displacer beasts and wyverns.

-Starspire Mountains: Another rather low-altitude mountain range, these mountains are home to displacer beasts, goblins, ogres, werewolves, the local dwarven population, and dragons. The easternmost peak of the Starspires is called Mount Thargill, and serves as a second home to Balagros the Flying Flame, an ancient red well known through Amn and Tethyr for his massive size and massive temper. Two other dragons, a brown and a black, are imprisoned here to serve as his guards.

-The Wealdath: An ancient, massive forest; home to two local elven tribes - the Suldusk and the Elmanesse, along with their fey allies. They guard it violently against all who intrude too deeply into the woodlands. The woods are also home to several clans of gnolls, lycanthropes of various types, giant spiders, wyverns and four dragons - two greens, a bronze, and a gold. Portals exist to the fey-realm of the Lythari (naturalborn elven lycanthropes) here, but only the local Lythari population are capable of opening them.

3e- Religion of Tethyr

Tethyr is quite religiously tolerant for a feudal state, but possesses a few state decrees about what is, and is not allowed in religious practice:
-Worship cannot involve theft, or the sacrifice/harming of any living creature.
-Local clergy cannot demand offerings/tithes from nonfaithful.
-Harmful/violent activities countenanced by any religion cannot be practiced upon nonfaithful with impunity (IE: Tempites cannot run around attacking people in the name of the God of Battle). While almost all gods are worshiped in Tethyr, the following have the largest clergies:

-Chauntea has a VERY large following in Tethyr, which is not particularly surprising. The kingdom has relied mainly on agriculture for its trade for the last fifteen centuries.

-The symbolic "lifting of suffering" that the end of the Interregnum brought has brought a new belief in Ilmater to Tethyr. The Ilmatari clergy in the region supports the upkeep of no less than 10 organized cloisters that provide support, charity, and asylum to all those who come peacefully. They are all built in the countryside, and set up so that each cloister can be reached within a day's hard ride of the next.

-Helm is greatly honored in Tethyr, as a number of Helmite knightly and holy orders fought ceaselessly against the chaos of the robber barons during the Interregnum. The Church of Helm controls small castles in Velen, Survale Ford, and Saradush. While few other countries on Faerun hold much love at all for Helm, he is adored in Tethyr.

-Silvanus and Eldath find much worship in the Wealdath, and in Mosstone. While these gods are typically worshiped by humans alone, the Wood Elves of the Wealdath have - surprisingly - also begun to worship them.

-Siamorphe has a large following in Tethyr, as is to be expected in any feudal society in which the nobility plays a large role. While non-Tethyran Siamorphans may sneer at the Queen-Monarch's decree that the nobility may be deposed and removed as per the will of the commonfolk, it would seem that the Goddess herself does not; Siamorphe herself manifested at both her wedding, and her coronation.

3f- Organizations of Note

-Tethyr is home to a large number of Knightly Orders, more than any other kingdom in Faerun infact. The most prestigious are the Order of the Silver Chalice (an order of Siamorphan knights that fought to give the Queen-Monarch and King Haedrak III the throne), and the Champions Vigilant (an order of Helmite Knights 2000 strong that is devoted to protecting the innocent people of Tethyr). Other well-respected Knightly orders include Arvoreen's Marches (an order of around 80 halflings and gnomes, mostly fighters and paladins, that fight to oust monsters and bandits from regions nearest the hin populations), the Barakmordanna (a Triadic knightly order around 2400 strong that heal and protect the weak and sick, and fight against injustices) and the Royal Family's personal bodyguard, The Warriors of the Star(Or, the 'Warstars').

-On the other side of the law, the Nelanther Pirates are the major criminal organization in the region; with the returning stability ousting most land-based brigands. It's said that out of every 10 ships to leave a Tethyran port, the pirates will attack at least 3. Since Tethyrans admire fine craftsmanship in all its forms, most possess at least a begrudging respect for the Pirates' seamanship. The coronation of the Queen-Monarch cost the Pirates the few coastal hideouts they possessed in Tethyr itself, and has caused a large number of them to have one simple political agenda: Queen Zaranda must die.
Plays as: Havardr
Joined: 06/09/2010
Re: Countries, Kingdoms, and City-States of Faerun
4) Cormyr
4a- Introduction
4b- Government of Cormyr
4c- Social Structure of Cormyr
4d- Cities/Regions of Cormyr
4e- Religion of Cormyr
4f- Organizations of Note

4a- Introduction

Cormyr, the Forest Country; the Land of the Purple Dragon. Cormyr is one of the oldest kingdoms on the face of Faerun, and has experienced both generations of peace, and horrible destructive warfare. The name 'the Forest Country' is somewhat of a misnomer, as generations of logging and farming have reduced Cormyr's once grand forests to a few smaller forests. These are dangerous places though, and their monstrous inhabitants fiercely resist all human intrusion. Despite this, Cormyr has fewer adventurers than other countries, as they place strict restrictions and regulations on any who would bare arms within their borders.

4b- Government of Cormyr

Cormyr is a hereditary monarchy, with 72 generations of Obarskyr rule preceding the current monarch, Azoun V Obarskyr. Azoun V, however, is hardly more than a child, and the real power behind the Kingdom is the Steel Regent (so named for both her tactical prowess, and the fact she'd rather be fighting than ruling the kingdom) Alusair Nacacia Obarskyr, and the Royal Mage Caladnei. Between the two of them, the still-mourning kingdom of Cormyr manages to remain independent from its grasping neighbors.

Law and order in Cormyr is upheld by the Knights of the Purple Dragon, and local militias - and as such, is mostly a regional affair; with each town and village handling the upholding of certain laws more strictly than others. There are only a handful of national laws in Cormyr, and they are as follows:

-Commoners/Adventurers of either sex must bow their heads to Royalty.
-Visitors must bow their head to the local lord.
-All people entering Cormyr must register with a border garrison.
-All adventurers must register and pay a fee in order to be licensed to adventure.
-All weapons must be tied about with a peace-bond, to prevent (theoretically, though this is mostly symbolic) them being drawn swiftly. Only law enforcement or chartered mercenary groups are immune to this law.
-Hurting cats is strictly forbidden.
-No hunting on private land.
-Foreign currency can only be used in certain locales, and foreign money may be exchanged for Cormyte Golden Lions at most garrisons and towns.
-Any man or woman, noble or adventurer, must submit to a search by the local militia or a Knight of the Purple Dragon upon request.

4c- Social Structure of Cormyr

The people of Cormyr (known as Cormyreans, or more popularly Cormytes) are split up into three basic social groups. At the top, we have the Royal Family, the Obarskyr family. They've been ruling Cormyr for seventy two consecutive generations, and are - in general - very well loved by the populace.

Below the Royalty, is the Nobility. Almost every position of leadership or authority within Cormyr is headed up by a Nobleman - and any commoner who somehow finds himself handling an important job for more than a brief period of time, becomes a nobleman himself by extension. Most people think of the Nobility when they think of Cormyr - snobbish, arrogant, and relatively self-centered. The Nobility rarely comes in contact with the lower classes, and most noblemen never leave the city of Suzail unless on very pressing business. Since the Nobility holds most of the power within Cormyr, it's a rare day when the commonfolk's concerns are brought to attention.

Local Lords are a subclass of the nobility who deviate greatly from the lifestyle of their citybound kin. Lesser nobles, these men oversee the governance of towns and villages around the kingdom, and come into contact with commoners on a daily basis - every decision they make has a direct impact on the lives of the commoners, who's reaction to said decisions greatly affects the lord. The local lords are greatly important to the Crown, not only because they keep order and popularity with the commonfolk, but because they organize local levees and collect the taxes. Each lord keeps an actively trained milita of 46 men (40 men-at-arms, and 6 captains - who are usually local rangers). Every lord also keeps several fast, wellbred horses kept in prime condition should the King ever need to send a message in a hurry... or escape the kingdom.

The Commoners make up all the rest of Cormyr - the farmers, the craftsmen, the merchants, and the military. While some noblemen may join the Knights of the Purple Dragon, the majority of their ranks are drawn up from the most skilled members of the commoner militias. Most of the commoners organize themselves into local guilds or labor unions for mutual support, as they've little help from the upper class.

4d- Regions/Cities of Cormyr

Arabel (Pop. 31,000)- Arabel is one of Cormyr's largest cities, and one of the few capable of matching Suzail's power. The site of a rebellion against the Obarskyr family a few decades past, Arabel was most recently home to an army of orcs and goblins during Cormyr's Goblin War. While they've been driven out, many of the beasts still linger in nearby woods, forests, and foothills preying on travelers and merchants alike; making Arabel one of the more popular regions for adventurers in Cormyr.

Castle Crag- A large castle north of Arabel, founded to defend Cormyr against the dangers of the Stonelands and the Anauroch. The castle houses 500 Purple Dragon Knights and 5 War Wizards at all times, and any adventurers who come here are very swiftly sent on their way.

Dhedluk (Pop. 1000)- A small town by the King's Forest known for its fine carpentry and woodscarvers, who work only with dead or fallen logs (local law having prevented any logging of the King's Forest for many years now). This town would be rather insignificant, were it not for a two-way portal to the Royal Courts in Suzail and the local lord - a man who's rumored to be able to read a person's intentions in a heartbeat, and is said to know every noble and influential merchant in Cormyr.

Eveningstar (Pop. 1000)- A crossroads town that's known mostly for its proximity to a number of ancient ruins, making it a popular spot for Cormyr's adventurers. Eveningstar boasts a two-way portal to the Royal Courts, and is home to a large population of Tressyms - a magical beast that resembles a cross between a cat and an owl.

Immersea (Pop. 1200)- A town renowned for producing the finest ale in all of Cormyr, Immersea is one of those rare towns that is home to non-Lord Noblemen that don't live in Suzail. Visitors are warned to be respectful to anyone dressed in finery or acting arrogantly; the nobility holds a lot of power here, and they aren't afraid to use it.

Marsember (Pop. 36000)- Marsember is the second largest city in Cormyr, and is built ontop of a swamp and nearby hills and islands, making the majority of the city criss-crossed by canals (which are often clogged with small boats and gondolas). Known as the City of Spices, it's a trading city and has a thriving business in procuring rare spices from far away nations.

Suzail (Pop. 45000)- Suzail is Cormyr's capital, and the largest and most wealthy city within its borders. The Royal Palace, an opulent estate, rests at the city's heart and is surrounded by lush gardens and the Royal Court buildings. The city houses large garrisons of Purple Dragon Knights, and War Wizards. Suzail is well known for its ivory carvers, and many finely crafted pieces are exported from the city regularly.

Thunderstone (Pop. 1800)- Thunderstone is a fishing village on Cormyr's eastern border, and is home to 100 Purple Dragon Knights charged with the duty of patrolling the Sembian Border. A group of gnomes has taken up permanent residence here, flooding the town's markets with interesting trinkets and alchemy products.

Tilverton (Pop. 0)- Tilverton was a thriving town of nearly ten thousand people, situated at a pass between multiple mountain ranges. Up until early 1372 DR that is, when it suffered an attack from the Shadovar for reasons unknown; there were no survivors. Wizards passing nearby may complain of unusual feelings, as the Shadovar's magic caused immense damage to the Weave there. All that remains of the town itself is a dark, shadowy ruin and all who enter are never seen again.

Waymoot (Pop. 2000)- A merchant town within a 5-mile wide clearing of the King's Forest. Waymoot is well known for breeding the finest horses in all of Cormyr, and is a common stopover for people in need of new wagonteams, or new wagons.

Wheloon (Pop. 6700)- Wheloon is known for the unusual vibrant green color of its slate roofs, and is known for its shipping lanes and its proximity to a monster-filled quarry north of the town.

The Farsea Marshes- The ruins of some ancient civilization that predates even elven culture can be found within this dirty, swampy marsh. Ornate buildings made from glass as strong as steel can be found sticking up out of the muck, and are home to many strange and dangerous beasts.

The Hullack Forest- Once a part of the Cormanthor Forest, the Hullack used to be Cormyr's eastern border. Over the years, the Cormytes have cut the forest back to make room for farms and villages, but it still remains one of the most dangerous and primeval places in the kingdom. Many undead beasts, as well as roaming gangs of orcs and goblins wander the Forest, and adventurers are frequently directed here.

The King's Forest- This forest is the property of the Crown of Cormyr, making any logging that occurs here a criminal offense. It used to be a relatively safe place, and a popular, pleasant place to ride through up until the end of the Goblin Wars. Now it's infested with goblins and orckin, who have dug in and made it their home.

The Marsh of Tun- The Farsea's sister marsh, the Marsh of Tun holds similar glass ruins. Local legends states that these two ancient civilizations frequently quarreled with each other, until they each decided to unleash some horrible dark magic upon the other - each at the advice of an old crone who might've been an agent of some fell god. The Marsh of Tun is home to a great many bandits.

The Stonelands- A strip of rocky, desolate land inbetween the Storm Horns and the Anauroch, the Stonelands are home to goblins, orcs, and gnolls who frequently raid Cormyr's borders. For generations, the Crown of Cormyr has offered generous land grants and titles of nobility to any adventurer who will "tame" a section of land here, and carve out a human stronghold in the area; meanwhile, the Zhentarim use the Stonelands as a recruiting ground for their monstrous armies.

The Storm Horns- A series of sharp and sheer mountains that form the western and northern borders of Cormyr. These mountains are impassable anywhere save High Horn Pass and Gnoll Pass - both of which are home to some of Cormyr's strongest castles. Countless barbarian tribes wander the mountains, occasionally uniting under some shaman or charismatic leader to raid the 'flatlands'. Some tribes are learning to trade iron ore and furs, however, with the people of Cormyr.

Thunderpeaks- Named for the frequent, sudden and devastating storms that batter this mountain range yearlong, these are unsettled and wild ranges that are home to legions of orcs, goblins and ogres that raid Sembia, Cormyr and the Dales alike. While the weather makes any largescale excavation impossible, individual prospectors have occasionally returned alive from the mountains with silver nuggets the size of a grown man's fist. Most don't return at all, though, and fall prey to Aurgloroasa the Sibilant Shade, a dracolich who calls these mountains her home.

The Vast Swamp- This marsh marks the border between Cormyr and Sembia, a monsterfilled place thats home to several beholders and black dragons. Arguably the most dangerous place in either Cormyr or Sembia, neither country is in any rush to claim or settle it.

The Wyvernwater- A starshaped lake at Cormyr's heart, this lake is known for being covered in a thick fog every morning. Rocky spires and hills rising from the lake are home to many nests of wyverns, but the lake itself is heavily fished for its abundance of fish and crabs.

4e- Religion of Cormyr

Almost all benign deities are worshiped within Cormyr's borders, though Chauntea, Lathander, Siamorphe, Lliira and Tymora are the most popular.

4f- Organizations of Note

-The Purple Dragons of Cormyr are the largest military force within the kingdom's borders, boasting over 12000 men. Led by Duke Bhereu, the Purple Dragons are an unusual army in the fact that they're mostly archers and light infantry, their entire fighting style based off guerrilla tactics. While some view Duke Bhereu's tactics as dishonorable, their efficiency and low casualty rates have quieted all opposition to his marshalship.
Plays as: Havardr
Joined: 06/09/2010
Re: Countries, Kingdoms, and City-States of Faerun
Okay, so the Anauroch really isn't a country, a kingdom, or a city-state. It's more of a vast desolate wasteland. But it's a personal favorite setting of mine - seriously, I love desert settings to death. Particularly when you involve xenophobic fundamentalist nomads. In order to explain this particular setting a little bit better, I'll be switching up how I'm handling it a bit. So without further delay!

5- The Anauroch
5a- Introduction
5b- Peoples of the Anauroch
5c- Bedine Culture
5d- Monstrous Inhabitants
5e- Regions of the Anauroch
5f- The Ancient Past
5g- Religion in the Anauroch

5a- Introduction

The Anauroch. The Great Desert at the heart of Faerun. It's very name conjures up images of vast waterless expanses of sunscorched sands, and bloodthirsty gangs of wandering barbarian nomads. While these preconceptions might hold true in some regions, there's much more to the Anauroch than meets the eye. Part desert, part tundra, the Great Desert is entirely a deathtrap to the unwary; but wonderous treasures await buried beneath the sands for those resourceful, or foolish, enough to go looking.

5b- Peoples of the Anauroch

- The D'tarig are an unusual people, standing around four foot tall on average, the result of crossbreeding between humans and dwarves. They live a nomadic lifestyle in the south-eastern fringes of the Anauroch, herding goats and sheep to survive. They are a selfserving and cowardly people culturally, who's loyalty is always offered to whomever is willing to pay the most at the moment. The D'tarig fight with poisoned javelins and crossbows, coated with a special toxin that causes sleep and drowsiness in most humanoids, but is absolutely deadly to orcs and goblins. They dress in light colored burnooses in turbans, revealing only their dark eyes, and leathery noses and brows to the sun. While they occasionally keep slaves, it is not a frequent occurance, as the D'tarig are a paranoid, untrusting people and a slave needs be watched constantly. They enjoy boasting that "nothing can beguile a D'tarig."

-The Zhentarim are the outsiders most frequently spotted in the Anauroch, with blackrobed wizards leading large trade caravans through secret routes across the desert. Travelers should take caution when a Zhentarim caravan is spotted, there's a chance they may very well end up in a cage; though the Bedine taboo against slavery keeps them from slaving in the deep desert. The Zhentarim seem to be trying to recruit Bedine tribes to fight for them, oftentimes giving gifts of wonderously ornate scimitars and weapons to Bedine sheiks.

-The final humanoid group in the Anauroch, is the Bedine, who will be looked at in great detail in the next segment.

5c- Bedine Culture

-The Bedine are wandering tribes of human nomads living in the Sword of the Anauroch, who keep a curious set of customs. While they engage in bloody feuds and seemingly endless wars amongst each other, they're willing to share food and water with any who are in need of it. The Bedine are a tall, hard people with sun-browned skin, dark eyes, and black hair. They dress in clothes made from light colored camel wool; a light, billowy robe known as an 'Aba' is worn during the daytime, and a cloth headpiece called a 'Keffiyeh' protects their head, face, and neck from sun exposure. Come night time, Bedine don a heavy black wool robe called a 'Jellaba' (or night-cloak) is worn for concealment, and warmth. Bedine fight with heavily curved, double-edged knives called Jambiyas, and scimitars.

-Bedine tribes are headed up by Sheikhs, the most capable veteran warrior within the tribe. When a sheikh is killed, the next strongest warrior steps up to take his place - or if he was challenged by a tribesman, his killer becomes sheikh. Bedine boys are raised from birth to be obedient to their elders, to grow fast and strong, skilled with their weapons. Young Bedine men obey the orders of the Sheikh and the veteran warriors without hesitation. Before a Bedine male can be called a man, he must go on night-time one-man raid of an enemy camp, killing another man and stealing a camel or two (cameltheft is a beloved passtime of the Bedine, and one of the ways they manage to survive in the Anauroch. A common expression of praise amongst the Bedine is "You think like a camelthief.")

-To outsiders, Bedine appear to be horribly lazy. They spend the majority of the day in shady tents and pavillions, lounging about. This, however, is a necessity for their continued survival. Daytime exertion would lead to heatstroke, waterloss, or any number of horrible fates. Thus, all strenuous activity and travel is undertaken by cover of darkness.

-The Bedine value personal honor far more than they do life. Life is a fickle thing in the Anauroch, and is very easily quashed - and thus, they view killing another man as an act no different from killing an animal (infact, you'd be more likely to offend a Bedine tribe by killing a healthy camel than you would an attacking tribesman). Slavery is considered the ultimate dishonor, and a fate worse than death. Any slavers the Bedine run across are attacked without mercy, and a Bedine tribe will keep the attack up until either the slaver, or the entire tribe has been killed. Freed slaves are given food and water, and put to work - if they are useful and would like to stay, they're given the full rights of any tribesman. Otherwise, the tribe will make a trip towards the outskirts of the Mother Desert, and set the slave free with food and water enough to see him on his way.

-Women have few rights amongst the Bedine, and are required to wear concealing garments at all times. Bedine men may keep multiple wives, but only if they can properly care for and support each wife (Bedine men are strict, but not abusive as a rule - they view the way they treat women as a way to ensure the 'weaker sex' is supported properly, and doesn't invite abuse or molestation). It is considered extremely brazen for a woman to speak to any man she isn't related to, by blood or by marriage. Marriages are often made between tribes by the fathers of the wedded couple, and any marriage can be called off before the actual wedding by either father, or the bride to be herself. If a wedded man is killed, then his killer is culturally obligated to care for his wives as he would a sister for a period of no less than two years, after which the woman may return to her own tribe, or she may marry her 'captor'. Along with camels, wives are a sign of status and prestige amongst the Bedine. Having one (or many!) means that you are a man of able means, and capable of supporting someone other than yourself. Despite this pragmatism, there's a deeprooted cultural romanticism amongst the Bedine and they spend many hours daydreaming and writing songs of the passion between two people who are 'perfect' for each other.

-The Bedine hate magic. They absolutely, utterly hate magic. The only feeling they have regarding magic as strong as they hatred, is their fear. As such, they have no clerics in the conventional sense, and religion is handled as a personal thing rather than a group activity. Wizards and sorcerers who are found amongst or by the Bedine are quickly put to death. Very few enchanted items are accepted amongst the Bedine - weapons or jewelry baring minor enhancements might be accepted, but anything that casts a spell is discarded as cursed. The only sort of spellcasting any Bedine will accept is healing magic, which is viewed as the Favor of the Gods.

-The Bedine live in the desert willingly, and have next to no knowledge of the outside world. Any place with more than a handful of standing trees or any vast open expanse of water (or even the idea of rain) is utterly unimaginable to the Bedine, and they steadfastly proclaim that such a twisted environment must be a cursed and evil place. Even those rare Bedine who leave the Mother Desert willingly hold at least faint aversions to water travel, or wandering long in forests.

-Camels are how wealth is measured in the Anauroch. They can carry heavy weights, wool and milk can be harvested from them (from which cheese can be made), and don't require water on a particularly frequent basis. Whenever possible, the Bedine ensure their camels are fully watered (even if it means dipping into their own water stores) and prefer to drink camel's milk to their carried stores of water. Camelherding is necessary for the Bedine's way of life to succeed, and every man, woman, and child takes part in making sure the herds are safe and healthy. A Sheikh's camels are always covered in bells of various metals - as a display of wealth, to warn of his coming, and to conceal whispered words when he needs to speak with scouts and allies.

-While the Bedine may wander the Anauroch most of the year, during the winter things become horribly inhospitable. The entire desert freezes over, and any who don't find proper shelter will be killed. They stockpile food to feed their herds, and take their chances in the underpassages; the ancient ruins of Netherese cities, inhabited by countless monstrous beings. Many Bedine die beneath the ground before spring comes again, and they leave those cursed halls for the "protection" of the Mother Desert.

5d- Monstrous Inhabitants

-Laertis (better known as Asabis) are the local lizardfolk of the Anauroch. They stand over 7 feet tall on average (with an extra two feet of tail) and are often armed with metal weapons and lightly armored. The Bedine fear (and begrudgingly respect) the asabi for their martial prowess, and their ability to lay ambushes (the asabi tunnel through the sands, springing up only when they feel the approach of humans). For their part, the Asabi hunt the Bedine both to eat them, and for the simple pleasure of killing. The Zhentarim have recently taken to hiring entire gangs of asabi warriors to protect their caravans, or to exterminate any Bedine tribes that trouble them.

-The Lamias are a maneating race of hybrid beasts, with the upper body of a human and the lower body of a lion. They prowl the surface-side ruins of the Anauroch, and lay in wait in caves and dark places, only to come out and hunt for humans to eat in the dark of night. The current leader of the Anauroch Lamia's is a female by the name of Glaendra, who stands over nine feet tall. She commands a vast horde of wealth in both rubies and emeralds, and magical weapons.

-Of all the monstrous creatures inhabiting the Anauroch, none is more feared or hated than the dread Phaerimm. Described as levitating windsock-like creatures with multiple arms and a maw baring row upon row of razorsharp teeth, even the weakest of these evil beasts wield more magic than most humans these days could ever hope to grasp. Imprisoned for centuries beneath the Anauroch by a magical barrier, these creatures are limited to wandering the Underdark and the lower reaches of ancient Netherese ruins, where they seize slaves through magical domination - Zhentarim, Red Wizards come searching for treasure, goblins, orcs, lamias, even beholders and illithids - and send them out into the world to seek out magical treasure and a way to bypass their prison so that they might raid, pillage, and take slaves from the surface once again. The Phaerimm were responsible for the destruction of Ancient Netheril and (much more recently) the elven city of Evereska.

While the battered remnants of Evereska's forces may have defeated and driven off a Phaerimm excursion to the surface (at the cost of the majority of their city and population), this attack brings a frightening thought to life: The Phaerimm have found a gap in their prison's wall. What horrors they might visit upon the world in the future... only time can tell.

5e- Regions of the Anauroch

The Anauroch can be seperated into three distinct regions: The Sword, The Plain of Standing Stones, and The High Ice. Each has its own characteristics, and each is starkly different from the one before.

The Sword: When outsiders think of the Anauroch, they think of the Sword; a place of sandy dunes, harsh days and bitterly cold nights. It is named both for the way it curves around the entirety of the Anauroch's borders, and for the bands of scimitar-wielding Bedine nomads that wander it. In the summer, it's a land of scorching heat, with daytime temperatures peaking up well over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Apart from the Bedine, the Sword is also home to asabis, basilisks, massive spiders and scorpions, roving bands of wererats, and sphinxes. In the west, Lamias also hunt by night.

Come winter, the Sword freezes over as temperatures drop down to between near-zero to thirty degrees on average, with sheets of ice covering the sands and flash-blizzards thick enough to blind a man making travel impossible and life bitter; so asabi, lamia, and most every creature makes for the labyrinth of caverns and ruins sunk down beneath the sands.

The Plain of Standing Stones: The center of the Anauroch is dominated by a plateau of solid rock; one broken up by countless rifts and valleys, and cut up into so many buttes and spires and craggy outcroppings that travelers consider it a cruel joke played on them by cartographers calling it a 'plain'. The Plain of Standing Stones suffers from heavy winds and frequent duststorms blowing up from the Sword, and is relatively cold year round in comparison. Despite this, at least one expedition to the heart of the Anauroch is attempted every year due to the massive mineral wealth that has been reported to exist there. They never succeed, and only ever rarely return. Raiding bands of hobgoblins and goblinkin call the Plain home, along with hill giants and verbeegs (lesser giantkin) and groups of human outlaws and dwarves. The Plain is home to at least one massive blue dragon, and perhaps several more of its offspring; but dragons come from all around Faerun to visit a single stone pillar - the Pillar of Tauros - that exists somewhere within the Plain's expanse. More of the creatures can be found in this single spot than in most other places of Faerun, and it's rumored that ancient runes carved into the pillar itself teach them magic long lost to humankind.

The High Ice: The final region of the Anauroch is a vast, frozen tundra. The temperature here never peaks above around eighteen degrees, even in the heat of summer, and can get as bitterly low as negative fifty. It is a massive plain of frozen mountains and lands that stretches on and on and on without end - it's thought that the High Ice goes on forever. The term 'Anauroch' was only ever applied to the High Ice back in the days of Ancient Netheril, to denote an inhospitable and unlivable locale. But a great deal of life DOES thrive here: yetis, remorhaz (large burrowing worm-like creatures), massive frost-toads with a body length eight feet total, salamanders (ironically!) and dragons. A great many dragons, a few reds and blues, topaz and cyrstal, brass, but mostly white, reside in the High Ice; led by an Ancient White named Augaurath, the undisputed leader of all High-Ice dragons. The less intelligent residents of the region even go so far as to revere her as a god.

5f- The Ancient Past

Thousands of years ago, the region we now call the Anauroch was nothing like it was today. In the past, it was a place of great forests and grassy hills, dotted by lakes and countless streams; a region of great fertility. Around one such lake, seven fishing villages banded together for protection against raiding orcs, forming a kingdom called Seventon - though their chosen king soon renamed it after himself; Netheril. The early Netherese knew no magic, but that changed as soon as they encountered the nearby Earlanni elves.

They grew then in leaps and bounds, mastering magic with a vigor. Eventually, an unknown explorer discovered magical scrolls known as the Nether Scrolls, artifacts that possessed no inherit power themselves... But would teach magic to their reader. The scrolls were so efficient and capable a teacher that a rock gnome once got to study them for a few short weeks, and understood magic so well afterwards that he founded the entire hereditary tradition of illusion magic amongst gnomes. These scrolls provided a massive leap forward in power for the Netherese, and fueled the creation of countless artifacts, Ioun stones a primary example.

Soon, a prodigy was born. Ioulaum, who is credited for the creation of the first Mythallar; a massive crystal ball a hundred feet in diameter that shone like the sun and ripped raw magic straight from the Weave to power enchantments within one mile of it. Using the Mythallar as a magical battery of sorts, he sheared off the top of a mountain, flipped it over and levitated it up into the air, founding the first Flying City of Netheril.

In another few thousand years, the next (and far more infamous) great prodigy of Netheril was born, Karsus. Karsus' flying city became known far and wide as a place of progressive tutelage, where wizards could come and help push the boundaries of magical knowledge. When Ioulaum abandoned Netheril due to the strain of the Phaerimm's lifedrain magics, Karsus panicked. Fearing for the safety of his people, he took it upon himself to secure the power needed to safeguard them for all eternity - he cast a spell of monstrous power, and stole the divinity of Mystryl, the current goddess of magic.

For a few brief moments, all arcane magic failed. Mystryl died, The Flying Cities dropped from the skies, a new goddess of magic (Mystra!) was born. She stopped the flow of power to Karsus, and corrected his error - though she could only save three Netherese cities out of all of them. Karsus himself swelled to mammoth proportions and ended up petrified - his body fell into the High Forest, where it remains in the form of a massive red stone butte, which occasionally weeps blood. The Phaerimm's lifedraining magic took their toll, though, and the once-fertile lands of Netheril turned to desert, swallowing up the three remaining city-states. All that remained of the Netherese people themselves was two expeditions that left in advance, fearing the nation's downfall: One founded the city of Luskan, the other founded the Kingdom of Halruaa.

5g- Religion in the Anauroch

The Bedine worship the same gods that others do, mostly, but by greatly different names and aspects.

-At'ar the Merciless, the 'Yellow Goddess', is the chief deity of the Bedine. She's all that remains of Amaunator, the Netherese God of Law, Order, and the Sun. The lawful wife of Kozah, At'ar creeps across the sky every day to sleep in N'asr's tent at night.

-Elah is the Bedine name for Selune. Selunite clergy will be tolerated and shown some respect in the Anauroch, but should not expect obedience.

-Kozah is the Bedine god of storms and tempests, and is their name for Talos. The many sandstorms that blast the Anauroch is how he vents his rage at his faithless wife.

-N'asr, the Pitiless one, the 'Lord of the Dead', is the Bedine name for Cyric, god of murder, strife, and insanity. "N'asr's children", vultures, are said to ferry souls across the sands to his tent, which exists somewhere in the west. Every night, At'ar forsakes Kozah to make her way into N'asr's tent. Bedine mythology holds that the dead who arrive offensive to N'asr become his slaves eternally, which is the worst imaginable fate to them - so the Bedine dead are carefully treated and washed and buried, in order to get rid of the odor of life and anything that might bring about his wrath.

-Shaundakul is known to the Bedine as "The Treacherous Lurker In The Sands", a jackal-headed god who leads travelers astray, dries oases up, and blinds wanderers. In reality, all this mischief is caused by Beshaba, who is working diligently to give Shaundakul a bad name.
Plays as: Havardr
Joined: 06/09/2010
Re: Countries, Kingdoms, and City-States of Faerun
6) The Vilhon Reach
6a) Introduction
6b) Social Structure of the Reach
6c) 'Kingdoms' of the Reach
6c#.a) Government of ________
6c#.b) Customs of _________
6c#.c) Cities/Places of Note
6d) Religion of the Reach
6e) Organizations of Note

6a) Introduction

The Vilhon Reach is the name of both a large body of water branching off the Sea of Fallen Stars, and the surrounding kingdoms and free states. The Reach is a warm, humid place - where warriors go lightly armored not for mobility, but just because of the sheer discomfort wearing heavy armor brings. A place where most people go their entire lives seeing snow only two or three times. The Vilhon Reach is a place where druidic circles dictate the boundaries of cities and estates, and fiercely punish any who would disobey their whims - and despite this, it's a place of profit, home to a massive number of traders.

6b) Social Structure of the Reach

As is to be expected in a place boasting so many republics and plutocracies, the line between 'commoner' and 'nobility' is very blurred - perhaps nonexistent in some places. Throughout most of the Reach, hard work and a good head for business will get one far, and it's not uncommon to see poor individuals make quite a bundle through savvy business dealings. Most of the business of running the Reach, after all, is handled by the various Merchant Houses in the region's many nations and cities.

With frequent caravans and merchant ships running through the region, and Chondath gearing up to go to war with many of its lost possessions, there's fame, fortune, and plenty of respect to be found by skilled warriors.

6c) Kingdoms of the Reach
6c1) Turmish
6c1.a) Government of Turmish
6c1.b) Customs of Turmish
6c1.c) Cities/Places of Note

6c2) Chondath
6c2.a) Government of Chondath
6c2.b) Customs of Chondath
6c2.c) Cities/Places of Note

6c3) The Free Cities
6c3.a) Government of the Free Cities
6c3.b) Customs of the Free Cities
6c3.c) Cities/Places of Note

6c4) Sespech
6c4.a) Government of Sespech
6c4.b) Customs of Sespech
6c4.c) Cities/Places of Note

6c5) The Shining Plains
6c5.a) Government of the Plains
6c5.b) Customs of the Plains
6c5.c) Cities/Places of Note

6c6) Other Regions in the Reach

6c1.a) Government of Turmish

Turmish is a republic, ruled by a body called the Assembly of Stars. Membership in the Assembly can only be gained when one is nominated and voted into office. However, membership comes with very few perks, and each member of the Assembly is required to take on a large workload - traveling from city to city, reviewing this business and that, voting on laws, handling stacks of paperwork. Infact, the sheer amount of work involved in politics in Turmish has given rise to a rather unique facet of Turmish's society - in Turmish, people try their hardest to see their rivals given political positions. With so much work to do running the republic, it's almost guaranteed that the new councilmember will have next to no time to run their own business. The current leader of the Assembly is Lord Herengar, who's immense success as a mercenary captain has led to him being voted in - without failure - as the Assembly's head nine years running.

6c1.b) Customs of Turmish

As could be expected in a place with such an unusual political system, Turmish is home to a myriad of traditions, superstitions and customs that very few other places in the Realms share. In Turmish, one is expected to paint or tattoo dots on one's forehead to signify the level of education one has; one dot if you can read, two if you can write, and three if you practice magic. Local merchants can general tell the uneducated from uninformed newcomers by the angry looks they recieve when they start speaking slowly, loudly, and with a great deal of pantomiming. However, the Turmishans take this custom extremely seriously. Guards frequently stop visitors in order to ask them to demonstrate the abilities they claim to have with their marks - people found to be wearing them falsely are oftentimes executed.

Inns and taverns are almost nonexistent outside of towns and cities in Turmish, due to the fact that any man of reasonable wealth or property builds a rest house (generally just a small cabin stocked with wood and food enough to last a few people a few days), as a sign of their good nature and respectability. Vandalism is a frequent problem, but most tenants are respectful enough to leave coin enough to replace supplies, clean up the place, and chop more wood for the fire. A traveler can expect an especially warm welcome if he or she finds a rest house in need of repair and aids the owner in maintaining it. However, if you're looking to stay inside the owner's actual home, you're expected to bring some sort of fine cuisine with you.

One last unusual custom the Turmishfolk have is their belief that leaving offerings to the earth will result in a prosperous growing season - any farmer that can afford it will bury gems or gold on his land every year. It's not unusual to see rubies, emeralds and other rare and precious gems be buried alongside bars of gold or silver, or simply sacks of coins. While this might sound like a fantastic deal to thieves with access to a shovel, it's usually a death sentence if they are caught. Killing a thief for digging up your offering is considered an act of self-defence by the law in Turmish - and no one has ever been so much as arrested for it.

The Turmish take part in two major festivals. The first is the Feast of the Moon in Highsummer, a common festival throughout most of the Reach. All throughout Turmish, friends and neighbors gather together to sing and dance, and young lovers are encouraged to share intimate moments under the night time sky. While young lovers and friends frolick together, the Church of Malar frequently prowls in force during this festival.

The other, somewhat more unusual festival, is the Reign of Misrule. Taking place during the month of Marpenoth, the Reign is the one time each year where Turmishans are free to temporarily break vows, allegiances, and faith in order to just 'get it all out' - so long as they don't cause serious property damage or death. Most people who leave their homes during the Reign can expect to go home with a few bruises, and it's not at all uncommon to see broken windows or smashed furniture thrown out into the streets. If you aren't a citizen of Turmish, however, you aren't invited to the fun - non Turmishans are expected to provide recompense for injuries and damages they cause during the Reign.

6c1.c) Cities/Places of Note

Alaghon (Pop. 89,000) - Alaghon is the capital of Turmish, and a major port on the Sea of Fallen Stars. Almost all outbound trade in Turmish flows through this city. Alaghon is somewhat unique in that there are no wooden structures within her walls - ever since a great fire razed the city almost a thousand years ago, all buildings built in Alaghon have been legally required to be made from brick or stone. Many of Alaghon's buildings have been renovated and remodeled so many times that most of them have several layers of walls hidden behind the ones you can see - leading to the unintended creation of a system of cubbyholes and ways leading throughout the city. While this makes hide'n'seek an especially popular past time with the capital's children, many of them (along with adventuring groups sent down to investigate) have reported being chased out of the tunnels by a massive humanoid creature, extremely resilient to both magic and arms.

Gildenglade (Pop. 48,000) - Turmish's second largest city is populated mostly by elves, half-elves, and dwarves. Gildenglade is an exceptionally wealthy city, with an economy focused on woodcutting, carpentry, and mining. The half-elves run most of the merchant companies, shipping the goods produced far and wide. The dwarves dig beneath the city, mining out rich veins of gold ore. The elves handle politics and running the city - their skill in forestry and the preservation of nature has led to Gildenglade having the best relation of any in the Reach with the Emerald Enclave; but it still wasn't enough to allow the city to put the nearby volcano, Mount Kolimnus, to sleep.

Nonthal (Pop. 13,000) - Nonthal is kept alive mostly by tanneries and tourism. People come from far and wide to try and gain access to Nonthal's Hold, an old ruin rumored to hold a vast cache of magical goods and artifacts. Over a century ago, an old wizard settled in Nonthal, erected a number of signs demanding privacy, and promptly vanished. His home was ransacked, and a map to the Hold was procured. If only getting in were that simple - the path leading up to the Hold is riddled with traps that will teleport you randomly to most anywhere in the Realms. The traps seem to be layered, preventing a wizard from simply suppressing the first set of traps and waltzing on up. Still, the prospect of ending up headfirst in the Anauroch or on the rim of a fire giant infested volcano doesn't stop hundreds of adventurers from coming through each year to test their luck.

The Alaoreum Mountains - These are the northernmost peaks in the Orsraun Mountain range, nestled up against the Gulthmere Forest and seperated from the rest of the mountains by Treefall Pass. A semiactive volcano can be found within this range, Mount Andrus - a sacred place to the worshipers of Talos, who have a pact with some evil being or community said to dwell within the heart of the volcano. Another place of note within the mountain range is Ironfang Deep, a great dwarven fortress that digs up high quality iron, gold, and gems. The Deep supplies most of Turmish's iron.

The Orsraun Mountains - These mountains are famous for being the largest south of the Spine of the World. They're also famous for being thickly populated by evil beings of all sorts - including kobolds, orcs, goblins, and red dragons. Most sane Turmishans keep well away from them.

The Aphrunn Mountains - These mountains block off naval access to Turmish from the Reach, forming an effective shield, both politically and militarily. Within the range is Mount Kolimnus, sometimes called 'Eversmoke' for it's high levels of activity. Barely more than a decade past, the mountain rumbled and roiled to such an extent that is eruption was predicted to be able to destroy the nearby city of Gildenglade - but the volcano subsided before any damage was dealt.

6c2) Chondath
6c2.a) Government of Chondath

Chondath is a plutocracy - a form of government in which citizens owning enough wealth (generally in the form of property or businesses) are allowed to vote, either running the country directly or through an elected leader. In Chondath's case, this leader is the wizard Eles Wianar - who's Lordship over the nation is a bit of an oddity; Chondathans tend to distrust magic immensely. Below Eles is a complicated system of Merchant Houses and would-be nobility, rich landholders all, who plot against each other constantly. Eles does nothing to stop this infighting, and even allows them to wage open war on each other - so long as they do it outside of Arrabar.

6c2.b) Customs of Chondath

As a former trade empire, Chondath has very few customs that it can claim to be unique to its borders. It does, however, share the custom of painting one's forehead with most of the Vilhon Reach - but those wearing three dots had better tred cautiously. Druids and priests are tolerated, but careless wizards in Chondath can quickly find themselves run out of town, if not lynched. Chondath celebrates the same common festivals as the rest of the Realms do, but none to any particular great extent. A single ceremony is unique to Chondath, however - a festival often hid from outsiders, occuring during the first new moon of Flamerule. During this festival, Chondathans leave their homes to dance under the dark moon - symbolic of the darkness before dawn, and Chondath's "inevitable" return to glory.

6c2.c) Cities/Places of Note

Arrabar (Pop. 61,000)- Arrabar is an ancient, sprawling city hundreds of years old. Despite this, it tends to be cleaner and better maintained than most cities its size. Two major traderoutes, the Emerald Corridor and the Golden Road, terminate in Arrabar, and a great deal of sea trade comes through the city. Most citizens are fishermen, merchants, or general craftsfolk, but the city boasts a great number of mercenaries - either small companies, or private armies stationed around the city by Eles Wianar or one of Chondath's many nobles (it's estimated that enough mercenaries find employment in Arrabar alone to rival the military of many Faerunian countries). The center of the city is dominated by the Generon, Eles' palace, a dome wreathed in gold and silver, and ringed by barracks and strong fortifications manned by Wianar's many mercenary armies. While magic might be hated and distrusted by most Chondathans, Eles Wianar has nonetheless granted the Red Wizards a sizeable enclave within Arrabar.

Hlath (Pop. 24,000)- Ruled over by Lord Darvis Shennelm, Hlath is a city that thrives off trade and lumber exports (a fact thats led to close monitoring of the city by the Emerald Enclave). For over ages, Hlath has been locked in one of the many personal wars that plague the Chondathan countryside - a conflict with Iljak over the flow of trade goods along one of Chondath's minor traderoutes. Thirty years ago, Hlath even went so far as to burn Iljak to the ground - but it didn't stop their rival city for too long. Mercenaries can always find employ here, either defending or attacking caravans.

Iljak (Pop. 17,000)- Iljak is Chondath's second largest port, a city that exists mostly off naval exports, fishing, and agriculture; it produces a large amount of Chondath's grain and food. It is ruled by Governor Anton Yinoran, a man reputed to be very tolerant by Chondathan standards. Thirty years ago, the city was burnt to the ground, but the people of Iljak have since rebuilt. With much taller walls.

Shamph (Pop. 33,000)- Shamp is known as the Crossroads City, sitting at the junction of four road ways - including the Emerald Corridor and the Old Road. Currently, the city is thriving, as merchants will often sell off their stock cheaply in Shamp rather than risk it entering the war zone inbetween Hlath and Iljak - Shamp's merchants then simply resell the goods at a massive markup. Shamp's Mayor, Tian Redown, does everything in his power to sabotage any and all peace efforts between Iljak and Hlath - this deal is simply too sweet for the people of Shamp to let die.

The Chondalwood- A large forest on the southern border of Chondath, which has its expansion kept well in check by the neighboring nations. The Chondalwood is home to many satyrs and "intelligent" plant creatures. Other than trees, the local flora mostly consists of parasitic plants like mistletoe, and fungi. The local druids are angry, vicious, and feral - striking out violently at anyone who isn't a native of the Chondalwood; such as the many large wild elf and ghostkin tribes that live a nomadic life within its borders.

6c3) The Free Cities
6c3.a) Government of the Free Cities

The Free Cities are a collection of city-states within the Vilhon Reach, former possessions of the Nation of Chondath, who now each govern themselves - and are very fiercely defensive of their independence. These Free Cities are the states of Hlondeth, Lachom, Nimpeth, Reth, and Surkh.

Hlondeth is by far the most famous of the free cities, known as the "City of Serpents". It has been ruled over by the Extaminos family for almost eight hundred years, ever since an invasion of kobolds almost overran the city in 527 DR. Shevron Extaminos broke free from his family's walled compound, at the head of a massive swarm of snakes - driving the kobolds from the city. Shevron died during the fightings, but he received a hero's burial, and his ancestors have led the city ever since. Dediana Extaminos is the city's current monarch, a yaun-ti halfblood. Despite having a snake's tail instead of legs, she commands the loyalty of the city, and manages diplomacy with the surrounding states masterfully.

The democratic city of Lachom has a much less dodgy reputation, being known as a relatively peaceful agricultural center. Mayor Turien Battlewake is currently focusing his efforts on building up the city's militia, and procuring expert strategists to help fend off impending invasions from Chondath.

Nimpeth is another plutocratic state, ruled over by Lord Woren, the owner of a highly successful business. Woren has strived to keep positive relations with all the surrounding city-states by passing on information he uncovers about all the others to the rest of them. His peacemongering, however, has negatively impacted the slave trade in Nimpeth, stilling the growth of one of the city's oldest 'industries'.

Reth is another free city with a bloody, violent reputation. Formerly used to train soldiers for Chondath's armies, its coliseum and many blood sports now entertain visitors from all around the reach. The city is ruled over by a publically elected mayor who tends to the day to day needs of the citizens, but real power rests in the hands of the Seven Senators, each of whom holds absolute authority over a certain aspect of running the city.

Surkh is certainly an unusual city, being inhabited only by lizardfolk. A barbarian, King Griss'tok rules over the city, and very rarely sees visitors or foreign petitioners - he speaks only draconic. He does, however, have a very well established reputation throughout the Reach for eating criminals found guilty of serious crimes in Surkh.

6c3.b) Customs of the Free Cities

As former possessions of Chondath, the Free Cities make a point of keeping their forces strong, and thus most of them have instituted a system of mandatory military service. Upon reaching physical maturity, young adults are forced to serve in the local army/militia for a period of no less than four years - most citizens tend to see this as just a fact of life and simply accept it. A few rail against it openly. Most of those people end up being sold in Nimpeth.

A festival shared by all of the Free Cities is the Rotting Dance, an addition to the usual Higharvestide festivities. Lachom, in particular, is reputed to put a great deal of energy into it. The locals form a ring around a large bonfire, each man and woman holding a chip painted blood red (to symbolize Chondath) and soaked through with oils. As the music picks up and the dance begins, all the chips are thrown into the fire - and promptly pelted with rotten vegetables and eggs. Afterwards, kegs are rolled out and the real festivities commence - with fine wines, meads and ales running freely all throughout the night, and fresh fruits and food available for any who wish it. Be cautious though - never throw fresh vegetables into the fire, the locals believe it to bring serious bad luck. The Rotting Dance is held to "remind Chondath of what they're missing."

6c3.c) Cities/Places of Note

Hlondeth (Pop. 45,000; 454,000 in surrounding territories)- Built on the main land route leading out of Turmish, Hlondeth is a fantastically rich city. An architectural marvel, Hlondeth is dominated by serpentine designs cut from a shiny green marble - which has become the city's main export, either cut or uncut. There's always work for sailors and mercenaries here, acting as guards for shipments leaving the city for more troubled lands.

Nimpeth (Pop. 12,000; 26,000 in surrounding territories)- Nimpeth is a rich port best known for its fine wines; its vineyards are hailed as some of the finest in all of Faerun. River traffic from inland stops at Nimpeth to offload, or resupply before heading out to other sections of Faerun. Nimpeth has a less savory reputation as a major center for the slave trade, being the heart of the Vilhon Reach's slavemarket.

Reth (Pop. 63,000)- Reth is well known through out the Reach for its coliseum and frequent gladiatorial shows - mostly done by freeborn adventurers seeking profit and glory. Would-be gladiators are warned that these events are almost always to the death. Apart from tourism, the main exports of Reth are fish, stone, and lumber - though the Emerald Enclave has recently been attacking lumber shipments leaving the far away Nunwood, leading Reth to slowly begin abandoning the trade.

Surkh (Pop. 10,000)- Surkh is inhabited soley by lizardfolk, who mostly keep to themselves. While the city enjoys good diplomatic relations with the Emerald Enclave and the neighboring cities on the Shining Plains, the lizardmen of Surkh rarely leave home. They spend their time fishing the Deepwash, and all their neighbors are content to leave them to their isolation. The only true threat to Surkh's 'people' is an ancient dragon turtle living under the Deepwash's surface - being killed by her is held to be an honor.

The Cloven Mountains- Bordering the Deepwash's southern shore, these mountains are named for the gap formed where the Wintercloak River flows out of the Deepwash. Many tribes of goblinkin call the mountains home, but they're too busy warring amongst themselves to pose any real threat to the locals.

The Deepwash- The largest freshwater lake in the Reach, fed by countless tributaries from the Cloven and Deepwing Mountains. The lake is teeming with fish, but its best known for the ancient dragon turtle which nests near Surkh, eating human, lizard, and fish alike.