Population:426,710 (56% Centaur, 28% Minotaur, 10% human, 2% Halfling, 1% Dwarf, 1% Gnome, 1% Elf)
Imports: Armor, weapons, pottery, spices, wine
Exports: Hides, livestock, ivory, iron
Updated to: 2806
The verdant plains of Brythnia are home to an amazing variety of life, from vast herds of antelope and wild horses, to the great cats that follow those herds. But it is two intelligent species that give Brythnia the title “Land of the Beast-Men”. The plains are home to a kingdom of centaurs, all loosely ruled by a semi-divine priestess-queen. The hills of the east are inhabited by fierce minotaurs who live in widely-separated independent communities but who owe fealty to the centaur queen from ancient times. These two races, seemingly with nothing in common, forged a union that was autonomous under both Conorrian and Miletian rule, and which has, in more recent centuries, stood off challenges from nearly every one of its neighbors.
The centaurs of the plains live in semi-nomadic tribes, spread out across great distances. The centaurs make encampments of hide-covered huts for a few months at a time, then move to follow the migration of the great herds. For the most part, the tribes are peaceful, living in a harmony with the land and spirits of nature. But when aroused to violence, they can be very dangerous. Their strength and speed make them formidable opponents in war.
The plains are also home to a wide variety of wild animals, including bison, elk, wild horses, mammoths, ground sloths, dangerous great cats and large, flightless birds.
In the east, the great plains rise up to meet the distant Edgemoor mountains, and in between is a wide, wild, region of rocky hills and scattered woods. This misty land is the home of the minotaurs, and loosely scattered families of trolls and hill giants. The minotaurs of the hills are wilder than their cousins who live in Carrenthium, and can be unpredictable. Yet these wild hill tribes have held to their alliance with the centaurs for hundreds of generations.
Though wild and savage, the minotaurs are smarter and more civilized than the trolls and hill giants, and make their homes in fortified villages or isolated hilltops, and are masters of the land. They do not welcome visitors gladly, but may grant passage to those who show proper respect and pay a toll (for keeping the troll population down, as they will tell anyone who asks).
The Brythnian hills are dotted with ancient, crumbling temples and carved runestones of unknown origin. Legend has it that the kings of lost Numanthaur are buried in these hills with all their fabulous wealth and ancient secrets.
The centaur and minotaur tribes have dominated the plains of Brythnia since time immemorial; perhaps even dating back to before the Wrath of the Gods. Roughly eight centuries before the start of the Conorrian calendar, the two species united in an unusual compact, both agreeing to be ruled by the Priestess-Queen.
In -298, warriors of the Connor tribes first crossed the Lydodan into the wide Brythnian plain. At first, their settlements were few, but by the time of the Empire’s founding, the tribes were in full control of the Lydodan region and had founded the city of Carrenthium on what would one day be the Via Brythnia.
The subject centaurs and minotaurs became troops in the Conorrian armies even before the founding of the Empire, and the area slowly became dominated by Imperial citizens as the veterans retired back to their homes. Brythnian shock troops were a part of every Conorrian campaign for the next eighteen hundred years.
The crossroads location of the province assured that it would not long remain isolated. By the fourth century, small towns and villages dotted the Lyodan and the shores of the Golden Sea. But the interior remained wild, dominated by the nomadic tribes of the plains and hills.
Although Brythnia was isolated from the fighting in the Beltene Wars, the overall command of the Empire’s armies west of the Lyodan was with Urdox Meltias, a minotaur general renowned for the loyalty and elan of his troops.
The first of three great tragedies to strike Brythnia came in 1242, in the midst of the decades-long Wars of the Fishermen Emperors. The Shadows of Marador struck suddenly at the great city of Deriolanum. In three days of horror and evil, they destroyed the city, slaughtering its inhabitants and raising them at the next full moon as strange, ghoulish monsters.
The second great tragedy was the Battle of Blackstone, fought in 1801 between the forces of Markimillien Shadowstaff and Longarrow the Warlock, during the Mage Wars. Thousands of Brythnians fought on both sides of the battle, including Varelse the Priestess-Queen (who fought for Longarrow). A terrible plague was released during the battle that spread through the minotaur ranks like wildfire. Many centaurs were also killed, but not in the numbers of their brothers. Within hours, not a single minotaur was alive in either army. Within days, the plague had appeared in the wild minotaur population. By the following year, 90 percent of the minotaur population and 5% of the centaur population had died. The survivors, it seemed, were immune.
In the wake of the Mage Wars, the now-prostrate Brythnia became part of the new Miletian Empire. The region suffered the least of all Miletian regions when that empire succumbed to the Darothic Hordes five centuries later.
In the year 2326, the third great tragedy struck Brythnia – the reign of Vallordraumoth the Emerald. A great and powerful green dragon of exceptional cleverness and cruelty. For two and a half centuries, this ruthless wyrm extorted slaves, gold and absolute obedience from the people of Carrenthium and the terrified nomadic tribes as well. Only the few minotaur tribes of the hills managed to partially elude his greedy grasp. Vallordraumoth’s reign of terror was ended abruptly during a battle in the skies over Carrenthium in the year 2690. History reports that a flying pyramid and several lesser dragons were involved.
In 2743, Brythian centaurs acted as scouts for the Crusader armies bent on reconquering the Empire from the Orc Dominion. These armies, under the command of Tirgonian Crown Prince Aurelian, met their doom at the Battle of the Lyodan later that year.
Currently, the rising chaos to the west, north and south has yet to reach Brythnia, and the Land of the Beast-Men desires only to be left out of the affairs of men.
MAJOR POPULATION CENTERS
Carrenthium (Small City; population 24,540) The city of Carrenthium is wealthy because of its location. Although the Brythnian natives trade in hides, metals and carved wood, it is the trade passing through the city from north and south that makes it important. Laying at the eastern terminus of the Golden Sea, the city also lays astride the Via Brythniana, or Great Northern Way, the road the runs from the Conorrian heartland north and finally terminates in northern Tirgonia. Whether by land or sea, most of the trade between the north and south passes through and enriches this city. Almost half of the citys population are human traders. Most of the rest are centaur scholars, artisans, clan factors and the priestesses of the Queen. A few thousand minotaurs make their home here, mostly mercenaries between employment.
IMPORTANT LOCAL SITES
The Sea of Grass – The area around the eastern end of the Golden Sea is alive with great herds of animals, flocks of birds and centaur nomads. In the summer, the animals migrate to the north in search of water and the shelter of the forests. In the winter, they migrate south, seeking the lush grasslands and protection from the northern snows.
Ironfang Keep – An ancient tower carved from a rock spire over two hundred feet tall and standing at the border between the Sea of Grass and the Brythnian hills. It considered cursed by minotaur and centaur alike, and its sight is considered an ill omen. Though legends abound of the tower and its demon warden, no tale records who built the tower, or when.
The Forest of Whispers – This pine forest on the misty western uplands, while technically in Brythnia, is not inhabited by either centaurs or minotaurs, but by a collection of goblin tribes who occasionally war upon the lands to the east and south. A small colony of elves also makes its home in the eastern woods.
The Ruins of Deriolanum – This city, which suffered a horrible fate during the Wars of the Fisherman Emperors, is overrun with the ghoulish former residents. It is given a wide berth by all travelers.