LORDS OF THE EARTH CAMPAIGN 54
“LORDS OF THEEURTH”
Turn Eleven Newsfax
hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
o more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.
– Frank Herbet, Dune
urture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.
– Benjamin Disraeli
hen smashing monuments, save the pedestalsthey always come in handy.
– Stanislaw Lem
1. A leader may cast or assist in the casting of ONLY one spell per turn.
2. I remain surprised at how little attention is paid to magical artifacts. Eleven turns in and almost none of them have been found.
3. Nations in Changshai and Serikku use the “Other” mercenary pools. For now. There are no mercs available in Ukele.
|The Skane Jarldoms–
Ruler – King Bjarnalf
Capital – Vanaheim
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Fogense [NT]
||The Skane vikings took a few years off from pillage and rapine and concentrated instead on building up their own lands. Young King Bjarnalf showed an aptitude for civil design, and the new districts he added to Berjelm and Vanaheim drew many traders and craftsmen to those cities by the cold waters of the Kaddern. Bjarnalf caused a moat to be dug around Berjelm, and an earthen wall thrown up inside that. At Vanaheim, masons erected a modest wall around the entire city, and many of the rustic hillmen traveled down from the heights of Suomar or Foldbjerg just to gape at it in wonder, for such a thing had never been known before in the north.
But the old ways were far from forgotten. Bjarnalf gave patronage to the traditional Skane warrior societies, theDrakendvaerder, Ulvdrabsmandand Bamsndvaerder, (dragonslayer, wolfslayer and bearslayer), those semi-mystical groups whose spiritual connection with their totem beasts gave them great strength and fury in battle. The loyal societies sen four hundred berserkers to the king’s armies at Vanaheim.
The king’s uncle Søren Overgaard guarded the cold northern seas, but his ships did not raid the south as they had for the last generation, and many of his fleet grumbled that the Skane had become a soft people of farmers and merchants.
The Kingdom of Tirgonia –
Ruler – King Gareth
Capital – Tirgon
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Aonach [NT]
|Regent Canoarch executed the duties of his office with great honor, building up the national army, gathering it at the Ormswood and watching the south for signs of trouble. Canoarch raised more than four thousand troops, including a large contingent of armored knights to add to the strength depleted in Daerond.
Canoarch’s lieutenants, Lords Trevor and Maxim, aided him by gathering the scattered forces and by spending a year training some of the men-at-arms in advanced combat techniques in the tangled wilds of the Ormswood.
Grey-robed Tirgonian missionaries worked in tandem with Lord Percilus in the steppes of Aonach to recruit the families of the chieftains to the cause of both Tirgonia and the Lords of the Grail.
In the summer of 2835, old king Quinn’s eldest son, Gareth, came of age and was crowned king at the Stone of Kings in Estwilde, as had all the kings before him going back to Arkemon Dragonsbane. The Grail priests frowned upon this deeply pagan ceremony, with its roots in Tirgonia’s druidic past, but said nothing. Gareth’s first act as king was to appoint Canoarch as a Prince of the Realm, and as his Chancellor.
A strange omen occurred in 2832, and continued for the next four years – the seas between Berjelm in the north and Angaurek in the south turned blood red. The fish died in their millions and the beaches and estuaries stank with the stench of their decaying forms. Anyone who ate the fish grew ill. Many died. The folk who relied on fish and fishing came near to starving in those years. Preachers in Alqualondë and Cruachan claimed that this was a sign of the disapproval of the gods, and that the folk of Tirgonia had strayed into sin and inequity.
|The Iron Empire of Daerond –
Ruler –Empress Melisandre von Landegol
Capital – Aicherai
Dominant Race – Human
|As it was in the waters of Tirgonia, so it was on the coasts of Daerond. The sea ran red and all the fisheries and fishing boats were put out of work. Thousands starved or moved inland, seeking food.
But the nation had weightier matters to consider, such as the succession and the attacks from both north and south it had recently suffered.
As in previous years, mercenaries moved out of the hills to come to the Empire’s aid. This time, however, they were human. Four thousand infantry marched with Melisandre out of Aicherai in 2831.
Emperor Vantos stood guard for a year in Hastaalm, where he spent a single idyllic month with his beloved Melisandre. Alas events would prove that the now-aging emperor had failed to quicken his wife’s womb. Their idyll over, the lovers parted, each marching an army towards a border. They would never see each other again.
Melisandre marched north to Nivaan, where she directed an energetic defense against a Tirgonian army that never came south. Vantos marched into Landegol and directed a defense against a Harkorian army that never came north. Both armies were laden with offensive and defensive sorceries that never needed to see the light of day.
In the autumn of 2832, the Emperor Vantos, first of that name, died suddenly in his sleep. Foul play was at first suspected, but a sweating, quivering physician assured the general of the Fist of Caravok that the Emperor had simply died of a brain aneurysm. Word of her husband’s death reached the Empress in Nivaan where she still awaited the attack of the Tirgonians. She moved swiftly and with a certain cold violence to seize control of the government, for Vantos had left no heir. By midwinter, the government had been purged of all her enemies. Though she moved into power with the killer instinct of a longtime disciple of dark gods, there are those who swear that the tears the Empress shed over the tomb of the Emperor were not merely for show. The rest called them naive.
Although neither the Harkorians nor Tirgonians returned to Daeron soil, the Harkorian fleet did take to the waters of the Archelos sea, preying on the merchant vessels of Daerond and sinking several within sight of the Daeron shore.
The Harkorian League –
Ruler –First Councillor Azazel
Capital – Cadares
Dominant Race – Human
|Like its northern neighbors, exhausted Harkoria mostly rested in watchful and uneasy peace while rebuilding its battered armies.
The Council came to term with the haughty pirate fleet, agreeing to pay a hefty bribe over the next fifteen years in exchange for the pirates leaving Harkorian shipping and coasts unmolested. The Harkorian navy promptly put to sea and began hunting down Daeron merchant vessels in the Archelos Sea and the Daeron Coast. The pickings were slim as the Black Empire had never truly been a trading power and had few ships at sea.
Harkoria’s armies regrouped at under General Alexeos at Trolium and, empowered with defensive and offensive spells, watched the northern border with suspicion, though the Daerons made no move towards the border.
Bishop Tritus governed in Cadares for five years. Most of his proposals languished in Council for years while the First Councillor led the privateer fleet, and little was accomplished, although ground was broken for a new hippodrome on the city outskirts. Horse racing is an Harkorian passion.
In 2833, two Daeron agents were seized by the Watch in Cadares during a botched attempt to murder the Chancellor and several of his staff. Their leader escaped by diving into an open canal, but was identified as none other than Tolen the Younger, Daerond’s spymaster.
The Edgemoor Orcs –
Ruler –Corash the Brave
Capital – Zaramaka
Dominant Race – Orcs
|Corash ordered the orc known as Tor the Rtikulat on a mission to the east while carefully maintaining the greater share of the army under his own control at Zaramaka. Through careful reform, Corash allowed the orcish nobility a small amount of his personal power, ruling through them rather than directly. In typically chaotic orcish fashion, there was much jockeying for power in the new structure. Surprisingly, the usually fractious orcs managed to weather the transition with only a ceremonial minimum of violence and murder. Corash also expanded the Edgemoor bureaucracy during this time. While he ruled his people by day, Corash ruled his harem by night and got on them a series of squalling brats he promptly ignored. No orc, even if a relation, interested Corash in the slightest until it could wield a weapon.
Elsewhere, Tor led his army into the restive region of Veddakh and, after putting down an uprising there, enslaved all the orcs of the region, leading them in shackles to Dakhash, which he also subdued to his will in a short series of battles.
Finally, Corash gathered together what passed for scholars among his rude folk and ordered them to begin teaching the old ways and traditions to a larger number of orcs. A small series of disused passages beneath Zaramaka became the first Edgemoor university.
THE NORTHERN PIRATES!
Paid off by Aelissia and Harkoria, the pirates tried to slip off to their ports to spend their ill-gotten gains. But that’s when the Grail//Llyran/Lorraine fleet arrived under Lorraine King Artorius.
Over the course of the entire 2832-2833 sailing seasons, a series of naval battles took place on the Archelos Sea between the Northern Pirates and the forces of Lorraine, the Llyran Republic and the Grail Primacy. The pirates, under the command of Captain John “Dead Jack” Edros, numbered nearly one hundred fifty ships and thousands of fighting buccaneers. The allies numbered more than a hundred ships (including eight Lorraine galleases and twelve thousand soldiers, These included two thousand elite Lorraine Marines, trained to fight in dangerous and chaotic ship-to-ship battles.
The allies were outmatched in numbers, in the quality of their ships, and in the numbers of sailors. But they had one very significant advantage: Artorius. The old king’s tactics were as revolutionary at sea as on land, for he would often stalk a ship from the horizon, waiting for it to turn back towards its fleet before revealing his own fleet, hull down under the horizon. Nor did he shy away from hand-to-hand battle when it came time to board enemy ships. With the Red Mace of Lorraine in hand, he led his crews across many a rail and personally battled the pirates.
Perhaps the greatest moment of the campaign, however, was the duel between the Llyran Joraidan Soren with Dead Jack Edros on the wheeldeck of Undine’s Fury, the Llyran flagship as that ship burned towards the waterline. Though the two men fought like wild lions, the sinking ship interrupted their fight and each was forced to swim for their lives to a nearby ship. Both men swore they would see the other again. Alas, it was not to be. Soren died of the H’rethek Fever in the autumn of 2834.
In the end, though, the campaign was a total success for the allied fleet. While the allies did lose ten ships and a thousand men, they sank half the pirate fleet and captured nearly twenty warships. Dead Jack and his fleet were forced to withdraw back whence they came.
|The Brythnian Confederation–
Ruler – Queen Coeus
Capital – Carrenthium
Dominant Race – Taurid
|Queen Coeus, sure that an Ascar counterstroke was on the way, drafted every available centaur, including the very young and very old, scraping together six thousand new cavalry at Carrenthium. Feeling too old to raise up an heir to the throne herself, Coeus named spirited young lieutenant Rhea as her successor and heir. She gave command of the recruit army to Rhea with orders to respond to any invasion. WIshing for a little adventure before she left this life, Coeus then traveled with only a few companions into the Dacian Hills, there to watch for invaders.
Lord Megaira governed in the burned-out ruin of Carrenthium, proving to be an energetic and forceful civic leader. By 2835, much of the ruin and rubble of the Great Fire had been cleared out or reused and new buildings, mostly densely-packed (for taurids) dwellings clustered around the harbor.
Eight thousand leaderless halflings of the Aelissian army stood a sullen and restive watch over the Dacian Hills.
Ruler –King Marvin Fatfish
Capital – The Great Delve
Dominant Race – Halfling
|King Marvin Fatfish of Aelissia, like Azazel of Harkoria, agreed to meet the demands of the Archelos pirates for the safety of his nation. The crafty halfling actually tried to entice the pirates into working as paid privateers for Aelissia, and offered a handsome increase in price, but the motley buccaneers could come to no agreement amongst themselves and so only took Aelissia’s tribute and departed.
Fatfish returned with the Artence army to the Great Delve where he took up residence and was officially crowned king of the realm. His secretary, Leeland Brownbarley, governed the Great Delve in his name, and folk were pleased with his handling of the rat problem and his improvements to the brewing process used at the Old Farmer breweries. Meanwhile, another Fatfish relative, Kendall Lowtide, effectively ran the government as a sort of unofficial chancellor until the king’s return to the capital.
In the far-off Dacian Hills of Brythnia, an army of eight thousand halflings continued to await a new commander. The junior officers did their best to suppress rebellious sentiment, but the army was displeased at being left so long with nothing to do in a foreign land and without the moderating hand of a general they could look up to, the Small Folk soldiers began to mutter against their officers in the barracks burrows they had by now dug into the hills.
Ruler –King Armand
Capital – Khairais
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Niance [F]
|Settlers, vagabonds and second sons moved to Tullieres in droves. They were followed by merchants seeking to capitalize on the growing prosperity of the region, though they complained loudly of the lack of a deep-water port for trading.
An army of colonists under the protection of Sir Bohemund traveled to and settled in the forests of Andelais, amidst the ruins of villages slaughtered decades before. The scars of war were long gone, with only the occasional abandoned hamlet to remind them that their ancestors had once farmed these lands. Sir Bohemund died in Andelais of a burning fever called by the locals The Harkeen Sickness.
Sir Guillaume traveled to Niance and arranged a fine marriage between Sir Fredemund, lord of Niance and Sirienne, daughter of the king. Fredemund was elevated to the royal family and swore his full allegiance to the king. The folk of Niance held holiday celebrations across the region, having had little to cheer them over the years.
Elsewhere, the king’s sons, Tancred and Bohemund came of age in Kharais. These fine young men were eager to follow in the footsteps of their glorious ancestors and loudly lamented the lack of any harkeen to slay.
Ruler –King Artorius
Capital – Armorica
Dominant Race – Human
|King Artorius assembled a fleet of more than a hundred warships and many elite Lorraine Marines. This force was comprised of ships from Lorraine, the Llyran Republic, the Grail Primacy and mercenaries. With this formidable force, and aided by his son Mordred and the sorceries of Myrddin, Artorius sailed north to the Archelos Sea to confront the pirates there. The king, now in his late sixties, wielded The Red Mace, ancestral weapon of the kings of Lorraine. (See The Northern Pirates, above.)
Sir Morgan was appointed governor of Cassivelaunus and organized a small theater for the growing city. Sir Boru, dispatched to distant Meergeld in Ryoril, proved to be an amazingly energetic and unstoppable leader. The city’s population grew many times as the docks were expanded and the rule of law laid down. Meergeld became a favorite stop for sailors of many nations.
A strange flu-like disease swept across the island in 2833-2835, killing thousands. Among these were Queen Gwynwhfyr and Princess Marguerite, Mordred’s wife. Sir Savros of Lynet also died of the same affliction and was replaced by his son. After the loss of his wife, Mordred became even more bitter and withdrawn than before, and many secretly voiced the opinion that the king’s son had lost his mind.
In 2834, Princess Letheran, Artorius’s oldest daughter, traveled to the Conorrian Empire where she was married to Prince Arcalas, eldest son of the Emperor Constantikos.
|The Whisper Wood –
Ruler –Queen Elevuil
Capital – Menelcandara
Dominant Race – Elf
|Three thousand elven archers were added to the national army. When, in 2831 and 2832, nearly forty thousand Airnim cavalry rode through Ferrense, Maenadia and the Fey Hunt, those elven archers wisely looked the other way and stayed home. (See The Airnim Horde, below).|
The Neldorean Wood –
|Ruler –Queen Nereil
Capital – Elenuil
Dominant Race – Elf
Queen Nereil ruled her small kingdom from Elenuil and immersed herself in study. The Neldorean elves planted hearttrees and husbanded the forests. As always, they stayed well clear of the ashen wastelands of their homeland.
A small fleet of light warships and transports was built by the shipwrights of Elenuil. These simply rode at anchor for several years until Prince Taralom reappeared far to the east on the Esharias River. He traveled south to the Valesian Sea and sailed to Elenuil where he picked up the small fleet and promptly put to sea again. He did not return to Neldorea and was spotted on the Upper Lyodan river by a large fleet of ships from the Crusader States.
IANTHE / THE AIRNIM HORDE
The Horde has decamped for greener pastures and left Ianthe an empty land. See The Airnim Horde, below.
|The Exarchate of the Great Crusade –
Ruler –Queen Ava
Capital – Pontezium
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – South Akasian Hills [EA]
||Queen Ava’s peaceful reign continued with three thousand Crusader troops under Prince Gauter parked in Lloricam as a tripwire force should the orcs come through towards Brythnia. Sir Candos acted as second-in-command while Sir Sheldon guarded the Lyodan itself with a small riverine navy and a large flotilla of river-barges. It was during this period that Sheldon’s force observed the ships of the Neldorean elves gliding silently and mysteriously upriver and landing on the Itherias shore (See The Neldorean Elves, above.)
A stout-walled port fortress of grey stone called the Acropolis was built on the Lyodan river to guard the capital, Pontezium.
|In the summer of 2834, a small Worldspine orc army that had somehow slipped secretly down the Lyodan, through the Firefall and the Black Fields, marched into South Akasia. Its leader was a foul-mouthed brute with a penchant for rape and arson named Gulgash the Crude. Lord Roger of South Akasia had died in 2832, and his son Eustace, though a leader of moderate skill, was not the master tactician his father had been.
Eustace’s army was eight hundred strong, mostly spearmen with a smattering of lightly-armored lancers to back them up. Eustace came upon the army of Gulgash and his thousand warg riders in the rolling hills near the Salt Shore border. The superior mobility of Gulgash’s army proved decisive as his riders were able to get in behind the spearmen and break their line. Though Eustace’s doughty hillmen did not rout, they were forced to break off the attack and retreat hurriedly before the superior might of the orcs.
Gulgash’s men now had free reign over South Akasia and began to raid the farms and fields of Querenia, the Salt Shore and the Akasian Hills. In the Akasian Hills, the warg riders were thrown back by the Order of the Dawn garrison and achieved nothing, actually losing nearly two hundred raiders. In the Salt Shore, the local defenders managed to again limit the orcs to stealing little more than a few bags of onions and racks of drying fish. Perversely, it was in heavily-defended Querenia that the orcs had their greatest success. Despite the heavy fortifications, the now-experienced raiders managed to penetrate will into the province’s interior and burn several large farmsteads and small hamlets. A stout village yeoman managed to thrust a bill-hook into Gulgash’s riding harness and drag him from his saddle, but the orc general slew the presumptuous human and escaped with injuries on an riderless steed. On this raid, the orcs managed to torch both a church and an Oratory of the Order of the Dawn.
Though initially slow to respond, Queen Ava was by this time prepared to pursue her country’s tormentors. Leaving her infantry at Pontezium, she pursued Gulgash with three thousand cavalry, catching him in the verdant hills not far from where he had defeated Eustace earlier that same year. This time the results were very different. The queen watched from a safe distance as her knights charged the unsuspecting orcs and cut through them with a fierce vengeance. Though most of the small, swift warg riders escaped the fury of the ponderous knights, several hundred were slain on the fields of south Akasia. Fewer than a hundred humans were lost.
The Holy Order of the Dawn –
Ruler –Grand Master Tiberius
Capital – The Akasian Hills
Dominant Race – Human
|Twelve thousand Order troops remained encamped in the Dacian Hills of Brythnia, playing pinochle with the halflings of Aelissia while an astounding amount of nothing went on around them.
Meanwhile, the unled Akasian Hills garrison fought off a Worldspine orc incursion, and the Oratory in the Querenia was burned (See The Exarchate of the Great Crusade, above).
As the evening mist enveloped the city of Pontezium one autumn night in 2835, a disheveled half-starved beggar in rags carrying a bundle staggered off a ship out of Accolon. Limping and tired, he made his way through the streets of the port smelling of salt fish and old sweat. Those who even deigned to notice this pitiful figure did so in order to step aside that he might not brush against them. But the few who really looked at the old man noticed the deep blue eyes and the gleam of triumph in them.
As he approached the Order House, he was stopped by the guards at the gate. “Alms are given in the morning, old father,” one of them told him, not unkindly. “You’re too late. Come back in the morning.”
The old man looked up at the tall guard in his full plate armor. In a rasping voice he said “Not too late. Almost…but not too late. Look, the sun rises.”
As the recruits credulously looked toward the east, the old man collapsed at their feet. By the time they reached him, he was dead. But what astonished them was to find that the old man was
|wearing under his robes a heavy chainmail shirt and that he bore the gold gorget of the Order’s Grand Master. As one guard ran yelling to summon the House’s Master, the other reverently unwrapped the long and noisome package carried by the dying Grand Master. As the burlap rolled back, it revealed a smooth, gleaming length of some dark, hard wood. Pulling the item free, the young recruit beheld the shining blade of a great spear in which the reflected torchlight shone like the sun.|
|The Shadowed Realm of Ascarlon –
Ruler –Baron Gauros the Arisen
Capital – Denavine
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy –Agathon [NT]
|The Baron and his army watched the borders while the Baron’s lackeys marched south under the command of Marzdak to once again reinforce the Worldspine Orcs. Garal of the Yellow Sails traveled to the hills of Agathon where he browbeat the hillmen into recognizing Ascarlon’s rights of transit and defense.
Several thousand colonists marched north into Dhurkun, displacing some of the orcish majority and taking over the best farms.
Missionaries convinced the spirit-worshipers of the Black Forest to turn to the Dark Court.
The Worldspine Orcs –
Ruler –King Jortak Bloodhelm
Capital – Mount Kauroth
Dominant Race – Orc
|In the early morning hours of a day in Erdhonis, 2831, witch doctors were hurriedly called to the bedside of King Vaurog Breakspear, who was unconscious and suffering from a powerful fever. The shamans were able to deduce that the king had been poisoned and were able to administer a vile herbal remedy in time to save his life. But thereafter, the king’s right eyelid drooped and his speech was often slurred. Until his death at the age of seventy in 2835, he often seemed forgetful. Knowing his own infirmities, the king (who at sixty-five was ancient by orc standards) named young Jortak Bloodhelm as his heir and commander of the armies. Vaurog continued to rule to the end of his days, but was largely a figurehead for Jortak. The poisoners were never discovered.
Two raiding parties of one thousand warg riders each were sent out with the audacious plans to raid deep into the Crusader States and into the Conorrian heartland. The first raid was somewhat successful (See The Crusader States, above). The second met with disaster early on as it ran into a much larger Conorrian army of six thousand light infantry under the great general Domus. Domus and his limitanei were force-marching into Endorwaith and beyond when they found the orcs trying to evade any pursuers. From the heights above the main southward trail through this empty region, the Conorrians poured fire and stones down on the unsuspecting orcs, breaking their morale in three straight hours of fighting. Perhaps half of the orcs escaped and retreated back towards the Worldspine North. Domus and his irregulars marched on north. (See The Empire of Carhallas, below)
Finally, the big push came. The Grail nations (Conorria, the Grail Primacy, Dhûnazhar and the Llyran Republic) marched once more into the northern Worldspines. (See The War of the Worldspine below)
Also, for reasons unclear to the Worldspine Orcs, their cousins in the Forest of Memory converted to the worship of the Dark Court.
|The Empire of Carhallas –
Ruler –Emperor Maugroth the Younger
Capital – Carcaroth
Dominant Race – Hobgoblin
|The Empire continued to enslave the unaffiliated hobgoblins on its flanks. Qandaraq was the target this time. Skarkug’s four thousand hobgoblins and good Carhallas discipline overawed the local defenders in mere weeks. By 2832, they were on their way to slave markets in Carcaroth. Skarkug had lost only a few hundred of his men, and these he more than replaced from the many recruits waiting for him on the parade fields of Sauthor.
Now Skarkug gathered to him the empire’s feudal levies and marched towards the Worldspines. Most of the levies would have to turn back before ever reaching the mountains, but would provide good cover and fodder along the way. And this, it turned out, was precisely what was needed. In the spring of 2833, Conorrian general Domus and six thousand lightly-armed spearmen came up out of the wilds of Rhundur heading west into Brolok. It was there that the two Empires came to grips as Skarkug and his army (now swollen to more than ten thousand) intercepted Domus in the act of trying to subdue the loyal hobgoblins of Brolok. “No one,” cried Skarkug furiously, “enslaves hobgoblins except hobgoblins!”
In addition to the superb leadership of Domus himself, the Conorrian light infantry limitanei were perfectly suited to combat in the forests. But though hampered as combat units, the Carhallas cavalry were far more mobile than the
Conorrians, and provided much-needed scouting for the main Carhallas force of infantry. Too, the Conorrian’s complete lack of a line of supply hampered their efforts to effectively combat the hobgoblins. All these factors, along with the sheer weight of numbers, gave the Carhallas legions a decisive victory over their Conorrian foes. The Carhallas Emperor’s Oathsworn, an experienced and dedicated unit of professional killers, charged and broke the Conorrian line. At the same time, Carhallas horse-archers appeared on the Conorrian flanks to harry and drive back the human scum. Soon, the Conorrians were in full flight, pursued through the woods by gleeful Carhallas cavalry and the locals alike. Domus managed to escape the woods with fewer than one man in ten. He spent the summer gathering what scattered forces he could and tending to the wounded in Rhundur, then marched back towards the Empire with fewer than sixteen hundred infantry. He died of natural causes in the passes of Endorwaith and his junior officers returned to Lenicum with his body and the remnants of his army in 2835.
Skarkug, whose forces had suffered some two thousand dead or wounded, dismissed his feudal levies to return to their homes. Then, without bothering to regroup his lost soldiers, he marched on towards the Worldspines with the Emperor’s army. (See The War of the Worldspine below)
|The Great Kingdom of Annvar –
Ruler –First Councillor Torund
Capital – Varthane
Dominant Race – Human
The Standard of Annvar
|First Councillor Denerthaw gave command of much of the army to Councillor Laskal, who promptly marched south across Carhallas towards the distant Worldspines. His army consisted of six thousand troops, including four thousand elite Annvar Jaegers. In addition, the Great Kingdom had hired six thousand orcish and ogrish mercenaries to aid in the defense of the Worldspines. (See The War of the Worldspine below)
Denerthaw died of a swollen liver in 2833, and after much debate the Council elected Councillor Torund to replace him. Until that time Torund, a small man with a face that reminded many people of a well-fed stoat, had been governing the capital city.
Annvar had been trading up and down the Wolf and Mandarann rivers for years, and in those years, trade was established down the Wolf River to distant Nikitya by a minor merchant house that also brought back to the Council the sea rutter for the Rinyelan Strait.
The Conorrian Heartland –
|The Airnim Horde –
Ruler – Tarl Wolf’s Paw
Capital – None
Dominant Race – Human
|It was time for the Ainim to move once again. Having gathered all the clans together, the Airnim Hero-King Tarl Wolf’s Paw and his savage lieutenant Borborutai looted the last of Ianthe and then set out north, crossing the Lyodan river at the Maenadia bridge. The Whisper Wood scouts that observed the more than thirty-seven thousand horsemen moving north reported back to Menelcandara, but remained hidden out of sight.
From there, the Airnim rode quickly on, leaving the Whisper Wood in early 2832 and crossing into Conorrian-controlled Zenoton in the summer of 2833. The local militia stood aside in awe at the enormous force of cavalry as it passed into neutral Acaris. But in 2834, the horde arrived at its final destination and the richest prize of all: Adoria. Heartland and breadbasket of the Empire, Adoria was the richest province in all of Theeurth, and Tarl meant to make it his own.
Conorrian Emperor Constantikos III had not been idle. Though he was no military leader, neither was he a fool, and Adoria was replete with hill forts, strongpoints and castles. Luckily for the Airnim, the Emperor’s plan for a huge addition to Fortress Kastro came a few years too late – the engineers were still quarrying the stone when the horsemen arrived.
Masters of open warfare, the Airnim were considerably less able at seizing forts, even the small sort that dotted the plains of Adoria. Yet they were an inventive and determined people and take them they did. For the Airnim had Tarl Wolf’s Paw to direct them and the forts of Adoria had no great leader at all. It was a bloody bout and might have been too much for the horselords had any Conorrian general commanded the defenses, but in the end, Tarl subdued the forts and planted his flag on Conorrian soil. Yet he could not control the land completely, for Fortress Kastro and the walled city of Eleucria defied him. The battles had cost him much, and even after recovering his wounded, by 2835 his army numbered eight thousand fewer than those that had ridden into Adoria.
After subduing Adoria, Tarl detailed his lieutenant, Borborutai to raid Faucrion. With four thousand light cavalry, Borborutai was easily able to evade the few forts in the region and come away with a haul of treasure, livestock and women.
The Conorrian Empire –
|Ruler –Emperor Constantikos III
Capital – Echoriath
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Acaris [FA]
|Constantikos III might not be destined for greatness as a military leader, but history would certainly record him as one the great builders of Conorria. Under his leadership, an astonishing array of field forts were built in Lenicum, Faloricum, Anicium and Adoria. He ordered Fortress Kastro in Adoria to be strengthened to an almost obsessive degree, though as events would unfold, those walls could not yet be built. The walls of Callistus were strengthened and the city of Arcalassium was expanded. Constantikos commissioned a broad forum in Conorr and granted the charter for ten new villages in Adoria. In addition to all this, the Empire cooperated with the Grail Primacy to build a new royal road in Mynos to the Zela border. Finally, Constantikos donated two thousand men to his ally Domus of Lidhinos for the use in Domus’s expedition beyond the Worldspines.
Conorrian missionaries visited the Crusader-controlled former Ianthan province of Mocarre, but had no success in converting the locals who still held strongly to their mysterious god.
Constantikos III called to him the senior officers of the Order of the Dawn present in Echoriath. Reminding them that his ancestors had founded their order, he demanded the assistance of the Order in his war against the Worldspine Orcs. Although the Order had no troops currently stationed in the Empire, the knights heard the Emperor’s word and obeyed without question. Sixteen hundred men-at-arms, pulled from the ranks of guards, administrators and trainees assembled at the Order’s House in Echoriath to await further orders.
Prince Varantius joined his army of twenty-two thousand infantry and marched north from Lenicum into the southern Worldspine mountains. There, he met with armies from the Grail Primacy, Dhûnazhar Dwarves and the Llyran Republic and headed north in the heart of the Worldspine Orc territory (See The War of the Worldspine below)
Prince Arcalas remained in Echoriath, working with the vigiles to uncover plots against the Empire. In 2834, he was wed to Princess Letheran of Lorraine in a lavish ceremony at the Cathedral of the Grail. Princess Anna helped her father to administer the government. She was accounted a useful minister, but a terrible governor, the role she fulfilled in Echoriath in 2835.
Sormanios, Imperial Consul, traveled to Acaris and swiftly convinced the princes of that region to re-affirm their loyalties to the Empire. He then governed Callistus in 2835, a role in which he was accounted no better than adequate.
Lord Domus, Comes per Lidhinos set out with six thousand men and a commission to move behind the enemy lines in the Worldspines, raiding enemy territory. He first wiped out a Worldspine raiding party (See The Worldspine Orcs, above) and then was in turn wiped out by a hobgoblin army (See The Empire of Carhallas, above). In his will, Domus left Lidhinos to his great friend the Emperor.
In 2834, thirty-seven thousand Airnim horsemen stormed into the rich Conorrian heartland of Adoria and over the course of the year, subdued all but the city Eleucria and Fortress Kastro. Away south in Echoriath, Constantikos III regarded his elite army in praesentalis, twenty thousand of the finest soldiers in Theeurth, but weighed the reports of the Airnim numbers and kept his army at home. Germitus, Lord of Aelendaris did the same with his one thousand footmen. (See The Airnim Horde, above). Because of this unexpected surplus of rude barbarians, Constantikos’s plans to reinforce both Eleucria and Fortress Kastro were postponed for a later date. Thus did Tarl Wolf’s Paw and the Airnim, who were once responsible for freeing the Empire from the Orc Dominion and for paving the way for the Great Crusade now become the Empire’s most dire enemy.
The Great Church of the Lords of the Grail –
|Ruler –Patriarch Calidonus
Holy City – Conorr
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Sothwall [CH], Phaedon, [CH], Anicium [AB], Akir [-], Har Mekelle [AB], Ninos [-], Nova Valis [CH]
The Patriarch’s Standard
||The Primacy divided its attentions between war and peace. Patriarch Calidonus delivered an additional three thousand warriors up the Phaedon River to the allies’ depot at Fortress Hell’s Gate in Lenicum, then returned south to Anicium where he participated in the founding of an abbey in that wealthy Conorrian province of grape arbors and goatherds.
Bishop Tonali of Har’akir served as a lieutenant to newly-arrived Bishop Belsarus who commanded the Primacy forces in the Worldspine mountains (See The War of the Worldspine below)
Bishop Talerus, a brilliant diplomat, traveled to Har’akir and expanded the Primacy’s holdings in that nation, where he found the rustics of Har Mekelle more receptive than the more cosmopolitan folk of Akir. Similarly, Bishop Tantalus spent five frustrating years amongst the halflings of Ninos and remained unable to interest them in so much as a simple church. The small folk simply could not see why they needed the intercession of priests to commune with Calandra and the other gods. Had the gods not always been good to them? They likewise turned deaf ears to the warnings that the Dark Primacy was very close – to the simple folk of Ninos, Hattu and the Kherouf desert were far-off lands, and Dammarask unfathomably distant.
Bishop Hermetus had greater luck among the sophisticated people of the Llyran Republic and founded a church in Nova Valis.
Finally, the dwarven mercenary Khedem-Var, who had acted as the Primacy’s de facto admiral for a quarter century put to sea with a mixed Primacy/mercenary fleet of twenty ships and went to join Artorius of Lorraine in his campaign against the Archelos Pirates. (See Lorraine, above.)
The Dwarven Realm of Dhûnazhar–
Ruler – King Valand Dragonsbane
Capital – Khelem Vala
Dominant Race – Dwarf
Diplomacy – Jaelitus [FA]
|The Dwarves had struggled back from the chaos of their civil war, and though they were not yet that mighty people which of old made the mountains ring with their forges, yet they were both strong and determined. King Valand himself led not only the dwarven army but the entire allied army of the Grail against the orcs. (See The War of the Worldspine below). With him marched Lords Balin, Moragh and Fundin at the head of four thousand elite dwarf warriors and three thousand human mercenaries.
Lord Roin, always better known for his fine food and good fellowship than for his axe-arm, traveled instead to the dwarf-holds of Jaelitus on the Conorrian border and convinced the lords of that hilly and prosperous land to swear allegiance to Dhûnazhar and King Valand.
THEWAR OF THE WORLDSPINES
2831-2382 –Six thousand Dhûnazhar Dwarves and the Llyran Aeroship Corps rounded up and slaughtered every orc they could find in the southern Worldspine mountains, leaving it a barren waste filled with rotting bodies. Only the wolves and vultures rejoiced.
2833 –Grail Bishops Belsarus and Tonali arrive in the Worldspines at the head of twelve thousand troops, including two thousand Paladins of the Grail. A week later Conorrian Prince Varantius arrived with twenty-two thousand troops including ten thousand elite mountain troops. The entire force then set off for the Worldspine Orc homeland. Each of the three main allied armies operated under a different enchantment. The forces of the Primate had been blessed by their priests; the dwarves benefited from Ranks of Bronze; and the Conorrians were reinforced with magically sharp Blades. However, the entire force suffered under a Curse that originated among the waiting Dark Court armies. Awaiting them were ten thousand Worldspine orcs, six thousand humans from Ascarlon, six thousand hobgoblins from Carhallas and six thousand orc and ogre mercenaries hired by Annvar. Expected reinforcements from Carhallas and Annvar had not yet arrived.
So it was that forty thousand Grail troops, six aeroships and eight smaller skyskiffs all under the command of dwarven king Valand Dragonsbane faced off against twenty-eight thousand well-entrenched defenders under orcish heir Jortak Bloodhelm. The battle raged for three days and by most measures was a marginal victory for the Grail attackers. But the morale of the Dark Court defenders was fanatic and though their losses were half again as great, they refused to break or budge.
Conorrian war wizard Mikal Oak, who had been wounded by an assassin’s arrow as soon as he set foot in the Worldspines, was unable to generate another devastating Firestorm, even with the help of several lesser war wizards. Little by little, the mounting deaths took their toll on Grail morale and the Grail armies fell back in good order to their base in the southern Worldspines having suffered more than eleven thousand dead, wounded or fled. The losses to the Dark Court armies were even more severe. Nearly fifteen thousand had been killed or driven from the field.
Over the autumn and winter, each side nursed its wounds and recovered the majority of its casualties.
2834 –General Skarkug and seven thousand hobgoblin reinforcements march into the northern Worldspines.
2835-Councillor Laskal and six thousand Annvar cavalry ride into the northern Worldspines.
North-Western Vales –
The Llyran Republic –
Ruler –Constans Emratur z’Accotto Marova
Capital – Tarrentica
Dominant Race – Human
|The Republic concerned itself largely with foreign wars, although it did also build the Fortress of Bells, the iron-grey tower brooding over the westernmost point of Nova Valis’s shoreline, and continued the slow cultivation of that sun-swept province.
Joraidan Soren traveled to Nasilia, where he took command of a considerable portion of the Republic’s mighty navy and joined the navies of the Kingdom of Lorraine and the Grail Primacy in attacking the Northern Pirates (See The Northern Pirates, above.) The Joraidan did not return from that adventure.
Bishop Ayld Flewelling traveled to the Worldspine mountains, where he took command of the Republic’s air forces and joined the allied attacks on the Worldspine Orcs (See The War of the Worldspine above)
In the Summer of 2831, Constans Harko Marova struck his head on a binnacle during a hard turn to starboard aboard one of his airships and fell into a coma from which he never emerged. By autumn, the Senate had named the Strategos and Harko’s nephew, Emratur z’Accotto Marova to be the new Constans. Emratur was confirmed in that office while commanding the defenses of the fortress-city of Vorogrod on the Ianthan mainland.
Angry members of the Laroved family demand that the Republic provide answers about the disappearance of Senator Deitr Laroved ten years before.
|The Holy Matriarchy of Ahuran–
Ruler –Regent Yvonne Hawkwing
Capital – Sedeskan
Dominant Race – Human
The regent declared that there would be a contest at the Second Spire, in the Grounds of the Royal Contest, and that the victrix in that contest would be named heir to the throne of Ahuran. The regent set the theme of the contest as “Drama, Poetry and Oration” and set the date for summer, 2831. Each of the great ladies of the realm appeared and on the appointed morning performed the classic works of Ahuran theater, or recited the speeches of Alia Magehand. But Rhia Moonshadow, the old queen’s daughter appeared in a simple white toga and declaimed a speech of her own, on the spirit of Parmaadan and how the goddess loves those that best use her gifts. Smiling, Regent Yvonne gave the grass crown to young Rhia.
That was where the good news ended for Ahuran. In the summer of 2832, Regent Yvonne assembled her army, including all her lieutenants and vassals and as many mercenaries as the nation could hire (and stomach, given that they were mostly men) and gave orders to march into Sendorin to challenge the reign of Sirrush the dragon. They numbered sixteen thousand strong and included three thousand elite Knights of the Ring of Gold. For many weeks they rode the hills of Sendorin seeking the lair of the great beast. During those weeks many hundreds of the soldiers and knights began to show the signs of a strange disease, including black blotches on the neck and face. But this disease never had the chance to run its course.
|Suddenly one morning, with a thunderous rush of wings, death was upon them, burning from the sky and raining death down upon the helpless, valiant soldiers of Ahuran. Sirrush had arrived.
The slaughter was total. Though the dragon’s hide was pocked with a thousand arrows, it seemed not even to notice. The valiant, suicidal charge of the Knights of the Ring of Gold brought forth a dozen gouts of black blood (for no more than these survived the charge), but the dragon contemptuously swept these doomed swordmaidens aside and charged the knot of commanders around the general, Deirdre Lynxpaw. As the army began to scatter, the dead soldiers suddenly arose from the battlefield and of their own accord began to erect macabre walls of their own flesh to bar the escape of their former comrades!
Deirdre Lynxpaw was eaten alive by Sirrush. Ariel of the Woods and Drusel Farcloud were crushed beneath its bulk. Miranda Foxglove, Jenna Storm and High Witch Elahtiel escaped, though the former two were sorely wounded. Worst of all, perhaps, was the fate of Trianna Copperblade. She was captured by the dragon and taken prisoner. The armies of Ahuran were no more.
Ruler –Sultan Socacia Alouda
Capital – Mar Awas
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Khars [F], Damo [A]
|The great Sultan Socacia decreed that the port of Agazier should be enlarged and so it was, the rubble from its walls providing much of the building material for its new neighborhoods and buildings. So also the sultan decreed the rebuilding of his navy which had taken such a beating in the Luxur Coast.
Socacia spent much of his time engineering a more efficient trade system, rearranging shipping to suit his arcane designs, but found time to wed again and father yet another son. He had lost count of how many he had.
In 2832, his second, never-named (sob!) son died at the age of five of whooping cough. In 2834, Sococia’s sister Azmeralda died in childbirth.
Admiral Bajid took his fleet of some thirty ships to sea in the areas near to his base at Muzir, proudly flying both the banner of Har’akir and the battle ensign of the Red Pact of Vales.
Lord Nooldor traveled to Khars, where by arranging the marriage of the sultan to the chief’s granddaughter, he convinced the noble families of that region to become part of the sultan’s realm. Similarly, Prince Munsif prevailed upon the reclusive elves of Damo to become allies of the sultan.
In 2835, a Sendhalese merchant seeking to curry favor with the sultan brought him a detailed chart of the distant Mardoin Gulf.
|The Valesian Empire –
Ruler –Primarch Centorius II, Euristis
Capital – Centauris
Dominant Race – Human
|Pita. Feta. Ouzo.
Ruler –General Lyansys
Capital – Thedelos
Dominant Race – Sathla
Diplomacy – Qassara [NT], Kerma [F], Pyrayus in Kerma [F], Aysira in Sekhem [F]
|The Grand Assembly had two goals for the immediate future: Recover territory lost to the rebellion and destroy the pirates. One out of two ain’t bad…
General Lyansys himself traveled to Qassara and there married the daughter of a local chieftain in a show of sathla unity. Speaker Ydrik spoke movingly to the sathla of Kerma and Pyrayus of their ancient ties to the people of Thedelos and Merwal and the ecstatic throngs demanded readmission into the realm. They dreamed of the day a powerful Luxur would bring the truths of Autumna (and reptilian superiority, of course) to a benighted world.
Speaker Grusst likewise convinced the highly independent folk of Aysira to join the tidal wave of Luxurite unity. The Speaker died en route to speak to the folk of Keferis. However, as fate would have it, Kansag of Keferis perished the same week when he fell out of a tree during a foraging expedition for the rare fungi he so loved to eat. Uncomfortable with fresh memories of the Grail invaders, the settlers of Keferis petitioned for full admission into the body politic of Luxur. In 2835, they were granted the status of citizens.
The other major item on the Grand Assembly’s agenda fared far more poorly. Admiral Sesthan ordered sixty warships built. As soon as they were delivered, he put to sea with his entire navy of nearly ninety ships. (See The Southern Pirates, below).
|The Holy See of Udjo
Ruler –Arch Priest Pysus
Holy City – Merwal
Dominant Race – Sathla
Diplomacy – Merwal [HC!]
|All of the Holy See’s energy and resources were focused on one great event – the re-consecration of Merwal as the Holy City of Autumna. The great jungle metropolis had been the center of Udjo’s worship for millennia, but had fallen into physical and moral decay over the last six hundred years, culminating in the city’s prostration before the human Grail worshipers out of Valesia.
But all that was now changed. Arch Priest Pysus led seven thousand fervant worshipers in a month of fasting, ritual and sacrifice to purify the sacred precincts and once more gain the blessings of Artaxes, servant and daughter of Udjo. The Arch Priest released two thousand acolytes from his personal service into the running of the Great Temple. And thus it was done with great exactness and careful creativity – the Holy City had returned!
Attendant upon the great day was the conversion of Patu in Drormt, the first new saurus region to worship the Scaled god in a thousand years.
The Serpentine of Mykele –
Ruler –Sauressh Sishtreth II
Capital – Oroyon
Dominant Race – Sathla
|Regent Vlassthess built a dozen ships and sent them (along with their woefully untrained crews) to sea against the pirates under Lords Markesssh and Lansss. (See The Southern Pirates, below).
The Regent also hired the Company of the Silver Axe and sent them south on a mission of great secrecy.
Vlassthess also recruited a thousand warriors. These he then transferred to his ally Tailheresh of Vaaltoth. Tailheresh took his fifteen hundred men raiding into the jungles of Galzus, Kilni and Ibkurru. The lord of Vaaltoth was an outstanding tactician, but no battlefield brilliance could make up for the fact that he was raiding thousands of square miles of dense jungle which contained little more than scattered grass-hut villages and plantain groves.
In 2835, the son of the old Sauressh came of age and amidst fervent religious celebration assumed the duties of King as Sauressh Sisthreth II.
THE SOUTHERN PIRATES
Independently and without coordination, the navies of Luxur and Mykele went to war with the Southern Pirates. Since Har’akir and the Grail Primacy stayed out of the fight this time, it took on the nature of a race war between the land-based sathla and the island-dwelling humans. Luxur’s fleet consisted of ninety well-trimmed hulls, while Mykele’s daring but doomed force consisted of a dozen barely seaworthy cogs, albeit cogs packed to the gunwales with enthusiastic warriors. Arrayed against them was the mighty pirate fleet which still consisted of more than one hundred twenty ships and thousands of vicious scalawags aboard. The contest was far more uneven than that of the previous few years. The sathla fleets were chased down, ground up, sunk, captured or run aground in their entirety. Luxur’s Admiral Sesthan was captured off his sinking flagship, while Mykele’s Lord Markesssh was wounded and Lord Lansss was killed when a pirate warship rammed his flimsy barque.
The furious pirates then went on to raid the Luxurite homeland of Badar, stealing everything worth taking and generally eluding the Luxur army. The pirates demanded tribute from Luxur in exchange for not laying waste to the rest of the country.
North-Eastern Vales –
|The Kingdom of Thariyya –
Ruler –King Mogrihan Vahdin
Capital – Uls Fakhar
Dominant Race – Halfling
Diplomacy – Hassar [-], Naushqa [NT]
|King Mogrihan presided over the workings of the nation, including the construction of irrigation projects in Vahdin and the precise allocations of merchant vessels out of Uls Fakhar.
Prince Zarahan cruised the Gulf of Thariyya on patrol with the Red Pact of Vales. His twenty warships cut a fine figure on the briny deep with all their red pennons flapping bravely in the breeze, but encountered little in the way of a threat.
Similarly, Lord Sezir and the lords of Bari and Meheskar patrolled the plains of Hassar, but encountered only peaceful halflings and the occasional caravan from Shanatar or Accolon.
Lord Kaedir traveled to Hassar and tried to move the forest tribes into a closer alliance, but without success. Kaedir died during a drunken bout of boasting in 2834.
Lord Relequa had more success in the wilds of Naushqa, where the steppe tribes acknowledged Thariyya’s right to cross their lands.
|The Warlocks of Accolon –
Ruler –Emperor Kurotsuki The Blackmoon
Capital – Dammarask
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Mitan [A], Eumana [+7 YfC]
|Warlock Blackmoon began the year 2831 by proclaiming sweeping governmental reforms, and releasing a significant portion of his personal bureaucracy into the hands of the regional governors. Though this triggered a great deal of vicious infighting for position among the nobility and the Warlocks, Blackmoon was able to see his nation through the turbulence in one piece. He subsequently named Lord North as his heir in the position, and to celebrate, Lord North used his own considerable fortune to procure the services of a thousand mercenary heavy elite cavalry and donated them to the Empire.
The plains of Mitan were brought under cultivation and Mitan itself became an ally of the Empire under treaties negotiated by Lord Elijah Cuu.
Ezekiel the Cipher continued to try to soothe the anger and rebellion of the Eumana tribes, while Ignatius Thayer became governor of Nuradeem and its garrison. Thayer promptly ignored all directions of the Emperor (later claiming that the great distances involved meant that he rarely received timely orders) and created a hedonistic fleshpot of slaves and sycophants in which he indulged his every whim for five dissolute and shameful years.
Bishop Caine, on the other hand, proved to be an energetic and responsible governor for Agharra, dredging it harbor and building a glorious temple-arena to Caravok the Destroyer.
|The Shadowed Primacy of the Dark Court –
Ruler –High Priest Gezz Half-Shadow
Holy City – Dammarask
Dominant Race – Human
The Shadowguard of Marador –
Ruler –Queen Madariel Shadowfoot
Capital – Lantar
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Dimbe [F], Nastaldo [F], Balan [F]
||The great queen’s goals revolved entirely around healing the political hurts of the Ogre Wars. She herself remained in Dimbe, soothing and reassuring the battered elves until they returned her attentions with love and once more swore their allegiance to her. Unfortunately, her concentration on this one region meant that more distant parts of the Shadowguard went untended, and the tenuous relations with the elves of Laikwalambe fell into disuse. So, too, dissolved the nascent trade with the dwarves of Aurdrukar.
Prince Alitcean and several of the realm’s great lords followed up on the deaths in Windan, only to discover that yet more elves had been slain without a mark, only looks of horror and terror on their faces.
Princess Vaeril Fallingwater remained in Balan and regained the allegiance of that folk who now largely forgave the queen for the death of their lord in battle. Lord Ebabarear likewise reminded
folk of Nastaldo of their long love of the Shadowguard and its eternal queen, and they, like the folk of Balan and Dimbe, once more swore their allegiance to Madariel Shadowfoot.
South-Western Vales –
The Steaming Kingdom of Drormt –
Capital – Breeka
Dominant Race – Saurus
|The slaves taken ten years before in the raids among the Dark Court worshipers were at last settled in Ululor, where they were forced to work the extensive rat and pig farms. While he publicly sunned himself on the choicest rocks at Breeka, King Tlazolteotl imparted a considerable amount of his realm’s treasure into the training of some of the swamps unique giant lizards as a form of heavy cavalry. He also wisely placed a great deal of food in storage against future calamity.
The remainder of Tlazolteotl’s lieutenants watched the borders for any signs of invaders with an almost paranoid zeal.
In 2833, Tlazolteotl’s languid demeanor was belied by the birthing of his first child, a daughter, in the Royal pools above the falls near the capital city.
In 2835, Lord Kru’ursh of Erlet choked to death while trying to swallow an eel as long as his arm. Kru’ursh’s heir was a believer in Tlazolteotl’s “New Age” and immediately swore complete fealty to the king.
The shaman were alarmed to note the conversion of Patu to the ridiculous faith of the jungle-dwellers, Autumna.
Ruler –King Askaldor
Capital – Nyange
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Durudin [+6YfC]
|With a serious shortage of cash pinching the nation’s purse, King Askaldor took as many troops as possible out of garrison and placed them in the hands of his retainers. He put all the men he could into agriculture in Desiket. He also instituted some broad reforms of the bureaucracy and the laws covering primogeniture.
Finally, Lord Rhen*das and Mla*tak the shaman traveled to Durudin to convince the sathla there that the Sendahlese were their friends, not conquerors.
King Askaldor’s wife gave birth to a healthy son in 2832.
Ruler –Emperor Gwarkem
Capital – Awayal
Dominant Race – Human
|Gwarkem, a warrior king, added five flights of leatherwings to his army, as well as a thousand elite warriors at Jokari. He put three thousand dark-court worshiping sauruses to work in the fields of Menrat. The Emperor, a man more practical than pious, nonetheless tried to interest his people in their ancient legends and heroes, but they were uninterested, regarding the tales as quaint remnants of their barbaric ancestors.
In 2833, the Emperor’s wife gave birth to his first child, a baby boy born under the sign of the wounded god.
Warleader B’Set governed the city of Kaznuma, showing more energy than skill. Nonetheless, he laid the foundations for a large cistern system to supply the city with fresh water.
Lord Ezza of Eura died in 2835 during a gohla lizard hunt in the jungles of his homeland.
South-Eastern Vales –
|The Dwarven Realm of Aurdrukar –
Ruler –King Norrim Forgemaster
Capital – The Brass Tower
Dominant Race – Dwarf
Banner of Aurdrukar
|The government of Aurdrukar groaned under its onerous size, and strained even the deep pockets of the dwarven king. The king responded by nine thousand dwarves to Ulhiya to expand the mines and farms there.
Norrim Forgemaster put into the hands of his son Belak Shieldbreaker, the largest dwarven army in generations. Ten thousand dwarves, including four thousand super-heavy elite Burundur Guards, marched into the mountains of Vipuren and cleansed them of every orc that could be found, no matter how deep it’s hidey-hole. It mattered little to Belak or his soldiers that the orcs were peaceful worshipers of the Valesian Spirit Cults. They were orcs, and that was enough.
|The Elven Empire of Sengkar –
Ruler –Emperor Valoril Greenshield
Capital – Ezrand
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Kibeyes [A], Ozhayar [FA]
|The long and generally unbroken peace of Sengkar continued. Two thousand more knights took up the cause of the Emperor’s Peace at Sengkar, while twelve hundred elves took to gardening the fields at Vanua and tending the hearttrees at Ezrand.
The Emperor continued his wise rule at Ezrand. In 2835 he named his thirty year-old daughter Shariel a Princess Royal. A grand ceremony was held in the capital city to celebrate, and Shariel danced under the stars with so many dashing knights it made her young head swim.
Princess Gahaliel continued her long association with the elves of Kibeyes, and convinced that border province to enter into a close alliance with the Empire. Meanwhile, Lord Talan of Mita convinced the lord of Ozhayar to swear oaths of vassalage to the Emperor.
The Kingdom of Weshtayo –
|Ruler –King Piccarome, Red-Feathered Lord
Capital – Khulank
Dominant Race – Human
|Minor works were spread throughout the kingdom, but the great work of the day, possibly of Piccarome’s entire reign, was the laying of a wide, stone-cobbled road from Khulank to Mindarie. This excellent thoroughfare winds through hills of red clay and laden green with coffee, mangoes and sugar cane.
Prince Rikorious traveled to Chesu to investigate the mysterious lost city of the ancients said to be found there. He came back with many covered wagons guarded by more than a thousand frowning warriors from the jungles of Gaim and Siruvay.
Lord Nachin was governor of Rendulha, and used the opportunity to build a large ostrich farm at public expense. Unfortunately, Nachin knew little of ostriches and raised them largely for their utility as mounts in his weekly polo games. A great many of Rendulha’s elite politely commented that the governor was as brilliant at polo as he was at ostrich farming.
Lord Chinua was governor of Mindarie in 2831, but died of a severe fever in the winter of that year.
The Imperial Realm of Zikuyu –
Ruler –KingMwa’q Kashk
Capital – Ivallkyu
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Urrides [-], Chru [-], Hriteke [NT]
|King Mwa’q Kashk invested vast sums of gold into settlement of farming villages in Thikyni. He then wooed and married Weeliya, the daughter of the Lord of Urrides. So smitten with Weeliya’s almond skin and pearly, perfect teeth was the king that he founded a new city on the Mogolla river in her honor. He spent most of the next few years wooing a variety of steppe lords, most of whom ignored his advances. Yet Weeliya gave him no resistance and in 2835 bore him triplets, two sons and a daughter.
But the king’s lack of attention to his realm and his puny bureaucracy had disastrous consequences. Instead of bringing new regions into the kingdom, several of the more distant members of the realm revolted. Triyara, Zhayku and most personally of all, Urrides, threw off the king’s yoke and declared their independence. In Zhayku, the locals slaughtered the Zikuyu garrison in a week of bloody murders known to exuberant local historians as the Days of Retribution
The king gave Maroof orders to loot the Valraji regions of Zathor Sor, Hajaxtas and Tas Dar. Unsure of how to interpret these orders, Maroof chose to raid the targeted regions with his six thousand lightly-armed cavalry. Zathor Sor, a wilderness of forests and tangled fens, proved destitute of riches. Hajaxtas was both heavily defended and previously picked over by the fleet of Meneen. The army of Umar Ghaas prevented the Zikuyu cavalry from accomplishing much in Hajaxtas. Finally, Maroof’s army picked over defenseless Tas Dar and then rode home to a changed kingdom.
The Valraj –
Ruler –Sultan Khalood
Capital – Muddakir
Dominant Race – Human
|The embattled Sultan Khalood ordered Bharjas to raise a fleet and raid the Meneen hinterlands immediately, then go and commit piracy against Meneen shipping. (See The Valraj / Meneen War, below).
Meanwhile, the sultan married Marlis, a pretty young woman from Shenthalass and settled down to rule his shattered nation and raise a family. Unfortunately, Marlis and her baby died in childbirth that same year. Undaunted, the sultan remarried, wedding Aliya, a noble girl from Muddakir in 2832. Aliya’s first child, a girl named Vana, died in 2834 at the age of two, but she outlived her mother who died in 2833 while trying to give birth to a second child. Khalood’s third marriage, to Misrullah, a somewhat scared girl from the Valraj, resulted in a single child, a boy, born in 2834.
In 2832, the Zikuyu riders returned, raiding Hajaxtas and Tas Dar. Umar Ghaas, in command of the Hajaxtas garrison, saw off the western raiders with little harm, but they stripped bare the former homeland of the luckless Tas Daris.
The Grand Duchy of Meneen –
Ruler –Grand Duke Salene
Capital – Yaz Meneen
Dominant Race – Elf
|Grand Duke Salene gave command of the Meneen navy to his lieutenant, Feantë, with orders to raid the Valraj until they bled. (See The Valraj / Meneen War, below).
Salene himself prepared the defenses of Yaz Meneen and looked to the seas.
THE VALRAJ / MENEEN WAR
2831 – While Bharjas of The Valraj gathered his ships at Shenthalass, Feantë of Meneen prepared to put to sea. It was then that a rumor spread through the Meneen fleet that Grand Duke Meneen had ordered the elves to leave their traditional homes in Ayma Vas and Deja because he was in the service of the human kings of the north and intended to place human ministers in charge of the fleet. Feantë put down this rebellion was only with the greatest difficulty and only narrowly avoided the outbreak of violence. Believing that the best tonic for such unrest was to get his fleet to sea, Feantë set sail for the coast of The Valraj, where he raided the already destitute lands of Kadja, Phanat and Jadjas. Then the elves of Meneen entered the Rhasdine river and gained little more from well-defended Hajaxtas or the picked-over ruins of Tanoxus, Tithand and Zathor Sor.
2832 – As Bharjas’s Valraji fleet sailed into the Jaundor Sea, Feantë’s Meneen fleet entered the same sea, heading for nearby Yaz Meneen. The two fleets, though in the same sea, avoided battle. The elves then hunkered down in their fastness at Yaz Meneen while the humans raided the trackless wilds of Chodaru, Ongkiji Suzu and Niorin. At about the same time, the army of Zikuyu appeared out of the western mountains and raided into Zathor Sor, Hajaxtas and Tas Dar. They got little in the first two places, and a little more from the third.
2833 – The Valraji fleet moved into the Ruan Straits and preyed upon Meneen shipping.
2834 – The Valraji fleet moved into Shorral’s Mirror and preyed upon Meneen shipping. The pickings were better than in the Ruan Straits.
The Kingdom of Ukanve –
Ruler –King Valoss the Just
Capital – Ukanve
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Hydrsha [-H]
|King Valoss named his son Irithul his heir and promoted his daughter Eamata to Princess Royal. The king then spent most of his time trying to reorganize the tiny system of scribes and messengers that served his growing kingdom. By instituting a civil service system, he caused thousands of ordinary Ukanvans to join the government, but alas, the system had yet to work any improvements on the nation.
Lord Garet traveled to the former Ukanvan province of Hydrsha and used the example of the conquest of Nyelru as an object lesson for those that defied the king. He also attempted to grope the chieftain’s daughter in an all too public manner. The outraged chief’s son slew Lord Garet where he stood and threw his body to the chieftain’s dogs.
The Shanatar Empire –
Ruler –God-Emperor Nivraan III
Capital – Feroe
Dominant Race – Human
|The great and glorious God-Emperor decreed that his realm should have far more messengers, scholars and priests than it did, and so a large amount of gold was spent at his order to try to improve this situation. And it might, given time. Next the holy Nivraan III turned his attentions to his homeland of Chamir, directing that ten thousand peasants be sent there to settle and create farms. The lord of Shanatar then used his divine power to summon bearlike beings from the nether realms to do his bidding in Malil, where the creatures created new springs and streams with their magical breath. Finally, the God-Emperor turned his attention to ruling his far-flung empire and to getting his mortal wife with child. He proved adept at the first, but alas, Empress Halouda gave him no children.
Lords Uruk and Banar operated as the Emperor’s Chancellor and Chief Vizier. In 2835, each was governor of an Imperial city (Uruk of Nystalma and Banar of Feroe), but Uruk did not have the time he needed to put any policies into effect.
Prince Nivarnaan, the God-Emperor’s son, traveled throughout the land, summoning sorcerous servants of his own in Navoud.
Lord Baryanar was the Emperor’s Tax Collector, but died in 2832 before he could do much to aid the Empire.
Most people in the Empire viewed Lord Zheyene as petty and punctilious, but through his superhuman wisdom, the Divine Nivraan III knew that these qualities could be made to serve the Empire. He appointed the moist and perfumed man as governor of the port of Huzzein. Zheyene showed himself to be an excellent, if feared and hated, administrator. He caused to be built the great lighthouse of Huzzein, which guided ships past the dangerous reefs before the city.
Huar, the Dastir of Tirnad, was killed by a boar during a hunt in 2832.
In 2384, a young general in the God-Emperor’s armies by the name of Argabazos demonstrated a new set of tactics which revolutionized the usage of the heretofore somewhat hidebound Shanatar cavalry. The God-Emperor granted Argabazos considerable estates in Golpardin and put him in charge of cavalry training at Feroe.
|The Farmuz Emirates –
Ruler –Sultan Javir al Azhkatûm
Capital – Azhkatûm
Dominant Race – Human
|The old sultan ruled fromAzhkatûm while his son Aouda governed the northern city of Amakhar. News of a granddaughter brought a smile to the old man’s weather-lined face in 2833, but he not-so-secretly continued to hope for a grandson to carry on the family line.
People flocked to the cities during these years, expanding the burgeoning urban population of this trade-heavy nation. Many of these new inhabitants worked for one of the numerous merchant families that dominated the emirates, and many also took ship to Hecadia and Threns when the sultan expanded the trade routes to those nations.
The sultan’s heavy expenditure in the training of his cavalry did not turn out so well, but observers had hope that the Emirates’ horsemen would improve with time.
Both Prince Aouda and Lord Sioun of Amakhar turned out to be canny administrators, playing the merchants and emirs off against each other and managing to improve their cities in between.
The Sylvan Realm of Hecadia –
Ruler –Emperor Salasc III
Capital – Belgramma
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Amoka [-], Embulum [EA]
|The elderly Emperor ruled his kingdom from the capital at Belgramma, where summer rains washed the courtyards daily. He supervised the painstaking compilation of a great census of the Hecadian people. The old man also thought to sire more children, but it was apparently too late in life for that, much to his wife’s secret relief.
Salasc’s heir apparent, Vataun of the Eight Ports, traveled to Amoka and tried to negotiate a treaty with these wild northerners. But, being fervent worshipers of the God-Emperor of Shanatar, they had little desire to fall under the sway of the “false” worship of Orithia and bluntly suggested that Vatuan have his head examined.
However, Vataun’s brother Avedis traveled to the forests of Embulum, where the inhabitants were equally dedicated to the worship of the God-Emperor, but he managed to negotiate a treaty of economic alliance with the local brahmins, much to the annoyance of his older brother.
Meanwhile, Lords Haig and Eznik served the Emperor as Thakores, a position akin to chancellor, and administered the Empire through their personal houses and connections.
The Kingdom of Kerendis –
Ruler –King Voidan Makkure
Capital – Orbelain
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Emparar [-C], Chemada [C]
|At King Voidan’s decree, thousands of sturdy Kerendan peasants established new villages and farms in Kibe and Ambalas, turning the dark brown earth beneath a broiling sun of the southern latitudes. The King himself ruled from the cedar-perfumed halls of Orbelain and conducted a census of his people.
Voidan’s handsome but arrogant son Marako traveled to Emparar, where he brusquely demanded greater allegiance from the Empararis. The wild and hot-tempered men of Emparar chased the prince with stones and dogs, and he only barely escaped, having been wounded for his efforts. Later, in Chemada, he announced the Kerendan claim to to the region to a few gathered natives, to which the Chemadans politely nodded and smiled, then went about their business as before. Feeling unloved, Marako returned home to Amabalas and fathered a son.
Lord Maraidh governed in Orbelain, proving to be an adequate administrator when he could be convinced to take time away from his passion for trying to build a kite large and sturdy enough to be used as a weapon of war. His men cleared out some of the city’s worst slums and established a water reservoir.
Lord Sorin of Anshuyo, an ally of the king’s, marched into Chnuraj with twelve hundred warriors and raided the elven woods of Tamaina, burning a few miserable villages and stealing their pots and vegetables. Forests being what they are, Sorin’s men did not depart with much in the way of spendable loot.
The Emerald Realm of Lekandi –
Ruler –King Galens Eagleheart
Capital – Suwelho
Dominant Race – Elf
|Elves continued to move west into the former lands of the sathla, taking over the farms won in the wars and laying claim to fields too long fallow. Arumbom returned to it’s former productivity, but now the crops grown were elven grains and vegetables rather than sathla pigs and rats.
In the spring of 2834, curious elven children in Akufiki and Acheka noticed that the seawater had drained from their beaches and coves, and were delighted to be able to simply stride among the coral reefs beached fishing boats. Some of the older elves knew a sudden unease when the land spirits fell silent and the animals were no longer to be found, or could be seen moving towards the hills.
Two hours later, the sea returned with an unimaginable fury. A green-black wall rose up out of the northern depths and strode the land like a giant, collapsing and running inland for miles. Thousands of villagers were swept away. But at the very heart of this colossal oceanic assault lay the city of Gyanlay, home to more than five thousand elves. By morning the waters had receded, leaving only flotsam where once a city had stood. It was nearly a year before the last of the bodies were found and buried.
Lord Tanathasia governed Suwelho with a cruelty and indifference matched only by its arrogance. Lord Kelen Farstrider arrived to govern Gyanlay just in time to see it swept off the face of Lekandi.
Rumors from Elsewhere –GM’s Tip #11 –
Each turn, I will use this space to present a useful rules hint. Eventually, all of you will know what LOTE GM’s and experienced players know.
Converting the Unbelievers –
There are four methods to alter the dominant religion of a region or city: Military Conversion (MC), Religious Conversion (PR) and Missionary Work (MW). There is also Colonial Conversion.
I. Why Convert them?
Religion plays a big role in any LOTE game. Controlling a region inhabited by people of a differing religion can be difficult, and depending on your own Religious Strength, it can be impossible to truly integrate such regions into your nation. Such regions are also more likely to revolt when given cause. Religion is even more important than usual in L54, because the gods of Theeurth and their worshipers have direct in-game effects on the lives of nations.
II. Colonial Conversion
Rule 9.4.1 lays out all there is to know about Colonial Conversion. Plant a colony within the foreign region or city and your religion becomes the dominant one. In time, the indigenous population will convert to your religion. If freed from your colony before then, they will revert.
III. Military Conversion
Throughout history, military conquerors have frequently imposed their own religions upon the peoples of conquered regions. For a few generations, the people give lip service to their conqueror’s gods, but eventually, if the conquered peoples remain part of the conquering nation, they begin to accept the new god or gods as their own. Military Conversion is that process.
This order is a Combat order and must be given by a national leader (King, Heir, Prince, Lieutenant or Bishop) in command of an army in the target region or city. Its success is derived from the army leader’s Combat ability. When this order is given, defenders of the region or city’s former faith will rise up in resistance. If that resistance is put down, the region or city will nominally convert to the new religion. This will automatically reset the region’s status to Pacified (P) or Pacified Tributary (PT), at the owning player’s option. The marginal dedication of the oppressed populace to the new religion will quickly fade away if the nation that forced the conversion loses control of the region or city.
IV. Religious Conversion
This is an attempt to convert the nobility and leadership of the targeted region or city and allow them to coerce the population into joining the new religion. The nation seeking the change need not control the targeted region or city, though it helps. This order is a Charisma order and must be given by a national leader (King, Heir, Prince, Lieutenant or Bishop) present in the target region or city. If successful, the leadership is converted and the region or city must undergo an immediate revolt check. If it succeeds, the region will become (nominally) loyal to the new religion.
The following things are positive modifiers your likelihood of success with the PR order:
- The region contains a city already following the new religion. (+1)
- The city is in a region already following the new religion. (+1)
- Successful Support Diplomacy operations. (+ Success Effect (SE))
- You have infiltrated the target nation’s population. (+1)
- You have thoroughly infiltrated the target nation’s population. (+2)
- You are a religious primacy (x2)
- The owning player has expressed his support for the idea. (x1.5)
- The target is a city. (x1.5)
The following things are negative modifiers your likelihood of success with the PR order:
- The region or city Resistance Value (-RV)
- The region or city is currently Hostile to your nation. (-1)
- The region or city is currently At War with your nation. (-2)
- The conversion is against the expressed wishes of the owning player (x.5)
It is worth noting that if you manage to convert more than 50% of a region or city to your religion, you can perform Cause Unrest actions or an Incite Rebellion action to whip up the majority religion to overthrow the minority elite and turn that region to your religion.
V. Missionary Work
It is probable that most attempts to change the religion of a region or city will use the MW order. It can be issued either by a nation’s Religious Ops or by a Primacy leader using the Preach action. This is a more peaceful (though not always gentle) means of actually changing the hearts and minds of the population through proselytizing, argument and teaching.
It is worth noting that although from the player’s perspective the MW order in versions 5.10 and 6.0 of the LOTE rules are indistinguishable, from the GM’s perspective they have some significant differences about which the player will want to be informed. As of the date of this writing, L54: Lords of Theeurth will use the version 6.0 version of the MW order. The essential difference is this: In previous versions of LOTE, there was no difference between converting regions dedicated to organized religions and converting pagans. Version 6.0 handles organized religions in the same manner as previous LOTE rulesets, as described below, but allows a more comprehensive and rapid conversion of pagans.
i. Converting Members of an Organized Religion
Conversion of a region or city is incremental. That is, it typically succeeds in small amounts, and those amounts build up over time. The GM will note that a partially converted region has a certain percentage of believers in the new religion. When that percentage reaches 100%, the region is converted to the new religion. For the purposes of L54, all religions are organized religions except for the five spirit cults.
Success is based on the Religious Strength (RS-3) of the nation that sends the Missionaries, modified as follows:
- Missionary religion has a Holy City (+1)
- Each AP outside the Action Range (-1)
- Leader issuing order is carrying a Holy Relic (+1)
- Region or city has no conversion percentage so far (-2)
- Target population speaks a foreign language (-1)
- Target population is tolerant of the Missionaries’ race (-1)
- Target population hates the Missionaries’ race (-2)
- Target population is of a higher Tech level (-1)
- Target population is of a lower Tech level (+1)
- Action attempted in a city (-1)
- Each 5 AP spent on the attempt (if by a leader) (+1)
- Foreign Primacy or Religious Order or Cultic location present (-varies by status)
Once the GM determines the level of success of an MW operation, he then multiplies the resulting percentage by the following modifiers:
- Target religion is Hostile to the Missionaries’ religion (x.5)
- Target religion is Tolerant of the Missionaries’ religion (x.75)
- Target religion is unrelated to that of the Missionaries (x.5)
- Target religion is a heresy of the Missionaries’ religion (x1)
- Target religion does not have a Primate (x1.5)
- Target is a city (x1.5)
ii. Converting Members of a Disorganized Religion
Unlike regions which follow an organized religion, those that follow disorganized religions (spirit cults) convert all at once or not at all. In addition to the above modifiers, the following apply:
- Target population worships the Medahros Spirit Cult (+0)
- Target population worships the Vales Spirit Cult (-1)
- Target population worships the Changshai Spirit Cult (-1)
- Target population worships the Ukele Spirit Cult (-2)
- Target population worships the Serikku Spirit Cult (-2)
The Grail Primacy is doing missionary work among the taurids in Brythnia, which is within its action range. For this example, the Grail Primacy has a Religious Strength of 9, so the base op value is [9 -3(op mod) -1 (different language) -1 (tolerant race) -2 (no current converts) +1 (Grail has a Holy City) = 3 The Primacy has only a 30% chance of success and a pretty good chance of a catastrophic failure. Better add plenty of Religious Ops bonuses and gold to improve the odds!
Next turn: A Discussion of Regional Public Works
Page Completed 22 November 2006