Population:3,297,440 (60% hobgoblin, 20% goblin, 9% human, 7% half-orcs, 3% halfling)
Imports: Food, Slaves, Armor, Weapons
Exports: horses, furs, gold
Carhallas is a vast land of windswept steppes north of Conorria, stretching fifteen hundred miles from the Hammersea in the west to the forests of Celendor in the east. It is the home of one of the most militant of the new empires, an empire of powerful hobgoblins.
Carhallan hobgoblins excel at war. Dozens of strictly disciplined legions protect and expand the borders under the inspired leadership of cunning hobgoblin generals. Each soldier and general has sworn a personal oath of allegiance to the Emperor, the Chosen Son of Gromontor. This iron discipline is necessary, as Carhallas is at constant war with its neighbors, particularly the hated elves Celendor to the east.
The hobgoblins of Carhallas live a far more civilized life than their wild cousins. They have become skilled at architecture, engineering and even some art forms, and built cities where once there stood only open prairie. But the native violence of the hobgoblin is still present, and nearly all Carhallas citizens go armed. Personal disputes are still settled by combat, but more complex disputes are now settled by judges who reside in each city and with each legion.
A large minority of goblins live in Carhallas, mostly as slaves in the mines. They also sometimes serve as irregular troops in support of the regular legions, particularly as slingers or archers. The humans, halflings and half-orcs of Carhallas rarely serve in the military, and are more commonly merchants, builders and farmers. A few serve in the Imperial household as wizards and scribes.
The vast grasslands of Carhallas were once under the sway of ancient Numanthaur. After the destruction of that empire, the region was home to thinly-scattered tribes of nomads and hunters for long millennia. With the rise of Ascarlon to the west, the land became gradually settled by human farmers and villagers, particularly within a few hundred miles of the Manndaran river valley. To the east, the Conorrians settled in large communities as far north as Annvar, and farmed the land in peace for centuries, bothered only by occasional Rhanalorian or Celendor raids. That all changed with the coming of the Kazimak horde
In CY 1902, a vast horde of hobgoblins arrived from east of the Talamakas mountains. Warlike and hungry, it descended upon the outposts of Conorria and Ascarlon with fire and sword. Whole cities were put to the torch as the horde ravenously destroyed everything in its path. Within a generation, the Kazimaks were in sole possession of the great plains south of the Raumothil river. Within another generation, the Khans family was dead and the hobgoblins had broken into dozens of septs and clans, all squabbling over land and rights and old feuds in the traditional hobgoblin way.
This might have been a permanent state of affairs if not for the advent of a remarkable hobgoblin warrior named Thugrekk, the Eye of God. In 2320, Thugrekk rose to prominence in the little-known Vulture clan and defeated the rival Firedrake clan in open battle. But rather than destroying his enemies, he gave them a chance to join his own clan as full members. Thrugekks genius in battle gave him many such opportunities. Within ten years, he had rallied seventeen clans under his banner and was hailed as a new Khan. But his vision went further.
Thrugekk had studied the system of the Conorrians and believed that it was a model for a hobgoblin society. He had the high priests of Gromontor crown him emperor of Carhallas, and created a system of warriors loyal to him personally, rather than to their respective clans. He established his capital at Carcharoth, formerly a Conorrian fortress-town. He founded the Temple of Gromontor and the Unapproachable Citadel. Legend has it that he personally scratched out lines in the earth with his sword where the walls were to stand.
In the centuries since, Carhallas has been in an almost constant state of war with the Conorrian Empire, Ascarlon, the orcs of the Worldspine mountains, the Rhanalorian tribes or with the hated elves of Celendor. This has created an efficient and stable military feared for its implacable brutality and seemingly endless numbers.
In 2456, the emperor Kahaldin led a vast army of hobgoblins and ogres into the woods of Celendor. For a year, they drove off every army the elves could send against them, matching elven sorcery with mercenary wizards hired from human lands. In the following year, however, their luck changed. The elves managed to recover from their disarray and an organized resistance began. In the winter of 2457, amidst a heavy snowfall, the elves of Celendor surrounded the hobgoblin army at a small river valley now known as Eld-en-Hathas, or the Mound of the Slain. Very few hobgoblins returned to Carhallas, and no large army has since gone into those woods.
In 2689, the Carhallas emperor Haggardin II concluded a treaty with the stone giant clans of the Worldspine mountains, allowing him to send miners into their territory in exchange for vast amounts of grain and livestock. The wealth of these gold mines has further fueled the empires dreams of expansion as they push ever harder at their borders.
In 2723, a vast horde of orcs and ogres from the Worldspine and Talamakas mountains descended on the Conorrian Empire. The invasion shattered the western half of the empire, and did terrible damage in the east, including the occupation of Echoriath. Whether Carhallan agents were the cause of this invasion is a matter for speculation, but the Carhallan emperor Kragen was quick to take advantage of it, moving his legions to capture the Conorrian forts all along the Esharias river frontier as far south as Melakopolis. In one season, this nearly doubled the territory under Carhallan rule, adding some 300,000 square miles to the empire.
That dominance was to last no more than a generation, however. In the spring of 2745, an unlooked-for army of Rhanalorian horsemen led by the warlord Tarl Wolfspaw crossed the Mistriven river and shattered Carhallas northern border, which had been weakened by the shifting of troops to the south. The Rhanalorian forces drove up the right bank of the Manndaran, throwing Carhallas into disarray. The new hobgoblin emperor, Attalus, was forced to withdraw his forces from the Esharias frontier. In less than a year, the empire had not only lost its Conorrian provinces, but all the territory it held north of the Mistriven as well.
Now Attalus son Reor, a powerful warrior, sits on the Vulture Throne and schemes to bring Carhallas to supremacy over all of Vatheria.
MAJOR POPULATION CENTERS
Carcharoth (Metropolis; population 202,940) The sprawling capitol of the Carhallas Empire, Carcharoth sits atop five hills that dominate the central Manndaran river valley. The walls of Carcaroth are famously wide enough to run chariot races atop them. The citys massive western Beholder gate is considered a marvel of engineering and hobgoblin architectural achievement. Within the city there are seven wards, each separated by a wall or river. One is given over to the Emperor and his servants, another to the army and a third to the temples and pilgrims.
The laws of Carcharoth are strictly enforced by the Haraggar, or Civic Guards. The taxes are also many and complex. One peculiar custom of the city is that no person may ever wear the color yellow. This is reserved only for the Emperor and his family. To violate this law is an offense punishable by death.
Turlag (Large city; population 52,730) Located on the shores of the Amberwash, an arm of the Hammersea, Turlag is Carhallas major port, trading with Ascarlon, Maekras, the Rhanalorian tribes and even the wild lizardmen of the Sinking Land. Like most Carhallas cities, Turlag is heavily fortified, with broad walls and towers that command the sea approaches. A significant minority of the city residents are human sailors, merchants and shipbuilders. Turlag is perhaps best known for the green slate roofs of its buildings and the free-wheeling trade in anything and everything.
Gothmaur (Small city; population 33,560) While not the largest city in the empire, Gothmaur boasts the most formidable array of defenses anywhere in Vatheria outside of Echoriath. Located right on the Celendor border, within sight of the elven forests on a clear day, Gothmaur has been the repeated target of elven raids, and has changed hands several times over the centuries. In addition to protecting the border, Gothmaur was once an important mining town. The miners unleashed an ancient evil which had slept below the plain since the days of Numanthaur, and the mine has since closed down. Hobgoblin magicians have been struggling to keep that evil contained ever since.
The Black Wood – This wild and remote forest along the eastern shore of the Hammersea is a place of superstitious fear for the average Carhallas hobgoblin. It is variously rumored to be haunted, to support several large dragons, or to be home to creatures from below the earth. Whatever the case, few hobgoblins will enter its depths, though some serious logging of the forest edges has begun in the last few years.
The Forest of Memory – Nominally part of the Empire, this large and ancient forest lies in the upland moors bordering the Worldspine mountains. It is inhabited by a sect of druids who allow some logging and habitation along its eaves, but no brook no serious interference with the heart of the wood. The sect is said to be led by a treant of great age and size who has no love for his hobgoblin and orcish neighbors, nor for the vampire-dominated humans of Ascarlon. It is said that one who wanders this forest for long will be confronted by shades of those long past, and many an unwary traveler has been driven mad by these apparitions.
Urmallahaut – Last remnant of ancient Numanthaur, Urmallahaut was one of the pinnacles of achievement for that ancient civilization, a flying city. While most such cities were destroyed outright, crashing to earth in fiery demise, Urmallahaut sought refuge in the Shadow Plane. It is unknown whether the Wrath of the Gods followed them to that weird place, but after long millennia, the city itself has returned. Rumor has quickly spread among the wise across Vatheria that the ancient city, recognizable by its twin towers of Fire and Ice, has been seen drifting high above the plains of Carhallas.