Kingmaker - Heroes of the Margreve
Struggling nation caught between noble houses
Ruler: King-Regent Noleski Surtova
Government: Hereditary Monarchy
Capital: New Stetven
Religion: Iomedae, the Old Faith
The history of Berovy is actually the history of two lands, Issia and Rostland, united into one by force. Issia, the northern half of the nation, had been sparsely settled for centuries; numerous small villages cluster on the southern shore of the Lake of Mists and Veils and in the foothills of the mountains to the east. Once part of the sprawling Iobarian Empire of old, since that nation’s dissolution 1226 AR, Issia has functioned as Rostland, south of Lake Reykal and the northern Margreve Forest, is quite different – a vast stretch of rolling hills and grasslands fed by the East Sellen River and its tributaries. Taldan conqueredd this area centuries ago under the leadership of Baron Sirian First, who became Sirian Aldori, first of the Aldori swordlords.
In 2295 AR, the Iobarian warlord Choral Rogarvia, known as “the Conqueror”, crossed the Lake of Mists and Veils with a considerable force under his command. Lord Nikos Surtova of Issia surrendered its land and people to the Conqueror without a struggle, while retaining their power and wealth; but the Aldori swordlords of Rostland, with their history of resisting bandit raiders, were not so wiling to bend their knees to a foreign conqueror. The fractious swordlords with their strongholds south of Lake Reykal were no match for the discipline and tactics of Choral’s forces, who were additionally supported by a pair of red dragons. Rostland pledged itself to Choral the Conqueror as a way to save its traditions from eradication.
For two centuries the Rogarvias held the Ruby Fortress and ruled from New Stetven; under their rule the nation came to be known as Berovy and grew into a significant northern power. In the middle of winter in early 2406 AR, every member of House Rogarvia vanished without a trace. Conspiracy theories abounded, but there was no evidence of foul play or struggle within the royal palace or any of the Rogarvias’ villas; clearly what had occurred was something altogether stranger than a mere rebellion. A brief period of chaos followed, but the Surtovas, citing their age-old ties with the Conqueror’s line, were quick to seize power in New Stetven and extend their reach across Berovy. With all of Issia seemingly backing the move, Rostland had little choice but to bend its knee again. Today, King Noleski Surtova holds the Ruby Fortress and the Dragonscale Throne, yet it remains to be seen how long he can maintain this rule over a kingdom growing increasingly fractious.
Rostland, south of Lake Reykal and the Northern Margreve, is quite different than Issia—a vast stretch of rolling hills and grasslands fed by the East Sellen River and its tributaries. Taldan colonists settled this area centuries ago under the leadership of Baron Sirian First, who became Sirian Aldori, first of the Aldori swordlords.
Rostland is a gentle and fertile place of grassy plains and rolling hills. Watered by the lake and rivers, Rostland’s soil is better suited for farming, and the mountains and forest help to blunt the worst of the storms that roll down off of the Lake of Mists and Veils. Still, Rostland is known for its chill winters and its long, slow, and muddy spring season.
Nowhere is the Rostlandic spirit more alive than in the Free City of Restov. The city owes its allegiance to the Brevish crown, and Lord Mayor Ioseph Stalasi must bend his knee before the Dragonscale Throne like any lord, but many of its citizens wish Restov to belong to no house, making it a haven for the lost glories of the Aldori swordlords and those who look back to the old days before the coming of the Conqueror. The gentry of Restov consider themselves sophisticates, although a Taldan visitor would consider their ways quaint, and touched with no small amount of northern barbarism. The city is a bustling trade center along the southern border of Berovy, only a weeks ride from the northern reaches of Taldor.
Most Rostlandi are simple farmers, craftsmen, and tradesmen, possessing outgoing and happy personalities. The people of Rostland are welcoming of strangers, but do require that visitors to their land conform to the plentiful and intricate local customs. Obsessed with honor and personal standing, Rostlandi are easy to provoke or offend, and one wrong word can quickly find the offender in front of the local magistrate or in a personal duel. Despite their proud, parochial tendencies, Rostlandi make loyal allies and fast friends if outsiders prove their worth by learning and adhering to the native customs.
Established by Maegar Varn, and his band of mercenaries called the Varnling Host, Varnhold is one of three new baronies of Berovy lead by groups selected to colonize the Stolen Lands. Varn is the third son of Androth Varn, a Brevish baron of Issian descent, and as such, he did not stand to inherit his father’s title and holdings, and the opportunity to found a colony offered by Iosep Stalasi of Restov is likely his best chance to make a mark on history.
Varnhold is located on the eastern slopes of the Tors of the Levenines and spreads into the Dunsward.
One of three new baronies Berovy hopes to establish in the Stolen Land, Drelevsgrad is lead by the acclaimed Brevish commander Hannis Drelev and his loyal followers. A common-born soldier, Drelev found his advancement in the military limited by his blood, and thus accepted Iosep Stalasi’s offer as his best path of advancement—so he would no longer labour under noble ‘generals’ half his age. Based out of Fort Drelev on the shores of Lake Hooktongue, Drelevsgrad spreads across the fetid Hooktongue Slough and into the Glenbon Uplands.
Last refuge of the Swordlords
Ruler: Swordlord Gaston Selline
It was to Mivon that many of the Aldori swordlords fled after Coral the Conquerer overthrew the nation of Rostland to create modern day Berovy. The swordlords who settled in Mivon brought with them their traditions, experiences, and knowledge of the ancient art of Aldori dueling. Warriors from as far as way Osirion and the Keleshi Empire make pilgrimages to Mivon to learn the secrets of the swordlords; in order to do this the applicant must best a series of increasingly tough duels and challenges set forth by the master duelists. The city also has a large fishing industry that specializes in catching eels in the pools surrounding the city. It is said that due to the violent nature of the city many of the eels have tasted human flesh and the phrase “a walk to the fishponds” has a very sinister meaning as the person normally does not return.
The territories of Mivon are heavily crisscrossed with rivers. Much of the low-lying land is marshy, and transportation is facilitated by a large network of high stone bridges. Flocks of sheep and herds of cows feed in the southeastern highlands. The kingdom has borders with the Margreve Forest to the north, the Stolen Lands the northeast, the Free City of Zobeck to the east, the Matriarchy of Perunila to the south, and the kingdom of Pitax to the northwest. Mivon and Pitax are not currently at war but maintain a long-standing hostility against each other.
Irradiated Land of Science and Savagery
Ruler: The Black Sovereign
Government: Barbaric monarchy
Religion: the Old Faith
Abutting the northernmost banks of the Sellen River system, the harsh plains of Numeria possess a stark, majestic beauty. The greatest of the River Kingdoms, Numeria was a rising power in the Land of Mists, a warlike nation poised to unite several of its
neighbors under its rough banner. With the fall of Mendev and Sarkoris and the coming of Baba Yaga’s eternal winter, however, Numeria’s momentum was broken, and today it is a land of grim barbarians and dark magic, its fierce people ruled over by a cabal of tainted magicians devoted to artifacts they do not understand and secrets not of this world.
The Black Sovereign was once known as the barbarian champion Kevoth-Kul, a true hero to his people. However, Kul’s downfall came when he decided to sacrifice himself to save not only his people, but the entire Land of Mists from the twisted magics of the Queen of Witches. Listen to the honeyed words of the Technic League, debased technomancers who seek to unlock the powers hidden within the alien artifacts found in the Silver Mount, Kevoth-Kul entered into the strange ruin. It is unknown what Kul did inside the mountain, but night became day and great beams of energy rose from the mountain and destroyed Baba Yaga’s legions of ogres and winter fey. Whatever he did, the act changed Kevoth-Kul: he emerged a darker brooding cyborg, seemly immortal and fused with the technologies of the Silver Mount. The Black Sovereign abandoned his quest to expand Numeria, and instead began to direct resources to rediscovering the ancient technologies that have become active again since the Day Without Night.
Numeria is for the most part a land of few natural resources. It contains large, windswept plains and few forests of any size. It is, however, the largest supplier of skymetals in the Inner Sea region, seven rare metals that were part of the ship that crashed on Numeria’s plains during the Rain of Stars. These skymetals each have their own distinct properties and are useful in the construction of weapons and various magical artifacts. Of the seven, adamantine is the most common and known throughout the region as “Numerian steel”.
Tarnished jewel of the River Kingdoms
Ruler: King Castruccio Irovetti
Religion: Iomedae, Asmodeus
Pitax is the domain of Castruccio Irovetti, a petty ruler who fancies himself something of an enlightened despot in the vein of western lands like Dementlieu and Lamordia. Pitax is a city filled with trashy art and bad sculpture, created by the masses of poor artists and poets that Irovetti hires to massage his ego. The town itself suffers under Irovetti’s rule, as his arrogant attitudes has turned the nearby countries of Numeria and Berovy against him, and alienated Pitax from potential sources of trade.
For centuries, Pitax had been the haven of artists and philosophers who wished to get away from the unenlightened masses. However, over last decade it has blossomed into a centre of science and technology in the River Kingdoms. The city’s fortune changed suddenly one night when Castruccio Irovetti, an emigre from Cheliax and an adventurer who made his fortune exploring the wastes of Numeria, met with the patriarchs of the ruling Liacenza family over a friendly card game. Though none who knows will speak of what happened that night, in the morning Irovetti owned the Liacenza’s Trade House and the crown of Pitax.
No business occurs in Pitax without the patronage of one of the city’s Trade Houses, whether Irovetti’s Iron Fox or those still owned by another family (Darkwind, Serpent’s
Breath, and Riversong). Arguably more powerful than any of the Trade Houses, however, is the Thieves’ Guild of Pitax, which is said to get a cut of every transaction (legal and illegal) in the city.
Decadent Fallen Empire
Ruler: Emperor Stavian III
Government: Bureaucratic Autocracy
Religion: Iomedae, Aroden
Mighty Taldor once stretched from the Arcadian Ocean to the border of the Padishah Empire of Kelesh. Aroden himself was said to walk among the people of Taldor, and his
religion, a shining beacon unto the world, radiated outward from Taldor’s gilded capital of Oppara. Taldor’s ancient Armies of Exploration established footholds for the empire throughout the World, and during the Shining Crusade, its mighty phalanxes marched for thousands of miles to beat back the Whispering Tyrant and imprison him within Gallowspire.
But the once-powerful empire has fallen from its former glory. Now rival nobles battle each other with bitter knights and proxy armies for personal power rather than honour. A smouldering truce with the Padishah Empire of Kelesh again threatens to ignite into war, and Taldor’s daughter states look down upon her with contempt. Yet there is still greatness in Taldor; a stone foundation under the flaking gold adornments. Sons and daughters of forgotten royal bloodlines hear change on the wind—but is it the whisper of greatness to come, or the death rattle of an empire long past its prime?
Taldor was once a land filled with lush forests but all that remains of the original woodlands is the druid-protected Verduran Forest in the northwest. Elsewhere, the trees have been replaced by grasslands and low scrub growth, that in the southern part of the country can generate tumblefires. During the height of the empire, much of this expanse was populated by small settlements, each interconnected by a series of roads and canals. With Taldor’s decline, however, many of these small communities have been abandoned. Roads have been reclaimed by nature, and the canal system has fallen into disrepair. The lifeblood of the nation is the River Porthmos, which has its sources in the World’s Edge Mountains and winds its way through the vast grasslands of the Tandak Plains before pouring into the Inner Sea. The capital, Oppara, is located at the mouth of the river.
Taldor’s natural resources include the towering blackwood trees of the Verduran Forest, the countless iron mines of the World’s Edge Mountains, the olives and grapes of the southern coast between the Porthmos and the Jalrune, and the wineries and vineyards of the Zimar Scrublands.
The Clockwork City
Ruler: Lord Mayor Karillian Gluck and the Free City Council
Religion: Rava, the Old Faith, Iomedae
The Free City’s austere feudal history defines the city’s current freedom-loving citizenry. After suffering under the long, harsh reign of the aristocratic Stross family, the people of Zobeck have little love for nobles or the institution of feudalism. They have vowed to never again accept a lord’s yoke. Instead, commerce and the ability of every man and woman to grab life’s wealth with gusto rule the Zobecker spirit. Free to make their way in the world, Zobeckers work to secure a living in whatever manner they see fit—though some occupations clash with the city’s laws—and answer to no one but themselves.
Zobeck was founded originally by cultists of the Taldan cult of Rava, the Everticking Goddess, who fled the zealous inquisitions of Aroden’s church in the 1000s. The cult’s presence has been a constant throughout Zobeck’s history, and the city has long been a refuge for those fleeing persecution. House Stross, a minor noble house, made alliances with the fey of the Margreve and secured rulership over much of the Stolen Lands for the next 600 years. But Stross would fall into corruption and decadence, growing fat and lazy off Zobeck’s trade and rich mines. After the death of Aroden, Lord Kanos Stross followed the lead of Cheliax and proclaimed fealty to Asmodeus, going so far as to invite in Hellknights and implemented slavery. The free-spirited folk of Zobeck swiftly revolted and at the Battle of Oros Bridge, defeated the forces of Lord Kanos Stross and slaughtered his family, holed up in Castle Strossheim, to the last.
Today, Zobeck claims far less territory than it did under House Stross’ rule, but its international clout has increased dramatically. While its neighbours in Taldor, Mivon, and Berovy kept to their own affairs and paid the city little mind, Zobeck’s industrious citizens forged themselves and their community from the chaos of civil revolt. In a few years, the merchants, arcanists, and followers of Rava the Gear Goddess transformed their sleepy, backwater river town into a nation with clout far beyond its borders. Zobeck has blossomed over the past century into a mercantile powerhouse known across the Land of the Mists for its gearforged and mastery of clockwork technology.