Populated by dragonborn, orcs, and goblinoids, the Dynasty occupies the eastern edge of the Kairen Mountains below the plateau. Intensely disciplined, these warlike races have held back the forces of the Hungering Frost at extreme cost until recently, when the construction of the Winter Wall was completed. This titanic structure blocks the major pass down from the plateau and has reduced the raids to a mere trickle over the last five years. This was only possible with the intervention and resettlement of the rest of the dragonborn clans from the Council Lands in 205 AC.
A bit bigger than Byssia, the Dynasty is home to about 150,000 individuals in four major areas. The pragmatism and clarity of the dragonborn clans mixes with the ferocity and endurance of the orcs and the inventiveness and utter disregard for personal safety of the goblin tribes to form a potent combination. Already the goblins have created new inventions both for war and for peace; the orcs and dragonborn are practicing their tactics and building up their forces in hopes of making a final push against the Hungering Frost. Assuming they win, what then? Will their eyes turn to the other nations? To their neighbors the Horse Clans? Or to the nomadic orc tribes of the northern forests? Or will they claim the Kairen Plateau and the hidden treasures of the ancient Nocthians rumored to be found there? Only time will tell.
The Remnant Dynasty is nominally an absolute monarchy ruled by Dragon Queen Beitris ka Shakti. In practice, power resides in four pillars--the conclave of dragonborn clan heads, the First Circle of orcish shamans, the High Claw and the Queen. Although goblins play a major role in the economics of the nation, they are not significantly involved in politics, of their own choice. When necessary, the Queen speaks for them through her advisor, the hobgoblin Onomoto.
The conclave consists of the heads of each of the 5 non-royal clans. They meet monthly in the capital to order the economic matters of the nation and set the official policies and budget of the government, including inter-clan equalization payments and “tribute” from the orcs and goblins. The current First Speaker of the conclave is Drustan ka Byarsh, a silver dragonborn from Byarmarsh.
The First Circle has membership of 16 shamans chosen from the clans. By tradition, all shamans of the tribes are female. They meet infrequently but send a representative to the meetings of the conclave to speak for the orcish clans. They keep a very light hand on the internal affairs of the clans as long as the demands for resources and manpower are met. The current representative is Ebhlin gro’Skem. Young for a member of the Circle, she’s pushing for a more active role for the orcs in the Dynasty.
The High Claw, Aodh vo Gal, is the senior military officer of the realm. A much-scarred gold dragonborn, Aodh is a veteran of the Frostbound Wall and led forces in the last major push against the Frost 5 years ago. He harbors a bitter hate for the Frost and focuses his efforts on that front, often to the point of neglecting other duties.
Onomoto is a hobgoblin that serves as the Queen’s Voice to the goblin tribes. Of indeterminate age, they are unflappable and close-lipped. The First Speaker and Onomoto work together very closely, and very little gets through the conclave without the active support of at least one of them.
Queen Beitris is young for a dragonborn leader and has taken an active role after the death of her mother to the Hungering Frost. She, like High Claw Aodh vo Gal, hates the Frost bitterly and bends all efforts to its obliteration. She rarely gets involved in politics, reserving her veto for rare occasions and abstaining from votes except as a tie-breaker. She is also the High Priestess for the nation, serving multiple gods.
Economy and Currency
The economy of the Dynasty is more technologically-dynamic than most other nations. The foundries of Byarmarsh ring with activity and new designs are constantly pouring out (sometimes exploding out). Clan Syra and Tabar provide food from the shelter of the plains, while Kard and Ko feed Byarsh, Khor, and Skem with raw materials. Byarsh and the goblins are the producers of mundane equipment, while Khor and Skem handle alchemical and magical efforts of the nation. Gal and Anu are constantly involved in the war against the Frost, Gal in manning the wall while Anu scouts the flanks for vulnerabilities.
Even with all this military-focused activity, the nation hungers for exotic luxuries. Wood from Byssia, spices and dyes from the Stone Throne, and magical and other baubles from the Council all flow in, in exchange for the gems and techno-magical wonders of the Dynasty.
The northern area, home to the orcish tribes.
- History: Over the last 20 years, four of the countless orcish tribes that dominate the cold northern forests have been incorporated into the Dynasty, representing a major increase in the manpower of the then-struggling dragonborn and goblins. They joined when the reclusive head of clan Skem, a powerful shaman, made a prophecy with the support of the First Circle. Without their support, she prophesied, the Killing Frost would spill out of the mountains within a few years and swallow up all the tribes. Skem, Kord, Ko, and Tabor all bowed to this prophecy and marched to the edge of the forest. After a tense stand-off with the weary defenders of the dragonborn clans, they made their intentions clear and a new city was founded--Gor’osh (the City of the Vision).
- Religion: The orcs of Baile Duchas are shamanistic, revering ancestors, kami, and occasionally some of the gods. Those in tighter contact with the rest of the nation (especially clan Tabor) pay more devotion to the Congregation, while Ko especially pays very little attention to them.
- Demographics: Baile Duchas is almost entirely orcish, especially once you enter the forest. At the edge, clan Syra and Tabor mingle to farm the land and transport goods, while deeper in Kord works the mines and quarries, Skem handles the kami, and Ko...Ko keeps the wild tribes off the backs of the Dynasty. They also bring items recovered from the pre-Cataclysm ruins back to civilization, although they refuse to discuss where or how they recover them.
- Climate: Baile Duchas is mostly covered in mixed forests over hills and ridges. The summers are short and hot, while the winters are long, cold, and wet. The north-west region is the worst, while the south-east benefits from the presence of Lake Coin’yn.
- Economy: Farming on the plains, hunting and mining in the forests and mountains.
- Government: the clans (and the sub-clan braids) handle their own affairs. Inter-clan affairs are handled by the First Circle.
- Architecture: Wood and thatch, with steep roofs. Toward the south the houses resemble those of the dragonborn, while the further north you go, the more transitory the dwellings become. Ko mainly lives in migratory camps of tents, with winter huts of earth and wood.
- Culture: Every clan, braid, and (extended) family is unique. The four major clans are composed of braids (groups of families that inter-marry and cooperate)--the large clans (Kord and Tabor) may have 50 or more braids, each with links to others in a web. The smaller clans (Ko and Skem) have about 20 and 5 braids, respectively.
- Traveler Housing: Outside of Gor’osh, travelers must carefully watch which braid’s territory they are in, lest they enter taboo territories or otherwise transgress and be attacked before they can provide their safe-passes. Those who pass safely (usually with native guides) are housed in the village elder’s house as honored guests. Challenges of strength are common, although fighting to the death is taboo.
- Oats and barley porridge
- Venison / mutton (no pork)
- Berries, honey
- Lots of sour food (pickles)
- Taboos and superstitions
- When animals are killed, offerings must be left to the kami of the beasts. Failure to do so might get you left as an offering.
- Calling someone a “smoothskin” is a mortal insult and you will be attacked by them and all their friends.
- Greetings are done with bare hands. If weather or tasks require sleeves, the left (for females) or the right (for males) sleeve will be removed or pushed up for greetings (to show the clan tattoo).
- Pretending to be of a different clan or braid is shameful.
- The wild orcish tribes to the north and east are always a threat.
- The area is littered with pre-cataclysm ruins. Remnants of the Army of Darkness still linger there.
- The tribes themselves are not particularly civilized...anger them at your own risk.
The main city of the north, about 3k people. Founded as a result of a vision. This is the major contact point between the forest and the plains.
- Location: Located at the edge of the forest about halfway between the mountains and the lands of the Horse Nomads.
- Defenses: A palisade wall surrounds the town with towers. Clan Tabor takes responsibility for patrolling the area. A major training camp for those preparing to fight the Frost is just outside, further bolstering the defenses. Every able-bodied citizen is capable of fighting as well, making this town much more formidable than one might think.
- Economics: Further processing of ore into metal bars happens here, as does processing of leathers, furs, lumber, and charcoal. These are then shipped south to Byarmarsh for manufacturing. Manufactured goods flow north.
- Leadership: The clan council of Tabor, led by Master Shaman Andraste gro’Tabor are in charge. Joining her are the clan elder, Keena gro’Tabor and the clan warleader, Ualtar gro’Tabor.
The central plains region to the east of the Kairen Mountains and south of Baile Duchas, Safehold is named such for its relative safety and peacefulness. While not entirely peaceful, it is not under constant threat from anything except beasts (and the occasional Horse Clan raids). Nevertheless, Safehold (like all of the Dynasty) is on a military footing. No major cities are in Safehold.
Safehold is the primary agricultural area. The wide, rolling terrain houses mile after mile of grain fields and pastureland for cattle and sheep, cared for by villages full of farmers. This bucolic, pastoral landscape, however, is not entirely safe. Persistent attacks by burrowing creatures (such as ankheg) and raids on the western farms and villages by the neighboring Horse Clans keeps the farmers in practice; many of the farms are staffed by retired veterans who bear the scars of war against the Hungering Frost.
- History: The Dynasty has been expanding out into Safehold since its founding. With the sheer walls of the Kairen Mountains to the east and the dense forests of Baile Duchas to the north-east, the open plains have been a refuge for the supporting clans.
Clan Syra chose this land as their clanhold and even now supplies a majority of the common troops and agricultural goods for the remainder of the Dynasty. Recently the orcs of Tabor have joined them, providing a major boost in manpower.
- Religion: Safehold is less devoutly religious than the Kairen Mountains, but more so than the other regions. Religion is a matter of every-day routine, rather than big events. Here, both orcs and dragonborn follow the clan lares, deontologias, and teletourgia. Children are taught to read and write (both common and draconic or ard teang, depending on race) and to fight, but mainly are taught to work the land.
- Demographics: Safehold is split between orcs and dragonborn, with a few goblinoids in the south and a single tiny village of Horse Clan exiles. The majority tribe is Tabor, the majority clan is Syra, but all clans and tribes (except Ko) are present here. With the demand for soldiers, there are fewer prime-age adults than would be expected, especially young men.
- Climate: Very similar to the Sea of Grass but a bit more humid. The southern regions get a bit warmer. The ground is rocky and less fertile than in the west.
- Economy: Agricultural, especially grain and livestock. Wood and metal are mostly imported from other regions.
- Government: Clans and tribes handle their own affairs, usually at the village level.
- Architecture: Stone cottages, mostly built of loose stones mortared together. Thatched roofs. Rock walls separate fields.
- Culture: Relaxed and a bit lazy (compared to the rest of the Dynasty). Often considered provincial and backward by the rest, especially Byarmarsh. Children are taught to read and write (both common and draconic or ard teang, depending on race) and to fight, but mainly are taught to work the land.
- Traveler Housing: Hospitality is the norm--few dedicated inns exist. Almost any farmer will put up travelers in a barn or house in exchange for tales and possibly a small payment (in hard times).
- Wheat / oats
- Beef / mutton
- Have invented sandwiches
- Taboos and superstitions
- Visit the shrines of the local kami before leaving on journeys. To slight the kami invites disaster.
- When harvesting wheat, the corners of the fields belong to the poor.
- Mostly beasts (including some strange ones). Flying or burrowing.
- Raids from the Horse Clans, mostly on livestock. These are increasing as of late, and starting to hit caravans. They don’t kill people, but do take goods.
The Kairen Mountains
The mountains from Lyodanoi up to the Frostbound Wall, this area is the homeland of the dragonborn and holds great sentimental value to them.
- History: This area has been consistently settled by dragonborn since their creation. Most consider it their true homeland, the rocky cradle of their species. In the post-Cataclysm chaos, they hunkered down and tried to continue their way of life. The lack of magic and the disrupted climate hampered them a bit, but they survived admirably for nearly 120 years. This makes Lyodanoi the oldest continually inhabited city of the Federated Nations--it traces its roots back to Fall of Empire and the 2nd Interregnum about 700 years ago.
90 years ago, this prosperity came to a crashing halt as creatures native to the eternal winter that had gripped the Nocthean plateau for decades began aggressively attacking settlements near the borders of the plateau. Harrassment turned into full-scale war, led by frost giants and gigantic frost worms. The first dragonborn kingdom (called now the Old Kingdom) fell in the first attack, as the old capital was near there. The survivors under Clan Shakti retreated to a more defensible position at Lyodanoi and have been fighting for their lives ever since. Only the aid of first the goblin tribes that joined the naescent Dynasty and then the orcs a few decades later have kept them afloat.
Recently, the aid of the Catalyst and the Return of the scattered clan fragments from the Council have bolstered the Dynasty’s ranks enough to push the Hungering Frost back and complete the Frostbound Wall. This has eased matters a significant amount for the last 5 years.
- Religion: See https://www.admiralbenbo.org/index.php/the-council-lands/people-and-places/18-nations-and-politics/stone-throne/121-religious-life-in-the-stone-throne
- Demographics: The Kairen Mountains are almost entirely dragonborn except in Lyodanoi, which has members of all three races (and a few scattered visitors from the other Federated Nations). The major clans here are Anu and Gal.
- Climate: Cold. Very, very cold. Short summers and long winters make growing crops difficult. The area depends on convoys from Safehold for food supplies and from Byarmarch for materiel.
- Economy: The only significant economic activity is in the capital, Lyodanoi. The rest is a dependent state, the spear-head of the war effort.
- Government: The region is under military control, led by The High Claw, Aodh vo Gal. Even so, the local clans handle most affairs themselves. There is a strong effort underway to consolidate all the outlying clanholds into more defensible positions, but this is strongly unpopular and so far has made little headway.
- Architecture: Stone buildings with thatch roofs, often set into small valleys and into the mountain-side itself. Everything is built for defense, and every settlement has a fort to which the residents can retreat if needed. Very little decoration or aesthetic sense--everything is blocky and over-built.
- Culture: Wary, weary, and warlike. Everyone has weapons at hand, constantly. Children are taught war-games from an early age, starting with evasion and working up to mock battles as early as 5 or 6. The clans train with their breath weapons extensively. A sense of exhaustion pervades most of the smaller towns.
- Traveler Housing: There’s always room in the forts, although it’s cold and uncomfortable. Better bring your own food, however. Payment, in fact, is usually in the form of food. They relish things that aren’t salted or pickled (or grains other than the coarse barley and rye they subsist on). Lyodanoi has actual inns.
- Preserved foods
- Imported delicacies
- Taboos and superstitions
- Never go anywhere without a weapon.
- Never refer to the Storm Serpent by name; if someone does, spit over both shoulders and wiggle your hands (like a snake’s wriggling) to stave off her attention.
- The Hungering Frost is the dominant threat. Giants, worms, frost goblins, elemental creatures, and wolves are the main enemies, although frost trolls exist. It’s rumored that a great white dragon leads them, but none have seen it.
The capital of the Dynasty, about 5k people. Founded nearly 700 years ago as a gift from the remnants of the Western Empire to the dragonborn people, it has been a holy city for them. For the centuries of the 2nd Interregnum it was the gateway for those climbing to the plateau where the bulk of the Old Kingdom lived. As such, it was always a rich city, ruled by the priest-clan, Shakti. With the advent of the Frost and the Retreat of the clans, it has become the new religious and political center of a nation besieged.
- Location: At the mouth of Last Resort Pass, Lyodanoi guards the only clear entrance to Safehold and the rest of the Dynasty.
- Defenses. Extensive walls around the city itself are anchored into the mountain walls. Further up the pass are multiple layers of heavily defended citadels. The eastern side is nearly un-defended, as the threat is from the west.
- Economics. By law, all goods imported into the Dynasty must pass through Lyodanoi. This has made it the haven for trade with other nations. In addition, as the capital and guardian of the passes west, it absorbs and redistributes much of the goods and people moving in both directions.
- Leadership. The city is under the control of Aodh vo Shakti, consort to Queen Beitris vo Shakti. He mostly handles matters through an elected council of elders.
Byarmarsh is the southern region, home to the goblin tribes and much of the industrial might of the Dynasty. Centered around several rich veins of coal and iron, as well as a couple of large rivers (the Khol to the north and the Vodianoi to the south), this region hums with activity and rings with the sound of drop hammers; fires light the night and clouds of smoke belch from blast furnaces every day.
- History: Goblins have inhabited this area since time immemorial. Unlike many tribes, these did not participate in the Cataclysm War. Since there are no passes off the glacier-covered Nocthian Plateau in this area and the Kairen Mountains are particularly harsh, neither the Old Empire nor the rising Frost troubled this region until about 120 years ago. A king at that point, looking to increase productivity, sent out prospectors to find new sources of coal and iron. Those they found, in abundance. Forging an alliance with the local goblin tribes, they created a union greater than its parts; a union where the focus and skill of the dragonborn are met by the vast numbers and tireless curiosity of the goblin-folk and both compensate for the deficiencies of the other.
Since then it has been a hub of activity, and the fastest growing region. Lately orcs (especially of clan Kord) have started filtering down, providing their mining expertise and strong backs to the cause. In the last 5 years, a few of the constructs developed as mindless labor have awoken, creatures now known as the Soul-born.
- Religion: Byarmarsh is the least religious region of the Dynasty. While most of the dragonborn still honor their clan lares, overall religious devotion is much lessened compared to the Kairen Mountains or Safehold. Goblins are not strongly religious in any way. Reverence for Ascended Heroes or kami is also only done on a transactional basis, rather than out of devotion.
- Demographics: Most of the population here are goblinoids. Clan Byarsh is the major dragonborn clan here, with a small population of Kord orcs.
- Climate: Shielded by the highest point of the Kairen Mountain range, Byarmarsh is, contrary to its name, rather dry. The name is a corruption of Byarmarch, the border held by Byarsh. Winters are warmer than anywhere else in the Dynasty, and the threat level here is second-lowest after Safehold.
- Economy: Byarmarsh is the most industrialized region of the Federated nations, surpassing even Moon’s Vengeance Foothills. This is largely devoted to war production, however and so much of the productivity does not trickle down into private hands. Much of the food is brought in from Safehold to the north, as well as vast amounts of lumber and leather goods from Baile Duchas. Fortified research establishments also dot the foothills; frequent explosions are heard from these as new weapons and technologies are being developed (often catastrophically failing in the process).
- Government: The area is controlled by Lord Maeve vo Byarsh, an elderly dragonborn. Known for always demanding results and driving her researchers and workers hard.
- Architecture: The manufactories are made of stone with slate roofs; the houses are often built of discarded lumber or other scrap. This is especially true of goblin housing. Very few of them put significant effort or value in fancy dwellings. The noble dragonborn tend to build houses of stone much like those in the Kairen Mountains.
- Culture: As a group, Byarmarchers have very little patience for dilly-dallying. They’re always busy, always in a hurry. Bustle is the operative word of the region. While there are parties, they are usually celebrating a production breakthrough. They’re open and accepting of outsiders, as long as they bring new ideas with them. They put no stock in tradition; this makes them get along poorly with Council-landers and especially dwarves.
- Traveler Housing: Travellers are housed in worker barracks. Food is provided and while nutritious, it’s bland and unsatisfying. If you’re known to a noble, you might be able to stay at their estate for better accommodations.
- Wheat/rice noodles
- Beer / wine
- Taboos and superstitions
- Some people are considered “cursed” by the machines and all production delays are blamed on them.
- A sample of all drinks are offered “to the spirits of the machines” at the beginning of each work-day.
- Mad scientists, mainly. And labor unrest at the hard pace set by the leaders.
- To the south-east, the wild goblin tribes of the Blood-hunt Wildlands have started to make themselves annoying.
The main city of the south, about 10k people. Almost entirely an industrial zone, this city reeks of coal smoke and fine soot covers everything.
- Location. On the banks of the southern-most tributary of the Khol river and drawing large amounts of power from that river. Near the edge of the Kairen Mountains.
- Defenses. Very few. Walls surround the old city, but the city has mushroomed out beyond them. Patrols of dragonborn and hobgoblins keep the peace among the workers.
- Economics. Heavy industry of all types, especially ironmongery. Several prototype blast furnaces and hammer mills are located here..
- Leadership. Governed by the arch task-mistress Maeve vo Byarsh and her industrial council of nobles and goblin shamans. Disruption of the workforce is not tolerated.