Gwynne
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Capital: Ashara (population: 47,000)
Population: 1,383,000 (93% Thann, 1% Üthrari, 1% Adari, 5% other)
Demi-humans: 85,000 (70% dwarves, 15% elves, 5% halflings, 10% gnomes)
Humanoids: few
Government: Tyrannical Monarchy (currently ruled by the Eridani Dynasty)
Current Leader: King Garik II
Coat of Arms: a golden rose on a dark red field.
Exports: copper, iron, weapons, lumber, mercenaries, rope


Gwynne is the proudest and most warlike of the Thannish nations on Corwyn today, and one of the few western kingdoms that seem likely to ally itself with the East in the coming darkness.

Borders


Gwynne’s northern and eastern borders are the jagged peaks of the Frostcrown Mountains, its western border is the massive Thannish Estuary, and its southern borders are the shores of the Sea of Orel.

Politics


The current ruler of Gwynne is King Garik II, who is the 23rd ruler of the troubled Eridani Dynasty. King Garik II rules the kingdom from the Crimson Throne, located in the great hall of the massive fortress of Castle Myrkur.

Gwynne is officially ruled by King Garik II; but rumor has it; the kingdom is secretly ruled by his scheming, second wife; Queen Ileosa, and his ambitious son Gerold. This is due to the illness and frailty of the king and the blind ambition of those closest to him. Prince Gerold is seen as a dangerous figure, for many believe he has secretly allied himself with the Dark Lord of Drakhara.

Politically, Gwynne is a monarchy; but local, administrative rule is sub-divided into 12 Duchies and 85 Baronies, all of whom are ruled by powerful Vassal Lords, un-waveringly loyal to the Crimson Throne.

The twelve Gwynnish Duchies are: Arcata, Brandiar, Carmathan, Darokan, Ghastonne, Harrow, Morov, Ostel, Polten, Soravia, Tyr and Ustala.

Prominent Gwynnish noble families: House Arabani, House Carcano, House Elbrus, House Eridani, House Erisko, House Hagen, House Insley, House Malvo, House Renfro, House Rexor, House Tyrano and House Van Deen

Military


Gwynne is a nation of great fortresses and fortified cities. It has to be, for along three of its borders are hostile powers; Orel to the west, Üthrar to the east, and Morgoth to the north. Sadly, Gwynne has been invaded on many occasions, and bitter memories of misery and death burn brightly in her military leadership.

This bloody history is why Gwynnish cities are fortresses, and why Gwynne; a very poor nation, spends so much of its treasury on its military. Two things have always defined the defenses of Gwynne; military strength and strong fortifications.

For its protection. Gwynne has a large standing army of 10,000 soldiers. But in times of war, the Kingdom can muster well over 45,000 troops, due to large noble contingents.

Gwynne also maintains a small navy of 20 warships that patrol the Sea of Orel from their main base at Renford. Gwynnish warships are recognizable by their black hulls and crimson sails.

Climate


Most of the realm is made up rolling hills, sharp valleys, and grassy, high, windswept plains. The climate of Gwynne is usually warm because of its southern location, but the chilly winds off the mountains, give a dampness that outsiders find distressing.

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Life & Society


Gwynne is the proudest, the most militaristic and most violent of the Thannish states. Its current ruler is a tired, frail, old man; the people of the kingdom are suspicious and miserable.

The country remains wretchedly poor, despite sales from its abundant copper and iron mines and its famous weapon smiths, who are the marvel of the Heartlands.

The Gwynnish nobility live lavishly, while the majority of the common folk live a dreary life of abject poverty. Gwynne derives much of her meager income from weapon sales. Gwynnish blades are in much demand throughout Corwyn, but are not enough to feed the coffers of the nation.

The little money remaining in the royal treasuries is drained for the large army that the Royal Gwynnish Court demands. Part of the reason this nation is essentially an armed camp is her proximity to Drakhara in the north and Üthrar on the east.

Sadly, one thing missing in Gwynne is fertile lands for agriculture. Gwynnish territory is made up of mostly rocky soil and stony hills, with a few dense forests; so there is little room for planting fields. Because of this Gwynne must rely upon her neighbors to buy food. This poor economic situation keeps the nation in near poverty and usually on the verge of war.

It is little wonder, then, regarding the rumors Gwynne is secretly in league with Sorimmar.

Geography


Cinderlands: a desolate region in far northern Gwynne, located south of the massive Frostcrown Mountains.

Knifewood: nearly impenetrable forest of thorny trees, razor-sharp bushes and tangle weeds, near the eastern border between Gwynne and Üthrar. The independent freehold of Taraghon is also located in this region.

Modran Hills: A small hilly region in southwestern Gwynne, home to the city of Ghastonne and the ancient fortress of Gwyn-Haro.

Ravenwood: (Haunted Forest) dark and dense woodland is home to many foul beasts and other more terrifying creatures of the night. Once a part of the realm of Gwynne, now the forest is ungoverned and seldom traveled. The few Wood-Elves that dwell here are secluded and wary of outsiders. The forest is also home to the abandoned fortress of Castle Vilmartine.

Three River Valley: aptly named region in west Gwynne, near the Ravenwood where the Arkhona River, Myrival River, and Rose River all run southeast from the Salakrün Mountains into the Sea of Orel. The land here is fertile and rich due to the silt deposits from the many river and stream running through it. Because of this, the valley has some of the best farmland in Gwynne.

Waymeet Pass: A narrow winding passage through the Salakrün Mountains between the realms of Drakhara and Gwynne. Beyond this pas is the Freehold of Trevalia, while the southern tip is the freehold of Trevalia.

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Important Sites


Ansilay Road: road that runs from Ashara through Waymeet Pass into Drakhara.

Ashara: (population: 47,000) Gwynne's capital and largest city, located along the eastern banks of Myrival River.

Castle Myrkur: royal citadel of Gwynne, located within the center of Ashara; its capital city.

Castle Vilmartine: large fortress located deep within the Ravenwood.

Carthac Keep: small military outpost, located on its eastern border with Üthrar.

Crimson Throne: the royal seat of Gwynnish rulers, located within the Great Hall of Castle Myrkur.

Ghastonne: (pop: 13,000) Small city located in southwestern Gwynne.

Gwyn-Haro: an ancient fortress located within the Modran Hills.

Harmswood: site of an important battle in 1089/6, which took place during the War of Three Kings.

Keslyn: site of a horrific battle in 1289/4 which ended the War of Annexation.

Kholis: (population: 19,000) Gwynne's third-largest city, located in the far-western region of the kingdom.

Ralansyr: site of a terrible battle in 43/5 which ended the Unification Wars.

Renford: (population: 27,000) Gwynne's second-largest city, located in the eastern region of the kingdom.

Stoneway: Paved road that runs east from Kholis, to Ashara, then Renford, then east into the realm of Üthrar.

Talissen: site of an epic battle which took place in 825/6, during the Forgotten War.

Toryl: site of an important battle which took place in 796/6, during the War of Thorns.

Westcrown: (population: 8,500) Small city located in northern Gwynne.

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Local History


As the proudest and most war-torn of the Thannish states, Gwynne has a long history filled with violence and treachery. Below, is the history of the kingdom, broken into various time periods.

Origins as Ashanti Territory


In the early years of the Third Age, this region was home to several large tribes of the Ashanti people. The largest Ashanti city was “A’Shorah,” a sprawling settlement located on the eastern side of a massive junction of the Myrival and Ghastonne Rivers.

The nearby Modran Hills were home to a large enclave of Thanns calling themselves the Modrani, who were led by an ambitious warlord named Gareth Gwynnett. Soon, Gareth began expanding his holdings in the Modran Hills. His armies conquered much of the surrounding region, including the settlement of Ghastonne.

From Ghastonne, the Modrani expanded further, finally capturing A’Shorah. Afterward, Lord Gareth ordered their people into exile, and destroyed much of their city, including “Myra-Kur;” a large temple dedicated to the God Lehr.

Gareth re-named the Ashanti city “Ashara,” and on the ruins of their sacred temple built a massive fortress named “Castle Myrkur.”

With the Ashanti banished into the Borderlands, Üthrar, or Drakhara, the Modrani cemented their control over the region, and the Barony of Ghastonne prospered for many centuries, ruled by the House of Gwynnett.

The Arrival of Valden the Conqueror


In the late years of the Third Age, the Barony of Ghastonne faced a new threat from the south. For over a decade, a powerful Lord named Valden Durethë had been waging merciless warfare in his quest to unite the entire Thannish race under a single banner.

Known as “Valden the Conqueror,” the ambitious Lord from Tekrit had conquered several other Thannish nations, including the Rin Falar Freehold, the Sokoro Union, and the Oramar Confederacy. He now turned his gaze to the Modrani and their territory.

After a brief military campaign, Valden’s vastly superior armies crushed their Modrani opponents and reached the gates of Ashara. Ghastonne’s ruler, Baron Gillam Gwynnett, promptly bent the knee, and the Barony of Ghastonne was absorbed into Valden’s massive Kingdom of Valdor.

The Great Seduction


Although the Modrani people may be been conquered, their nobles would soon prove they could be equally treacherous without open warfare.

After Ashara fell, Valden the Conqueror took over Castle Myrkur as his temporary home. Once there, Lord Gillam introduced the King to Naomi Mallistäer, a beautiful Modrani aristocrat who soon seduced conquering hero, and gave him a son named Rhodan.

Politically, this was to prove catastrophic, as back in Kingsport, Valden was already married to Queen Anavel who had bore him a son named Eldan. The rivalry between these tow half-brothers would prove the undoing of the massive empire forged by Valden

The Twilight War


Soon after King Valden died, his two sons Eldan and Rhodan were at each other’s throats, and a bloody civil war broke out which destroyed the kingdom of Valdor. Eldan was victorious and kept about two-thirds of Valdorian territory (what is today, the kingdoms of Eldara and Orel), whereas the eater third of the kingdom became known as “Rhodara.”

The Kingdom of Rhodara


In the early years of the Fourth Age, the kingdom of Rhodara was forged out of a bloody conflict called the Twilight War. King Rhodan and his descendants, he House of Mallistäer ruled the kingdom for centuries.

Rhodara prospered for many centuries under Mallistäer rule. Things began to change for the worse with the outbreak of the Incursion Wars, a series of Vilzari invasions of Eldara which began in the year 1256/4.

In the wars against the hated Vilzari, both Rhodara and Orel came to Eldara’s aid. As part of the Thannish alliance, King Radovan Mallistäer II rode south with a large army and took part in several military campaigns.

In the year 1264/4, King Radovan rode forth with a small cavalry force to engage Vilzari raiders who had landed along the Bloody Coast near the small village of Flint Harbor. During that battle, the King was struck by a poisoned dart and died two days later.

As the King died without issue, the Granite Throne of Rhodara was now hotly contested.

Reign of the Mad-King


After King Radovan’s death, the Rhodaran Throne was in dispute. After much political intrigue and bloody infighting, the Rhodaran Elanthir and rule of the kingdom came into the hands of Lord Gayorg Gwynnett.

The House of Gwynnett had long served House Mallistäer, biding their time. The family nursed old resentments dating back to when the Gwynnett family had ruled the region during the Barony of Ghastonne period.

Overcoming all obstacles, House Gwynnett once again rose to power in Rhodara. Unfortunately, King Gayorg was a ruthless tyrant and cruel sadist, who believed that through sorcery and the black arts he could attain greatness for Rhodara and immortality for himself. Gayorg’s twenty-five-year reign was marked by unsurpassed terror and bloodshed.

In the year 1283/4, Gayorg betrayed his former alliance and invaded the neighboring Kingdom of Orel, sensing the nation had been fatally weakened by several Vilzari incursions. Thus, began the terrible War of Annexation; a horrific conflict that caused death and misery across three nations.

Both Eldara and Alveron came to Orel’s aid and eventually, the Rhodarans were beaten back into their own territory. Their retreating armies left a bloody trail of murder, rape, and destruction in their wake.

This savagery was repaid in kind by the allied forces when they entered Rhodara. Finally, at the epic battle of Keslyn, the Rhodaran were crushed and King Gayorg was slain. The allies sacked the city of Ashara, captured Castle Myrkur and smashed the Granite Throne into a thousand pieces.

Gwynne is Founded


After the War of Annexation, Rhodara had been destroyed, but the House of Gwynnett endured. Under Gayorg’s surviving nephew Gavin, the kingdom was rebuilt and renamed “Gwynne.”

King Gavin rebuilt Castle Myrkur and ordered the construction of the famous Crimson Throne to replace the earlier seat destroyed during the sack of Ashara.

Unification Wars


Gwynne did not remain an independent kingdom for long. In the early years of the Fifth Age, King Gorthon Gwynnett foolishly choose to go to war against the forces loyal to Ravinia Myrnäe of Alveron, and Gwynne was totally defeated. By the end of the Unification Wars, the Ravinian Empire had been founded, and Gwynne was forced into becoming a vassal-state. This political arrangement was to last another five centuries.

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Role in the Cataclysm


The Gwynnish people always resented the Ravinian Empire and its dominance over their people, their lucrative copper and weapons industry, and the heavy taxes imposed on them.

By the sixth century of the Fifth Age, Gwynnish malcontent was at a boiling point. An extremely popular noble named Duke Malachar Vilmartine vowed to avenge Gwynnish humiliation and restore Gwynne to its rightful place. He secretly began meeting with Sorimmar to plot the fall of the Empire. At the same time, Malachar was a rising officer in the Ravinian military, with a superb reputation for courage and leadership. Malachar became most famous after the Battle of Corrensyr, in which his small force completely annihilated a large orcish army from Morgoth.

This entire battle was a set-up, as Sorimmar allowed Malachar to know his battle plans to ensure his victory and lull the Empress into a false sense of security. After the battle, the Empress promoted Malachar to her Imperial Military Council, and gave him the rank of Lord Marshall. Malachar used this position to become a close advisor to the Empress, and some rumor, her lover as well.

By 621/5, Sorimmar launched his final invasion of the West. Malachar stole into Ravinia’s chamber, murdered her and stole the Orenthir. He promptly gave the artifact to Sorimmar, and then rose up with his own army to besiege the city of Arynäe. Malachar successfully destroyed the city of Arynäe and slew King Erondar Myrnäe as well.

He was himself slain four years later at the Battle of Harkalad by Erondar’s son Elrovar. With his death and Sorimmar’s defeat, Gwynne soon fell into complete anarchy.

Under the Baldurin Dynasty


After the Cataclysm, Gwynne was left in ruins and its people were starving. It took several years for the nation to rebuild itself. Under the rulership of King Garth Baldurin.

The Baldurin Dynasty ruled Gwynne for 268 years, until the family was overthrown in the Gwynnish Civil War.

Under the Taraghon Dynasty


After the House of Taraghon overthrew the Baldurins in the Gwynnish Civil War, King Gorion ascended the Crimson Throne. The kingdom witnessed several years of violence and terror as Gorion ruthlessly destroyed all potential rivals, and the entire region was wracked with widespread slaughter and physical destruction.

The Taraghon Dynasty continued to rule Gwynne for 411 years. Their reign is remembered as a dark time for the Kingdom, filed with terror and misery for the Gwynnish people.

Taraghon rule over the kingdom finally ended when King Gheren III foolishly sided with Sorimmar in the War of Crows, and was killed at the epic Battle of Krell.

Under the Eridani Dynasty


In the wake of the War of Crows, Gwynne was physically devastated and its economy was in tatters.

An ambitious noble named Lord Garathar Eridani managed to take control of the war-torn country and crown himself king. The Eridani Dynasty’s rule over Gwynne was much less draconian than their predecessors, however it was by no means benevolent.

The House of Eridani has always been ambitious and greedy, and Gwynne has suffered for that over the centuries. Gwynne was barely able to defend herself during the Forgotten War, when a huge orc horde from Drakhara invaded the kingdom in the year 821/6.

As a result, much of the country was ravaged, and it took the aid of neighboring Alveron and Orel to free Gwynnish territory of the orcish host. By the end of the war, much of northern Gwynne was burnt out, specidically the beautiful Bronzewood forest was completely burned, leaving a thousand square miles of charred, blackened ground that become known as “the Cinderlands.”

King Galiron was slain during the epic battle of Talissen, but his forces did finally drive the orcs back over the Frostcrown Mountains into Drakhara.

The Forgotten War saw old enemies unite against a common foe. The old hatreds between the Modrani people of Gwynne and the Ashanti people of the northern reaches allied together to defeat the orcs of Drakhara. For a time, it seemed that a new era of peaceful co-existence was beginning. Sadly, within a decade of the end of the conflict, the two groups were back to slaughtering each other.

War of the Three Kings


After this disastrous events of the Forgotten War, Gwynne began a long period of decline, leading to misery and poverty throughout the land.

Gwynne was a poor nation, which struggled to barely feed its population, and was not a great military power by any means. Despite all of these circumstances, in an act of utter madness, King Gregor Erindani II began the disastrous War of Three King in the year 1085/6.

Gregor was infatuated with Olivia DeMarco, a high-born lady from Alenthas, and began an affair with her. When she spurned him and returned to her home Kingdom of Alveron, Gregor ordered his army to invade to bring back his beloved.

The war dragged on for nearly four years, and Rynnish forces pushed Gregor’s armies out of Alveron and then invaded Gwynne. On the evening following the Battle of Harmswood, King Gregor was murdered by his own vassals, and the war came swiftly an end.

Those same vassal lords then placed a 12-year-old child named Galen Eridani on the Crimson Throne, and the infamous reign of the “Boy-King” began.

Recent Events


In the year 1218/6, King Garik II assumed the Crimson Throne, and has ruled Gwynne for the last 29 years. The King was originally married to Queen Myranda who bore him two sons; Garth and Gerold.

Prince Garth was killed in a riding accident several years ago, and then last year the Queen succumbed to a strange fever.

Upon her death, King Garik married Lady Ileosa, a woman more than 30 years his junior. This marriage was scandalous, and had cause much political upheaval at the Gwynnish Royal Court. It is said that Neolandus Dhoru; the long-serving Royal Seneschal was against the marriage and he and the King are now estranged.