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by Christopher Richard Davies

GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos was the first gazetteer. (Indeed, it was the first accessory dedicated to a specific imagined geographic area for either the D&D or AD&D games.) It should have been the model for those that followed -- however, things did not quite turn out that way. In any event, the setting described requires very few modifications to fit the revised rules. Thus, what follows are mostly additions, rather than revisions.

[*] First of all, the population figures in the Gazetteer are much too high. (See DMG, p.153) Specularum, as a large and important city, should have a population of around 25,000. Other settlements should also have their listed populations cut in half. For example, Kelven thus becomes a very large town of 10,000, while the town around Fort Doom has only 5000 people living there.

[*] There is somewhat more to the history of the Thyatian conquest of Traladara than the summary in GAZ1 reveals, a secret that has never been revealed until now. As that history states, Darokin and Thyatis both began to feel some concern about the prospect of the peoples of "the forest nation" being united under a powerful leader. It does not state that the concern in question was not hypothetical, that a powerful leader had begun to rise in the western forests of the region, where the Koriszegy clan had their keep. They worshipped little known powers of elemental evil, and converted their fortress into a temple dedicated to those powers.[1]

Warned of these developments by auguries as well as more mundane spying, the Thyatian emperor Gabronius IV took action against this threat. Following the quick and easy conquest of Marilenev, a full cohort, with extensive arcane and divine support, was sent to besiege Koriszegy Keep, under the command of Sir Stephan Karameikos.[2] They suffered heavy casualties, but the keep was reduced to a ruin and all its inhabitants killed. (Or so it was thought ...) Owing to the isolation of that region, and the casualties taken, this battle was never publicised as other triumphs of the era were, and the details are hidden in a rotting book in the Thyatian archives.

[*] The Church of Karameikos is not dedicated to any particular Immortal or Immortals. In fact, a central tenet of their theology holds that the gods one choose to honour is not as important as the way in which one lives one's life. (It is still important to show respect to divine beings, since failing to do so is impious and stains one's soul.) Clerics and other divine characters trained by the Church of Karameikos can choose any Immortal as their patron. In practice, most of them follow the same Immortals honoured in Thyatis, with the addition of Chardastes, a Thyatian healer who travelled among the Traladarans hundreds of years ago and supposedly won Immortality.

It should be noted that it is considered very rude to ask a cleric or paladin which Immortal they honour -- it implies that they aren't doing their job very well, since if they were you would know without needing to ask. Of the published characters, Olliver Jowett is a cleric[3] of Ixion, Sherlane Halloran is a cleric of Tarastia, and Alfric Oderby is a cleric of Vanya, as are most of his followers. Desmond Kelvin II is a paladin of Vanya. Magdel, Jowett's assistant, is not a cleric, but an ordinary member of the church -- any spells she casts will be from ritual scrolls. It is widely assumed that Aleena Halloran is also a cleric of Tarastia, but in truth she honours Petra! She does not advertise this fact, but close observers will note that she uses stories about Petra's deeds to illustrate correct behaviour far more often than she does stories about other Immortals.

The Church of Karameikos technically didn't break from the Church of Thyatis, since -- technically -- the Church of Thyatis dissolved into several competing religions shortly after the last major war between Thyatis and Alphatia. The last Pontiff was killed during the war, along with many of the Flamen (Patriarchs). Thincol didn't bother to appoint a new Pontiff when he took power, leaving that decision in the hands of the surviving leaders of the hierocracy -- who each declared him- or herself the only acceptable candidate. This politicking disgusted Jowett, then a novice member of the Church, and in response he began to develop the philosophies that would guide a better, reformed church. (It's believed that he may have been slightly influenced by ideas he encountered in a rare copy of The Nahmeh translated into Thyatian.)

[*] Clerics and paladins of the Church of Traladara can choose from Halav, Petra and Zirchev as their patron. Out of every ten of them, roughly seven honour Halav above the others, two honour Petra, and one of them honours Zirchev. All published members of the Church of Traladara honour Halav, though not to the extremes of the Cult of Halav. (Note that while Sergyev is -- of course -- mistaken about Halav being reincarnated as the Duke, he did have a true vision of his patron, which he misunderstood. Just what Halav wants from him, and thus from the Cult, remains to be seen.)

[*] There has always been one troubling inconsistency between this product and later ones. If Hattians, like Baron Ludwig von Hendriks, don't believe in mixing with other peoples, then why did the Baron's father marry Alexius Korrigan's sister, who was also the sister of Stefan's mother? The answer is that there are some Hattians who defy the stereotype, and Ludwig's father, Baron Arnhald von Hendriks, was a fervent opponent of Hattian isolationism and intolerance. He was determined to drag his people out of the dark ages and into the tenth century, and he might well have done so ... had his life not ended so suddenly, in 953, when his son was only a year old and his daughter not yet born.

Arnhald was summoned to a meeting with his suzerain, Count Adolf Oesterhaus, shortly after that worthy returned from an expedition overseas. (The Oesterhaus family is notorious for these expeditions; each succeeding heir to the title of Count goes on one, usually within only a few months after succeeding to the title and the birth of their own son and heir, whichever comes last.) The substance of their meeting will never be known, for the Baron's coach overturned while driving home, killing both him and his driver. Adding to the tragedy, the remains of the coach were not found for several hours, and the bodies within were assailed by wild beasts, judging by the marks on the corpses.

His widow, hated by her husband's family, tried to move the family back to her homeland in Machetos after his death, but the in-laws insisted that Ludwig, at least, should follow the normal Hattian path into the military, and do so on Hattias. So he was raised in two worlds, and found himself truly welcomed in neither. In Machetos he was in the shadow of Stephan and Alexius, and in Hattias he was derided for his supposedly impure blood. Ludwig realised that if he wanted a place in the world for himself, he would have to make it ... or take it. The rest you know.

[*] The future of the Grand Duchy will, assuming no PC involvement, probably follow the following course. When the Desert Nomads invade Darokin, the Master will already be in contact with Ludwig through the Iron Ring. Ludwig will arrange for an opening at the top of the Church of Karameikos' hierarchy, having bought Oderby's assistance with the promise that when he rules the Duchy, Oderby's ideas about the social order will be implemented. (He's even planning on keeping that promise, though he has no intention of allowing Oderby one scrap of real power.) Karameikos' civil war will be brutal and bloody, keeping them from coming to Darokin's aid for quite some time, but ultimately Stephan's forces will win the day, likely with aid from the Five Shires and possibly Alphatia as well.

With the last serious challenge to his rule dealt with, and the divisive elements of the church seriously weakened, Stephan takes the title of King, and the Kingdom of Karameikos becomes peaceful, prosperous and boring ... for around fifteen years, at which point the question of succession will likely divide the kingdom again, with some of the nobles supporting Adriana and some supporting Valen. This doesn't lead to war -- instead, with Justin's help, a deal is worked out whereby Valen becomes king but agrees to take Adriana's children as his heirs. (He has and is likely to have no heirs of his own, being otherwise inclined.) Unfortunately, this only buys another decade of peace before Adriana's eldest son decides he doesn't want to wait for his funny uncle to die so that he can be king ... and so it goes.

[*] One last note -- Lady Marianita Lucia de Leon y Valdez, the Ambassador from Glantri, is a half-elf, as her background implies. (She's also only a 16th level wizard.)


[1] Yes, it's that temple of elemental evil. Luln stands in for Hommet. As for why I'm doing this, I don't think Karameikos really needs two vampire lords, and if the generic setting is going to rip off Cynidicea and the Isle of Dread, I think it's fair to borrow from other established settings. (There is also a stedding of a hill giant chief and a glacial rift of a frost giant jarl in the east of the region, and a hall of a fire giant king just across the border into Rockhome ... and the shadowelves are treating with the latter.)

[2] This Stephan Karameikos would later marry the daughter of the Duke of Machetos and inherit his father-in-law's title, and pass it on to his son Stephan II and grandson Stephan III. (What's that? K:KoA states that Stephan's father has a different name? So?)

[3] There are rumours of a divine class that focuses more on spell-casting than the cleric does, to be describe in Player's Handbook II; when that comes out, I will probably revise Olliver, Sherlane and possibly Oderby as well to be members of that class.