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MINROTHAD (Exarchate of)

Location: Island chain in the Sea of Dread, off the coast of Karameikos, west of Hattias; southeastern Brun. OW

Area: 8,120 sq. mi. (21,030 sq. km.).

Population: 200,000 (approximately 50% elves, 43% humans, 5% dwarves, 2% hin), including Minrothad City (pop. 25,000; mixed, primarily human and elven), Harbortown (pop. 12,000; mixed, primarily human and elven), Malfton (pop. 5,000; 80% hin), Seahome (pop. 25,000; 95% sea elven), Verdun (pop. 13,500; 99% elven), Gapton (pop. 5,000; mixed), Stronghold (pop. 10,000; 99% dwarven), Cove Harbour (pop. 7,000; mixed).

Languages: Thyatian (official; used for trade purposes), Minrothaddan, Elvish (Meditor/Verdier dialect).

Coinage: Thyatian Standard: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), justiciar (ep), asterius (sp), denarius (cp) official. Guild coins still common: crona (gp), byd (ep), quert (sp), plen (cp).

Taxes: 20% income tax collected quarterly on the aristocracy, nobility, and wealthy; 15% income tax collected quarterly on everyone else (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). Thyatians abroad must still pay their taxes. Expensive and magical items are also taxed 25% of their worth. 10% imperial commercia sales tax on all goods except food, clothing, and fixed assets; levied on imports, rebated on exports. Tax on slave owning equal to 50% of the slave's value annually. Property tax levied based on quality of land, roughly 6% of its value annually. In addition, all imports (goods or services) have an 18% tariff, though all Thyatian dominions are exempted from this, paying only the commercia.

Government Type: Dominion, member of the Thyatian Empire. In Minrothad the traditional council consisting of the various guild masters of Minrothad advises the exarch.

Industries: Agriculture, crafts, fishing, mining (Fortress Island), services, shipbuilding (Minrothad City and Harbortown), trade.

Important Figures: Oran Meditor (Exarch and Guild Master), Nosmo Beldan (Merchant-Prince), Ormun Corser (Priest of Minroth), Saroso Elsan (Merchant-Prince), Ulard Forester (Guild Master), Murl of Vlaardoen (Wizard).

Flora and Fauna: Birds, donkeys, goats and lizards are commonly spotted on the various islands. Monkeys and small, wild pigs are also known to be present deeper inland.

Vegetation consists primarily of mahogany and teak, although numerous fruit-bearing trees are also common.

Further Reading: GAZ9 The Minrothad Guilds, previous almanacs.

Description by Demetius Vannopolus.

Minrothad is an archipelago of moderate-sized islands. It is home to crafty, enterprising traders who are also somewhat insular. How the people of Minrothad are able to combine these two features-their traditional parochialism and their obvious success as cosmopolitan merchants-is beyond me. Until recently, the people of Minrothad had largely cut themselves off from external contact. Even now they hold themselves somewhat aloof from foreigners. None the less, their merchants can be found in almost every port in the region.

The Land

The nation of Minrothad consists of two large islands (though nowhere near the size of Ochalea or Nuar), three medium-sized islands, two small but still noteworthy islands, and countless scattered islets which are only a few square miles in size. The seas around Minrothad are often fog-shrouded, and only the best maps accurately mark the location of the tiny islands, various rock formations, and reefs. This makes the waters of Minrothad somewhat dangerous for inexperienced navigators, and in part explains the skilled seamanship that is common among the people of Minrothad themselves. The seas here are teeming with fish of all sorts, providing much of the diet for the inhabitants.

As far as visitors are concerned, the major island is Trader's Island. Located here is Minrothad's capital and busiest port, Minrothad City. This city lays on the eastern half of this roughly circular island. The town of Harbortown is at its western edge. The island itself is bifurcated down the middle, roughly north-south, by a ridge of volcanic mountains, the Diamond Spurs. These have been dormant for a long time, but in the distant past they covered the island in volcanic ash. This resulted in fairly good soil, and much of the island is forested or given over to fields that grow crops for the residents.

The other major island is Alfeisle. This is a long island, just to the west of Hattias. It has a narrow waist in the middle. Down the spine of Alfeisle runs a range of rough ground, hills and mountains, which are mostly uninhabited. The two ends, which spread out into forested plains, are the settled areas. Seahome, the major city of the sea elves, dominates the northern half of Alfeisle. At the southern end lies Verdun, a city of forest elves. With the exception of the craggiest, rockiest of the hills and mountains, Alfeisle is covered in dense forests.

Open Isle is situated just south of Terentias. Except for the southern tip (which consists of grassy knolls), it is an island of forested hills. Open Island is home to Minrothad's hin population; their main town is Malfton on the southeastern coast.

Fortress Island is an extremely rugged, rocky mountain which is home to Minrothad's dwarven community. A long, narrow sound runs into the heart of this island, at the end of which, perched high up on the cliffside, is the town of Stronghold. Defensive emplacements line both sides of the sound, insuring that this island truly lives up to its name. The island itself has little noteworthy vegetation, just some hardy bushes and grasses clinging to the rocky soil.

North Island is like several of the others in miniature; a mountainous ridge divides it down the middle, and the island itself is heavily forested and very hilly. North Island doesn't have much of an anchorage, so aside from a fortified refuge up in the mountain country it is largely wilderness.

Though Fire Island and Blackrock Island are located at opposite sides of Minrothad they are virtually identical-piles of volcanic rock, both dominated by active volcanoes. Some vegetation grows in the areas least frequently struck by volcanic eruptions, and only a few fishermen deign to live on either.

The People

As I mentioned, the people of Minrothad somehow manage to combine the cosmopolitan spirit of international traders with a strong streak of parochialism and isolationism. By and large the people of Minrothad don't like contact with outsiders. Trader's Island is by far the most welcoming-most foreign merchants who visit Minrothad dock in either Minrothad City or Harbortown. Living here also are most of the few people not of Minrothaddan heritage who live in the isles. The other islands are quite clannish and insular; not only do they set themselves apart from outsiders, but they also form distinct subcultures within Minrothad itself. Their rivalries with the other peoples of Minrothad can be fiercer than with anyone else, including the rival merchants of Darokin.

The main method of enforcing cooperation has been through the various guilds of Minrothad. In Minrothad these are not just associations of craftsmen, like the guilds of other countries. In Minrothad the guilds combine the aspects typical of guilds in Thyatis, for example, with the functions typical of merchant houses in Darokin (or Thyatis City). In addition, there is a strong racial component to these guilds. Thus, each faction, political and racial, in Minrothaddan society is given a piece of the action. By dividing responsibilities in this fashion, and giving each race, through its guild, monopolistic control over aspects of Minrothad's economy, rivalries were reduced (but not eliminated). Note that these guilds are not exclusively made up of one race or clan. But the dominant race or clan controls access into the various trades under their authority, and can prevent people from practicing a craft if they choose. Most citizens of Minrothad belong to one of these guilds. Career changes are almost unknown, because of the nature of the guilds as being not only craft associations but also expressions of clan allegiance.

The recent adhesion of Minrothad to Thyatis has, so far, had little impact on Minrothad's social order. The centre of Thyatian influence is on Trader's Island-this is the exarchate's administrative hub, and the location of the small Thyatian garrison. On most of the islands Thyatian influence is represented by a consular liaison-a single official with a small staff (usually fewer than ten persons total). The guild masters form an advisory council, and for the most part there has been as little change as possible from the way the previous government handled things. Each island is semi-autonomous, with strong local governments in any case. The affiliation with Thyatis, for now, is more akin to a strong alliance or a patron-client state relationship than to absorption. If I may say, the good relations so far have been in no small part due to my own policies, deliberately aimed at changing as little as possible. This has made the transition as smooth as possible, with minimal impact on the daily life of the average citizen of Minrothad. The biggest impacts, in my opinion, have been positive, like the extension of Thyatian law and the rights of Thyatian citizenship to the people of Minrothad. Shortly after Minrothad joined the imperium, envoys were dispatched to Seahome to discuss strategies to defeat the Twaelar. In winter one unit of Home Guards, consisting mostly of volunteers, was dispatched to Thyatis City to help the emperor defeat the rebels. Minrothad also elected senators to send to Thyatis City in AC 1017, further cementing the bonds between us.

The biggest impact, however, has been the spread of people from Minrothad throughout the empire. After the problems of AC 1016, numerous leaders of Minrothad were found complicit of various crimes, most notably the assassination plot against Darokin's House Linton. These were exiled to various parts of the Thyatian Empire, taking with them their families and followers. More people followed, and small settlements of Minrothaddan people were established in many of Thyatis's cities (including Thyatis City, where several hundred moved to River Guard Town, and a similar number live in the trading quarters of the city). These emigrants have established a strong trading network throughout Thyatis, both competing with and complementary to that of other Thyatian merchants. This has expanded trade throughout the empire's colonies greatly. Though there have been some frictions as a result, especially as relates to the emperor's policies on the expansion of trade in Thyatis through programs favouring Thyatian merchants. Still, this relationship has benefited both parties, and the merchants of Minrothad, alongside those of Thyatis proper, sail the trade lanes as far east as Bellissaria, as far west as the Savage Coast baronies, and as far south as Davania.