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Robrenn and Eusdria

West of the baronies are a small range of mountains and fertile lands which support large stretches of forest and grasslands. Around these elements rest the nations of Robrenn and Eusdria. Like the baronies, both are dominated by humans, descended from barbarians who migrated into the area from the north. Dwarves also reside in Eusdria in great numbers, and elves live in both states. Because these nations have been hurt by the Red Curse, they remain suspicious of Inheritors. Though they would certainly welcome the eradication of the curse, it might prove difficult to motivate them to follow any leadership that includes Inheritors.

The Chronicle of the Curse

by Don Luis de Manzanas

The people of Robrenn and Eusdria are descended from the ancient barbarian tribes that fled the marching armies of Hule, far to the north. The barbarians hoped to one day reconquer their homeland, but that day never came. Instead, they came to love their new lands and eventually established medieval societies.

The humans of these nations are taller than average; add four inches to heights rolled according to the method in the PHB (adjust weight upward by about 10 pounds as well). Both nations also have large populations of elves and half-elves. Humans, elves, and half-elves here tend to have blond hair, though some have white or red. Most have sky-blue eyes, though darker blue and shades of green are found as well. Very few people of these nations have brown or hazel eyes, and people with these eye shades are considered exotic.

The Confederated Kingdom of Robrenn

Robrenn contains vast tracts of forest and is dominated by druids. Harming the forests, or any of the creatures who dwell in them, is usually considered a crime.

Robrenn's people tend to have wavy hair, commonly worn shoulder length (for both sexes). Most wear their hair loose, though warriors typically wear a braid on one side of the head in front of the ear. Clothing worn by people of Robrenn is usually made of cotton, leather, or buckskin in forest colours (predominantly green and brown, with occasional splashes of yellow, red, or orange). Often, at least one item worn has sharp, geometric patterns.

The most common character classes in Robrenn are druid, ranger, fighter, and bard. Popular kits include Local Hero, Noble, Defender, Wokan, War Priest, Bandit, and Scout. Noble druids and bards originate only in Robrenn.

Robrenn is a confederation of sovereign dominions. The fair climate and generous forests were an early boon to this druidic society. Its braided warriors thrived, though over the centuries their barbaric culture mellowed. The tribal chiefs instituted a nobility that slowly allowed a semi-feudal system to replace the tribal structure. The nobles then initiated a confederacy under the rulership of a new king, Robrenn I, chosen by the druids.

Since then, the king's descendants have inherited his title. Should his lineage become extinct, the druids would choose one of the current nobles as the new ruler. In other respects, the nation has a conventional feudal society, with druids replacing the more traditional clerics. However, no real peasant class exists in Robrenn. Non-nobles are known simply as the Folk; they are free and approximately middle class rather than land-bound and poor like peasants. Nobility and warriors must swear allegiance to the ruler and follow the ways of the druids.

Men and women are of equal status in this society. It is the belief of the Robrenn that their chief patron Immortal, Breig, is the mother of nature. As a result, the highest functions among the druids are often limited to women. However, in order to maintain universal balance, right of birth usually (but not exclusively) favours males. For example, the first-born male has priority over a female in the succession for a nobility title or the ownership of a family heirloom. In general, all that is mystical or linked to nature and creation is considered to be the realm of women; all that is material or linked to warfare and destruction is held to be the realm of men. Note that this does not restrict women from becoming warriors, or men from becoming druids, but such instances are uncommon.

To enforce laws and protect borders, the Confederacy maintains a small standing army, the Guard. A vast reserve of trained and armed citizens also exists. The druids provide a set of weapons and armour to each family's first child upon reaching puberty. (A female child has the right to refuse the weapons if a younger male exists in the family.) The "chosen one" must leave the family and remain with the Confederacy's Guard to learn the art of war. Three years later, the young adult earns the title of "Armed Citizen" and can return home.

Because of this policy, many warriors live in Robrenn, as well as a high ratio of dual-class and multi-class warriors. Each Armed Citizen must provide a month of military service to the Confederacy once a year to support its defence and to stay in shape and ready for battle. In times of war, all Armed Citizens must temporarily return to the Guard.

The druids systematically enforce this system, sometimes quite ruthlessly. Any perceived lack of enthusiasm or poor physical fitness can lead to penances or even banishment. Robrenn's citizens are a fierce and brave people. It was their personality more than any need for warriors that led to the creation of these laws; thus, few actually resent them. Becoming an Armed Citizen is a sign of honour. In this society, Defenders (people with the Defender kit) can rise only among the ranks of Armed Citizens.

Druids are eminently powerful among nobility; they make laws and decide on penalties. The druids may also permit, forbid, or even decree armed conflicts involving the nation. Druids affect the confederacy's ability to attack another realm, or the ability of two dominions to fight each other. The latter is permissible only if druids cannot solve a dispute between two nobles. Considering the deeply rooted respect this society has for druids, disobeying them is almost unheard of and could lead to a civil war.

The druids' Hallowed Forest of Carnuilh covers a vast area of the confederacy. It is a sanctified area that no one but druids and druidic Defenders can enter. At its centre is a holy grove where the druids meet once a year, on midsummer's eve. There, they discuss topics of mysticism, consult auguries, and resolve problems.

After each 12 years of continuous rulership, the king of Robrenn must go on a quest. If he succeeds, he remains king for another 12 years. If he fails, he must seek the Great Druid's grove in the Hallowed Forest of Carnuilh. Legends say he returns to the earth that he embodies, thereby allowing the land to flourish again. He is magically "absorbed" by the forest, thus ending his life in this world. No succession can take place until the king dies or joins with the forest. If he flees in shame and dies elsewhere without fulfilling his duty at the grove, years of woe and hardship may strike the kingdom.

The Robrenn honour a wide variety of Immortals. Their belief is that all life came from Breig, also known as the Mother of Nature, the Great Oak, and the Spirit of Eyf. She heads the Robrenn pantheon. Although a druid can choose one Immortal over another as his primary patron, all meet at Carnuilh. Regardless of their individual philosophies, all druids follow the same basic principles. They all revere the Great Druid Maud, daughter of Trestana. Maud is a female, half-elven follower of Breig. (Great Druids in Robrenn are typically female.) Though other Great Druids may exist elsewhere in the world, as far as the Robrenn are concerned, there is only Maud. This Great Druid supervises the entire Savage Coast region, including all the territory from the Gulf of Hule to the western coast of the Orc's Head Peninsula.

The druids also supervise the druidic Defenders, which some think of as "druidic paladins." Defenders are the elite warriors of the nation, often travelling on quests for druids or simply to explore and spread druidic beliefs. Note that druidic Defenders sometimes wear magically crafted wooden armour which has the same game mechanics as metal armour.

Most of Robrenn's lore is oral, handed down by bards and druids. Little has been written (though the people are literate) because the druids believe that memorising legends and prayers sharpens the mind and prevents their holy knowledge from being vulgarised by ink and vellum. This tradition establishes the bard as a key element of Robrenn culture.

Much of this culture is affected by the druids' dislike of all that "never lived," including man-made objects of metal or stone. Robrenn's druids prefer wood, leather, cloth, and so forth. This attitude prevents the Robrenn from building much with stone. Their forts and towns are usually made of wood, with stone used only for fireplaces or roads. Unfortunately, the policy has been the source of many disasters, especially in times of war.

The plateaus to the north of the Robrenn teem with orcs, ogres, and goblins. Armed riders constantly patrol the northern edge of the confederacy, watching for invasions in the making. A number of murderous wars with the goblinoids have nearly ruined the nation. The most recent of which weakened the state considerably.

Over the course of centuries, the Robrenn developed trade with other nations, especially with Texeiran and Vilaverdan merchants. Robrenn exports wine, mead, sausage, maize, wheat, medicinal herbs and potions, spices, and amber. Cinnabryl and red steel are of little interest to the nation, though raw silver is acceptable in trade, for coinage. Usually, the Robrenn would rather obtain payment in labour. Many people from the nation Savage Baronies make annual circuits through Robrenn as itinerant farm-workers, trading labour for goods. Some Guardiano tradesmen also trade criminals for goods, the convicts being kept as indentured servants. If they serve well, they are released when their allotted period is over and can either return home or accept druidic ways and become one of the Folk.

Capital and Ruler

Capital: Eyf (population 25,200 humans, demihumans, some woodland beings). Ruler: King Edwix II, son of "The Night Harrow" (human druidic Defender). The royal lands include all of the Hallowed Carnuilh Forest. Typical NPC: common farmer or crafter, follower of the druidic way.

The Confederated Dominions

Each of Robrenn's dominions governs its own internal affairs, though the druids can interfere at will. The druids also advise the king and his council on international policy.

Barony of Avarica. Symbol: Raven. Capital: Dubrax (population 5,900 mostly humans). Ruler: Baron Eusgetorix the Stormy, son of Aduatucas (human Noble bard). Typical NPC: adventurous bard. Patrons: Cernuínn, Leug.

Duchy of Avernos. Symbol: Boar. Capital: Arax (population 5,900 humans and dwarves). Ruler: Duke Blergix the Tall, son of Medonix (dwarven Noble fighter). Typical NPC: blacksmith. Patrons: Belsamas, Tuatis.

County of Morguen. Symbol: Deer. Capital: Cernumna (population 10,900 humans, halflings, and elves). Ruler: Countess Onnena the Sylvan, daughter of Subellos (half-elf Noble druid). Typical NPC: druid sage. Patrons: Breig, Cernuínn.

Barony of Nemausa. Symbol: Auroch. Capital: Morrigamna (population 10,100 mostly humans). Ruler: Baron Calturix the Bloodthirsty, son of Demiatix (human Noble ranger). Typical NPC: fearless rider. Patrons: Breig, Tuatis.

Barony of Sedhuen. Symbol: Ram. Capital: Venatis (population 11,900 mostly humans). Ruler: Baron Teuthoel the Merciful, son of Trestana (human noble). Typical NPC: peaceful farmer. Patrons: Breig, Belnos.

County of Suerba. Symbol: Rooster. Capital: Ogmna (population 3,800 humans and elves). Ruler: Count Brevoel the Swift, son of Maloel (elven Noble fighter). Typical NPC: champion archer. Patrons: Arduínna, Leug.

Barony of Uthuínn. Symbol: Ship. Capital: Senerobriva (population 2,600 humans and halflings). Ruler: Baroness Brivaela the Sagacious, daughter of Clothual (human Noble fighter). Typical NPC: quiet fisherman. Patrons: Belnos, Taranos.

The Robrenn Pantheon

In Robrenn each of the following Immortals, with the exception of Belsamas and Nyt, has a druidic following. Refer to "The Campaign" chapter for further information on Immortals.

Arduínna (Diulanna): Patron of willpower, archery, and hunting. She approves only of female druids.

Belnos (Asterius): Patron of healers, traders, and travellers.

Belsamas (Kagyar): Patron of forging, metalworking, construction, and dwarves. Clerics of Belsamas are always true neutral in Robrenn.

Breig (Ordana): Patron of Robrenn, head of the pantheon. She approves only of female druids.

Cernuínn (Faunus): Patron of forests, songs, poetry, bards, and woodland beings.

Leug (Zirchev): Patron of demihumans, wisdom, and the arts. Leug is a recent addition to the Robrenn pantheon.

Nyt (Hel): Patron of death and reincarnation. She is acknowledged, but not worshiped.

Taranos (Odin): Patron of skies, storms, and mighty lightning. This Immortal is not as influential here as in Eusdria.

Tuatis (Thor): Favourite patron of warriors.

The Kingdom of Eusdria

Most Eusdrians have straight hair, and the majority grow it long and form it into one long braid usually worn down the middle of the back but sometimes thrown over the left shoulder. Eusdrians tend toward clothing of cotton and buckskin, though wool and fur are used in the colder, mountainous areas. The clothing is usually made in blues, purples, and whites though greys, greens, and browns are used as well.

Eusdrian society consists of a nobility, which provides the nation's leaders, and a "freeheart" class, which is the normal citizenry. Like Robrenn, Eusdria has no real peasant class. Most freehearts are warriors, but clerics come from this class as well. Though Eusdria does have some thieves and bards, wizards are rare. Popular kits include Local Hero, Noble, Honourbound, Myrmidon, Militant, War Priest, Bandit, Scout, and Skald.

In its past, Eusdria has had a number of clashes with Robrenn. The druids and clerics on either side always spoke against all-out war since both nations largely honour the same Immortals, though by different names. Eusdrian clerics are uncomfortable with the mysterious and "barbaric" ways of Robrenn druids, just as the druids distrust the Eusdrian clerics' "unnatural" and "self-serving" ways. The two kingdoms have maintained a precarious status quo, poised somewhere between cordiality and rampant accusations of heresy.

The biggest difference between Robrenn and Eusdria lies in the greater presence and influence of elves in Eusdria, particularly in the Duchy of Frisonnia and the Barony of Savaria. A great deal of the finer Eusdrian culture has come from the elves, including literature, architecture, and fine arts.

Eusdrians are fond of battle. They believe that death on the battlefield is by far the best way to die, for it opens the path to the land of the Immortals. This ancient belief dates back to their barbarian roots in the north. Before a battle, warriors often celebrate and drink beer mixed with honey, a combination thought to impart strength and courage. Fortunately, the elven love for peace and tranquillity has somewhat toned down this predisposition to aggressiveness. At the very least, it has brought order and law to the impetuous Eusdrians.

Elven influence has led the Eusdrians to create several orders of knights, including paladins and Defenders (Order of the Immortals), Honourbound (Knights of Eusdria), rangers (Company of the Wolf), Myrmidons, and others (Order of the Unicorn, Company of the Bear, Warriors of the Sea, and Knights of Niedegard). Instead of fighting for the sake of battle and destruction, the Eusdrians learned to channel their battle fervour through military organisations with a direction. The easiest orders to make popular among early Eusdrians were those dedicated to serving a ruler (particularly the king of Eusdria), and later, orders that served the Immortals. This has given rise to a caste of knights and paladins capable of defending the nation against any foe.

While Myrmidons are common in Eusdria, most warriors use the Honourbound kit. All the nation's Honourbound form a single Company, the Knights of Eusdria, all of whom wear the same emblem (a black raven on a silver field) and specialise in the use of the battle axe. The Honourbound are sworn to first defend the nation in times of trouble, and second obey edicts of their leader.

Many inhabitants of Eusdria are beginning to adopt the firearms and lighter armour of the Savage Baronies. The more traditionalist warriors of the region find this dishonourable.

The present king, Sigismund III, is a half-elf Defender and highly charismatic follower of Tiuz. Sigismund is well known for his even-handedness with his dominions, both elven (Frisonnia and Savaria) and human (Harstal and Mohesia). He dreams of ridding the Yazak Steppes of goblinoids and other monsters and of expanding his kingdom into a holy empire in the name of Tiuz. For the past 20 years of his reign, he has promoted the Warrior's Honor (as described in the Honourbound kit in the "Character Kits" chapter) among his people, aspiring for a smaller force of highly competent warriors, in contrast to the massive barbaric hordes of the past. In knighthood, he also sees the possible establishment of a highly mobile, elite, heavy cavalry whose loyalty and prowess would bring the end of the marauding tribes of the steppes. Dwarven crossbowmen from the County of Harstal also go to battle in trains of heavy war wagons that make them something like cavalry in mobile forts. All this allows the king to wage long-lasting wars without pulling normal freehearts away from their lands to be slaughtered in massive battles. Such a loss would weaken the kingdom, as it has many times in the past, and bring hardships to everyone.

Only recently, Eusdria joined Robrenn in a war against the Yazi goblinoids. This was favoured by many of the freehearts, and when King Sigismund tried to pull out of the war, many revolted, starting a civil war. As a result, the capital was all but destroyed, but the Honourbound Knights of Eusdria kept the king from death. Consequently, the Honourbound are highly regarded by the king.

King Sigismund has not unleashed his warriors upon the Yazak goblinoids because of a curious phenomenon affecting the Plain of Dreams at the northern limit of the kingdom. Tradition says that the Immortal Lokar lost a bet with Donar and was forced to plant flowers throughout the entire plain. But Lokar cursed the flowers, giving them the power to put people and animals to sleep. These large beds of amber lotuses release clouds of sleeping pollen. The goblinoids apparently have found a way to protect themselves and their mounts from the pollen, allowing them an easy escape after their raids into Mohesia and Frisonnia. As a result of these onslaughts, villages and towns in these two dominions are heavily fortified. Eusdria's king is still hoping to find a reliable defence against the pollen for his own people.

King Sigismund is famous for developing an educational system for the young, supported by royal taxes. With this, he hopes to lead Eusdria to a golden age, amassing enough power to dominate the Savage Coast and eventually destroy Hule. The schools are largely unpopular among the freehearts, however, since they keep children from working in the fields or apprenticing in a craft. The nobles also dislike them because educated subjects are more difficult to rule, and higher taxes are required for construction of school buildings, purchase of books, and payment of preceptors (usually clergymen). The clergy, however, strongly supports the plan as it lends them power over commoners and nobles.

About a decade ago, Eusdria was visited by the Heldannic Knights, from the faraway Heldann freeholds. (There are similarities and thus sympathy between Eusdria and Heldann, but King Sigismund has always suspected the Heldannic Knights' dark and treacherous ways.) When they arrived, the Heldannic Knights arranged for Eusdria to acquire red steel, through the Texeiran Protectorate. In doing so, the Heldannic Knights gained the gratitude of the various orders of Eusdrian knights. This worried King Sigismund greatly. Contact with the Heldannic Knights ceased about five years ago; the rare messages since then have been largely ignored by Sigismund.

Eusdria now imports red steel and a little cinnabryl directly from the Savage Baronies via the Orders of Inheritors. The precious red metal is used to forge excellent battle axes, plate armour, and bastard swords for Eusdrian knights.

Most Eusdrian trade is with the Kingdom of Robrenn and the Texeiran merchant fleet. Eusdria has a small fleet in Reslar and Withimer, but it is no match for experienced Texeiran sea wolves. From the Niedegard Mountains, dwarven miners extract iron and copper, which are largely exported along with beer, honey, furs, timber, and herring.

Capital and Ruler

Capital: Othmar (population 7,500 primarily humans, elves, and dwarves). Ruler: King Sigismund III the Great, son of Godegesil (half-elf Defender of Tiuz). The Royal Domain includes the capital, Ingelhad, Withimer, and the ruins of the former capital, Gundegard (once a city of more than 20,000 people, now home to perhaps 2,000 people and many monsters). Typical NPC: Honourbound or Myrmidon warrior. Patrons: Viuden and Tiuz.

Eusdrian Royal Dominions

Each of the dominions governs most of its own internal affairs, but the crown can revoke internal policies. The king, advised by a council of clergy and various knights and nobles, decides international policy. After the recent wars, a freeheart council was established to help advise the king.

Duchy of Frisonnia. Symbol: Tower. Capital: Breimald (population 12,300 mostly elves, some humans). Ruler: Duchess Beovilda the Blunt, daughter of Onulf (elven Noble fighter). Typical NPC: elven urban warrior. Patrons: Donar, Tiuz.

County of Harstal. Symbol: Bear. Capital: Harstal (population 10,400 humans and dwarves, some halflings). Ruler: Count Theodamir the Stutterer, son of Althuin (human noble). Typical NPC: boisterous beer drinker. Patrons: Viuden, Kagyar, Fredar, Fredara.

Barony of Mohesia. Symbol: Horse. Capital: Verdegild (population 6,600 mostly humans, some elves). Ruler: Baron Arthaulf the Forthright, son of Euric (human Honourbound paladin). Typical NPC: righteous warrior. Patrons: Donar, Tiuz, Fredar, Fredara.

Barony of Savaria. Symbol: Fish. Capital: Reslar (population 8,500 mostly elves, some humans and halflings). Ruler: Baroness Utha the Fair, daughter of Aldaric (elven Noble ranger). Typical NPC: elven warrior (hunter or fisher). Patrons: Eirys, Tiuz.

The Eusdrian Pantheon

For further information on Immortals, refer to "The Campaign" chapter.

Donar (Thor): Popular patron of warfare.

Eirys (Eiryndul): Patron of woodland beings and elves, but especially of elf wizards.

Fredar (Frey): Patron of freeheart warriors.

Fredara (Freya): Patron of female warriors.

Kagyar: Patron of dwarves and metalwork.

Lokar (Loki): Patron of flames, mischief, and lies, Lokar is not honoured except by evil beings.

Nyt (Hel): Patron of death and reincarnation. She is acknowledged but not worshiped.

Tiuz (Ilsundal): Patron of elves, wisdom, law, and trust, Tiuz is often represented as a warrior missing his right hand.

Viuden (Odin): Chief Immortal of the Eusdrians. Patron of the sky, storms, and authority.