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Thonia (Kingdom of, aka Empire of).by James Ruhland
Location: Northwestern Skothar, along the Bay of Thorin, north of Esterhold.
Area: Approximately 600,000 sq mi. (+/-)
Population: 750,000 (including 80,000 in the capital of Thorin) 90% human, 1% elven, 1% dwarven, 1% halfling, 2% goblin, 2% hobgoblin, 2% gnoll, 1% pegataur.
Government Type: Monarchy advised by a council of nobles, aka Senate.
Industries: Fishing, cattle raising, horse breeding, ship building, agriculture (poor), mining (iron in hills).
Description: The bay of Thorin is bounded on the south by the peninsula of Esterhold, in the east by relatively good lands and scattered forests, and in the north by sub-artic steppelands and hills. Thonia controls the eastern and northern shores of the bay of Thorin, as well as an unremarkable stretch of territory north and east of that (borders here are very permeable, the area inhabited mostly by migratory clansmen with their herds, who share the region with the scattered northern fringe of Jennites).
Thonia has one major city and several smaller towns. The capital is Thorin, built atop the ruin of an ancient, pre-Blackmoor Thonian city, by survivors of that great cataclysm. Thorin is surrounded by a seamless wall, seemingly carved out of a single piece of stone, thrust up from the earth. This wall arcs out into the Bay itself, forming a breakwater and creating the city's port. The wall is immune to natural and unnatural damage (such as Earthquakes or spells), and is protected against normal, non-magical missiles (including non-magic artillery). The battlements likewise protect the defenders during time of war as if protected from evil/good (irregardless of the alignment of the attackers). Numerous pieces of artillery are mounted in and atop the towers that stud the walls. These are operated by ancient mechanisms, allowing them to be aimed and fired with only one crewman, who is protected by 90% cover. They are able to aim these skyward against flying creatures or Skyships.
Thorin itself is a large city, covering almost the same area as Sundsvall does, but with a fraction of the population. Much of the interior is parkland, fields, even small gardens or croplands, with the occasional cows, chickens, or goats. The population has gradually dwindled for centuries, if not millennia, and here and there can be found weed-choked ruins (though few of these date back to the time of ancient Thonia or Blackmoor - most of the older ruins are buried under several feet of earth). The palace of the Thonian King (aka "Emperor," though usually only outsiders call him that) is a monumental relic to ancient Thonian architecture, with a gilded dome at its centre and many large windows. The palace is heated magically, and would be quite pleasant if it wasn't for the jury-rigged towers and fortifications built into its sides, obvious later (and somewhat clumsy) additions. The city is defended by a small but elite Royal Guard force, some Royal Marines, and a force of Pegataurs tasked with protecting Thonia against aerial attack.
Many, if not most, Thonians live in the lands around the capital city. These engage in farming and fishing. They use large galleys in warfare, and large (if somewhat slow) sailing ships for trade and fishing.
The rest of Thonia is divided into approximately ten provinces, and is inhabited mostly by herdsmen & ranchers (on the steppelands) and miners (in the hill country). Scattered rustic towns and villages dot the coastland of the Bay of Thorin, these mostly built of wood, surrounded by palisades, and having none of the splendour of the city of Thorin. They are grim places, social life centres around the local watering hole or tavern. There are few inns, and foreigners are distinctly unwelcomed in these parts. Only in the capital are accommodations made for outsiders, but they are usually treated brusquely there as well - not rudely, but in a businesslike fashion.
History: Thonia is a surviving remnant of the ancient Empire of Thonia, which predated even Blackmoor. Its people are conscious of their history, but surviving in the rugged lands is enough of a challenge that they have never managed to recapture their old glory. They reflect Antalian origin (or, rather, the Antalians reflect a Thonian origin) in their appearance. The history of Thonia since the destruction of Blackmoor has been one of rebuilding, followed by the struggle to survive in their harsh environment.
They felt the appearance of the Alphatians as a sort of insult, and rancour at the prestige of the Alphatian Empire. At the time of Landfall the Thonians were in the process of colonising the continent to their southwest, but only few and small settlements had been created - exploration was just beginning, as Thonia had only recently managed to recover true seafaring capacity and had few ships. In essence, the arrival of the Alphatians permanently restricted the Thonians to the region they inhabit now, preventing them from ever recapturing the glories of their lost empire.
In the interval, the Thonians have occasionally fought with, but in other times cooperated with, the Jennites to their south. These they see as barbarians who "know their place." The Jennites are respectful of the Thonians - not so much because they feel themselves inferior (which is what the Thonians would like to believe), but because the Thonians have never cared to try and invade the steppes of the Jennites (having enough near-worthless lands of their own). As a result, when the Alphatians attacked Esterhold 800 years ago, the Thonians and Jennites developed closer ties, and see each other as a potential ally to keep the Alphatians at bay.
Almost of necessity, trade sprang up between Thonia and Alphatia. This trade was rather meagre, however, as the lands of Thonia produced little that the Alphatians wanted (if it had, they would simply have seized it outright). The Thonians often raided deeper into Skothar to capture slaves to sell to the Alphatians in exchange for the wares the Alphatians produced.
When Alphatia sank, many thought the Thonians would try to take advantage of this by marching into Esterhold, or at least helping the Jennites recapture that peninsula. But Thonia did nothing. They seem instead satisfied with the disappearance of the Alphatian continent, smugly happy with the "pitiful state" of the surviving Alphatian kingdoms (which have now formed the NACE) - there is little compassion or awareness that the destruction of the Alphatian empire echoes their own experience of long ago. They are just happy that the long shadow cast by Alphatia has been removed, and that now the "glory of elder Thonia will be revealed."
Thus the Thonians scheme rather sadly and contemptibly, living in their past with no real energy to actually restore the glories they still dream of and pantomime.
Important Figures: King/Emperor Iyxis XXXIV (Human Male, LN, C16), various Dukes.