Natural Features

  Chapter 3: Geography: Nations
The Kingdom of Koramia
          Government: Contested Monarchy (King, Earl, Count, Baron, Lord, Knight, Mayor)
          Location: World Map 001
          Pantheon: Koramian
          Language: Koramian
          Regional Feats: List, List, List
          Ruler: King Chadric Greysword (Ftr 6, Nob 4) and King William Asheva (Ftr 5, Nob 5)
          Population: 150,000 (92% human, 5% hobbit, 2% dwarven, 1% other)
          Capital: Berryrine (pop 3,050)/Paeldain (pop 2,450)
          Arms: Azure, a sword Argent over a solar disk Or (King Chadric); Quarterly Gules, a lion Or rampant and Azure, a sword over a solar disk Or (King William)
          Emblem: A sword inverted over a solar disk (King Chadric), A lion rampant over a sword inverted over a solar disk.
          Coinage: Mainly barter, but where used: 1 penny (1 cp) = 4 farthings, 1 shilling (1 sp) = 10 pence (pennies), 1 crown (1 ep) = 5 shillings, 1 pound (1 gp) = 4 crowns, 1 noble (1 pp) = 6 shilling, 8 pence, 1 mark = 10 pounds.
          Important Persons: Baron Lowry Spade-Marn (Ftr 3, Nob 9), Lord Henry Cheldoria (Exp 6, Nob 3), Count William Strongblade (Ftr 6, Nob 3), Prelate Michael II (Cl 16)
          Alliances: None
          Hostilities:  Imperial Cimmeria, Icenia, Dunkirk.

          Open Warfare/Skirmishing: Koramia is currently in the throes of a civil war between the Greysword and Asheva factions, though actual fielded conflict between the two factions has been rare in the last decade. Though both sides are formally enemies with Cimmeria, Icenia and Dunkirk, Koramian forces are substantially more interested in attacking one another than dealing with the other balkanized states that Koramia once held influence over.

          History: The Kingdom of Koramia is barely a century old, but the society is much, much older. The area was originally composed of several small barbarian kingdoms, such as Simmeria in the east, Tracinia in the south, and Norlund in the north, just to name a few of the more powerful kingdoms. In -123 IC, the Tracini sent a messenger to Zeth in the hopes of purchasing experienced mercenaries to fight a petty war against a neighboring kingdom. The messenger described the despair with which the Tracini were fighting, and the Senate decided to commit troops to the defense of the Tracini if they would pay a specific amount of taxes, in goods, to Zeth. The terms were very amicable, and the Zetian legions soon arrived on the Tracini shores.
          It didn't take long for that forgotten neighbor of the Tracini to be decimated and annexed into Tracinia, and the Zetian troops continued to march into other neighboring territories. Soon, the Tracini, as a whole, were considered by Marcus Argentis, the Count of the Tracini Shore, to be his clients. He continued to other lands north and west of the Tracini, and eventually attained the title of Duke of the Simmerians. This treatment of an entire nation as a client and his actions to make his troops loyal to him and not to the Senate or State was one of many factors considered to have led to the downfall of the Zetian Republic.
          Soon after Octavius of House Zetar was proclaimed the first Emperor of Zeth, he established a system of colonization amongst the states that were formerly considered Allies of Zeth. He appointed a governor to oversee the Simmerian people to insure the collection of taxes and the enforcement of Imperial rule. As a whole, the people either were too far away to feel the real effects of Imperial rule, or they encouraged and enjoyed the 'civilization' that Imperial rule provided. Most of the governors appointed were somewhat ineffectual, though intermingling with stationed legionaries provided for a mixture of societies.
          Simmerian society survived under Imperial rule, but it was not a strong force in the world until one fateful day in 186 IC when a young man, reputed to have been the direct descendant of the last Simmerian king, discovered a flying ship near his hillside home. He found a way to board the floating vessel, and discovered that it was uninhabited and rotting. Within the vessel, however, he discovered the rotting corpse of some sort of noble man of an alien culture, with a book clasped roughly in his skeletal hands. The boy, Garimund of Ryard, took the book to scholars, who pondered over it's meaning and language. Eventually, they deciphered that it was a holy book of the deity Vortumnus, god of honor and chivalry, and promoted him as being lord of all gods, even over Ptharos. The boy became Garimund the Sainted, and he began to spread the word of Vortumnus across the land. The religion caught on with the people like wildfire, and soon they began to refer to themselves, as a religious group, as Koramians, after the name of their holy work, the Koram. With the Koram as their inspiration, the Simmerian people began to truly flower as a society; in some respects, such as in the area of chivalry and feudalism, they shined even brighter than the Empire itself.
          Also in 186, a group of Imperial legionaries were ambushed and slaughtered to the man, by a mysterious group of people from across the Antosian mountain range. These savage people, known then as the Narbars, provided Zeth with its greatest enemy since its conflicts with Cardos during the days of the Republic. The Narbar people fought savagely against an unprepared Empire, and, after ten years of fighting, a small outpost in what was formerly Norlund was abandoned as the troops headed back to defend Zeth. It would be the first of many legions ordered home in the name of defending the Empire. Eventually, the Narbars were defeated and pacified, but Imperial troops remained to keep the peace and insure no further uprisings. When an old enemy of the Narbars, the Mitarians, rose up to wage war against their old enemy, the Imperial troops counterattacked and quickly took the Mitarian capital. Soon thereafter, tacitly trying to insure no invader could threaten Zeth again, they continued to move inland, and pulled troops out of the seemingly pacified Simmeria to facilitate this move.
          Chaos followed in Simmeria whenever troops departed as warring and feuding factions vied for control over the weapons and fortifications left behind, as well as for the responsibility and pleasures of command. Finally, in 628, the last two groups of legionaries left in the old province of Simmeria proclaimed independence from the Empire, signifying the end of Imperial rule in Simmeria. The centuries that followed were filled with war and desolation as various power groups and individuals vied for control over ever-smaller parcels of land. Orcs slipped in from Vor Midal and the Webwood forest, and, with the giants who had been beaten almost to extinction in the mountains, raided the wealthy human and hobbit agricultural settlements heartlessly. As the Empire's grip strengthened in the south, Simmeria wallowed in petty warfare. It was during this time of confusion and conflict that the original Koram was stolen. Copious copies existed, but the original was never recovered.
          In 1162, a son was born to the Lord Earl of the southern city of Paeldain, and named William Greysword, after his grandfather. This son assumed his title of Lord Earl of Paeldain at the age of 18, and one of his first actions was to eradicate the various warring religions in the city and re-establish the Koramic code amongst the lower classes (the upper class had clung to it for quite some time). By 1173, William made a case before the Supreme Assembly of Paeldain that he was the direct descendant of Andros, the brother of Garimund the Sainted, and therefore not a mere Lord Earl, but a monarch. In an extremely close vote, the Supreme Assembly dubbed the young Lord Earl William I, King of Paeldain and Lord Protector of the Koramic code. William I sent priests, under the direction of the Prelate of Paeldain, out to neighboring kingdoms, in an attempt to convert the populous back to the Koramic code and end the endless warfare his people seemed to be caught up in. Some of his neighbors considered his priests to be spies, and had them executed as such. William's retribution for this crime was quick and final. He executed not only the lords who had ordered the executions, but the executioners themselves, and confiscated the lands of those lords he had executed.
          The night after he had tried and executed 20 nobles for crimes against Vortumnus, William had a dream in which he was transported back to the days of Simmeria, when chivalry was flowering its brightest and the nation was whole. He was told by Vortumnus himself that he could unify the land, bring it under one king, and give it life again, or he could doom it through inaction to eternal warfare and destruction. The next day, William began to march with his troops across the coastal fields of Koramia, either forcing petty rulers to vow fealty to him with the sword, or, more often than not, used diplomacy and guile to convince them to join his cause. The first nation to ally under the Greysword banner was Charles Crownwarden, King of the nation of Firthham. He pledged himself to the Greysword's cause, becoming the Earl of Firthhamshire.
          Within a five year period, William I had conquered most of the southern coast of Simmeria, including the nations of Dunkirk, Sarworth, Calmirsha, Tracinia, Kirthdan, Collochia, Harkworth, Nordaria, Estoria, and Markham. Unfortunately, one of his most powerful allies, the Prelate of Paeldain, died in 1201. The Emperor, in his role as Pontifex Maximus, sent an Imperial man to take up the powerful position as the Prelate of Paeldain, but, upon his arrival, he discovered that the Prelatal Estate was already being inhabited, by an individual chosen by William himself. The nominee was outraged by this blatant disregard of the Emperor as the voice of the gods themselves, but found little assistance among the local priesthoods of Vortumnus. The nominee fled, and the Emperor made no real protest, so Urbanus became the First Prelate of Vortumnus, and King William I made a vocal and very public denunciation of the Emperor and the Imperial pantheon as being heretical in nature to Vortumnus. The Emperor never recognized William's proclamation of independence or his claim to the right to select clergymen, but neither did he oppose it.
          William continued his conquests, absorbing Vascore, Fortan, and the Schal. In 1208, he was crowned William I, King of Koramia by the Prelate of Paeldain, and proclaimed himself and his descendants monarchs over the new Kingdom of Koramia by right of divine selection by Vortumnus. William I died three years later, at the age of 49, after conquering the Iceni and Norlunders of the northernmost coasts (the former of which so repulsed the aging King that he refused to name one of his Earldoms in memory of it). His first son was crowned William II upon his father’s death. William I had succeeded in unifying all of the former states of the province of Simmeria, excepting the mountainous regions in the center of the nation to which the surviving bandits, orcs and giants fled, and the nations of Nagos, Pelusia, Medea and Illyria. Nagos and Pelusia made agreements with the young King William II to ensure their sovereignty, and Medea made an implicit agreement not to interfere with the ongoing war with Illyria. For almost forty years, the Illyrian front was the only border in Koramia that experienced constant warfare, and most young nobles did some time working in the cavalry there. Koramia was slowly winning the war, but at a terrible cost. Illyria was composed of stubborn and highly independent people (descendant from the Norlunders), and the majority would have rather died than surrender to what they considered to be a foreign King. But in the middle of the 13th century, they would find themselves doing precisely that.
          In 1250 I.C., while Koramia seemed to be in the height of its glory, the Emperor of Zeth commanded his navy to reassume control over their former colony. Unbenknownst to most in Koramia, the Empire had settled its difficulties with the Gaels in their souther territories and looked to the reconquest of Koramia as their next great victory. The Empire offered an alliance to Illyria, who was all too willing to submit to the terms of an Imperial alliance if it meant the end of their war with Koramia. And, of course, the See of Cambrecia, long loyal to the Empire, sent troops into southeastern Koramia to assist in the reconquest. When the Imperial ships landed on Koramia’s southern shores, King William II was relatively unprepared, with the vast majority of his fighting force in the north on the Illyrian front.
          While William II quickly pulled his troops from the north, a young Koramian noblewoman revealed herself to be the heir to the old Iceni dynasty and secretly proclaimed herself Queen Claudia Arox of the Iceni. The Iceni people quickly rose to join her cause, further weakening Koramian efforts against the three-pronged Imperial offensive. It seemed that Koramia, despite the successes of the past, would certainly fall quickly to the Emperor’s aggressions.
          It was during Koramia’s darkest hour that her founder, King William I, returned to Paeldain with the Iceni Queen in tow as an ally. King William I had, indeed, died forty years before, but he had been resurrected by the will of Vortumnus and had lived out his years as a hermit in the Divian Mountains. Renewed to youth by equally mystic means, William I returned to lead his people against the Empire. With recently forged alliances with both a clan of giants and the dwarves of the Divian mountains, Imperial victory no longer seemed as certain. Events were transpiring in the Empire, however, that would lead not only to the fall of Koramia, but send the entire region into turmoil for the next six decades.
          Before the Koramian War, a newcomer to Zeth named Lucius arrived from foreign shores and revealed himself as the Potens Maximus of Abaris (the Empire had been without an Abarisian Potens Maximus for centuries). Furthermore, Lucius was able to show lineage in House Zetar, through a minor branch that had moved to Koramia centuries before. It was Lucius who urged the Emperor to attack Koramia and quickly became his closest advisor. Even so, when the Emperor’s only heir died in 1252, it was still a scandal when Lucius was named heir to the Imperial throne.
          Prince Lucius asked to assist in the faltering war effort in Koramia and the Emperor agreed to send him to the front. Under Lucius’ command, the Imperial army regrouped and finally marched on Paeldain. In the Second Battle of Paeldain, Lucius lead the Imperial armies to a stunning victory. By the end of the battle, not only was the Koramian capital city firmly in Imperial hands, but most of the Greysword family was dead on the battlefield, including both William I and II.
          Ayric Greysword, a young son of William I’s brother, was determined to be next in line for the Koramian Crown, but Ayric refused the crown. Ayric had been kidnapped by his own mother from the Royal Castle some twenty years earlier and was not raised in the Royal Household. This, coupled with crippling injuries he had received in the Illyria War, were the reasons he gave for surrendering the crown. Unfortunately, no one quite realized at the time the repercussions that this decision would have for Koramia’s future.
          The crown then fell to Gawyn Asheva, husband of Ayric’s eldest sister. Asheva, who was Earl of Margwenth, had been extremely active in leading troops against the Empire and was a well respected commander. Despite King Gawyn’s military acumen, Prince Lucius was able to counter his every move and Koramia continued to lose territory to Imperial forces.
          When the Zetian Emperor died late in 1252, Lucius quickly assumed his role as Emperor and was crowned in the field in Koramia. It was at his coronation that he revealed himself as Lucasa, Mage-King of Lun Dorak. He ordered the Imperial capital moved from Zeth to the Sapphire City and quickly began to establish the Mages of Lun Dorak as leaders within the Empire. Lucasa, who would be known as Emperor Lucius “The Heretic” in the Empire, retired to the Saphhire City to rule while his forces in Koramia continued to clean up King Gawyn’s remaining forces. Lucasa, well aware of the treachery he faced both from his new subjects and his enemies, became increasingly secluded.
          As Lucasa was on the brink of victory, the Order of the Brilliant Lance arrived to fight against his aggressions. These Dragonknights quickly helped stabilize the Koramian front and then turned their attention on the Saphhire City itself. As they lay siege to the city with a combined Koramian, Illyrian and even an orcish horde. The Dragonknights succeeded in assaulting the Sapphire City, but as they reached the Mageking, it became obvious why he had become secluded. The Mageking had fallen to a mysterious disease and succumbed to the disease in the very presence of the Dragonknights.
          With Lucasa dead, the Fourth Succession War flared in the Empire and few there were any longer interested in The Heretic Emperor’s foreign war. King Gawyn began the long task of rebuilding his fractured nation. Though its Queen had long since disappeared, Icenia was still rebellious against the Koramian Crown and a legion of Imperial troops remained stranded in Koramia, intent on presenting it as a prize to whatever Emperor emerged from the Fourth Succession War. King Gawyn was able to re-establish control of much of the region near Koramia before a new conqueror arrived to bring new terror to his people.
          Gar’dun, Great Khan of Vor Midal and one of the allies who had fought with Koramia at the Sapphire City found himself with thousands of loyal orcs and no enemy to fight. His alliance with Koramia at an end with the defeat of the Mageking, Gar’dun turned his armies west. The Horde quickly overran Illyria, which had suffered almost as much as Koramia in the wars., and turned its attentions on the remnants of Koramia itself. For reasons still unknown, Gar’dun reached the border of Icenia and turned his Horde southward, though the Divian Mountains and towards Paeldain itself.
          Paeldain’s defenses were weak, but still the people of the city held out for two weeks while Gar’dun’s forces besieged the city. But finally, the unstoppable Horde broke through Paeldain’s walls and sacked the city in 1256. King Gawyn was killed during the fighting and it is said his skull was tied to Gar’dun’s war chariot, resting ironically next to the skull of the Illyrian king. Gawyn’s young son, William, was crowned King William III and spirited away to a secret enclave in the Divian Mountains.
          The nation now leaderless, Gar’dun, now known as “Kingslayer,” took his horde into southeastern Koramia before turning northwestward. Over the course of the next five years, Gar’dun’s horde all but destroyed what remained of Koramia. The Horde finally faltered in 1261 in western Koramia, when Gar’dun died from extreme old age (he was sixty at the time of his death, almost twice the normal lifespan of an orc). Instead of choosing a new Khan and continuing their conquest, the orcish Horde fell to infighting and instead remained in western Koramia, renaming it Vor Scheral.
          King William III returned to Paeldain, but did not have much time to attempt to reorganize his dying kingdom. In 1262, the Crimson Plague finally reached Koramia, killing off more than a third of the population over the next two years. The eight-year old child-king proved weak and ineffectual in the face of such a tragedy. His advisors fell to bickering and little was done to alleviate the pain of his subjects. In 1263, the gates of Paeldain itself were closed (a symbolic gesture at best, due to the dilapidated nature of its defenses) and military rule was established to prevent the spread of plague in the city.
          As the plague passed, several rebellions sprung up against William III’s rule. To the north, Norlund, which now included the former Kingdom of Illyria, asserted its independence and Dunkirk followed suit in in the south in 1265. Meanwhile, in Icenia, the First King, Aelric, was reborn as an undead lord and over the next decade reestablished his rule over the region. Koramia was whittled down to barely a fifth of its former size, mainly centered near Paeldain.
          Though there had been periodic peasant rebellions even near Paeldain, in 1275 they finally found their voice. Chadric Greysword, son of Ayric, claimed that his father and grandmother had been victims of a conspiracy and claimed William III was a pretender to the throne. Disaffected Koramians flocked to Chadric’s banner. Most significantly, elements within the Koramian Church of Vortumnus also flocked to his banner, despite protestations of the Prelate of Paeldain. In 1277, Chadric was crowned King of Koramia by one of his Archbishops and the nation quickly polarized around the the kings.
          Despite now being in the broils of a formal civil war, Koramia saw few battles between the two King’s forces. Both Kings simply did not have the resources to field a large army and most conflicts were restricted to small skirmishes. But the Civil War ensured that Koramia would not be able to even consider retaking her former territories. If it weren’t for the troubles her neighbors were facing, it is likely Koramia would have long since fallen.
          Koramia today is still divided along lines loyal to King Chadric and King William III. Despite the Civil War having lasting thirty-five years, there is little likelihood that either side will capitulate while both Kings and their heirs still live. And the Koramian people will also continue to suffer under the unfailing egos of their kings.

          Economy: Koramia was primarily an agricultural kingdom, but decades of war and plague have completely destroyed that economy. Most people, even in the larger cities, have turned to barter for manufactured items and the usage of coinage is extremely rare. Primary crops includes wheat, barley, and corn. Fishing is, of course, a strong trade along the southern coast. Beef is not a popular food, as cattle are more often used as laborers than grown for food, but sheep are particularly popular as livestock, especially in the foothills of the Divian Mountains. There is evidence of fantastic lodes of precious metals in the Divian Mountains, but most are inaccessible, due to the bandits and unsavory monsters who continue to plague the region.

          Religion: Worship of Vortumnus once dominated Koramia, but worship of the God of Honor has been decreasing in the last few decades. Too many people feel that Vortumnus has abandoned them and instead turn to Podalirius in the hopes that he will bring them crop enough to survive the next winter. Even the Great Cathedral of Vortumnus in Paeldain now lies abandoned and the Prelate has moved into the King’s castle, where he holds mainly private ceremonies for King William III and his guests.

UPDATED for the Fourth Age