"Of all the human realms, the most lawless is the
Bathyn horse clans of the west. "
- Intrellia, Cyrellian Ambassador
|Proper Name||The Horse Clans of Bathynia|
|Ruler||No central ruler. (See below).|
|Population Density||7 people per square kilometer
(19 people per square mile)
|Demographics||Human 88%, Elven 2%, Avarian 2%,Ogre 2%, Orc 2%, Dwarven 1%, Phellysian 1%, Grum 1%, Other 1%|
|Languages||Bathyn 90%, Elven 5%, Avarese 5%|
|Year Founded||457 CY|
|Currency||Trade and barter|
|Natural Resources||Horses, wheat, corn, barley, potatoes, bread, honey, herbs and spices, lumber (including wind dancer wood and ironwood), clams, crab, fish.|
|Manufactured Goods||Fine meads and ales, a variety of longbows, crafted wood pipes, leather goods.|
|Government Stability||Unstable - frequent clan skirmishes|
|Technology Level||Dark Ages|
|Other Religions||Erylon, Kolo, The Three Fates, Farzak|
|Total Land Area||818,000 square kilometers
(315,830 square miles)
|Terrain||Grasslands and lightly forested hills|
The region known as Bathynia is home to a iron age horse culture organized into patrilineal clans. The Bathyns are considered, by many nations, to be a barbaric group of primitive horse warriors. The Bathyn people are, however, a proud people with a rich culture and many traditions.
The Bathyns are a one of the human sub races. They tend to be tall, lean and long of limb. They are renowned for their physical stamina and speed. They have sun bronzed skin and eyes of blue or green. Both males and females wear their hair long and loose. It is often a mix of blonde and brown.
Bathynia is a nation of semi-nomadic warriors. While they do conduct fishing and farming, they supplement this with much hunting and gathering. They are excellent horsemen and many tend to live in makeshift shelters, lean-tos and tents as much as they do in their stone and wood houses. The people of Bathynia are divided up into sixteen clans. Clans are extended family units and are closely knit. The interrelations of these clans is difficult to follow as clans divide, grow and reunite in complex patterns as the centuries pass.
The Bathyns are somewhat primitive when compared to the great kingdoms of the east. While the bathyns excel at wood, stone and leather crafts, their metal working skills are less advanced than other nations. This is partly due to cultural beliefs and partly due to the scarcity of iron in their lands. As iron is less plentiful here, it is used only for blades, rarely for armor.
Bathynia is a wild region of rolling hills, deep river valleys, grassy highlands, thick forests and babbling brooks. To the north, the land gets more hilly as it rises up to meet the Thunder Peaks. To the east, the forests become more abundant and blend gradually into the vast expanse of the Grand Wood. To the west, Bathynia is bordered by the Great Western Ocean. Its coast is dotted with small beaches, numerous islands and towering rocky cliffs. The southern stretches of Bathynia flatten out into open grasslands. No clear political border is established here and the Bathyns often exchange small skirmishes and raids with their phellysian neighbors.
The bathyns, especially the Angus clan, breed a variety of beef cattle known as an Augoth. The Augoth variety of cattle is short, stocky, covered in thick red hair and has a very broad face. Stone beaks occasionally nest in the extreme southern grasslands of Bathynia. On rare occasions, a krallinar may come wandering through. The most common threat to livestock in Bathynia are shimmer cats which inhabit some of the larger forests. Several useful and important plants grow in Bathynia. The blood root is a useful curative. Emerald moss is a healing herb and the bathyns often trade it to Cyrellian elves who make a good wine with it. Bathynia is home to many iron wood trees from which the bathyns fashion their long bows. Battle Spice can also be found here and the bathyns harvest this valuable root whenever they can find it.
The bathyns breed horses and bathynia steeds are considered among the finest in the lands. Bathyn horses are particularly swift and hardy. They have a typical life span of more than fifty years.
Long ago, before the time of the Sundering and the madness that followed, there lived a powerful sorcerer named Threll Bathyn. Threll was a specialist in runes and glyphs and magic associated with them. A headstrong and impetuous man, he united the clans of the region in 423 TIC and ruled over them. Hundreds flocked to his banner and helped him build a small city which was named Kultec and the region was known as Bathyn. Many served him at his sprawling estate including several legions of troops led by his greatest warrior, Krugendaur. His domain included many small villages that dotted the forested hills. It was a time of prosperity.
Over the years, his fledgling nation came into conflict with Tanluris, a smaller and less powerful region to the southwest which was ruled over by a rival mage named Rexilar. Rexilar was an oracle and sorcerer, said to be skilled in divining things unseen, healing, necromancy, summoning and the bewitching of plants and animals. Rexilar was said to consort with spirits and demons, to pervert Nature, contorting men and beasts into wild unnatural shapes. Such atrocities were horrific. Still, Threll, in a spirit of peace, invited Rexilar to come to the town of Kultec in the spirit of friendship. Threll hoped that their two nations might be allies and perhaps Threll could guide Rexilar to use his magic for good.
In 464 TIC, Rexilar and an entourage of followers arrived at the gates of Kultec. The two great mages met face to face. Rexilar's minions were horrific beasts - contorted misshapen things that might have once been men. Despite the unnatural minions he came with, Rexilar was welcomed. Threll offered gifts and gracious speeches. Rexilar however, spat at the feet of Threll. Rexilar demanded allegiance from Threll and threatened the lives of his people should he balk. Krugendauer drew his sword and would have cleaved Rexilar in half, but he was stayed by Threll's hand. Threll refused Rexilar at which point Rexilar commanded his beasts to attack. Much Bathyn blood was spilt in the throne room. Only by the valor of Krugendaur and the other noble bathyn warriors were the horrific man-beasts driven from Kultec and pursued all the way back to the borders of Tanluris.
This uninvited assault was only the beginning. Threll twice sent messengers with offerings of peace to Tanlur. The messengers were killed and their severed heads sent back. This conflict with Rexilar prompted Threll to expand his defenses and pursue greater spells. These offenses could simply not be tolerated. Rexilar was likewise expanding his armies and magical prowess. The two mages erected defensive spells to protect their lands from scrying. At every turn they opposed each other.
Petty conflicts turned to assaults which soon led to raids, retaliations and a continuing escalation of hostility. As Threll's power grew, the surrounding lands fell under his control. Soon, Threll had amassed so much power and land that he felt confident and justified in declaring war upon Tanluris in 468 TIC.
The war favored Threll and Rexilar lost several villages. In 469 TIC, Rexilar unleashed a new breed of feline humanoid warriors upon the battle field. These warriors had strong feline features including the agility and night vision of a cat. This new breed of warriors proved very effective and they helped to halt the advance of Threll's armies.
In the spring of 470 TIC, Rexilar busied himself within his own lands and was not seen for many months while his armies fought on. Threll did not know what Rexilar was up to and his spies were always discovered and killed. Finally, in the summer of 470 TIC, Threll amassed his army for one final assault and rode forth. His armies swept down through Tanluris and wiped Rexilar's armies out. Rexilar himself did not come to aid his followers. Indeed, Rexilar was no where to be found.
The armies of Tanluris were routed and much of the citizenry fled to the hills. Rexilar's estate was captured and searched but Rexilar was not found. Instead, Threll found a strange talisman... a stone statuette in the likeness of a cat. Threll studied the small stone statuette and probed it with his mind. Within he detected tremendous magic... within he discovered none other than the life force of Rexilar himself. It seemed the arch mage had sealed himself magically within the talisman. Threll could not guess why, but seized the opportunity. Calling upon his most potent spells, he wrapped the talisman with his own enchantments, binding Rexilar within it. So powerful was the binding that Threll inscribed the glyphs upon the stone phellysian with his very own blood.
Threll returned to his lands triumphant at the head of a victorious army. He took the "Stone Phellysian" with him as a trophy and placed it upon his mantle as a glorious reminder of his nemesis' fate.
Threll's celebration was short lived. On Landthrive 6, 470 TIC, the world shook as the sun split apart raining fury down upon the lands. Threll fell sick and fought desperately to control his magic amidst the swirling eddies of magic in those days. Krugendauer took charge while Threll was incapacitated. The days following the Sundering were terrible indeed. Threll died weeks later. Some say he succumbed to the sickness that struck most mages in those days. Others say he was poisoned. At least one variation of the poisoning tale mentions a fleeing assassin with feline features.
In any case, Threll's death was followed by chaos. His small nation was already struggling. His lieutenants fell upon each other. Loyalties were divided and soon his legions of followers were fighting amongst themselves. In the aftermath, the town of Kultec and Threll's estate were looted and many of his treasures, including the Stone Phellysian, were taken.
The region was torn apart in a brutal civil war that lasted for several years. During those years, a now much older Krugendar struggled to keep the nation together even while some of the phellysians were regrouping and raiding the bathyn borders. Kurgendaur, to rally his troops, wore the cloak of Threll and carried several of Threll's most powerful magic items, including a ring that granted him the strength and vigor of his youthful days. Tales of his daring exploits on the battlefield against the phellysians clung to his name. Finally, in 28 CY, met his fate in battle against phellysian marauders.
During the Great War, many citizens of this tiny nation were conscripted or enslaved to fight for the Traxx Legion. Eventually, the great works of Threll crumbled and his people banded together among the hills and woods. Without the guidance of the ancient sorcerer, age old blood feuds flared and the population fragmented back into traditional clans. The Bathyn Clan Wars raged through the Age of Chaos and into the Age of Sorrow.
Years of clan warfare were finally quelled when the clan chieftains came together in peace and signed the Treaty of Bathynia in 457 CY. For more than a 2000 years, the bathyn clans have been united by history and common culture. Although warfare between the clans does occasionally flare up, they have lived through the centuries in relative peace. They are now united against a greater enemy... the phellysians.
The once proud city that Threll ruled now lies in ruins.
There are currently sixteen separate clans in Bathynia. Each clan controls a specific region of Bathynia. Within that region are dozens of small villages and a single town.
Each clan village is ruled by the oldest male who is of the "true bloodline". This refers to a line descended from one of the original sixteen "sons of Threll". This position is commonly known as the clan father. The clan father rules free from restraint, but is often served by one or more shamans who act as advisors. He leads more by example and wisdom than by rules and the threat of force. He is only replaced upon death and then only by his own son. On those very rare occasions when a clan father has no sons, he will choose his successor and the two will share the "blood bond" ritual wherein they share blood and, in effect, the successor becomes "of the true bloodline".
The towns are the only communities of significent size (typically between 1,000 and 10,000 inhabitants). These serve as the seat of goverment for the clan. No single ruler controls the clan. Rather, several clan fathers live in the town and form a ruling council. Each village swears loyalty to the clan town council.
Once each year, the heads of all sixteen clans will gather their shamans, councilors, sons and guards and travel to the city of Bryerton to meet in the Council of Clans. Failure to attend the Council is a great insult to the other clans. At the council, the clan fathers discuss threats to Bathynia, settle blood feuds, make trade agreements and generally try to impress the others. Sometimes tempers will flare over the bargaining table and an insult at the council has been known to end up resolved on the battle field.
Each clan father rules with wisdom and experience tempered by common sense and tradition. The clan father sets up all rules and is relatively free from restrictions. He establishes the rules, passes judgment and decides upon punishment. Of course, his position is afforded him by his clan members. Any clan father whose leadership is compromised by insanity, possession or cruelty is quickly overthrown by the next oldest member of the true bloodline.
No formal military exists. However, Bathyns warriors are greatly feared in the west. Bathyns have a tradition of physical fitness and prowess at battle. Each Bathyn warrior is a master of herbalism, healing, tracking, stealth, horsemanship and camouflage. Virtually all Bathyn males may be considered soldiers in that respect.
Bathyn warriors are particularly feared because of their fighting style. All Bathyns fight with both bow and blade. The composite long bow is favored and as many as 50 arrows may be carried into battle. Bathyns are extremely skilled at the bow, especially firing from horseback. They will typically sweep down upon an enemy with great speed, loosing a volley of arrows before the enemy can even draw their blades. Bathyns tend to fight in groups of 10-20 horsemen led by one leader. The leader will ride among his soldiers and give his enemy no way of identifying him. This is viewed as cunning by the Bathyns.
This nation has a simple trade and barter economy, although many foreign coins have some value here. Weapons, tools and clothing are common, but mostly functional. Fancy clothing, perfume, art and other similar things are considered worthless luxuries. Iron is highly valued, especially forged steel blades.
Despite the fact that the Bathyn culture is patrilineal and male dominated, it is remarkable gender balanced for such a primitive culture. The women sometimes hunt along side the men. They fight along side their men in battle. Raising the children falls to both mother and father. And Bathyn women are well known for their strength, will power and fiery tempers. While it may be true that only men rule clan politics, the women are equal to the men in virtually everything else.
The most remarkable characteristic of the Bathyn culture is a tradition that has endured for centuries. Every Bathyn covers much of his or her body with ancient Bathyn runes. Bathyn rune tattoos are made by cutting the skin with a knife and then carefully pouring a heated liquid dye into the wound. The process is painful, but the Bathyns consider this a test of strength. These dyes vary in color and are derived from the indigenous plantlife. Such tattoos are permanent.
Each marking has significance. Some represent name and clan. Others tell of opponents defeated in battle, mates taken, children born, journeys, duels, crimes and more. It is said that "a bathyn wears the story of his life on his skin". Indeed, someone versed in Bathyn runic lore would be able to tell a great deal about a bathyn from his tattoos alone. Shamans tend to wear more elaborate tattoos than the common folk. Bathyn tattoing is carried out by the shamans. Only they are allowed to use the sacred knives and dyes used in this art form.
In addition to regular runic tattoos, some bathyns are adorned with warding runes. These are imbued with protective magic. Most of the time, they provide some protection from a specific enemy or form of attack. Typically, only the greatest warriors or the most powerful shamans will bear such warding runes.
The Bathyns are legendary horsemen. They breed the finest horses in the world and often treat their horses better than themselves. Every adult bathyn, male and female, owns a horse. There is a special bond between a bathyn and his or her steed. This bond transcends even death. When a bathyn dies, his horse is ritually sacrificed and buried with him in a stone cairn along with his blade and bow. Other treasures and valued possessions may be buried with him as well. Such cairns are typically buried in earth and planted with flowers or a tree. They are considered holy ground. To violate a burial cairn and plunder it for its treasures is considered a great offense.
Bathyns are not particularly adept at magic and few bathyns have the patience for scholarly pursuits and book learning. Still, natural wizardry, herbalism and alchemy are practiced by certain rare bathyn sorcerers. They is only one significant school of magic and only a handful of accomplished wizards within the entire realm of Bathynia.
Albrecht of Clan Bryerton is a well respected community leader who serves as ambassador from his own clan to the others. He has high hopes that Clan Bryerton will one day be able to reunite all the clans and works endlessly toward that goal.
Arnulf of Clan Dunbar is a talented mage and member of the small wizards guild there. However, he is an evil and ambitious man. Having made a pact with a demon, he now harbors much more magical skill than is generally known. This dark hearted sorcerer secretly plots to take over all of Bathynia. He has several henchmen who serve him as spies and assassins. He has a private residence in the town of Korumoch, but maintains a hidden lair in a crumbling tower several leagues from the town.
Arstan Bruce, the Elkheart
Arstan, often called Arstan the Elk Heart, is a member of Clan Bruce and one of the most renowned warriors in Bathynia. His prowess with the blade and bow are equaled only by his lust for phellysian blood.
Jethule the Ancient
Jethule is a very reclusive figure that dwells away from the clans. Jethule is a natural wizard, druid and sage. He dwells alone in the trunk of an ancient dead tree deep in the forest where he concocts potions from herbs, roots and tubers. His home is difficult to find without a guide who has been there. Jethule knows all the secrets of the forest. He is an expert in plant and animal lore. Nothing occurs in his woods without him knowing it.
The lake at Lochensmire with the Thunder Peak foothills in the background.
|Bryerton||16,400||Macgregor||Bryerton, the largest Bathyn city, sits at the mouth of the Coromand River and is the closest thing to a cultural and political center that Bathynia has. The Council of Clans is held at Bryerton. All representatives are given their chance to speak.|
|Dothan||15,100||Macuin||Dothan is a unique city in that several families of Avarians live in peaceful cooperation with the Macuin clan families. Dothan sits at 3,000 feet overlooking a beautiful valley through which the Coromand River flows.|
|Shalloway||14,300||Kellrin||Coastal village and port city with many dramatic cliffs and emerald forests that embrace glittering beaches. Beautiful coral reefs and jutting rocks decorate the coast here. Most of the populace are fishermen. Shalloway is named for the large shallow bay it sits upon. The Kellrin clan has developed a flat bottomed fishing vessel that can sail the shallow waterways of the area.|
|Panmire||14,000||Stuart||Panmire is located in the foothills of the Thunder Peaks and is in many ways the typical Bathyn community. The Stuart Clan has a proud tradition of honor and courage in battle.|
|Cromarthy||11,700||Holdane||The Bathyns are not an especially religious people, but one deity is close to the hearts of these horse warriors - the god that is built upon the legends of the ancient sorcerer who ruled this land long ago - Threll. Cromarthy is built near the ruins of Threll's city. A large temple to Threll is located at the heart of the city. The shamans of Threll hold historical texts and objects recovered from the ruins within their temple. Certain ceremonies and rituals are conducted at the site of the ruins.|
|Clandale||9,200||MacAndrews||Clandale is home to the finest brewmasters. The MacAndrews Clan has been brewing the same recipes for centuries. Many fine ales and brandies originated here as well as Horsemans' Ale.|
|Lamington||8,800||Baillie||Lamington is primarily an agricultural center. Surrounding the city is a maze of patchwork fields and small, independent farms that produce beef, eggs, milk, cheese, grain and more. Lamington trades much of this food to other clans.|
|Blackwood||7,400||MacCulloch||Blackwood is named for the large and dense woods which it lies next to.|
|Stonekirk||7,300||Bruce||Stonekirk is the home of the Bruce Clan, a house of battle hardened warriors. Besides the occasionally skirmish with another clan, Stonekirk also protects Bathynia from the raiding parties of the barbaric and bestial phellysians to the south. Stonekirk maintains a large arena where pit fighting is a favored form of entertainment and the Warriors Guild of Stonekirk operates a successful fighting school with swordmasters and bowmasters.|
|Cothylwor||6,700||Chelain||Cothylwor is located in the forests that lie southeast of the Grand Wood. From the local woods, the master bowyer/fletchers of the Chelain clan fashion the feared Bathyn longbows. The very best bows are crafted from rare winddancer trees. Clan Chelain is on excellent terms with the Cyrellian elves.|
|Calder Bay||6,200||MacClaren||Calder Bay is a coastal city that heavily fishes the waters of the Great Western Ocean. A variety of boats are built at Calder Bay, including deep sea fishing vessels and small whaling vessels. Besides fish, oysters, Calder Bay fishermen also harvest oysters, blue crabs, rock lobsters and shrimp.|
|Korumoch||5,500||Dunbar||The Bathyns do not generally make good sorcerers, but the few who do master the arts of wizardry usually come from Korumoch. A very small school of mages can be found here.|
|Kilner||5,200||Erskrin||Kilner is the home of the Erskrin clan who are horse breeders. Several large horse ranches are located just outside from Kilner.|
|Lochenmire||4,700||Macleod||Lochenmire is built on the shores of a large lake nestled among the southern foothills. Besides fishing and sailing on the lake, Lochemire performs a small amount of mining. This area has a number of limestone caves.|
|Tholsar||4,100||Wallace||The small town of Tholsar is the home of clan Wallace. Wrestling and unarmed combat are favorite past times of this clan and festivals are common.|
|Bonnyweld||3,400||Angus||Bonnyweld is a land of grazing pastures that lie among the fertile foothills of the southern Thunderpeaks. Taking advantage of the grassy hillsides, the Angus clan is a house of cattle herders and takes their name from their cattle. Bonnyweld grows the best beef in the west and trades its meat (usually jerked to survive the long journey) as far as Corvenia. Augoth beef cattle are short and stockier than most other breeds of cattle. They are covered in long, coarse red hair and have heavy broad faces.|
Byrne, Caledon, Carnogh, Farlon, Felkir, Garon, Hayden, Hidden Brook, Karmyn, Kinney, Koch, Latheron, Media, Morie, Senwyth, Shepherd's Bone
This website was last updated January 6, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.