The World Of Khoras - Civilization - Nations

"I shall tell you why the Tomarin Knights are so ferocious in battle. In their land, to capture your neighbor's citadel is not just an honorable act... it is expected! Such is life in the land of the Iron Lords."
- Eshiek Morgrule, Magrakian Far Trader.

Proper Name The Iron States of Tomarin
Ruler None
Population 6,772,500
Population Density 7 people per square kilometer
(18 people per square mile)
Demographics Human 75%, Hyttar 10%, Sybrenar 6%, Magrakian 5%, Other 4%
Adjectival/Demonym Tomarin/Tomarin
Languages Tomarin 85%, Hyttar 8%, Sybrenar 4%, Magrak 3%
Capital City None
National Colors No central symbol. Each duchy has its own coat of arms.
Year Founded 1251 CY
Currency Tomarin (with extensive trade and barter)
Natural Resources and Manufactured Goods Iron ore, silver, copper, various minerals, quarried stone, precious gems, metalwork, weapons, armor, lumber
Wealth Wealthy
Government Type Provincial
Government Stability Very stable
Allies None
Enemies The Sybren Imperium, The Trossoli Dominion
Technology Level Middle Ages
Primary Religion Olgrom, the Mountain King
Other Religions Trodule
Climate Temperate to sub-arctic
Total Land Area 975,000 square kilometers
(376,500 square miles)
Arable Land 37%
Terrain Coastal Forest

Description

A unique nation that has formed into a realm divided up into duchies ruled over by territorial and belligerent warlords. The socio-political setup of the Iron States is a direct outgrowth of the unique geology of the area. The hills of this region are unique geologic formations called "fire cairns", a volcanic formation, closely related to volcanoes. Each cairn is a mineral-rich hill with a circular vertical shaft at the center. This shaft is typically 100 meters across and about 1000 meters deep.

Because such mineral wealth is concentrated in such focused areas, the culture of this region has adopted building massive citadels atop these cairns. There are eighteen duchies, all approximately the same size and strength. Most have a small town enveloping the Citadel, built onto tiers in the hillside. These growth patterns of these towns can be traced by the concentric city walls which often coincide with the tiers.

Each duchy is ruled by a single warlord who dwells within his great iron citadel. Each citadel is built from iron and stone mined from its own cairn. It's position atop the cairn gives it a commanding view of the surrounding land. From a top the Citadel's roof, one can see for several leagues in all directions.

Each duchy typically commands an area of 100 kilometers radius about the Citadel. This usually includes a half dozen towns and villages and a population of ten to fifteen thousand. The central town will typically have steeply angled streets and architecture that takes advantage of the slope. Officially, each duchy is called a "state", hence the national name – the Iron States. However, in casual conversation, each political region is called a "duchy".

Geography

By far, the most unique feature of the geography are the fire cairns.  These isolated mountains dominate the central plains. The central plains are ringed by the Shard Mountains which wrap around the east and north. The western coast lies against the Sea of Anar. The region experiences moderate summers, seasonal rains in the spring and fall and harsh winters with frequent snow storms and high winds. The northern stretches are completely ice covered in winter. 

Notable Fauna and Flora

The Iron States are a land infested with humanoid tribes, packs of wolves and other dangers. The humanoid tribes are concentrated in the Shard Mountains, but occasionally venture out into the plains to raid villages. Most people of the duchies stay close to the Citadels for safety. Each town maintains a strong militia while each Citadel holds a veritable army of seasoned soldiers

The plains and grasslands are dominated by herd grazers, huge birds and lonely trees. A variety of predators, including shimmercats, prowl the realm. Herds of elk, caribou, moose, wolves, bears and northern deer can be found in the northern plains and forested hills. Polar worms, tribes of snow goblins and other polar monsters can be found in the icy northern wastes.

The most dangerous creatures known in these lands are the subterranean shakers which occasionally find their way into the deep mining shafts and hunt the miners. When one of these horrors is loose in the shafts, the Citadel's guard must sweep the levels with constant patrols. 

History

The Pre-Sundering

Before the Sundering, this region was unremarkable and home to distant farmlands and coastal towns of the northwestern provinces of the Great Kytohan Empire.

The Birth of the Fire Cairns (0 CY to 107 CY)

When the Sundering hit, it served as a catalyst and triggered some latent geological forces deep underground in this region. The fire cairns were spawned and, through complex chemical reactions in the rock and spasmodic eruptions, the fire cairns formed. This took about 100 years (0 CY – 100 CY). The last spasmodic growth occurred in 107 CY. The fire cairns continue to develop slowly to this very day.

Birth of the Clans (107 CY – 612 CY)

With the birth of the fire cairns and the cessation of the growth spurts, the clans formed and began mining the fire cairns for metal and stone. This period ran for about 500 years.

The Clan Wars (612 CY – 968 CY)

Beginning in 612 CY, two clans went to war. Soon, this conflict engulfed all clans. As they strength grew, they began to resemble rudimentary kingdoms. For protection in this war-torn land, the clans built the first Citadels.

The Kingdom of Tomarin (968 CY – 1251 CY)

Later, a warlord named Tomar successfully united the clans in 968 CY. He then declared himself king. He claimed no clan heritage and to further prove that he sided with no single clan, he built his capital city and castle on the plains, rather than on a fire cairn. He was a great and popular king with far reaching influence. Fables and legends were heaped upon his name. Songs of this great man are still sung about the hearth in modern times. His line ruled for three centuries. He started the Order of the Tomarin Knights who lived virtuous and noble lives.

The Age of Tomarin (1251 CY – Present)

In the fall of 1251 CY, the citadel of Braxtierny exploded when its fire cairn erupted like a volcano, killing all inside. King Tomar VII (the great, great, great, great, great grandson of King Tomar), who was a guest at Braxtierny at the time, was slain along with countless others. This tragedy set off a chain reaction of political turmoil. The kingdom disintegrated back into warring clans. Because of the fire cairns and the uniform distribution of wealth, a stalemate between the clans arose. All of the kingdom's many duchies fell to warring with each other. Each clan claims to hold the values of the Tomarin. While the ruling nobles each can trace their heritage back to Tomar, no one clan has any greater claim to the throne than any other.

Even as the clans make war upon each other today as they have for centuries, the ruins of the once great capital city lie out on the plans. It is a place now shunned. A field strewn of rubble left to the creeping vines. It has been stripped of all wealth.

There are various legends and prophecies that say King Tomar will arise from the grave and re-unite the clans.

Government

No central government rules here. Each duchy is politically self contained. Within each Citadel, the governmental structure varies but is often some form of military dictatorship. Usually, a single ruler (who claims to be a direct descendant from the Tomar line) controls the citadel and duchy. It is tradition that each ruler bears the title of Duke (the title of King is reserved for one who rules over all the clans). The dukes are often referred to as the "Iron Lords". In the old days, the ruler of a Citadel was known as a "thane", but the title of "thane" is considered archaic now.

Each duke typically has an elaborate panel of advisors and councilors. He is attended by an Order of Tomarin Knights (a remnant of the original Tomarin Knights). Finally, each duchy has its own coat of arms.

Legal System

Legal systems vary widely depending on the character of the duchy. Some dukes are tolerant and lenient. Others are harsh dictators with a penchant for torture and arena combat.

Military

Each duchy maintains a small but strong army. A combination of foot soldiers, archers and siege engineers maintain the strength and safety of the Citadel. Heavy horsemen are used to ride out and conquer a neighboring citadel. And of course there are the Tomarin Knights.

Sacking a neighbor's citadel is considered noble and honorable. War is life here in the north. Attacking your enemy is as good as negotiating with him. While raids and sieges are common, the actual taking of an entire Citadel is a rare event. Each year, there are about a dozen sieges, but there is typically only one citadel each year that is actually captured. It signifies a subtle shift of power in that area. Often, truces and alliances are made until the Citadel is recaptured and then such alliances are quickly forgotten.

To aid in conquering these huge citadels, massive siege engines are common. These enormous siege engines have become the stuff of myth and legend in distant lands. Their weaponry includes a host of cannons, ballista, catapults, battering rams and explosives. Even with an assortment of firepower, it is still a difficult thing to breach an iron citadel. For one thing, it takes many weeks  to gather and mobilize a large scale assault. The caravan of knights, wagons and siege engines will be seen coming kilometers away. Typically, a defending citadel will have as much as a week of warning with which to prepare for the siege. The Citadel walls are usually too thick for even the largest cannon to breach. Often, the most effective method is to burn the city to the ground, surround the citadel and starve them out.

Although battles are common and war is a way of life here, it should be noted that such warfare is relatively civilized. For instance, the dukes are aware that each citadel represents an enormous amount of wealth and resources in its construction. It is not wise to extensively damage a citadel when it will be so costly to rebuild it. Therefore, actual physical damage to citadels by the big siege engines is kept to a minimum and once the outer defenses have been breached, the actual battle for the citadel is fought by infantry.

Tomarin foot soldiers wear chainmail and piecemeal plate armor. Broad swords and axes are the most common weaponry. Tomarin archers use truly massive bows which can fling an arrow 500 yards. These prove very useful during sieges. The super heavy crossbow is also common here.

With the recent Sybrenar assaults into Tomarin territory, the Citadels have stopped waging war upon each other and instead have turned their soldiers and weapons against the invading Sybrenar.

Each Duke handpicks a small group of personal body guards. These guards, typically numbering less than a dozen, enjoy special privileges and will accompany their duke always. These men are collectively known as the "Hearth Guard".

Economy

Many of the duchies conduct trade with each other in an environment of restrained civility. This combined with constant civil war between various Citadels has resulted in a vibrant and booming economy. There is much wealth in this region to be had for those willing to work and fight for it. Due to the vast geological resources of the nation, in particular iron, metalwork of all kinds are readily available and is of exceptional quality. The metalwork from the Iron States is the finest to be found anywhere. Tomarin metal smiths are artisans who craft each blade and each piece of armor with precision and skill. They have developed and refined their methods over centuries. And the metal which they work with is unequalled in its purity.

Each duchy levies taxes of all its citizens and towns. Taxes vary from duchy to duchy. 

Culture

The people of the Iron States are collectively referred to as the Tomarin. The dukes and nobles of the Iron States are often called the "Lords of Tomarin". Historically, this refers to the human race that has dominated this region for centuries. However, nowadays, it simply refers to any and all people who dwell in this land. The word "Tomarin" is also the name of their language. 

When not building up the strength and wealth of their own citadel or tearing down the strength of their neighbor, the men and women of the Iron States are fond of battle in all of its other forms - games, team sports, weapons practice and a variety of competitions. In many ways, the culture borrows from the old ways of the Kingdom of Tomarin. However, since the realm has fallen back to warring clans, the nature of these people has become a bit more barbaric. 

Many hyttar refugees fleeing the Trossoli Dominion have moved north into the Iron States. Some have found work in the towns and citadels while other have been recruited into or fallen prey to the humanoid tribes of the Shard Mountains. Overall, those hyttar living in the Iron States have become second class citizens with few rights. They are often put to work in dangerous occupations or doing menial labor, receiving poor wages and harsh treatment. Other hyttar have become beggars, thieves and scavengers.

Magic

The Iron Citadels use magic extensively in warfare. Armies use mages in battle to great effect and citadels use magic for defense. Every iron citadel has at least one skilled wizard on staff.

The Duchies 

Name Population Notes
Cardiff 57,000 Cardiff is the largest and wealthiest of the eighteen duchies. It is ruled by a powerful warrior duke named Raenius. Cardiff has a large army and has never been sacked. Villages of this duchy include: Bahjik, Hotune, Norskval and Ranasar. 
Baranov 46,800 Known as the home of the greatest master smiths. They have a dwarven mastersmith with them from distant Ithria who holds a position of honor among the nobles. He has taught the smiths of this duchy many dwarven smith techniques. Villages of this duchy include: Othgrim, Caddar, Ravensdale and Weir.
Comalich 41,100 Comalich is unique in that it is ruled by a duke who is also a powerful wizard. His name is Tarumit and he teaches several lesser wizards in his domain. Because he is a wizard, he is disliked by many of the other dukes. Tarumit believes that magic is the tool which will raise his duchy above all others and one day he will conquer the other duchies with an army of spell casters.
Kosloff 38,300 Ruled by a very aggressive duke who loves battle above all else. Duke Kosloff the Dragonslayer. He claims to have defeated a true dragon in single combat, but most consider this either an arrogant and baseless boast or the result of a battle with a firedrake. Duke Kosloff is a cruel man and enjoys watching prisoners fight in arena combat. Duke Kosloff is a short man with fiery red hair and an equally fiery temper.
Mouden 35,800 Ruled by a vain lord who belabors his peasants to keep his Citadel free of rust without the benefit of magic. Duke Mouden fears magic, (childhood trauma) and has outlawed it in his duchy.
Daumsler 35,600 Ruled by a benevolent and honorable lord who cares deeply for his duchy and its people. Goes out of his way to feed and clothe the poor.
Hutarran 27,400 Hutarran is ruled by a tall, proud, arrogant and egotistical duke who is obsessed with conquering the other duchies and ruling over a new Kingdom of Tomar. Is absolutely sure that he is a direct descendant of Tomar. Fancies himself of the true bloodline and sees himself above the petty squabbling of the other dukes.
Aunnisham 22,900 The duke of this duchy is truly mad. Throws parties for his pets. Dancing in the rain in his bed stalkings. Talks to trees. He is out of his mind, but has the backing of a powerful magic item that keeps his generals in line. Some say it is this very magic item that has driven him mad.
Griefeger 19,500 This duchy is ruled by twin brothers who share authority.
Aeschler 17,000 Ruled by a fat and balding man, quite ugly, with a deeply philosophical and religious beliefs. He is a high priest of Olgrom and this fact deeply influences his ruling style.
Morkhanin 14,000 Morkhanin is the only duchy ruled by a woman. The duchess of Morkhanin claimed the throne upon the death of her husband. She managed to wrest control of duchy only after a fierce battle with his younger brother and several of his generals. She is a fiercely independent woman who has won over the respect and love of the people and now rules securely.
Heingoth 11,700 Duke Heingoth is a collector of exquisite pieces of art and rare antiquities. He travels a great deal to procure new items for his collection. He has several rare and wondrous pieces including the Teeth portion of the Death's Door Ring from the Desolation of Shidar.
Evinshald 10,200

This duchy is a weak duchy which serves Cardiff as a subordinate kingdom. The duke of Evinshald obeys the Duke of Cardiff.

Kurginhoch 8,400

Ruled over by a half-magrakian who is known as the Pig Duke and the Swine Lord, because of his facial features. He embraces these titles with glee. He has won over the love of his people by working tirelessly for them and setting an example of endurance and strength. Although he commands only a small army, he is served by a powerful mage and a general who is a brilliant tactician. His heritage is a source of great contention amongst the other dukes.

Ochsauwer 7,300

The southern most Citadel. Conducts a lot of trade with the nations to the south. Sees the most caravans from the south. Also, this is a cultural melting pot. The northern citadels consider Ochsauwer to be contaminated by weak blood from the south. The duke here is served by a sybrenar chancellor.

Thaede 6,900 Ruled by a duke who is the cousin of the Duke of Breinstauer. These two cousins hate each other and the two citadels are almost perpetually at war.
Urumok 5,200

Urumok is the citadel closest to the northern Shard Mountains, which is home to many dangerous monsters. Urumok deals with packs of winter wolves, shard trolls, ice worms and other dangerous beasts in the far mountainous northeast.

Breinstauer 4,600 Ruled by a duke who is the cousin of the Duke of Thaede. These two cousins hate each other and the two citadels are almost perpetually at war.

Independent Towns (Not affiliated with any Citadel)

Name Population Notes
Kaeslin 37,500 The largest independent town in Tomarin lands. This walled and heavily fortified city proudly declares itself independent of all Iron Citadels and all foreign governments.
Bronst 21,000  
Hausfag 16,500  
Hewn 12,700  
Ilabon 11,200  
Goyer 9,500  
Kertag 8,600  
Murky Lake 7,400 A small fishing town on the shores of Murky Lake.
Norintag 6,900  
Torched 5,350 A remarkable little town that has been burned to the ground and rebuilt six times in the last century. The citizens of this small town are fiercely independent and stubborn. The mayor of this town is a magrakian which may explain the tenacious nature of the citizens. The mayor is fiercely loved by the people of the town and they are exceptionally loyal to one another.
Palthur 4,800  
Anigot 4,200  

This page last updated Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Copyright 1990-2009 David M. Roomes.

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