Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
North of Impiltur and east of the Moonsea lies the once-mighty realm of Damara, now rebuilding from decades of war against its neighbors and the orcs and gnolls of the mountains. Tolerant of all races and most religions, the country is friendly to visitors, especially those who have skill in slaying monsters. Those interested in politics and adventure can find plenty of opportunities here.
Damara maintains friendly relations with its neighbors and has a thriving gem trade based on its bountiful chalcedony (known as “bloodstone” for its red flecks) mines. However, the leaders of Damara keep a wary eye on the neighboring land of Vaasa and stay prepared for any strange threat that may arise from there.
Life and Society
The hardy people of Damara have worked hard to rebuild their land. Although many are grim and bitterly lament the loss of their former way of life, the worship of Ilmater gives them strength in the face of hardship and high hopes for the future. Paladins of the Unbroken God (particularly from the Order of the Golden Cup) are a common sight, as are monks of that faith from the Monastery of the Yellow Rose near the Glacier of the White Worm.
Despite the travails of their recent history, Damarans are proud of their country, which is home to peacefully coexisting humans, dwarves, halflings, and half-orcs. Their mines produce enough metals and gems to pay for needed repairs, and the svirfneblin colony under Bloodstone Pass has recently opened a school for illusionist magic.
Major Geographical Features
Damara’s few roads are generally impassable in the wintertime, but rivers link the remote country with the capital. In warm months, keelboats and barges ply the cold, swift waters, and in winter, the river ice serves as a road for horse-drawn sleds and sledges.
With a government still finalizing the bounds of its responsibilities after an invasion by the hordes of an evil lich, Damara is a land ideally suited for adventurers.
To understand the Bloodstone Lands, a Dungeon Master must have a grasp of where Damara stands among its neighbors, and the dynamics at work within the kingdom itself. Present-day politics in Damara have their roots in the past.
Although the Bloodstone Wars brought the armies of the land together, the people remain divided. Each barony fared a little differently during the recent wars, and therefore everyone has their own opinion about goings-on in the north, and of the rise of the new heroes. The selfish and deceitful rulers Zhengyi put in place have only served to aggravate the already-volatile situation.
Before the Witch-King, and from the days of its earliest origins, Damara was a single harmonious nation. An acknowledged, accepted king ruled all from Heliogabalus. The provinces existed as counties, all solidly behind the trusted decisions that issued from the throne. Each county was ruled by a noble house of long standing.
The counties were of two types: the city provinces and the supply provinces. The city provinces of Morov, Ostel, and Polten serve primarily as trade markets and launching sites for merchant caravans, and here dwell Damara’s finest craftsmen. Farming is only on a small scale, and there is no raw mineral wealth here. These provinces are wholly dependent on the other regions to keep them from being more than simple trading communities suffering stoically in a cold frontier.
The supply provinces of Arcata, Bloodstone, Brandiar, Carmathan, and Soravia are less densely populated than the city provinces. These provinces support Damara’s large-scale farmers and miners, the backbone supporting the cities’ economies.
Zhengyi could not change economics, but he shattered the ruling class that kept everything working. After the bloody night in 1357 DR when the flower of Damaran nobility was slaughtered, Zhengyi began replacing the nobles, hand-picking his puppets, and he got some doozies indeed!
The difference between Barony and Duchy is minor, generally depending on the wealth, prestige and/or population of the province. That King Gareth was able to raise Bloodstone from a Barony to a Duchy was largely dependent on the influx of people to the Bloodstone Vale and the reopening of the Bloodstone Mines.
Damara was founded almost three hundred years ago under the Bloodfeathers dynasty. Formerly a wealthy trading kingdom enriched by its iron, silver, and bloodstone (traded in 25-gp value trade bars now regarded as unlucky “cursed money”) Damara fell from greatness in a twelve-year war against invaders from Vaasa, the land to the northwest.
Vaasa’s Witch King led armies of giants, goblins, orcs, and undead into Damara and eventually triumphed over King Virdin Bloodfeathers at the Ford of Goliad. The fell creatures of Vaasa occupied northwestern Damara, but fled and scattered after the Witch-King’s power was broken by a local band of adventurers. Gareth Dragonsbane was able to cement key alliances with lesser nobles through the support of the common folk, and was crowned king of Damara in 1359 DR.
Since the unification of Damara, King Dragonsbane has worked hard to rebuild his nation’s economy and strength of arms. Damara has recovered from the war with Vaasa and watches at the Gates to guard against future invasion from its northern neighbor. Trade relations with Impiltur are positive, and acceptance of the bloodstone tradebars is increasing.
King Dragonsbane is trying to attract adventurers to his land by building upon Damara’s reputation for adventuring. His agents cite mineral rich mountains, proximity to monster-heavy Vaasa, the deep gnomes’ school of illusion magic, and opportunities for land grants. Dragonsbane has even offered minor noble titles to folk of law and good who are willing to build homes and swear allegiance to Damara. These incentives are working, and there is now a steady flow of adventurers into Damara.
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