Hronth

The oldest surviving human nation, Hronth was established at the end of the Elven Occupation. With some of the oldest continually populated settlements, Hronth has rapidly become a decadent and corrupt nation of wealth, luxury and excess. The very rich aristocracy all but rules the nation, while the poor lower class is purposely kept down.

Geography

Hronth is bordered by mountains on the north and south, with the Great Swamp serving as a nebulous border between it and Cellinia; while the two do not agree on the border neither care enough for the marshland to dispute the claim. Hronth’s eastern border is less disputed, being the C’ellaugh and Aithris rivers, which separate Hronth from the Elven Empire of Elflund.

Much of Hronth is plains crisscrossed with thin rivers. The soil is former forest that does not easily produce crops so the few fertile areas are heavily worked and foodstuff is valuable. The nation makes up for its lack of crops through livestock raised for meat, wool and leather.

Badlands – The northern edge of Hronth, this rocky area is rife with orcs, trolls and ogres. A number of dead rivers cut into the ground, leaving deep gorges and uneven terrain.

Feyspan – A grassy plain between the Khellon and Hronth wood. The region is fertile and heavily farmed, arguably the most fertile soil in the region. The elves’ initial forays across the river were here, as was their final retreat at the end of the occupation. There are still signs of the pitched battled, including mass graves and discarded weapons.

Gnoll Hills – The rough southern hills and lowlands of the Edge Mountains, this stretch is rife with both gnoll packs and goblin tribes. Currently, the amassing goblins keep the gnoll population down but are also driving the survivors northward.

Great Swamp – A natural basin, this swamp is fed by numerous streams and heavy rainfall from both nearby mountains. The ground is unstable and unfarmable. Few people live in the marshland, with most being criminals and bandits.

Hronth Woods – A wide stretch of intermittent forest, the Hronth woods are the source of lumber for much of the nation. The trees here are old but sturdy, and many logging camps cut into the forests.

Khellon Wood – A smaller forest, this wood is newer, with most of the trees dating to after the Catastrophe. The wood is spacious with little underbrush. The trees nearby the ruins of Feyfall are sickly and there are few animals in the woods. Most loggers avoid it, fearing illness and tell tales of undead spirits or monsters.

Marsh Wood – Part of the larger Hronth Woods, the Marsh Wood is adjacent to the Great Swamp and has a reputation for attracting creatures from the marsh. Plains of Hronth – The hard central plains and once forest; many farmers and ranchers live in these plains. Most of the plainsfolk are paid workers, little more than serfs bound to the land. The plots of land are owned by noble lords who delegate the task of running the ranches.

Sacred Hills – A series of groves set along sloping hills, this was a sacred land to the gnomes of the Old Order. Even the elves respected the power of this region. Even now it is sparsely populated and the trees are left alone. West Plains – Fertile farmland, these plains are divided into numerous plots, owned by a variety of noble families. While not as feryile as Feyspan, the terrain is less broken by forest and holds larger farms. The food produced in these fields feeds much of the nation.

Population

Hronth has a mixed population. The most common race is human and all the noble families are human. However, humans have recently become a minority in the land, being slightly outnumbered by all the other races.

The half elf are fairly common in Hronth, the result of the elven occupation. Most half-elves avoid drawing attention to their heritage and many keep to themselves or even live in entire villages of half-breeds. Tiefling and genasi, formerly a slave race, are also common. The many rivers of Hronth attract a number of halfling, and a number even travel through the Great Swamp.

Even dwarves, warforged, and dragonborn can be found in Hronth. The noble families do much to court the three races, paying well for the much-traveled dwarven goods and equally well for both warforged and dragonborn bodyguards and sellswords. These mercenaries are also kept on retainer to bolster the national army, which also has its own share of dragonborn and warlords.

The elf and eladrin people are unpopular in Hronth, even now. Many still travel through the nation although they often take pains to disguise themselves or avoid attention. They are seldom assaulted but still poorly treated.

Lifestyle

Hronth is starkly divided into the wealthy elite and poor underclass. There is a small but growing middle-class, but these will likely replace a few of the weakening noble houses and become part of the elites.

The vast majority of the populace is poor labourers. These include ‘freed’ tiefling and genasi slaves who are now paid labourers, whose earning barely pay for their food and shelter. But, unlike slaves which have a financial value, these labourers are not costly, prompting little mercy from their masters.

Many other labourers are indentured workers who are attempting to pay off familial debt, but typically only keep even with the interest.

In contrast, the wealthy noble families live a life of idle luxury. Hronthian nobles are renowned for their debauchery and hedonism.

As a diversion, the nobles engage in clandestine attempts to usurp power and money from each other, continually struggling for positions in the national hierarchy. The richest hold sway of the House of Lords and bend the Lord-Governor, the technical leader of Hronth, to their will.

History

Formerly elven forests and exclusively elven lands during the Old Order, few humans were ever permitted past the narrow valleys into the ancient wooded homeland. After the Catastrophe and destruction of the trees, humans entered the region and claimed it. They formed a number of independent villages, often using elven ruins as a foundation.

During the brief Elven Occupation, the citizens rebelled forming a united land. This alliance quickly fragmented and shrank down to its current size, excluding the recently seceded city-states of Krath and Bypass.

Like the western lands, Hronth used the planetouched as a slave race, but freed them after a number of rebellions. While the lower classes are currently free, they are still kept poor and uneducated: slaves in everything but name.

Hronth’s recently history has been a series of border battles with Grigoran that prompted the House of Lords to push the noble families for greater taxes to rebuild the nation’s military. After an initial surge to bolster the border and fortify Borderwatch Keep, the nobles lobbied for their taxes to lower leaving the nation too poor to pay all its soldiers. This prompted both Cliffside Castle and Bypass Keep to secede.

Settlements

Hronth – (city, pop. 23,560) A large city built out of the shell of mostly intact ruins, repaired with mimicking architecture. Originally rebuilt by elven occupiers and updated again since the rebellion; the architecture is now a copy of a copy. Original “founders” were the first humans to move into the elven ruins, whose descendants have since established themselves as the noble class of the nation. They have since spread out over the land but the patriarchs meet in Hronth at the House of Lords, greatly influence affairs of state. Hronth is easily the single largest city is the Beltway, a sprawling metropolis. But it is still dwarfed by the ruins it was built amongst.

Khelnom – (city, pop. 11,780) Built piecemeal out of ravaged ruins, old walls and bricks mixed with new construction, Khelnom is a center of agriculture with rich landowners controlling many surrounding farms: the most fertile land in the nation. Its large docks also provide much river trade and there is increasing commerce with elves, typically by halfling proxy. Curious young on both sides often meet for “midnight rendezvous”. Because of this, there is a growing number of half-breeds, systematically kept poor and forced into a ghetto or “elftown”. Even the children of noble families are disowned and forced out, typically by their half-siblings who are unwilling to share their inheritance.

Jruka – (city, pop. 12,35) A massive factory town, built around a gigantic golem and magitech complex: two dozen colossal buildings. Jruka is a newer town. A couple centuries ago, a scholarly town was established here as academics moved in to research the complex. A number of smiths and other artisans and crafters were also asked to move to the region. The region proved rich in mineral wealth and for salvage, an entire community built around stripping the ruins. There is a large university built nearby, possibly the largest in the Beltway. Jruka is known for its elitism and divided classes, with the scholars and artisans looking down at each other and viewing each other in the worst possible light.

Haven – (town, pop. 2,340) This small community was established by freed slaves after Hronth abolished the practice, as well as those few escaped slaves from Grigoran. It is frequently avoided by traders and merchants, and generally dismissed by nobles and elites. The population is largely half-elve, genasi, and tieflings with a few other exotic peoples.

Elfwatch – (village, pop. 540) A large fortress built after elves were expelled and designed to keep them out. It was built on the ruins of a town destroyed as the elves retreated and designed as a reminder of the brutality of the fey. With the river already acting as a natural barrier, Elfwatch was built to protect the mountains. Seldom maintained in recent years, Hronth is seldom concerned with the neighboring elves. The soldiers are growing soft and undisciplined, making the keep a tempting target for the bolder goblins of Cliffside. The commanding officer is growing unsatisfied with his current position and the lack of action.

Borderwatch Keep – (village, pop. 750) A rigid military post guarding against Grigor and his purifiers. Hronth has heard the godking wished to expand his territory and so Hronth marshaled forces at this keep. The forces are well-trained but tense, seldom given a chance to relax or see their families.

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Hronth

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