Molthune, Territorial Expansionists

Shortly after Aroden’s death, regions and ethnic groups in Cheliax quickly splintered. Chief among them was the frontier colony of Molthune, which declared independence in 4632. Its success emboldened Galt and Andoran to follow suit. Using ancient maps of the territory to define new boundaries, Governor Kellon attempted to restore order and safety to his beleaguered people. Independence, however, does not equal stability.

Less than a generation later, the independent folk of the Fangwood Forest further splintered, breaking away from the old traditions that treated them as little more than indentured servants. Acts of sabotage at the various lumber camps throughout the region eventually led to open rebellion, and in 4655, the Fangwood rangers announced their own secession, creating the new nation of Nirmathas. The intervening years have seen six new governors, each drawn from the Molthuni Army, and various levels of open warfare with Nirmathas.

Despite the loss of nearly half its landmass, Molthune is still a vast swath of land with a variety of terrain and resources, including mining, lumber, and agriculture.

Most residents of Molthune fall into one of two distinct groups: city dwellers and laborers. The city wellers, almost all of whom live in Eranmas or Canorate, are considered “Imperial Citizens.” Citizens may participate in local governance and foreign trade and move freely about the country. Most of the rest of the populace are laborers—indentured servants who till the great fields of the central plains and perform the common work that powers the Molthuni economy. While many laborers resent their position, most take pride in their work, seeing it as one part of a greater whole that allows Molthune to maintain its proud traditions while forging a new, independent future.

Imperial Governor Markwin Teldas recently proclaimed that any laborer can become a Citizen by serving in the armies of Molthune for a 5-year period. While this decision enjoys strong popularity with the working masses, the elite consider it an abomination. Teldas, however, has bigger plans. For while Molthune has extensive resources, it has relatively few people to effectively tap them.

Under Teldas’s direction, territorial governors began offering monetary bonuses for extra children in families. Immigrants are promised land in exchange for military or laborer service, and slavery is not only permitted, but encouraged—within strictly defined, lawful boundaries. (Slaves have a relatively good lot in Molthune. A careful slave with an understanding of the law can advance to citizenship in time—a road completely blocked to slaves of most other nations.)
Although pragmatic, this population drive was born of avarice. Molthune Citizens need more people to increase their riches. More laborers, more soldiers, and even more Citizens ramp up every aspect of the Molthune economy. Teldas’s plan to swell the army’s numbers could allow him to retake Nirmathas, deter potential Chelaxian and Drumish predation, and increase the nation’s wealth within 5 years, thus quieting his critics (or, at least, some of them).
Surrounded by strong neighbors, the General Lords of Molthune champ at the bit to expand. The devils and shadows to the south and west are hornet’s nests Imperial Governor Teldas longs to knock down, but mountains ringing the southern half of the nation are both defensive boons and offensive hindrances. A f lurry of treaties maintains peace among the three strong military powers, but Molthuni diplomacy is always secondary to Molthuni conquest. To the east, Druma handily outpaces Moluthune’s coarse economic manipulations and remains too strong a trade partner to invade. Annexing Isger would draw ire from both Cheliax and Druma, so the generals instead quietly fund a number of bandit gangs there, keeping the region suitably unstable.
This leaves Nirmathas. Geographically and politically insecure, and a sore spot in living memory, the General Lords are bent on reclaiming the Fangwood, even if they must burn every tree to do it. Teldas ordered the construction of a new fortress along the northern border from which to launch ever-greater assaults. Fort Ramgate (so named because of the repeated attempts by raiders to destroy its main gate) nears completion, an event surely to precede even greater conflict between the two struggling nations.

Ancient law and tradition, tempered by military pragmatism, define most aspects of life and conduct in Molthune. Some wonder that anything gets done under such a system, but once activated, the Molthune Imperial Army moves with stunning agility, speed, and force.
Although overwhelmingly human and primarily of Chelaxian descent, the Imperial Army easily absorbs foreigners, and even monstrous troops, so long as they follow orders. Hobgoblins, centaurs, gollix serpents (a breed of nagas), and lawful lycanthropes are all proud, valued Molthune soldiers in their specialized units.

Government: The military oligarchy understands maneuvers and discipline better than civilian Governance. However blunt their statesmanship, the nine General Lords run effective, capable offices. Promotion to the rank of Imperial Governor is bestowed by the General Lords, and the position is held for life or until abdication. The current governor, Markwin Teldas, is intelligent, educated, and aggressive—loved by few, but respected by all. He adds an economist’s f lair to his strategy—many of his tactics appear obtuse, even counter-intuitive, but more often than not, they increase Molthuni sovereignty and f inancial liquidity.
Canorate: A city of impressive architecture and public works, even the poor in Canorate live among splendor. Broad avenues, pointed spires, frequent fortif ications, and a circular layout combine architectural beauty and canny defensibility. Citizens allow select laborers to live in fine (but wholly separate) accommodations as enticement to live and work in the city. Riffraff may not enter the walled Sweet Orchard section of town (where the wealthiest Citizens live) without work or travel permits, and imperial enforcers are exceptionally strict on this point. In the Imperial Castle at the center of town, Teldas has an immense war room with a scale model of the inner sea region built on a yards-wide table. The General Lords meet here quarterly to plot their movements and tactics across the region.

Backar Forest: The Imperial Army finds the fey of the Backar Forest impenetrable. The sprites, satyrs, twigjacks, horrorwisps, and odder fey refuse to take orders, and frequently steal, trade, or vandalize imperial property for no discernible reason. Although the local army contains druid and ranger units, they have little more success than regular troops in enlisting or subduing these capricious creatures.

Eranmas: The location of Molthune’s shipyard, impressively walled Eranmas is also home port of the largest military fleet on Lake Encarthan. Other lake nations are understandably wary, but Governor Lord Resket is vocally and materially interested in using his f leet only as a blockade around Tamran.

Fort Ramgate: The settlement of Fort Ramgate grows visibly by the week. Commanded by General Hakar, a Kellid-born barbarian in uniform, Ramgate’s defenses are magically and militarily state of the art. This serves the fort well, as Ramgate comes under daily attack from Nirmathi skirmishers. When the invasion of Nirmathas begins, it will begin here.

The Plains of Molthune: The great Plains of Molthune are home to f lat miles of crops. With a labor shortage, farmers cannot allow their scarecrows to just idly stand by. Scarecrows are magically pressed into service, animated as harvest constructs by imperial wizards who make monthly circuits. Until more laborers arrive to fill gaps, spindly wooden constructs bearing scythes and baskets roam the fields, tilling, sowing, harvesting, and driving off pests.

Trilmsgitt Towers: The Trilmsgitt Towers stand separate but united, and all potentially abandoned. Some time ago, three specialist wizard brothers—Nyl, Fedge, and Ciuq Trilmsgitt—built their towers within a few miles of one another. The towers had similar construction, and each brother connected his with those of brothers using various teleports and planar portals. None of them have been heard from in quite some time, and the local governor would like to know why—and who inherits their estates if they’re dead.

Molthune, Territorial Expansionists

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