The Country of Thera’Dor is a vast, mountainous country rich in ores and metals. While much of this large domain is unpopulated, many of the high valleys contain minor villages and other cities can be found along the great river Negila. The river is the lifeblood of Thera’Dor’s capitol city of Hilrock, where the country’s government lies. Negila is a wonder, flowing fast and deep enough to carry the largest barges and galleons out to sea, while the almost constant west bound wind is strong enough to bring them upriver to the city. The culture and people of Thera'Dor vary widely thanks to it's great size. It is something of a Nation of nations.
- 1 Cities of Note
- 2 Government
- 3 Military
Cities of Note
The Capitol city of Thera'Dor is a bit of a wonder all on its own. While the architecture of the city is beautiful, and it's streets lit by mathemagical lamps after sundown, and its cathedral is lovely and its seven schools are impressive, the real treasure lies beneath the city. The first settlers of Hilrock, who arrived many centuries ago, found the climate too inhospitable and fashioned their dwellings underground! The entire city is connected by underground galleries and vaults. One need never brave the cold, though most modern inhabitants have become used to the frigid environs. If you plan to see only one thing when you visit, it must be the Grand Gallery where the Council of Houses meets. As council meetings are a public affair, it is also advised that time be made to attend a meeting in progress. The spectacle is said to be the greatest entertainment the city has to offer, with the grand opera and ballet coming in a close second.
In addition to being the Capitol and the seat of the king and the Council of Houses, Hilrock is also the home of the Schlaufuchs clan. The military branch of this family of snowy foxes travel the length and breadth of the vast country of Thera'Dor, but here, at home, fashion is king! The Shlaufuchs are great patrons of the arts and greater patrons of the city's fine tailors and milliners. If you plan to be seen in Hilrock, it had best be in your finest. With the mixture of cultures, there are few taboos in the great city. But be warned, the game of houses is being played and everyone is either player or pawn.
The first city of the Snowmark clan is a sprawling, coastal metropolis. During the day, the town bustles with commerce and industry as one of the main shipping centers of Thera'Dor. By night, however, Snowhame becomes a frozen Mardi Gras! There is a party on every corner and no lack of conviviality or of the Snowmark brand of alcohol. Some establishments that cater to outsiders provide underground rooms to help block out the noise of the Night City, as it is called. The Crystal Palace of the Snowmarks is considered to be one of the greatest feats of mathemagic in our modern age. Visitor be warned, nothing is taboo here, though crime is rare. There are whispers that the head of the Snowmarks sits not only on the Council of Houses, but also as a pirate king! It is probably just a rumor, though.
The great city of the Underhill clan is the second oldest settlement in the nation of Thera'Dor and is constructed entirely underground. Great caverns and galleries are lit with ancient creator technology, dutifully maintained by machine priests. There is no night in Hearthforge, only a changing of shifts as one set of industrious workers and merchants make way for the next. The city itself expands after the mines, which produce the city and the nation's great wealth of gems and precious metals. The King's Vault, an immense natural cave studded with jewels and fanciful rock formations is a popular, and oft recommended sight for visitors.
The nomadic animal breeders of Thera'Dor have no permanent settlements. Instead, scattered about their vast roaming territories are well tended groves of iron pines where they erect temporary towns amid the protection of the sturdy trees. The ice houses of the Dacha are surprisingly cosy and everyone should visit the friendly Dacha at least once. A word of caution: The animals of the Dacha are considered family. Treat the beasts with respect.
This is not a city, as the Caldera do not have anything that you might call a real city. Instead, it is the largest volcano on the string of volcanoes that have made the Caldera region the fertile cornucopia that it is. The hot springs and other geothermal activity in the area keep the climate fairly temperate, though snow is still the norm out of the valleys. The saurian people of Caldera worship the mountain, saying that the Spirit of Fire dwells within. Who knows? Maybe they are right?
Thera’Dor’s government, seated in the capitol city of Hilrock is made up of Seven Noble houses. Each with their own holdings elsewhere in the vast, northern landscape. The king is chosen from any one of these houses upon the death of the old king. The head of each noble house has one nomination and one vote, and may elect anyone except for themselves. This form of selection seems strange and confusing to outsiders, but the game of houses is quite commonplace in Hilrock. The throne has been held by the Underhill clan for the past six generations. Hilrock’s seven houses are:
A family of Mountain Lions who have been explorers and seafaring merchants since time out of mind. Some of their detractors say they come from pirate stock, but that has never bothered the adventurous, easygoing Snowmarks. The family name comes from a trait that manifests once or twice in every generation. Some Snowmark children are born with a fractal snowflake pattern in their fur. These children are considered very lucky and great things are expected of them. Most of their holdings are coastal, with some lands stretching inland along the Negila river
A line of snowy foxes, distantly related to the Solacious family of Firmament. They, like their Solacious cousins, are a military bunch, known for their work in maintaining the peace in Thera’Doran cities. Though in Hilrock itself, they are better known as cloth merchants and fashion moguls. They like to look good in uniform
The Aldermann family are the great priests of the north. These regal caribou are, almost without exception, dedicates of the Church of the Creators. No Aldermann has ever sat upon the throne of Thera’Dor, and they are quite proud of that. They seek instead to keep their people strict in the ways of the first writings. The moon’s destruction was seen as a terrible omen and they have since redoubled their efforts to keep the people of Hilrock on the strait and narrow way. They have no holdings of their own, but no noble house may turn a member of the Aldermann clan away without suffering the consequences. Aldermann clan members, male and female, take great pride in their antlers, never polluting what the creators gave them with anything so base as decoration, but maintaining them very carefully. An Aldermann who has shamed the clan is often condemned to go “bareheaded” or antler-less for a season before they can seek reinstatement as active priests.
This family of moles keeps the coffers of the kingdom overflowing with fine ores and metals. Hence their long stay on the throne. These industrious nobles own and manage most of the lucrative mining operations in Thera’Dor. They are known for their expensive tastes, shrewd business sense, and love of court intrigue.
A tribe of warm-blooded saurians that have many of their holdings in the volcanic regions of the country. Not for the heat, of course, but for the fertile lands that surround the volcanoes that mark the western border of the vast Thera’Dor. The Caldera tribe provides the majority of the produce and plant products that support the infrastructure of the country. They are a people of pacifists and homebodies. It is rare to see them away from their holdings without specific orders. Calderas believe that it is dishonorable to subject another beneath themselves and despite their great wealth, every adult Caldera is expected to work their time each day in the fields alongside their subjects and hired workers unless they are on specific assignment elsewhere. They follow the Church of the creators, but are known to have an additional religion of their own, worshiping the fires of the earth that sustain their crops and lands. All Caldera marriages are very carefully arranged, as any crossbreeding into the family is nearly impossible and they strive to keep their family lines as varied as they can.
The Dacha are a clan of semi-nomadic maned wolves. Their holdings are a loosely defined territory of grazing lands for the enormous herds they maintain. The clan is divided into many branches, each branch tending to a chosen herd of animals ranging from cows to horses to reindeer, even great hunting animals. The Dacha are very proud of their animals. It is said that a Dacha warhorse is the only horse a king may ride to battle if he wishes to be victorious.
Not a house so much as a collection of like minded individuals. This noble house welcomes all into their ranks who possess the qualities they value. Which mainly includes Strength, Willpower, a certain amount of Bloody-Mindedness and the ability to crush rocks with your skull. They maintain a strange society of outsiders on the southern borders of Thera’Dor. This is the only reason that they have a seat on the Council of Houses, allowing the council SOME control over trade routes to the south. Anyone may join the ranks of their elite, if they are willing to crack a few skulls to get there.
As a nation of nations, there is not much of a central military. If anyone could claim to be Thera'Dor's war face, it would be house Schlaufuchs, as they have the largest, trained military loyal to the crown. But each Noble house and their territories have their own specializations when it comes to combat. It is rare that the nations of Thera'Dor have considered all out warfare, as they maintain good relations with most of their neighbors and the harsh clime of their nation discourages prolonged warfare. Each house is expected to care for their own, as well as for the wellbeing of Houses Aldermann and Caldera, as both houses are averse to warfare. (Not to be confused with combat. All houses are very proud of their combat prowess. Most have their own family martial art. Members of the Caldera family are known as some of the greatest wrestlers in the world.)
As expert seafarers, it falls to House Snowmark to be the navy of Thera'Dor.
While mostly a police force, the organization and deployment of troops usually falls to the head of the Shlaufuchs clan in times of war, rather than to the king.
The Underhills are not only great miners and architects, but great engineers. To them falls the art of siege and sap.
While a nomadic people, you will find no greater cavalry anywhere in the world, if they can be harangued into full warfare.
The Conglomerate is the hammer of Thera'Dor's military. Madmen, berserkers, and masters of guerrilla warfare in their home territories.