Karnish


Karnish

Overview

After the long oppression of the Amman tyranny, the rise of Karnish saw the establishment of law, justice and stability to central Arrasia and many of the border nations. Karnish stood as the pre-eminent nation, its practices, culture and language spread throughout the liberated nations, with whom relations were, for that long period, usually good. The power of the Karnish army and navy brought security to a world used to chaos, which saw wealth and prosperity, mercantilism, and the sharing of cultures flourish on an unprecedented scale. That peace and stability was smashed with the ascension of Zykerathox to the throne of Herophet and the rise of his armies in Arrasia. The shadow of Amman once more grew and soon the satellite nations that Karnish had ruled from afar were falling into the hands of their enemies and their empire smashed. The peace of Arrasia was over, now replaced with chaos and war.

Despite its decline, Karnish remains the pre-eminent nation, its massive army defending their borders and their navy helping to maintain the spider-web of trade routes that still continue to thrive, even under the shadow of the evil that has fallen across the world. Indeed, despite everything, it is trade that remains at the heart of Karnish power, generating the vast majority of the nation's wealth, with vast amounts required to maintain the army and navy, so necessary for defending the Karnish borders, their peoples and their international (and national) interests.

Despite the uncertainties of the current world, internal trade primarily follows either the vast road infrastructure that the Karns have built and which link the inland villages and towns to the more highly populated (and wealthy) coastal communities, or the coastal routes which bring in the vast majority of the wealth that passes through the Karnish borders, where some of the major port cities of Arrasia can be found. However, the real wealth that flows into Karnish comes from much further afield and this trade stretches like a web over much of Arrasia, with both sea and overland trade routes bringing wealth and the exotic right into the heart of Karnish. The Karns use everything at their disposal to maintain these vital trade links, facing whatever dangers are necessary. The journeys are often perilous and many do not make it to their destination, but the Karns desire for trade and wealth sees new routes and trading opportunities open even before the old ones close.

Karnish prides itself on its infrastructure of roads, with the Karnish Road (the East and West Karnish Roads) stretching from Portmore, in their western territory of Badathur, to Drayd, on the very eastern edge of their empire - a journey of over 3000 miles. Even though the route is not as safe as it was during the years of peace, or the road itself as well maintained, it is nonetheless rightly regarded as the spine of Karnish and is central to all legitimate trade that does not go down the coast via ship. Its military value has also been proven, allowing the rapid deployment of troops to defend their borders. With less money available, however, patrols are less common and upkeep greatly reduced, especially in the more far flung and remote regions. Many small communities can be found along its route, either exploiting the local natural resources or as stopping off or meeting places for travelers, merchants and bureaucrats alike.

The large Karnish army represents the rock upon which the foundations have been built and have been pivotal in holding at bay the forces of evil that daily erode the borders of their Kingdom and empire. However, with so many forces now pushing against them, the weight is beginning to tell and the army in particular is badly stretched. In the west, both the forces of Hith and Zykerathox challenge their supremecy and borders, with large swathes of their once great empire - Ghent, Yeod, Eastdale and Vidor - having fallen into the hands of the enemy. Only Badathur now stands as a barrier between the nation of Karnish and the armies of their enemies in the west. In the north, Amman once again exerts their evil influence and the nation of Amman-dur is filled with war and dissension and teeters on the edge. And all around, the barbarian hordes make swift and ever more daring raids deep across the undefended borders. The people of Karnish no longer feel safe and their once unshakable belief in themselves replaced with doubt.

Under King Raimond Aramus II, who ascended the throne of Karnish after the death of his mother, Queen Eisa Aramus, Karnish has seen both its military and financial might stretched and the security of the nation decline. All border regions are now considered volatile at best, unsafe at worst and those that live near the borders are under constant attack from the armies of Hith, Zykerathox and barbarian hordes. Orcs and goblins pour down the rocky slopes of the Great Barrier Mountains and The Malvus Peaks and the battle to repel them is constant and deadly. All too often the remotest of their borders are left under defended, if at all, leaving the people who live there to defend themselves and their community. The border regions with Badathur have also seen the coming of Zykerathox's Black Undeath and it is only a matter of time before it spreads east, right into the heart of Karnish itself.

The cost of these wars is high and constantly increasing, with the vast majority paid for by the tax levied against the people. Despite the war and the time of deperate need, the high taxation remains extremely unpopular and conflict is not unknown. Lord Elden Mayclift, the Royal Arbiter, is obviously not a very popular figure, as it is his royal department that has responsibility for the gathering of taxes within Karnish and the greater empire. With fewer soldiers to maintain the security of traditional trade routes, the wealth is not what it once was and Lord Mayclift does not always have the necessary resources to assert his authority. So like the power of Karnish itself, the coffers that feed it have dwindled and tension between the state and its peoples are on the rise.

Significant Trade Export

Copper Ore: Much of the copper extracted in Karnish is smelted down and used as coinage. Once, under the Amman occupation, this area was a major producer of bronze, but this is no longer the case.

Gold, Silver: High-grade silver is mined in Karnish in large quantities, both from the Great Barrier Mountains and the South Downs. Gold is not as readily available, though is still mined in significant enough quantity to be considered worthy of a mention.

Iron Ore: Large quantities of iron ore are mined in Karnish, around which a vast industry has grown, helping supply the weapons and armor required by the army to maintain their war effort.

Mithral: The Great Barrier Mountains are rich in minerals, including mithral. Although the dwarves horde much of this precious metal for themselves, nonetheless many mining communities have grown wealthy on the steady supply of mithral that their deep mines produce.

Pearls: All manner of pearls are found in Karnish, both freshwater and seawater varieties. Pearls are well regarded by the wealthy in Karnish and the best command high prices.

Precious Stones: Agate, aquamarine, chalcedony, chrysoberyl, chrysoprase, citrine, corundum, garnet, moonstone, quartz, peridot and spinel are all found throughout Karnish and around which a large industry has grown. Karnish is the world's premier exporter of corundum.

Tin: The lands around the South Downs are rich in deposits of tin, which was once used a part of a large bronze industry during the Amman occupation.

Brief History

It was during Amman's occupation of the south that two great leaders rose from the chaos and stood against the might of that tyrannous empire and whose loyal armies would eventually bring about its downfall. One, Fandor, was himself descended from the Aslah and would rise to become a great god, the other, Mynax, was a mortal who would himself join the ranks of the Aslah. Together, their armies crushed the once mighty Amman and would finish the war by smashing the dominance of Hakkan and his allies. Such was the ferocity of the struggles that The Great Battle of Amman caused the very earth to be scorched and saw a darkness descend upon Arrasia that was to last for 70 days and 70 nights.

Out of this Death of the Many, as The Great Battle of Amman is sometimes called, rose a new nation, Karnish, which was built on the principles of order and justice and trade. Where once pain and violence had prevailed, stability and the rule of law became the dominant ideologies and the dark powers that had long served the evil empire forced to the extremities of the world.

Born out of the pain and suffering inflicted upon them by Amman, Karnish soon set about building itself into the preeminent nation in Arrasia. Having embraced good and law as the principles on which their nation would grow, Karns bent their minds to high culture, industry and, above all else, trade. In a world that had been deprived for so long, the Karns found easy markets and their trade routes quickly spread across The Great Sea and the Sea of Guardians. As the wealth poured into Karnish, so its cities and peoples prospered. That which had been destroyed was rebuilt and things that had lain dormant under the oppression of Amman came out of the darkness and flourished.

The Third War of Ascendancy between the illegitimate Tharg and his half-brother and heir to the throne, Prince Deymus, saw Karnish fall into civil war as the two factions fought for supremacy and the right to the throne of Karnish. It was a catastrophic period in Karnish history, pitching once friends against each other and almost splitting the still fledgling nation in two. However, the eventual victory of King Deymus I saw him move swiftly against those that had opposed his claim to the throne, and soon the armies of Karnish had occupied much of the nations of Yarath, Badathur and Yeod, all of whom had thrown their weight behind the claim of Tharg. Sorendale was also annexed during the reign of King Deymus I.

Despite the internal strife, the war against the evil tyranny of Amman, which was now named Amman-Mon, ever continued and as the years passed, so the borders and the influence of Amman-Mon waned and their allies dispersed. Borodor's assault on the elves of Yander Hothinbelim saw Karnish's long-standing agreement with the elves there activated and Karnish declared war upon Borodor. The Battle of the Three Peaks saw Borodor's forces destroyed and their nation annexed into the Karnish empire. Under King Gwendor III, a large number of the Karn forces deployed against Amman-Mon were recalled to help defend their borders against the marauding barbarian tribes, bringing an official conclusion to The Great War.

To the east of Karnish, the nations there found themselves under siege from the barbarian of U'Thol and HuriGhol, which threatened to overwhelm them. However, it was the intervention of a far greater enemy that tipped the scales against them. From the deep and uncharted bowels of the Great Barrier Mountains a new enemy emerged, the insane Aslah, Hith, whose armies swept down from their mountain realms. Vidor, Eastdale and Ghent all fell to the vicious hordes and soon the forces of Hith had entered into Yeod and only the transportation of vital foodstuffs from The Northern Territories, then still called The Kingdom of Tharg, allowed Northport to withstand the siege laid against it. This delay allowed Karnish to rally its army and move against this new enemy.

Karnish was forced to recall what was left of their army from overseas, leaving only enough to defend their new lands and all but giving up their hope of completely destroying Amman-Mon. Their new enemy had emerged under the banner of the Snake Lord, Hith, who was said to have gained both his power and insanity from the Fountain of the Immortals. With the arrival of fresh troops, the Karnish ranks were swelled and the armies of Hith driven back. Yeod was retaken and Ghent, Eastdale and Vidor occupied and assimilated into the ever growing Karnish empire.

The Second Battle of Mayvern saw the greater part Hith's army smashed and forced to retreat over the Great Barrier Mountains, where Hith's rule remained unchallenged whose dark nation emerged as a terrible force. Over time, Hith restored his army and fortified his positions and soon incursions of orcs into Karnish were all too frequent, but nonetheless Karnish flourished and entered their greatest period of security and prosperity and was largely regarded as not only the Golden Age of Karnish, but also of Arrasia.

The peace was shattered in spectacular style as the goblin armies of Gygafrak rose to make war on the Karns, as Gygafrak made his bid for the throne of Herophet, for so long devoid of a master and instead held under the stewardship of the demon lord, Zykerathox. Tetungba also threw herself - and her armies - into the claim for the throne of Herophet and Hith emerged as the third contender. Karnish soon found itself embroiled in war, at the heart of an evil claim for an evil throne. However, help came to them in the form of Justice, a strange Planar creature who dwelt on the outer plane of Egnarat, a strange and alien city floating on a rock. His insight and intrigue supplied vital information to Karnish. Armed with detailed reports on the movements of their enemies, Karnish was able to outmaneuver them and largely defend their borders.

After a series of large battles, Karnish, exhausted and weakened from its wars with the forces of evil, stood on the threshold of victory - perhaps it's greatest triumph. However, fate - or, at least, Justice - intervened. As the war for the Throne of Herophet seemed to be at its conclusion, with none of the contenders triumphing, Justice revealed himself to be an agent of Zykerathox, who had been manipulating events from the sidelines from the outset. With all sides massively weakened from their conflicts, Zykerathox claimed the Throne of Herophet as his own, brushing aside what remained of his enemies and launching his armies against them. Karnish soon found itself embroiled in a new war, which it still finds itself in to this day.

Despite fighting wars on several fronts, and across a multitude of planes, Zykerathox's forces swept aside the Karns and the nations of Vidor, Eastdale, Ghent and Yeod all fell, consumed by the evil tide that consumed their lands. Only the unlikely intervention of Hith, who launched his armies against Zykerathox, saved Karnish from destruction and enabled them to reinforce their borders. With Zykerathox's armies forced into war against a resurgent Hith, Karnish was given respite. But even as Zykerathox's attention was forced elsewhere, in the north Ammon-Mon once again rose and looked to unify it's old and long since smashed nation, and from the south and east came the barbarian hordes, no longer held at bay by the Karnish army, which had been forced to march against the threat of Zykerathox.

The long peace of Karnish was over. War had once again come to Arrasia, in the form of both old and new enemies, and the borders of Karnish are squeezed like never before. The prosperity of the nation declines as its wealth is sucked up to maintain the war effort, taxes are high and ever increasing, and the fear of the Black Undeath of Zykerathox grows daily. But life continues and Karnish still stands proud, even if the certainty is gone.

The Major Towns and Cities

City of Karnish: (pop. 81,000) The City of Karnish is the largest and most cosmopolitan city to be found anywhere on Arrasia. At the heart of the Karnish empire, the city is the birthplace of some of the greatest of all Karns, including Fandor himself. Situated on the crossroads of three continents, the City of Karnish has excellent access to all parts of the globe and is at the center of nearly all trading that goes on within Arrasia.

The city itself is a tight network of wooden and stone buildings, where both squalor and wealth exist in equal proportion. The great port at the heart of the city supplies jobs to many of the city's population and ships regularly set out or return from far flung places, often bringing with them a taste of the exotic. Rats and other vermin are common within the city and although a sewer system exists, many of the poorer quarters are not connected, so the filth-covered streets can be home to many diseases. Fires are also a common problem.

The City of Karnish is also home to the royal palaces, as well as the administrative center of the empire. It is a sprawling, bustling city which never sleeps and where anyone can make their fortunes, if they are opportunistic (or sneaky) enough. It is also a place where people can easily lose themselves when required and is home to some of the most powerful criminals anywhere in Arrasia.

Guileigh: (pop. 55,000) The second city of Karnish, Guileigh serves as the major port to The Grey Sea and enjoys the huge wealth that pours into it from The Gold Coast. It is very similar to The City of Karnish, dominated by a large port and the merchants that pass through it.

It is also a warren of roads and alleys with the stone and wooden houses packed densely together, bringing with it disease, illness and vermin. A lot of traffic passes to and from the City of Karnish, via The East Karnish Road, so relations between the two cities tends be good. It is also home to some powerful individuals and criminal organizations, whose influence is said to spread as far as The Gold Coast.

Lydor: (pop. 32,000) A large, bustling port, Lydor is famed for its architectural splendor, with arches, columns, statues and trees lining the roads and boulevards. The city is spliced by a web of ornately bridged waterways that are alive with masses of small boats. The water is at the heart of the city's wealth and this is celebrated with the seven magnificent fountains.

The streets are far more loosely populated than in many of the other cities and towns of Karnish, meaning that filth, vermin and disease are also considerably less and that fire damage is substantially reduced. Many of the wealthiest people of Karnish are attracted to the delights and splendors of Lydor, especially those who are no longer required to spend time in the City of Karnish.

Eastleigh: (pop. 25,000) An essential part of the invasions of Amman, Eastleigh remains a vital port of call for those traveling through the Sea of Guardians. The massive expansion of the City of Karnish has seen Eastleigh's importance decline somewhat, but nonetheless this tightly packed, bustling city holds significant strategic value for the Karnish navy, with sailors a part of everyday life.

The Inns and taverns of Eastleigh are lively affairs, where much ale is consumed and bar fighting a way of life. It is also famed for its red light district, which in recent years has been a constant source of tension as the city authorities have clamped down on such illegal activities. The city itself is densely populated with the web of streets covered in the filth of everyday living.

Dirnvale: (pop. 18,000) Situated on the Bay of Syranth, Dirnvale is a web of tightly packed, tall houses connected by filthy streets and small alleys. The main thoroughfares, which divide the city into quarters, are lined with beautifully carved statues of historic Karnish figures, interspersed with lime and orange trees. The Dock Quarter is a busy, bustling affair, as the merchant ships roll in on a daily basis, heading up and down the coast with their goods.

Faraleigh: (pop.13,000) The completion of the road which saw Faraleigh connected to The East Karnish Road saw the small town grow rapidly into a large and important city. Giving excellent access to the Karnish interior, it has become something of an administrative center for the eastern provinces and the goods produced there, which will almost certainly pass through the large Faraleigh markets. The center of the city is consumed by a large market square, around which the city spreads out. It is relatively spacious compared to other Karnish cities, but the center is still a warren of homes and tight streets, where filth and vermin are a problem.

Organizations

Apostates of Fandor
The Apostates of Fandor are a powerful knightly order that act as defenders of the faith. They are dedicated to the will of Fandor and he is said to act through them. The organization consists of the Knights of Apostate (powerful knights with extraordinary powers) who uphold the will of Fandor, The Order of the Wise, (wandering paladins and clerics spreading the word of Fandor), and The Fandorians, (clerics and monks who set up places of worship dedicated to Fandor). The First Apostate is said to have celestial powers imbued during the initiation process by Fandor himself.

The Black Palm
Little is known of this shady organization that operates in the underbelly of Karnish society. Some say they are a sinister organization whose sole purpose is the expansion of their personal wealth and power, while others say they are a force of good operating in the dark areas of Karnish society to maintain law over chaos and good over evil.

The Denish Privateers
A very powerful gang of pirates, cut-throats and smugglers, The Denish Privateers terrorize the waters around The City of Karnish, attacking and boarding merchant shipping. Despite major efforts by the Karnish authorities, the Denish Privateers (called so after their founder, Captain Denish) have proved extremely illusive and difficult to track down. This is partly through their powerful chain of contacts that they have built up over the years, but mainly because of their fearsome reputation for retribution against those (and the families of those) who would betray them to the long arm of the Karnish authorities.

Blades of Mynax
The Blades of Mynax are a knightly order who hold the defense of Karnish above all other priorities. They have bases throughout the major cities of Karnish, but these knights are born to fight and so are found in those areas where the borders of Karnish are most imperiled. The Blades of Mynax are a fearsome sight when charging into battle and their role in the wars against Zykerathox and Hith are legendary.

Rufenias' Lightfeet
A once powerful criminal gang operating out of Hochden, Rufenias' Lightfeet have had to seek pastures new since the fall of Eastdale to the forces of Zykerathox and have set up home in the City of Karnish. This uprooting has not come easy and the once powerful organization often finds itself embroiled in gang wars over territory as they look to grab a slice of the action. Nonetheless, they have established enough of a foothold to become serious players and their influence looks set to increase, especially amongst Eastdale refugees who have since taken up residence in the City of Karnish.

Important Personages

King Raimond Aramus II: The current ruler of Karnish, his High Majesty King Raimond Aramus II reigns over a nation in decline, having seen much of his western empire fall into the hands of the forces of Zykerathox and the northern kingdom of Amman-dur on the verge of collapse and re-assimilation into the resurgent Amman. Nowhere is safe and the King's authority is not what it once was. Nonetheless, in his hands lay the future of the nation and most believe him to be a steady, rather than spectacular, military strategist and leader.

Percifal of Yain: The High Karn, Percifal of Yain, head of the Church of Karnish, is the most significant member of the church within Karnish and is highly influential. King Raimond II, like his mother before him, is a particular admirer and often seeks him out for advice, even on political matters. The High Karn is the symbolic head of the unified churches of Karnish and as such ranks as the most powerful individual in Karnish except for the King himself.

Lord Elden Mayclift: The hugely unpopular Royal Arbiter, Lord Elden Mayclift has overseen the massive tax rises required to maintain the war effort and it is his Law Arbiters who cross the country enforcing the will of the House of Karnish and their aggressive taxation policies. What makes Lord Elden Mayclift particularly unpopular is the zest with which he carries out his duties and the level of success he has seen in keeping the coffers of Karnish filled.

Lord Ordal Orstenbrook: Master General of the Karnish armed forces, it is to Lord Ordal Orstenbrook that the country looks for their wars, especially with Zykerathox. With things not going particularly well on any front, and with taxes at an all-time high in order to maintain the capabilities of the army and the defense of the nation, Lord Ordal Orstenbrook is under pressure to succeed and all eyes are upon him. At present, he is not a particularly popular man, but several key victories would instantly turn him into a national hero.




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