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Taltheran Description

Concept

A small kingdom where much of the power is fragmented into the hands of hereditary merchant families.

Scope

Proposed location: in the fertile river valley on the Northwest of Midsea.

Size Small: a few scattered large towns and one city (at the mouth of the river), supported by numerous villages and agriculture.

Description

Under the aegis of the Cedonian Empire, the towns of Taltheran, and particularly the river-mouth city of Tal, named for the river, thrived as hubs of trade.

Taltheran escaped much of the destruction which accompanied the Fall (since Mir's dragons intervened before the goblins ranged north of Thalcedon in significant numbers), so it has survived the Fall better than lands to the south. It has continued and increased its role as a trading nexus. However, much of Taltheran's manpower and resources went towards repelling the goblin invasion, so Taltheran did not spring instantly from the ashes as a full-fledged trading power.

The region has historically been ruled by a Duke appointed by Cedonia. However, in the wake of the fall of the Empire, in 1285 Duke Milarandos declared himself king and consolidated his hold on the Taltheran valley.

Trade is conducted by individual merchant families operating under hereditary licenses granted by the ruler. This royal control is nominal, however; in reality, the king can generally only act significantly with the cooperation, or at least the acquiescence, of the Merchant Council.

The major and minor families who comprise the Council, moreover, are constantly shifting and adjusting their alliances and emnities, making Council politics a complicated process at best.

Another signficant factor is the Wizard's Guild. Originally formed centuries ago by the ruler to strictly regulate and limit the practice of magic, it has evolved into a power in its own right. No significant trading expedition or other endeavor may be launched without a divination/approval ceremony by (and a donation to) a wizard of the Guild.

(It's generally understood that the favorability of the omens tend to be proportional to the size of the donation and the regard the Guild has for the proponent.) Other than the construction and enhancement of an impressive (and presumed impregnable) Guildhall in Tal, however, it's not clear what the Guild does with all that income.

Prospects

After a period of consolidation following the Fall, Taltheran began pursuing trade more actively at about the same time that ships from Celpalar reappeared in 1380. Over the past generation, Taltheran has become re-ensconced as a pivotal trading center in the north-west of Midsea.

Routes around the coast are established for the most part. Now merchant families vie to open new trading routes; expeditions to the north and west are anticipated, along with sea trade to other parts of Midsea and beyond.

As the Merchants vie for trade, the current King, the wiley Agrigax, strives to increase his power and influence internally. For example, he wants to reduce the crown's dependence on military forces provided from the Families' personal militia. He also anticipates that, if the crown can control the burgeoning shipbuilding industry, he might gain dominance over seaborn trade. He worries a bit, though, that his two sons might not be well suited to wielding the power he is consolidating, should anything untoward occur.

And finally, there's the Wizard's Guild, pursuing their own, unknown, agenda.