The Veiled Threat
The Five Nations refers to the major regions that composed the Kingdom of Galifar from 1 YK to 894 YK. These were Aundair, Breland, Cyre, Karrnath, and Thrane. The Five Nations were reduced to four with the destruction of Cyre and the creation of the Mournland. Although the Kingdom of Galifar no longer stands each of the original five nations has remained, although slightly smaller than their original territories with new nations and regions being outlined as a result of the Last War.
The Five Nations
Aundair is a human kingdom ruled by Queen Aurala. It has a long tradition of knowledge, magical study, art, and wine-making. It’s often considered to be the most cultured place on Khorvaire, and the queen considers this ample evidence that it should rule the new empire when it inevitably reforms. During the Last War Aundair used a lot of mercenary troops, and is probably working on amassing them again privately, even as the Queen tries to keep on peaceful terms with her neighbors to keep things quiet for now.
Breland is a human kingom ruled by King Boranel, although he has delegated a lot of power to advisors and the kingdom may theoretically turn into some kind of democracy. It’s a big center of industry, and was one of the heaviest users of warforged troops during the war. Breland has opened up their gates the widest to refugees from Cyre, although this doesn’t mean they don’t have an extensive espionage network, guard patrols, and occasional border scuffles.
Karrnath is a human kingdom ruled by King Kaius III. They’re infamous for using undead troops during the war — the Blood of Vol developed spells for raising soldiers as skeletons and zombies and sending them out to fight again. Despite this, the country’s pretty nice, and a good place to go for military training, ale, or cheese. The vibe here is probably post-war Germany, where the population feels a mix of pride and shame about their past, and there’s a long tradition of military stuff.
Thrane is a Lawful Good human theocracy. The Church of the Silver Flame is the official state church, and the head of government is its high priestess, even though she’s only eleven years old. Thrane is industrious, prosperous, and irritating to its neighbors. During the war they used mostly mercenaries and homegrown troops, and many people still feel that Thrane used the war as an excuse to try to spread its faith to other countries. Thrane tries to be as self-reliant a country as possible, and interacts the least with the Houses.
The Demon Wastes
The Eldeen Reaches
The Lhazaar Principalities
The Mror Holds
The Shardow Marshes
The Talenta Plains
The Dragonmarked Houses
the Dragonmarked Houses are the cornerstone of the economy of Khorvaire. Most banking, security, communications, transportation and fabrication are run by the Dragonmarked Houses. Dragonmarked Houses are extended families of a single race whose members sometimes manifest dragonmarks.
The Houses use their exclusive access to the powers of dragonmarks to sustain their economic empires that extend far beyond arcane powers of the dragonmarks themselves. The houses can attribute most of their success to their meticulously crafted reputations for standardization and quality that have elevated bearers of dragonmarks with a status that mundane wizards and artificers cannot possibly match.
The Five Nations refers to the ancient kingdom of Galifar, harkening back to a legendary time of peace and prosperity.
Once the great kingdom of Galifar stretched across the continent of Khorvaire, providing the stability needed for peace and prosperity to reign over the land. That all changed when the last king of Galifar, Jarot, died in 894 YK. His children, the lords of the Five Nations that comprised the kingdom, decided to break with tradition and throw off the rules of succession. Instead of a smooth transition of power to the eldest scion, the five lords each sought to take control of the kingdom. This led to the terrible, century-long conflict known as the Last War.
Over the course of the last hundred years, the character of each of the Five Nations changed and developed. Today, while each of the Five Nations obviously has its roots in the great kingdom of Galifar, each has grown into a separate nation with a character and outlook all its own.
During the war, alliances formed and were broken countless times. At some point during the century, each of the Five Nations fought side by side or against each other — and in many cases these patterns were reversed time and time again as the conflict progressed. Now, though the Last War has ended and the Treaty of Thronehold promotes peace across the land, conflict continues to bubble below the surface of everyday life. Within the Five Nations, words of peace fill the air and hands of friendship extend across the borders even as various power groups secretly engage in endless intrigue and espionage, and those touched by the war struggle with mixed emotions of hatred, loss, relief, and revenge.
The Last War is over, but the current peace is nothing more than a prelude to the war to come. The Treaty of Thronehold didn’t do enough to address the abundance of grievances, slights, pain, and fundamental disagreements that developed or were compounded during the century of war. The kingdom of Galifar was born in war, and it died in war. During this calm, the Five Nations work to gain every advantage so that — individually at least — they can weather the coming storm.
Origin of the Five Nations
Humans arrived in eastern Khorvaire some three thousand years ago. They traveled across the Sea of Rage, leaving Sarlona for reasons that have been lost to the passing years. For the next thousand years, humans spread westward, struggling with the goblinoid tribes for the best portions of the land. Eventually, five major human settlements arose in central Khorvaire. These would become the Five Nations.
For five hundred years, the five human settlements grew and fought with the neighboring goblinoids — the remnants of the once-powerful Dhakaani Empire. Then, two thousand years ago, human imperialism began. Karrn the Conqueror established the first human nation, Karrnath, along the northeastern shores of the great five-spoked river that divided the central continent. His armies defeated and drove the remaining goblinoids to the south. Then he turned his attention on his human neighbors.
Karrn the Conqueror was a cruel and covetous man who believed that he was destined to rule over all of Khorvaire. He had built the most powerful human army up to that time, and after defeating the goblinoids he began a campaign to conquer the other four major human settlements. Karrn swept south, ostensibly to drive the remaining goblinoids into the wild regions, but actually invading the region that would one day become Cyre. Caught by surprise, the region fell to Karrn. With two nations now claimed as part of his empire, Karrn’s forces massed on the border of what would one day be called Thrane and demanded the nation’s immediate surrender. Before Karrn could claim another victory, the remaining three nations joined forces to stop the Conqueror’s spread. What emerged from the carnage were five distinct human nations that spent the next thousand years alternately working together, competing for space and resources, and ultimately setting the stage for the great human civilization to come.
Of course, while humans were the most numerous and in many of the key positions of power, the other common races participated in the rise of the Five Nations. Thanks to the growing economic strength of the dragonmarked houses, all the common races found a place in the developing human countries. Dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, half-elves, and half-orcs started out as representatives and employees of their respective dragonmarked houses, but eventually members of each race settled down and made homes in the Five Nations. These neighborhoods began as house enclaves, becoming less attached to the houses as the common race populations in the nations grew.