Exports: Wine, Cheese, agricultural crops, art
Colonial Resources: Setland – Ivory, Metals
Dralan is an old and proud nation. Legend claims that Genville was the first city founded in Obbittia, and perhaps there is truth to that tale. Genville certainly has a rich history; it is said that more paintings, sculptures, and books have been produced in Genville than in the rest of Obbittia combined. While that may be an exaggeration, there is no denying the cultural significance of Dralan.
Much of Dralan is made up of rolling plains and rich grassland. The Tagee, Laeoo, and Genville rivers run through Dralan, bringing water to its fields. The Laeoo and Sammer forests are relatively pleasant woods, devoid of any large or vicious creatures; as a result, Dralan is largely self-sufficient with regards to its lumber production. Vineyards and fields of various crops, predominantly wheat, fill the plains of Dralan. The nation produces more food than any other in Obbittia; in fact, Dralan’s population makes up nearly a quarter of Obbittia’s total population. Safe from invasion on its own peninsula with only the relatively weaker Takish and Tagee as neighbors, Dralan has always been able to prosper – and turn its attention outwards.
Since the days of Aurstin Fuelm, who was a Dralian by birth, Dralan’s rulers have seen themselves as the natural successors to the Panbbittian Empire, and so Dralian waves would routinely march south across the Drall Mountains. In the year 566 PW King Aurstin XVII (despite the name, his claim to the lineage was dubious at best) led a failed invasion into Tagee. With his army routed and morale at an all-time low, the citizens of Dralan rebelled and overthrew the monarchy. A charismatic young man of common birth by the name of Gabrial Nabbarte who had been a low-ranking general at the time used this opportunity to quickly rise to power. He instituted “emergency measures” to quell the revolution, declared himself the interim crown prince, and rallied the citizenry behind him before calling for a democratic election. Though the nobles of Dralan tried to destroy him before he could succeed in his ploy, he was successfully elected as Emperor of Dralan.
By the year 568 PW, Emperor Nabbarte had cemented his rule over Dralan by replacing any nobles who opposed him with newly titled commoners, usually the loyal generals who helped him take power in the first place. Those nobles who were loyal to him, however, he left alone. The common citizens of Dralan adored their Emperor, for he freed those peasants who still served as serfs and reinstituted many of the old Caesarian Laws, granting many rights to every citizen of Dralan. Nabbarte’s next action was to modernize his army. Under the reign of Aurstin XVII, the army was still composed of knights, swordsmen, and trebuchets. Emperor Nabbarte ordered the production and importation of tens of thousands of firearms and cannons. Today, Dralan’s army is easily the most modern military in the world.
In the year 572 PW, Nabbarte’s forces marched on Tagee and Takan. The Darlanians plan on conquering the two small nations using their veteran troops while marshalling a grand army to begin the assault on the rest of Obbittia. As of early 573, it is widely believed by prominent figures in Obbittia that Tagee and Takan will fall within the year and that Nabbarte’s forces will be ready soon after.
Dralan's army has gotten a major kickstart under Nabbarte's rule. Knight and swordsmen regiments have been retired in favor of lighter dragoon cavalry and musketmen; veteran spearmen have been retrained and reequipped with pikes; catapults and trebuchets have been scrapped with cannons and bombards taking their place. The once neglected Dralanian navy has been completely shelved, the old and leaky ships replaced with sleek and modern galleons. Along with the faster, lightly armed ships the new Floating Fortresses, rumored to be of Nabbarte's own design, have been introduced. These ships are enormous, carrying as many as 500 cannons and clad in thick iron plates. These ships are too heavy and unwieldy to leave coastal waters, but as Nabbarte plans on conquering Obbittia they certainly have their place.
Emperor Nabbarte's greatest strength is, perhaps, his skill in integrating the mundane and mystical aspects of his army. Recruitment of those with the inclination for arcane skills is heavier in modern Dralan than in any other nation in Obbittia, historical or contemporary. Dralan's warmages are trained not only in magic but also in tactical understanding so that they can use their mystic skills to the utmost efficiency. All of the generals in the Dralanian army are required to pass a test regarding magical theory, to prove that they understand the needs and usage of their army's arcane resources.
In Obbittia, Dralan's army is second in size only to the forces of the Panbbittian Confederacy. Though slightly smaller, the Dralanian army is much better equipped; it is said that Dralan has more muskets than soldiers, and that may very well be true. The Panbbittian Confederacy, by comparison, fields mostly outdated troops; the majority of their army is still composed of knights and swordsmen. Dralan's army, however, is relatively green. Most of the troops are fresh recruits, spirited but not necessarily skilled.
Dralan's navy, by comparison, is much more mediocre. Nabbarte's Floating Fortresses are untested in real battle and, though promising, may prove impractical; besides, only two have been completed (the Obbittian and the Kingsinker) while a third is still under construction. Dralan's navy is not small, but compared to, say, the Keslanish navy, it is badly outmatched.
For most of Darlan’s history, its most major industry has been agricultural. Dralan’s warm, though not scorching summers and cool, though not freezing winters make it perfect for many varieties of crops. The lack of frost – snow rarely falls between Darlan’s mountains and nights are usually not much colder than days – make it perfect for viticulture. Many of Darlan’s richest noble families made their fortune from the grapes that grew on their land.
The huge amounts of food produced in Darlan’s rich plains allowed the nation not only to export these goods to other nations but also to drop the cost of living in Darlan’s own cities to very low levels. As a result citizens of low means who would, in other nations, have been forced to resort to subsistence farming instead learned trades and skills. Craftsmen and artisans are more common in Darlan than anywhere else in the world.
With so many resources right at home, Dralan has never been too interested in colonization. A Dralanian monarch could win more popular support by winning a few miles of land from a neighbor than from settling a new colony. That changed with the rise of Emperor Nabbarte. Realizing that cheap imports from foreign colonies gave the other nations of Obbittia a dangerous advantage, he ordered the settling of a colony in Zalan. Though the natives quickly organized and tried to drive the colonists away, Dralan managed to establish a base in the region.
Nabbartine, as the colony is named, is a relatively new colony, only a few years old. It has no established fields yet, as the Zalan warriors keep the colonists within their walls, for the most part. Still, Nabbartine has a significant port which is used to stage the Dralanian navy when it operates in the region. The colonists have a strange relationship with the natives; at times they trade finished goods for ivory and raw metals while other times they viciously fight each other. The same tribes which occasionally rise up and try to wipe out the colony are also its best trading partners.
Life and Society
Dralan is a rural country, with perhaps half of the population living in scattered villages or at the center of wide farmlands. The relatively safe nature of the countryside allows this arrangement; with no real threats, gathering behind walls is simply unnecessary. Each farmstead is home to between one and twelve families. Together they tend to their land, often not distinguishing between the properties of each individual families. These farms are surprisingly efficient and are a major factor in the richness of Dralan’s land. Though commoners are allowed to own land by the law of the land, they usually do not. Instead nobles living in the castles that dot Dralan’s landscape own vast stretches of land surrounding their homes. These nobles usually allow their subject nearly complete autonomy. Since Nabbarte reinstituted the Caesarian Laws, their tax rate has been capped at the comparatively low one-tenth. Though the nobles still possess the vast majority of the wealth, this cap allows almost any farmer to afford some luxuries. Perhaps more importantly, any willing peasant can attend one of the academies in Dralan in exchange for a year’s service to the crown; as a result, the peasantry of Dralan is far more educated and productive than that of any neighboring land.
Between these sprawling farmsteads, towns spring up. While the members of each farm create their own furniture or simple tools, more skilled craftsmen tend to live in these towns where they can serve the surrounding farmsteads. Aside from craftsmen, towns are also home to taverns, gambling halls, and other sources of entertainment for those peasants who manage to save enough money to partake in these pleasures. Most towns are fairly small, home to no more than a hundred or so people. However, at any given time a town can contain as many farmers out on business as residents, and three or four times that number following a good harvest.
With so much of Dralan’s citizenry spread out throughout the countryside, urban areas are of less importance than in neighboring states. Aside from the capital, Dralan’s cities are more like overgrown rural towns than true urban population centers. Indeed, these cities usually began as towns that grew larger and larger as citizens were drawn to some local feature. The glorious exception to Dralan’s rural society is the capital, Genville, which puts most cities in Obbittia to shame.
Government and Politics
Since its revolution, Dralan has technically been a constitutional monarchy. An emperor is elected by the people, and once so elected serves for life. Of course, Gabrial Nabbarte is not likely to give up the throne to just anyone upon his death; as those nobles who were disenfranchised by the new Emperor preach, he will no doubt arrange for his heir to take over. Still, so long as Nabbarte remains popular, this does not cause much concern to the people of Dralan.
While Nabbarte has ultimate power in his kingdom, he is more concerned with the conquest of the rest of Obbittia than the everyday management of the land. A council of three advisors serves below the Emperor. The first is elected by the peasants and common citizens of the land; the second by a council of nobles; and the third is appointed by the Emperor himself. From day to day, the kingdom is run by these three advisors. Nabbarte himself is often away from his palace in Genville, preferring to spend his time mustering forces in central Dralan or personally supervising one of the two invasions currently in progress.
Rittelle Academy – The great city of Genville contains a marvelous school where one can learn about nearly any subject. From economics to biology, students at the Genville Academy master nearly every subject. Though monarchs have always appreciated the worth of educated advisors, no king has been as supportive of the Academy as Emperor Nabbarte. His most trusted advisors and generals all graduated from the Academy, as did Nabbarte himself. Of the schools that make up the Genville Academy, none is more influential and powerful than the Rittelle Academy. One of the foremost repositories of arcane knowledge in Obbittia, Rittelle’s halls have seen nearly every great wizard in Dralan’s history. In preparation for his grand campaign, Emperor Nabbarte has decreed that any citizen of Dralan who shows any level of arcane power will be admitted and trained in Rittelle, free of charge, in exchange for a three year service in the Dralanian army during which they shall receive full Warmage pay. Recruiters for the university, bearing Nabbarte’s seal, travel the countryside and search every hamlet and town for promising disciples.
Le Sirrete – Like most would-be conquerors, Nabbarte has long searched for every available advantage. To assist his conquest, Nabbarte tasked the feared Le Sirrete spy organization that has long served the crown of Dralan with the acquisition of relevant artifacts. Le Sirrete agents travel Obbittia and the wider world, finding and securing every artifact they can find. The deadly agents have no qualms about hiring adventurers, though if they are double-crossed or find their offers refused they are not above using their blades against their former partners. The Le Sirrete delve into ancient ruins, extort or steal from powerful spellcasters, or raid the treasure vaults of rival nations. If half the rumors regarding the artifacts they have already collected for their young master are true, the Dralanian army will be a fearsome opponent indeed.
The Council of Nobles – The old dynasty of Dralanian rulers fell in large part due to its treatment of the common men of Dralan. The new order has made doubly sure to treat those who empowered it right, but not all of the old loyalists who lost their land and privilege have given up so easily. The Council of Nobles is a collection of former noble families who, for one reason or another, crossed Nabbarte and paid the price. Though now untitled, many of these ex-nobles still have connections, wealth, or other resources, and would like nothing better than the fall of Nabbarte.
Dralan has no official religion, as Emperor Nabbarte is not a very devout man. Still, like most Obbittians, the majority of citizens worship the Duality. Other religions are tolerated, so long as loyalty to Dralan comes first.
Genville (Metropolis – 2,570,000) – Genville is the capital of Dralan, and its largest city by far. Genville was founded as a fort on a large hill, one that split the mighty Laeoo River in twain; half the river flows east towards the sea while the rest continues north towards the Dralanian Channel. Protected on two sides, Genville prospered as a fort. The farms that dotted the land between the two rivers grew into towns which grew and grew until they met one another and merged into a mighty city. As the population living between the two rivers exploded the fort was turned into a comfortable palace. With so many living between the rivers, farms sprang up on both sides to feed the populace; these farmsteads soon grew into towns as well. Today, Genville is a bustling metropolis that stretches all around the original fort. The city would be divided into three sections by the rivers running through it, but bridges and docks fill the rivers so thickly that it is possible to cross the wide Laeoo without ever seeing it. The Imperial Palace is here, as is the Genville Academy.
Laeoo (Large City – 520,000) – Like Genville, Laeoo sprang up where the Laeoo River split. Here the river parts to form the East and West Laeoo Rivers. Unlike Genville, the land is not safe enough to expand far beyond the walls – the nation of Takan is just across the East Laeoo. Though the farms of the city spread past the city walls, people hesitate to live too far from their protection. As a result, Laeoo’s population never exploded like Genville did. Still, Laeoo has long been the most important center of trade with Takan. Currently, Laeoo serves as the spearhead of the assault against Takan. Reinforcements and supply trains are assembled and sent to the front lines from here.
Dailee (Large City – 750,000) – Dailee is by far the largest trade city in Dralan. It is a major port city which handles nearly all of the trade between Dralan and the nations of Shamsh, north of the Channel. Its position on the Laeoo River allows goods from Genville and Laeoo to be carried along the river to waiting ships which then cross the channel to trade with the rich nations of Shamsh. It is a city of powerful merchants and devious guilds who are always looking for opportunities to get ahead of their competitors.
Sammer (Small City – 310,000) – Sammer was once a small logging town through which much of Dralan's lumber passed. The new regime, however, saw the use for a coastal town located near a forest and converted the once small town into a major port. Lumber from the nearby forest is brought in by the ton, cut into logs, and formed into the mighty galleons that make up the Dralanian navy. With so many ships being produced, merchants from Dailee soon saw an opportunity for growth. Rather than shipping lumber downstream from Laeoo to Dailee, they build their ships in Sammer, then send them along the coast to Dailee to join their fleets. The formation of this port city has allowed Dralan to form major trade routes with the neighboring Keslanish isles to he south.
Tarnae (Small City – 120,000) – Tarnae grew out of a small mining town on the side of the Tagee mountain. Gold prospectors rushed to the region when the streams that trickle down the mountainside and into Lake Tarnae were found to contain gold. When the easy gold ran out, some enterprising prospectors began to mine the mountains for silver, gold, and iron. These mines grew, and today Tarnae steel makes up most of the equipment that the Darlanian army carries.
Nabbartine (Small town – 500) – Nabbartine is a small, unremarkable village in central Dralan. For most of its existence, this village had a different name, but that name is remembered by few nowadays. Emperor Nabbarte chose this village and its surrounding countryside as the staging ground for his army. The small village of no more than a few hundred citizens has exploded with tents and makeshift barracks. All recruits are sent here for training and equipment before being shipped off to one of the two fronts or south to the Drall Mountains.
Fort Drall – The biggest threat to Dralan has always been to the south. The Panbbittian Confederacy to the south is a powerful theocratic empire which claims the Iron Throne. Perhaps they have reason to; the old capital of Panbbittia lies within their borders. Still, the people of Dralan have never been apt to surrender their sovereignty to foreigners. Fearful of the great Confederate armies, the rulers of Dralan built a great wall across the pass between the East and West Drall mountains. Towers dot the length of this wall, but only a single gate allows access to the south. This gate is guarded by the mighty Fort Drall, a massive fortress the size of a small city. Fort Drall is self-sufficient, with wells and reservoirs within the innermost walls. A second ring of walls extends beyond the fort on the Dralan side of the Drallwall, and rich farms fill this space with food for the soldiers within. Fort Drall can – and has – be held under siege for years at a time. It is here that Emperor Nabbarte is gathering his forces for his planned assault on the res of Obbittia.
Sammer Forest – Once a peaceful forest in the heart of the wilderness, the logging operations that gave Dralan its navy have turned the Sammer Forest against mankind. Once, peaceful nymphs guided lost hunters out of the forest or helped misguided children feed. Now these same creatures will attack any human who comes near their try. Will-O-Wisps lure lumberjacks into ambushes by wolf packs and lycanthropes stalk the woods, searching for prey. Some local shamans have turned against their fellow men, attacking and slaying them in the name of nature, while others have lost their powers – the forest, it appears, no longer wishes to coexist with man. Worst of all, rumors of a dragon in the region have sprung up. Dragons have been gone from Dralan for over a century; their return is certainly a bad omen.
Bishop's Peak – on the northern slopes of Mount Tagee is a great cathedral, built on a peak about halfway up the mountain. This cathedral is extremely old, and its origins are unknown – estimates of its age vary, but nearly all scholars agree that it was built before mankind came to Obbittia. The cathedral's proportions are too large for a human, just about right for an ogre; but of course, ogres are brutal beasts who fail to construct simple huts, much less a cathedral. Since time immemorial, the cathedral has served as the headquarters of the Church of the Duality in Dralan. Even today, some of its deepest underground passages have never been explored.
The Giantreach – the giants of Obbittia are a primitive, savage race. Most live alone, crushing and devouring any humans foolish enough to approach them. Yet even amongst the giants there is some variety, and the giants of Giantreach are more civilized than most. Giantreach is a small valley in the center of the Laeoo Forest. The valey is home to a small village of hill giants who, unlike most of their kind, are relatively peaceful. They are willing to trade with humans, especially for cattle, as they love beef but do not raise their own cattle. The giants are usually willing to work for a human village or town for a few months in exchange for a daily ration of cattle. Trading with giants, even civilized ones, still has its dangers; the giants who live in the forest surrounding Giantreach have no qualms about eating intrepid travelers and even the most civilized of giants still gets hungry for a snack once in a while.
Hera's Shrine – In the plains north of Tarnae is an ancient structure of unknown origin. The structure is relatively simple, no more than a huge slab of stone with a smaller slab atop it; yet this simple structure has very special properties. The slab of stone is about fifty feet long and thirty feet wide and nearly ten feet tall; a set of rough gaps in the side of the slab allow a man to climb up the side of the slab. On top of this unremarkable structure is a much smaller slab of stone with similar proportions. The entire structure radiates strong magic of unknown origins, and farmers in the nearby area have, through trial and error, discovered that the slab has some unique properties. A reasonable sacrifice of a certain crop or domestic animal during the spring is thought to cause a marked increase in the harvest of that crop or creature the next year. The locals have dubbed the shrine Hera's Shrine, after a pagan goddess that was once worshiped in the area. The clergy of the Duality takes a dim view of this practice and discourages it, but the perceived rewards incentivises the locals to make the sacrifice anyways. (Thank you Slayerofundead!)
Adventuring in Dralan
Dralan is a safe land, for the most part. Occasionally a particularly troublesome beast of some sort – ankhegs, dire animals of unusual ferocity, or a local werewolf – might cause problems for the local villagers. Other times bandits might use the war as an opportunity to prey upon those too weak to be drafted. With a large draft in progress, deserters are, of course, an occasional problem. Still, the Dralanian soldiers can usually solve these problems; only out in the more backwards farmsteads are adventurers truly needed. Those adventurers getting their start in a major city might instead find themselves sent elsewhere, to more dangerous areas; the Sammer forest, in particular, has no shortage of adventure opportunities.
Adventuring in Dralan is relatively safe and lucrative, but has one major drawback: adventurers make good soldiers. A group of adventurers who kills a few ogres for a local village might find themselves drafted by the soldiers who were sent to deal with the ogres, when they finally arrive. Adventurers who make more of a name for themselves might see this as an opportunity rather than a curse: the Dralan army happily employs adventurers as special forces agents or scouts in foreign lands. Adventurers loyal to Dralan or willing mercenaries could make a fortune in Dralan's armed forces.
A local village asks the party for help avoiding the draft
A village whose warriors enlisted is besieged by deserters; they come to
the party for help
A local general hires the party to deal with some local menaces so that his men can focus on the war effort
A local general hires the party to go into neighboring lands on scouting duty so that his men can deal with some local menaces
While constructing a new keep on the border with Tagee, workers discover the entrance to an ancient buried tomb
A shaman who was once the master of a PC shaman loses his powers because he is unwilling to kill the loggers in the Sammer Forest. She asks the PCs to help appease the spirits of Sammer