Ironguard (4e Environment)
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Created to stop the threat of Ferroclasty, Ironguard has been an ominous and fierce dwarven empire.
Monarch: King Temur
Neighbors: Caliphate, Dragonseye, Fey Realm Fire Mountains, Midhaven, Minia, Nidvalar, Wild Forest
Ironguard is surrounded by savage wild lands, Patrons, and enemies of its own creation. Created in the shadow of the Fire Mountains to the west, it is bounded by the wild lands of the Blackscale Swamp and Wild Forest. To the east is its nemesis, the Caliphate. In a ring around Ironguard are more Free Kingdoms, Dragonseye, Midhaven, Minia, and Nidvalar, spun off from territory it once controlled. These kingdoms are understandably hostile to Ironguard, and with good reason. Ironguard plans to reconquer each of these lands, and finally extinguish the Caliphate and its misguided philosophy of Ferroclasty. It also shares a border with the Fey Realm. The location of Ironguard is one of constant war from neighboring realms and kingdoms, and campaigns are always uncertain here.
Ironguard consists primarily of fertile verdant fields, the large Lake Tenpin, and a swamp. The foothills of the Fire Mountains are temperate rainforests which are home to fierce creatures. Clouds which do not drop too much rain come from the Nereid Sea east and through sublimation drop most of their water in the foothills of the Fire Mountains. The mining which happens in these foothills is heavily guarded and many times requires military campaigns to be successful. The Mists make there way into Ironguard from the Fey Realm causing disruption when they occupy parts of Ironguard. Summer in Ironguard is hot, humid, and rainy in the western temperate rainforests. The temperature gets colder as one gets further away from the Fire Mountains leading to long and warm summers in the eastern reaches. Winter is mild and sees the same temperature variations between regions. Snow is a rare occasion. Lake Tenpin's drainage leads to the Red River and trade is mostly done by watercraft in Ironguard. The Iron Road's northern limits are in disrepair due to Minia, however they are a major traffic artery throughout Ironguard. The eastern hills drain west to Lake Tenpin, and here less farming happens. Not only are the hills harder to farm then the plains, the nearby swamp cannot be farmed.
Ironguard's cities are little more than expanded forts that house various legions and their slaves and industries. King Temur reorganized the legions recently, housing a separate legion in each of the kingdom's cities. His own Gold Legion dwells in the capital of Legionhome, and also mans Mal, the distant southern outpost on the border of the Fey Realm. The Silver Legion guards Legionpost, a sprawling complex where most of the kingdom's siege engines are constructed. The prestigious Iron Legion mans Southbar, charged with keeping the Wild Forest contained. The Bronze Legion mans Northbar, and is the center for a growing trade with Nidvalar (as well as an illicit trade with their enemy the Caliphate and the Blackscale Swamp). The Brass Legion governs Qisp while the Copper Legion governs Fepri. To the north, the Mithril Legion in Vels guards the kingdom's borders. It is currently the largest legion and the busiest. The Quicksilver Legion in Tenpin in the center of the kingdom is charged with continual preparedness; they must answer immediately to support any other legion that requires assistance. Arlm houses the Plumbum Legion, which has general charge of the northern border. Finally, the Stannic Legion in Mal is charged with keeping the other legions well equipped with weapons and armor. They lead the mining expeditions into the foothills of the Fire Mountains to obtain the precious iron and other materials the legions require to maintain their readiness.
Ironguard is nominally a kingdom, but truly a military dictatorship. Who ever controls the legions controls the Kingdom. The only two acknowledged kings of Ironguard are Chingiz Ironbearer, the founder of Ironguard and anointed by the Elementals to rule, and Temur the Hammer, a mighty warrior who defeated many rivals and won the loyalty of all the Legions through brilliant military maneuvering and fierce martial abilities. He rules the kingdom as a military operation, as Chingiz did before him. His royal court is a war council, run by his loyal generals and representatives of each of the legions. However Temur grows old, as Chingiz did before him. People fear that if Chingiz dies without passing power to an heir that Ironguard will endure more decades of chaos and in-fighting as it did in the prior interregnum. Military administration determines who serves in the military and who does not. In times of need they normally enlist more personnel and in times of less need they normally release the less able soldiers to make their own livings.
Ironguard is a martial nation. Every freeborn child of Ironguard is assigned to a legion as soon as they are old enough to hold a weapon. They are rigorously trained with military discipline, loyalty to legion and king. They are carefully monitored, assigned tasks and positions relative to their demonstrated abilities, and earn advancement through displays of honor, valor, and competence. One's heritage has no bearing on one's position in society. Your parent may have been officers or bakers, and you could still rise to lead legions. King Temur himself is the child of a blacksmith and a minor officer who was discharged with dishonor.
Ironguard allows slavery. Slaves are usually the result of conquest, although Ironguard permits the purchase of slaves from elsewhere in order to shore up gaps in labor. Most freeborn do not farm land, and so slave labor is used in most agricultural pursuits. Still, any slave can earn his freedom through acts of honor and bravery (through few get the opportunity), and it is considered dishonor to mistreat one's slaves.
Ironguard also abhors Ferroclasty. It was created with the purpose of destroying the Caliphate and Ferroclasty and that tradition runs deep in the bones of every loyal Ironguarder. An offshoot of this attitude is a general hostility to elves, goblins, shedim, and ravin, the most common adherents to the philosophy. These races, not coincidentally, along with humans, are also the most common enslaved races.
By far, the most common race in Ironguard is dwarves, followed by halflings. In fact, by tradition, these two races cannot be enslaved. Other races have joined the ranks of the freeborn, including humans, warforged, orcs, half-orcs, goliaths, genasi, and even some sparti.
|Monarchs of Ironguard|
King Chingiz (2491-2585)
The advent of Ferroclasty and the founding of the Caliphate apparently caused some consternation among the Elementals of the Fire Mountains. After decades of discussion, the Elementals anointed Chingiz Ironbearer, a dwarf bred and raised for the purpose, to lead tens of thousands of dwarven warriors from the Iron Mountains to crush the Caliphate. Chingiz spent some time organizing this dwarves into seven legions named after iron, gold, silver, copper, tin, quicksilver, and lead, the seven celestial metals. Chingiz himself took charge of the Iron Legion, and appointed his most trusted generals to lead and organize the others.
Chingiz' first campaign was against the secret city of Ramhead, home of the Ramhead Rangers. The city was virtually undefended and, believing its secrecy to be sacrosanct, unprepared. The city was conquered and razed, and its inhabitants enslaved at prizes of war. This appearance shocked the Free Kingdoms, and particularly, the Caliphate.
The seven legions battered the Caliphate mercilessly, expanding northward to the southern border of the Barrens, eastward to shores of the Nereid Sea, and southward to the Savage Sound. During this period, Chingiz founded the capital city of Legionhome in the foothills of the Fire Mountains though he rarely dwelt in his own palace, preferring his field tents. Chingiz was unstoppable, virtually undefeated, and would easily have ended the Caliphate if not for the weakness of old age.
By the time Chingiz had beaten the Caliphate across the Walls Road, he was getting old and feeble. The Caliphate's rulers are ageless elves but Chingiz was a dwarf, and the Elementals had not seen fit to grant him immortality. However, Chingiz refused to acknowledge his impending mortality even as his original generals each died in battle or of infirmity. Finally, General Gamaliel managed to strike Chingiz with a debilitating blow. His forces managed to retreat and secure his body, but he was dying, beyond the help of his healers. The army trekked back across the kingdom to Legionhome, where Chingiz died of his wounds, without naming an heir.
Without a leader, the seven legions began to bicker among themselves. The Iron Legion elected a young dwarf as a new leader, but with the mandate that he not replace Chingiz. He and his successors stationed the Iron Legion in Legionhome and oversaw the management of the Legions' estates, but he refused to support any of the other six Generals in their bids to succeed Chingiz. What followed was 60-year period period of civil war as legion turned on legion.
Almost immediately, enemies of Ironguard capitalized on the kingdom's anarchy. Renegades from the Wild Forest conquered Southbar, and made it the capital of a new kingdom of Nidvalar. Six years later a goliath led a slave revolt in northern Ironguard, retaking the City of Artifice and creating the Free Kingdom of Midhaven. The Caliphate retook the Walls Road and began retaking its lost territory.
Slowly, the legions began to defeat one another. In 2615, a dwarf named Temur took control of the Copper Legion, which had already gained the allegiance of the Silver Legion and the Legion of Lead. Meanwhile an older general named Ulaganqara was in charge of the Gold Legion, and quickly subdued the Quicksilver Legion, and the Tin Soldiers. Temur and Ulaganqara faced each other several times, but always to a standstill. At one point Ulaganqara sought to purchase a new legion of warforged from Nidvalar. In return, as King of Ironguard, he would renounce all claims to the kingdom and establish a permanent alliance with him. This offer was refused.
Finally, Temur understood that even if he defeated Ulaganqara he would not truly rule unless he had the loyalty of the legions he was now facing. He saw that the legions were becoming camps and had forgotten their initial purpose. While Ulaganqara was in the south entreating with Ironguard's enemy Nidvalar, Temur drove his legions north and engaged in battle against Midhaven, reconquering the land for Ironguard. The news that Ironguard had retaken Midhaven electrified the populace. After decades of reports of territories being lost to the Caliphate and upstart kingdoms, this created hope and pride in Ironguard once more. Then, Temur cleverly recruited officers from each of Ulaganqara's legions and named them rival generals of their respective legions. This allowed soldiers to leave their current legion but honorably rejoin the same legion under Temur's banner. Ulaganqara drove north to confront Temur, but as he traveled, he found his armies losing men with every march as they left to join Temur. The defection of Ulaganqara's own consort, Regala, to become the rival general of Temur's Gold Legion cemented his defeat. By the time Temur and Ulaganqara faced once more his army was but a mere shell. Still, pride would not allow Ulaganqara to accept surrender. He charged the field with his most loyal soldiers and was slain in personal combat with Temur. Temur honored Ulaganqara with a funeral and entombment befitting a general of the field, and placed his name on the monument to the generals of the Gold Legion in Legionhome.
King Temur was crowned King of Ironguard in 2645. He immediately declared that he would reconquer all of Ironguard's lost territories, beginning with the Caliphate. He drove the Caliphate back across the Walls Road, and pressed them almost to the gates of the capital of Sarrun.
However, Temur had spent most of his youth fighting Ulaganqara. He was already an old man by the time he became king. His weakness is already beginning to show only 50 years into his reign. In 2655, a goliath named Ghiya retook the territory of Midhaven, and Temur could not respond immediately as he was embroiled in his war with the Caliphate. Eventually, in 2697, he could ignore the threat no longer, and when Midhaven drove towards Dragonseye to cut Ironguard from its only port on the Nereid Sea, it responded. The Caliphate and Carraway both sent troops to Dragonseye. Winteren pledged its support for Ironguard against their common enemy of Midhaven and sent its own troops.
The Battle of Dragonseye was fierce but inconclusive. Reports say that during the battle Ironguard and Winteren were crushing all three armies when suddenly the seas began to boil and overflow. It began to swallow all of the armies when a young human named Rickard arrived with an army of halflings, escaped Wintreni slaves, and Queen Oncia. He or his sorcerers calmed the seas and called a parley. During the parley a truce was negotiated between the Caliphate, Winteren, Ironguard, Midhaven, Oncia, Carraway, and the newly formed Archduchy of Dragonseye. For a time, anyway, King Temur would have to delay the reconquest of all that Ironguard had lost.
Back in Legionhome, Temur contemplated the future of his kingdom. Can the old dwarf accept his own mortality and appoint an heir to avoid another interregnum? Will he make a last push to reconquer all that Ironguard has lost? Some say, that Temur disappeared into the Fire Mountains for a month after the Battle of Dragonseye, seeking the counsel of the Elementals. If they allowed him entrance to their Forges, and if they offered him any advice or even immorality, only Temur can say.
- Heroes of the Legion. The heroes are assigned to a legion and are sent to quell a slave revolt in their area.
- Heroes of the Road. Bold wild elves are attacking convoys along the Iron Road and the heroes must stop them.
- Heroes of the Wall. Walls Road is the subject of a tenses standoff between Ironguard and the Caliphate when both claim the other of a dishonorable attack. Only the heroes can discover the truth.
- Blackscale. Lizardfolk from Blackscale have been marauding along Walls Road, but have only been taking armor and iron weapons, which they have always eschewed? Why do they want iron? Is this a provocation? Have they had a falling out with the ferroclast Caliphate? In any case the situation needs to be resolved.
- Minia. In the lands bordering Minia, the landbonds have been dissolving. Is this an attack by the Minians? Is it the result of one of their primal invocations gone wrong? The adventurers need to confront the situation making sure that they can return alive to Ironguard to inform them of Minia's intentions.
- Nidvalar. Constructs from Nidvalar have been attacking convoys. Is it a rogue agent, as Nidvalar's Assembly claims? Is it the Clockwork Circle? Or is this a devious feint by Nidvalar to test Ironguard's resolve? Securing the convoys is the first priority, and then making sure that the situation is amended is what Inronguard needs.
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