Middle Kingdoms [Gerandland, Pium, Rotwald, Vinterre]
“Oh children of the True Arbitress, Gods-fearing men! Victory is ours this day, over the forces of the elements themselves! There is nothing greater than us, here now; Rejoice!” - Codion Unus II, after the Battle of Siwath

Capital: Sanctus Templum
Settlements: Belle Ville (45,000), Dark Mill (2,000), Klemt (7,000), Mazino (6,500), Nachtburg (50,000), Port Kamar (8,000), Sanctus Templum (75,000), Thame (60,000), Senthe (12,000), Sowmoor (10,000), Vulfberg (11,000), Weston (6,000)
Ruler: Codion Vindcitine VIII

  • Pium – Regent Marcus Gedacius
  • Vinterre – King Tonerre XXII
  • Geranland – King Arturus the Bald
  • Rotwald – King Groot von Stern

Government: Feudalist Theocracy
Races: Aasimar (Geralite), Avood, Human, Qit’ar
Faiths: Gerana, Lyvalia, Rolterra
Resources: Agriculture, livestock, lumber, wine
Languages: Common, Celestial
Border Conditions: Restricted (a full porphyrite border surrounds the Middle Kingdoms)

History
The region known as the Middle Kingdoms came from a world very different from Porphyra. The people of this land came from a world inhabited almost exclusively by humans, though outsiders and summoned races did plague the land. It was not a particularly easy world, but the lords and ladies that resided there had the goddess Gerana to ease their woes. The word of the True Arbitress in the Divine Record was ministered to the people by a single great church that rightfully spread to every corner or the land. No king’s law was greater than Gerana’s, nor was any king’s power greater than the Codion- vessel of Her word.

Of course, not all of the Middle Kingdoms’ people were so fortunate to receive Lady Justice’s blessings, for this was a feudal society. The might of each land was built from the hierarchical components of royalty, clergy, aristocracy, military, freedmen and, at the bottom, serfdom. Certainly the church shared Her words with the working classes, but it was “by her grace” that their lords could feed and protect them. After all, such men would not be given power over others if they were not so chosen by Gerana herself. Such were the bleak terms of a serf ’s life.

Yet Gerana was not ignorant of how her priests interpreted her word. When the orcs and elves of Porphyra called for gods to grace their lands, Lady Justice was inspired with a divine plan. She came to Porphyra in The Calling, and brought with her the four nations most in need of a lesson in ecumenism and racial and social equality; Geranland, Pium, Vinterre, and Rotwald. In the middle of fractious wars themselves, the Middle Kingdoms were not prepared for what Porphyra had in store for them.

On this new world, the humans were surrounded by many races, and the balance of the New Gods, peers of Gerana. Almost immediately, the forces of the Midlanders found themselves embroiled in the conflicts of the NewGod Wars, attacked by genies, giants, elementals and their kin - and their human, but hostile leaders; Ghadabi, Siwathu, and Simooni as regular troops and fanatical zendiqi. Harrowing battles such as The Siege of Greencastle, the undead assault at the Field of Bones, and the first turning of the tide at the gates of Sanctus Templum itself - the Day of Graves, all called upon the blood, steel and nerve of Midlanders to fight for the right of the pious to exist. Fortunately, their great numbers and ardent faith in Gerana guided the four kingdoms’ knights through the NewGod War.

When the conflicts finally came to an end, the Middle Kingdoms had changed in three ways. First and foremost, the True Arbitress’ divine plan came to pass, as She relinquished her influence on the serfs in favor of Rolterra, the Boundless One. Now, the disenfranchised were no longer happy with their lot, but whisper and pass the word of uprisings against the nobility. Secondly, the nobility of the four kingdoms grew to hate non-human races, seeing them at the least as responsible for their shaky exile from their previous – though no better- world. At worst they are felt to be evil abominations not fit to live on the clean earth. Lastly, and sadly an accepted consequence to her plan, a secret faith began to spread among the highest orders of the land, even her own church; Lyvalia the Throne-Shadow began to whisper her twisted council to the morally weak who hold power.

Current Events
Though the Middle Kingdoms are largely held to be the most powerful nation on Porphyra, there has been much strife in this paragon of civilization. Serf uprisings are increasing in number, and it is costing the lives of more soldiers to stamp out the heretical dissension. This poses a problem for the allied nations who have rallied under the divine guidance of Codion Gaius Vindictine VIII, who is encouraging his sub-kings to the brink of war against the surrounding nations tainted with non-humans. The king of each nation fears to argue with the Church of Gerana, for doing so would risk excommunication, which would cause the other three rivals to turn their lances on the heretics. To add more confusion to the mix, Codion Vindictine becomes more under the control of the whisperers of Lyvalia every day.

Though trade in the Middle Kingdoms is brisk, with demand for Vinterre wine, Rotwald lumber, Geranlander crops, and marble from Pium, there are many situations of interest in the countryside:

  • The forbidden Forest of the Qit’ar is becoming less forbidden, as trade routes from the Catmen of Olthar pass directly past Senthe.
  • The Great Quarry of the Dome-Low hills is agitating for annexation by Vinterre, as Pium taxation on use of the Stone Canal is exorbitant.
  • The Hundred Villages of Geranland, seen as iconic Midlanders, are starting to depopulate for independent homesteads on the Moors.
  • The ambitious cities of Rotwald are agitating for permission to build a new community on Lake Kor, which has been the private site of noble villas for years.
  • The monks of the Silent Monastery have sent emissaries to all capital cities, communicating by hands that dedication to Law is at an all-time low in the nation, and they will not stand by.

All in all, the situation is ripe for change in the Middle Kingdoms, ten centuries after The Calling, and a change in power in this large, powerful nation could change the face of at least half of Porphyra, if not the entire planet. The nobility is not willing to see the problem, wrapped up in their own decadence and power struggles, the clergy is secretive and divided, the serfs are rallying to different gods and demagogues at every turn - but there is sure to be a coin or two to be made when all the dust settles.

A legacy of the NewGod Wars and The Middle Kingdom’s hand in the Deist victory over the Porphyran Elementalists is their para-imperialist Serenity Guard, a branch of the Codionic Knights. Under the emblem of the Dove, these ambassador-warriors watch over defeated Elementalist region-nations and have broad powers of interference, centuries after the Treaty of Siwath.

Settlements
The major settlements of the Middle Kingdoms are:

  • Belle Ville, capital of Vinterre is a city of splendor and high society, second richest in wealth only to Sanctus Templum. The wealthy nobility of the city enjoy lives of opulence while their serfs toil in squalor. The Middle Kingdoms have seen many great works of art come out of Belle Ville, and bards from all over the world come there to make their fortunes.
  • Dark Mill is a small lumber town in Rotwal notable only for the prevalence of non-humans and non-sanctioned magics practiced, for which the industry is a convenient cover.
  • Klemt, preferred port of Nachtburg products, is in direct competition with the Codion-sanctioned port of Kamar. Klemt is rife with smugglers, Rolterran operatives, and conttraband.
  • Mazino, lonely city in the northern hills, processes much of the raw foodstuffs of the farms of Vinterre, and has many wineries, almost as many as Belle Ville. Mazino still bears many of the fortifications of the NewGod Wars, as it was the fallback position after Greencastle fell, so long ago.
  • Nachtburg lies deep within the Forest of Rotwald, and is the capital of that kingdom. Known throughout the Middle Kingdoms as being far too lenient on the serfs, it is city of industry and trade. Guild shops line the streets, and competition between the organized guilds is sharp and often fractious. Foreign lords may mock Nachtburg for allowing the commoners to accrue wealth and status, but unlike the foolish Thamemen, the local nobility see profit in their methods. It is no accident that serf uprisings are much lower in Rotwald than in other kingdoms.
  • Port Kamar is sanctioned and rigidly controlled by the Codion’s people, both sanctioned and in secret, a nest of Lyvalian treachery and spies sent to all nearby nations. The naval fleet of the Middle Kingdoms makes port here regularly, from their patrols of the Bay of Sphinxes.
  • Sanctus Templum, capital of Pium, and center of the church of Gerana, is by far the richest city in the Four Kingdoms, and perhaps the whole of Poprhyra. Long ago, when Gerana’s faith was spreading over Porphyra, the churches of Pium lent huge sums of money to other lands that wanted Geranite temples, and established them as money-lending institutions, ostensibly for the needy. In years of peace, these loans have been paid back fourfold, making Sanctus indeed the ‘City of Gold’. The city’s piety has also been held up as an icon for other nations - the question is, to which deity?
  • Thame **is built upon grand bridges across the River Lon, and is city of learning, the seat of King Arturus, a (once) great warrior. Many vine-covered institutes of learning are established in its towers, even the prudent study of wizardry.
  • Senthe** is a cosmopolitan town that does brisk trade with Hesteria and the strange folk of the Birdman Mountains. Exotic liquors and drugs are the trademark of Senthe, and the aristocracy are perpetually intoxicated.
  • Sowmoor, an insular town of unattractive people, hosts a large garrison to watch the southern border, and the threats out of the Salt Swamp and Yrwood. The Treasure Hunters’ Guild has a large headquarters here, to supply the adventurous and fleece the gullible.
  • Vulfberg is a dynamic city with a bad reputation. As busy and industrious as it is in the day, at night the windows are shuttered and doors locked against the whispered threat of werewolves and other fabled creatures of death and blood in the night. That the targets of such boogies are typically troops out of Sanctus Templum never seems to make it into the stories that are told.
  • Weston sees a lot of trade in ores and minerals out of Nor-Du-Mag, and has a very large smelting facility. Non-humans are not welcome here, nor are the haughty northerners of Thame and their worldly ways.

Intrigues

  • An acolyte of a local countryside temple to Gerana seeks aid in investigating the Archbishop of the region. He believes that his superior has fallen to the lies of Lyvalia, the Whispering Counselor. Rooting out a cell of the Throne-Shadow will be difficult, if not impossible.
  • Whispers run rampant in the village taverns of Vinterre. The time quickly approaches that the serfs will raise arms against the nobility. A lone rebel comes to the PCs pleading for help to postpone the attack, claiming the knighthood is already aware of the plan. Driven by passion, none of the conspirators listen but will the PCs?
  • The ancient ruins of Greencastle are often haunted by runaway serfs cum bandits, pockets of hunted humanoids, and cells of cultists forbidden by the Church. Young Midlanders and even youth from other nearby nations cut their teeth exploring the ruins, and some even find interesting items or a stake in recovered loot to start their careers as adventurers in the larger world of Porphyra.
  • Some amazing sights are said to be seen at the High Nexus, an elemental portal from which water flows to supply the Sen, Lon and West Rivers, not to mention Lakes Kor and Gerana. Its proximity to the extra-dimensional Wall of Sleep can generate any imaginable vision or appearance, and usually stays in the realm of dream… When the PCs visit for the first time, though, it could be the moment of a bubble of weird extra-planar creatures breaks through, and have to be hunted down in the unprepared countryside. The weird beings include: akata, cacodaemons, protean voidworms, small to medium elementals, food dogs, or even dretch demons!

See Also