Pinnacle Lands
“Heart of iron, mind of steel.” - Words spoken before each Council of Nine Meeting

Capital: Artax’s Stand
Settlements: Artax’s Stand (6,000), Benvie (2,500), Calicarn (950), Lissa (5,000), Riverhold (2,500)
Ruler: The Council of Nine
Government: Democratic council
Races: Duergar, Elan, Human, Maenad, Xeph
Faiths: Ferrakus
Resources: Education, gems, iron, minerals
Languages: Common, Maenad, Undercommon, Xeph
Border Conditions: None

History
For years, the island kingdom of Sharira was a land of two distinct classes. About half of those born to the human majority were psionics. It was generally believed that heritage had a significant effect on the chances of being born with psionic powers. Families of human psionics were common, with servant houses of xeph and trade houses of duergar and maenad creating powerful alliances. It was considered a great dishonor to have children with no psionic ability, with rumors that some families would abandon those without to the maenad ships or the duergar mines than face the disgrace. The ‘mindless’, as they were called, were little more than chattel to the psionics. Low-born children born with psionics were often ‘bought’ and whisked away to be placed with a family of minor nobility.

There was, however, one man who believed that this was wrong. His name was Gregory Kinser, from the town of Riverhold. He was born with no psionic powers, but a brilliant mind. He desired to become more than a miner and a slave to people he had never met. In secret, he planned an uprising. The first goal was to develop something to reduce the advantage of the psionicists. Years of study, design, and collaborative enchantment came up with the copper signet. ‘Mindless’ men-at-arms prepared an army ready to fight for freedom, while crafters prepared hundreds of signets; it is a miracle of either caution or indifference that the copper was not missed by the mine overseers.

Some say the duergar had their own inscrutable agenda…

The uprising was sudden, bloody, and harsh. Gregory Kinser led thousands of men from east to west, capturing half of the island before the psionics rallied. Hundreds died in the first assault, but, at center of the nation, a stalemate occurred. The psionics didn’t have enough men to push back the assault, and the xeph and maenad houses declared neutrality. Kinser’s troops were likewise exhausted. The bloody middle ground remained for over 180 years, with skirmishers fought on and off, to try and gain ground. Had the signets been totally effective, it may have been the end of all psionics in the land.

It was on a hill in this no-man’s land that a flag of truce was finally raised. Artax Sands III went to meet Bartholomew Kinser: one the Supreme Commander of the psionic army and part of the ruling council, and the other a descendant of Gregory Kinser, and current leader of the Coppermen, as they styled themselves. They met to discuss peace. Six months later, the Artax-Kinser Treaty was signed. Rule of law was embodied in the Council of Nine; 4 psionics, (typically human or elan but occasionally xeph or maenad) and four non-psionics, elected for four-year terms from the four cardinal directions. A numistian company handles the elections. The Ninth member of council is one of “The One Mind” psionic-immune monks from the Silent Monastery whose sole role is to cast a deciding ninth vote on an impasse. Though the island still keeps the name of Sharira, the new accord was named the Pinnacle Lands, with the goal of achievement through cooperation.

Problems did occur. ‘Mindless’ citizens, desiring annihilation of their overlords, abandoned the amity of the Coppermen and became The Bronze League, and ever since have lurked in the lowest levels, brutish and destructive. The psionicists still maintained places like Hightower College, where surgical experiments were carried out to improve psionicis. A terrible accident occurred two hundred years ago, causing a massive dimensional rift and causing unspeakable psionic monsters to escape. All there perished. Though the Bronze League has been blamed, it is still a sticking point in the way of the Pinnacle Lands’ destiny.

Current Events
It has been over five hundred years since the ancestral war. Non-psionics are now treated as equals, and the war’s end is celebrated on Treaty Day as reminder of the gains and losses. Some still cling to old hatreds, but few dare cause tensions again. Both castes are now completely dependent on each other, and the non-human races have strengthened their positions even further. The island’s economic survival depends on industry and mining, while government, diplomatic affairs, and handling of psionic horrors are overseen by the psionic caste. Non-psionics are seen walking the halls of the colleges, and it is not unusual to find proud psionic craftsmen.

A pride has blossomed between the two groups for the hard-won success of The Pinnacle Lands - and eyes are drifting to nearby shores in the name of conquest. No solution has been found yet to close the rift that still sits within Hightower- and until that source of psionic horrors is sealed, the country will just slowly grind forward. It isn’t unknown for entire villages to be lost due to these
creatures, so much of the military is focused inwards rather than indulge goals overseas. There are still those who are sympathetic to the old ways on both sides, and it is here that the Bronze League flourishes.

The Council of Nine still holds strong, thanks to the involvement of The One Mind, but nobody is sure how the alliance would hold, should they choose to step away. No one is sure of their agenda, either.

Settlements
The major settlements in the Pinnacle Lands are:

  • Artax’s Stand is the major hub of the island nation, the town was built around the council chambers that were built in the same spot that Artax sat with Bartholomew Kinser to bring peace to the nation. The Council meets here and all of the government’s administrative duties are completed here. Due to the number of staff required to keep a country going, a rather large town has grown up around Artax’s Stand.
  • Benvie is one of the more famous college centers in southern Porphyra, it is known for studies in industrial, alchemical, and mechanical development. While aloof to outsiders, there has been much traffic between the Benviens and the secretive Clockwork-landers of the Beta Enclave as of late.
  • Calicarn is a large mining center, and most of the smaller camps and towns in the northern mountains call here to sell their wares. There is a large duergar contingent in Calicarn, which lends the town a gloomy air.
  • Lissa is the magical college hub of the south, if you believe the Lissans. The town is built around the college that stands in its center, and is known for the excellent educational facilities there- even several ‘Centers of Concentration’ for the development of psionic ability.
  • Riverhold was once a minor town used a staging post for the ancestral war, as the country starts to grow Riverhold is becoming more and more industrial. Smiths flock to this city for the knowledge of crafting and excellent facilities provided there, and the town has the nickname “The Furnace” due to the number of forges that run day and night there.

Intrigues

  • Reports from Calicarn say that a mine breach has opened a new set of caverns, and the surrounding porphyrite glow suggests an access to the Underdeep. The mine owners want adventurers to investigate, as too many miners are going missing.
  • The Bronze League has resurfaced in the northwest and have claimed a small town in the foothills near Calicarn. The Bronze League has never attacked this close to a major city, and the Council have called upon mercenaries to investigate what the Bronze League are doing, and put a stop to their plans.
  • A team of scholars have supposedly found a solution to the rift that was opened in Hightower and are looking for adventurers to protect them while they close the rift, The Council of Nine have insisted, however, that four elans accompany the group - three of which are guards to the fourth. Their purpose on the trip is unknown.