Dangers of Darokin
The Republic of Darokin
The Republic of Darokin
“He who has the gold, makes the rules.” – an old Darokinian saying
In Darokin, wealth is power. There is no place in this land for the unthinking brute who solves every problem with force. Darokin has survived by cleverness, by negotiation, and by guile, despite being surrounded by mighty barbarous nations
In fact, the Darokinians have thrived over the years, establishing themselves as the undisputed masters of overland commerce. And, since dead neighbors make poor trading partners, they’ve become equally adept at diplomacy
Darokin is a land controlled by merchants. Until three centuries ago, the lands now known as the Republic of Darokin were known as the Kingdom of Darokin. When the last King of Darokin died without an heir, the kingdom fell into chaos. The large cities of the lands became independent city-states, and the wealthy merchants and tradesmen became the leaders of these city-states.
Almost a century ago, the city-states of Darokin banded together to become a single nation again. To give each city-state some say in matters of governing, the Charter the city-states agreed to decreed that each city would send forth a representative to a Council, which would act as the governing body of the land. The cities would also elect a Chancellor, who would act as the ruler of the land. Only citizens of the cities who owned property were originally allowed to vote. Over time, this statute has been changed to allow any who have enough money to vote, due to the amount of power the Guilds wield. Because of the nature of Darokin politics, the Guilds hold tremendous power, and anyone who can afford to, joins a Guild when he can.
Darokin today is a turbulent place. Within the cities, life is good. The merchants of Darokin keep everyone in the land at a higher standard of living than any of their neighbors. Even the lowest “non-voting citizen” has more rights than the serfs and peasants of neighboring lands. People from many neighboring nations make their way to Darokin, trying to escape harsher conditions in their own lands.
Outside the cities and towns, Darokin is less civilized. Bandits and humanoid tribes roam the countryside, though Republic troops are stationed in forts along the major thoroughfares. Merchants pay good money for people to guard their caravans from these hazards,
Darokin is a huge nation that borders nine other nations and fully encloses a tenth nation within its borders. On its northeastern border sits the Principalities of Glantri, a nation ruled by wizard-Princes where those without magical abilities are second (or even third) class citizens. Directly to the north sits the Broken Lands, an arid land full of goblins, orcs, trolls and other humanoids who periodically stage raids into the Darokinian lands. Also to the north are the steppes of the Ethengar, a nomadic, warlike people ruled by a man known as the Golden Khan.
Northwest of Darokin is the dwarven kingdom of Rockhome, a nation existing almost entirely underground. Due east of Darokin are the Emirates of Ylaruam, a desert nation controlled by the Emir of Ylaruam. South of Darokin is the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, a nation less than fifty years old. Also to the south are the Five Shires, a nation of hin (known to humans as halflings).
Southeast of Darokin is the Atruaghin Plateau, a land ruled by the Children of Atruaghin. West of Darokin is Sind, another arid land ruled by the Rajah of Sind.
Directly in the center of Darokin is a land known as Alfheim, a forest land ruled by elves. Though centuries ago the elves and men of Darokin warred, today they have a strong alliance.
Darokin is surrounded by mountain ranges. To the north lie the Amsorak and Silver Sierra mountains. To the northeast lie the Dwarfgate mountains, and to the east sit the Altan Tepes mountains. Darokins southern border is dominated by the Black Peak and Cruth mountains.
Lake Amsorak, the largest freshwater lake on the continent, dominates western Darokin. The Streel River, the continent’s main river, runs from the north side of Darokin down to Malpheggi Bay in the Sea of Dread and is a major thoroughfare for merchants and caravans. Malpheggi Swamp sits just north of Malpheggi Bay, and is home to man nasty creatures and insects.
Town of Reedle
Reedle is a small town in the far south-east corner of Darokin, located in the foothills of the Altan Tepes Mountains along the Karameikos border. Reedle (population 3000) is a community of both farmers and traders in almost equal proportions.
Reedle is on a trail that runs south from Selenica to Kelvin and Specularum in Karameikos. As one might expect, there is quite a bit of caravan traffic in both directions on the trail, attracting eager sellers and buyers alike, as well as the less reputable members of society who would prey on such wealth. Some Darokin traders like to meet caravans in Reedle rather than wait for them to arrive in Selenica, so they can get the first bid in on interesting merchandise.
Reedle is also in an area well situated for growing exotic specialty products, such as olives, rare teas, coffee, and cashews. Due to the high prices these rare products command, Reedle is one of the few towns in Darokin where the merchants are not the richest people in town.
Most merchants take this in stride, but a few, especially those connected with larger merchant houses and used to getting their own way, do not. Consequently, Reedle has more political intrigue in local government than many towns 20 times as large. The current Village Council has two merchants, two farmers and two men who are both. The Mayor is a farmer, so the balance of power seems to slightly favor the farmers, for now.
A decade ago, Reedle was menaced by a goblinoid army who called itself the Red Hand Horde. Thanks to the efforts of a small band of adventurers, the Red Hand Horde was exterminated and, to this day, the town keeps a small museum of artifacts left behind by the adventurers.
Selenica is he second-largest city in Darokin (population: 39,000), and in many ways is a second capital. Located at the far eastern end of the country, Selenica is the gateway to travel and trade with the Emirate of Ylaruam, the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, Rockhom, the Northern Reaches, and even the Empire of Thyatis.
The people of Selenica are independent, acknowledging their allegiance to Darokin only when it is convenient to do so. It is just over 400 miles on the Darokin Road to the capital city of Darokin, and despite the many merchants who travel back and forth between the two cities, the separation and isolation of Selenica is still keenly felt by its people.
Daily life in Selenica has a different feel to it than anywhere else in Darokin. There are many strong foreign cultural influences on the city, none stronger than from Ylaruam. In certain parts of the city, in fact, Selenica looks more like a city of Ylaruam than a city of Darokin. This is almost entirely attributable to the influence of the Al-Azrad merchant house.
The Al-Azrad family has lived in Selenica for just under 150 years, having moved here from Ylaruam. Shrewd traders who have exploited their connections in their home country well, the Al-Azrad merchant house has become the seventh largest in Darokin. While some members of the house have tried to adapt to Darokin customs, many more have stayed true to their Ylaruam heritage, and their influence is keenly felt in Selenica.
There are other cultural influences that set Selenica apart; a large Karameikan population adds their spice to the local mix, for one. And second to the Ylaruam influence is that of the many dwarves that live and work in the city. There are nearly as many dwarves in Selenica as there are in the rest of the entire Republic. Most of them live in their own “Dwarftown” district in the northeast quarter of the city. In an effort to keep the noise of the dwarfs’ metalworking to a minimum, the heads of the dwarven community require that all hammers must fall in the same rhythm. While this does make for less overall noise, one can be anywhere in Selenica and hear the steady ringing of the blacksmiths in Dwarftown.
Trading is Selenica’s primary industry. In a central market downtown that is nearly as large as the legendary Darokin Central Market, traders from half a dozen different countries meet regularly, trading everything from simple foodstuffs to exotic gems. There are a number of other industries and craftsmen working in the city, including weaponsmiths, leatherworkers, and cobblers, to name but a few, but not many distinguish themselves in either quantity or quality.
Politically, Selenica is dominated by two merchant houses. Al-Azrad house is the most visible house in the city, but they are not the biggest. Keeping a low profile, but still exerting a great deal of power behind the scenes, is Hallonica house, the third largest merchant house in all of Darokin. The fifth Chancellor of Darokin, Rypien Hallonica, came from Hallonica house. Currently, three of the six City Council members are Hallonicas, two are Al-Azrads, and the sixth is a dwarf. The Mayor of Selenica is a retired Hallonica merchant, as well.
The Selenica City Guard is small, but well-trained, perfect for their duties. The guard is mainly concerned with protecting merchant caravans, catching thieves, and breaking up fights. For the larger problem of city defense, the guard (and everyone else) depends on the Second Army, which has one legion in the city at all times, while the other five legions are at nearby Ft. Hobart.
Adventurers can find plenty of work in Selenica. There are plenty of goods or bodies to guard and the high concentration of foreign traders means intrigue and action. And if there’s nothing happening in the city, work on a caravan headed in practically any direction is easy to get.