Haroken (Hobgoblin Empire)
Hobgoblins of Traykon have been galvanized into a single large culture. Historically the Hobgoblin tribes were warlike and often infighting amongst the tribes would prevent them from achieving their goals. 100 years ago, a great war chief discovered an abandoned giant city hidden deep within the mountains. Inspired by the writings he found hidden within the city, the war chief led a crusade to unite the tribes under one banner. It took years of war and strife but the great leader succeeded in uniting the tribes under a single banner.
Moving quickly to capitalize on the strength of unity, the united hobgoblin race moved into the giant city and began to secure the surrounding area. Older hobgoblins settled outside of the city in small townships with their families to provide raw material and foodstuff for the main city inhabitants. The inhabitants of the city began training the young for war and refining the raw materials into goods to trade to nearby civilizations.
Exactly 10 years after seeing his dream come to fruition, Khan Garthak Carania died in a skirmish with Krond to the north. Khan Edo Carania is the current Khan and he works diligently on the dream of making the hobgoblin race dominant in the realms. Seeing the opportunity to increase the reach and reputation of his race, 10 years ago Khan Edo Carania began sending trained teams of hobgoblins out as hired mercenaries. He believe this would increase the wealth and power of the race as a whole while getting young hobgoblins much needed cultural and combat exposure.
The United Hobgoblin Empire has been called Haroken by outside cultures and since that is the name of the capital city, none seem to complain. Their chief export is mercenary teams. Wealthy merchants and noblemen pay excessive amounts to employ these elite units. The Hobgoblins also have an exclusive trade agreement with the Gnome city of Trickledown and all goods from that city are funneled through Haroken representatives.
Haroken is embroiled in a long standing war with Krond, its neighbor to the northeast. Krond is an old kingdom that so far has been the aggressor in the conflict. Raiding parties from Krond are a normal site and mercenaries from Krond often roam the mountains looking to strike hobgoblin supply lines or small groups of travelers.
Haroken has exactly 12 town/cities.
Caer-Haroken: The capital city of the Hobgoblin nation is the center of their culture and the source of the common name. Khan Garthak Carania fortified this city for siege to indulge his more vocal tribesmen who were concerned about such a large concentration of their race being a easy target for their enemies. Caer-Haroken has never been attacked, although some of the outlying villages have. At any time, the cities population exceeds 100,000 inhabitants, with nearly 80,000 being seasoned warriors. Khan Edo Carania maintains an elite group of 10,000 soldiers as both city guards, and his constabulary. This group is nicknamed Sentinels and the average member is a veteran of hundreds of battles and campaigns.
Caer-Carania: This hobgoblin town was named for the "founder" of the current dynasty. The town rests in the shadow of Caer-Haroken, nestled at the base of the mountain a scant 2 miles from the capital. This town's central feature is the large meeting hall surrounded by dozens of large structures that serve as barracks. Normally, the barracks stand near empty with less than a dozen people in each one. When the hobgoblin's host visitors from a foreign land, the barracks can hold over five thousand troops. Two large temples stand at opposite ends of Caer-Carania, one dedicated to Nomog-Geaya (the ancestral deity of Hobgoblins) and the other dedicated to Aragon. Wounded warriors are brought to this town to be ministered by the priests of these two gods.
Caer-Culage: Originally, this was a mining town from which all the iron ore used in Caer-Haroken was mined. 8 years ago, the miners broke through to a new section that turned out to be part of a Dwarven City. The inhabitants of that city were quick to respond and demand that all mining operations cease. Khan Edo Carania agreed, with conditions, and the mine was sealed by massive iron doors that lock from the dwarven side. Twice a year, the doors are open and the dwarves trade iron ore and weapons for goods and crafts. This "arrangement" had made Caer-Culage a popular stop off for traders and merchants. Two dwarf families have moved into the town and show signs of tolerance toward their hobgoblin neighbors.
Caer-Dultan: This town overlooks both the Saragas Plains and Featherwood, the home of the Wood Elves, as well as being the closest town to Trickledown. Visitors to this town are common and the young warriors in this town have the bonus of having elves nearby who are often willing to train them as archers. Young warriors from other towns often travel to Caer-Dultan to gain training from the few elves who have made the town their home. Young gnomes from Trickledown and half orcs from Saragas Plains often end up in this town as their first stop during an adventurer's life. Obviously, the inhabitants of this town get exposed to diverse cultures and tend to be more open minded than others of their race.
Caer-Cronig: As the closest city to Krond, Caer-Cronig sees a lot of fighting. Raiding parties from Krond often threaten this fortified town. Caer-Cronig has built sturdy palisades and guard towers around the town. Units from other towns often spend "tours" adding to their defensive army.
Caer-Alexi: Also threatened by Krond, this town enjoys the protection of being located at the pinnacle of a butte. Krond sends aerial raids often and small ballista have been mounted atop guard towers surrounding the town. The only ground access to the town is via a gnome invention called a "lift" that works by raising and lowering a large bucket. The "lift" is powered by a waterwheel in the river at the base of the butte. A smaller "lift" also ferries a continuous stream of water buckets up to the butte. The whole contraption is guarded by dozens of guards.
Caer-Kropk: Built in a large valley, this town survives by herding goats. At the northern end of the valley, a corps of Witchwood also serves as a source of revenue for the town. A large slaughterhouse occupies the center of the town and must be guarded at all times due to the threat of monsters being lured in by the scent.
Caer-Vostig: Originally built on the shores of a large mountain stream as an agricultural community, this city recently has gone through a transformation. Gold was discovered in the streambed and miners have begun digging for the ore. Most of the town's citizens are spending at least some of their time digging for gold. The promise of fast wealth has changed this once quiet town. Many expect the Khan to soon take possession of the gold and take over mining.
Caer-Listig: Bordering the region called "The Wylding", this town sees numerous monsters and more than it's share of magical effects. "Hunting" parties are fielded into the region of the Wylding to collect rare plant and animal specimens. An extremely rare lotus type flower grows on the mountains surrounding the town and the flower is processed into both a dark violet dye and an exotic perfume. The perfume is very popular with the human kingdoms of the south.
Caer-Degarth: One of the two cities on the plains south of the mountain range. Caer-Degarth maintains a large standing army and serves as a way point for mercenary groups and merchant caravans.
Caer-Hovel: The newest Hobgoblin town, Caer-Hovel uses its location on the southern plains to successfully grow large amounts of Corn and Wheat. A horse breeder also lives in the town and is trying his hand and breeding a hardy breed large war ponies that should thrive in the mountains.
Items of Importance
Lake Amon: This frozen lake is located in the crater of a long dead volcano between Caer-Culage and Caer-Vostig. The lake is home to large amounts of fish and a flight of chimera make the shore their home. Centuries ago, a wizard maintained a fortress on the lake's eastern side. The wizard disappeared when the Veil formed and his tower degenerated into ruins. Many bizarre magical creatures, products of his research, remain in the area and inhabit the lake. Adventurers occasionally raid the ruins and few ever escape with their lives. Survivors tell confusing tells of shadow monsters and living ice. Sages believe that the magical traps and protections put in place by the wizard are still active.
The Wylding: During the height of Valislad, a magical duel was fought in the center of the place referred to now as the Wylding. Two great wizard cabals fought and the magical energies released warped the the very land itself. Now, even the vegetation has gained magical properties. Strange new creatures stalk the mountains and weird localized magical effects make travel within the area unpredictable. Historical records fail to note why the cabals chose that area for the duel. Some believe a hidden wizards fortress is somewhere within, or some ancient treasure was thought to be housed there. Treasure hunters and those thirsty for adventure often visit the area.
Scarwood Vale: This valley is named for the twisted appearance of the trees. Visitors to the vale report that a strange eerie feeling descends upon them as soon as they enter into the shadow of the trees. Most visitors swear that the Vale is haunted and ghosts inhabit the trees. A few priests have attempted to "cleanse" the forest but most have fled the vale in terror.