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> The Principality of Oldrin
The Principality of Oldrin
1. About the Principality
--- A broken house
--- A place of safety
--- A restless land
--- The Broken Tear
-----> Oldrin Island
-----> Green Island
-----> Harper Island
-----> Cutter Island
--- Ellsworth Isle
--- Wyatt's Island
4. House Oldrin
1. About the Realm
The Kingdom of Aerdy's long fall into madness has inspired countless exoduses from its once hospitable land, including that of House Oldrin. The House was a minor one in the great Aerdian pyramid of power, but it was a respectable one.
While no where near as strong as another house that broke away -- House Nyrond -- it was renowned for its blue-sailed trade ships which traveled the Azure and its watery siblings. Its ships traveled south to Olman Islands and beyond, trading with the savages there, and even doing some small business with the then-secret Scarlet Brotherhood's public alias - the Kingdom of Zund.
In CY 398, the evil, if not mad, Overking's advisors told him that House Oldrin and several other lesser houses were plotting to undermine the overking's authority. The details of this plot were nebulous at best, but they fit the king's own paranoia well. In reality, his advisors and members of the House Fax were looking to eliminate certain competitors while seizing lands for themselves.
Their plot worked. The king demanded that the leader of the house, Lord Byris Oldrin be tried for treason. Oldrin learned of his 'crime' too late to do anything about it - members of the royal guard appeared and imprisoned all of his family. After a trial that had nothing to do with justice, the Lord and his entire house were put to death.
In Aerdy, it appeared that no one of Oldrin blood survived … but one did. Alvis Oldrin, the lord's youngest son, was at sea with his family and loyal followers when the House was seized. He learned of their fate when his small fleet of six trade ships was attacked by Aeridian war galleys outside of the Great Kingdom's coastal ports.
On one of his trips south, he'd established a trading post on a cluster of islands known as the Broken Tear. He sent five of his ships south to the Tear, and took his flagship, the Dragon's Heart, into the friendly port of Xavier in southern Idee. He led his best men - who in their adventuring days were known as the Sea Dragons - on a covert mission to his family's homestead.
He found it in flames and "protected" by members of the Overking's elite guardsmen. The Sea Dragons defeated the guards in a pitched battle, after which Oldrin was able to recover certain family heirlooms from the ruined estate. He also managed to track down several family friends and freemen who'd escaped the Overking's murderous purge. A frantic dash for the coast followed as Oldrin and the refuges headed for the port.
They were harried along the way by an assortment of enemies who wished to see Ivid's purge completed, They were able to make it to the port and escape with the Dragon's Heart.
Oldrin led his surviving kinsmen back to the island cluster he'd discovered. He founded the city of Rivendale - named for the family's lost manor house - in CY 399 and dedicated himself to ensuring that the rest of his family would never be hurt again.
He was unwilling to forsake his family's claims in the Great Kingdom. His family had always considered themselves descendants of the true Oerdian founders of the nation, and torchbearers of the old spirit that had founded an empire.
And while that empire had collapsed, and the throne was undoubtedly evil, there was a chance -- however slim -- that evil would destroy itself and goodness (or at least well-meaning neutrality) might rise again.
He established himself as the ruling Prince of the family, and declared that as in the Great Kingdom, the title would be hereditary. He appointed only family members to the most important positions in the city, a tradition that is still largely in force hundreds of years later.
In order to attract settlers, he offered freemen their own plots of farm land in the newly-cleared portions of the jungle island. He also established fair tax rates and a well-armed city guard, both of which served to attract businesses and traders who preferred the relative calm of the Principality to the chaos dominating the regions other ports. He shared his family's disdain for slavery, and outlawed it in the nation.
This edict, however, did not stop those with slaves from visiting the realm; it simply outlawed the owning of slaves by citizens, and the trading of slaves by travelers. Alvis also continued his family's long tradition of sponsoring adventurers and explorers, paying them well to check rumors, discover new lands, recover lost relics, and - of course - harrass Great Kingdom shipping.
Alvis' later days were driven by a fierce desire to protect his own, and an even more powerful lust for vengeance. In his later years he had the chance to satiate both. Forty years after the Principality's founding, the Overking decided to send a force to crush the bothersome privateers to the south. He sent a fleet of four war galleys armed with elite troops and battle mages.
The now-74-year-old Alvis learned of the expedition after several merchants were attacked. Using alliances made during his long reign, he put together a naval force to defeat the strike force. Donning his old armor and sword, he assumed command of the Dragon's Heart, and led the fleet into battle. It was a terrible naval battle waged over the course of three days.
It saw the sinking of the Aerdian fleet, the destruction of the Dragon's Heart, and the noble death of Alvis, who gladly died while slaying his enemies on the high seas. The failure of the Aerdian squadron was never reported to the Overking - the Admiralty knew better than to report failures, and simply said the house had been destroyed. They later explained away the loss of the ships through separate disasters. House Oldrin was safe … for the time being.
After the defeat of the Great Kingdom's naval force, and the passing of Alvis, rulership of the Principality was passed to Alvis' eldest son, Alvis II. The new prince continued his father's goals of fortifying and protecting his family, but was not as driven for vengeance - or as stricken with wanderlust - as his father. He was much more of a subtle, commerce-driven man who sought to solidify the Principality's position in the region through trade.
Over the centuries the Principality's position did indeed solidify, and it became a major - and secure - seaport in the region. Merchants from around the region frequent the port, and it has become home to a small, but significant, adventuring class.
It has been beset by any number of troubles (raids by pirates, sieges by submariner races, assaults by murderous monsters, etc.) but its respectable fleet, competent marines as well as the aforementioned adventurers, have been able to turn them away.
The Principality today is a restless and conflicted land. As with most of the ruling Princes, the primary goal of the current ruler, Alvis Oldrin VII, is to protect the realm. However he also has strong benevolent and expansionist streaks that have led him to sponsor exploratory parties and settlements in the Amedio. These incursions have drawn the wrath of certain native tribes, but to date the garrisons Oldrin has placed in the towns have been able to protect them.
The pirates of the region - vile slavers and murderers - have recently grown more aggressive under a new, charismatic leader. Alvis the VII has refused to be intimidated, and has struck back at the pirates both by using his navy to protect friendly traders and by sending adventurers into the so-called "Pirate Isles"
Many of the more stolid members of the family are uneasy about this policy of "aggressive protectionism", which thus far has been paid for by the increases in trade - and the recovering of certain lost treasures - from the new colonies. But making them even more uneasy is the fact that Alvis VII's charismatic younger brother -- Merlyn -- is his most trusted advisor. "Merl" is a happy-go lucky bard with a strong independent streak.
That itself is nothing surprising for House Oldrin, but what is is the young man's absolute hatred of the slave trade. Ever since a savage attack against members of his wife's family in one of the Principality's outlying towns, he has become convinced that not only are the slavers a threat to the principality, but the actual premise is immoral.
The Principality is located on the Broken Tear, a cluster of islands that form a tear-shaped hook in the Vohoun. The Tear is located about two days hard sail from the coast of the Amedio Jungle and is home to about 10,000 souls.
The four islands that make up the Tear are Oldrin, Green, Harper, and Cutter.
The main island and home
of the city of Rivendale (pop. 4,500). It's land has
been highly cultivated, although its mountainous northern reaches still
retain their original rain forest cover. The mountains are dominated
by Mount Ominia, an extinct volcano named for one of the early princesses
of the realm.
The western most island in
the underside of the Tear, Green is home the village of Carson Bay
(pop. 250) The majority of the island is made up of rich volcanic
lowlands, and is heavily cultivated.
The eastern most island of
the Tear is a rugged, place covered with teaming rain forests. It is
also holds Summer's Song (pop. 1150), a town that caters to
the Principality's wilder crowd. One example is the Cauldron Run:
each year on the first day of Brewfest, a competition is held in which
adventurers test their skills against the swirling malstrom known as
the Razortooth Cauldron that resides at the heart of the Broken Tooth.
The village offers an excellent view of the Caldron, and thousands of
onlookers flood the town for the event. There is very little law on
Harper, and most vices save murder are tolerated.
Cutter's the southern most
island of the Tear, and is claimed by the Prince as his private reserve.
It's primary features are the mountains of exposed rock at its heart,
and its treacherous rain forests. A small village known as Ironbound
can be found near the mountains. It's made up almost entirely entirely
of dwarves and gnomes, and represents the largest concentration of those
races in the Principality, and probably in all the Vohoun as well.
The demi-humans work several
mines -- owned by the Prince of course -- that have yielded signficant
quanities of gold, as well as some exceptionally
fine quartz. The island is also home to an extremely aggressive breed
of boar which is occasionally hunted by the city's nobels.
A powerful northerly current buffets the Tear from the south, and feeds the vortex at the center of the islands. This vortex -- the aforementioned Razortooth Cauldron -- is named for the brutally sharp species of coral that lines its sides, as well as the southern edges of most of the Tear's islands.
* * *
The Principality also lays claim to several islands near it, and extends its protection to a half-dozen more. It has also established two colonies on the coast of the Amedio.
Elseworth is a small island two-days sail south form the Broken Tear. It's a barren piece of rock with only minimal vegatation, but it makes up for its scarcity of life with its aboundance of copper. The island's home to one of the best copper mines in the Principality, and its owned by one of the realm's richest merchants, Ilard Zwoffrine. The island's small mining town is home to about 75 miners, a small supply store, and a bar known as The Wretching Rat. The Rat's paid for by Zwoffrine, who realize that his workers need certain vices to keep production up. It's run by Reldard, a gruff former sailor who dislikes talking to anyone. The island's mines are run by a man named Oltone, a sniveling beaurcrat who's sole goal in life is to make the quotas set by Zwoffrine.
Wyatt's Island is a frontier community held by Wyatt Eldricson, a lesser noble form the Principality. About half of the mile-long, quarter-mile wide island has been cleared for farming, and the Eldricson runs a small silver mine in the hills at the island's southern end. The small town of Eldric serves as the island's "capital". Ships from the Principality often stop off at Wyatt's Island on their way to the Oldrin colonies on the Amedio, which looms only five miles off of its coast. Eldricson is apparently on good terms with Prince Alvis the VII, and more than once Eldricson has let colonists fleeing disasters on the mainland take refuge on his land.
3. Cities of the Principality
Located on Oldrin Island in the Broken Tear, Rivendale is the Principality's capital city, and the seat of its power.
The House Oldrin is a throwback to the glory days of the Aerdian people, when they were explorers and colonizers, instead of tyrants and sadists.
Like many of the old Oredian houses, House Oldrin's members run the gambit from passionate revolutionaries to even-tempered administrators. Within this House can be seen the great drive that allowed the Aerdians to create the greatest nation in the Flanaess ... and the skill to hold it together.
Most family members tend towards neutrality, and seek to maintain the status quo, but there always a few on the fringe who are driven to extremes. The good-ligned folks, taking after Alvis the First, have waged campaigns against slave lords, raided Scarlet Brotherhood shipping, and even initiated small wars against.
Evil ones have schemed against the Principality in an effort to claim the throne, creating alliances with like-minded races and attempting to recover evil artifacts.
Both have created terrible problems for the ruling Princes, who have had a habit of relying on neutral adventurers to solve them.
The house itself consists of about 450 blood relatives, and many of them are actively involved in the governing of the city. The ruling Princes do not pretend that the people have a voice in government and more often than not appoint family members to positions of power within the city.
The Ruling Family
The current ruler, Lord Prince Alvis the VII (born Growfest 2, 543 CY, crowned Wealsun 18, 578) in is 48 years old and has five sons and two daughters:
He is married Princess Gwendalen, who has been known to dabble in the magical arts. By all reports the two have a loving and respectful relationship, and deeply treasure their children.
The Lord Prince has four brothers and three sisters. Two of his brothers -- Marc and Carl -- and one of his sisters -- Marilynne -- are dead.
Marc Oldrin was the admiral of the Princpality's small navy, and captained the flagship Seeker. He and his ship were lost with all hands in a battle with the Pirate Prince Sedryn Demont -- known to most as Bloodbeard -- off the coast of Hepmonaland in Patchwall of 587 CY.
Carl Olrdin was a dandy and a layabout who was kidnapped from Rivendale by the pirate Blackheart in Wealsun 585 CY-- the attempt to rescue him failed, and he was murdered in Reaping 586 CY. (an impressive 20,000 gold wheel bounty remains for the capture of Blackheart, dead or alive). Marilynne died in CY 583 during childbirth.
The survivors are:
Amanda Oldrin is Alvis the VII's oldest sister, and she's a powerful merchant-woman within the city. Lady Amanda's, her marketplace in Rivendale, is frequented by the rich and powerful of the city and the entire Vohoun. She is a powerful force within the city's city's Merchants Guild, and is believed by many to be its defacto leader.
Colin Oldrin is a respected mage and Alvis' firstmost advisor in the fields of the arcane. He is the Speaker for the Arcane Order of Zalin, which is the ruling body for wizards and sorcerers in the city. He is a quiet and intense man who's stares have been known to end arguments.
Merlyn Oldrin is Alvis' youngest brother and a trusted advisor. Merl, as he is known around the court, is a easy-going young man with a devilish grin. He's got a good heart, though perhaps too good. Merlyn's hatred of slavers is legendary, as are his tangles with pirates. Some of the more neutral members of the House believe Merlyn is behind Alvis' stronger stance against the evil of the Vohoun, and fear what horrors such a position may bring to the Broken Tear. He is the charasmatic leader of the city's College of the Laughing Waves, more commonly known as the Bard's Guild.
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Original content (c) 2001 Kenneth Newquist
D&D 3E (c) 2000 Wizards of the Coast