Heroes of Prophecy
The Five Nations
Aundair is ruled by Aurala ir’Wynarn of the line of Galifar along with various noble houses. Aurala is generally loved by the common people and has the loyalty of the nobles. Most of the rural areas fall under the control of vassal lords, while cities are ruled by royal governors. The people are mainly farmers, scholars, and magewrights, with Aundair’s fields supplying many crops for both internal consumption and export—but the universities and libraries also demand great respect across Khorvaire.
House Lyrandar makes its enclave on the island of Stormhome off the northern coast of Aundair, while House Orien has its ancestral home in the city of Passage; while both of these areas technically belong to Aundair, Stormhome is completely controlled by those bearing the Mark of Storm, and Passage has most of its population employed by House Orien. One of the branches of House Cannith is also located in Fairhaven, but it has far less influence. The Arcane Congress also has influence from its home in the city of Arcanix, though it has become more tied to the crown of Aundair than it once was through the Last War.
Breland is perhaps the most cosmopolitan and free of the civilized Five Nations, with a greater mix of peoples than other nations and the most people-oriented outlook of all of them. Breland is ruled by King Boranel and his vassal lords, along with a parliament of significant power, and it democratic tradition stretches back several centuries—with intention to spread it being one of the instigators of the Last War. Essentially everyone in Breland adores Boranel, a six-time war hero who has participated in two quests to the continent of Xen’Drik and personally fought the champion of Droaam to end a particularly bloody conflict between the two nations, but there is concern about what will happen after Boranel’s death, as none of his successors have shown themselves to be particularly stunning.
Breland has a significant agricultural output, but it actually imports food in addition to this to support its massive industrial machine in the southern cities. The parliament consists of both elected officials and representatives of noble houses, with elections occurring every two years and noble appointments every year. Several dragonmarked houses hold significant power in Breland, including one of the factions of House Cannith in Sharn that is known to hire adventuring parties to explore the Mournland for House Cannith relics. House Medani has its primary holdings in the capital at Wroat, and provides a small group of elite retainers to protect the king; Medani’s patriarch is an old friend of Boranel and somewhat aligned with Breland in general. House Phiarlan and has its matriarchal enclave in Sharn and is well known for its outstanding plays in its great theater hall in the city. House Vadalis has a major (though not primary) enclave in the village of Shavalant, from whence it provides high-quality animals to those willing to pay, as well as skilled services in animal healing and training. Sharn itself is the largest metropolis on Khorvaire, and the City of Towers is a sight to behold. Built on a Syrania manifest zone, Sharn’s towers stretch high into the sky, and floating walkways line all areas of the city. Another well-known city is New Cyre, an area given to the surviving prince of Cyre to gather refugees from the annihilated nation and build a new hope for his people.
Of all the Five Nations, the one with the strongest military tradition is Karrnath. Ruled by King Kaius III, Karrnath suffered horribly during the Last War, with famine and disease nearly crippling the nation. Much like Breland, Karrnath has a growing industrial machine that outstrips the ability of its agricultural production, but unlike Breland, Karrnath has a strong military tradition. Every able-bodied man and woman serves a mandatory two-year term in the military, and the country is still a hereditary military dictatorship under martial law even after the Treaty of Thronehold. Another strange aspect of Karrnath is its blatant use of undead as soldiers; enhanced zombies and skeletons make up entire divisions of Karrnath’s armies, and its most important border forts are protected by undead garrisons. Karrnath’s government is composed of an extended royal family ruling over nobles who have become its warlords over the course of the Last War, and unrest at the current peace is at times apparent. House Deneith makes its home in Karrlakton, and from here carry out their work as guards for hire and international police officers.
House Jorasco also makes its home in Karrnath, with the Healers Guild operating out of a massive complex within Vedykar. The Twelve, the arcane academy set up centuries ago by the dragonmarked houses, floats above the capital at Korth; the once-prominent academy is currently at a crossroads after losing a large number of senior wizards to the Last War as they went to defend their respective homelands. Another important group is the once-sanctioned–but–now–illegal Order of the Emerald Claw, a group the represents the greatest in Karrnathi nationalism but has become a thorn in the side of the nation’s rulers in recent years.
Thrane is a theocracy, a land where everything is controlled by the Church of the Silver Flame. Though it has a royal family like the other nations of Galifar, the Church has held significant political power for centuries as the primary state religion, and official political power since the start of the Last War. While other faiths do exist in Thrane, their followers tend to find limited opportunities in the country; moreover while the Church is one of the greatest bastions of Lawful Good ideals in Khorvaire, the laws and actions of the government tend to be stringent and limiting to freedom. As such, Thrane tends to have difficult relations with its allies and little trade, with none of the dragonmarked houses having particularly large operations within its borders. The reputation of the Church for ill-fated crusades and the fanaticism of many of its most vocal adherents also makes those not of the Church wary of Thrane.
Once the jewel of the kingdom of Galifar, Cyre was destroyed in an arcane catastrophe on the Day of Mourning two years before the end of the Last War. Now the ruins of old Cyre are a blasted wasteland, a country ringed in thick smoke and infested with monsters, where bodies never decay and neither natural healing nor most healing magic functions. While many rumors exist about the cause of Cyre’s fall, nobody knows the truth; in any case, only a few brave the mists to bring back relics of the fallen country.
One known power does exist in Cyre, however; a warforged warlord known as the Lord of Blades has been calling for warforged to come and build a nation without weak fleshlings. Everyone who’s not a warforged (and most warforged for that matter) considers the Lord of Blades a lunatic or even a myth.