Sea of Wonders
Athar is a temperate, forested country that stretches between Volthar in the north and the narrow Channel Sea separating them from Chinz’s mountainous, arid northern borderlands. Athar is a chiefly human nation with a low percentage of other races, primarily dwarves and elves. Once famed for their skilled mercenaries and daring armies, the Athari are a proud and noble people who have until recently resisted modernization and colonial expansion. As they extend to claim lands in the Sea of Wonders, old feuds with Chinzi syndicates and the exported horde of the Gundraki are flaring anew.
The High Kingdom of Athar
Steeped in ancient and honored traditions, the line of High Kings has ruled Athar for nearly one thousand years, broken only once 200 years ago by the seizure of the High Throne by the lich, Cappadocius. For two decades, the Hollow Monarch and his followers tainted the twelve kingdoms and worked their foul magics on their people. Only after a general rebellion by the Churches of Light was Cappadocius driven out and the rightful High King, Wesley I, regained the High Throne. The current monarch is High King Harold XI, Wesley’s great-grandson. Harold is married to High Queen Esmea, an elvish exile from the lands now held by Illura. Their marriage was a matter of great controversy two decades ago and remains so after the birth of two daughters (the Grand Princesses Shira and Emily) and now, finally, an heir, Crown Prince Rutherford. Beneath the High King are the Crowned Kings of the twelve kingdoms that make up Athar, heirs to the defeated nations that were molded by war, intrigue, and marriage into the twelve kingdoms that make up Athar. Each of the Crowned Kings rules a fief of dukes, counts, barons, knights, and commoners, all ultimately owing fealty to the High Throne. Now, traders and soldiers flock to the Crowded Sea, establishing colonies in the High King’s name, seeking to be made Viceroys and even landed nobles themselves. In their wake come privateers, merchants, refugees, and scalawags, each looking for his or her fortune and a better life.
- Athar is Old-Fashioned. Manners, breeding, and the proper introductions are essential in Athari society, even among rogues and scoundrels. Athar lags behind the other nations in technology, but their rigorous discipline, work ethic, and piety have preserved their way of life and serve to strengthen them as they look to the future.
- Athar is still recovering from the Reign of Hollow King. Even though the Hollow King, Cappadocius was defeated and driven out of Athar nearly two centuries ago, the country is still healing from the devastation he and his followers caused. Much of the interior lands (called the Dark Baronies) are still overrun with undead and foul creations, driving refugees to the coasts and then to the Crowded Sea. The Athari people still nurse a mistrust of magic owing to Cappadocius’s arcane tyranny, and their faith in Reya, Sunastien, and Shan makes them highly lawful and orderly. Schools of magic are regulated and monitored on Athari soil, and harsh penalties wait for those found practicing necromancy, nethermancy, and even pact magic.
- The Athari are basically good. Even the bad ones are usually pretty good. The people value courtesy, manners, and respect, and use humor and wit to build friendships and working relationships. They are perhaps the most tolerant of the kingdoms of race and religion, though this is being tested by the prospect of a half-elf heir to the High Throne. Like every nation, they have extremists and misanthropes, and rumors persist that not all who served Cappadocius are truly gone from Athar.