Imther is both prosperous and embattled at once; some parts of the land flourish with grains and fruits and the production of the distinctive Imther cheeses. Other parts are major sources of bronze and trade with the Mostali. And some parts are very dangerous, vulnerable to Pentan raids and monsters from Gorgoma's Refuge.
Imther recently suffered a civil war and is trying to recover; King Margor IV emerged the victor over anti-Lunar claimants but his hold on the throne is fragile and he's bitter the other allied kingdoms offered him little aid unless he handed over chunks of his lands. He fought through without them but is now frustrated and bitter and only now realizing how much his land is a bodyshield for other lands.
Western Imther is mostly organized into hill and mountain clans who farm and raise sheep, cattle and llamas (used for transport and wool, obtained in the first age from Praxian mercenaries); they used to raid each other but now mostly send their youth to fight for the King against his many foes. Lowland farmers are organized into huge tenant farms which are owned by the King and help to fund his constant state of war.
Grain farmers, herders, and soldiers live in the northeast, trying to gradually claim more land from Pent and facing heavy native resistance and trying to deal with monsters from Gorgoma's Retreat at the same time. This may prove to be impossible to sustain long term.
Imther's military is based around slingers, skirmishers and small forces of mobile heavy dragoons. Traditionally, each clan fields 20 dragoons, 50 slingers and 50 spear skirmishers; they can double the slingers and spear skirmishers in an emergency but it usually means risking all the able-bodied men (and those women who fight) if they do. The king has been training light cavalry forces which can chase and engage Pentans in the field but it's slow and requires a lot more horses than they normally put into war.
- Clothing: Tunics and leggings with boots; they wear broad conical hats when it's likely to rain or during the hotter seasons to keep the sun off. Men and women dress largely the same, though women favor necklaces and head pieces for jewelry and men favor rings and armbands. Married folk wear matching earrings; single people are not allowed to wear earrings, nor widows / widowers. Commonly, if you lose your spouse, you turn your earrings and theirs into a broach.
- Food: Rural folk typically have oatmeal or some other kind of porridge for breakfast, possibly supplemented by ham or some kind of egg dish and by cheese, a lunch of bread, cheese, and fruit preserves, and a dinner of some kind of mutton soup or stew with some combination of potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and corn, with cheese on the side. Imtherites have lots of fresh vegetables year round due to religious vegetable preservation ceremonies held during the harvest. Fruits have to be preserved as preserves of various kinds (jams, jellies, etc). Urban folk generally have 'twice cooked' stew or soup, basically leftovers from dinner, for breakfast, a cheese and mutton sandwich for lunch, and a heavily spiced stew or soup otherwise much like the rural folk eat, though it probably has beef instead of mutton more often.
- Housing: Countryside housing is generally a square building of logs which houses an extended family without much privacy, possibly with some small outbuildings. The Earth Goddess Imtheria blesses such homes and domestic work becomes more productive inside them. Some such houses have two squares connected by a short covered and walled hallway, with sleeping and eating in one side and cooking and craftwork in the other. City houses are brick unless wealthy, then you have stone. Most people either live above their shop or on the shop floor if they're an apprentice or journeyman. The poorest live in 'mountains', five to six story tall brick buildings divided into small apartments.
- Marriage: For life, arranged by your parents, to someone from outside your clan. In the city, you marry someone you're not related to within 3 degrees.
- Religion: Lunar religion is spreading but most people worship the Earth Goddess Imtheria, or the Fire God Skarel. Imtheria teaches hard work and generosity and reaching out to people in friendship; Skarel teaches you to look before you jump and to approach problems rationally and to search the skies for omens and guidance. He is also the wargod, but a god of cunning warfare. Imtherians are mobile warriors who avoid prolonged melee when possible due to his teachings. Imtheria's encouragement of gifts and friendship helps holds the clans together.
- Alvis (11,000): A fairly typical Imtherite city where the miners of the hills and the herders bring their metal and cows to get what they need. The products made here are shipped down the river to sell in farm villages in the plains or else to Sarikrint. Every year, in late Earth Season, there is the Rendezvous, where fur trappers and animal herders come to sell hides and furs and get the goods they need, so as to reduce herd sizes before Dark Season, when it's harder to feed your herd or to travel (if a trapper). The city bulges by thousands for a week and there are huge entertainments and a lot of anarchy.
- Dwarf Pass Fortress (2,500 + Soldiers): This city was built by the Dwarves of Mostali Zone Five and given to Humans during the Second Unity Council to handle trade between the humans of the hills north of it and the Dwarves. The main trade involves selling huge amounts of animal and other oils and greases to the Dwarves in return for bronze, copper, gold, weapons, armor, tools, and other metal working products. Sometimes the humans forgo Dwarven goods to get Dwarven services. This fortress is ludicrously strong when adequately garrisoned, but it's usually undergarrisoned because the Dwarves never attack it. As usual, there is a set of fixed exchange rates, set in the First Age. The Dwarf Pass Association controls this trade and it has made them rich, because the Dwarves, though they never bring as much as the humans would like, sell things much cheaper than you would normally pay other humans elsewhere for it.
- Gateway (8,000): This city is built on a hill which contains at least 8 layers of previous incarnations of this city sacked by the Pentans over the centuries. Locals sometimes refer to the city as 'Nine' as a result. Imther stations a huge garrison here and the city largely exists to supply the eastern colonists and to entertain the stationed soldiers.
- Harabashi (13,000): This modern city is home to the permanent administration of the nation of Imther and is the winter home of the King. The city is half ramshackle and half modern with a temple of the Seven Daughters, various old temples of the Imtherite faith (a strange blending of Orlanthi and Solar pantheons), and an embassy from the Mostali. Anything dwarven built looks great and is centuries old, with a few exceptions like the new palace. The Mostali Ambassador, Harken, arranges trade deals and holds a monthly auction for various odd dwarven devices. Most things are toys and gimcracks, but at times he's auctioned off a folding ship, a clock which warns you of imminent assassination attempts, exploding eggs, and a darkness lantern. As in a lantern which sheds darkness only the holder sees through.
- Saridan (17,000): This city has gone back and forth between Vanch and Imther many times over the years; it is essentially the eastern capital of the country. Duke Blanthal holds this city and coordinates defense of the east against the Pentans. The city hums with the ringing of forges. The temple of Gustbran is large and powerful and blesses the bronzeworkers of the city.
- Sarikamis (3,000 + troops): Originally a royal hunting lodge, this has since been turned into a small fortress surrounded on two sides by a small market town. Many good from the west and south of Imther are hauled here, loaded onto boats and sent to Vanch. The Sarikamis Merchant Association rules the town but must bow to the King's Castellan, who controls the fortress. However, most Castellans rarely interfere. The fortress stands on a large rise which juts out, forcing the river to turn; down below and along the river banks, the town sprawls. In theory, the entire hilly-forested area is the King's Reserve; in practice, there are a lot of poachers, and some even sell their goods in Sarikamis; those who get caught are hung. A newly crowned monarch must come here and hunt the Golden Boar; if he wins, a decade of prosperity ensues and if he dies, he cannot be returned to life. At least not by Imther's magics.
- Omuzbashi (500-5000, depending on time of year): This old hillfort is the traditional capital of Imther; the King lives here half the year and half the year at Harabashi in theory; in practice he is in the battlefield half the year and stays in Harabashi where it is warmer during the winter. The Basalt Throne sits here, rarely used except in the annual Test of the King; he sits in the chair, and if unworthy to rule, he drops dead. A worthy king has the right to trade with the Mostali of the mountains and cannot be harmed by bronze. When the Assembly of the Clans is called, it must meet here by tradition.
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