The County of Belskin, The Sword Coast, and the Isles of the Red Men

[The County of Belskin, The Sword Coast, and the Isles of the Red Men]

This area was heavily damaged by the Luatha, who devastated Seshnela during the final fall of the Middle Sea Empire. Much of the Sword Coast was laid waste and it is occupied only by small groups who hold onto traditional contracts with the County of Belskin, a Dwarven nation. Monsters now occupy the Haunted Forest and roam the Sword Coast.

The County of Belskin

This was once a fairly normal Dwarven stronghold which had signed deals with the rulers of certain towns in western Seshnela to supply them with iron on a regular basis. The Devastation of the Sword Coast did not void these contracts and they still make regular deliveries to the locations in return for various raw materials. They engage in limited trade with the Kingdom of Seshnela as well.

However, cut off from any central leadership with the vanishing of the Nidian Decamony, they seem to have gone a little crazy. They now all have noble titles and act, at least around humans, like they are chivalrous knights who just happen to make things all the time. It's unclear if this is an act for their customers or they really believe it.

Count Belskin presides over what used to be Iron Mountains Settlement One; he wears a big white hat with feathers stuck into it and a sword on his hip; his heraldic symbol is an iron sword crossed with a forge hammer in black on gold. He is loud and flamboyant and prone to grand statements and hard bargaining. His willingness to haggle is the biggest clue something has gone wrong.

The Haunted Forest

Languen was the center of God-Learner efforts to seize the Iron Mountains and its iron. When their empire began to collapse, the Dwarves built a giant mechanical bird, flew over the city and dropped a metal cylinder which was 200 feet long and 20 feet wide. It exploded, spraying a purple gas over the area. Everyone went mad with fear and died of fright or killed each other for fear the other would strike first. The gas spread over a huge area and then it turned out it was somehow infectious, so those who fled carried the fear with them. If divinations of the time are true, the Dwarves spent a century making this weapon, but everyone fears they have another in reserve.

The land became so stained with terror that everyone fled and trees grew over it; then monsters made of fear began to appear. They cannot leave the forest and in recent years, Seshnelan magic has pushed them back deeper into the forest. Few are brave enough to enter, but it is said great treasures lie around abandoned for those brave enough to reach them and strong enough to survive the monsters.

The Isles of the Red Men

These islands didn't exist before the Closing. Now they do and they're full of humans who are red. Red like a tomato is red. They otherwise seem totally human with the normal abilities of humans.

The Red Men are Brithini. The Arolanit assert they are the filthy followers of the accursed Vadel. They assert they are merely faithful Brithini who only wish to help others with their trade. Many are wary of the Red Men and yet they have so much to offer and pay fairly for all they buy. They don't seem to act like Vadeli.

Thus, many deal with them warily, hoping they won't be left holding the bag. So far, no one seems to have been left holding the bag, but that just makes everyone more nervous. If you want it, they can get it for you. Special, unusual orders may be expensive but they can get it for you.

The Sword Coast

The curse of the Luatha means nothing grows here that humans can digest. There are fir trees and grass and brambles and flowers but while you can raise cattle, you can't actually grow crops. Some people settle here anyway because it enables them to buy large amounts of iron from the Dwarves according to ancient contracts. Most cling close to their strongholds because tons of monsters roam the area, feeding off the deer which flock in profusion and off the herds. Many states claim a lot more land than they really can hold.

The locals are Malkioni, who follow the Sword Coast Malkionite Church, which has some saints only venerated here. The Sword Coast Malkionites also commit a lot of heresies compared to outsiders. They are Hrestoli in their basic approach, believing in a loose caste system where membership conveys certain rights and duties; adhering to those duties guarantees Solace after death and the Joy of the Heart during weekly church services on Godsday. Four saints are prominent here:

The highest caste is the Rancher Caste; they make war, lead the community and protect and tend the herds. They actually make up a majority of the population. Under them is the Caste of the Wise: sorcerors and priests, who use magic to help the community. They are the smallest caste. Under them are the Crafters, who use their skills to make things. And at the bottom are the Servants, the lowly who work for a living without any herds or magic or craft skills. They can leave this group by obtaining one of the above. Women are the same as men in terms of caste membership; this drives the Rokari crazy.

What defines the Sword Coast is a combination of belief they are the toughest people on Glorantha combined with a deep despising of the Kingdom of Seshnela AND a deep fear of it. They are proud of their independence and have repelled past efforts at conquest. But Seshnela is very powerful now and they have issues with food in good times. Whether they can keep their independence is an open question.

There is talk of a league but how to organize it remains an open question.

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