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The Riverine Merchant House


The purpose of this document is to give the players of a 3rd Edition D&D campaign based around the Riverine Merchant House in the Far Coast background information. Other DMs and players in Therra will find useful information concerning the Far Coast and peripherally useful information concerning the Thaneeri Barbarians, the Antorian Empire, Gerilong, the Raft Folk, the Ice People of the far north, and the Oto Sea.


· Geographical Descriptions
· Brief History of the Antorian Empire
· Brief History of the Thaneeri
· The Far Coast
· The Merchant Houses
· The Riverine Merchant House
· The Riverine Merchant House in Far Coast

Geographical Descriptions:

The following are taken from the Guide to Jerranq.


The centre of what was once a large, powerful, and prideful empire that sought to reclaim the ancient glory of the Amorian Empire, Antorium is now in contraction and decline. Most of its provinces have long since seceded from the Empire, which now includes only Antorium proper, the Upper Marches, and the Far Coast.

Nevertheless, while the Empire is now as large as some of the larger nations in Jerranq, its previous position as centre of the vast empire helps it retain its position as the centre of much culture and trade in Jerranq, and while Antorium no longer dominates, it does rival.

The Empire is run by the Emperor, who is beholden only to a senate, which has the ability to veto the Emperor with a 2/3rds vote. The Imperial throne is hereditary, but a unanimous vote of the senate can, at the death of the previous Emperor, install a new Imperial line to the throne.

Most of Antorium is flat lowlands, quite fertile and used for growing grains and barley. In fact, Imperial Ale is regarded highly throughout Jerranq. While as is typical for Therran culture, most of the populace is engaged in agriculture, Antorium is the most urbanized nation in Jerranq, and large cities, even metropolises, dot the land, mostly to the north and along the coasts.

The Imperial road network is legendary, all such are raised, drained, and paved, and are maintained by convicts and slave labour. These roads also run through the Upper Marches and Far Coast. In other nations, these roads are less well developed and have fallen into disrepair in many places.

Imperial citizens have many rights and privileges under the Empire and are free from conscription except in Imperial emergencies. The Empire does employ slaves, along with convict labour, but all such slaves are captives from wars. The Empire does not purchase slaves from dealers nor does it make raids to gain slaves.

The Empire in all ways seeks to regain the lost glory of Amoria, and this extends to its architecture, religion, and culture.

Most citizens of the Empire are haughty in their dealings with Cuinilots ("barbarians" translated roughly) and very proud of their Empire, and continually dream or even plot of renewed expansion of Empire one day.

The army of the Empire is fairly large, for the Emperor's purse is fat from tariffs on trade passing to and from Morakki lands, most of which must pass through Antorium or at least take portage in the seaports. The army is made of legionnaires, hoplites who are well trained and serve a term of 25 years before retiring with a pension and plot of land. Hoplites are well armoured and use long spears and gladii. Peltasts provide mobility and skirmishers for the Empire, as well as missile fire, for these are armed with cuirbolli and use slings and pilum. The Empire employs only light cavalry, mostly for reconnaissance or to pursue retreating foes, but has substantial war chariots crewed by 3 men which provide its shock troops.

The Imperial navy is also quite large, composed mostly of massive battle barges that lack speed but possess tremendous firepower and are very difficult to sink. Since the Empire engages in conquest by land for the most part, these barges were meant for the defense of the substantial Imperial coastline, and they are well suited for that task, operating almost as monitors.

Antorium is mostly populated by humans. Elves and dwarves present are usually passing through, although there is enough call for crafted items to cause a fair number of dwarves to actually dwell within the state.

The isthmus of Pilong is a place of superstition and fear for the Empire, as it is a cursed land where most who enter do not return. No roads run out of the Empire to Pilong, but a strong line of fortresses and walls guards that way, since in the ancient past Morakki armies have suddenly emerged from that land.

Aynayjor Mountains

The second mightiest mountain range in Jerranq, the Aynayjor was mostly a wild land in ancient times. When the dwarves were driven out of the Grashtilim Mountains (now the Mountains of Ill Repute), many determined to make their next homeland far enough away from the Deceiver's lands that they would not have to flee again. They chose the Aynayjor, and this choice was blessed when the mountains proved to be a good source of gems and precious metals, though only small veins of mithril were found.

The northern half of the mountains, astride the War Plains, is wild, but dwarves hold firmly all the range south of the Far Coast and Upper Antorian River and have outposts even further north.

The peaks of the range are of moderate height, the highest of which have snow tipped caps year around.

The Empire of Antorium does claim that spur of the mountains which cuts like a crescent across Antorium's northern borders and has an extensive fortification network to block the approaches to the Imperial Homeland.

Chulette River

The Chulette River emerges from the Aynayjor Mountains and crosses the southern portion of Thaneer before joining the Morette River. Although the river is used by some of the dwarf clans of Aynayjor to trade with the Thaneeri, traffic is sparse.

Far Coast

So named because it was the farthest north that the Empire of Antorium expanded, the Far Coast is a loyal province of the Empire, mainly because it is composed of Imperial subjects imported into the region long ago when the Thaneeri barbarians were driven out.

Of course, the northern portion and coastline of the Far Coast must always be wary of raids from Thaneer, for those tribes thrive on battle and plunder. For this reason, the Empire has based a small navy along the Far Coast, but it is really a token effort, as the force is not large enough to patrol the entire coastline.

The province is governed by an Imperial Governor, who generally serves for life but is emplaced at the behest and whim of the Emperor himself. The Governor, in turn, selects the Imperators who lord over the Perastors (or Regions) of the Coast.

The folk of the Far Coast are full Imperial citizens, this a requirement to convince retired soldiers and their families to settle in the region.

The Far Coast is still the preferred place to give retired soldiers plots of land, as this keeps a substantial body of seasoned warriors away from the politics of the Empire and near a frontier that has need of warriors and farmers who can defend themselves.

Farming and fishing are the primary means of subsistence here, though some trade comes to and from the dwarves in the mountains and from and to Thaneer itself. Much trade passes between the Far Coast and Gerilong, with lesser amounts between the Coast and Nygoto, and this trade makes the Far Coast an important way of import and export for the Empire.

The army of the Far Coast is small but professional, almost entirely situated along the Chulette River and at very important ports along the coastline. However, as most citizens are retired warriors or the progeny of same, the militia of the Far Coast is often enough to repel Thaneeri raiders.

Far Isle

While this small island is claimed by the Hakoanio as their ancestral homeland, the residents are primarily citizens of the Far Coast, which has pretty much defacto claimed the Isle. However, they have never taken the step of formally claiming the Isle, for fear of angering the raft folk, and they allow the Hakoanio free access to the Isle.

One interesting fact is that Thaneeri raiders will not raid this Isle, again for fear of angering the Hakoanio, and so it is often used as a refuge by the wealthy of Far Coast when raids are imminent.

In addition, many nobles of the Empire have summer villas situated on the island and summer here to escape the oppressive heat that often plagues Antorium in the high summer.


Set along the Oto coast north of the Vayshan Mountains and east of Pilong, this prosperous Morakki nation is ruled by a Pasha, who traces lineage to the great leader of the Morakki when they dwelt far to the northwest in ancient times.

The Pasha serves for life, and when he dies, a new Pasha is found during a great festival, where the one (who must be a native Gerilong) who proves best in combat, art, and lore is made Pasha for life once again (the winner and indeed the contestants usually come from the noble houses of Gerilong). Once chosen, the Pasha's rulings are absolute. All judges for the festival are put to death after the Pasha is chosen, but such judgehood is regarded as an honour and there is no dearth of volunteers.

Gerilong is composed of sweeping grasslands that descend from the mountains to the sea. Its folks reside in wooden round houses, and in fact almost all buildings are round in Gerilong, for it is believed by these folks that evil spirits can hide in the corners of square dwellings. Most Gerilong will not enter a squarish building unless they have thoroughly examined it and have said blessings over every corner.

The Gerilong are peaceful folks, who have no neighboring enemies, for the land between the River Siir and the Otelume is not claimed by Nygoto or Gerilong, in an effort to preserve peace, and so this land is called the Land of Peace.

Much rice is grown along the River Siir, and the Gerilong also raise spiders which produce a unique spider silk from which they fashion items of surpassing delicate beauty and yet amazing strength. Silk ropes from Gerilong are prized by thieves from Xydlont to Near Coast. In addition, Gerilong is famous for its rice wine and for its paintings and tapestries. Much of these items are traded across the Oto Sea to the Far Coast and thence to the rest of Western Jerranq.

Oto Sea

Not quite an inland sea, for this body of water is accessed far to the north through a chain of small islands offshore to Nygoto, this sea is filled with trade passing between Thaneer, the Far Coast, and Gerilong. This trade is less heavy than that passing through the Sea of Antoria, since the nations bordering the Oto are more rural and often hostile with one another. Nevertheless, trade does pass in small boats and even in rafts.

Also common are the longships of the Thaneeri barbarians, who raid the Far Coast and even Nygoto and Gerilong. These raiders prefer landings to piracy but have been known to take a particularly tempting ship or two from time to time.

The waters are generally placid, except in high winter when storms roiling from the north churn the waters, and the current makes entry into the Oto from the Endless Sea very hazardous, as the wreckage and skeletons of many ships off of Nygoto attest.

Large creatures are not common in the sea, due to its isolation from the oceans, though walrus and seals are quite commonly observed and hunted. Sea otters and giant fish also abound. In addition, whales are known to calve in the waters of the far northern portion of the sea.

Dwelling on the waters of the sea are the Raft Dwellers, known as the Hakoanio in the Morakki tongue. These folks are a breed of Morakki who dwell upon large rafts and sail the sea trading with the various lands bordering it. This folk makes no claim to any land except for the Far Isle, though they suffer other folks to dwell there at their leave (although it is not clear whether they could expel the inhabitants of the Far Isle if they so chose). No one is really sure how numerous the Hakoanio are, for if they gather together in large groups it is in hidden places, and the Hakoanio destroy and rebuild their giant rafts every 3 years, which makes it impossible to take any sort of census.


The federation of Thaneer is home to a loose amalgamation of barbarian tribes, which normally war and squabble and raid amongst each other, but were forced to unite when the Antorium Empire invaded its lands and attempted to subjugate them. This invasion was partially successful, in taking the Far Coast, but the remaining Thaneeri resisted and managed to hold the lands north of the Chulette River.

Since that time, though there is no love of the Empire here, trade has occurred between Thaneer and the Empire, as old conflicts and grievances passed into history. Still, the Thaneeri are just as wont to enter their longships and raid the Far Coast as they are to trade furs for metal.

The Thaneeri are named for their ancient ancestor, the father of all the Thaneeri tribes, and it is this blood tie and a common language and culture that bind the barbarians together during times of trouble. The Thaneeri do not build much with stone, preferring wood from the northern forests instead to build their long houses. Teak is a favoured wood used by the Thaneeri nobility.

The Thaneeri also raid across the Oto Sea to Gerilong and Nygoto, and reverse raids back across the Oto do occur, though they are less common.

Almost all males in Thaneer are soldiers so to speak, in that all are trained in the way of arms and combat from an early age and most take part in at least one raid in their lives.

The Thaneeri do keep slaves from their raids, but many of these slaves are ransomed back to loved ones or, if poor, are kept as house servants. Many of these eventually grow to love the Thaneeri, for they treat their slaves justly, and some are even adopted into the tribe.

The Thaneeri do not ride animals as such are considered taboo and to ride a beast in combat suggests a deficiency in the warrior, since he cannot bear himself into battle, and the Thaneeri are renowned for laughing as heavy cavalry charge towards them. No Thaneeri army has ever routed before cavalry (although they have been chopped to bits by them).

The Thaneeri mostly wield hammers and axes and use javelins as missile weapons. They prefer cuirbolli or hide armour and leather shields. Most Thaneeri are adept sailors and can hold their place on a longship crew.

That said, the Thaneeri do farm the interior lands, but most of this work is done by the womenfolk. Once tribe of Thaneeri, the Gon-drillim (Naked Ones) is infamous for their ferocity in battle. They fight skyclad and covered in woad and all male children of their tribe are left in the woods for a week in their first spring to see if they are fit to survive or have the eyes of the gods upon them.

Brief History of the Antorian Empire:

Excerpts taken from A Chronological History of Therra:

The Antorian Empire was borne from the ashes of the Mandarini, Morakki overlords who ruled most of Western Jerranq for a time before being expelled in civil war and by rebellious Westerners. When the Morakki left Western Jerranq, a power vacuum existed and the Deceiver, his armies decimated by a long war against the Morakki and by the timely arrival of Marrowmelt and the metallic dragons, could not fill that void. The Antorian Empire arose to fill this void.

The Reclamation (3887A.D. - 4062A.D.):

This time is not so much a reclamation of lands lost to the Deceiver as reclamation of the Western kingdoms from the Morakki. Brandishing promises given by the now dead Divine Emperor, the leaders of the Western lands demand independence from the Morakki governors who have been left behind. Some of the Morakki acquiesce, and return to the East. Others resist, and some force of arms is necessary to remove them. Fortunately for mortal kind, the Morakki governors are disjointed and demoralized, and a wide scale conflict does not re-ignite.

New kingdoms are founded upon the ashes of the Amorian Empire and the Mandarin Empire. Jaggarth, the Kingdom of Wyr, the Duchy of Imtorr, the Vosh-gerr Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Antorium are founded, as are the lands of Bleton and Iligor. Survivors of the Lost Kingdoms resettle along the Near Coast, rebuilding their city states therein.

The rebuilding of the mortal forces begins, and many searches are made amongst the ruins of the Empires for lost lore and treasures.

The Age of Antorium (4139A.D. - 4851A.D.):

King Hallifaxx of Antorium, fascinated since childhood with the ancient Amorian Empire, begins a war of conquest over the land of Gwilinghum, just south of Jaggarth. After an easy victory, Hallifaxx declares himself Emperor of the Antorian Empire and begins to reinstate the policies and customs of the old Empire.

Hallifaxx dies while prosecuting a war against the Kingdom of Vosh-gerr, but his heir defeats the Vosh-gerrans and establishes them into its domain.

Over the succeeding years, the Imperial armies are rebuffed from wars with Wyr and Jaggarth, and thus turn north and eastward. An incursion into Pilong results in disaster, as an entire army simply disappears, with not a single survivor bringing tales from that venture.

Antorium invades Girorium Island and begins to subjugate other islands in the Heynosht Archipelago. Onlorians, worried about the direction of the Emperor's conquests, sign pacts of allegiance with Iligor and Wyr.

Meanwhile, a thrust into the land of Thaneer sputters out due to supply problems, but the Empire does take control of the coastal lands up to Pilong, including the Far Coast and the Far Isle (so called because they are the farthest extent of the Antorian Empire).

After these conquests and failures, the Empire begins to turn from warrior endeavours to mercantile endeavours, and their merchant ships ply far and wide through the world. Friendly relations are established with the Eastern lands, and the great Antorian explorer Captain Relivium Wentarius, guided some say by a divine dream, traverses a part of the Endless Ocean and discovers the Lost Island.

Because of this trade, Antorium prospers and flourishes, and becomes the pride of the mortal lands.

The Latest War (4852A.D. - 4853A.D.):

Emperor Hallifaxx VI of Antorium begins to rally for a war with the Deceiver. He convinces the mortal races that Antorium and the other nations have prospered in the intervening centuries since the last great war, and that the Deceiver's lack of major hostile actions signals that the backfire of the Wild Magic has hurt his power deeply.

Hallifaxx hatches a wild scheme to march straight through Vilgum, leaving small garrisons behind to invest fortified areas, and through to the Lost Kingdoms and the coast, thereby cutting Vilgum off from the rest of the Deceiver's dominion, from whence the evil remnants could be destroyed at leisure.

Remarkably, and some say through magical wiles, many of the other mortal lords agree, especially when Hallifaxx makes a rather spurious claim to bloodline directly traceable to Amorany the Great.

The war is a disaster for the mortal forces, as the Deceiver allows his armies to retreat before the advancing armies, luring them into a trap in upper Vilgum, with the mortal supply lines extended. Hallifaxx, blind with pride and hubris, does not see the trap, and feels that the Deceiver's retreat proves that he is humbled and afraid.

When the trap closes, the entire army is surrounded and decimated. A scattered few return to the lower lands, Hallifaxx not among them, although certain of his body parts are returned by the Deceiver's emissaries as proof of his demise.

The Deceiver, however, in order to launch his trap, vacates Vilgum, which is reclaimed by mortals.

The Modern Era (4854A.D. - 5503A.D.):

Early in this period, after the disaster of Hallifaxx, the territories of Vosh-gerr and Girorium revolt from the Empire, as do the peoples of Gwilinghum. The new Emperor manages to subdue the latter, whose populace is by this time is comprised of many assimilated Antorians, but must grant Girorium the status of Imperial Protectorate, under its own governorship. The Empire does make an attempt to stop the secession of Vosh-gerr, but is repulsed by the Vosh-gerrans and large mercenary contingents from Wyr (rumoured to have been paid by the King of Wyr).

The War of the Gem (5504A.D. - 5514A.D.):

The Empire is almost plunged into war as an assassination attempt on the Emperor almost succeeds and Jerrgobe the White is implicated. However, the entire affair is exposed as a ruse by the Deceiver and a marilith agent of the Deceiver is chased out of the Imperial court. The Empire sends a great many troops to the frontier in order to halt the Deceiver's armies and does so susccessfully in Upper Antoria. A massive boatlift of troops is then undertaken to Vosh-gerr in order to flank the Deceiver's forces and to force the battlefield off of Imperial lands. This maneuver is successful.

The Empire sends troops to march with the Final Army of the Free Folk to Mordasht, though less than other nations, since the Empire wished to garrison its heartland.

Age of Redemption (1N.S. - present):

The Empire uses its position, relatively unscathed from the War of the Gem, to become once again the center of power in Western Jerranq. However, enough of the Empire was damaged during the war and enough troops lost that the Empire is not tempted to take advantage of the situation and attempt any new conquests.

Brief History of the Thaneeri:

Taken from The Thaneeri:

All clans of the Thaneeri claim to have descended from a single ancestor, called Thaneer (who has a myriad of titles appended to him, such as the Great, the First, the All-Father, etc.). The exact origin and nature of Thaneer varies from clan to clan. To some he is said to be an outcast from the peoples who dwell in the frigid wastes of the icy north. To others he is a man driven out of the lands near Imbar. To others he is the son of various gods and goddesses, sent to earth to start a dynasty. There are, in fact, almost as many myths regarding the origin and nature of Thaneer as there are clans.

What is clear is that Thaneer, either alone or with his family and/or retainers, came from his homeland to the then wild and untamed lands on the western shores of the Oto Sea and chose to settle there. Some clans claim he was guided to these lands by omens or by the gods themselves, while others claim it was Thaneer himself who decided that these lands would be the proper place to plant his roots. The time frame for this varies according to local legend, but is often stated to have occurred before the gods went into Slumber, thereby establishing the Thaneeri claim to the land as ancient and ratified by the gods themselves. Imperial documents suggest the Thaneeri may have moved into these lands after Slumber, but that is a matter for dispute between scholars and pedants.

In any event, Thaneer made his home there, and according to many legends, defeated, allied with, or drove off many monstrous inhabitants of the land, proving his worth and skill and, in the case of those stories where he arrived wifeless, gained marriage to a female figure who is at times human and at other times a nymph or dryad or fairy spirit.

Eventually, Thaneer had three children, all sons. As his sons grew and Thaneer began to age (or contemplated joining the gods), he bequeathed to his sons his lands, which extended from the southwestern tip of the Oto Sea north to where the tundra line begins, and west to the mountains. Each of his three sons was given a third of this territory as his to rule, and so Thaneer passed from the mortal world at a ripe old age of anywhere from 100 years old to 1,000 years old (the latter due to his mother's fairy origins no doubt).

The sons ruled wisely in Thaneer's stead, though the legends say less so than their father. And they had sons and daughters to whom the sons of Thaneer bequeathed portions of their lands, and so forth until all the lands of Thaneer were divided into many small clans, each ruled by a great grandson or granddaughter of the sons of Thaneer.

As each generation passed, the progeny of Thaneer grew less long-lived and less wise and less allied to the notion that all the Thaneeri were one big family unit. Squabbles broke out and, at times, open warfare, and clans began to form and break alliances and engage in the sort of fluid structure observable in the Thaneeri of 5535. Still, tales tell of the Thaneeri banding together against outside threats, be it a horde of dragons, or minions of the Deceiver, or other non-Thaneeri foes, even to the point of halting internecine strife on the very field of battle to ally against interlopers. As such, there was always a sense of a single people, sort of a dysfunctional family if you will.

For centuries the Thaneeri thrived in this environment, with the rigours of the terrain and climate and the internecine warfare keeping the people strong, trim and fit and at the same time culling the population so that there was never any pressure to expand. While constant, clan warfare was highly ritualized, and this ensured that the Thaneeri never were in danger of destroying themselves or weakening themselves to such an extent that they were in danger of perishing or losing their lands.

In the year 4507 A.D., Thaneer was invaded by the forces of the Empire of Antorium. This proved to be the defining moment in the history of the Thaneeri, for it thrust them into unwanted contact with the rest of the world and focused their heretofore insular culture outward, in rage, towards the invaders.

The specific causes of and reasons for the invasion are best left to a treatise focused on the Empire. Suffice to say that the Emperor claimed it was in reprisal for raids made against Imperial caravans plying the Oto Sea to trade with Gerilong as well as raids made against its frontier settlements along the Upper Antorian Marches. And while undoubtedly the Thaneeri did raid Imperial interests in both theatres, such raids were sporadic, occasional, and certainly not intense enough to engender the effort and expense of the full scale invasion that took place.

Historians instead point to the disastrous series of military failures incurred by the Empire just prior to the 4500's, when its armies were rebuffed in Wyr and Jaggarth and an entire legion was lost in the cursed fogs of Pilong. These scholars are apt to point out that the Emperor took to attacking lands that were marginal in worth but also poorly defended, such as Girorium Island and Thaneer. It is believed that the Emperor wanted some quick military conquests to put under his belt in order to appease his critics and preserve his legacy. In addition, it is believed that the Emperor wanted to keep the now restless, dissatisfied, and unruly Imperial armies busy far away from the homeland and the Imperial person.

Whatever the reason or reasons, the invasion fell upon Thaneer. The Thaneeri had never really dealt with organized and civilized armies before, especially with regard to wartime magicks, and the superior organization, metal equipment, and magic acumen of the Imperial legions eventually took the field. The entire southern half of Thaneer was lost to the Thaneeri and was claimed and renamed by Antorium as the Far Coast (since it signified the farthest extent of the Empire at that time).

Why the invasion stopped where it did is also open to debate. Clearly the Imperial supply lines were severely strained and an attempt to extend them into the more rugged terrain of the north might have ended in disaster. In addition, the Emperor may have felt that he had what he needed already, that being a conquest to his name, an army blooded and now needed to be stationed on a remote hostile border, and enough land to reward his soldiers with settlements and farms to keep them happy and far away from the Imperial heartland. It is also likely that the Thaneeri were finally starting to learn how to effectively fight the Imperial armies and their mages and that the guerilla tactics of the barbarians were becoming more and more effective against an army at the end of its supply tether and which needed to leave a large garrison behind in the newly conquered lands to pacify the countryside.

Thaneer's history has since been dominated by this conquest. The Imperial forces were, though not malicious, efficient and brutal in their conquests and brooked no rebellion of any kind from its former inhabitants.

Many Thaneeri who dwelt in the southern half of the lands were killed in battle, especially the young males. Others were either taken as slaves (especially women and children) or fled north into the unconquered lands. Some clans, under varying circumstances, submitted to Imperial rule and a few were even bribed into willingly joining the Imperium. These were placed on reservations and eventually intermingled with the Imperial settlers and became Imperial citizens or provincials. A few bands remained but escaped Imperial justice altogether and became bandit families, some of which still haunt the Far Coast to this day.

Those Thaneeri who fled northward met varying fates as well. Those with allied clans or family in the north were often taken in and absorbed into the northern clans. Others, who fell into the hands of enemy clans, were often enslaved and sometimes massacred by their own people. Still others, now rootless and with none to call friend and none to call enemy, laired in the wilds or hills and became bandits and brigands.

Since the conquest, the remaining Thaneeri clans have adopted different attitudes towards their new neighbours to the south. Most have some degree of hostility to the Imperium. They regard the settlers as defilers of the land given to them by Thaneer and the gods. They regard the Imperials as soft, decadent, and corrupt and regard magery and wizards as demon-possessed or insane or both. Little angers and frightens a Thaneeri more than arcane magic displayed in his sight.

The Thaneeri have never warred with the Imperium since the conquest in any attempt to regain their lands. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that the Thaneeri are a disunited people and inter-clan rivalries, while capable of being put on hold to combat an active aggressor, manage to forestall any attempt to unite the clans and wage serious war on the Imperium. From time to time strong clans or personalities have arisen and tried to unite some or all of the Thaneeri clans, but to a man they have eventually failed.

Raids against the Far Coast have been constant since the conquest, however, and these do exact a toll on both the Thaneeri and the settlers. However, the Empire has made no further moves against Thaneer and so a state of uneasy low-intensity conflict exists now between Thaneer and the Far Coast.

The Far Coast:


The Far Coast is considered a Province of the Empire of Antorium. Its citizens are considered full Imperial citizens, with all rights and obligations that normally accrue to such persons. All of them owe ultimate fealty to Emperor Janajos IV, who currently sits on the Amethyst Throne in Antorium.

The Imperial Governor, one Hamilios Baragan (snidely referred to by his detractors as "Hammy"), rules in the name of the Emperor and his word is law, being able to dispense high and low justice and to muster and deploy the legions assigned to the Far Coast. He also has the power to raise levies and militia and to tax the populace. He is appointed at the whim of the Emperor and is usually a noble from a leading house of the Empire (often the son of a senator).

Under the Governor are the Imperators, who each govern a Perastor. The Far Coast is divided into a dozen Perastors. Within each Perastor, the Imperator's word is law and he can dispense high or low justice and can raise levies, though he cannot deploy the legions except during emergencies, and then only for a short while until the Governor can take control. The Imperators are chosen by the Governor at his whim and are usually culled from the soldier nobility (i.e. sons of nobles who served in the army).

Beyond the Perastors, each town is run by a Locutor, the equivalent of a Burghermeister or mayor, though his authority extends usually to a radius of 10 miles around the city, so the Locutor is more than a mayor but less than a duke or count. Locutors are generally chosen by each town, many according to their own customs, whether it be an open election or a consensus of the nobility or wealthy. But all Locutors serve at the sufferance of the Perastors. Locutors can dispense low justice and can detain those accused of high crimes. They can raise the local militia and organize the town watch, but have absolutely no control over elements of the military, even if the latter are based in their townships.

Smaller villages and steads are technically under the jurisdiction of the Perastor, but usually an elder or family head is chosen to run things.


The climate of the Far Coast tends to be subarctic and experiences harsh winters and mild summers. A good real world analogy would be Denmark, lower Sweden and Norway, or some portions of southern Canada. Smaller rivers tend to freeze over in winter and there is usually a constant snow on the ground during that season.

Spring rainstorms are quite common, accompanied by the rumble of thunder and flashes of lightning. Flooding is also common in the spring as the winter thaws, driven by spring squalls, swell the rivers and streams tumbling east from the mountains.

Summers are mild, with temperatures usually rising no higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is very low.

Autumns are brisk and tend to be quite windy.


The Empire prides itself on its road networks, and these are a means by which the Empire maintains communications with its provinces and allows fast transport of armies and messages. In the Far Coast, the road network, completed with the help of dwarven engineers, consists of raised roadways, usually about 30' wide and some 6'-8' above the ground. The rods are paved with flat stones and packed earth below that and are convex in shape to allow rain to runoff into ditches along the sides of the roadways.

Roads lead to and from every main town in the Far Coast, and these also lead back into the Empire by way of the Upper Antorian Marches. Two roads lead west into the Aynayjor Mountains, these being trade roads to facilitate commerce with the Aynayjor dwarves.

Two roads also lead north to the Thaneer border. These were used during the initial military campaigns against the barbarians, and although they have been neglected for over 1000 years, they are still visible and viable, though most of the paving stones have been removed by barbarians and the roadway is eroded in many places.

The actively maintained roads are serviced mostly by slaves and convicts, who can be seen in work crews up and down the roads. The roads are also patrolled by the Empire, though the farther one ranges from town the less frequent the patrols.


The Far Coast serves as a conduit for goods coming from the far north, from Thaneer, and from Gerilong and Nygoto. Trade is usually in the form of raw materials coming into the Empire and manufactured goods going out.

Imports: whale meat, bones, ambergris and oil (from the Ice People by way of the Thaneeri), raw gems (from the Aynayjor Mountains, mined by the dwarves and the Thaneeri), furs (from the Thaneeri), raw silk (from Gerilong), finished silken goods (from Gerilong), teak and yew wood (from Nygoto), horses (from Nygoto), yew longbows (from Nygoto).

Exports: mostly metal implements, including weaponry and armour, also spices, cloth, clothing, and fruit.

Trade relations are as follows:

Aynayjor Dwarves:

Relations are excellent with the dwarves from the nearby mountains. The Imperium has always had a love and need for engineering and this shared love has proved a common bond with the dwarves, who quite enjoy working on this or that grand Imperial construction, ranging from road networks, siege weapons, great cities, grand palaces and coliseums, aqueducts, etc. The dwarves provide raw metals, gems, and finished products in exchange for foodstuffs, especially grain and fish.


Most Thaneeri despise the Empire, but there are a few clans on the border that have trade relations with the Far Coast. Often these trading clans do so reluctantly, hating the Imperium but needing their metal weapons to best rival clans. A few clans, however, actively enjoy the Imperial benefits and lifestyle and trade in a friendly fashion with the Far Coast.

Indirectly, all Thaneeri clans end up trading with the Imperium. Clans to the north or those that hate the Imperium trade with neighbouring clans that do not mind the Imperium and so forth until the goods finally reach a clan that trades directly with the Far Coast.

It is, however, not uncommon for a given Thaneeri clan to trade with Imperial merchants one day, and then raid a caravan or town the next.

Ice People:

The Ice People of the far north do not trade directly with the Imperium, for they are a distant and superstitious people. However, they do have trade relations with the northernmost Thaneeri clans, and as already mentioned, trade with those eventually filters down to the Far Coast. In essence, the Ice People do trade with the Imperials. The Ice People hunt whales and walrus and seals and sell the parts to the Thaneeri in exchange for metal and weapons. The Thaneeri then sell through the animal parts south until the Far Coasters purchase it (substantially marked up having passed through many hands). The desire for whale products is great in the Empire.


The estrangement between the Morakki and the West goes back millennia, and as such trade relations between the Far Coast and Gerilong are always tinged with caution and mistrust and implied insults. Westerners are forbidden to wander Morakki lands, under dire penalties, but the Gerilongi do recognize the need for trade with the West and so have established several trade enclaves, basically small port villages and towns along the Oto Sea coast where Westerners are allowed to land and sell their wares and buy Morakki wares (usually silk).

Raft Folk:

Unlike most Morakki, the Raft Folk have good relations with Westerners and often act as middlemen, picking up goods in Nygoto and Gerilong, sailing across the Oto Sea, and selling them in floating markets to the towns of the Far Coast. The Rafters make little of their own that could be imported, though occasionally they bag a rare fish or two and can sell these.

Merchant Houses:

The Antorian Emperors have managed to rule for so long by establishing centers of power and having these play off one against the other. The centers of power in the Empire, aside from the Emperor himself, are:

The Senate
The Army
The Merchant Houses
The Churches

The Merchant Houses are twelve houses, based on familial lines initially, but over the centuries diverging to include those outside of the blood, that have the license of the Emperor to conduct trade. Such license has been historically limited to twelve, and in the past when the Emperor has bestowed a new license upon a house, it has been preceded by the removal of license from another. The removal of Imperial license spells the instant end and bankruptcy of a house.

By Imperial law, no trade may take place between the Empire and without except through one of the twelve Merchant Houses. Any trade conducted across borders outside of the purview of the Houses is considered smuggling. That is not to say that literally millions of small transactions do not occur each year that technically break the law but are never even known about or cared about, but certainly any large scale trading done outside of the law is bound to be prosecuted.

The twelve houses run effectively as trading guilds. Most Imperial merchants belong to or are affiliated with a House. Even those that are not involved with cross-border trading often associate with a House in order to enjoy the protection and benefits of House affiliation.

As a whole, the Houses wield great power in an Empire that has, over the centuries, turned from domination by the sword to domination by the coin. In fact, each House has a guaranteed seat in the Senate and the Church of Indolle (the God of Trade) is one of the most powerful in the Empire, thus effectively giving the Houses influence in important bodies of government. Only a very foolish or strong Emperor would seek to go against the will of all twelve Houses united against him.

While each House was originally chartered to handle a specialized facet of trading (for example, the Riverine House was originally set up to handle all river traffic), over the years each has branched out such that their original charters are all but meaningless.

The Twelve Merchant Houses are:

House Riverine
House Oceanus
House Tempus
House Vulcan
House Mercur
House Usur
House Caravansary
House Commus
House Portage
House Arbitus
House Veritas
House Numismus

Each House is headquartered in the capital city of the Empire, with branches in every major city of the Empire and with outposts in most civilized nations. Each maintains a House Guard, which is more akin to a private army, but each house is also careful not to build too large a standing army, lest the Emperor or other power centers become nervous and seek that house's downfall. Thus, many of the houses rely on mercenaries to fill out their ranks.

The Houses themselves operate in a shifting dance of alliances and rivalries. Clearly, each House seeks to become the wealthiest and most influential of all of the houses, and alliances between houses are inevitably short-lived and based solely on expediency for one or both of the houses involved.

However, from time to time the rivalry between houses escalates from a mercantile rivalry to an actual, physical one. In these cases, houses have been known to conduct covert operations against one another, including sabotage, assassination, kidnapping, and even, on rare occasions, full scale warfare (known as a trade war). Because of the occasionally violent nature of these rivalries, most houses employ House Guards (trained expert warriors), House Mages (wizards loyal to the house) and House Enforcers (a euphemism for thieves and assassins).

The upper nobility of the Merchant Houses is usually reserved for those tracing lineage back to the original founders of a given house. Thus, the top positions are usually based on dynastic lines and passed from father to son. Only occasionally does a non-blood relation rise to the very top levels of a Merchant House.

Joining a Merchant House is quite easy, mainly requiring an oath of loyalty, forswearing of loyalties to other Houses, and a tithe or due paid periodically. Benefits include a place to store wares, collective bargaining power, protection from thieves, and the political and military muscle a House brings to any situation.

The lowest rank of a House is affiliate. These are not actually members of a House, but have declared their favouring of one House over another and usually involves doing favours or providing discounts to one House.

The lowest actual membership in a House is associate. Associate is technically a probationary membership, though often many members never rise above this rank.

Ranks are listed from lowest to highest below:

Trader or Crafter
Master Trader or Crafter
High Trader or Crafter
Trade or Craft Lord
Merchant Prince
House Master

Riverine Merchant House:

The Riverine Merchant House was founded with its initial charter in 4147 A.D. and was set up to control the river traffic throughout the Empire. It used this mandate, along with heavy funding of bandits and highwaymen along the roads, to establish the riverways as the preferred mode of transport in the Imperium, and this vaulted the house into power.

Over the centuries, however, the house has branched into all other facets of commerce, and it no longer relies on river traffic as its modus operandi. As such, the house also has long dropped its heavy financing of anti-road banditry.

The house is now considered to be one of the top four of the Merchant Houses in the Imperium. Its main rival is House Mercur, which is not considered to be in the top four but has been on the ascendancy of late and seems to be looking to take Riverine's place in the House ranking.

House Riverine is run by the Varonicus family, and it has maintained this dynasty since its founding. The current House Master is His Merchant Lordship Retalin Varonicus, a man known for his shrewd ability at political manipulation and for his charm and subtle tongue.

House Riverine maintains a strong presence in the Far Coast. While most houses have smaller outposts in the region, House Riverine moved quickly into the area after the Imperial invasions of 4500 A.D. and did its best to repair relations with several clans of Thaneeri in order to, for a time, dominate Thaneeri-Imperial trade routes. Recently, however, with the rise in popularity of whale products and with the desire of the wealthy to re-bejewel and be-gem their lives after suffering the plundering of the Deceiver's armies, other houses have begun to see the potential upside of the Far Coast arena and have begun to move in force.

Specifically, House Mercur has built up a large presence in the area within the last 75 years, and now aggressively seeks to exploit the same markets and routes as House Riverine.

Riverine Merchant House in Far Coast:

House Riverine maintains its outpost in the town of Dwillingir on the coast of the Oto Sea in northern Far Coast, some 100 miles from the border with the Thaneeri. Its prestige and power allows it to pretty much run the town, though the Locutor is technically elected by the adult males of the township.

Dwillingir is a large town for Far Coastal standards, though quite small by Imperial standards. It houses some 3000 souls within its walls and another 3000 outside the walls or in farms and steads within several bowshots out of sight of the town walls. Small villages and steads dot the countryside around it. The town itself (commonly referred to as a city in these parts) is walled and well guarded due to its proximity to the barbarians and its coastal location. A garrison of the army is stationed here, consisting of some 250 soldiers.

The primary occupation of the inhabitants of the town are fishing and farming, with a fair component of lumberers thrown into the mix. Several mills are included within the town's precincts.

House Membership in the outpost numbers as follows:

Affiliates = 50
Associates = 20
Pledged = 16
Trader or Crafter = 12
Master Trader or Crafter = 6
High Trader or Crafter = 2
Trade or Craft Lord = 1

The Trade Lord at the outpost is one Barnabus Quericor, and he earned his post after years of loyal service to the Merchant Prince of Upper Antoria. He is a man in his early fifties, and sports a slight paunch and a well-waxed mustache and goatee and a baldpate surrounded by a ring of black hair.

The outpost also boasts a standing House Guard of 40 men, about half of whom are permanent levies and the other half ex-soldiers and veterans. The outpost also employs a wizard, named Curinax, who is rumoured to have the power to change his shape at will, and the house also funds the local temple to Indolle and has the loyalties of its high priest Markuth.


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