Each Thursday this year, I focus on a different aspect of the world I’ve created and played D&D in for over 20 years, in the hopes of honing the ideas and cementing enough in place to settle the world in my own mind. This week, having finished the general histories and overviews, I am going to start winding down the regional information. This week, we work with the powerful, and some fallen, Houses of Tyndaria.
Fallen from Grace
The below five houses have all rebelled and now have formed seperate Kingdoms from Tyndaria, the Kingdom that raised them to nobility. Each of these houses ruled over a Dutchy and have declared their Dutchy, and any conquered lands, to be its own Kingdom. Some have been in rebellion for over a decade, and others have only recently begun to fight.
Head: Duchess Ilyria Silentknife
Vassals: Blackwing, Ironarm, Valiantblade, Lawbringer
Demense: Fortress of Twilight
Territory: Dutchy of Tyndarus (Silent Knife)
Prior to the rise of King Wanderer, the Slientknife family was the second most powerful family in the kingdom. Controlling the Kingdoms spy and information networks, they worked closely with the military and other houses in order to deliver the necessary information. throughout the kingdom. Many of their informants were commoners and low houses, people who would otherwise be overlooked by most nobles, and this lead to a more favorable view from the commonfolk towards House Silentknife. Rarely was the information that was asked for used against the common folk, and many times it caused the fall of abusive or lawless nobles.
Internally, the House coveted the crown, seeing it as the only method of gaining more power and prestige. After Moduru’s Second War, the head of the house, Baron Kevaan, was unsatisfied with the protection Wanderer was able to provide his people, and while in the Kings Audience chamber flew into in a rage, declared himself King of the Silentknife Kingdom and precipitated war between the crown and the rebels. He and his wife, Lady Belara Silentknife, were immediately arrested and, within days, executed for their treason. Remund Silentknife took up the mantle of independence and fought against Tyndarian forces for his independence until he was slain on the field of battle. A young niece of his, Ilyria, then took the crown, and lead the Silentknife Dutchy in a hit and run rebellion that eventually succeeded. Superstition around the death of both Silentknife Kings has prevented her from taking the title of King, and she is addressed as Dutchess. Now, the Silentknives are no longer part of Tyndaria, maintaining one of the 10 Kingdoms.
Head: Issac Dressus Soulshammer II
Vassals: Hammerbane, Windrunner, Wintersteel, Gembreaker, Ironfoe
Demense: Castle Ochre
Territory: the Kingdom of Virtus, Kingdom of Edriz, Kingdom of Tyndaria, Dutchy of Hilea
House Soulshammer has always been a military house, guarding the north of the kingdom against threats to the north, having fought off invasions from Killbarans, Thraxians, Morestii, and if you follow history back long enough, Tyndarians when the family was part of the Kingdom of Alora. Much of the direct Soulshammer bloodline is gifted with natural charisma and a powerful sense of self clearly breed to lead. For generations after their absorption into the Kingdom of Tyndaria, they supported the power and rights of the Kings. Their House was often granted the position of High Marshall and their extended kin appointed as Wardens and Seneschals of castles and manors.
Unfortunately, when Wanderer abdicated his throne with no successor, The Soulshammers were unable to reconcile their beliefs in the sanctity of Kingship with their betrayal via the empty chair. Lord Issac Dressus Soulshammer II declared himself King and at once declared war on Tyndaria, invading from the northwest, and creating the Kingdoms of Virtus and Edriz. These Kingdoms are pious, mighty fighters who believe in their cause and have sworn to see Archduke Soulshammer seated on the Throne.
The Military College of Tyndaria, once the destination of many young nobles, is now housed within the Kingdom of Virtus, a dangerous place now, but a mighty fortress of the Soulshammers.
Head: Atlas Strongbow and Enttiri Kal(ithrialitanias)
Vassals: Nightwing, Feathercreek, Earthshaker, Redwolf,
Demense: Skyreach Tower
Territory: Dutchy of Tianal
Founded by elves sworn to Tyron Wildfire at the foundation of the kingdom, House Strongbow has always held a fascination with arcane power, fostering it whenever possible within their bloodline. The greatest arcanists of their family are revered to this day, held as the pinnacle of what a Strongbow can achieve when they put their mind to it. The house, rather arrogantly, believes that they are both the most intelligent and the most arcanely gifted of the houses, and often use this position to look down on their peers as lessers. The house will accept applicants, but its pride in arcane power leads it to have an extremely stringent application process, with each applicant needing to provide that they are, in addition to being learned on the house and its history, an accomplished arcanist. Some few applicants have entered the trial to never return. While these tests are harsh and deadly, the House also openly recruits individuals of various backgrounds and ancestries, creating a situation where house Strongbow is one of the most diverse of the Great Houses, in spite of their rigid requirements, and the Academy of Arcane Arts, long run by the house, now stands within the Kingdom of Tianalus, in open rebellion against the crown.
When Wanderer abdicated the throne and accidentally broke the covenant of Lard Magus Enttiri, the Stongbow were divided in how to respond. However, the emergence of their founder himself, long thought dead, guided their direction from that point onward. Now, they engage in war to defend their newfound Kingdom from being overrun by the Tyndarian forces, suffering military defeats at Wanderer’s hands now that he’s returned. The future of the Kingdom looks bleak to many within, though they fight on none the less.
Head: Pontifex Jered Moonfire, Lady Sarah Moonfire
Vassals: Firebreaker, Lightwind, Deathtaker
Demense: Castle Silverhaven
Territory: Dutchy of Kalron
House Moonfire, in a similar fashion to the Strongbow, is dedicated to powers that are not of this world. The Moonfire, however, are uniformly pious and godly individuals, dedicated to furthering the causes of their divine patrons. House Moonfire fights a constant siege against the corruption of the Accursed, the temptation of power, and those sworn to all sorts of foul beings. These men and women range from the extremely compassionate to the Haughtily cruel. Moonfire’s often see the ends justifying the means, with the needs of the world being put above the motives and methods of individuals. That said, they are not blind to the suffering of the world and the people within it, and many of the houses clerics and priests distribute food to the poor and tend to the injured and sick of the cities and the Kingdom, making pilgrimages throughout the land. Many towns view the Moonfire caravans as a good omen, knowing that its members will provide much-needed assistance and succor.
Since the rebellion against Wanderer’s despotism over their land began, the Moonfire’s have been unable to travel the kingdom and provide the assistance they once were famed for. Instead, they call for the devout and the devoted to travel their way south, to their Pontifate, where the gods rules are the rules of the land. Thankfully for the Pontifate, the Kingdom of Tianalus sprung into existence and has blocked the brunt of any Tyndarian retaliation over the last several years, and the more Militant of the Moonfire’s have provided support to the Strongbow Kingdom in return for that protection.
Head: Lady Berin Rockheart
Vassals: Brineseeker, Ironguts, Willshaker, Brightaxe
Territory: Dutchy of Vale
House Rockheart was a small and uninfluential house in Tyndaria, yet they controlled a number of warm water ports along the southern border of the kingdom. Seen as masters of commerce, of low importance to the nobility but still to vital to offend, the High Merchants seat was given to House Rockheart. Fortunately for the king and for the people both, Rockheart had no wide-spread, all-encompassing goal. Instead, they were concerned with maintaining open trade and providing the Kingdom with the spices, clothing, and other exotic goods that came easily to their ports.
Sensing a chance to become masters of their own trade, and a way to bring great wealth to their House, the Rockhearts rebelled alongside Houe Silentknife during the First Rebellion but were quickly defeated. Their second rebellion proved more effective, if costly, and though they eventually earned their freedom, it was at a great cost of blood, including many of their family members. Even after their freedom was won, however, they still were not done fighting, as the princes of Vale, sensing overall weariness and a desire to rule themselves against the stoic and cold Rockhearts, declared their independence. The general remoteness of Vale and the difficulty of moving ar army against them forced the Rockhearts hand, and now, instead of a single Kingdom with a massive purse and a stranglehold on trade, they are two separate kingdoms, each having to undercut the other to make a sale.
While all the houses up until now have staked out their territory recently in highly successful rebellions, there was an earlier rebellion that rocked the kingdom and set the stage for the rebellions that followed. Prior to Modurus wars, the Blackblade rebellion began. King Tor Banefiend had just been declared king, his mother, Queen Alaina Banefiend having been slain on the field of battle against the Killbarun invading forces. In the grips of war, the head of House Blackblade, the Queen’s lover and Archduke of War, raised an army and, determined to take power from this 12-year-old boy, not of his own blood, and marched on the capital, Tyrindal. The boy-king Gathered his forces and met the combined armies of the rebellion a days ride out from the city, at the fields of Araukun, an old Occuran battleground from ages past. With the timely assistance of a few newly minted allies and a reinforcing army, the young king was able to defeat the combined forces set against him. The Leaders of the houses were executed, and their Dutchies were ruined, reduced to baronies subordinate to House Banefiend. In a radical departure from tradition and the Lexium Tyranus, he declared that he would hold the three seats of High Houses, are required by the Lexium, until his death, at which time three more houses could be raised, but until then, in punishment for their rebellion, the seats would remain empty.
House Nightwing was ambitious, and it would often get caught up in scandals and was often spoken of in hushed words by the rest of the Nobility. Seemingly cursed with ineptitude, though its founder was a hero of the realm generations ago, it grew frustrated with the inability to rise in power and station among the other High houses. Knowing that frustration, Archduke Ebon reached out after the Death of Queen Alaina, using his honeyed tongue and oaths of power to come to bend them to his will. Unable to see another way forward, the House joined the Blackblades and marched on the City, only to be once more, and finally, defeated, humiliated and destroyed. Now a small March, they still struggle to this day to maintain their own power in their own homeland.
Verius Spritshifter was a duplicitous and deceitful being, one who bent those around him to his will without them knowing. He arranged for Queen Alaina to meet Ebon Blackblade, and fostered their relationship, patching up things between them as their rocky relationship was strained, as it often was, from her powerful personality and his inability to remain faithful. He convinced the Queen to personally march to war against Killbarum and convinced Ebon to revolt once she had been slain in battle. Everything he’d carefully laid over the course of years fell apart, however, as The Young King Displayed ample leadership, cunning, and courage, meeting their combined forces, outnumbered, on the field of battle and emerge victorious in spite of everything Verius has laid against him. Executed and buried in an unmarked grave, Verius waits patiently for his time to return, for the day he can destroy the kingdom and rule it from his own Castle Bloodstone.