Population: 515,820 (87% humans, 7% halflings, 3% half-orcs, 2%
Government: Fanatical Oligarchy
Imports: Iron, gold, furs, minor magic items
Exports: Cloth, beef, oil and grains
Between the wide Lyodan river and the dense Neldorean woods
lies the broad coastal plain of Ianthe (pronounced "ee-OHN-thuh").
Ianthe is a warlike nation famous the strange magic of its
nobility and for its constant wars with its neighbors. The
Ianthans are largely of Conorrian descent, and consider themselves
to be superior to all other humans and vastly superior to all
non-human races. Ianthans have a large slave population, made up
of foreigners, who till the soil and toil in the deep Aoelan
rifts. The slaves outnumber the Ianthans by a considerable number.
Because of this, Ianthe has developed a highly structured and
warlike society. All male citizens are trained in one of three
disciplines: war, wizardry or the priesthood. Warriors serve the
state until their thirtieth birthday, when they are allowed to
retire and take a wife. Wizards and priests serve the state for
life, and are never allowed to marry, though they are allowed many
comforts not afforded to the common Ianthan. All Ianthan citizens,
both male and female, are tested at the age of seven for any sign
of sorcerous ability. Those who show signs of sorcery are put to
The Awakening -
All of the nobility in Ianthe are related, being descendants of
the god Aeolan. Many of the descendants of the god possess a
unique form of magic known as Auricas, or the Awakening.
Those who do possess this gift are taken from their families at
the age of seven and trained by the Inaricii, the Hidden Masters.
They emerge from this training (if at all) at the age of twenty.
Those with an intellectual leaning become Archons,
guardians of the purity of the Ianthan race, and masters of the
mind. Those who are gifted physically become the Ulean
Indomitus, the Crystal Knights.
The Archons -
It is said that the god Aeolan was not of Theeurth, that he
came from beyond creation. What is known is that he taught his
descendants to jealously guard their heritage, lest they lose it
and become as other men. Thus, those in whom the gifts of Aeolan
show forth most strongly are taken to be guardians of that
heritage. They become the Archons.
An Ianthan Archon is a master of the Auricas, trained in
one of seven secretive disciplines, and utterly dedicated to the
rooting out of foreign spies, the unearthing of sorcery and
treachery, and the suppression of slave revolts. The word of an
Archon carries the weight of law, which only a higher-ranking
Archon can reverse. It is widely believed that many Archons go
about Ianthe and the surrounding lands disguised as commoners,
seeking to root out dissension.
The Crystal Knights -
Rarer even than the Archons are those of Aeolanís brood who
can channel his power into their weapons and armor. These form a
small and much-feared cadre of warriors known as the Ulean
Indomitus, or Crystal Knights. These elite soldiers, easily
identified by their beautiful crystalline armor and weapons, serve
as shock troops for the Ianthan army, bodyguards for the Archons,
and as the traditional guardians of Narranthus, the capital.
The Knights are famous for their ability to channel the Auricas,
making their muscles stronger, bones harder, weapons sharper and
armor nearly impenetrable. In addition, Crystal Knights are able
to coordinate their attacks and defenses with frightening
accuracy, as if all those present shared a single mind. They are
rightly feared throughout the Valesian Sea for their ruthless and
The Warriors -
Though not as impressive as the Crystal Knights, every Ianthan
male who is neither wizard, priest nor worker of Auricas
becomes a soldier in Iantheís army. Every soldier lives apart
from his family, in effect making the Ianthan army his family
until he is thirty years old. In times of war, all veterans are
called back into service. The Ianthan soldierís training is
rigorous and sometimes fatal. The product of this is one of the
toughest, most highly-trained armies in Theeurth.
The primary responsibility of the army is to maintain control
of the large slave population which makes the Ianthan lifestyle
possible. This requires that army garrisons be scattered across
the countryside. Thus, although very nearly every male citizen is
a soldier or veteran, there are few large concentrations of
soldiers anywhere outside of Narranthus.
The Aoelan Rifts -
Scattered across the Ianthan countryside, particularly in the
region around Narranthus, are deep fissures in the earth, said to
have been opened by Aeolan himself. Deep within these fissures are
found the rare and precious Aeolan crystals, which the Archons and
Crystal Knights prize above gold and gems. Thousands of slaves
toil endlessly in the deeps, struggling to locate and recover
These stones seem to attract dark and powerful creatures from
the depths of the earth, and cost hundreds of slavesí lives
every year. The Archons feel that this is an acceptable rate of
What is now Ianthe is thought to have been near the heartlands
of the ancient Iridian civilization. After the Wrath of the Gods,
it appears to have been empty of habitation for a time, peopled
only occasionally by wandering nomads and possibly ruled over by a
succession of dragons. But human and goblin tribes established
permanent settlements by -3700, and a host of petty kingdoms rose
and fell in the millennia thereafter, known mostly for their
warlike natures and their weaving of fine cloth.
Warriors of the Connor kingdom crossed the Lyodan river in -562
and made alliances with Afaric and Trenloc, the most powerful
cities in the region. By -380, Afaric and Trenloc controlled most
of central Ianthe. In -354, Afaric refused to pay tribute to
Connor. Trenloc paid with ill grace. The Connor senate sent the
consul Eramius Gaianor to bring Afaric to heel, which he did in a
three-year long campaign that ended only when the city was leveled
stone by stone and its fields cursed by Conorrian priests.
Thereafter, all of Ianthe made haste to pay tribute to the growing
power in the east. By the time that Aumerides established the
Conorrian Empire, Ianthe had become an important province of
Conorria, responsible for a great part of the empireís food
In the year 1385, strange signs were seen in the heavens, and
wise men spoke of a new god who walked the earth, and of the fear
of the old gods. Within a few years thereafter, it became clear
that a Power walked the fields and farmlands of Ianthe. To the
relief of the Emperor and his bishops, the new god seemed not to
desire power over mortal men, but to be merely left alone. And so
Ianthe was left alone for more than a generation. The province
continued to send its taxes and its grain shipments, but its
senators and aristocrats disappeared forever.
In 1421, men came from Ianthe and presented themselves to the
emperor. Tall, they were, and haughty words they spoke. Yet they
claimed to be from a noble house and swore fealty to the emperor.
At the urging of his advisors, the emperor appointed them senators
from Ianthe despite their proud words, and thus began the noble
house of Aeolus. For long years the Aeolians served the emperor
well as generals, ministers and senators. In time, word spread
that the Aeolians possessed a magic not known elsewhere in
Theeurth, and their power grew still more.
During the Mage Wars, they held themselves aloof from all
factions, and fought against several armies that crossed their
lands. Yet in the end, Ianthe became part of the Miletian Empire
when Markimillien took that western realm for himself. As time
passed, the Aeolians waxed in skill, mastering the Auricas,
and they began to chafe under the Miletian rule. The rising
tension between the Emperor and the Aeolians might have led to
open revolt had not a greater tide overtaken both factions. In
2282, the Darothic horde stormed out of the north and shattered
the empire. Ianthe, too, went down into ruin under the merciless
pillaging of the barbarians.
But the Aeolians survived, and in the absence of greater
powers, they were at last free to create their own ideal state,
dedicated to the supremacy of Aeolanís descendants, and the iron
determination never again to fall under the sway of larger powers.
In 2321, the Aeolian families agreed to rule Ianthe between them,
and laid down the draconian laws that are still followed today.
Archons and the Crystal Knights were both established in the
decades that followed.
In 2412 and again in 2433, Ianthe fought inconclusive battles
with the elves of the Neldorean Wood over control of the fertile
valleys and hills that border that forest. Over the next several
centuries, however, Ianthan power waxed while that of the elves
waned. Now the power of the Archons runs to the eaves of the
forest, but no further.
In 2589, the Ianthan army laid siege to the great Llyran
fortress of Vorogod, at the southernmost point in Ianthe. This
island fortress had been part of Llyran since the Return of the
First Council during the Wars of the Fisherman Kings, and the
Llyrans held it as a matter of national pride and political
interest. The superior Llyran naval forces kept the fortress-city
supplied while magi fought with adept across and around the narrow
causeway that connects Vorogod to the mainland. The siege lasted
for more than two years, and cost thousands of lives on both
sides. In the end, Vorogod remained in Llyran hands, and the two
nations began a long tradition of suspicious enmity.
Slave revolts marked the history of the twenty-seventh century
in Ianthe. The Shuran Revolt in 2644-46 took the full might of the
army to quell, and left much of the population starving and
homeless. The poverty and loss of land that resulted was to dog
the Ianthans for most of the next century.
In 2723, the Worldspine Orcs crashed through the western
marches of the Empire and came down upon Ianthe in great waves.
For years, the army, which had nearly recovered from the Shuran
Revolt, held the orcs at bay. But the great weight of numbers at
last broke the backs of the Archons and their army. The Crystal
Knights were slaughtered at Kauja Gorge in 2734, leaving only a
single survivor. Ianthe fell to the orcs.
When the Great Crusade swept into the orc-held lands in 2745,
the Crusaders rather pointedly did not cross into Ianthe. They
left that nation and itís interloper god to the mercy of the
orcs while they drove the invaders from what would become the
Crusader States. In failing to come to Iantheís aid, however,
the Crusaders laid the grounds for future conflict. For the orcs
were weakened, surrounded and cut off from their cities in the
Worldspine. The Ianthans, long schooled to rebellion, rose up
against their oppressors in 2749 and drove them, wailing, into the
Neldorean Wood, from which never one returned.
Now the heroes of Ianthe, the Archons took power more firmly
than ever, and began to raise up a new cadre of Crystal Knights.
Today, the hold of the Archons is firm upon the throat of Ianthe,
and once more the sons of Aeolan look abroad for new realms to
MAJOR POPULATION CENTERS
Narranthus - (Small city; population 33,180). Nestled among
the rolling piedmont of northern Ianthe, Narranthus is unusual for
its size, in that it has no walls or fortifications. "The
shields of the army," it is often said, "are the walls
of Narranthus." The center of Narranthus is a scene of
breathtaking beauty, particularly when the rays of the sun strike
the towers of Aeolan, made of white marble and decorated in Aeolan
crystals. Clear fountains run through manicured parks where
children play and tame birds sing. On the outskirts of town,
however, there is great poverty. The vast slave farms till the
unforgiving soil and armed troops are everywhere. The tiny foreign
quarter is set in a narrow, steep-sloped valley shut off at one
end with iron gates. Foreigners are strictly regulated, even those
who have lived in Narranthus for decades.
Haelopolis - (Small city; population 27,330). Situated on
the lip of what is believed to be the deepest of the Aeolan rifts,
Haelopolis is a garrison city near the Neldorean wood. It boasts a
garrison of two thousand soldiers, a dozen Crystal Knights and an
unknown number of Achons. Unlike Narranthus, Haelopolis is walled,
and contains strong castles at both the northern and western
extremes. Large groves of olive trees dot the landscape for miles.
The mage-killing wizard Polymethus and his twin sister, the Archon
Medrea are the most famous residents of this city.
IMPORTANT LOCAL SITES -
The Nether Rift- More than four miles deep, the Nether Rift
at Haelopolis is a small world unto itself. Thick vapors overlay
the area most of the time, which gives it the appearance of a
foamy sea moving with deliberate slowness. But below the vapors
lies a world much less serene. Ten thousand slaves live and toil
the depths, seeking out the precious Aeolan crystals. Giant gynars,
winged predators that live nowhere else, prey on the unwary.
Rumors abound of goblins who lurk in the shadows and serve masters
more loathsome than themselves, deep below the ground.
The Fields of Leana- Legend tells that the youngest
daughter of the god Aeolan was a quiet girl who displeased her
father because she had little interest in the powers he sought to
teach all his children. While her siblings reveled in their power,
she would often wander alone in the fields and woods, befriending
the creatures of the wild. Her father frowned upon this, and her
eldest brother grew wrathful, and sought her out among the woods,
seeking to drag her before their father. She refused to accompany
him, and when he laid hands upon her, wild lions rose up to defend
her. She bade him leave and never return. But return he did, with
all his brothers, and they laid waste to the forest. They never
found Leana, but where the forest had stood, wildflowers bloomed
and fields grew tall with grain. The Archons tread lightly in this
place, and seem to fear it. Legend says that those who pray for
the aid of Leana in this place may still at times gain it, if
their cause is peaceful and just.
The Great Temple of Aeolan -Many temples and wayside
shrines exist to the god throughout Ianthe, but the greatest of
these stands above the city of Narranthus. It is crafted of black
crystal, and its walls are as smooth as glass. During the frequent
storms that lash Ianthe, lighting is often seen to crash
harmlessly into the great black spire that looms above the city,
and at these times, the entire temple glows with a pearlescent
light. The statue of Aeolan that stands within the main hall is of
beaten bronze sheathed in gold, and its eyes are great gemstones.
It is said that hidden beneath the temple is an artifact known as
the The Soul of the Archons.