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Denagoth (Kingdom of)
Location: Norwold, continent of Brun, north of Wendar and west of Norwold and the Heldannic Territories.
Area: 125,000 sq. mi. (323,750 sq. km.).
Population: 276,000, roughly 25% human and 75% humanoid; estimated demihuman (elf) population: 2,000.
Languages: Denagothian (a human language not closely related to any other spoken in the Old World), Orcish, Gnoll, Goblin, Bugbear, Heldannic, Elvish (Geffronell, Genalleth and Alfheim dialects).
Coinage: Gold (gp), silver (sp); barter common.
Taxes: 30% income tax, collected yearly.
Government Type: Theocratic dictatorship.
Industries: Hunting, raiding, mining, agriculture (grows barely enough for its own use).
Important Figures: Landryn Teriak a.k.a. the Shadow Lord (King, vassalich, male, M14), Grumann (General, human, male, F13/T10), Durifern Widefarer (Clanmaster, elf, male, R15), Beasthunter (Clanmaster, elf, male, F12/M13).
Flora and Fauna: The area known as Denagoth comprises a great oak forest to the east that dates back to the old Blackmoor era and another forested region to the west mostly made of dead trees. Throughout the whole region the terrain is rocky and difficult to cultivate, if not impossible. The Avien Plains, in the central part of Denagoth, is the only area where the soil is somewhat able to produce crops and where cattle can be tended without particular problems. The northern zone is basically a rocky waste that gives way to swamps and frozen tundra. The animals commonly encountered in Denagoth are moose, elks, bears (all species, especially grizzlies), wolves (even dire wolves), wild boars, snakes and mountain lions. The land is a heaven for humanoid races, and many tribes of orcs, hobgoblins, goblins, bugbears, gnolls and some ogres live in the foothills and on the highest peaks of the mountains, as well as in the forests. The Mengul Mountains are home to a vast variety of monstrous species, such as: snow apes, white apes, giant bats, dragons (white and blue), harpies, giant ferrets, sasquatches, and unicorns. Black dragons abound in the swamps and forests of the entire region, unchallenged masters of the draconic race inhabiting Denagoth.
Further Reading: X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord, previous almanacs.
Description by Christopher Dove.
I am writing this report not of my own free will, but because I have been charged by Denagoth's high priestess to let you, dear readers, know of Denagoth's magnificent landscapes and shed some light on its inhabitants. I have been told to reassure all of you, who live in the southern nations, that Denagoth has no will to cause mischief in the Old World, but that it is a land with an ancient and proud history that only deserves to be acknowledged by the other important nations of the world.
In this brief commentary I will thereby describe the central region of Denagoth, what is commonly referred to as the Avien Plains, which is the only area I have been allowed to visit without hindrances, always escorted by a small group of soldiers gladly provided for my own sake by the Church of Idris.
[This report strangely arrived in perfect shape even though the rumours coming from the north want Mr. Dove in the hands of the dangerous forces of the Shadow Lord. We do not know how much of this has been written by his quill and how much has been later added or modified for propaganda by the Church of Idris. We only advise you, dear readers, to take everything written here with the benefit of doubt until we find out more. For more information on the Forest of Geffron and the overall region, please refer to the previous Mystaran Almanac, AC1015. Ed.]
If you enter Denagoth following the road that goes from Gylharen's Pass in Wendar up to the Denagothian Plateau, you will find yourself in the middle of the verdant Forest of Geffron, now fallen back into the hands of the Shadow Lord's minions. Going north from this spot, the forest leaves way to a huge grassland that is called the Avien Plains after the tribe that settled it a long time ago. It is here that the great majority of the Denagothians live, humans and humanoids alike. Here the soil is good enough to plant a few crops and breed different species of animals.
The southern part of the Avien Plains bordering the Forest of Geffron consists mostly of farmlands, orchards and cultivated fields, although the farmers grow barely enough food to satisfy the country's needs. It is to be noted that most of the crops grown goes to the ruling class of Denagoth, leaving to the farmers and lowest classes only the scraps. This has been cause of riots in the past, as some of the farmers in this area told me. The northern region is instead used to breed cattle and herding riding beasts for the army, both normal and monstrous in nature. The area known as the Essurian Grasses to the west, bordering the western part of the Great Forest of Geffron, is also devoted to the training and breeding of beasts. The meat and other by-products derived from the cattle allow the Denagothians to survive the rigid and seemingly never-ending winters, when the fields do not produce anything. I have been told by my escort that the priests of Idris also travel the land during winter creating and purifying food in order to assist the populace, but up to now I haven't witnessed any of such occurrences.
The Avien Plains are windswept most of the year because of the lack of natural barriers to the north, and this has caused their actual state. I have motives to believe that the elves' magic prevented the weather from destroying the Great Forest of Geffron, which now seems in pretty good shape even though the elves aren't there anymore to maintain it. Probably the magic inherent to the forest allows it to resist the harsh weather to which the whole region is subject.
The two major settlements in the Avien Plains are Brakkah and Thariss. Brakkah (pop. 6,000) is located near the western border of the Lothenar Forest and is a typical Denagothian village with mixed inhabitants, only larger than the usual size. The town is surrounded by a sturdy 30' high palisade of magical hardwood whose properties are unknown to me. The town map is circular, with the Temple of Idris built in the main square as reference point for the life of the whole community. The buildings inside the town vary in shapes and materials, although most are wooden with the first story made of bricks and rocks. The dwellings have normally two floors and they rarely house a single family, because the Church of Idris encourages the citizens to live in close relationship with their neighbours. Each of these multi-familiar houses is regularly visited by its irik-tanes [roughly translated to "Holy Overseer." C. Dove.], a priest of Idris who oversees the entire building and takes care of the families living in it. This way the church always knows where and when there are problems and may lend a hand to solve it. The town is regularly patrolled by the Shadow Army [which serves both as the military force of Denagoth and as town guard. C. Dove] and by the Wardens of Idris, which are the priests specialised in enforcing the law of Idris in Denagoth. I have not had the chance to visit Thariss, but the guards escorting me told me that the city is similar to Brakkah. As for the smaller villages of the Avien tribesmen, there are more soldiers of the Shadow Army here to keep an eye on troublesome agitators, and all the village walls have been destroyed after the last upheaval in the 10th century.
There are numerous settlements in the Avien Plains. The great majority of the southern ones are inhabited by humans, while the northern ones feature a mixed population of humans and humanoids, who don't seem to have particular problems with this integration. The Avien tribesmen are a tough race of stubborn and proud people with a clear Antalian (Heldannic) lineage, while the northern Denagothians are stronger, tougher and more resistant to the harsh climate than the common northmen. They can be clearly distinguished from the Avien tribesmen because their complexion is strangely darker, more similar to the Thyatian stock than to the classic northmen's. Also a strange fire seems to burn in their eyes, a light that sometimes makes them look very similar to the hairy humanoids, and maybe this could explain why they seem to have no problems in living side by side [a long forgotten racial relationship might be the cause of this similarity. C. Dove.].
The Avien tribesmen are illiterate and do not have a written language. They share a common oral tradition and I have found no evidence of a forgotten written language in their sites. Their cultural identity is deeply rooted however and this is probably the cause of the trouble they have been giving to the Church of Idris in all these decades. They resent being controlled by the theocrats and would like to return to their free ways, but the Church of Idris has deemed more appropriate to convert them into sedentary farmers for the welfare of the nation. A few nomadic Aviens still exist in the northern part of the plains however, but they are now a small minority. I have heard rumours saying that some of the Avien tribesmen still follow the cult of their ancestors, but since it is illegal inside Denagoth they probably worship their deities in secret.
As for the true Denagothians, they are deeply loyal to Idris and always follow the rules dictated by the church. They serve in the army regularly when they enter the appropriate age and have a strong sense of national unity that borders fanaticism. They are not hostile towards strangers, although they are always suspicious of them and frequently ask questions to determine whether they are a possible threat or an ally. They share the same written and spoken language, which uses the old Essurian alphabet [Essuria was an ancient kingdom that encompassed the whole Denagothian Plateau in the last five centuries. C. Dove.], and also have old traditions and habits that reinforces their sense of unity and greatness. They know they are the descendants of a proud race of conquerors and great warriors, of honourable fighters and true believers, and that the humanoids living alongside represent what they were in their early ages. For this reason they must be patient and teach the humanoids the way to become a true civilised Denagothian, and at the same time they must take inspiration from the humanoids' great perseverance and fierceness in order to remember what they were and always will be.
The humanoids of Denagoth, on their part, are much more civilised than the common brutal goblinoid of the Broken Lands. They are considered equal citizens of Denagoth, serve in the army and clergy just like the humans and may even attain important positions inside the military orders, even though they are normally left out the bureaucratic system for obvious reasons. Orcs are the most common species, followed by goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls and bugbears. All the humanoids share the same chaotic traits, even though their ways have become more controlled and organized thanks to the Church of Idris' intervention through the centuries. Theirs can now be defined a "controlled chaos," since everyone knows what's expected from them given their social position, and they try not to upset their overseers. However, they have the opportunity to discharge all their feral instincts at least once every day by going to special areas where they fight with one another or with other beasts and train both their body and their morale. This seems to be an established policy inside Denagoth and everyone is content with this.
The Church of Idris is responsible for rebuilding the nation after the fall of the Essurian Kingdom at the beginning of the 10th century. The rumours that wanted the Shadow Lord as the sole ruler of Denagoth are false, since it is in fact a perfect theocracy. The Shadow Lord is only the commander of the Denagothian army, and the rumours about his violence and ruthlessness have been exaggerated by the nearby Wendarians, since they still remember the wars made in the past centuries with the Kingdom of Essuria and blame the current Denagothian Kingdom for those. Aside from defending itself from the elven invasion of last year, Denagoth didn't attempt any invasion of the nearby lands during all these decades and only now it's trying to end its isolation by sending emissaries and ambassadors to its neighbouring countries to establish political and economic ties.
There is nothing special to visit in the Avien Plains, except maybe the great herds of riding animals to the north. It is a magnificent show to see all these animals roam the plains together like a great wave of living flesh, and even more astounding is witnessing how the monstrous specimens are trained and used by the expert Denagothians.
Do miss the whole southern region, which is a nest of rebels and unrest is common here. Unless you want to participate in a civil revolt, you should steer away from the Avien tribesmen, or at least do not trust them. Also the Essurian Grasses are not a hospitable place for the visitors, since they are located near the Forest of Geffron and the western border of the plateau, which is known for harbouring packs of wild beasts and disgusting legions of undead that date back to the Essurian Kingdom and prey on the living.