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Noble Houses of Karameikos: Strolojca and Draconius

by Giampaolo Agosta and Simone Neri from Threshold Magazine issue 1

The government of Karameikos relies on a social class of aristocrats who, having been invested with fiefs by the Duke, perform the role of local administration in remote regions, helping in the task of moving the Grand Duchy from a sparsely populated wilderness to a modern nation state.

While the grand vassals, such as the Barons, enjoy most of the spotlight at court, there are many other noble families, both Thyatian and Traladaran in ethnicity.

In this article, we introduce the noble houses of Strolojca and Draconius. The former is a long-standing Traladaran clan from the south-western coast, whereas the latter is a Thyatian clan that was recently given lands along the Eastron Road.

House STROLOJCA, Landed Lords of Strolojca

The Strolojca family rose to prominence during the Rebirth of Traladara, the time after the Vandar invasion and settlement, when the Banates assumed a stable form under a feudal organization.

The first known ancestor, whose records date to the first Traladaran written documents after the introduction of literacy by Thyatian missionaries, is Boris iz Strolojca. He appears to have lived in the V century, when he was lord (Zhupa) of the village of Strolojca and a vassal of the Veliki Zhupa (Count, in Thyatian terms) of Svoga, who in turn was a vassal of the Banate of Halag, the regional power that held at that time on the western coast of Traladara. Boris is mentioned in a list of captains of the Halag army at the end of the First Traladaran War.

The Strolojca family's claim to historical fame however, dates thirty years later when Boris' grandson, Vassily Strolojca, took part in the Second Traladaran War. Where the First War was a defensive battle against the invading armies of the neighbouring Kingdom of Darokin, the Second Traladaran War was a civil war, caused by the consolidation of Traladaran religious hierarchies in the area. This war was sparked by quarrels that ensued between the Church of Traladara, which dominated the central and south-eastern regions of the country, and "heretical" cults fostered by the nobles of Halag to the west and Vaion to the north-east. While the north-eastern heresies were mostly inspired by Entropic Immortals of the Dark Triad -- and primarily Orcus -- the western cults were centered on the same Traldar hero-worship tradition that informed the beliefs of the Church of Traladara, but were also influenced by the patriarchal Vandar customs -- the Vandar influence was much stronger in the west, since Halag had been the first and foremost Vandar settlement -- and thus focused on the worship of Halav as the god-king, relegating Petra and Zirchev to lesser roles. The Church of Halav, centered in Halag, was also more militant than the Church of Traladara, with its Knights forming the ιlite ranks of the western armies, and therefore wielded significant political power. This led to increasing frictions with the central states, which resented the missionary attempts of the Church of Halav at a time when they were confronted with the growing cults of Orcus. The political rivalries in the region pushed things to overt war, culminating in the Battle of Stolos Ford, when the forces of the Ban of Halag tried a last-ditch defense against those of Marilenev.

During the Battle of Stolos' Ford, Vassily Strolojca and his followers, all vassals of Halag, passed to Marilenev's side, leading to the defeat of the "heretics", and the destruction of Old Svoga. Thanks to his key role in the war, Vassily widely improved the family fortunes, gaining his successors a seat at the Diet of Marilenev and allowing them to take part in the Traladaran League as autonomous lords.

Strolojca lords such as Anton I and Vassily II fought in two successive wars. Later members of the dynasty increased the political relevance of the family, culminating in the historical speech by Boris III at the Diet of Marilenev which led the lord of Strolojca to be selected as the League’s ambassador in a mission to Harbortown to solicit help against the Darokinian-backed King Demara.

With the dissolution of the League at the beginning of the VII century, the lords of Strolojca were once more reduced to vassals of the Duchy of Halag, with the rank of Barons, which they held until the defeat of the army of the Duke of Halag at the hands of the Imperial Legate, Stefan Karameikos I (Stefan the Hermit, the great-grandfather of the current Duke) in 900 AC.

The coastal nobles, under the lead of Petros, Count of Ourosco, tried a last ditch defense, but were finally defeated, and forced to surrender, by auxiliary troops under the leadership of Jan Vandevic, a mercenary captain of Glantrian origins who took a large part of the lands that once were part of the Barony of Strolojca and the County of Ourosco. With Traladara reduced to a Thyatian province, the local nobles were summarily demoted to the rank of landed lords -- the lowest rank in the Thyatian system, though they were allowed to retain part of their ancestral lands. In the ensuing chaos, the firstborn line of the Strolojca clan was severely weakened, leading to its extinction in 952 with the death of Lord Barris. Following the extinction of the firstborn branch, the cadet Borisian branch, descended from a son of Vladimir Strolojca who had been Seneschal to his nephew Lord Petr III in the IX century, took over the title and lands.

As Stefan Karameikos III took over Traladara, the noble houses of Halag and Demiatic were destroyed, but the leaders of the Strolojca, Ourosco, and Moubotka clans swore fealty to the new ruler, maintaining their rank and lands. In the case of House Strolojca, this event was facilitated by the transition to the Borisian branch under Marek III, which was considered nearer to the Thyatian interests, as Marek’s father, Anton, had served in the Thyatian military.

Genealogy of the House of Strolojca

Boris I ???-416 First known Zhupa of Strolojca, died in battle in the First Traladaran War.

Vlastimir 416-439 Killed by a werewolf while travelling to the marriage of the son of the Zhupa of Ourosco.

Vassily I 439-465 Fought in the Second Traladaran War, switching sides to Marilenev in the Battle of Stolos Ford.

Boris II 465-487 Known only from documents regarding his son Anton.

Anton I 487-493 Died in battle against Mithras V of Darokin in the Third Traladaran War.

Vassily II 493-502 Killed by a wereboar during a hunting party.

Anton II 502-549 "Anton II the Young", succeeded his father at age 15.

Boris III 549-581 "Boris III Chrysostomos", great politician and orator at the Diet of Marilenev, is considered the most prominent member of the family.

Spassoje I 581-613 First Baron of Strolojca.

Viacheslav 613-635

Petr I 635-677 "Petr I the Elder", Viacheslav's brother, died at the age of 88.

Spassoje II 677-685 Murdered by a vampire.

Petr II 685-710 "Petr II the Avenger", led a vampire hunt to avenge his father.

Marek I 710-755 Succeeded to his father while a child, was under the regency of his mother Roxana until 724 AC.

Boris IV 755-783 Died during the destruction of Castle Koriszegy.

Vladimir 783-806 Second son of Boris, inherited the family lands when several of his relatives died in Castle Koriszegy. Had three sons, Iovan, Boris, and Petr. All living Strolojca male-line descendants are members of cadet branches descended from Boris (Borisian branch) and Petr (Petrine branch), as the senior line was estinguished with Barris Strolojca in 952.

Iovan 806-813 A retainer of the Duke of Halag, Uidar the Quick, disappeared mysteriously with his liege during a hunting trip in the Cruth Lowlands.

Petr III 813-885 "Petr III the Long-lived", was one year old when his father Iovan disappeared, and remained under the regency of his uncle Boris “the Seneschal” up to 828 AC.

Vladislav 885-900 Died in battle against Stefan Karameikos I, without issue.

Anton III 900-900 Vladislav's brother, last Baron of Strolojca, died in battle against Jan Vandevic’s mercenaries.

Marek II 900-937 Lord of Strolojca, murdered by unknown hand at age 46; was under the regency of his mother Katerina up to 906 AC.

Barris 937-945 Marek II's younger brother, was of feeble health and had no offsprings. He abdicated in favor of his nearest heir, Marek III, the senior member of the Borisian cadet branch. Died in 952 of natural causes.

Marek III 945-961 "Marek III the Meek". Son of Sir Anton Strolojca, Knight of the Thyatian Empire (b. 885 d. 944). A descendant of Boris “the Seneschal”, through his son Vladimir (d. 865), his grandson Spassoje (d. 889) and his great-grandson Marek (d. 904), Anton’s father.

Marius 961-current Son of Marek III, has no offsprings. Has designated his nephew Marek as his heir.

Lord Marius Strolojca, landed lord of Strolojca (NM, L). Marius is slightly over 60 years old. He is a typical Traladaran gentleman, pale and gaunt, and very soft-spoken -- the elderly people in Strolojca say he and his brother, Anton, both bear a great resemblance to their late father, Marek the Meek, both in visage and bearing. Marius was trained as an administrator rather than a warrior, and is relatively competent at managing his fief. He was married early in his life to a noblewoman of House Moubotka -- Marek III was trying to strengthen his family ties with the other major clans of the area -- but his wife died in childbirth, and Marius never remarried. Marius is a bit of a recluse -- most visitors to Strolojca, except nobles, will more likely meet his nephew and heir, Lord Marek.

Lord Anton Strolojca, court lord (NM, L). Almost a younger twin of Marius, Anton sought employment in the Karameikan government, since he had similar inclinations to Marius but no chance of inheriting the fief. He therefore moved to Specularum with his wife Avdotya, a member of the Ourosco clan. He is currently an intendant of the Ministry of Trade, working with Minister Bartran Cordelius. Anton tries to advance the interests of the south-eastern fiefs, but has not yet managed to obtain funding for the project he champions, the construction of a paved coastal road from Specularum to Vandevic and Strolojca. Anton and Avdotya have four sons and one daughter. Anton is a meek but determined bureaucrat, and can be easily met by characters interested in developing trade with the south-eastern fiefs.

Lord Marek Strolojca, court lord and Seneschal of Strolojca (NM, L). Marek is a man in his thirties, thin and somewhat sickly. Like his father and uncle, he favors intellectual pursuits and is a competent administrator, trained at the Scriveners’ Guild. He currently resides in Strolojca, where he has all but taken over the day-to-day rulership of the fief from his aging uncle. He is as of yet unmarried, but is considering several prospective brides -- however, he has procrastinated marrying until now becauses he aims at unifying the Strolojca lands with those of the Vandevic clan by marrying the Vandevic heir, who is still an infant. Lord Marek is the most likely person to be met by those interested in the government of Strolojca. His demeanor is polite, but business-like.

Father Barris Strolojca, priest of the Church of Traladara (C5, L). Where Marek continues the family looks, Barris is often thought of as “more an Ourosco than a Strolojca”, for his jolly, rubicund face and chubby physique take more after his maternal side. Not aiming at a political career, but still more at ease with intellectual than martial pursuits, Barris entered the priesthood of the Church of Traladara. He is currently the assistant librarian of the patriarchate of Marilenev. Thus, he lives in Specularum, taking advantage of his father’s mansion. Barris is a friendly and outgoing sort, and is likely to be encountered by Traladarans looking for information on the history of Traladara or the Church itself. Barris is unmarried and, not being expected to inherit the family fortune, uninterested in getting married. He does, however, have numerous female friends -- the Church of Traladara takes a very relaxed stance on personal relations, and Barris takes maximum advantage of this, which does not make him very popular with the prudish scholars of the Church of Karameikos he sometimes deals with professionally.

Lady Avdotya Strolojca, court lady (MU 1, L). The only daughter of Anton Strolojca, this thirty-year old woman served as a lady in waiting to Lady Selena Vandevic for several years, a typical occupation for young noblewomen who are not Sheared. She picked up some passing knowledge of arcane magic from Lord Gustav and his apprentices, until Lady Selena discovered it, had a furious quarrel with her husband for teaching dangerous and unladylike magics to her lady-in-waiting, and finally sent Avdotya back to her family in Specularum. She now lives with her family in Specularum. She is considering asking to be Sheared, although it is rather late at this point in her life, and joining the Magicians’ Guild. However, she lacks experience of the outside world and her reclusive temper, not unlike that of her uncle Marius, has prevented her from actually making any step in this direction. Her parents are considering trying to marry her off to some nobleman -- although she is a bit old by now (by their standards), a middle-aged widower like Sir Ulric Brezovo could be a good match for her.

Sir Hugo Strolojca, Knight of Karameikos (F9, N). This scion of the Strolojca line is an arrogant nobleman in his late twenties. A good swordsman and duelist (Expert in the long sword), Strolojca figures himself a dashing figure and a ladies’ man – though he rarely wins any favor due to his arrogance and outright brutality. Sir Hugo gained his title after a short but brilliant service in the military at Rugalov Keep. While a lieutenant, and a promising candidate for a captaincy, he made an enemy of the Minister of War, Admiral Lucius Hyraksos, and was forced to resign his commission -- although he was awarded the knightly title. He stands no chance to be named for a fief, so he is looking for an advantageous marriage which will enable him to inherit one. Hugo usually resides in the Specularum mansion his father owns, since it allows him to take part to the social life of the Traladaran aristocracy. He is likely to be met at parties, where his arrogant demeanor may lead to altercations or even a duel.

Lord Spassoje Strolojca, court lord (F5, N). The youngest son of Anton Strolojca, Spassoje is a successful adventurer in his mid twenties. With no chance to inherit the family fortune, no interest in a clerical career, and little aptitude except for the sword and shield, Spassoje looks to build a reputation with the Church and the government as a reliable troubleshooter and a loyal Karameikan. He plans to obtain a knightly title and a fief from Duke Stefan.

Gens DRACONIA, Landed Knights of Glucynthos

Coat of Arms (blazoned): Argent, a dragon segreant azure collared or, holding a lance or.

Draconius Family Tree from Fabius Victorianus I to the present



The Draconius family is a quite old Thyatian gens which has been traditionally associated with the Empire’s airborne military orders, the Retebius Air Fleet and the Knights of the Air. Family history holds that the original family head, Jovilios, was a simple mountain boy born in a village in the Altan Tepes range, an orphan who had lived in the company of a blue dragon cub he had found in the wilderness. According to this story, Jovilios was noticed by Retebius, the founder of the Thyatian Air Corps, and later trained by him to become the first Thyatian blue dragonrider. Since then, Jovilios’ descendants adopted the family name of Draconius (Draconia for females).

In the following centuries members of the Draconius family held important military positions and were often soldiers and officers in the Retebius Air Fleet. Among the most famous is Xentarion (AC 119-184), who took part as blue dragonrider to the Empire’s Alasyian campaigns of AC 148-150 and whose blue dragon Savirariash is said to have been the offspring of Jovilios’ blue dragon. Savirariash continued to be the dragon mount of Xentarion’s descendants, many of whom won the title of Lord or Knight, and who were all members of the Knights of the Air. After serving five Draconius riders, Savirariash died together with the last descendant of the Draconius’ main branch, Dracolytus (AC 278-316), in battle against the Alphatians on the Isle of Dawn during the Thyatian Civil War (AC 313-320), by crashing – on the verge of death - against the enemy’s flying airship and destroying it.

The family’s two minor branches, descended from Xentarion’s lesser brothers, followed two different paths. The junior branch, which later (around the beginning of the 5th century AC) changed their family name to Drakonion, settled in the countryside of Thyatis City, followed a more canonical military path (in the imperial navy and army, even if some of them indeed became Knights of the Air), became quite wealthy landowners, and had even some of its members elected to the Senate.

The senior branch instead, kept the old family name. Having acquired lands in the region of Retebius and settled down there, they continued the family airborne military tradition. It is from this branch of the family that the Karameikan Draconius descend. Among the foremost members of the old Thyatian Draconius are: Hypatius (AC 496-578), who – after a successful career in the Retebius Air Fleet as white dragonrider - was professor at the Retebius Air Academy; Urianus (AC 589-661), who was Minister of War under Empress Valeria ii of the Monomachos dinasty; Polydorus (grandson of Urianus, AC 646-712), unsuccessful general of the Thyatian army during the war against Alphatia at the end of the 6th century AC; Victoriana (AC 651-739, cousin of Polydorus), a magic-user Knight of the Air who was also the family’s first gold dragonrider. Victoriana and her gold dragon, Yskuomar, became famous thanks to their aerial assaults against the Alphatian forces, which slowed down their invasion of the Thyatian mainland from Alasyia in AC 728. Victoriana married Flavian iii, Duke of Retebius at the end of the war (AC 732). In AC 802, the great-grandson of Polydorus, Fabius Victorianus (AC 773-848), another blue dragonrider of the Retebius Air Fleet, received from the Duke of Retebius the title of Baron of Clivus DraconisDragonhill”), located on the banks of the upper Mesonian River. Since then, the baronial title has passed from father to son; family tradition has always required that the first male son of the family had to become a member of the Retebius Air Fleet or of the Knights of the Air in order to inherit the barony. After Fabius Victorianus i’s death, the barony passed to his son Fabius Victorianus ii (AC 824-898), to the latter’s son Nestorian (AC 873-925), then briefly to Nestorian’s lesser brother Urianus (AC 882-926), and finally to Urianus’ son Tarastion (born in AC 917 and still living).

Urianus was a pious adventuring cleric of the Church of Thyatis; he had not been trained to become a member of the Retebius Air Fleet because it was not expected that he, third son of Fabius Victorianus ii, could have a chance to inherit the barony. Thus with him the airborne tradition of the Draconius family was broken. Moreover, his premature death in AC 926, during one of his adventures, left his wife Regula in charge of his sons Tarastion and Vanyarine (both younger than ten years at the time), and she didn’t enforce the family tradition. Nevertheless, Tarastion was raised to become a proper nobleman, and served for years as advisor to the present Duke of Retebius’ father; Vanyarine, instead, chose the military path, enlisting in the imperial army. He served on the Isle of Dawn (Redstone and Westrourke) during the peaceful reign of Emperor Gabrionius v, then in 952 was chosen as legate to the next Governor General of Traladara, and moved there with his recently-married wife Gyneth Mabbot, a Westrourkian woman he had met while he was stationed at Newkirk.


Tarastion married a cousin of the Duke of Retebius, Glorianna, who bore him three children: Ovidius, Eudocia, and Diomedes.

Ovidius, an enthusiastic admirer of the family’s past heroes, insisted he be trained as an air-knight, and managed to become a griffon-rider in the Retebius Air Fleet. Upon the end of his service, he entered the Knights of the Air, and prepared to succeed his father as baron, but didn’t outlive him, dying in AC 992. Nevertheless, his marriage with a woman of senatorial rank, Hermia Korocrasium, produced the next heir of Clivus Draconis, Fabius Victorianus iii – who already rules the barony, but will inherit it formally only after his grandfather Tarastion’s death - and his younger brothers Jovilios and Urianus.

Eudocia died at only thirty years; her first daughter Jacintha was married but died at age 27 before giving birth to any children, while her second daughter Justina died at age 9.

Diomedes, the third son, enlisted in the imperial army very young, being attached as aide to the command staff of one of the legions during the final stages of Emperor Thincol’s reconquest of the Isle of Dawn (AC 962). His fighting experience was almost non-existent, but he made a good impression on his superiors. In the following years he ascended quickly through the army ranks, distinguishing himself in fights against local humanoid tribes in Redstone and in the Dust Reaches, and becoming a tribune in AC 968; in those years he also befriended other young noblemen and important characters, like Stefan Karameikos. In fact, when Stefan received the land of Traladara with the title of Grand Duke, Diomedes was asked to follow him and help him organize his army.


In his capacity of legate to the Governor General of Traladara, Vanyarine distinguished himself in various actions against Traladaran brigands and humanoid bands. His wife Gyneth had three children by him: one son, Bessarion (born in AC 954), and two daughters, Shaelyn (born in AC 960) and Mildred (born in AC 961; the names of the two daughters were chosen by their mother, and follow Westrourkian usage). Despite his will to contribute to help his motherland against the Alphatians in the war of AC 959-962, Vanyarine was ordered to stay in Traladara, where he helped the Governor General to keep the province under control and avoid anti-Thyatian uprisings, which were expected in the aftermath of the dramatic moments of the Alphatian Spike Assault on Thyatis City in AC 960.

During his stay in Traladara, Vanyarine managed to acquire a great deal of knowledge about that province and continued to serve under the next Governor General, this time sent by the new Emperor Thincol. During this time, he was mainly stationed in Specularum, were his children grew up. Meanwhile, his wife Gyneth had died in AC 965.

When Duke Stephan Karameikos of Machetos was gifted by the Emperor with permission to take the Province of Traladara as Grand Duke in AC 970, Vanyarine was a natural choice as one of Karameikos’ military experts. However, many of Stefan’s relatives came with him as well, trusted friends and advisors from Thyatis – men like Desmond Kelvin, and Lucius Hyraksos – and the highest ranks, titles, and positions were assigned to those men, leaving Vanyarine to serve under them. Most of them were young men, belonging to the same generation as Stefan Karameikos, they shared his enthusiasm, were eager to prove themselves in this new land, and had little love for older and more experienced men – like Vanyarine - who could tell them how to do things better.

One of the men arriving in Traladara with Stefan was indeed Vanyarine’s nephew, Diomedes who, despite being much younger than Vanyarine, was given the rank of General by Stefan and put in charge of organizing an unit of his new army. Vanyarine was asked by Diomedes to help him; resentful with the younger Diomedes for the higher position he held, Vanyarine did so with scarce enthusiasm. Despite this the two did a good job organizing the fledgeling recruits and the mercenary companies into a proper and disciplined army.

In the meantime, Diomedes managed to secure a profitable marriage soon after his arrival in Traladara, marrying in AC 971 Romana Vorloi, one of the sisters of Philip Vorloi, the wealthy merchant who was financing Stefan Karameikos’ takeover of Traladara. While he and his cousin were in the town of Vorloi attending the celebrations for the marriage, the Marilenev Rebellion broke out in Specularum, only to be quickly crushed by the Grand Duke, with the instrumental aid of Desmond Kelvin. Even as Diomedes and Vanyarine rushed to their liege’s side as soon as possible, the hotter fights of the rebellion had already taken place, and they could only contribute to put down some additional uprisings which had taken place in the capital’s countryside. Desmond Kelvin never passes up the opportunity to remark on Diomedes’ absence from the battlefield that day.

In the following years, while Diomedes was busy maintaining control over western Karameikos, and building or improving the Grand Duchy’s fortifications on that border (Radlebb Keep and Riverfork Keep), Vanyarine left active military service and entered the Ministry of War under Lucius Hyraksos; he was charged with patrolling the eastern coast of Karameikos, south of the Dymrak Forest, and overseeing the building works of the Eastron Road to protect them against bandit and goblin attacks.

While Diomedes’ marriage with Romana Vorloi produced three sons in a row (Xentarion in AC 973, Zenon in AC 977, and Gratian in AC 979), Vanyarine tried to improve his social standing through marriage as well. In AC 977 he married the much-younger last heir of a dying Traladaran family, Andjela Grogosula, who brought as a dowry her family lands, located on the eastern coast of the Grand Duchy, west of Rugalov. Vanyarine named these lands Glucynthos and received from the Grand Duke the Landed Lord title for them, in reward for his past services, in AC 978. This unexpected gift by the Grand Duke lessened his resentment toward Stefan Karameikos, and also his nephew, who now was a step behind him in the social ladder.


Meanwhile, Vanyarine’s first son, Bessarion, married a Thyatian adventurer and priestess of Valerias, Adrianina Lastarthus, in AC 972. Along with her brother Demetitus, also a cleric, she had followed Olliver Jowett’s ideas to found a new church in a new land, and had come to Traladara. Unfortunately, this great love of Bessarion died during childbirth two years later, leaving him with a daughter, Stephania. For a time, Bessarion tried to take care of Stephania himself, but the pain evoked by the memory of Adrianina was too much, and he began leaving Glucynthos for longer periods of time, adventuring in the Grand Duchy. During those years he perfected his martial skills, helping both the ducal forces and the population in many areas of the country.

Seeing that his new marriage with Andjela wouldn’t produce additional children, Vanyarine began to build political alliances for his chosen heir Bessarion by marrying him, and his sisters, to prominent noble families of Karameikos.

For Bessarion, Vanyarine chose a Traladaran wife, Anica Lutescu, nine years younger than him, belonging to a Traladaran clan of landowners who held the nearby coastal lands west of Rugalov River. Anica gave Bessarion a son, Petrus (born in AC 981), and a daughter, Arcadia (born in AC 982). Bessarion’s favoured child however, continued to be Stephania, who he considered the last legacy of his true love Adrianina.

Bessarion’s sisters, both of them praised for their beauty or intelligence, were married to Thyatian noblemen instead: Shaelyn married Adrianes Acastaran - a fighter who had recently earned knightly rank - in AC 982, and Mildred married Alvin Korrigan – lesser brother of the Ducal Seneschal Alexius - in AC 989.

Not everything was happy, however. In AC 983, just one year after they married and after many months of violent quarrelling, Shaelyn poisoned her husband Adrianes. Evidence of her crime was never found – Vanyarine’s influence ensured all traces were eradicated, and that Shaelyn was spared from magical examination – but the Acastaran family has been enemy of the Draconius ever since. Even though he protected her from a public trial (which would have damaged the whole family), Vanyarine refused to meet or speak to Shaelyn again, and she went to live in Dmitrov.

In AC 988, the second wife of Bessarion, Anica, died of a fatal brain disease. Even their son Petrus was endangered, but the clerics of the Church of Traladara managed to save him through their magic. Thereafter Bessarion fell into a deep depression, the grief caused by the loss of his second wife was too much for him to bear. His pain was further augmented by his father Vanyarine’s death in AC 991.

But then he began to re-emerge from his melancholy, a stronger man than before. He had suffered so much for the loss of his beloved wives, and the pain had been nearly unbearable – but now he had emerged from it with a much stronger will, and a much more complete comprehension of one’s path through his life. He left his two last sons with their aunt Mildred at Specularum, asked his father-in-law Ionut Lutescu (the father of his deceased second wife) to watch over Glucynthos, and took Stephania on many voyages. He was away with her for two years, during which they adventured in the Known World – Ierendi islands, the Darokinian cities, Alfheim Town, the dwarven kingdom of Rockhome, and then the Empire of Thyatis, from the mainland to the Isle of Dawn and Ochalea: Bessarion wanted to show her as much of the world as possible, before she grew too much and took her part of adult responsibilities. He was partly successful, because Stephania decided to embark on the path of arcane magic, even if she took a more studious than adventuring life. He also tried to teach her what he himself had understood after those tragic events, and let her see what in the world made life worth living, despite losses and painful happenings.

Bessarion’s other two children had longed for the return of their father. While Petrus was happy when his father and half-sister returned in AC 994, Arcadia was angered: her father had been away with Stephania for two years and had left them alone. She couldn’t stand this, and began to feel a deep hatred for Stephania, which she – rightly – saw as her father’s favourite daughter; she vowed to avenge herself.

When Bessarion returned, he devoted his time to the rule of Glucynthos. He took a more active role in his children’s education, and in the Grand Duchy’s politics. When Bessarion’s father-in-law, Ionut Lutescu, passed away in AC 998, he did much to have Lutescu’s son, Vlad (a stern priest of the Church of Traladara; the two had become good friends after Bessarion’s return), named Landed Lord of the nearby village of Rugalov, which in the years had grown from a small hamlet to a sizeable village and trade post – and succeeded. Thanks to their alliance, the Draconius’ and the Lutescu’s family lands, together with Rugalov Keep, represent today the backbone of the Grand Duke’s control over his easternmost border.


Once the construction of Stefan’s army was complete, Diomedes was appointed General of the 5th Division, in charge of the western keeps he had contributed to build and improve. His duties often kept him away from Specularum, where his wife and children lived. As Diomedes was often away carrying out his duties as General, their mother, Romana, brought their children to the Vorloi family mansion in Specularum, or to the court of his brother Philip in Vorloi town itself. There, the three sons have grown up good-natured but a little spoiled, surrounded by all sort of commodities, most of their wishes being fulfilled immediately. To his disappointment, Diomedes could do little to avoid this; whenever he chose private tutors for his sons, upon his return from his duties away from the capital, he systematically found that Romana had dismissed them for one futile reason or another – and so he gave up.

Add still to his disappointment, that he didn’t manage to secure advantageous marriages – those which could bring them titles or wealth - for his sons. His firstborn, Xentarion, became a source of constant embarrassment for his bad-tempered (toward men) and lecherous (toward women) behavior; Diomedes had him married with Celinda Penhaligon, the younger daughter of Lord Arturus, but this proved a disaster for Diomedes’ relations with the Penhaligon family when Xentarion’s many sexual escapades became known. Zenon insisted on undergoing the Shearing Ceremony at age 17 and went to sea, but lost an eye during a battle against pirates and was back home three years later. Gratian, a sickly boy, was forbidden by his mother to undergo the Shearing, and doesn’t show any interest in women.


Andjela Grogosula (Neutral Normal Woman) is Vanyarine’s second wife. Andjela is the last scion of the Grogosul clan, a Traladaran family who ruled the communities in the narrow coastal strip west of Rugalov. The Grogosul were already a clan in decline when the Thyatians conquered Traladara in AC 900, and the family slowly died out in the next few decades. Her father and elder brother went into the Dymrak Forest with a company of soldiers to retaliate against the goblins after their family lands had been raided – but they were ambushed and killed by the goblins in AC 975. Andjela was left alone trying keep together the pieces of her family fortunes; a very beautiful woman, she refused many suitors because initially she only wished to avenge her family, and began a short training as a warrior. Soon, she realized that her efforts could only at best result in her death, and that the best way to ensure the safety of the people living in her lands was to marry someone able to defend them. She chose to accept the marriage offer of Vanyarine Draconius, a Thyatian military man who was nearly thirty years older than her. Vanyarine already had three children, and no need to produce an heir; if Andjela’s marriage was to be a loveless one, it was better to chose a man that didn’t have the need to pursue an intimate relationship with her. Andjela became a sort of second mother for Bessarion’s last two children, Petrus and Arcadia, when their mother died in AC 988, and the two became quite fond of her, especially in the years in which their father was away with Stephania. Today Andjela spends her time in Glucynthos, taking care of the Draconius’ family mansion and organizing the tasks of the servants. She is quite an intelligent and cultured woman, well-versed in many languages, who has the uncomfortable habit to speak the truth even in the most untimely circumstances.

Arcadia (Neutral 2nd-level Magic-User) is Bessarion’s second daughter from his Lutescu wife, born in AC 982. As Petrus, Arcadia has almost no talent at magic, but managed to learn a little arcane lore from her aunt. Arcadia hates her half-sister because she is the favourite of their father, because she is so beautiful, because she learnt magic much better than her, because she stays at Specularum’s court and not in far-away Glucynthos, because she is allowed to marry who she wishes while Arcadia must marry who her father commands: in a word, Arcadia broods a hate as deep as possible for Stephania, and for their father Bessarion as well. Of all her family, Arcadia only admires her aunt Shaelyn, and loves her acquired grandmother Andjela. Almost driven mad by her hate, she plans to poison Stephania as the first step of her revenge.

Bessarion (Lawful 9th-level Fighter, Str 16, Wis 18) is the first son of Vanyarine Draconius. He is a solidly built man, 5’10” tall for 165 lbs. of weight, who doesn’t show at all his 48 years of age: his hair is a full light brown colour, lacking any sign of age, and his body is a warrior’s, well-toned and muscled. His clean shaven face always has an authoritative – if tired – air, and his blue eyes seem to look deep into one’s soul.

Although the deaths of his two wives haunted his early adulthood, Bessarion has risen as a much stronger man. During his travels with his daughter Stephania in AC 991-994, he managed to trace the activities of a group of slavers who were smuggling slaves into and out of Karameikos, and his deeds earned him the title of Knight from the Grand Duke. He would have liked then to take paladin vows and go wandering in the name of the Church of Karameikos, but his family and political duties prevented this.

Returning home, he assumed the rule of Glucynthos, securing it against goblins and bandits, improving villages and roads, building bridges, and ploughing new lands to settle and farm. He also built a chapel in his castle, devoted both to the Church of Traladara (Traladaran clerics saved his son Petrus from a fatal disease in AC 988), and to the Church of Karameikos. Near his chamber, he erected a shrine to the Immortal Valerias, in front of which he prays every night for the soul of his beloved Adrianina.

In the years since his return, he has also tried (or is trying) to put his children on their respective roads: a life to be enjoyed for Stephania, an advantageous marriage for Arcadia, and the role of his heir for Petrus.

Bessarion grew up in the Thyatian Province of Traladara, among Traladaran relatives, and as a result he doesn’t feel any real difference between Thyatians and Traladarans; he feels that the Immortals have led the Thyatians to Traladara for a purpose: bringing the Thyatian efficiency and organisation and merging it with the Traladarans’ traditions and identity to create a new, prosperous culture. Bessarion is deeply convinced that the Karameikos family will succeed in giving his new people a bright future, in spite of any difficulty ahead.

Bessarion knows he has not been the best of fathers, and knows that Arcadia wishes him ill for the time he spent away with Stephania. Because of this, lately he has tried to spend more time in Glucynthos with Petrus and Arcadia, than in Specularum at the Grand Duke’s court.

At court, Bessarion supports Stefan’s policy of a future of integration between the Grand Duchy’s two cultures. He is one of the more respected Thyatian aristocrats, both because the wisdom he always shows in his words, because of the tragedies he had to bear in his family life, and because of his unquestionable martial prowess. There Bessarion strongly represents the New Karameikan nobility, born from mixed blood families, and indifferent to ethnic and religious differences in favour of a common Karameikan future. Bessarion is also a strong supporter of the Karameikos family, and he is also on very good terms with the Korrigan, Prothemian, and Hyraksos families. He has gone so far as to betrothing his son Petrus with a scion of the Prothemian house, the young Lady Selina (niece of the Duchess); the two should marry soon. Despite the resentment his father felt toward his cousin Diomedes, now the two branches of the family are in good standing.

Mildred (Neutral 4th-level Magic-User, Int 18) is the younger daughter of Vanyarine, born in AC 961. She’s quite a plain woman when compared to her sister, and has always lived in the shadow of Shaelyn’s rebelliousness. Mildred had a short arcane apprenticeship under Teldon at the Magicians’ Guild Hall of Specularum, but she had not enough will nor interest to pursue the boring path of the magic-user any further; Mildred would have been a very able magic-user, if only she had had the will to apply her otherwise high intelligence to arcane studies. Nevertheless, she’s a very cultured woman whose interests range from natural sciences to literature, and who often sponsors important artists and scholars. Her father arranged for her the most important marriage of the Draconius family, that with Alvin Korrigan, brother to the Ducal Seneschal Alexius. After marrying and giving birth to his son Milo (born in AC 990), she mostly lives with her family in Specularum; Mildred puts her great wit to use by counselling her husband and her brother.

Petrus (Lawful 1st-level Magic-User) is Bessarion’s first son from his second wife. Like his sister Arcadia, Petrus learnt magic while spending time with his aunt Mildred, despite having very little talent for it. He’s sincerely attached to his father and half-sister Stephania, and doesn’t share Arcadia’s hatred toward them, but is much more interested in courtly feasts, balls, and pastimes than in ruling a goblin-endangered dominion. He’s currently betrothed to the Duchess’ niece, Selina Prothemian, and their wedding is planned for the next year.

Shaelyn (Chaotic 1st-level Rake) is the attractive, older sister of Bessarion, the middle child born in AC 960. Unlike Mildred, who was obedient and did what her father Vanyarine ordered her to do, Shaelyn developed a rebellious character. She refused to study arcane magic like her sister, and was thus forced to stay in Glucynthos under a private tutor, constantly angering her father for her unruly behavior. When one day she came to his father claiming that her old tutor had tried to use violence on her, she wasn’t believed, and her situation even worsened.

At last, when her character seemed to have been subdued, Vanyarine married her to Adrianes Acastaran, a Thyatian adventurer who had recently earned the title of Knight and acquired some properties in the countryside of the capital – and who was over ten years older than she was. After one year of life with this detested man, she could not bear anything more, and poisoned her husband, killing him in AC 983. Then she fled from home as Vanyarine, while sparing her a public trial, didn’t allow her to return with his pardon. Only after her father’s death did Shaelyn once again see her sister and brother, though she continued to live a separate life in Dmitrov.

Shaelyn is a passionate and unpredictable person. She tends to follow her own whims without much thought for what others might think or want. Perhaps because of the events of her youth, she doesn’t like or trust men at all. Currently, at Dmitrov, she lives with a Makai girl, Ulani, who is nearly twenty years younger than her. Shaelyn doesn’t hide her love for the young woman, and her conduct is becoming the source of a local scandal in Dmitrov, despite Bessarion’s best efforts at keeping things quiet.

Stephania (Lawful 6th-level Magic-User) is the first daughter of Bessarion Draconius and Adrianina Lastarthus. She was born in AC 974, and her mother died while giving birth to her. Her father has always loved her more than his other children because she is the only legacy of his first wife - his one true love. Stephania has been doted upon by her father, and has grown a little spoiled as a result; she is always used to the best standards, but not overly haughty or arrogant. In fact, she loves her father as much as he loves her.

After returning with her father from their journeys through the Known World, Stephania chose to learn arcane magic at her aunt Mildred’s suggestion. She soon discovered she had some talent for it – and she is much more studious than her aunt – becoming with time more accomplished than Mildred herself. Stephania’s arcane interests mostly head toward divination and detection spells; she studied under the tutoring of the Traladaran mage Claransa Tyrevic, known as ‘the Seer’ (and a few years her elder).

Stephania is very beautiful, with dark brown hair, and green eyes like her mother’s; poets and courtiers claims that her beauty is rivalled only by that of Marianna Vorloi, the daughter of Baron Philip Vorloi. She has received many marriage proposals, but her father wants to let her decide who her husband will be, and she still awaits her love despite being well into marriage age (besides, this is another ground of anger her half-sister Arcadia has with her, because Bessarion instead plans a political marriage for her).

Currently, Stephania acts as one of the Duchess’ ladies-in-waiting. She is rarely seen at the Magicians’ Guildhall of Specularum, even if she studied there, but often pays visits to her father in Glucynthos or is visited by him in Specularum. Stephania has had a couple of semi-secret love affairs in the last few years, but has since ended them both. She’s still awaiting for her true love – a knight or a noble adventurer who performed some spectacular deed for her might even manage to win her heart.


Diomedes (Neutral 10th-level Fighter, Expert with normal sword) is the third child of the Draconius family branch who ruled the Barony of Clivus Draconis, in the Duchy of Retebius, Thyatis. A short man with thinning dark hair and a hawkish nose, Diomedes is one of the members of the lesser Thyatian aristocracy who answered Stefan Karameikos’ call in AC 970 for the colonization of Traladara. A tribune with a limited but successful military experience on the Isle of Dawn, Diomedes was put in charge of the new units of Stefan’s army, a light infantry force – while Desmond Kelvin was in command of the cavalry, Lucius Hyraksos of the navy, and finally Arturus Penhaligon in command of the Duke’s Guard, a heavy infantry unit. Diomedes could not take full part in the fights against Traladaran rebels during the Marilenev Rebellion – he was celebrating his marriage with Romana in Vorloi at the time – but quelled the last uprisings in the countryside, and some time later contributed to the defeat of the humanoid tribes in northern Karameikos.

After those events, while his fellows earned better positions and titles – Kelvin and Penhaligon received their own fiefs, Hyraksos became Minister of War - Diomedes was put in charge of the western division of the Karameikan army, with the rank of General. He was unsatisfied with this ‘honor’, feeling he deserved at least as much recognition as Kelvin and Penhaligon, who had had the opportunity to work with better equipped and trained units. Diomedes suspected that Desmond Kelvin, who had always remarked on his absence from the fight against the Marilenev rebels in AC 971, was behind his unjust treatment by Stefan.

In the following years, Diomedes drove the improvement of the fortifications at Riverfork Keep first, and then supervised the construction of Radlebb Keep. Initially skeptical about the need to build a fort in the middle of the Radlebb Woods, Diomedes soon realized that the Radlebb Keep was key to the survival of the Karameikan control over western Traladara – without its presence, the sheer number of humanoid tribes in the southern Radlebb Woods and in the Cruth Lowlands, combined with Baron von Hendriks’ obvious ambitions, would have led to the loss of Riverfork Keep and almost the entire western part of Karameikos.

Nowadays, Diomedes spends most of his time in Specularum, lobbying for additional funds for the 5th Division without much success. He pays a yearly visit to both forts under his supervision, usually in late spring. Once every five years, he journeys to his father’s estate in the Duchy of Retebius (or is visited by members of his family in Specularum); the last of these family meetings, that had in the past seen the participation of the Karameikan Retebius family branch along with Diomedes’ cousin’s family, happened about four years ago.

In AC 971 Diomedes married the sister of Philip Vorloi, Romana, who had three sons by him in the next ten years. The children however, were mostly raised by their mother and close to the rest of the Vorloi family, because Diomedes was often away for military duties. Diomedes’ had always been proud of the fact that he held a higher office than his uncle Vanyarine, despite the latter’s longer military experience, and this gave birth to some resentment between Vanyarine and his nephew. In AC 978, however, when Vanyarine received the title of Landed Lord of Glucynthos, it was Diomedes’ turn to feel envy for his uncle’s noble status. Even if their relationship appeared to be cordial, Diomedes often complained about this situation in private. After Vanyarine’s death in AC 991, Diomedes’ coldness towards his cousin Bessarion’s family has indeed thawed, and the two are good allies at court, even if Diomedes is not as staunch as his cousin in the support of a Karameikan nation – he still feels the need for the Thyatians to keep exclusive control of Karameikos’ key positions, and his loyalty lies with the Thyatian Empire (where his father and brother live).

Today, General Diomedes is quite disillusioned with Grand Duke Stefan’s ability in judging people and, more in general, in governing a nation. While he disliked – and was disliked in turn by - the first Baron Kelvin, after the death of Desmond i in a duel in AC 996, he has stayed on good terms with the current Baron Desmond ii, a man who understands the need for a strong military better than the Grand Duke. He is also on good terms with Lord Retebius of Locrida, an estate found west of his cousin Bessarion’s lands. Diomedes, together with his cousin, is one of the foremost opponents of the Black Eagle Baron at court. He was in good standing with his brother-in-law, Baron Philip Vorloi, but after his son Xentarion’s illicit sexual affair with the Baron’s niece, Lucia, Philip has become colder toward him. Xentarion’s behavior has also been the cause of a recent grudge between Diomedes and the Cordelius, Antonic, and Penhaligon families: the general consensus is that if he can’t control his son, he can’t be trusted, and so Diomedes’ image in front of them has suffered because of this. He cooperates with other members of the military, though he doesn’t trust the Traladaran officers - especially people like Captain Arkan Sulanov who fought in the Marilenev Rebellion.

The PCs can meet Diomedes if they enlist in the army – new recruits reach their posts in Riverfork or Radlebb Keeps when the General visits the fort. General Diomedes tends to make quick judgments over people, so this first contact could be very important for their careers – quick thinking and strong action in any unexpected encounter while on the route to the forts is going to put them on Diomedes’ shortlist for promotion.

Diomedes is also experimenting with a new idea to extend the Karameikan control around Riverfork and Radlebb Keeps – an unit of scouts acting as explorers and police force in the wilderness around the two forts. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the funds for his project, so he is instead considering the possibility of letting the scouts keep a portion of smuggled or stolen goods they find as pay. If the PCs look like they could handle themselves well in the wilderness, he may propose this kind of deal.

Gratian (Lawful Normal Man) is Diomedes’ youngest son. A sickly boy since birth, he was forbidden by his mother Romana to undergo the Shearing Ceremony after what happened to his brother Zenon. Lazy, fearful, and skittish, he has settled for the life of a courtier at Vorloi and Specularum, much to the disappointment of his father, who doesn’t see in him any real quality. Gratian has cultivated a somewhat artistic taste, becoming fond of poetry and drama; he’s often seen in the company of Specularum bards and companies of actors, and would like to write plays and poetry himself. Despite his father’s urge to marry him, Gratian has shown no enthusiasm about marriage – he much prefers the company of young and beautiful courtiers and valets.

Romana Vorloi (Lawful Norman Woman) is one of Baron Vorloi’s sisters and the wife of Diomedes Draconius since AC 971, when their marriage was arranged to strengthen the alliance between families who had followed Stefan Karameikos in Traladara. Despite her 46 years of age, Romana still looks like the beautiful lady she was twenty years ago, with her dark brown hair, azure eyes, and healthy body. In fact, she spends quite a lot of time taking care of her appearance, never sparing money when makeup, clothings, body care, and jewelry are involved. Romana likes to be in the company of younger ladies, and to be looked upon by younger nobles – even though she would never betray her marriage vows. Quite lazy where her duties as head of the house are concerned, she has overly worried about her children in the past, and her behavior has somewhat spoiled them. Today, Romana lives mostly in company of her sons Gratian and Zenon in Vorloi and in Specularum; she insist that Diomedes should leave the military duties which worry him so much to someone else, and instead focus on their courtly life in Specularum.

Xentarion (Lawful 3rd-level “Cleric” – see below -, Str 16, Wis 16) is Diomedes’ and Romana’s eldest son. He is of medium-height and good-looking, with a robust and muscular body, dark brown hair and blue eyes. Raised by his mother in the shadow of the Vorloi family, Xentarion has enjoyed all the trappings of a courtly education. While adolescent, he became a source of trouble at Vorloi’s court when his affairs with some of the girls there were discovered, but his lecherous behavior could not be restrained over the years, helped by his attractiveness and by his unusual skills (see below). In AC 993 Diomedes arranged for him a marriage with Lord Arturus Penhaligon’s daughter Celinda – after failing to secure the hand of her elder sister Arteris - in the hope this would stop Xentarion’s love escapades. But Diomedes’ purpose failed spectacularly, and his son’s affairs didn’t cease. A scandal and serious grudge between Diomedes and the Cordelius’ family exploded in AC 998 when Xentarion was found entertaining an affair with both Fabiana Antonic – younger sister of Sir Retameron and wife to the much-older Guldahan Cordelius, Karameikan ambassador to the Five Shires – and her half-sister Chrysantha. The Penhaligon and Cordelius families required an official public apology by Xentarion, which he gave, trying afterwards to keep quiet for some months. Since then, he has tried to limit himself to non-noble damsels, but the risk of him stumbling into the bed of some lady still lurks behind every corner.

Xentarion is used to doing as he pleases, fulfilling his wishes, be listened to and fawned over by others. He is quick to take offense when contradicted or criticized, and his quarrels, fist-fights, and occasional duels (not always won by him) with other noblemen have become a matter for gossip. Xentarion is good-natured and won’t do anything that seriously harmed a person (at least consciously) – but this doesn’t include embarrassing his family or those of the ladies he has affairs with. He is an intelligent, orderly, and tidy person, and would make his father proud of him if only he could restrain his lecherousness and bad-temper.

Unknown to him and to his family, Xentarion possess a special gift. He was conceived during Kaldmont 28th of the year AC 972, a day full of mystical meanings and arcane effects. As a consequence, he developed over the years a set of unusual abilities which allow him to read and influence other people’s minds, penetrate into their dreams, and the like. With time, he could even be able to contact the Spirit World if he managed to direct and train his abilities. Xentarion’s skills are controlled by his innermost wishes, which up until now mostly revolve around women: he’s likely to read the mind of a girl he wants to seduce, influence her feelings toward him, or penetrate into the dreams of a woman he desires – but all of this happens without his conscious control. Sometimes, his abilities could even be of some use in tense or dangerous situations.

In game terms, consider Xentarion a 3rd-level cleric, without clerical weapon restrictions. He advances as a cleric, and has two “open” first-level spell slots (no need to memorize spells) which he can use to “cast” (he doesn’t do any casting actually, these effects take just place) the following spells: remove fear (and its reverse cause fear), ESP, command word and fellowship (the last two are found in GAZ12 – The Golden Khan of Ethengar). Used slots are refreshed after Xentarion has had a night’s sleep. Instead of the turn undead ability, Xentarion can use one of the following powers with a successful Wisdom check:

If he managed to understand and perfect his powers, Xentarion could rise in level, acquiring additional spells or abilities at the DM’s discretion. The discovery of the Spirit World could also have an unexpected effect on his personality.

Zenon (Neutral 5th-level Thief, Dex 16) is Diomedes’ second son. Lean and frail, he possess none of his father’s or older brother’s build and health. In AC 994 he insisted on being Sheared, and went to sea – or so he said. In truth he got in touch with the Kingdom of Thieves in Specularum, and for three years he performed quite well as a burglar – one time even sneaking into the Vorloi family mansion in the capital! Once however, by chance, he witnessed one of the heads of the Veiled Society while he was unmasking himself, and discovered that it was Cartha Radu. Zenon was taken and tortured by the thugs of the Veiled Society, but managed to escape before they could kill him, but not before they had gouged out his left eye. Zenon fled the capital and stayed in hiding for several months. In the end, in AC 998, scared and impoverished, he returned to his family saying he had decided to quit his Shearing time after an unfortunate encounter with pirates at sea, which had cost him his eye. Since then, he has lived in fear at the court of Baron Vorloi, hoping that the Radu could not reach him there and refusing any offer for offices in Specularum. Out of fear of being killed, Zenon never revealed what he saw, but Cartha Radu has not forgotten him, and plans to strike at Zenon very soon.

This one has quite an history as the material was already published in the Vaults, but separated, here:
History of House Strolojca
Karameikos Noble Families
Karameikan Nobles and their heirs

And the seats of these two noble families also appears in my 3.2 mph map of Karameikos (modified from Agathokles' one)
Strolojca is in the far west, between Halag (former Fort Doom) and Sulescu, on the coast.
Glucynthos (the seat of House Draconia) is in the east, between Rugalov and Dmitrov, on the coast.