Population: 1,000,000 (human – Mulan) approximately, plus around 3,500,000 slaves (90% human – various, 6% dwarf, 2% halfling, 2% other)
Government: Dictatorship (Theocracy)
Religion: Church of the All Father (Gil-Geamesq)
Unther was once a great empire that dominated the lands now known as Shaar, the Wizard’s Reach, Chessenta, and Aglarond. Today it is but a shadow of its former glory that occupies only its ancestral region, having long sunk into somnolence under the eternal rulership of the paranoid and tyrannical God-King Gil-Geamesq.
Noble Untheric, like its relative Mulhorandi, is one of the few remaining relatives of Roushoum the noble language of ancient Imaskar. Untheric is part of the Rauric family of languages which dominates the lands of the Mulan. The official alphabet of Untheric is a runic alphabet closely related to Dethek but which in turn inspired the formation of the Thorass alphabet. Most War’Lur and Seh’Nis that can write use the Thorass alphabet, as do the An’Ulae when interacting with foreigners and those not of the An’Ular households of Unther.
It is a highly inflected language with many cases and tenses that sounds slow and drawling when compared to modern Faerunian languages. The Untheric alphabet is runic in nature with each runic representing a syllable.
A lexicon of some of the more common known words of Untheric are as follows:
Masate: Means Soldier. Pronounced Ma-Sar-Tay. Plural is also Masate.
Gurmasate: Means Army (literal translation is large group of soldiers). Plural is also Gurmasate.
Isriku: Means Tax Collector (literal translation is finder of coin). Plural is Iskarue.
An’Ular: Means Noble Houses (literal translation is household of Heavenly Ones). Never used singular unless it is to refer to one of the gods themselves.
Anul: Means Heavenly Being.
An’Ulae: Female bias of An’Ular which implies lesser status in Untheric. Is used as the term for Freeholder families which are formed of the bastard scions of An’Ular.
Gud: Means Warrior. Pronounced g-OO-d. Plural is pronounced good.
Eshadak: A bronze stabbing sword.
Hitir: A bronze javelin
Pederu: A light bronze splinted armour consisting of bronze plates sewn onto cloth shirts.
Aen: Lord. (Ul’Aen = High Lord), (Rab’Aen = Great Lord), (Seh’Aen = Young Lord)
War’Lur: Means slave, literally translates to “later person”
Androm: Means noble house, literally translates as ship of the heavens
Kimaru: God Tomb – a steppe pyramid
Napilther: Life, energy
Ber: Boss, master
Hasshepu: Wizard, Sorcerer, Magic User
Debuni: Fortification, Castle, Fort, Citadel
Sel: Harbour or Haven
Pesq: Border, Edge
Tahaen: General, Warlord, Battlemaster
Rafa: Great, Good, Best, Expert
Ma’at: Oneness of being
Ulgariph: High Protector
Om, Ist, Ath, Ed, Huu, San, Ner, Saab, Bii: Numbers 1-9
Phodadm: Civilisation, Settlement
Sraru: Freedom, Liberation
Ghul: Serpent, Snake
Tanas: Roughly translates as Blood Sport
Seh-An’Allu: Children of the gods
Kanda: A variety of tree that produces a resin resembling frankincense, also the name of the resin itself.
Lughe: Long flowing garment wrapped around the chest and torso
Litaqzi: Duel to the death
Qabasqi: Corrupted one. Originally used to refer to the orcs when first encountered as the Mulan believed them demons borne from corrupted spirits sent to visit death upon the Mulan for their decadent ways. Now it is used to refer to demonic outsiders. Pronounced Habishy
Slave Tongue: Outside of the noble classes of Unther, there is a language that lies hidden among the under classes of society. Millennia of slavery, with little care to where the slaves come from, has given rise to a pidgin language that mixes all the languages of southern Faerun with Untheric and Thorass as the base language (although Common is infiltrating even here). The language uses the Thorass alphabet and to most An’Ular it looks like the slaves are attempting and failing to learn the Noble Untheric language when in truth they have a language of their own that their masters are completely unable to comprehend.
- -4366 DR: Imaskari artificers open gates to another world and abduct thousands of humans to serve as slaves. The Imaskari then close the gates and erect a magical barrier around their lands which prevents all magical teleportation and planar travel in or out (except that of the Imaskari).
- c. -4000 DR: The Lake Azulduth is first documented as existing south of the Alamber Sea (the Grand Disjunction).
- -2489 DR: Arrival of the God Kings: Ancient heroes and kings of the mulan slaves arrive on Toril in the Teyla-Shan (Godswatch Mountains) after travelling for centuries through the Border Ethereal to rescue their people. Imaskari slaves in Raurin begin to revolt against their masters.
- -2488 DR: Battle of the Whirling Sands: The god-kings and their flying citadels launch a surprise attack on Inupras in the heart of the Imaskari Empire. Horus slays the Lord Artificer Yuvaraj. Mulan slaves everywhere rise up in revolt, other slaves in far off provinces rebel once word reaches them of the destruction of Inupras.
- -2135 DR: Founding of Skuld: The godking Ra founds Skuld; the City of Shadows on the eastern shore of the Alamber Sea.
- -2087 DR: Founding of Unthalass: The nation of Unther is founded with the capital of Unthalass, after its godkings and people massacre the native Turami living on the plains of the fertile river delta.
- -1967 to -1961 DR: First Mulhorandi-Untheri War: Unther and Mulhorand begin a series of clashes over territory around the River of Swords. Both sides make extensive use of coerced tribes from nearby lands in the 6 year skirmish. After other threats begin to surface both Empires agree the River of Swords as a common border.
The First Untheric Empire
While Unther as a nation was formed a century before -1961 DR, it wasn’t until after the First Mulhorandi Untheri War that the beginnings of an empire were found. Prior to the war Unther was little more than a growing capital and a few logging camps, the war allowed both Unther and Mulhorand to acquire the magical legacies of Okoth, and the ensuing peace allowed both nations to focus their attentions in other directions.
Unther, bolstered by the powerful magics at it’s command, embarked upon a period of expansion that brought it into conflict with the many dragons in and around it’s borders. Once the Dragon Purges eliminated the draconic threat, Unther quickly expanded to fill the void and a new empire was born.
As the centuries passed, Unther expanded north to the southern shores of the Yuirwood and the Priador Plateau (Modern: Thay), and south into the Shaar. Then the Orcgate was opened and a horde of orcs swarmed the northern colonies of Akanu, Mulhorand, and Unther.
The war to retake their territory and close the Orcgate was costly for everyone involved. Unther lost a score of godkings, ten thousand warriors, and treasures uncounted. It also began to lose control of its far flung territories in the Shaar as it lacked the manpower to secure them.
In its weakened state E-Nlil; the ruler of Unther, began diplomatic talks regarding a future alliance with Akanu. The details are unknown to all save Gil-Geamesq, as he and E-Nlil ventured into neutral territory to sign the final treaty, only Gil-Geamesq returned and declared himself the God-King of Unther.
- -1961 DR: The village of Dalath is established and swiftly destroyed by the Ash Dragon (so named for the ash that covered his body) Vulpomyscan. The Ash dragon proceeded to terrorise all the lands from the Smoking Mountains to the River of Swords (including disrupting a battle between Mulhorandi and Untheri forces).
- -1960 DR to -1898 DR: The Dragon Purges: Amar-Du’uk and Ass-Uraqn lead the forces of Unther against the many dragons that dwell around the lands of Unther.
- -1960 DR: Amar-Du’uk battles and destroys the Ash Dragon above the Plains of Black Ash while Ass-Uraqn leads the Gurmasate of Unther against the Black Legion (an entire clan of enslaved dwarven warriors). Ass-Uraqn renames the fortress Debuni Nizza’Kali (Citadel of the Flying Flame).
- -1769 DR: Unther loses all contact with the Citadel of the Flying Flame, it is later found to be overrun with monsters and abandoned by the fledgling nation.
- c.-1500 DR: Two thousand years before the current age, cities begin to develop in Mulhorand and Unther.
- -1433 DR: Unther establishes a number of colonies along the southern coast of the Precept of Priador (Modern: Wizards’ Reach). They immediately come into conflict with the elves of Yuirshanyaar.
- -1250 DR: After years of skirmishing with the elves of Yuirshanyaar, the combined might of Akanu and Unther drive the elves deep into the Yuirwood, the settlements of Altumbel and the southern shore of Aglarond are firmly established after the campaign.
- -1087 DR: The Theurgist Adept Thayd rebels, along with most of the wizards in Unther and Mulhorand.
- -1081 DR: Thayd and his conspirators are defeated. Thay’d is executed, but prophesises that Mulhorand and Unther will never be as great again.
- -1076 DR to -1069 DR: The Orcgate Wars: The Orcgate opens in what is now the Plateau of Thay; hundreds of thousands of orcs invade the northern shore of the Alamber Sea. Mulhorand loses control of the Precept of the Priador while Unther and Akanu lose the settlements in Altumbel and the Wizards’ Reach.
- -1071 DR: Battle of the Gods: The forces of Akanu, Mulhorand, and Unther; led by their godkings, launch a concerted attack on the orcs occupying their northern territories with help from native tribes in neighbouring lands. A series of grand battles begins that sees the orcs summon their warlords and the deaths of many gods of the Old Empires; including Ra, Amar-Du’uk, Sin-An’na, TiaMa’at. and many other Akanic, Mulhorand, and Untheric deities.
- -1069 DR: The Orcgate Wars are ended, the orcs are defeated and driven from the lands around the Netarand (Modern: Thay).
- -1068 DR: The Scattering of the Tusks: Defeated by the forces of Mulhorand, the surviving grey orcs summoned during the Orcgate Wars flee northward into surrounding lands, coming into conflict with the elves of Lethyr. Felling trees and dying by the thousands under a storm of elvish arrows, the orcs construct crude boats and cross the Easting Reach.
- -1064 DR: A portal opens in the Shaar which disgorges thousands of Nar from the Kingdom of Ashanath. The city of Shaundaular is erected within a year and the expansion of this new power displaces the Untheric presence in the Shaar.
- -734 DR: Rise and Fall of the Untheric Empire: After a period of negotiation between Gil-Geamesq and E-Nlil, the Empires of Akanu and Unther merge. Gil-Geamesq is pronounced God-King of the Second Empire of Unther, E-Nlil is declared to have departed Unther in search of peace.
The Second Untheric Empire
The Second Untheric Empire was marked by the increasingly tyrannical and inept rule of Gil-Geamesq the God-King. Gil-Geamesq oversaw a period of unrivalled growth as Unther extended its territories further south into Central and Eastern Shaar, and even as far away as Dambrath. Unther however was being weakened by the rapid expansion and by the whims of Gil-Geamesq and his nepotism towards his kin and favoured pets.
The Second Untheric Empire saw no less than 3 extended periods of warfare; the first with the Theocracy of Eltabranar, then the Shoon Imperium, and finally the League of Samathar. Each war weakened Unther yet further until finally it could no longer hold onto any territory outside of Unther itself.
- -692 DR: Year of the Shadowed Traveller: Unther conquers an embattled dwarven settlement built into the edge of the Landrise where the River Shaar emerges. The settlement was under siege by a mixed force of goblinoids and giants and was unable to defend itself properly with the golden armaments its warriors wielded. This conquest sparked a century of skirmishes with the gold dwarves of the Great Rift, saw the great dwarven nation decline and abandon its surface holdings, and resulted in a grudge against Unther that the dwarves still hold into modern times.
- -623 DR: Year of Clipped Wings: Narfell attempts to invade Mulhorand with a massive flotilla of ships. The navy of Unther rescues the besieged ports of Mulhorand with a rear attack while Raumathar invades the now sparsely defended Narfell controlled Priador Plateau.
- -135 DR: Year of Old Beginnings: Founding of Bezantur. Other cities are soon built on the coastal areas of the Wizard’s Reach as Mulhorand and Unther once again expand northwards.
- -27 DR: Year of the Masquerade: Rab’Aen Ass-Tukzu of Unthalass is tasked with conquering Westgate and expanding the Empire of Unther further west. He spends a few months hiring mercenary forces from Akanu and the Vilhon region before setting sail with his fleet. The Masque King Ryndarth II of Westgate (known for introducing the masquerade balls to Westgate) was unmasked by Ass-Tukzu as a doppelganger (who had fled Akanu some years earlier after a number of disappearances, and was easily identified by his distinguished mask which King Ryndarth now possessed). Ass-Tukzu did not however conquer Westgate for Unther and instead crowned himself King Ashtukzu I of the Mulan Dynasty.
- 75 DR Year of Clinging Death: Plague wracks southern Faerûn, devastating Chessenta, Unther, the Vilhon Reach, and the Shaar.
- 106 DR: Year of the Adamantine Spiral: The Princes of Myrkul Bey Al’Kursi led by Bey Al’Hanar, long exiled from their homeland of Murghom, free Eltab from his prison deep in the cave of a dracolich in the Shaar. Eltab helps the Princes of Myrkul Bey Al’Kursi to conquer the surrounding tribes and establish the nation of Eltabranar.
- 108 DR: Year of the Flood: Ensi of Ram-Manu seize almost all temples of Ass-Uraqn in Unther during a religious festival. Ass-Uraqn and his church are exiled from the Empire of Unther.
- The First Great Flood of the River Alamber. Unthalass is nearly destroyed after flood defences catastrophically fail during a huge storm.
- The city of Adanu is totally flooded by a combination of severe storms, flooding rivers, and failing flood defences in a catastrophe that mirrors the flooding of Unthalass.
- 117 DR: Year of the Swinging Pendulum: Eltabranar occupies the ruins of Shaundaular and establishes a new capital.
- 202 DR: Year of the Fanged Gauntlet: Tribes of Arkaiun barbarians from the south (Eltabranar) invade southern Unther and Mulhorand.
- 202 DR to 205 DR: The War of Claws: The Theocracy of Eltabranar invades southern Unther and Mulhorand with Eltab leading it’s armies deep into Mulhorand’s territory. The Mulhorandi deliberately lose ground drawing Eltab further north, while its armies regroup behind him. Eltab’s forces are ultimately routed and the demon lord is driven north and imprisoned beneath Thaymount by the magic of the sword Hadryllis.
- 211 DR: Year of Spoiled Splendours: The armies of Unther and Mulhorand conquer the Theocracy of Eltabranar (in what is now the Eastern Shaar) and destroy the capital city of Shandaular. The surviving Arkaiuns flee to what will later become known as Dambrath.
- Unther pursues the Arkauins of Eltabranar south into Dambrath
- 229 DR: Year of the Black Flame: The Brotherhood of the Black Flame are officially formed in Unther. Over the next 20 summers they destroy several Gurmasate (armies) formed by the local Aen (lords) of Unther and develop many important magics.
- 241 DR: Year of the Hippogriff’s Folly: Dorgon “Stonecloak” Heamllolothtar; the reigning Magister of Mystra, arrives as a pilgrim in Shussel to spread the word of Mystra. Challenged to a duel by Gir-Dan’Aulauger; the most powerful wizard in all Unther and leader of the Brotherhood of the Black Flame, Dorgon “Stonecloak” perishes in the spell duel.
- 249 DR: Year of the Crystal Casket: The Brotherhood of the Black Flame are officially declared outlaws in Unther, their holdings are destroyed, their assets confiscated, and their members and supporters slain (or fled into exile in other lands or other planes).
- 298 DR: Year of the Scarred Wagon: The Shoon Imperium now controls all land in the Shaar between the Lake of Steam and the Landrise.
- 314 DR: Year of the Stammering Apprentice: Unther establishes the city of Shantil in what will one day be known as Dambrath. The city is established as a trade-meet and a way to keep the Arkaiun tribes subjugated.
- 340 DR: Year of the Uncrossed Bridge: The archipelago of Altumbel is seized by the renegade noble Shu-Azeddar who declares himself the “Northern King” and acquires a huge fleet of ships which he uses to raid nearby settlements (favouring Impiltur).
- 346 DR: Year of Blushing Stars: Shu-Azeddar is slain and the region of Altumbel declares itself part of Unther once more.
- 385 DR: Year of the Lady’s Gaze: Unther founds Hazuth in Dambrath to reinforce its position in that far flung colony.
- 420 DR to 428 DR: The War of Broken Wheels: The Empires of Unther and Shoon engage in a costly war in far flung territories to secure the Shaar for their trade empires. Unther loses the majority of battles against the superior Shoon forces and is quickly forced to abandon any territory in Central Shaar, and the Eastern Shaar becomes effectively independent. Shoon wins the war but loses so many troops it cannot secure the territory gains for long.
- 420 DR: Year of the Last Breath: The failing Empires of Unther and Shoon begin the War of Broken Wheels over a territory dispute in Central Shaar. Unther soon begins to lose contact and control of its territories south of the Shaar.
- 478 DR: Year of the Course Wool: An earthquake strikes the Uthangol Mountains and severs all access to the Iron Citadel from Unther. An expedition is sent to clear the pass but is never seen again.
- 482 DR: Year of the Blighted Vine: Delthuntle and Laothkund break free of Unther.
- 504 DR: Year of the Eclipsed Heart: Teth and Nethra declare their independence of Unther and join the League of Samusthar. Unther begins a long campaign against the North Coast cities.
- 625 DR: Year of the Torrents: Escalant secedes from Unther and joins the League of Samathar.
- 677 DR: Year of Resonant Silence: The fleet of Unther is destroyed by terrible storms enroute to crush the rebellious cities of the Wizards’ Reach.
- 678 DR Year of the Poignant Poniard: Lord Councillor Kharis Maerdrym and his hunting party; which includes several humans of note, mysteriously disappear off the coast of Delthuntle during a Grand Hunt of a near-legendary greater quelzarm. Agents of Unther are suspected in the attack (as are some of Lord Maerdrym’s usual political foes).
- 679 DR: Year of the Scarlet Sash: Unther is forced to recognise the independence of the North Coast cities. Unther never recovers from this long, costly, and bloody campaign. End of Second Untheric Empire.
The Third Untheric Empire
The Third Untheric Empire closely resembles the Unther of today. Its borders were almost identical (Mourktar and Threskel officially seceded from Unther early in this age but were essentially independent since the formation of the Alliance of Chessenta), the administration of Unther was firmly entrenched in Unther’s society as was the corruption that is endemic to Unther’s government today. Gil-Geamesq remained inside the Ziggurat of Eternal Victory for extended periods, brooding over his losses, and emerged only to demand great celebrations of his victories to lift his spirits.
The people of Unther became increasingly resentful of their God-King, and the seeds of rebellion began to foment. Today Unther is on the brink of collapse and only Gil-Geamesq is holding it all together by virtue of his strength and immortality.
- 731 DR: Year of Visions: The Second Great Flood of the River Alamber.
- 823 DR: Year of the Floating Petals: Mourktar breaks free of Unther.
- 929 DR: Year of Flashing Eyes: Alliance of Chessenta drives Unther back beyond the Riders to the Sky Mountains.
- 955 DR: Year of the Telltale Candle: The Orcgates Affair: Temporary portals open across Toril, releasing thousands of mountain orcs throughout the known world.
- 957 DR: Year of the Entombed Poet: The volcanic isle known as the Ship of the Gods erupts and destroys Unther’s last remaining fortress from the First Empire of Unther.
- 1024 DR: Year of Lathander’s Light: A Cult of TiaMa’at and a Cult of the Dragon cell in the disputed land now known as Threskel enters into a guerrilla war that annihilates both cults in the lands north of Unther and in Chessenta within a year.
- 1036 DR: Year of the Final Test: Shu-Ruppaki “The Reaper” is seen in a series of skirmishes in the Napi’Ther Eqlu with unknown wizards that appear seemingly out of nowhere. Many of the wizards are slain before Shu-Ruppaki is seriously injured and driven away, he is not seen again for 300 years.
- 1301 DR: Year of the Trumpet: First recorded resurgence of the Cult of TiaMa’at in Unther when the Rab’Aen (Great Lord) of Messemprar is slain in a supposed accident that is later revealed to be poisoning with Dragon’s Blood (a poison derived from the blood of a black dragon that was last used millennia ago by cultists of TiaMa’at).
- 1317 DR to 1324 DR: The Plague of Dragons: The plague of dragons that is devastating the Vilhon Reach reaches Unther where it has a huge toll on the slave population.
- 1322 DR: Year of the Lurking Death: Alasklerbanbastos, the Great Bone Wyrm, terrorises Chessenta and Unther in a summer long reign of terror.
- 1328 DR: Year of the Adder: The Church of the Sky Father issues the Rain Ban edict. From this day forth it is forbidden for the churches of Ish-Tarri and Ram-Manu to erect new temples or practice the flooding of Napi’Ther Eqlu without the Will of Gil-Geamesq.
- 1339 DR: Year of the Weeping Moon: Ish-Tarri enters voluntary exile in her remaining temple in Shussel.
- 1345 DR: Year of the Saddle: Senior Ensi of Ish-Tarri and Ram-Manu across Unther are publicly executed for worshipping TiaMa’at.
- 1346 DR: Year of the Bloodbird: The Cult of the Dark Lady successfully summon TiaMa’at the Dark Lady to Unther in the settlement of Niz’Jaree (Firetrees).
Life and Society
Society in Unther is highly regimented according to the traditions laid down by E-Nlil and later modified by Gil-Geamesq. Unther is eternal, like the God-King himself, and so the social structure, laws, and customs of Unther have altered very little over the millennia unless Gil-Geamesq wills it; and such whims are usually quickly forgotten by all (except the victims).
Unther’s society is organised into 3 tiers; the nobility (An’Ular), the freeholders (An’Ulae), and the slaves (War’Lur). Social mobility is very limited, however there is a hidden layer of non-citizens between freeholders and slaves that are largely ignored by the authorities unless they cause trouble or come to anyone’s attention.
Social mobility is very low in Unther. Downward mobility is always a possibility for those committing crimes and at the Will of Gil-Geamesq. Upward mobility is almost impossible unless by the Will of Gil-Geamesq or in the case of slaves who manage to escape and by some miracle enrol in the military of Unther.
Nobility: The An’Ular are all direct descendants of the god-kings of Unther, as a result of their familial ties the An’Ular were always favoured by their sires.
Before Unther’s rise to greatness, the god-kings and their scions worked together to build their cities, conquer their enemies, and carve out a great empire. As they conquered more lands, the people and god-kings of Unther acquired a taste for slavery and soon their society changed so that the slaves did all the great works while the An’Ular idled away in luxury, lording it over the lesser races.
An’Ular are afforded the most rights and privileges of all those living in Unther’s borders. They are the only group of people allowed to own land and titles (although they can rent these out to non slaves). They are favoured and protected by all laws in Unther (unless Gil-Geamesq wills it otherwise) and granted the freedom to do as they please as long as it does not displease the God King.
An’Ular are by no means uniformly wealthy and powerful. Those with the favour of Gil-Geamesq are granted the greatest in titles and land grants (often at the expense of former favourites) and they in turn award opportunities, land, and wealth to their family and friends. Those not in favour, or without relatives in favour are usually left to rely on their own abilities to gain work in the administration of Unther, or working for and providing services to other An’Ular (as mentors and other educated professionals), or worst of all taking work that An’Ulae or lesser beings perform (merchants, Masate, or worst of all servants).
An’Ular are always favoured by the law and the word of An’Ular outweighs all but the richest or largest group of An’Ulae.
An’Ulae: An’Ulae are those families formed since the growth of slavery in Unther during the First Empire when the god-kings and their An’Ular fathered bastard children upon their human slaves (demi-humans are always slaves no matter their parentage).
The An’Ulae, though still related to the god-kings, are lesser than the An’Ular and as such may not own land, or property, or titles (though they can rent the rights to it from An’Ular).
As Unther’s great empire rose and trade became important to Unther’s wealth, the An’Ulae were employed as merchants more and more often as the An’Ular preferred not to associate with outsiders and lesser beings. Thus the An’Ulae are now firmly entrenched as the merchant class of Unther, acquiring riches that in some cases exceed that of the An’Ular and using that wealth to rent titles, and land. Some An’Ulae families now operate as Aen (lords) of small settlements; running farms, collecting taxes, owning slaves, hiring mercenaries, and enforcing the law all on behalf of the An’Ular they rent the titles from.
An’Ulae are beneath the An’Ular in society, and must always be respectful to An’Ular or risk losing their hard won wealth and status. An’Ulae are above slaves in Unther’s society, and although they cannot enslave people as An’Ular can, their word is always taken over a slave (no matter the slave).
Seh-An’Allu: Known as the Children of the Gods, this term applies to the immediate family of the godkings of Unther although it has long since fallen out of use as the last Seh-An’Allu of Unther is thought to have perished centuries ago.
The Children of the Gods were almost as powerful as their sires and were known to history for great achievements of warfare, magic, and invention. Many of them proved to be incredibly long lived as well and some survived into the current age of Unther, more however were slain in battle or intrigue and the rest began to die rapidly when Gil-Geamesq succeeded E-Nlil to the throne of Unther, or fled soon after it became apparent they were in danger from the new God King. If there are any Children of the Gods left in or near Unther they have taken great steps to hide their true identities.
War’Lur: Otherwise known as slaves, these people have no rights in Unther, they are the property of whoever owns them, and that owner may do as he wishes (although he may not damage the property of another without good reason – to prevent a crime or in self defence, etc). Any children born to slaves are also slaves and belong to the slave’s owner, many slave owners breed their slaves as a means to gain wealth.
Demi-human War’Lur are the lowest of the low, a demi-human encountered in Unther is immediately considered a slave by default. They are often kept as curios for a short time before being forgotten (and starving to death or being sold on), or used as gladiators in the many arenas throughout Unther.
Human War’Lur are ordered according to how much Mulan blood they possess. Full blood Mulan War’Lur are usually given favoured positions as house slaves (cleaners, personal servants, etc) but their numbers as low since they usually are enslaved as a result of crime or displeasing the authorities (although a few An’Ular maintain a breeding population of pure Mulan slaves). Other human slaves are put to work doing whatever work is required, they are treated poorly, and usually do not survive more than a few years.
Seh’Nis: This group of people are not strictly part of Unther’s society (thus the name meaning “low people”) according to the government. They have gradually arisen as a result of slaves granted freedom by Gil-Geamesq (usually gladiators, or favoured concubines, or retired soldiers) who had children that were not members of any existing social group, or from slaves that escaped enslavement but could not (or would not) escape Unther.
These people occupy the grey area in Unther’s society that is rapidly beginning to expand as the An’Ular diminish and the An’Ulae rise in power. As the An’Ulae need small jobs doing and do not wish to contract for more slaves from An’Ular, the Seh’Nis are more often being employed to provide a limited service at a cheaper price. The growing slums in Unther’s settlements are becoming home to more and more Seh’Nis businesses that exist only until they are cleared out by the Aen and his Masate.
Male: Azzedar, Chadrezzan, Gibbur, Horat, Kassur, Numer, Samar, Ungred.
Female: Chadra, Ilzza, Jezzara, Marune, Saldashune, Xuthra, Zeldara.
Customs: Unther has many customs that are usually determined by whatever whim Gil-Geamesq has at the time. A few customs however persist through the ages unchanged:
- The people of Unther (and Akanu) have a tendency to group together animals based on appearance and characteristics, as a result serpents, reptiles, and dragons are all seen as related creatures and so treated the same. In ages past the Mulan were wary of serpentkind because of ancient enmities held by their slave masters; the Imaskari. Later they were reviled due to the attacks of TiaMa’at and her dragons on the Old Empires. Nowadays dragons, serpents, and reptiles are seen as foils to the god-kings and that makes them popular among the lower classes who revere them; and those legendary monsters that represent them, as well as offering food and small mercies to the small (and not so small) creatures they encounter.
Clothing: The clothing worn in Unther depends upon the station and wealth of the wearer. An’Ular and An’Ulae typically wear a long flowing garment (known as a lughe) adorned with precious gemstones and woven with threads of precious metals depending upon how much they can afford. The An’Ular typically decorate their lughe with pearls and treat them with special dyes that give the lughe an iridescent colour to match that worn by Gil-Geamesq. The An’Ulae rub the lughe with chalk and weave gold and silver threads into it if they can afford it. The Seh’Nis and War’Lur are confined to wearing whatever they can scrounge together (or are provided by their owner in the case of the slave War’Lur), the clothes are typically dirty, poorly maintained, and roughly sewn (only the wealthiest of An’Ular cloth their slaves in more than rags).
The current style of lughe is to wear it wrapped around the waist before throwing over the right shoulder (from behind) and pinning it to the waist with an enamelled pin (this pin is on occasion far longer than usual and elaborately concealed to become a makeshift dirk in emergences) in homage to Gil-Geamesq the God-King. Those of athletic physique, little shame, or fairer complexion wear nothing beneath the lughe, while others wear a light vest to cover skin and modesty (Gil-Geamesq is always naked beneath the lughe to show off his masculinity). During the colder months a larger lughe is worn that is double folded to provide a cloak that can be pulled close around the body for warmth, slaves rarely have a spare lughe and most foreigners would find the colder months in Unther to be quite warm.
The lughe garment was originally worn by the imaskari masters of the Mulan long ago. The Imaskari fashioned the garment in homage to the makers of the “Gates” and the source of Imaskari magic (murals and tapestries depicting these “makers” show them as humanoid with a large pink mucilaginous membrane hanging low around the neck and a elongated dorsal fin that folded down over the back). The wrapping of the lughe around the chest with a double folding to provide a cloak over the back is the most obvious influence of this ancient design.
- Chariot racing and wrestling are universally popular in Unther, and are seen as tests of skill, strength, and masculinity. Chariot races are performed outside the cities before and after the harvest months when fields are empty and flat. Large numbers of charioteers race across the Green Fields for varying distances; some races are hundreds of miles and a test of endurance, others are much shorter and a test of speed and skill. People from all walks of life gather to line the fields and form the racing avenues. “Accidents” are not uncommon among the racers as there are very few rules. Casualties among the spectators are rare but do occasionally happen in spectacular fashion.
- Gladiatorial combat is the most popular form of entertainment in Unther, and has been since Gil-Geamesq became God-King of the empire (under E-Nlil’s rule a wide variety of athletics and games of mental skill were also played). Gil-Geamesq and his clergy preach that deadly, athletic combat is the height of masculinity and to partake is to glorify Gil-Geamesq, it is therefore no surprise that the government of Unther has subsidised gladiator arenas and troupes for a very long time. Gladiator games have been part of Unther’s daily life for so long that it is now ingrained into the culture of this land and people of all status’ enjoy the games (although slaves can usually only watch if their master’s are also watching).
The False History of Unther
Since his accession to the throne of Unther, Gil-Geamesq has ordered the systematic rewriting of history of the entire empire so that it always displays Gil-Geamesq in the best light possible. At first Gil-Geamesq was always careful to ensure that only ancient history was rewritten (at least two centuries before whatever the current year was) but in the last 5 decades, the Church of the Sky Father has ordered the censorship of events only years or months before and spread false propaganda about anything that could be interpreted to show Gil-Geamesq poorly.
As Unther is unfriendly to foreigners at best (merchants within the designated zones are tolerated) there are few sources outside Unther that can contradict the rewritten histories, and any who disagree with Gil-Geamesq and his Church about their rewritings have a tendency to disappear forever. The clergy of Gil-Geamesq have spent a millennia seizing books and paintings, and publishing authorised versions of histories known as the Geamesq-Samata which every citizen in Unther is required to own a copy of.
The Geamesq-Samata: The Epic of Gil-Geamesq begins before the beginning of Unther’s founding and immediately starts the falsification of history by forming a familial connection between Gil-Geamesq and E-Nlil. It describes Gil-Geamesq as a favoured son (although it does not mention direct kinship – adoptions were common in Unther’s early history).
Gil-Geamesq is described as masterminding the battle-plan to conquer Imaskar, and leading the charge of the armies against Inupras. Gil-Geamesq then leads his “Father” south and west to found Unthalass on its present site. No mention is made of the Empire of Akanu or its pantheon of godkings, it is part of Unther from the start of the history.
The Orcgate Wars are detailed as a massive tactical success for Gil-Geamesq and Unther, with TiaMa’at being blamed for the many deaths of the Untheric Pantheon. The return journey to Unther of its armies sees Gil-Geamesq tour the entire empire so that its citizens may share the glory and the spoils of war (Gil-Geamesq is noted as granting extravagant boons to all the places he visits). E-Nlil’s departure some centuries later is put down to the intense grief he feels over the loss of so many kin and he personally appoints Gil-Geamesq his successor.
According to this version of the history, Unther destroys all its enemies over the millennia as Unther expands. It slaughters the Shoon Imperium, annihilates the League of Samathar, and Gil-Geamesq personally subjugates Tchazzar in single combat. Then in acts of pure benevolence, Gil-Geamesq awards independence to these regions to reward their fighting spirit.
The Epic of Gil-Geamesq is almost entirely fabricated, and none in Unther would dare question its content, nor does it even occur to most citizens to do so (they have grown up reading the false histories, as have their fathers and forefathers, and their ancestors going back 2,000 years). Only in the last few centuries have any inconsistences begun to be highlighted as foreign merchants from Chessenta and the Wizards’ Reach bring alternative versions of the last few hundred years (although they whisper such differences quietly when in Unther if they know what’s good for them).
As history reaches the 14th Century Dalereckoning, people now living remember the true versions of some events, and they whisper it to their children, but none speak openly about the lies in the Geamesq-Samata, not yet anyway.
Architecture: Most buildings in Unther (houses are known as Luut) follow the courtyard design wherein the house has a central open-air courtyard in its centre and all rooms have a doorway that opens onto the courtyard. The doorways are usually several steps above ground level and then the floor of the building sinks down a foot or more into the earth. The steps keep out the floodwater and the sunken floor keeps the house cool, while the central courtyard helps promote air flows around the house. In decades past the poorer houses used to be roofed with reeds but as the rains decreased (thanks to the Rain Ban edict) few saw the need to replace the roofs anymore and now many slave barns are left to the open air. Some of the An’Ulae and An’Ular are following suit and have removed their flat wooden roofs, particularly if trees are present to shade nearby houses from the sun.
The economy of Unther has changed dramatically over the ages of its Empires. During the early years it exported precious metals, gemstones, linen and grains to Mulhorand, Jhaamdath, and neighbouring realms in the Shaar (when it wasn’t at war with them). At it’s height Unther was bringing in exotic foods, spices, raw materials and crafted goods which it also exported in large quantities, it was at this time that Unther gained a taste for its favoured import; slaves.
As Unther declined the precious metals, gems, linen, and grains declined and the appetite for slaves grew. This trend has continued so that in modern times Unther is rapidly draining its economy as it is forced to now import large numbers of slaves to produce meagre exports while importing food to feed its population which is ironically made up mostly of slaves.
Currency: Unther has kept the same form of currency for millennia, when Gil-Geamesq became the God-King of Unther he reformed the currency to mirror that of Akanu, and enriched himself vastly in the process. All coins are referred to as Sheka (meaning coin), but more specifically Sheka is used to refer to the old currency in circulation during the reign of E-Nlil that is nowadays only accepted by the An’Ulae; who use it to trade to foreigners.
An’Dam: Known as children of the gods, this method of currency has not been produced in 2,000 years and has gradually fallen out of common use, though it is still accepted as currency by everyone in Unther.
The An’Dam are the finest pearls taken from the shallow waters off Unther’s coast, carved with tiny images that represent one of the many god-kings of Unther. Depending upon the size and colour of the pearl and the quality of the imagery, An’Dam can be worth between 1 gp and 100 gp.
Ilguz: Known as the supreme warrior, this coin is a tiny golden pyramid with grooves and notches on alternating sides so they can be slotted together to form long bars. Each of these coins is worth the equivalent of 1 gp in Unther (although the weight of gold from coins smelted in the past 500 years makes it worth less than half that value in other lands).
The Ilguz replaced the Sheka, a small gold sphere used during the reign of E-Nlil, it has been purposefully debased by Gil-Geamesq’s priesthood so that it is worth less than a single silver piece in other lands. Few Sheka remain in circulation in modern times and are rarely accepted by the nobility as real currency.
Henumar: Known as the silvered charioteer, this coin is a thin disc of silver, impressed with the design of a chariot wheel with a hole in the centre where the wheel hub would be (usually strung together with strands of hair) . It is quite fragile and not commonly used.
Zabezu: Known as the bronze fury, this coin is little more than a bronze rod with a ridged end (to resemble a fist).
Serthe: During the First and Second Untheric Empire the fashion among the An’Ular was to imbibe a strong ruby red liqueur known as “Serthe” at public events and after supper. Serthe was consumed in small quantities (due to the high alcohol content) from crystal glasses that were as tall as a forearm and as thin as a pencil.
The liqueur was made from the fomented blood of humans, the spices were used to cover the harsh iron tang that accompanied it. The blood was originally provided by the godkings and firstborn children for all their relatives, the blood letting was a way to prove masculinity, whilst consuming the blood was believed to improve the imbibers health and fertility.
As the godkings and their firstborn children declined the custom changed and Serthe was then made from the blood of slaves (who were typically killed in the blood-letting process). When Gil-Geamesq became the God-King of Unther he found the idea of consuming the blood of an impure slave to be abhorrent. The consumption of Serthe fell out of favour in Unther but it had spread to other countries and so became a major export of Unther (few foreigners are able to create imitations of Serthe as it would never occur to them or be legal for them to foment the blood needed to form the base ingredient and its distinctive taste).
Nowadays Serthe provides no benefit beyond a normal alcoholic liqueur, however Serthe produced during the days of the First Untheric Empire was believed to impart some of the powers of the godking who provided the blood used to make the liqueur (the ability is chosen at random from those available to the godking and the duration is random and dependant upon the amount of Serthe consumed – 1d10 rounds per dose).
Serthe from the First Untheric Empire is rare indeed, consumed with regularity it was rarely stockpiled except by temples dedicated to worship of a particular godking. These stockpiles were kept for religious rites and festivals, usually in chambers beneath the temple. During the Second Untheric Empire the number of godkings had shrunk dramatically and continued to do so as Gil-Geamesq eliminated potential rivals. The temples dedicated to these godkings typically fell into ruin (or were repurposed) and so the storage chambers lined with Serthe vials may still remain untouched beneath them.
The government of Unther is a dictatorship dominated by the rule of Gil-Geamesq the God-King. Gil-Geamesq wields absolute power in Unther, whatever Gil-Geamesq desires has to happen immediately, this occurs so often it is written into law as the Will of Gil-Geamesq. However, despite Gil-Geamesq being an immortal god, he is just one person and so cannot rule everywhere in Unther at all times, in fact Gil-Geamesq has for a long time found the burdens of ruling to be tiresome and so delegates almost all the tedious tasks of government to his priesthood.
The government of Unther is therefore synonymous with the Church of the Sky Father. The temples of Gil-Geamesq located in every major settlement act as government administration buildings for the surrounding region, the novice Ensi act as clerks and handle the day to day running, while the senior Ensi make all major local and government decisions.
The centre of government in Unther is the Ziggurate of Eternal Victory in Unthalass, the palace and home of Gil-Geamesq.
Law and Order
The code of law in Unther; known as the Code of E-Nlil, was set down long ago by the god E-Nlil. It covers a variety of offences found in other lands such as theft, treason, damage to people or property, etc, however all the laws of Unther are applied only in relation to the station of the accused and accusers.
In general it is impossible for a person of higher station to commit a crime against a person of lower station. Large groups of people of a lower station may accuse someone higher of a crime but the success of their accusation will ultimately depend upon the Ensi hearing the accusation and who can bribe the most. War’lur have no rights and cannot be victims of crime.
All accusations are heard by the local Ensi of Gil-Geamesq. If the accusation involves death then it is referred to more senior Ensi. If it involves treason then it is referred to the most senior Ensi in Unthalass. At any point Gil-Geamesq may demand to hear any accusation (assuming it is brought to his attention somehow), in these cases it is normal for both the accused and accuser to be sentenced to litaqzi (a fight to the death in the arena known as The Victor’s Mercy).
Theft: Stealing another’s property is a crime, destruction of property also counts as theft, as does non payment of tax. If the crime is against someone of higher station then the punishment is immediate enslavement to the victim. In the case of accused and accuser being of equal station then the accused must prove his innocence and if not is forced to repay the full value of goods taken or destroyed, if the accused cannot do this then he is enslaved to the accuser.
Assault: Injuring another person is a crime. If the crime is against someone of higher station then the punishment is enslavement, death, litaqzi, or maiming, the decision of punishment is up to the accuser unless the judging Ensi decides otherwise. Crimes against equal station is punished by maiming (usually removal of the offending limb) or enslavement to the victim.
Treason: Treason involves a range of crimes including; disobeying the Will of Gil-Geamesq, worshipping Tia-Ma’at, practicing magic without permission from Gil-Geamesq, plotting to kill or harm Gil-Geamesq. All crimes of treason are punishable by death, such a death involves particularly gruesome and painful deaths (such as limbs being torn off before the torso is fed to an animal, or being burned alive).
The Empire of Unther was at one time the largest empire south of the Sea of Fallen Stars; it has at various times during it’s existence controlled lands between what is now Dambrath and Chessenta. In order to control such a large area, Unther had to possess a sizable and capable military force.
Unther has always been in possession of a standing army, the godkings of Unther were in the past unified behind their leaders (E-Nlil and initially Gil-Geamesq) and all the power of Unther was concentrate in the godkings and their families. As a result it was easy to create a permanent standing army without resistance from the nobility (which is common in some of the more modern nations and city states elsewhere in Faerun). This army was during the first millennia of Unther’s existence, one of the most well equipped and well trained army (although Mulhorand would have disagreed at the time) . Technology levels among human nations was such that the hardened bronze weapons of Unther were superior to the weapons of their largely tribal neighbours (except for Mulhorand and Akanu).
Nowadays however the Gurmasate (armies) of Unther have suffered centuries of neglect and mismanagement. It’s bronze weapons fare poorly against steel which is common and widespread across Faerun, army morale is very low as punishments are incredibly harsh and rewards are few, the only deployments in the past hundred years have been against Unther’s own citizens, and even the masate can see that Unther is collapsing under the mad rule of Gil-Geamesq.
Unther’s Gurmasate are organised into 4 Esba’Tahar (battalions), one for each of the four winds; North, South, East, and West. Each Esba’Tahar contains a variable number of masate, depending upon how many soldiers can be conscripted and how many are lost. Numbers tend to be variable around 1,000 men.
The four Esba’Tahar recruit separately and have different reputations. The Esba’Tahar of the North was widely regarded as the most successful and fair during the 14th century thanks to the efforts of its Tahaen (general) Ram-Amazzed. However since his departure even this unit has declined to be regarded as brutal and harsh along with the other 3.
Esba’Tahar of the North: The army of the north is currently stationed outside the city of Messemprar with orders to liberate the city from the slave rebellion led by Dama. There are currently 1100 soldiers stationed outside the city walls although 300 are wounded and unfit for combat.
The Navy: During the First and Second Untheric Empire the navy of Unther was the pride of the Inner Sea. Over 100 ships (of the design peculiar to the southern empires) plied the waters of the Alamber Sea and out into the Sea of Fallen Stars at one time but nowadays there are only 5 vessels remaining and these are sorely in need of maintenance. Piracy and sahuagin are largely responsible for the depletion of Unther’s navies, Gil-Geamesq and his administration are responsible for not replacing those lost.
The current ships in Unther’s navy are as follows:
- Gil-Geamesq’s Pride: An unwieldy five hulled vessel that was commissioned personally by Gil-Geamesq but is regarded by many ship-wrights as not sea worthy.
- The Red Sea-Devil and The Alamber Fiend: Triremes that were damaged in battle with pirates that attacked Unthalass’ port two years ago.
- The Roaring Kraken: and The Black Shark: Biremes that have long mouldered away in port and are unlikely to float if put to sea.
Unther is known to requisition ships docked in the port at Unthalass as and when it needs. This happened as recently as several months ago when Gil-Geamesq ordered the blockade of Messemprar and Gil-Zimrilim; upon discovering the state of Unther’s navy, confiscated two merchant vessels out of Chessenta, and two slave barges from Thay which were quickly refitted for military purposes and sent to blockade Messemprar as ordered.
The state religion of Unther is the Church of the Sky Father which worships Gil-Geamesq the hero and father of Unther.
The people of Unther worships the entire Untheric Pantheon (or what remains of it), with an emphasis on the god-kings that are alive and currently resident in Unther.
Gil-Geamesq has a long history of persecuting other religions (and their sponsoring god-kings), reducing their power and influence before outlawing the church altogether. Over the millennia since becoming the God-King of Unther, Gil-Geamesq has exiled or destroyed all the churches of the Untheric Pantheon except for Ram-Manu and Ish-Tarri (whose churches were too powerful and respected to act against). The opportunity to act against these powerful churches came with the Dragon Plague of Unther which was discovered (by the administration of Unther) to have spread because of the annual flooding of the Napi’Ther Eqlu to aid in arable farming. Some believed such discoveries were false but they were quickly silenced (in the Victor’s Mercy).
In recent decades Gil-Geamesq has begun to restrict the power of even the churches of Ram-Manu and Ish-Tarri, beginning in 1328 DR. The first act was to prevent the building of new temples and shrines and restrict the practice of flooding fields, followed by demolishing some of the more prominent temples and selling the assets to pay reparations to those affected by the plague. More recently in 1345 DR, all the senior Ensi of Ram-Manu and Ish-Tarri were “discovered” to have been secret worshippers of TiaMa’at and publicly executed, leaving only the novice Ensi to tend the faith and flock. Ish-Tarri disappeared from public life in 1339 DR, while Ram-Manu has taken up residence in Unthalass where he regularly attends Gil-Geamesq at court.
All citizens of Unther (and slaves) are required to make offerings (verbal or sacrificial) to Gil-Geamesq for every endeavour performed in their daily lives, this offering is to be made before any other offerings are made to any other church sanctioned by Gil-Geamesq (Ish-Tarri and Ram-Manu are the only remaining religions sanctioned by Gil-Geamesq and his administration).
This enforced worship is strictly administered by the Ensi of the Church of the Sky Father who visit domiciles unannounced and bear witness to their venerations. These visitations are haphazard and the Ensi cannot be everywhere at once. When most people believe the Ensi are out of sight, the veneration becomes little more than a muttering of reluctant thanks (amongst people they trust such thanks may become jests and insults). There are a thousand rituals to cover worship of Gil-Geamesq, from the washing of hands to the preparing of food, but the only ritual performed with any regularity is the Supplication; faithful are required to bow before any statue of Gil-Geamesq (failure to do so is punishable by enslavement, execution, or litaqzi (a fight to the death in the arena).
The Church of the Sky Father: The primary religion of Unther preaches worship of Gil-Geamesq above all others. This religious organization also sees to the government administration of Unther, it’s temples providing secular services (such as courts) as well as the expected religious services. All the power in Unther is centralized into this organization, and anyone wishing to advance needs to be part of it or have contacts inside it (and be a pureblood Mulan as well).
An’Eqlu: The Lands of the Heavenly Ones is the smallest region of Unther, but by far the richest and most densely populated. It is home to the capital city of Unthalass and the God-King Gil-Geamesq.
Nissel (Town, 2000): This town is not recognised by the authorities of Unther, it’s population do not consider themselves part of Unther either. Nissel (roughly translated as Red Haven) is home to pirates, outlaws, escaped slaves, and foreigners. Any who seek to escape the rule of Gil-Geamesq usually end up here where they can live free of Unther’s laws.
The inhabitants of Nissel are trained killers desperate to escape Gil-Geamesq’s wrath, the Gur-Masate have attempted to clear this town out many times but meet with significant resistance from such a small force, and when the battle is lost the populace take to the Alamber Sea and return as soon as the armies of Unther are gone.
Unthalass (City): The capital city of Unther, home to Gil-Geamesq the God-King. This city was, at one time, the largest and most impressive city in all of Faerun, now however it has suffered a millennia of neglect and only the Palace District echoes the glory that Unther once displayed.
Unthalass contains the greatest concentration of wealth and power in all Unther, as a result it is also a hotbed of intrigue and opportunity befitting a settlement of its side. Gil-Geamesq, the undisputed ruler of Unther, dwells in Unthalass in the great temple known as the Ziggurat of Eternal Victory. His rule has slowly been crumbling for a millennia and the movement against him is starting to reach boiling point.
Marthessel: Marthessel, roughly translates as the edge or border lands, it includes the land west of the Green Fields including the Nid’Angol (Smoking Mountains) and Ditta’Qelmi Eqlu (Plains of Black Ash).
Dalath (Town, 600): This backwater mining town is regarded as lawless and a place to be avoided by most people in Unther. Rebellions are a regular occurrence in Dalath and the local lord delights in putting down these revolts with ruthless slaughter.
The mines of Dalath have been declining in productivity for centuries, and the An’Ulae houses that run the settlement on behalf of Lord Teu-Mmanudar are regarded as poor and barely worth notice. Which is exactly how they like it.
Dalath is secretly a major source of unrest in Unther. It is home to an ancient, imprisoned foe of the godkings who constantly works to foment and support unrest in the rest of Unther, using Dalath as a smoke screen to cover the movement of his agents. This ancient being is the former Suzerain of the blue dragons of Raurin; Maladraedior.
Ditta’Qelmi Eqlu: The Ditta’Qelmi Eqlu (Black Ash Plains) cover all lands south of the Nid’Angol as far as the River Alamber. It is an inhospitable land, treacherous to travel through and filled with environmental and monstrous hazards, the only vegetation that grows are the hardy Kanda trees which produces an aromatic resin that is highly valued throughout Faerun.
Most people are sensible enough to avoid the Black ash Plains except for the monthly convoys of the faithful of Gil-Geamesq that travel in secret to the Citadel of Black Ash. On the outer edge of the plains, slaves from nearby Niz’Jaree are sent to harvest the resin of the Kanda trees, these slaves are often sick or dying because the task is so hazardous owing to ant-lions often lairing amid the roots of the trees.
Black ash is constantly spewed from the western Nid’Angol, it is blown south by the coastal winds and comes to settle on the plains in a thick blanket. Around the edges of the plains the ash is only a few feet thick and is soft like snow, requiring people to wade through it as the ash blanket thickens and rises up to their waist or more.
The further into the plains one travels, the thicker and harder the ash becomes (occasional, patchy rains set the ash into a concrete like substance that is more solid to walk upon). However this solid layer of ash is full of deep ravines and sudden sinkholes that are filled with razor-edged, solid ash, even worse these hazards are often covered by several feet of soft ash, causing the unwary to rapidly plunge through the ash to their deaths.
Inside the soft layer of ash are a variety of tunnelling monsters that hide beneath the surface and devour their unsuspecting victims. These include juvenile brown dragons, ant-lions, and bulettes. Towards the centre of the black ash plains where the ash becomes solid, there are rumours of hidden valleys filled with huge scorpions and other gigantic versions of insects that feed of vast forests of fungi and Kanda trees that thrive on the volcanic ash soil.
Ancient legends of Unther tell of huge fortresses hidden in the valleys, built by the great Ash Dragon. The senior Ensi of Gil-Geamesq know of a great citadel in a hidden valley in the foothills of the western Nid’Angol which Gil-Geamesq ordered to be restored.
Debuni Ditta’Qelmi: The Citadel of Black Ash was the first of the great citadels constructed during the First Age of Unther. These citadels were regarded as being unbreachable and it is claimed that they never been seized by force (although natural disasters have caused the fall of many).
The Citadel of Black Ash was actually the prototype for all the other citadels constructed by Unther and it was originally a dwarven fortress that Unther conquered and repurposed, with its godkings and architects making extensive modifications.
The Citadel was abandoned a few centuries after it was built and only rediscovered by Gil-Geamesq during his “Victory Tour” of Unther following the Orcgate Wars. It has since become the secret redoubt of Gil-Geamesq and his followers and is used to store copies of every document ever produced by the government as well as any items or individuals deemed of special interest.
The Citadel sits in a secret vale deep in the Black Ash Plains, surrounded by dangerous subterranean insects and enormous burrowing worms as well as marauding giants. Travelling to the citadel is perilous to even the most well prepared caravan, the Church of the All Father loses many hundreds of slaves with each annual journey to the citadel.
Nid’Angol Mountains: Otherwise known as the Smoking Mountains, this chain of volcanic mountains is split into two branches. The mountains in the east have been mostly dormant since before Unther was founded (the occasional venting of super-heated steam has been known to wipe out slave miners by the hundreds), the western mountains contain more than a few active volcanoes, the most famous being Mount Temmikant and Mount Fussel.
Mount Temmikant, (the Dragon Sphinx Mountain) is home to a red dragon named Guyanothaz which was blinded centuries ago by a group known as Temmibutu (Dragon’s Bane) and is now to afraid to leave it’s lair. It guards a meagre hoard (even for a young dragon) after it was stolen by successive bands of adventurers.
Mount Fussel, known as the Pointed Mountain for its perilously high peak, is home to all manner of fire based creatures, including a few that are more usually encounter on the Elemental Plane such as Salamanders. The rest of the mountain range is home to a wide variety of creatures unfriendly to humans (due to centuries of hunting and persecution), the most dangerous of which is a tribe of giants known as ash giants for their ash black coloured skin.
The Nid’Angol Mountains are rumoured to be one of the possible locations of the Kimaru of the godking Gir-Ubil. Some sages contest this, claiming that Gir-Ubil was interred in one of the tomb ziggurats south of Unther in the Shaar, but sceptics believe this is just because there is no ziggurat present in the Nidan’Gol mountains.
Ssintar (Town, 4000): Ssintar is less a town and more a military outpost intended to protect the region of An’Eqlu (Lands of the Heavenly One) where Gil-Geamesq resides. It is ruled by Lord Sin-Gudea.
Methtir: The land north of the Green Fields up to the Riders to the Sky Mountains. It includes the Methwood, Methmere, and all the west coast of Unther up to Messemprar.
Messemprar (City, 30000): The northern gem of Unther is it’s second largest city and the largest trade centre in Unther. Messemprar is the gateway to the Inner Sea for Unther, the overland trade from the west comes via Chessenta and into Messemprar while the Alamber trade triangle of Thay, Mulhorand, and Unther ensures that Messemprar receives daily visits from merchant ships.
Messemprar is a city at war with itself. The nobles of Messemprar control the northern parts of the city, while a slave rebellion controls the eastern dock wards. Caught between them are the southern sections of the city, whose merchant inhabitants have resolved to stay independent of the troubles. The armies of Unther are camped outside the southern gates of Messemprar while the slave rebels fight to keep them out and control the city gates.
Methmere: This is the name of the lake for which the region gets its name. Like the nearby wood it is a wild and dangerous place which has been largely ignored by the authorities of Unther. Rumours of sea monsters and monstrous humanoids plague the largest body of freshwater in Unther, and those unfamiliar with the lake often disappear if they attempt to venture into or across it.
Despite the fell reputation there are a number of villages along the northern coast in the foothills of the Riders to the Sky Mountains. These villages are known as bandit villages by the people of Unther and Chessenta for they raid outlying villages every month and each group kidnaps one (and only one) victim who is never seen again. Numerous sorties have been mounted against these bandits, finding nothing but empty villages, and the bandits always return within the year. The bandits are seemingly able to fish and sail the waters of the Methmere without predation.
Historical records have noted large sea serpents present in the lake that devour swimmers and sailors that venture more than 20 metres offshore. A more recent threat (in the past 30 to 40 years) talks of several humanoid creatures that have green scaly skin, large claws, and a taste for human flesh. These creatures have grown in number from a handful to several scores of individuals and they are now beginning to launch raids on the surrounding settlements (although never the bandits to the north).
Methwood: This wood is actually called Mhetq in Untheric meaning the Wood. The name Methwood is actually the translation into Common which literally means the Wood Wood.
The Methwood is the only remnant in Unther of a once vibrant forest that covered all of Unther and Chessenta, connecting the great forests of the Vilhon Reach and the Shaar (which have now also largely disappeared). The Imaskari and their Turami slaves logged much of the forest up to the western shore of the Alamber, the Mulan of Unther and Akanu finished off logging the forests, leaving only the Methwood (in Unther) and the Maerchwood (in Chessenta).
The Methwood is much larger than it has been in the past 300 years. It has seen significant growth and regrowth, despite attempts to log it and establish a trade road through it. The forest interior is literally overflowing with plant and animal life, and the plants seem to regrow a few days after being cut.
Untheric and Akanic texts speak of fey creatures and the guardians of the forest. Over a period of 200 years the armies of Unther and Akanu battled legendary creatures of the forest and beings who are best described as elves (although of darker skin and seemingly wild and warlike). Those protectors of the forest were vanquished long ago and have not been seen in the time of Gil-Geamesq ruling Unther.
The Methwood is becoming increasingly infested with strange hybridised creatures; the results of powerful magic, the most prominent of which are a family of enormous and twisted lions with batlike wings and scaled hides. These chimeric monsters are devouring the local wildlife with an insatiable hunger that may see the forest emptied of life within a few decades. The source of these hybrids and the enhanced growth rate of the forest is down to ancient elven magics that have become tainted by the tinkerings of mighty sorcerers that did not fully understand the consequences of their actions.
The Hidden City: There are many legends about the Methwood, some speak of a hidden city of turami deep within, others speak of the guardians of the forest who fled our world into a land apart from Toril filled with nature’s bounty, lastly the slaves of Unther speak of a hidden fortress of TiaMa’at where she lay hidden for centuries.
The truth is a confusing mess of half remembered legends from times long past. The elven nation of Enyllstaar once occupied the forest covering Chessenta and Unther (although nation is a strong word for a collection of related, nomadic, elven clans), it was ended in a single night when the Imaskari artificers levelled Myth Vaelorthae (City of Beautiful Blades) and erected a fortress atop the ruins.
The fortress of Metos was wholly abandoned (including its extra-dimensional spaces) during the fall of Imaskar, only to be later inhabited by slaves fleeing the Mulan invading the lands that would become Unther, and then the elves as the forests were destroyed. Next it became home to TiaMa’at herself where she used it as a base of operations for her activities in Akanu and Unther. Now it is home to a very large and dangerous green dragon named Skuuthosiin (one of the wearers of a Ring of TiaMa’at) that works with the Cult of the Queen of Chaos.
The Hidden City is little more than a series of large, square buildings covered in vegetation. At least one of these buildings is partially collapsed and that is now the primary lair of Skuuthosiin. Dark skinned humanoids of elven descent (although only half-elves at best) worship the great green dragon and gather sacrifices (living and treasure) for him regularly while attending his every need.
The portals in the Hidden City all require portal keys to activate them, Skuuthosiin only has keys for 2 portals, so much of the Fortress of Metos is still undiscovered by the dragon and his servants, and likely has been since the Imaskari fled (although each of the fortress blocks is connected to others by more portals with different keys).
Myth Vaelorthae: The capital of Enyllstaar was little more than a grove of the most ancient trees of the forest where the major clans would meet to decide matters of importance. The trees themselves held the enchantments that Myth Vaelorthae was famous for (a magic that saw flora and fauna reach their full potential without limitations – such as poor diet or damage). When the grove was destroyed, the elves simply took acorns from the trees and moved west, away from the Imaskari.
There are many groves of enormous trees with immensely thick trunks dotted around Chessenta, each of these could be considered a Myth Vaelorthae, but somewhere along the way the elves of Enyllstaar lost the acorns and thus a means to plant their elder groves. The remains of the elder groves of the many Myth Vaelorthae are now twisted by age and other fell magics of those that exploited or damaged the groves.
The elves of Enyllstaar still persist today in the Methwood, although they are highly xenophobic and will go to extreme lengths to avoid all contact with outsiders, or if pressed will attack with all their strength.
Shussel (City, 7000): Shussel was once a major trading port city in Unther but has since fallen on hard times, it’s mines to the north are played out, it’s fields are barren, and it is constantly under siege from pirates and sahuagin.
The people of Shussel are taxed into poverty by the local lord. Only the Church of Ish-Tarri keeps everyone in the city from starving to death or rising up and destroying the city from the inside before Gil-Geamesq’s armies march forth and slaughter everyone for treason.
Shussel holds the last major temple to Ish-Tarri in Unther, but the temple here has long been infiltrated by priests from Mulhorand and the Church of Isis.
Napi’Ther Eqlu: This is the Untheric name for the region known as the Menesankh to the Mulhorandi – the Plains of Life. It encompasses all land east of the River Alamber to the River of Swords.
It is the primary source of all locally produced arable foodstuffs in Unther (as well as the much sort after flax used to make linen) and as such it consists mostly of flat land with irrigated fields, bordered by the River Alamber and the River of Swords with the River Angol running through its centre.
Most of the good quality arable land is to be found west of the River Angol and it is filled with slave farms owned by the An’Ular houses of Unther. To the east is a much larger area of dusty plains where people largely forgotten by the rest of Unther try to scrape a meagre living from the dirt.
It is rumoured that the secret resting place of Amar-Du’uk is located in the Napi’Ther Eqlu somewhere along the River of Swords so that he may ever guard the border of Unther.
In the past few decades, the great farmlands of Unther have begun to suffer due to the edicts of Gil-Geamesq. The faithful of Ram-Manu and Ish-Tarri are no longer allowed to perform their sacred ceremonies to call down rains upon the land. There have since been a marked decline in the quantity of rainfall in this region and the crop yield declines with each year. Unrest is brewing in Unther and the food shortage is one of the main causes.
Niz’Jaree (Town, 2000): The town of Niz’Jaree is possibly the only happy place in all of Unther, even the slaves appear to love it here and there has never been even a hint of a revolt in this town.
Niz’Jaree is the primary storage and trade settlement for the Greenfields region. All produce from the slave farms end up being brought to Niz’Jaree where it is stored and processed before barges and caravans take it to Unthalass where it is sold in the Great Market.
The town is filled with strange “firetrees” for which the town is named, that appear to be linked to the unnaturally happy population. Niz’Jaree is also home to the secret headquarters of the Cult of the Queen of Chaos which reveres TiaMa’at, the ancient nemesis of the godkings of Unther.
The Road of Dust: Called the Old Road by those in Chondath, this road was one of the first major tradeways in the southern lands (hence its name). It currently leads from Unthalass to Hardcastle and onwards to lands in the Shaar or to Chondath.
It has seen much movement of its route over the ages. It originally travelled through the Uthangol Mountains itself where it ran past a great fortress (now inhabited by bandits), during this time it was called the Duggrani (dwarf road) for the primary trade partner. As time passed, and relations with the dwarves soured and Unther’s eastern and southern territories were abandoned, the road was diverted towards Hardcastle and it became known as the Road of Dust for the lack of traffic traversing it.
The Road of Dust is as expected for a largely ignored trade route (from Unther’s side). Once past Niz’Jaree there are no patrols, and no one has maintained the paving in many centuries. As a result the road is little more than a wide but overgrown dirt track with the occasional cracked paving stone. Bandits and monsters occasionally prey on caravans and travellers, but as traffic is so infrequent many traversing the road get through without incident.
Pesh’asr: The Edge Lands form the border between Unther and Mulhorand and have done so since the early ages of both empires. The border is defined by the River of the Sword and the land around it is nominally claimed by both Unther and Mulhorand but is in reality ignored by both for what is claimed to be “a desire to keep the peace”.
Azulduth: The Great Salt Lake was once home to a great civilisation whose ruins are littered all around and beneath the surface of the lake. This civilisation appears to have been humanoid in shape, with a great reverence for all things serpentine (reflected in their architecture), and a mastery of magic that far exceeds Unther and Mulhorand.
The civilisation has been dubbed Okoth by sages, and disappeared from Faerun long before humans dominated the region. Their ruins are left mostly in tact because few can bear to approach them without fleeing away in terror or becoming violently unwell.
Vault of Records: Located on the western edge of Azulduth, this underground vault is only revealed in the summer months when the fierce sun evaporates so much water that it recedes leaving behind salt encrusted flats. The vault is almost invisible when accessible, its circular portal into the ground covered by a thick layer of salt with only a faint crack around the edge where it has been opened.
The Vault of Records has a prominent place in the history of Unther and Mulhorand for it is the cause of the First Mulhorandi-Untheric War. As both empires began to expand their scouts were sent out in all directions to explore, Unther’s scouts discovered the ruins around Azulduth and more were sent to explore them. Mulhorand noticed the gathering of its neighbour and likewise sent parties to explore the ruins. Exploration was competitive but peaceful until the Vault of Records was discovered.
When the Mulhorandi and Untheric explorers first opened the Vault they came away with chariot-loads of serpentskin scrolls inscribed with runes covering all aspects of magical theory (and non-magical theories), cataloguing the collective learnings of the entire empire of Okoth. The next expeditions however unleashed horrifyingly huge guardian serpents that slew scores of the explorers before slithering north toward the sea. Left behind in the deeper rooms of the vault were artefacts of staggering magical power that form the lost regalia of Unther and Mulhorand and which helped the godkings of both lands carve out vast empires. At first however the two nations fought terribly over their discovery, each trying to grasp more magical power in an escalating conflict that would surely have destroyed both peoples if not for the appearance of the Ash Dragon which decimated both armies and prompted an immediate and everlasting truce.
The Vault of Records has been lost to time since its first discovery and may or may not have been cleared of all its secrets. Sages however believe that the repository of magical knowledge was merely the underground storage chamber of a much larger structure that may have been older than even Okoth. These sages cite the strange runes on the scrolls that differ slightly from those used by Okoth (although they are related somewhat) as proof of their claims and the fact that the architecture is markedly different from that of the other ruins around Azulduth.
Blue River of the Sword: This river forms spontaneously from a natural freshwater spring on the eastern edge of the Plains of Life (Napi’Ther Eqlu) and flows north east towards the Alamber Sea before merging into the Green River of the Sword and continuing on toward the sea.
Green River of the Sword: This salt water river flows from the salt lake Azulduth in the south north to the Alamber Sea. At the fork where the Green River and Blue River of the Sword meet is a ruined fortification known as Sekras in Mulhorand or Mu’Ghul in Untheric which translates in both languages to something approximating “the Death Serpent”.
The Green River is highly saline and is completely undrinkable until it reaches the confluence with the Blue River at Mu’Ghul at which point it is bitter and does little to quench the thirst but can be drunk by those desperate enough.
The Green River has, in the last few centuries, become home to a large number of crocodilians that have proved to be very aggressive towards human encroachment on their territory. This has caused a decline in the populations of nearby settlements who can no longer rely on the river for food and water.
Sekras: This ruin was once one of the great fortresses of Unther built during the first age of that great empire. It was jointly defended by both Mulhorandi and Untheric troops who lived in the fortress and their families in the castle town built around it. The fortress was ignored by both Unther and Mulhorand following the Orcgate Wars and the few soldiers that remained here eventually disbanded and Sekras became a fortified city settlement rather than a border fortress.
Sekras was raised twice in its history, first in -425 DR and again in 1183 DR after it became home to the outcast godking Sebek and his band of rebels. Now the once great fortress is a burned ruin filled with ghosts, exiles, and monsters.
The settlement was once home to a marvel of Mulhorandi technology which pumped water from the River of Swords into a desalination tank that provided drinking water for the entire population. It is unknown if this is still functioning, but if it could be made to work again it would do much to ease the hardships for the people living on the frontier of Unther and Mulhorand.
Uthangol: Quite literally the South Mountains, this mountain range marks the limits of Unther’s southern borders and the boundary between Unther and the Shaar.
The Uthangol mountains were once of much greater importance to Unther than it is now. In eras long gone the Uthangol Mountains housed a great fortress known as the Iron Citadel which watched over the main trade route into Unther from its colonies south, west, and east (the forests either side of the mountains made travel around the mountains treacherous).
Today the mountains are abandoned by Unther except for slave farms in the northern foothills that tend to the reservoirs and flood prevention measures for the River Alamber and River Angol (measures whose catastrophic failure caused the great flood of Unthalass, and despite their presence regular floods of varying size occur every 50-100 years). The Iron Citadel is long lost, along with the former route of the road (rockslides buried the road and no expeditions to rediscover the citadel have ever returned)
There are many diverse communities that must be living in the mountain range. Ash giants have been spotted in numbers atop its peaks (presumably having migrated from the Smoking Mountains), along with dragons, wyverns, and gnolls. The most active denizens however are; the bandit tribe known as the Grey Ghosts who have setup a makeshift settlement in the southern foothills to prey on caravan traffic on the Old Road, the gold dwarves of the Great Rift that have riddled the roots of the mountains with mines and tunnels, and strange three eyed lizard like creatures of surprising intelligence that are known as the Gaunds.
Debuni Hasam: The fabled Iron Citadel of Unther was a prime example of architecture from the First Empire of Unther. Made of solid granite that was moulded by some unknown art lost to time, it is of incredible hardness and resilience, reinforced by thick metal beams running through the moulded rock and rumours are it was enhanced further by magic. If tales are true then it is likely the fortress has withstood several millennia unharmed by time or rockslides or any other force.
Long abandoned by the humans of Unther, it is unknown what happened to the last human inhabitants who were cut off when a rockslide covered the road north out of the mountains. Anyone stumbling across the fortress will find the gates barred from the inside and it apparently empty of life. If explorers were to venture into the fortress and descend into the storage cellars they would find it occupied by a sauroid race of grey skinned creatures with 3 red eyes that are far more intelligent than most lizardmen.
These sauroids are known as the Gaund (the only sound they appear to utter) and have been encountered all over the Uthangol Mountains. They do not appear to be hostile when encountered on the surface but will fiercely defend their subterranean homes. The Gaunds are a degenerate offshoot of the sarrukh and one of many groups that altered their own bodies too much and earned the enmity of other sarrukh that destroyed Okoth in a great civil war. The Gaund fled west to the Lake of Steam (where they have since been eradicated by beholders) but have long since returned to their former homeland and are working towards their own agenda.
In Unther the godkings are everything and so the most important organisations are religious in nature.
Gladiator Troupes: Gladiatorial combat is the primary method of entertainment in Unther. The big cities (Unthalass and Messemprar) have established guilds (such as the Bloody Hand) which run the arena and all gladiator combats in the city. Smaller settlements typically have an arena that travelling gladiator companies use while in town. There are over 200 gladiator troupes that travel Unther and Chessenta, Mulhorand, and other lands of the Old Empires, although in recent times most of the more successful troupes avoid Unther.
Wizard Weather: The weather in Unther (and indeed all the lands around the Inner Sea) has become increasingly erratic of late. The rainy seasons grow ever shorter and the fields of Unther in particular are turning to dust, the people of Unther are beginning to starve in their desperation are contemplating rebellion against the eternal rule of the God-King.
Many in Unther put this down to the edicts of Gil-Geamesq which has restricted the actions of the ensi of Ram-Manu and Ish-Tarri, whom many believe called the blessed rainclouds upon the Greenfields of Unther to help irrigate the land and grow food. Others however note similar weather and increasing droughts affecting Unther, Murhom, Semphar, and Threskel, while Thay’s lands have been blessed with perfect growing conditions.
Some of the less delusion rulers of the nations of the Old Empires are beginning to suspect that the Red Wizards of Thay may be using powerful magics to try and destabilise order in the region for their own ends. Unther certainly seems to be importing more and more food from Thay as it’s own supply dwindles.