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The Dominion of Ramdrant[]

"It is the fourth day now, of the third week of the Eleventh Great Crusade, and this infernal rain has yet once to abate. We have lost another wagon to the wretched mire, and the incessant bites of these insects have drawn more blood than the monsters we hunt. Worse, not a single one of my holy tabards has escaped this land's muck and slime. Goddess willing, it will not be much longer before I can see these beasts cleansed in fire, and myself in a hot bath."

-From the War-Diary of the eleventh Crusader-General of Bittonia

Geography[]

Hemmed in by tall, imposing mountains, the valleys of Ramdrant are deep, dark, and shrouded in an almost perpetual twilight thanks to the long shadows cast by the cloud-piercing peaks. The dominion itself is a realm of lowlands and swamps, soft and fertile earth giving rise to towering forests of pine - or in some areas, titanic mushrooms that fill the air with shimmering and dangerous spores. Life blossoms in abundance despite the darkness, with the rich soil feeding all manner of flora that explode into a dazzling range of colorful blossoms when the time is right. In many of the more 'civilized' regions of Ramdrant, flooded fields are cultivated for bountiful harvests of rice and vegetables, and times of true famine are rare.

Even so, the bogs can be quite dangerous, with everything from the insects to the plants to potentially even the water itself being laced with all manner of deadly poisons. Save for the few tribes that thrive in such miasma, most of Ramdrants citizens dwell in sturdy, walled towns, whose crooked and rarely-planned streets are filled with all manner of creatures throughout all hours of the night and day. Almost without exception, these towns are built upon the mana fonts that dot the marshy landscape, and the discovery of a new fountain is all but certain to ensure a scramble between tribes to assert dominance over the precious resource.

Resources[]

While Ramdrant's mundane resources are scarce and dangerous to harvest compared to its neighbors (even the stones of their towns must often be stolen from other lands, or purchased at great expense from one of Ramdrant's few allies), the land provides in the form of the ley lines that criss-cross the realm like threads on a loom. Ramdrant is one of the most mana-rich regions in all of Nestoria, to the point where mana simply bubbles up from the ground in places, and laces the air itself in others. This has lead to the growth of both some of the most exotic and dangerous flora and fauna in the world (prized by many alchemists), and the development of an unusually diverse population.

This magic is the greatest boon of Ramdrant, and nearly every major tribe harnesses arcane or primal energy in some way, whether through the exotic alchemies of the goblins, the eldritch sorceries of the witches, the necromantic arts of the gnolls, or stranger magics still. Even the simplest smith likely knows at least a cantrip or two to aid in their labor, and children are often taught the fundamentals of arcana as a matter of course.

Society[]

Many outsiders are aware to an extent that Ramdrant is largely maintained by a confederacy of distinct tribes (the exact number varies as tribes rise and fall, but most sages would agree that there are currently a dozen of note), but despite fierce rivalries and cutthroat politics, relations are generally fairly cordial in everyday matters. Such is the way of Ramdrant - while strife is nearly ubiquitous, it is seen by most as a positive force, encouraging competition and driving all parties to improve themselves. A night that begins with a vicious brawl between an ogre gang and a pack of gnolls might end with everyone involved sharing stiff drinks and a bawdy song in one of Ramdrant's infamously disreputable taverns.

The laws of the land are quite loose and open to interpetation, and most towns prefer to leave conflict resolution to private citizens except in exceptional cases. Even so, tribal and family bonds are viewed in most places are sacred. While the weak may not find much mercy from the Dominion itself, it is a rare watchman who would halt an intervention by their friends or family on their behalf. In a similar vein, those who lack a family unit or a band of allies to call their own will likely soon find that seeking one out is one of Ramdrant's most basic survival skills.

Religion[]

To describe Ramdrant's relationship with the Goddess Church as 'rocky' would be the understatement of the century. While in theory the Ramdranti faith worships the same entity as their counterparts in the Guineass Church, their view of the deity is almost entirely different, to the point where many of the more pious clergy fume regularly at the extent of the heresy. The Goddess of the Ramdranti is an earthy, adventurous soul - always ready to share in a round of drinks, to laugh at a good joke, or to pitch a tent beneath the starry sky. Rarely depicted in her heavenly home, and ill at ease with massive temples or ostentatious relics, the Goddess is both a child of the world and a sister to its people, from the most terrifying beast to the meekest mortal - and far more likely to offer words of wisdom than a heavenly host in aid.

Politics[]

Internally fractured, with the ruling tribe being overthrown by a rival whenever a dynasty seems to be growing weak, the shifting Overlords of Ramdrant have ensured that it is a realm with few lasting historical allies. Most other nations keep a wary eye on the aggressive and unpredictable realm, and it has been 'conquered' by invading forces more than once - though no invader has yet managed to maintain their grip on the hostile land and its chaotic people for long. Only Hexania has endured as a serious long-term friend of Ramdrant, with the shared arcane heritage of the two nations (and the mystical resources Ramdrant is able to export) ensuring a generally positive relationship over the years. In the past century, under the reign of the occult Blackcloak dynasty, this relationship has only strengthened, and there are rumors that Ramdranti witches played a crucial (if secretive) role in the development of the Magical Girls that have risen to fame in Hexania.

Ramdrant's most bitter enemy throughout the ages has been its immediate neighbor, Bittonia. The very first Overlord of Ramdrant, the nigh-unstoppable warlock Grendel Runefist, unified the disparate tribes of that age into a Twilight Horde that utterly overwhelmed the unsuspecting Bittonia. The monstrous legion was driven back only by the legendary Heroes of Dawn and the priceless royal relic they wielded - or so the legend goes. Whatever the truth of that conflict, the fact remains that relations between Ramdrant and Bittonia have been hostile ever since, with border skirmishes and outright wars over the ages occurring with frequency too great to be worth tallying.

Recently, growing weary of the ancient bile, the leaders of these two powers have made tenative attempts at deescalation, most notably in the Elegant Royal Diamond Exchange - an ambitious effort to allow the princess of each realm to spend time as a guest (or less charitably, hostage) of her counterpart. Several years underway now, most still view the endeavor as foolish, but in the end, only time will tell...

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