CountZero's Mulhorand D&D 3.5 Campaign
Unther, like its long-standing enemy, Mulhorand, was once a great empire, but now seems to be in decline. The magocratic country was ruled by the Northern Wizards from the capital of Messemprar, since the former capital of Unthalass is occupied by Mulhorandi forces.
Once, a great empire like its sister nation Mulhorand, Unther fell far under the rule of the cruel manifestation of the deity Gilgeam. With Gilgeam’s death at the claws of Tiamat, Unther was plunged into chaos. Slaves rebelled, commoners rejoiced at the death of the tyrant, and clerics of Gilgeam and nobles struggled to maintain order. The armies of Mulhorand took advantage of this unrest, invading southern Unther and placing conquered areas under martial law.
Now Unther is a country divided between those who cling to the old ways and those who hope the pharaoh of Mulhorand will treat them better than their old ruler did. Unther is a land of opportunity, where military force, diplomacy, subterfuge, and intrigue all play a part in survival and power.
Life and Society
Victims of a cruel tyrant, the people of Unther had grown used to – but not complacent in -hardship and misery. While the land’s exalted nobles lived a life of luxury, served by slaves and supported by the national treasury, the common people paid high taxes, and slaves were treated so poorly that the punishment for killing one was paying a fine to the owner. While the government espoused the power of law in Unther, those who enforced the laws often disregarded the rights of citizens in favor of acquiring wealth and power for themselves. Slaves worked long hours for little food and were branded on the arm as a sign of their servitude.
With the fall of Gilgeam, the lower classes glimpsed a hope that their lot would improve, but the arrival of the Mulhorandi army has confused the issue. The army is controlled by the clerics of Anhur, a warlike yet good-aligned deity – and a radical change for the people of Unther. Abuses against the conquered people are rare and rapidly punished. Untherite slaves (whether owned by temples or individuals) became property of the churches of Mulhorand, a better lot in life than they had ever known before.
The fit slaves were given rudimentary arms training and sent to root out hidden pockets of Untherite resistance, a vengeful task they performed well. Now the few free cities of Unther look to their brethren in the south and wonder if they are better served being patriots of their homeland or citizens of the new empire. Because the armies control the fertile fields in Unther and food shortages grow imminent in the free cities, leaders in the north are pressured to acquire food or surrender.
The army of Unther is ill-trained and poorly equipped with bronze swords and bronze half-plate armor. The personal retinues of the surviving nobles and temples are better armed and much more formidable in the field.
Major Geographic Features
The River of Swords
The River of Swords was long recognized as the border between Unther and Mulhorand, but it is no longer clear exactly what the new border will be after Mulhorand’s armies cease advancing.
Black Ash Plain
This area, south of the Smoking Mountains, earns its name from the gray soot blown from the volcanic cones of that range. It is inhabited by brown dragons and black-skinned stone giants, which are locally known as ash giants. This area is not particularly fertile (it has almost no soil other than the ash itself) and was avoided by the Mulhorandi army.
The Green Lands
The soil of the Green Lands is enhanced by magic and is normally responsible for three-fourths of the food produced in Unther. The area is inhabited by androsphinxes and gynosphinxes, that occasionally raid cattle farms. The Green Lands were churned into mud by the army of Mulhorand, and imports of food from the east will be needed to prevent famine in Unther this year.
This lake is thick with fish, which are dined upon by the native plesiosaurs. Bandit settlements dot the western coast, and many refugees fled across the water when the Mulhorandi army arrived, some captured by bandits and sold into slavery, some reaching Chessenta on their own, and yet others struggling to survive on the shore.
This thick forest once sheltered a number of druids, but they left or died out over a hundred years ago. Now home to small tribes of elves and half-elves, the Methwood is also inhabited by chimeras and an old green dragon named Skuthosim. Legends of a lost city of the Turami race in the forest, possibly dating back to the time of the Imaskar Empire.
The western end of this range has active volcanoes, while the eastern end is dormant. Guyanothaz the red dragon lairs here but hasn’t been seen in centuries. The mount are also home to pyrohydras and salamanders.
The population numbers in occupied cities do not include roughly 20,000 soldiers of Mulhorand who are currently stationed in Unther.
Messemprar (Metropolis, 99,776)
Once the largest city in Unther when it was a major port on the naval trade route, Messemprar shrank when merchant vessels began to avoid Unther’s coast and Gilgeam’s excessive trade taxes. A brief civil war within the city broke out a few years ago after a tax revolt that led to a food riot. The riot ended when the wizards of a secretly anti-Gilgeam group called the Northern Wizards took control of the city.
Now Messemprar has more than doubled in size as refugees from other cities in Unther flood into it. The Northern Wizards wished to be free of Gilgeam, but did not expect their freedom to be followed by the swords of Mulhorand. They have been working frantically to fortify their city against the army and pleading with pharaoh for a cessation of hostilities. The Northern Wizards have a standing agreement with several adventuring groups to smuggle food into the city.
If anyone could be said to be the leader of unconquered Unther at the moment, it might be Isimud (NG male human Wiz15/Dev3 of Mystra), who is the foremost of the mages of Messemprar. His fellow mages are a fractious group whose power is not well respected by the turncoat nobles of their host city.
Shussel (Small City, 9,110)
A few years ago almost the entire population of this city vanished in a single night. The war against Mulhorand had nothing to do with the disappearance of the city’s population – the accounts of survivors and numerous divinations reveal that a mysterious fog descended over the city and lingered all night long, carrying away nine out of ten of the city’s citizens when the morning sun broke.
Shussel-folk who were away from their home city reclaimed their empty town, now filled with entire districts of abandoned residences. Squatters and bandits followed, taking advantage of empty homes and left-behind wealth. Shussel was growing poorer anyway before the Vanishing; its iron mines are playing out, and over-farming of the fields to the north have left them little more than a desert. Now Shussel exists as a Mulhorandi garrison town, its small port under heavy guard so that ships from Skuld may dock here with supplies and fresh troops for the Mulhorandi invaders.
Unthalass (Metropolis, 164,627)
In its heyday, this city was grandest in Faerûn. Since then, it has been flooded many times, attacked by pirates, and nearly destroyed by a battle between Tiamat and Gilgeam during the Time of Troubles. Now the army of Mulhorand occupies the city, with about half of its former population under martial law (if free) or claimed by the church of Anhur (if slaves).
The undercity is home to monsters such as lamias and wererats, with a great lamia ruling all as a queen. The monsters are biding their time since the occupation by Mulhorand, making occasional raids on the surface as they did when the city was free. A secret temple to Tiamat also lies beneath the city. The central district, formerly inhabited by Gilgeam and his clerics, was ransacked after the deity’s death.
Unther’s history is strongly tied to its sister Mulhorand’s, except that the people of Unther have always had a more aggressive and expansionist bent than those of their eastern neighbor. Unther’s territory once included what is now Chessenta, Chondath, and cities on the southern coast of Aglarond, and its fierce and ruthless warriors were hated by those they conquered. However, the cost of this expansion bankrupted Unther’s treasury, forcing the rulers to raise taxes to absurd levels.
Piece by piece, the colonies of Unther rebelled. Chessenta succeeded in conquering Unther and ruled it as a vassal state for nearly a hundred years. With the disappearance of the Chessentan hero-conqueror Tchazzar, Unther was able to free itself and turn its focus inward on its own cruel people. The country that had made great advances in sculpture, poetry, and other civilized arts became engaged in a slow decline in morale and culture, as if following Gilgeam’s descent into tyranny and madness.
When Gilgeam was slain by Tiamat, Mulhorand saw an opportunity to attack and crossed the traditional border between their nations, conquering first small towns and outposts and finally the Untherite capital and cities beyond.
Left with less than a third of the territory it held a year ago, Unther is on the brink of ceasing to exist. Only the mercy of Mulhorand’s pharaoh or powerful intervention by outside agents (such as the Red Wizards, the Zhentarim, or the church of Tiamat) is likely to save Unther from becoming a territory of the new empire of Mulhorand. The Red Wizards in particular are loath to see that happen, and are supplying both money and power to help Unther remain independent. Cautious Untherites are wary of the eventual cost of this aid, but many feel that any alternative is better, than becoming subject to" Mulhorand’s":https://mulhorand-campaign.obsidianportal.com/wikis/mulhorand rule.