The Swordlords

Bandits from the River Kingdoms and Issia nearly spelled the end of the Taldan colony of Rostland in its early years. Sirian First’s reputation as a duelist drew the attention of a bandit chieftain, who offered the baron a wager: half his fortune against the bandit leader’s head, if he could best him in a duel. Baron First accepted, and lost. He paid his due and disappeared, too ashamed to show his face any longer, most assumed. Yet Sirian returned years later as Baron Aldori and, in a highly-publicized “rematch,” defeated his foe in seconds and reestablished his rule in Rostland. Baron Aldori then issued his own wager: 100,000 gold pieces to anyone able to best him in a duel of blades. Thousands flocked to Rostland to answer this challenge, and the “Sword Baron” defeated them all. He founded the Aldori school of sword fighting, and established the influence of the Aldori swordlords over Rostland for centuries.

With the change in regime, many swordlords fled Brevoy to other realms, such as the River Kingdom of Mivon. A few became sell-swords, prostituting the arts of  the Aldori School for the coin needed to buy them food and shelter. The rest primarily settled in or near the free city of Restov.

The Council of Swordlords now only has an official capacity as an advisory board to the Rostland municipal governments. However, all of the members of the Swordlords are powerful nobles in their own right and through their unified might the Swordlords could pose a threat to the ruling government of Brevoy — their separatist ideals are widely known.

Sir Richard Iannuchi (Lord Commander of the Council)

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The Lord Commander of the Swordlord Council is a regal bearing, older man in his 50s. Despite his age, Iannuchi is still quite capable in battle, and he’s a seasoned leader and a veteran of many battles and duels. When discussions between various Swordlords breaks down in argumentation, all look to Iannuchi to settle disputes and remind the council members who their true enemies are. Hailing from a powerful political family amongst the Rostlanders, Iannuchi himself is known by many of common folk as the honour of the old Swordlords personified.

Lord Mario Derro (Council Banker)

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Mario Derro is a younger lord in his late 20s, who is known for his ruggedly handsome looks and his talent for finance and trade, a skill that he employs as the record-keeper and banker for the Swordlords. Derro’s financial influence extends beyond the Council itself. Through his own backroom politics and trade deals he has amassed many farms and orchards in Southern Brevoy, and has a large influence with many mercantile factions in the North due to various financial involvements.

Lady Ariana Santorini

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Ariana Santorini is an aggressive lady in her late 30s, who is known for her passion and tactical abilities. She is usually dressed in full battle armor and weapons, often looking as if she just walked off the battlefield (which perhaps isn’t far from the truth). She often hires out her armies out as mercenary support for nearby conflicts to keep her troops seasoned and prepared for war, as well as to provide gold for her house. She is rumoured to have an extensive druidic resources under her command, and most of her lands are wilderness in return for their support, which includes raising her famed hippogriff mounts.

Lord Stefan Mandor (Cavalier of Quality)

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Stefan Mandor is a charismatic man in his late 30s who is known as a cavalier of high regard. He competes often in tournaments and almost without exception wins handedly at everything he competes in. A paragon of lancework, riding, and archery, Mandor prefers a greatsword to the regular aldori sword for battle, donning the traditional blade only for honor duels. An extremely large and powerful man, matched with exceedingly quick reflexes, he is resolute in determination and is loathe to retreat, often succeeding due to bullheadedness where others would give up. His heavy cavalry are the strong right arm of the Swordlords military might.

Lord Gerrol “Torregrossa” Manolo

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Raised as priest of Gorum, this enormous man is the epitome of the War God in battle. Torregrossa, or ‘Big Tower’, as he is usually referred to, is an enormous man who stands over 7’ tall and weighs so much he must ride a huge stallion into battle. It is said that his stallion was granted him by Gorum himself, which most believe due to the black stallion’s massive stature. Anything political outcome that will result in battle appeals to Lord Manolo, and he has focused his house’s resources to provide support for his war efforts. His farms produce food that is immediately prepared for use in field support, and his other industries are wood and wagon crafting (siege engines and logistical caravans) and weapon and armor smithing. He is the single most needed Swordlord by the council, as he is often used as an intimidating hammer against their adversaries.

Lord Antonio Ghirlandaio

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Lord Antonio Ghirlandaio, or the Lord of Flowers, is the consummate Swordlord, and is an expert swordsman, poet, artist, and romancer of ladies of refinement everywhere. Extremely handsome and confident to the point of being arrogant, his sword skills are unmatched in Brevoy. He stands as the champion of the council in any honor duels, so needless to say, the Swordlords are rarely bothered with challengers these days. He has little interest in war or battle, but will eagerly engage in a duel to test the mettle of another swordsman. His beauty is marred only by a single scar running down his right eye, the origin of which he has never disclaimed.

Lord Ivan Vasseri

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Lord Vasseri is the eldest of the Swordlords and the only one who can remember the battles that took place over 40 years ago with strong emotion. He was a young swordlord at the time of the last uprising, and harbors a great hate for Issians, despising them with an unreasoning passion. He resents the Manning (Issian) presence in Rostland and has been unhappy since the Blessed Union, constantly pressing for open conflict with the current Lord. Usually dismissed as an angry old man, his words have found fertile ground of late, with the constant offenses of Lord Darren against his fellow Swordlords. It was his idea to create a foothold in the Stolen Lands.

Lord Victor Vasseri (Council Diplomat)

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Victor is the youngest of the Swordlords and the heir to the Vasseri House. He’s only been attending the council for a little over two years after being approved as a stand-in for his father, who rarely attends meetings unless an important vote (which for him means one approving war with the Issians) is up for discussion. He is handsome, well-mannered and well-spoken, and often travels the South with Lord Ghirlandaio. He serves the council as a diplomat and ambassador to other factions in Brevoy.

Albino Raspberry Grove

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While exploring the grasslands west of Oleg’s Trading Post during a torrential rain, the Associates discovered a large, hidden grove of white raspberries. While they initially thought they were simply not ripe yet, a further inspection revealed that they were actually a rare breed of albino raspberries.

House Rogarvia

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“With Sword and Flame”

Looking to secure himself and his progeny as high a place in the new order as he could, Nikos Surtova offered the hand of his daughter, Myrna, in marriage to Choral, binding the house of the Conqueror with his own. Since Choral’s final victory in the Valley of Fire, House Rogarvia has ruled Brevoy, until the recent mysterious disappearance. The house built the Ruby Fortress in the city of New Stetven as its stronghold, and Urzen Rogarvia sat on the Dragonscale Throne up until 4699, when the entire family vanished overnight. The Rogarvias were well known as ruthless rulers, determined to hold Brevoy together in the Conqueror’s name by whatever means necessary. Still, while their loss was not overly mourned, the stability they represented has been. Loyalists have continued to call for investigation into the Vanishing and make much of the fact that their rule lasted precisely 200 years, but it has become increasingly clear that House Rogarvia will not return soon, if ever.

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Choral the Conqueror

 

 

 

 

House Surtova

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“Ours Is the Right”

The most influential house in Brevoy, House Surtova, is also the oldest, established in Issia centuries before Choral’s arrival. The Surtovas were infamous pirates and raiders in those early days, and with the Conquerer’s coming were able to parley captured wealth into lands and titles. What started out as a defensible fortress became Port Ice, a settlement that has been the seat of Surtova power for generations. Nikos Surtova’s alliance with Choral secured House Surtova’s place at the right hand of the ruling house, and allowed them to move quickly into place after the Vanishing. The Survotas established a “regency” in the absence of King Urzen, which has quickly become the de facto succession to the crown. King Noleski Surtova sits upon the Dragonscale Throne, while his sister Natala Surtova reigns as unofficial “queen,” as her brother is as yet unmarried. Rumors say Natala enjoys her role (and her influence over her brother) far too much to embrace the idea of a proper sister-in-law. Still, there is considerable pressure for Noleski to choose a bride and produce heirs for his new dynasty.

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Noleski Surtova, current ruling Regent of Brevoy

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Natala Surtova

House Lodovka

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“The Waters, Our Fields”

Whereas House Surtova slowly changed their waterborne ways to focus on their lands and political affairs in Brevoy, House Lodovka has remained strongly interested in maritime affairs. They have steadily grown their fleet of ships in the Lake of Mists and Veils and their influence along their lakeshore lands and the trade routes crossing the waters. House Lodovka claims comparatively little land in the northernmost areas of Brevoy, and much of the land they hold is unsuitable for farming, but the house has many vessels hauling catches of fish and freshwater crabs from the Lake. Lord Kozek Lodovka is at heart a cunning old pirate with a love of the water, looking to do right by his house, his family, and his people.

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Kozek Lodovka

House Medyved

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“Endurance Overcomes All”

The easternmost house, Medvyed claims lands nestled against the Icerime Peaks and the Gronzi Forest, and rules them from the fortress of Stoneclimb in the lower peaks. They are a hardy folk, raisers of mountain goats and sheep, hunters in the Gronzi Forest, and cultivators of what good land can be found on the edges of their harsh territory. The Medvyeds and their people hearken back to the “Old Ways” of worshiping nature in its myriad forms. Isolated forest and mountain shrines to Old Deadeye (and, it is rumored, Lamashtu) are more common than temples of Abadar or Gorum. Lord Gurev Medvyed loves to hunt, ride, and feast with his men, and dotes on his wife and children.

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Gurev Medyved

House Orlovsky

 

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“High Above”

From Eagle’s Watch on the slopes of Mt. Veshka, House Orlovsky seeks to remain above the conflicts in Brevoy, both figuratively and literally. Unfortunately, the house’s role as a staunch ally of House Rogarvia has placed it in an awkward position under the current regime. Thus far, House Orlovsky has refused to acknowledge Noleski Surtova as anything other than Lord Regent in the absence of King Urzen or a true Rogarvian heir, but it is becoming increasingly clear which way the political winds are shifting. Lord Poul Orlovsky will soon be forced to either declare for the man he considers a usurper and opportunist, or seek to overthrow him and claim the Dragonscale Throne for himself (or another he finds worthy). An alliance between Orlovsky, Garess, and Medvyed could divide the nation, and cut the Surtovas’ travel and supply routes between Port Ice and New Stetven, but any such arrangement must be cultivated discreetly.

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Poul Orlovsky

House Lebeda

Lebeda_shield“Success through Grace”
The Lebedas of Lake Reykal are known as the most “Rostlandic” of Brevoy’s noble houses, having inherited a good deal of Taldan blood and tradition, including a fondness for sword fighting and an appreciation of the finer things. Their family seat of Silverhall is one of the grandest castles in Brevoy, its spires rising above the shores of Lake Reykal. The Lebedas earn and maintain their fortune as merchants and brokers between the northern and southern reaches of Brevoy, and control much of the shipping across the lake. Dame Sarrona Lebeda has ruled the house as regent since the death of her husband and only child, but her grandson Lander is approaching his majority, and soon he will become lord of the house. His older sister Elanna spends a great deal of time representing their house in New Stetven, and rumors claim the Lebedas are looking to arrange a marriage between her and Noleski Surtova. Naturally, rumor has it that Natala Surtova hates the young and charming Elanna Lebeda with a passion.

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Saronna Lebeda, Matriarch of House Lebeda

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Lander Lebeda

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Elanna Lebeda

House Garess

Garess_shield“Strong as the Mountains”

The valleys and lowlands of the Golushkin Mountains are the domain of House Garess, founded on both the defensibility of the mountain terrain and the mineral wealth the house has brought out of the peaks for generations. House Garess once had a profitable alliance with the Stonefist clan of dwarves living in the Golushkin Mountains, serving as brokers of a sort for the ores, metals, and worked goods the Golushkin dwarves produced. Lord Howlan Garess even took Tova Golka, the daughter of the clan-chief of the dwarf hold, as his ward (some say more as a hostage than a guest in Grayhaven Castle). This proved fortunate for young Tova, as Grayhaven lost all contact with the dwarf hold of Golushkin during the same winter as the Vanishing. With his own son Bren lost inside the mountains, Lord Howlan, a widower with no other children, has named Tova his adoptive heir. This has earned the dwarf, now a skilled young warrior in her own right, few friends in Grayhaven.

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Howlan Garess, elderly patriarch of House Garess

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Tova Golka, sole remaining member of the Stonefist Clan, and adoptive heir to House Garess

 

Thorn River

Located in the Northern Narlmarches, the banks of the Thorn River are thick with stinging nettles and tangles of sharp brambles. The river itself is relatively narrow, averaging 60 feet in width and 30 feet deep.

The Associates first came across the Thorn River when attempting to track the bandits that escaped from Oleg’s Trading Post. When attempting to cross it, they were attacked by a River Snake. Later, they camped out on it’s northern shore until they saw bandits aboard a raft moving downstream. They engaged the bandits in combat and, once their foes had become entangled in the brambles, lit the thorns aflame, killing most of the bandits.

After some time, the Associates came back down to the Thorn River in their pursuit of Breeg Orlivanch, who had been crushed by his own deadfall trap on the river’s northern shore.