Unther and Mulhorand are relatively stable and united societies, and the social structure does not vary much from region to region. In Chessenta, this is not the case; each city is a different society and may contain substantial differences in social mix, laws, and character.
The peoples of Chessenta are of many races: common humans are the Mulani (Unther/Mulhorand), Turami (Turmish), Rashemi (Rashemen), and Amnite (Amn); there are also more than a few elves, half-elves, half-orcs, orcs, dwarves, and halflings mixed in the cities.
Airspur and Mordulkin are particularly well-known for their cosmopolitan mix of races. As in the other nations of the Old Empires, there are three social classes: nobility, middle class, and slaves/serfs. The rulers are usually Mulan humans, descended from those who originally rebelled against Unther.
The Population of Chessenta
Chessenta is an ancient land, in many ways the most energetic of the Old Empires. While large sections of the country remain unoccupied (the Adder Peaks, for instance), it is estimated that the population stands at close to 1.2 million sentient beings, including the Flaming Spike orc tribe of the Akanapeaks,
whose population is estimated at 50,000 (though they suffered heavy losses in the recent wars in Chondath). Of this population, about 300,000 live in the cities and 900,000 in the countryside.
Given its political divisiveness, there is no standing army to represent Chessenta as a nation. When outsiders threaten Chessenta, the armies of Cimbar and Akanax threaten each other into cooperating; so far this has only occurred on one occasion.when Unther tried to reclaim Chessenta 300 years ago and failed miserably. There is no central council to discuss Chessentan affairs, though Cimbar sends ambassadors to all coastal cities except Luthcheq. This keeps a dialogue going among the Chessentan cities to discuss trade threats from the North Coast cities.The social classes of Chessenta are as follows:
The nobles of Chessenta live in rich palaces in large cities. They can be of any class, though given the large number of wars that plague Chessenta, they usually belong to the warrior group. Whereas Mulhorand worships the divine, Chessenta.s obsession is with physical conflict. Rulers are often retired warriors who place their sons at the heads of the army. They typicallyrule the city and send troops out into the surrounding countryside to collect taxes; taxes are kept and used by the city, not sent to a central authority. To be cast out of the noble class, one must be outlawed. The punishment of banishment requires a public trial.
Noble Titles of Chessenta
There is no hierarchy of titles in Chessenta. The rulers of cities are generally known as kings; the Sceptanar of Cimbar uses the title Overlord or Great King to signify his claim as the one true ruler of Chessenta. (Of course, the other kings of Chessenta do not refer to the Sceptanar as the Great King.) People who perform great deeds on the battlefield are officially known as .Hero of...,. with the name of the battle added to their title. This is considered to be part of their name; those given his title are permitted to add heroic emblems to their shields and wear a copper ring on the third finger of their left hand. It is possible to be a hero in more than one battle, and heroes often receive additional pay as a matter of respect for their deeds. Most importantly, a hero is considered to be part of the noble class; it thus is possible for a slave to be elevated into the nobility.
to be a hero, one must perform great deeds in battle that are witnessed by a commander of noble rank. The title is not given out as a whim, and there is rarely more than one hero in a battle. Heroism is sometimes given out posthumously; the only benefit such heroes receive is a grave in the noble burial grounds with a marker to recognize their deeds. There are no special titles for priests or mages, which are not the most respected classes in Chessenta. Both are considered to be less than noble professions, except in Cimbar, which recognizes teachers and philosophers from these classes as the pinnacles of human achievement. There is nothing particularly honorable or dignified about being a member of these classes; it is the act of teaching or philosophizing that is seen as dignified in Cimbar. One must also engage in public discussions and debates between philosophers to gain proper recognition.
The Middle Class
The middle class in Chessenta bears a greater resemblance to the tradesmen, merchants, and farmers of the western Realms, rather than the tightly controlled realms of Mulhorand, Unther, or even Thay. The middle class controls most of the money in Chessenta, and the city governments believe that it is in their best interest to let the middle class thrive so the governments rake in the taxes.
The majority of farmers are freeholders with serfs to help in the fields. Slaves typically fulfill household duties, while serfs are paid minimal wages and given land of their own to use while providing a portion of crops produced on the land to the owner. In actual practice, the differences between serf and slave are minimal. The only city that places major restrictions on the merchant classes is Luthcheq. Businesses in that city are forbidden to use wizards, shelter wizards, or even have dealings with wizards outside of the city. The penalties for violating this law are confiscation of all property and possessions and death by witchweed burning as a witch-friend. Merchants usually get around these restrictions by setting up other companies
in other cities, selling to their other companies, and then hiring middlemen to sell to wizards. The lords of Luthcheq typically persecute one merchant every ten years or so to demonstrate that their laws may not be flouted. Then they move on to matters of greater interest. Naturally, many traders in the Inner Sea are extremely nervous during their visits to Luthcheq, and some merchants avoid that city altogether.
Members of the middle class in Chessenta typically dress in upper class style, but without royal insignias or signets of heroism. They are clean-shaven and their hair is cropped short. They wear short, white tunics with capes that fall to the knees and cover the shoulders. Only mages and the crippled are permitted to carry staves.
Slavery in Chessenta is less widespread than in Mulhorand or Unther; farm workers are typically serfs, not slaves, though the differences are minimal. Slaves are often criminals who are forced into service in dangerous places, such as the mines, or serfs purchased from slave traders (some are Thayvian in origin). Slavery is considered part of the natural order; philosophers claim that some men are naturally servile, and many of these servile men are slaves. Work conditions among slaves vary greatly.
Slaves in the mines work in a wretched, unsafe environment, but most slaves live hard but not unpleasant lives. It is considered a virtue to reward slaves for hard work or jobs well done; masters can give slaves their freedom at any time. Slaves are not branded as in Unther, but they are forced to wear a thread around their wrists to identify them as slaves. The threads are easily broken, but escapes are for the most part a very rare occurrence. Slaves may shave or cut their hair, but most masters require them to wear a beard, at least until they are sure the slave will not escape. Most slaves are kept illiterate, except in the city of Cimbar, where it is compulsory that all citizens and slaves be able to read and write.
Demihumans in Chessenta
The major enclave of nonhumans in Chessenta is the Flaming Spike tribe in western Chessenta. This tribe has a reputation, which seems to be exaggerated, for barbarism and cruelty. These orcs often raid the cattle and sheep herds on the north shores of the Akanamere, but they rarely attack humans. Most battles between the Flaming Spike and Chessenta have been initiated by Chessenta; the garrison at Rodanar is especially eager to kill them. The Flaming Spike tribe is more aggressive in Chondath. A number of orcs have left the tribe to become traders in Airspur, where half-orcs are fast becoming the dominant members of its society. Because of this, a large dwarven mercenary company has offered its services to Cimbar, which is currently at war with Airspur. For the most part, however, the orcs of Airspur have adopted human values and compete with human traders for business, not racial reasons. The archmage Heptios says that orcs who adopt human values may be the greatest threat the Realms have ever known.
The second source of demihumans in Chessenta are the mercenaries. While all of the peoples of the Old Empires share a congenital wariness of and unease with all things elven, half-elves are considered to be fully human and are rarely the object of discrimination. Dwarves are also commonly found in mercenary companies, though southern dwarves consider Chessenta to still be part of Unther and thus an enemy..Even the most drunken dwarf never forgets, even when he does not remembercorrectly. is a common (if unfair) saying in Chessenta.
One city that does not like demihumans, as one might expect, is Luthcheq. While orcs, half-orcs, and half-elves are tolerated, full elves are considered to be creatures of magic; any caught in Luthcheq are burned. Dwarves are considered to be earth magicians and also subject to burning. Naturally, most demihumans avoid Luthcheq, and some demihuman companies have joined in battles against Luthcheq out of vengeance, which has only deepened the prejudice of the lords of Luthcheq against demihumans.
The Society of Chessenta
Chessenta is generally considered to have a neutral society, subject to regional variations. Cimbar is probably best described as lawful good, while Akanax is lawful neutral, and Luthcheq is lawful evil.
In Chessenta, there are a number of motives that drive people. The people of the outside see the Chessentan.s feasts and wars and often view them as a riotous, drunken people. While it is true that Chessentans feast and fight often and long, this description misses the fundamental facet of a Chessentan.s
character-passion. Chessentans are an extremely energetic people who rarely do things except to an extreme. Competition is very important to their way of life, as is art. The Chessentans live for today, but without the fatalism or desperation of those who believe that the world will soon end. This tendency toward excess and driven behavior enables them to create works of beauty that cannot be found elsewhere in the Realms. It also encourages them to engage in savage warfare with appalling frequently. Chessenta is´a land that does not believe in doing anything half-way.
GEOGRAPHY OF CHESSENTA
“Chessenta is a mosaic of a nation that 'was made by ten different artists, all of 'them blindfolded.”
.Heptios, mage of Cimbar
In physical size, the alliance of Chessenta is the largest of the Old Empires. However, Chessenta is really a collection of city-states with no unity whatsoever, though each state has ambitions (some would say delusions) toward being the center of this virtually nonexistent nation. Historically, the border of Chessenta in the west begins at the coast on the edge of the Akanapeaks, the mountains that border the Akanamere. This border goes south to the Adder Peaks, and then runs along the Winding River, Methmere, and the River of Metals to its mouth on the coast of the Alamber. The Untheric city of Messemprar lies across the border on the south side of the river. The border then shifts northward, following the coast, as far west as the city of Reth. The region between Messemprar and Mt. Thulbane, Threskel, considers itself to be an independent nation, but most consider this area to be part of Chessenta. Chessenta has numerous geographical regions. In the west are the Akanapeaks, and to the east are the Riders to the Sky Mountains. Between these two mountain ranges are the hills of Maerth, which separates the Adder River valley to the east and the Akanul Plains on the west. Threskel is low plains and beaches, with the exception of the lonely mountain, Mt. Thulbane.
The Riders to the Sky
This mountain chain is on the southeastern border of Chessenta. These are mostly hills ranging between 3,000 and 5,000 feet in height. On the southern end are a number of cliffs that are home to the tuuru, a race of giant birdlike lizards (pteranodons). Legends exist that in ancient days these huge birds were used as mounts by the warriors of Unther. Given the size, weight, and strength of the pteranodons, it is doubtful that they could support a human rider; either larger varieties once existed or the legend is a hoax.
There are also the ruins of an ancient aarakocra civilization on the slopes, but this tribe was hunted to extinction a century ago for sport by mercenaries from Chessenta. The eastern portions of the Riders tothe Sky have mostly been cleared, though some bandit and outlaw tribes use them as bases to wage raids on Unther and Chessenta. The western portions, along the edge of the Winding River, are much wilder. There are troll villages, and duergar inhabit underground caverns. Half-drow who were exiled from Yuirwood long ago are rumored to live among the trolls.
The Adder River is a wide, slow, muddy river that runs from the Adder Peaks to the Bay of Chessenta. It is known for the lush vegetation that surrounds it, and its deadly snakes (the king of Unther was once bitten by an adder while crossing this river). It would be easy to navigate, except for the Adder Swamp, which blocks the mouth of the river. The Adder Swamp is known to be home to a community of werecrocodiles, who are very protective of their territory. They are currently at war with a community of wererats.
The Hills of Maerth
Between Akanamere and the Adder River are the Hills of Maerth. These low but rugged hills are known for their rare minerals; a large number of ancient mines dot the surface of the hills. Recently large tracts of the hills of Maerth were purchased by the wellknown plane-wandering archmage Azurax Silverhawk
The Akanul is the most fertile region of farmland within Chessenta. Large plantations of cash crops line the shores of the Akanamere; these crops are delivered by ship to Akanax and Soorenar. These lands have been farmed for centuries; they deliver over 50% of Chessenta .s food supply. Many of the wars that have been fought in Chessenta have been over these lands and access to their crops.
This great fresh-water lake is the largest in the Old Empires. The lake is rich in fish, and its shores are fertile. There is also at least one active pirate vessel active in this area, as well as a family of vodyanoi and a small community of lizard men. Two small trading villages, Oslin and Maerduuth, are situated on the southeastern coast of the lake, while the town of Rodanar sits on the northern shore. The mercenary company, Lords of the Inner Reach, is stationed in Oslin; it has been employed by farmers who wish to displace rival farmers and take over their lands. The river Akax, which runs between the Akanamere and the Bay of Chessenta, is navigable down its entire length by small- and medium-sized ships.
These are the highest peaks in Chessenta, with the exception of Mt. Thulbane. The only known passage through the Akanapeaks is the gap of Reth. The western slopes of the peaks are home to a large orc tribe, the Flaming Spike, which inhabits ancient dwarven mines that were carved in the mountains over three millennia ago. The orcs raid into western Chessenta and Hlath and Nun in eastern Chondath.
Bay of Chessenta
This great bay is considered by many to be the best natural harbor in the eastern Inner Sea region. At its northeast-ern end is the Watcher.s Cape, on which stands a lighthouse that is nearly 800 feet high. This light, known as the Drakelight, is lit whenever a fleet of pirate ships is spotted entering the Bay. A garrison of 300 troops, 100 each from Luthcheq, Soorenar, and Mordulkin, maintain the lighthouse and guard against pirate and other attacks. This garrison is well supplied; by treaty all three of the cities maintain their troops here, even if the cities go to war against each other.
This extinct volcano is the highest peak in Chessenta; it is said that the god Assuran,patron of Chessenta, lives on this peak. At the foot of the mountain are the fields of Pryollus, where competitions are held every two years to determine the finest athletes in Chessenta. These grounds are currently being used by the king of Mourktar, who is having an athletic competition to determine who will succeed him.
Cities of Chessenta
Reth is the westernmost city of Chessenta.a fast-growing port and trading center. It forms a loose alliance with Hlath and Nun to protect each other from attack from the sea, though Reth failed to protect Hlath in recent battles against a powerful netherworld mage named Yrkhetep. To the west of Reth is the forest of Nun, which is inhabited by the Autunuk tribe of hybsil. Reth is ruled by a council of merchants, who keep tariffs here lower than in any other city in Chessenta, which makes it an extremely attractive port. Its disadvantage is its distance from the major production centers, though iron is mined in the Akanapeaks.
The city is separated from the rest of Chessenta by the Gap of Reth, which is spanned by a wall (with a gate for traffic to pass through) to protect from invasion. Being good merchants, the Lords of Reth wish to stay out of armed conflicts. The Wraith of the Inner Sea, a mercenary complement of four large vessels, uses this port as its home base. The population of Reth is 35,000.
This trading port was once one of the most important in western Chessenta, but has since been overtaken by Reth. It is still a powerful presence in the region. Airspur is known (some say infamous) for the many half-orcs that populate it.30% of the population of the city is half-orc. The city is currently in an aggressive phase, having allied with Soorenar in its current war against Cimbar. The city fields an army of 3,000 troops. The city has a population of 20,000.
Three notable mercenaries use Airspur as its base.the Sailors of the Crimson Sea, the Wardogs, and the Sunlords. Many of these have fought recently in Chondath and have sustained heavy losses. The lord of Airspur is Khrulis, a crafty and pragmatic, though greedy, ruler.
Cimbar is commonly thought of as the capital of Chessenta, the place set down by the war god Tchazzar as the center of his nation.s power forever (or at least for as long as the city.s kings could prevent Chessenta from deteriorating into a group of warring city-states). Cimbar is known for its rich culture. Participation in the arts, philosophy, and music is compulsory for its citizens. The way to eternity, it is said in Cimbar, is through a sound body, an inquiring mind, and a creative spirit. The streets are clean and the buildings are beautiful.
Cimbar is the quintessential symbol of a rich, prosperous city in its golden age. The city is divided into two major sections: Old Cimbar and New Cimbar. Old Cimbar was built as a port by the Untheri 500 years before the founding of Cormyr. This section includes the Great Palace, the home of the Sceptanar in the shadow of an old Untheri pyramid, many libraries where books and works of art are kept, and the University, the largest center of learning in the Old Empires, larger than even the schools of Thoth in Gheldaneth. Cimbarians brag that it is the largest center of learning in the entire Realms. There are three sections to the University. There is the college of mages, where magic is studied, the college of sages, where bestiaries and books of facts describe (with some contradictions) every known part of the Realms, and the artist.s college, where poetry, painting, and music are taught to dozens of eager students. Studies also include mathematics and astronomy. Cimbar boasts one of the largest literacy rates in the Realms; even slaves are taught to read and write. New Cimbar is a large cluster of residences and thriving shops. The port is the largest of any in the region. On the outskirts of the city are theaters, where plays are performed, the hippodrome, where horses and chariots race, and the arena, where athletes test their skills. In spite of its tradition of arts, Cimbar is also a city of warriors. It has the second largest fleet in the eastern Inner Sea (only Thay.s is larger), and the largest number of warships at any port in the region. The main enemy of the Cimbarian navy is not Thayvian vessels, but those of the cities of the North Coast; there have been numerous sea battles between Cimbarian and North Coast vessels as both attempt to dominate the seas and the valuable trading route. The army of Cimbar numbers 15,000 . The population of the city is 90,000. There are usually at least six mercenary companies in Cimbar as well.
The king of Cimbar is the mage known only as the Sceptanar ; he holds the ancient scepter and crown of Tchazzar and is considered to have the best claim of all who claim to be king of Chessenta. He rules with absolute authority, though a senate elected from the land-holding males of Cimbar meets frequently to make proposals; the king usually at least listens to their advice.
South of Cimbar is its philosophical opposite, the harsh city of Akanax. Akanax is a city of warriors; its male citizens are bonded into the military and trained to be warriors; those incapable of fighting are slain. Men are forbidden to marry before the age of 20 and cannot live with their wives until the age of 30. Akanax scorns the arts of Cimbar but admires its fighting spirit. The city is organized like a military camp. Women exist to serve the men, who eat at a common mess and train together constantly. Buildings are simple, ractical structures without much ornamentation. Much of the population of Akanax lives outside of the city, in fields that have been converted into military camps. Children in Akanax are not raised by families, but belong to the state. Throughout its history, Akanax has had many wars; the Akanul pays regular tribute to Akanax. Maerduuth was once a large city, until it was nearly totally destroyed in a war against Akanax 50 years ago. Strangers are only barely tolerated in Akanax, and are generally viewed with extreme suspicion. Because of this, no mercenary companies are based in Akanax. Occasionally warriors of Akanax desert to form their own mercenary companies; many of the mercenaries in Mulhorand are of Akanaxian origin.
The city has a population of 20,000; this is deceptive, as many of its citizens live in the camps outside of the city on its southern plains. The actual number of people in the region is 70,000. Much of the city was destroyed ten years ago in a war against Soorenar. The army of Akanax numbers over 20,000; ot has a very small navy of ten warships. The ruler of Akanax is the absolute tyrant Hippartes; he is considered to be the finest soldier in the south. The city is currently at peace, though it expects war with Luthcheq any time now. Soorenar has invited Akanax to join in Soorenar.s attack against Cimbar; Akanax is considering the proposal, as well as an invasion of Soorenar that would give Akanax control of the River Akax.
Rodanar was founded by the war god Tchazzar, as Chessenta needed a fort to defend itself against incursions from the orc tribes of the Akanapeaks. Two centuries ago it was a large city, but a war against Akanax destroyed it, and the small town that was rebuilt on the site is a vassal of Akanax. It serves as a trading center for the western interior of Chessenta, and as a garrison loyal to Akanax. It is run in stoic military style by Hyurkes . The town.s population is 5,000, of which 1,000 are in the direct service of the garrison.
This large, aggressive port city is at the mouth of the river Akax. The lords of the city are related to the Lords of Luthcheq (though without the latter.s homicidal hatred of wizards). They are currently planning a grand alliance to destroy Cimbar and unite Chessenta under Soorenar.s rulership. Its allies in this enterprise are Luthcheq and Airspur. It is trying hard to persuade Akanax to join the alliance, though many grudges remain from their last war. Soorenar is divided into two sections: East and West Soorenar, which are separated by the Akax River delta. Only a ferry service across the Akax provides transportation between them, as there are no bridges on the river. East Soorenar is the smaller of the two sections; it contains docks, storage facilities, and amenities for adventuring parties and mercenary companies. Most of the people in Soorenar live on the western side, which is heavily guarded. Soorenar.s attitude toward warfare is to purchase victory with money and treasure. It likes to buy the services of high-level wizards and use them to devastate the enemy; it is somewhat at odds with Luthcheq over this practice. Soorenar.s standing army is 5,000. The rmy has been boosted to 15,000 for the current war against Cimbar. This huge increase has been accomplished by forced induction of its citizens and slaves, as well as the service of 5,000 mercenaries. The lords of Soorenar are Lord Thurik, Lady Yashur, and Lord Brolkchant. These are the representatives of the three leading noble families. Any decision regarding Soorenar must be unanimous.
This .city of madness. is one of the most troubled and destructive in the entire Realms. The lords of this city, the family Karanok, are devotees of the strange deity named Entropy, an entity that is devoted to the destruction of magic. As priests of Entropy, the lords of Luthcheq feel that it is their responsibility to hunt down and slay all wizards, not only within Luthcheq, but all over the Realms. the lords of Luthcheq pay large bounties for captured wizards, who they burn at the stake in witchweed fires. Assassins in the pay of Luthcheq are stalking a number of prominent targets, most notably Elminster of Shadowdale. The lords have had secret talks with agents of the Zhentarim, in which the destruction of Elminster occupied most of the discussion, though the use of magic by the Zhentarim and the Red Wizards prevents (fortunately) the formation of two dangerous alliances. Luthcheq is a member of the northern alliance with Soorenar and Airspur. They have not yet, however, provided troops to the war against Cimbar; secretly the lords of Luthcheq hope that the alliance and Cimbar will destroy each other and allow Luthcheq to take control of the north. Luthcheq claims that it needs all of its troops to defend against Mordulkin incursions; Mordulkin is its historic enemy even from the days before the Karanoks obtained power.
The city is divided into the Port Section, the Trading Section, the Palace Section, the Temple of Entropy, and the Slave Farms, where witchweed is grown. Priests of Entropy wander the streets carrying censors filled with burning witchweed to purge the city of magic. The population of Luthcheq is believed to be about 50,000; there is no accurate counting made of the citizens except for the slaves. The army of Luthcheq consists of nearly 10,000 troops. The navy consists of 15 large warships. No mercenary companies (or sane adventurers) use Luthcheq as a base; those suspected of associating with wizards are also burned. The current lord is Maelos, high priest of Entropy
This city sits on the eastern shore of the Bay of Chessenta. It is a family enclave, ruled by the Jedea ever since the rebellion that ousted Unther from Chessenta. The city is ruled by the most powerful mage in the Jedea family and is a haven for wizards. These things alone would earn it the enmity of the lords of Luthcheq, but the city of Mordulkin has been Luthcheq.s major enemy on the trade routes and on the battlefields, and there is a good deal of enmity between the two cities that predates the rise of the Karanoks in Luthcheq. Mordulkin is divided into sections which are run by guilds: The merchants. guild runs the merchant district, the craft guilds organize the crafts district, and the builders. guild runs the residential district. There is a central mercenary guild, and all adventuring companies and mercenary forces that enter Mordulkin must register with the guild within 24 hours or face imprisonment. The city is wealthy and is subsequently home to the largest organized thieves. guild in the south. The second largest port facilities in Chessenta (only Cimbar.s are larger) are located here. Mordulkin tries to keep its relations with the North Coast cities cordial, unlike other Chessentan cities. The king of Mordulkin is not interested in uniting Chessenta and will not willingly join an alliance against Cimbar. The population of Mordulkin is about 35,000. The army of Mordulkin has 8,000 members. The city has an extensive school of mages, but not as large as Cimbar.s. The current king of Mordulkin is Hercubes
The city of Mourktar is a free city on the edge of the flat, sandy plains of Threskel. Mourktar claims to be independent of Chessenta, while the other cities claim that Mourktar is part of Chessenta. Since the other Chessentan cities are generally too far from Mourktar to threaten it, Mourktar is for all purposes an independent city. Mourktar is a small but aggressive trading city. It has a large port facility to handle goods for the farmers and herdsmen of Threskel. Small mining communities in the Riders to the Sky Mountains sometimes ship their goods to Mourktar, as it is closer than Mordulkin to the major trade centers of Bezantur and Sultim. Troubles in Unther, however, have made the Sultim- Messemprar-Mourktar trade route less attractive to traders in the last century. There have also been major problems with pirates and the sahuagin. Mourktar is ful of traders and mercenaries who hope to profit from the riots of Messemprar, as well as from what they hope will be an upcoming civil war in Unther. Mourktar.s population is 10,000. It has a permanent army of 500 soldiers, and it drafts a force of 2,000 from the city.s population and the surrounding region. In spite of its mercantile character, political power in Mourktar is held by the king, who is descended from the lords who led Mourktar.s break from Unther. The current ruler of the city is king Theris. Theris is dying without an heir, and his god has instructed him to call a tournament to decide who will be his successor.
Thamor is a small trade city in the interior of Threskel. It was founded by merchants from Mourktar and Messemprar as a free city where goods could be exchanged between Unther and Mulhorand without duty or tax. Both Unther and Mulhorand objected, so Thamor was forced to abide by the trade laws of the two neighbors. This certainly hurt its growth, but Thamor is still a sizable settlement of 3,000 people, mostly merchants trading goods with the miners in the Riders to the Sky Mountains and farmers in southern Threskel. The city is subject to controls by Mourktar. Its leader is Leppidon.
CURRENT ECONOMY OF CHESSENTA
“The fields are rich with grain and fruit, 'the cattle are fat, the mines are rich, 'and the traders to the North are angry.”
.The Sceptanar of Cimbar
Were Chessenta a united nation under a wise king, it is said that it would easily dominate the Inner Sea area through economics. With the exception of the Greenfields of Mulhorand, there is no region of the Old Empires that is more fertile than the Akanul. The hills and mountains are teeming with valuable metals.iron, silver, copper, and gold. There are forests of fruit.trees and fields of grapevines. In short, Chessenta has all of the materials to be a trading power of the first rank. However, given the disunity of Chessenta, it is unlikely that this potential southern super-nation will ever emerge; even if a conqueror did unite the citystates again as Tchazzar once did, he could only do so with a war that would devastate Chessenta for years to come.
There is no nationalism. Chessentans pride themselves on being members of their city-states, not of Chessenta. The cty-states continue to fight, against each other as well as against their rivals on the North Coast. This independence applies not just to city-states, but to individual farmers and merchants. Farms are run by a freeholder, who uses slaves and serfs to perform his labors. A farm in Chessenta emphasizes quality over quantity, which makes the produce more valuable. Much of the foodstuffs produced in Chessenta comes from the Akanul; the Akanul feeds Reth, Airspur, Cimbar, Soorenar, and Akanax. (Most cities keep a reserve of magically preserved food in case of war; this reserve can last up to three years.) There are farms north of the Akanamere, but they produce cattle and grapes for export, which brings great wealth to these farmers. Merchants form merchant companies in one city, and try to ally themselves with the merchant guilds in other cities so they may have a broader market to sell their goods.
Chessentan governments usually place a 15% tax on all exports, which accumulates as traders travel from city to city. This tax ensures revenue for the cities of Cessenta, which enables them to commission artists to make great statues.or mercenaries to tear them down.
The major imports of Chessenta include horses, which are used by the cavalry of various armies and mercenaries. (Oddly enough, many people think of Chessenta as a center of mercenary activity, so when mercenaries pass through to Mulhorand or Unther, they are always thought of as .Chessentan mercenaries..) In times of shortage, Chessenta purchases food from Thay. Chessenta also imports slaves and occasionally exports its criminals to Thay to work there. The nobles of Chessenta also import foods and products not common to their land: cheese, pork, glass, and perfumes. Chessenta relies onther nations to supply the bulk of its magical weaponry, and enchanted trinkets from Thay (such as dancing figurines with musical accompaniment) are popular among the nobles. Most cities have a reserve of treasure consisting of a large supply of gold, silver, and jewelry from the days when Unther first built the cities. This reserve is used in emergencies and enables the cities to pay for high-level wizards to assist them with magic in times of wars. Some reserves of treasure are hidden or inaccessible. Some cities have been plundered and have lost their treasure (most notably Akanax). Others are spending it so quickly that they will likely soon run short of fund (Luthcheq is paying large bounties for mages).
The Crafts of Chessenta
Chessenta has several interesting exports. The first is Chessentan wine, which is said to be among the finest in the Realms and is heavily in demand in the west for its rich character. The second is statues and art. The people of Chessenta, especially those in Cimbar, believe that great art is the highest triumph of humanity. Sculptors in Chessenta venerate the human form, boasting that they have .taken man and made him as the gods.. Chessentan artists receive large commissions to make statues of prominent individuals and give them heroic qualities. Chessentan sculptors typically work in granite, which is imported from Mulhorand; the sculptures are painted when they are finished. The quality of Chessentan iron is considered to be quite high. It is in demand from smiths in the west. There are also talented smiths in Chessenta who make finished products, most notably in Akanax and Maerduuth. Chessentan gold and silver are major exports. Sheep are raised for their wool on the plains north of Akanamere. Olive oil is also a major export. Chessentans rely on a network of merchants to provide them with their goods. Chessentan merchant companies place agents in distant lands to look for new products and markets and to represent the Chessentan merchant guilds to their nobility. There is an alliance between Chessenta and Durpar merchants; since a journey across the Inner Sea is considered to be too long even for industrious merchants, Chessentan merchants buy the surplus of the Durpar merchants and then resell it in Cormyr and Sembia for a large profit.
The governments of each Chessentan city-state mint their own coins, typically from silver and gold. The silver piece is called a talent, and the gold piece is known as a drake. The coins are usually traded by merchants; any attempt to debase coins results in the merchants refusing to accept them as payment. Coins are minted with a ruler.s face on one side, and a divine symbol (usually commemorating a battlefield victory) on the reverse.
CURRENT POLITICS OF CHESSENTA
The land of Chessenta is controlled by the city-states, which do not accept a central governing body or ruler; the rulers of Cimbar, Akanax, and Mordulkin all claim to be the true Overlord of Chessenta and add this to their other titles; except for the purposes of protocol (where it creates strains between the governments), this claim is meaningless. There are no regional divisions in Chessenta; city governments claim as much territory as they can reasonably govern, and sometimes more. Where territorial claims clash, there is frequently war. Territories and small communities are usually ruled by a local strongman or council. These territorial overnments sometimes offer allegiance to city governments in exchange for troops in times of need. In wartime, the territories are expected to provide troops to the central government, but few ever do (though they complain quite violently when they are neglected by their parent city).Cities are ruled by their traditional ulers, who are known as kings. The kings must usually listen to the advice of a council, which discusses the city.s problems in a private forum. Council members are usually elected from property-holding male citizens. The king can ignore their advice, but when the advice is ignored too often, that king may be ousted from power. Akanax and Luthcheq do not have traditional councils, but they are run as absolute tyrannies with lip-service paid from military subordinates (in the case of Akanax) and family members (in the case of Luthcheq). The politics of the cities in Chessenta are subject to frequent change. The current relationships between the cities can be described using the following terms:
Subjugated means that another city has gained control over the city being described.
Enemy means the city is at war with the city named.
Adversary means the two cities are traditional enemies, but they are not currently at war.
Neutral means the cities have no particular historical hatred.
Rival means that there is a historic trade competition between the two cities, but no significant history of military conflict.
Allied means that they are currently allies, but not necessarily strong allies.
All the cities not mentioned in each city.s listing are neutral to that city.
Alied: Luthcheq, Soorenar
Adversary: Luthcheq, Soorenar
Subjugated: Maerduuth, Oslin
Enemy: Airspur, Luthcheq, Soorenar
Allied: Airspur, Soorenar
Adversary: Akanax, Mordulkin
Adversary: Aleaxtis (sahuagin)
Allied: Hlath, Nun
Allied: Airspur, Luthcheq
The current major political question in Chessenta involves the position of Mordulkin and Akanax regarding the current war. Mordulkin is strongly tempted to attack its traditional enemy Luthcheq, and should Akanax take the opportunity to avenge its losses in the last war against Soorenar, there could well be full-scale war in Chessenta between the Northern Alliance (Airspur, Soorenar, and Luthcheq) and the Triangle (Cimbar, Akanax, and Mordulkin) Alliance. Most military experts believe that such a war would certainly result in the defeat of the Northern Alliance and a hastening of what is viewed as an inevitable conflict between the two major powers of Akanax and Cimbar. However, the city-states are not each other.s only enemies. The cities of the North Coast are bitter trade rivals, but they have their own problems with an attack from Thayvian fire elementals. Unther would like to avenge the loss of its territory, but the Untheric army also has more pressing problems. Should the Triangle Alliance decide to attack, they would probably defeat the Northern Alliance. Such a conflict would divide Chessenta into three powerful political regions: the West Coast, ruled by Cimbar, the East Coast, ruled by Mordulkin, and the Interior, ruled b y Akanax. The following is a brief description of the politics of each of the city-states of Chessenta.
This city is ruled by a military council led by the half-orc Khrulis. The town was previously a theocracy, belonging to the priests of Bhaelros (known as Talos in the north); these priests sacrificed a maiden every month to their deity and were extremely unpopular. Khrulis and his half-orcs are actually a considerable improvement, though there is a great deal of discontent in this city. Sources of dissatisfaction include the following: The half-orcs: Many refugees of a bloody civil war between the orc tribes from the Akanapeaks came to live in Airspur. They are not particularly beloved, though they hold a lot of political power. Many humans oppose the war with Cimbar, and believe the half-orcs are sending the humans to die in battle so the Flaming Spike orcs can take over the city. This is actually nonsense, but human bigotry against orcs runs quite deep. The war with Cimbar: There are many people in Airspur who have friends in Cimbar, and the war is not popular. So far pressure from the military, which is firmly controlled by Khrulis, has kept the peace. But this is not a popular war. The priests of Bhaelros: To alleviate his present troubles, Khrulis is using the hated priests of Bhaelros as scapegoats. People opposed to his programs are accused of being supporters of the sacrifice. People who are vocal in their opposition to Khrulis are sometimes charmed into performing Bhaelrosian ceremonies in public. In this way Khrulis can easily discredit his enemies. So far this has worked, but there is a danger that the cult of Bhaelros may become an acceptable opposition force (i.e., Khrulis may force people to join the cult of Bhaelros because it provides the only opposition!). All of the real priests of Bhaelros were killed long ago or fled into the wilderness. Likely Course: Khrulis is already discovering that he is not likely to win the war against Cimbar. He is also starting to realize that it.s ludicrous to wage a politically unpopular war for no gain. He will probably sue for peace with Cimbar, perhaps offering them military assistance against the Northern Alliance. Half-orc tension will continue to grow, and refugees may flee to Reth or build a new city on the northern shores of the Akanamere. Khrulis will likely survive, though certain anti-orc factions may hire adventurers to ssassinate him .to free Airspur from half-orc tyranny..
Laws of Chessenta
The legal system in Chessenta uses a revised version of Unther.s Code of Enlil.There is a long list of punishable offenses, but Chessenta adds the concept that a man convicted of a capital crime has the right to defend himself before a jury, which must render a unanimous verdict. According to the laws of Ches senta, when a tyrant oppresses the people, a person who slays him is blameless. Some say this is the most enlightened concept of justice in the Realms. Unfortunately, not all of the cities in the Old Empires follow this code. Sentencing in Luthcheq is decided by the whims of the Karanoks. Sentencing in Akanax is decided by a less-thanunbiased military tribunal. However in Reth, Airspur, Cimbar, Soorenar, Mordulkin, and Mourktar, the revised Code of Enlil is applicable. Punishments for crimes are not as harsh in Chessenta as in Unther; they consist of four levels: fines, imprisonment, banishment, and execution. Murder and treason are punishable by execution; public troublemaking is punishable by banishment (starting a fight or causing a riot are examples of troublemaking).
CULTURE OF CHESSENTA
“Our love of things of the mind and 'things of beauty should not lead to extravagance, 'nor to softness of the mind 'or body. In Chessenta, we avoid all 'excesses.”
Of all of the human nations in the known Realms, no other nation has ever achieved the cultural level that Cimbar and many of the other cities in Chessenta have attained. This may seem like an outlandish claim, but even in Waterdeep, philosophy, astronomy, poetry, theater and other forms of culture seem backward compared to the achievements of Chessenta. The people of Chessenta are known for their confidence and energy. For the most part, this energy is spent on useless wars, as the city-states try to avenge long-ago defeats, or fight to acquire access to trade routes. On the other hand, the peoples of Chessenta, especially those of Cimbar, are filled with a tremendous love of literature and beautiful things, of knowledge and free-thinking. In the west, exploring the nature of the universe is done in a very practical style: one travels to the outer planes, makes observations, and then writes a treatise to be kept in the dusty library of a sage such as Elminster. In Chessenta, study of the nature of the universe is done in an abstract, philosophical way. One need not wander the planes to discover the nature of things; one can find it in the structure of a blade of grass. Theater, which is not a major art form elsewhere in the Realms, thrives in Chessenta. Authors produce plays (tragedies, comedies, etc.) for acting companies, which perform for large audiences in the theater districts of Cimbar, Soorenar, and Mordulkin. Poets read poetry in public squares, and philosophers debate in the centers of busy streets.
For warriors, the major pastime is athletic competition, which is extremely important for the people of Chessenta; all wars cease during the the Thulbanian Games take place. Competitions are always individual events, as Chessentans prefer solitary heroic figures to teams. Champions of the games are great heroes in their home cities; a slave can become as famous as a noble if he performs well. The most popular sport is wrestling, which comes in two styles: traditional (equivalent to modern greco-roman) and the pankration, which is a combination of wrestling and kick boxing in a ight to the finish; only biting, eyegouging, and breaking fingers is illegal. Other sports that are popular are chariot racing (over a grueling obstacle course), boxing, running, long jumping, javelin throwing, and the discus. During the nights, poets and theater groups entertain crowds, and there are great feasts.
In feasting, even the Mulhorandi are not as adept as the Chessentans. Though Chessentans are not great monument builders, they are nonetheless considered the most skilled architects in the Realms. Their main palacesare built in what is known as templestyle: a large square roof supported by elaborately decorated columns. These buildings are typically made from marble or granite. As Chessenta has a slightly cooler climate than the other nations of the Old Empires, its people are usually clothed in long, flowing robes and tunics. Athletes compete in the nude, which non- Chessentans believe to be very strange (this contributes to the widespread perception that Chessenta is a nation of wild men).
Language of ChessentA
Chessentans once spoke Untheric, but abandoned that language 200 years ago for the common tongue of the west (using a variation on Untheric writing in their written records, though they have reduced the runes to an alphabetical writing scheme). Untheric is often known as a second language, if only to uderstand ancient writing.
(source Old Empires FR10 TSR9274)