Capital: Valiaar Population: 1,500,000 Government: Monarchy Religions: Amaunator, Auril, Bahamut, Herne, Inaraserra, Jannath, Leraje, Selune, Vanathor Imports: Iron, ivory, spices Exports: Cloth, food, metalwork Alignment: LG, LN, NG
Originally the domain of the golden dragon Inaraserra, the kingdom of Giliaad is now an independent human realm, one of the few in all Toril. It lies poised between the wild goblins and giants of the north and the distrustful green elves of Cormanthor. For centuries out of mind, the humans of Giliaad worshipped Bahamut and a host of other good deities, and lived simple lives as servants of Inaraserra and her brood, but all that changed a century ago when Inaraserra and her seven children disappeared without explanation.
Today, the realm is beset both within and without by many foes - goblins and ogres from the northern wastes, greedy nobles seeking to increase their own power at the expense of the people, sinister cults worshipping dark powers and the ancient threat of the aquatic beasts of the Moonsea. Giliaad is threatened as never before, and heroes are needed more than ever.
Life and Society
Even after centuries under the wise guidance of (mostly) enlightened wizard-kings, Giliaad is a largely rustic and timeless land. Nine in ten of its people live along the Iella River [mod. River Tesh]. Aside from scattered woodlands, and the mountainous frontiers, most of Giliaad is gentle hill country covered with farms and pasture. Unlike in other, less civilized human lands, where the people live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, the inhabitants of Giliaad make their living from agriculture and trade, a legacy of the days of the dragons.
There are really two cultures inside Giliaad - the rural and the urban. Rural folk, especially in the western mountains, are little different than their ancestors from before the arrival of the dragons. They worship ancient deities of nature and the cosmos (such as Selune and Amaunator) and live simple, rustic lives. The cities, on the other hand, are glittering places lorded over by those who at least claim to be descended from Inaraserra and her children (little to show for such claims, although they were never disputed by the Golden Queen before her disappearance).
Major Geographical FeaturesEdit
Cormanthor: this green elf realm, not part of Giliaad but definitely closely involved with its affairs, is sparsely populated, but defended by powerful magic, divine and arcane alike, that destroys any who dare encroach on its borders. Tavern tales say it is riddled with portals to distant elf kingdoms and even the planes of Arvandor and Faerie.
Goldscale Forest [mod. Thar]: a dark forest violently contested between woodland tribes and ogre hordes. Ogre shamans are gradually blighting the land, and already the northwestern reaches are grim marshes instead of the verdant woods they once were.
Mountains of Song [mod. Desertsmouth Mountains]: the western frontier of Giliaad, and home to hundreds of small, reclusive clanholds and hamlets. The folk of the Mountains of Song cling to the old ways and gods and have little concern for the affairs of the kingdom. On some nights of the year, the mountainfolk gather around the ancient menhirs and worship as they have for countless thousands of years.
The Wilderlands [mod. The Ride]: A grey steppe ruled by a hundred squabbling tribes of ogres and goblins. Of late, rumors have unsettled Giliaad, rumors which claim some powerful warlord is butchering his rivals and uniting many of the stronger tribes into a great army of humanoids.
Citadel of the Golden Dragon [mod. Citadel of the Raven]: An enormous complex of citadels and watchtowers stretching more than ten miles, the Citadel of the Golden Dragon is the western lynchpin of Giliaad's fortified border in the Dragonspire Mountains. Over the past century, the Citadel has beaten back no less than eight ogre and goblin invasions, including one massive assault six years ago that seized many of the outer forts and was only defeated at the cost of thousands of lives. Today, it is the launching point for many raids into the wilderlands and also the base for a plan to establish fortified towns north of the mountains to splinter the humanoid tribes and prevent further hordes. Farther east, the sister fortress, the Citadel of the Radiant Flame, is much the same, but on a somewhat less grand scale.
Tuathadaan [mod. Yulash]: This southern outpost of Giliaad is named after Inaraserra's mate, a fierce and brave dragon who died protecting the fledgling settlement from an ancient black dragon not long after the Golden Queen first claimed stewardship over Giliaad. Today, Tuathadaan is strongly independent-minded despite being less than a day's ride from Valiaar and the Iella heartland. It is more strongly influenced by elvish culture than draconic, which makes it suspect in the eyes of orthodox Giliaadans; so too does the fact that many of the local noble families do not even pretend to draconic ancestry.
Valiaar: the capital city of Giliaad, this gleaming city sits on the shores of the Moonsea south of the Iella River. It is home to almost 100,000 people - mainly humans, but a few half-elves and elves can also be found, as well as a somewhat larger community of gnomes. What little sea-trade crosses the Moonsea is dominated by Valiaar's merchants, who also control river traffic all the way to Wyvern Drop [mod. Dagger Falls].
The area that forms Giliaad was first settled by humans at least ten thousand years ago. Little is known of those ancients, a people all but unknown to the dragons and giants who dominated the age. The most ancient menhirs in the western mountains bear symbols of sun and moon, indicating they worshipped Selune and Amaunator, but little else can be said of them.
Long afterwards, but still thousands of years ago, the golden dragon Inaraserra made her lair in the Dragonspire Mountains. Already ancient by then, Inaraserra soon took notice of her human neighbors, took notice of and took pity on. Along with her mate and children, Inaraserra shapeshifted into human form and began to guide the scattered tribes of the region, teaching them the arts of agriculture, alchemy, magic and medicine. As centuries passed, Inaraserra's children took human lovers and draconic blood became the mark of leadership (under the distant but watchful eyes of the dragons themselves) of the tribes of Giliaad, just as it is today.
The Golden Age lasted thousands of years, changeless years where the dragons guided their noble offspring, who in turn ruled over their human subjects. The wars and concerns of the wider world were kept at bay by the might of Inaraserra (and, it must be said, the elves of Cormanthor), and Giliaad prospered. As the centuries passed, the people of Giliaad adopted more than a few attitudes from their kindly overlords - not least the worship of Bahamut, god of all good dragons. Few dreamt things would ever change - were not Inaraserra and her family sent from on high to protect Giliaad?
A century ago, the undreamt change happened. Giliaad awoke one bright spring day to find that Inaraserra and her brood were gone - vanished without a word and without an explanation. The vast lair beneath the Dragonspire Mountains was empty and, so far as could be determined, not a single coin or scroll was missing from the enormous horde. Some suspected foul play, others that Inaraserra and her children had been raised to divine rank by Bahamut. Whatever the truth, they were gone, leaving the noble houses to rule. After some brief but bitter struggles, one clan emerged victorious and its leader, Rilaan, named himself King-in-Her-Absence.
Rilaan reigned for forty years; since then, no fewer than eight kings have held the Dragon Throne (three in the last fifteen years). The common folk of Giliaad are increasingly disenchanted with the ruling class, dragon-blood or not. Most nobles seem more interested in increasing their own power than preserving the kingdom, which is under threat more than ever as goblin hordes press on the northern frontier and sinister cults appear in the cities and countryside alike. Few expect that young King Duraanasaar, rumored to be a drunkard and hedonist, can turn things around.
Plots and RumorsEdit
A land beset with so many perils has no shortage of causes and conspiracies to attract adventurers. Those willing to help turn back a goblin raiding party or end the depredations of a beast cult will earn the respect, and the coin, of the people of Giliaad.
Death of the Dragons?: The greatest mystery of the realm is, of course, what happened to Inaraserra and her offspring? No one knows, or if they do, they aren't saying. Many commoners think the royal house is lying when it claims ignorance of the matter - the most popular theory is that Inaraserra abandoned them out of disgust with their increasing pettiness and lack of honor. Others say that Inaraserra and her brood were slain by some great foe behind all Giliaad's recent woes, while still others believe Inaraserra has ascended to divinity and taken her children along to the outer planes.
The Mark of the Bear: Toila Yuraanvaar is the young heiress to an ancient noble house, one that claims descent from Inaraserra's third son and a priest of Bahamut. The Yuraanvaars are one of the more popular noble families, but their reputation has suffered of late. The cause is the appearance of a black bear's paw on the doorway of their city estate. The mark, which magically appears every midnight, no matter what preventative spells are cast, is an ancient symbol of one of the cults of Malar the Beast-Lord, a cult destroyed by the Yuraanvaars long ago. Is it a sign of the ancient cult resurfacing, or the scare tactics of a rival noble house?
Gilaad survives Duraanasaar's incompetent reign, but the pressures splintering the kingdom are too great and, within two centuries, the realm collapses into a dozen warring city-states. And then it vanishes entirely from history - even the elves of Cormanthor cannot say what befell Giliaad in its final twilight. The Citadel of the Golden Dragon, believed to be the last refuge of the remants of the royal house, endures long after Giliaad is just a memory. Later sages speculate that the survivors of Giliaad's human population drifted to the four winds and some may settled in Netheril long before its rise to glory. Aside from that, there is no known legacy of the realm of the Golden Queen...