House Dranir

Valzenn

The lands nominally controlled by House Dranir, Valzenn has little to offer. Mostly swamp, bog, and peatland, the soil is unsuitable for farming. Valzenn is rich in fish, but that is not a valuable trade good as most houses have access to large rivers and lakes. Furthermore, due to its cold, southern climate, many rivers and lakes of Valzenn freeze over during the winter, making even that way of life more difficult.

The people who live in this inhospitable region are hearty and resourceful. This land was formed by outcasts, pushed to a land no one else wanted. The fact that they have created anything, let alone a financially successful city, is a testament to their willingness to find every possible angle and advantage to survive.

A darkness seems to run through the land of Valzenn, most often characterized by the prevalence of curses and dark secrets among the great families. Pockets of ghouls roam the more dismal areas of the swamps, remnants of famines of the past. When the night is dark or the fog lies heavy in the air, the spirits of the dead are rumored to walk the land in search of those that wronged them.

Information, secrets, and all types of goods are for sale on the streets of Trimond if only one knows where to look. Despite all the gold that flows in and out of the city, there is very little visible crime there.

Vanaria’s worship is particularly strong here, and it is said she can often be found in one of the many taverns. She protects the Valzjenni and deeply loves her people. All the Valzjenni pay respect to the goddess in some manner or another.

Despite the recent struggles, it is doubtless that Valzenn will again prosper. The stubborn determination of the people and the favor of a goddess more than make up for the dismal, swampy lands.

The people who live in this inhospitable region are hearty and resourceful. This land was formed by outcasts, pushed to a land no one else wanted. The fact that they have created anything, let alone a financially successful city, is a testament to their willingness to find every possible angle and advantage to survive.

Vanaria’s worship is particularly strong here, and it is said she can often be found in one of the many taverns. She protects the Valzjenni and deeply loves her people. All the Valzjenni pay respect to the goddess in some manner or another.

Despite the recent struggles, it is doubtless that Valzenn will again prosper. The stubborn determination of the people and the favor of a goddess more than make up for the dismal, swampy lands

The Balance of Power

Three major groups constantly vie for power and control in Valzenn. Above these three groups sits Viktor Dranir, a spider in the center of the web.

Ostensibly the most powerful group is the Temple of Vanaria. They train the priests that manage the day to day business in the city, as well as train elite groups of blade dancers that protect the people. The priests of Vanaria in Valzenn also have a great deal of experience in dealing with curses.

The merchant princes are the second group that vies for power and are also called the great families of Valzenn. They are the closest thing Valzenn has to nobility, but often spend much of their time plotting against each other. The merchant princes control vast amounts of trade throughout Azkon and use their wealth to their advantage.

The last group is the most secretive. The Cypress Brotherhood is a shadowy organization that is almost never mentioned in polite society. Little is known about them, save for the fact that those who ask too many questions go missing. It is rumored that they control crime and illegal trade within the city itself.

Religion in Dranir

Religion runs deep in the veins of the Valzjenni. Every Valzjenni makes it a point of pride to donate a portion of their earnings to the temple of Vanaria. This religious bent made Valzenn into a theocracy. The temple of Vanaria controls Valzenn. The High Priest of Vanaria is typically chosen from among the leading families of Trimond; the family that the High Priest is chosen from usually gains enough power to control most of Trimond and Valzenn. For the past four hundred years, House Dranir has been the only house that the High Priest has come from–giving their leaders, in effect, king-level control over Valzenn. Due the level of faith in Trimond, dozens of temples to Vanaria can be found within the city, and many citizens maintain a personal shrine to her as well.

The temple of Etall has long had a foothold in the city of Trimond. A place of much intrigue and secrets that can be bought or sold for coin, there is much to be gained for the faithful within the city.

Though not common, those that worship Feydor, Odara, or Misigoth can also be found in the city of Trimond. Followers of Feydor enjoy working for the merchant princes or the Cypress Brotherhood. Odarans and Misigothians are much rarer, something in the darkness of the land calls out to them.

 

Economy in Dranir

While the political religion in Valzenn is that of the Temple of Vanaria, there are many other areas of power. The economy is run by the collective merchant princes, but they are a fractious group at best.  Anything that is sold, traded, or moved through Valzenn must pay them their due or go through the less legal routes.

The Bank of Dranir is also run by one of the merchant princes chosen by Viktor Dranit through the temple of Vanaria. The loans offered by the bank are often extremely tempting to those down on their luck. The Bank of Dranir has maintained it’s power over the cycles for two main reasons. The first is that they never cheat their customers, they follow a strict code of ethics. The other reason is that any who try to rob the Bank of Dranir are brutally killed, whether they succeed or not.

 

Trimond

First seen when approaching from the Northwest Road, the skyline of the capital of Valzenn is dominated by the large, towering financial district. The backbone of the city’s success, laywers, merchants, and bankers reside in this area. Terra Cotta roofs and baked brick walls glow during sunset.

Separated from the wealthy by a large wall is the shanty town for the poor. Like all poor of Azkon, their homes are filthy, disorganized, and wooden. Few proper trees grow in this area of Valzenn, so many of the houses are thatch, shrub, and reeds–poor protection against harsh, wet winters.

The merchant princes of Valzenn do not reside in the city; they live in villas outside of town on the few hills that are not regularly soaked during the heavy spring rains.

The most noteworthy aspect of Trimond in not the financial district, the sprawling docks where ships fish and travel Azkon to trade, or even the villas of the wealthy. Rather, it is the smell. The acidic, waterlogged soil is unable to hold the normal waste products of a city. The few sewers ever built burst and release their cargo to the surface during the spring rains. All attempts at burying the dead or refuse have been abandoned. Instead, they are cremated or relocated.

The relentlessly creative people of Trimond devised a solution years ago. Privies are built on massive platforms throughout the city, and under them are huge, wheeled barrows. When full, these barrows of human waste are rolled to the docks, loaded onto flat barges, and sailed to an island on Lake Az-Raban that sits well above the waterline. There, the waste is unloaded. However, any time the winds blow from the south, it carries the stench of “dung island.” Combine that with the massive warfs, the humid climate, and the peat fires of the poor…Trimond is generally an unpleasant city to visit.

 

 Extant Members

  • Viktor Dranir (Too old to be human, but looks 36)
  • Liandra Dranir, High Priestess of Vanaria

 

Other Families

  • Ciro Castell – Trade with Hazon
  • Stefania Antero – The Bank of Dranir
  • Emilia Seno – Trade with Garresh and the Peaks
  • Cain De Santo – Relations with the other Houses
  • Efrem Bartolo – Day to day happenings in Dranir lands
  • Ivo Recine – Head of the guard that protects both Dranir land and the prominent families that reside there.

Capital: Trimond – Large city-state population of 20,000

Valzen lands – population of 30,000

Banner: Black upside down bat, Gray background

 

History of House Dranir

Imperial Dranir

House Dranir is one of the oldest Houses of Azkon. Their origin, much like almost everything to do with the House, is shrouded in mystery. Rumors claim that the House was able to rise to power due to dealings with Misigoth himself, while members of the House claim that “favorable business deals with allies and enemies alike” is how they were able to gather power.

A very wealthy human trader named Viktor Dranir established the House close to 300 years ago, after being awarded the land in a trade agreement. He was able to use his coin and influence to establish a major trade route going right through his stronghold. With this, came workers and people and in turn, more coin. With more coin, came shadier and shadier people. These shady people included Necromancers, Templars, and Assassins alike. These people helped Viktor establish a Lordship for himself, while also buying themselves places at his side. During this time he legalized the practice of Necromancy and Dark Magic, as well as establishing a business that would put their Assassins to use, and “take care of” any problems they or other Houses might have the coin to take care of. The Dynasty did not like this one bit.

 

Rebellion

After declaring himself Lord and legalizing those practices, the Dynasty of Hazon immediately declared war on House Dranir. Not even having a standing army, this was obviously a problem for House Dranir. Even with the help of Dark Magic, they knew they stood no chance at defeating the Dynasty. Because of this, Viktor knew he would have to use subtle and low-key measures to ensure the survival of his newborn House. Thus, he used his influence with the trade routes to stop all but one route reaching the Dynasty, effectively starving them of resources. Under normal circumstances, the Dynasty would simply charge to the House and tear it apart, but these were by no means normal circumstances. The Dynasty realized Viktor’s influence over almost all of the trade in Azkon, so they set out to make a deal with Viktor.

The deal made Viktor and House Dranir officially recognized sects of the Hazon Dynasty, and gave Viktor the title of Lord Viktor Dranir, Hazonian Master of Trade. This is when Viktor’s real work began. He brought in six of his closest advisors and their families to help him.

 

The Night of Betrayal

House Dranir tried for years to take their rightful place on the larger stage of Azkon, but their efforts to make allies with the other Great Houses kept being largely dismissed. Viktor Dranir realized that as long as the practice of necromancy was legal in Dranir the other Great Houses would keep them at long lengths. So the spider began to plan.

One night was all it took. One night of hunting down and capturing or killing every person with Valzenn that practiced necromancy. Even templars and other followers of Misigoth joined in the hunt. All the captured necromancers and the bodies of the dead ones were turned over to the Inquisition in return for exclusive banking rights. It is said that Misigoth’s laughter at the betrayal echoed through the swamps in the nights after it happened.

 

Beliefs/Goals

Beliefs:

  • Life is meant to be enjoyed, gold is a means to that end.
  • Find the right person for each task
  • A deal can always be struck
  • There are many different paths of diplomacy.
  • Knowing a secret about your foe is better than killing them.

Goals:

  • Maintain control of the trade routes and uphold the Dranir house.
  • Expanding their network of connections.
  • Collecting useful information.

Views towards other Houses

  • Thorn – Neighbor to the North, closest trading partner. Can be trusted. A bit.
  • Hazon – Furthest from Valzenn, powerful, should be watched
  • Knights – Too entrenched in tradition, sometimes a trading partner, we don’t get along.
  • Kran – Was a useful trading partner, considering the new developments between them and Garresh we should be careful.
  • Library – Stodgy, single minded in pursuit of knowledge. They want something.