The Rise of Tharos
The star of Impiltur has fallen. The retreat of the sea, coupled with widespread corruption, has led this region into decline. The people of this once-great nation huddle in fear as their kingdom unravels around them.
Impiltur’s fortunes failed when the Sea of Fallen Stars withdrew, drying up the vibrant ports of the cities that served as the heart of commerce. In addition, the death of the last royal, King Imbrar II, during the Year of Blue Fire ended the long reign of the monarchy and shifted power to the lords of the remaining cities. Now collectively called the Grand Council, the lords have proven to be inept at rule, impotent in the face of their nation’s inexorable decay. They do nothing to combat the spreading stain of demon worship that holds Impiltur in the grip of terror.
Impiltur has grown since the days of old, but not from conquest or expansion. Instead, the Sea of Fallen Stars withdrew as the water level fell, striking a death blow to the nation’s commercial power. Robbed of mercantile clout, cities such as Dilpur and Hlammach shrank, hemorrhaging citizens as the food supplies dwindled and prices rose. Some escaped to New Sarshel, the only city that proved adaptable enough to respond to the shifting climate.
The countryside beyond the ragged coast remains much as it did, consisting of rolling hills climbing toward the Earthspur Mountains, where tough humans and dwarves mine gems, gold, silver, and iron. The nation still sees some overland trade, largely with Vesperin, whose own fortunes seem to rise as Impiltur’s fall.
New Sarshel: Of all the coastal cities that made up Impiltur’s commercial centers, the one that thrives today once seemed doomed to banditry and piracy. Sarshel of old suffered terribly during a war that ravaged this region and never quite recovered from the conflict. Desperate to bounce back, the merchants struggling to make ends meet were better positioned to react to the Spellplague and immediately shifted to build structures to accommodate the new coastline.
Lyrabar: A former mercantile center of great power, Lyrabar has the dubious distinction of being home to one of the largest thieving communities in the known world. The city is firmly in the grip of gangs and crime lords, and the government does little or nothing to address this situation. Such tolerance has called into question the motives of the rulers amid whispers of corruption. Regardless, Lyrabar is engaged in the process of recovery, erecting new dock facilities to give the city a chance to survive.
The Earthspur Mountains: The imposing peaks of the Earthspur Mountains mark Impiltur’s western border. Mining communities speckle its lower slopes, spread out and around the numerous tunnels worming into its heart. The mountains were never a safe place to begin with, and now the Great Glacier’s withdrawal has led to a marked increase of monsters and humanoids drifting south. Reports of roaming undead freed from the glacier suggest that the monstrous activity is in fact a vanguard of some other, darker threat.
The Gray Forest: Spreading out from the southern slopes of the Earthfast Mountains is an old and haunted forest. The ancient folks in the area claim that it was once the home of eladrin, but a terrible war with goblinoids erased both populations from the region. Now all that stands to mark that anyone lived here are circles of strange trees with gray bark and dark leaves. Even after centuries, few dare to venture into the Gray Forest for long, and those who explore its depths report ghosts, weird creatures, and odd hills that seem to appear and disappear in the woods.
People of Impiltur
Impiltur remains a human nation. Most residents are of Chondathan or Damaran extraction, though years of intermingling have merged them into one people. Typically, Impilturan humans have tawny skin and brown or black hair. Blond hair is somewhat rare and exotic. Attractive and big-boned, Impilturans are taller and larger than humans of other lands.
In the folk who dwell farther inland, Damaran features assert themselves. People fleeing from Narfell found work here as miners and farmers, so western Impilturan people are slightly shorter than the citydwellers and have somewhat darker complexions. The mining folk are a people of absolutes, seeing as an enemy anyone who does not fit neatly into their perspective.
Impiltur is also home to small pockets of shield dwarves and halflings. The halflings roam up and down the few waterways and trade with the tiny settlements that huddle on the shores. The dwarves coexist with the western humans, finding the humans’ rigid outlook and honorable customs much to their liking.