The Rise of Khazadhol
The campaign is centered around the city of Khazadhol. The city of Khazadhol lays on the northern shore of Great Lake on the island of Khamid Gazir. The city was founded by the retiring 3rd Legion approximately a hundred years ago in the year of 876 of the Republic. The 3rd Legion was a Dwarven legion from the Republican Empire of Ruma. When the legion reached its 200th year of service it was given land to settle as their own. The 3rd Legion had been stationed along the west coast of Khamid Gazir for the last ten years of its service. It had been stationed on this far northern island as a symbol of the republican Empire’s alliance with the High Elves who lived along the coast. The High Elves were masters of the seas and traded throughout much of the known world and as such were invaluable allies of the Empire. As a seafaring people they mostly lived along the coast in the city of Annun being their capital and largest. Located on the western side of the island at the mouth of one of the two great rivers that connected the Great Lake to the sea, it was a major port for trade. It was there that the 3rd Legion was stationed. Not only did the legion provide security from humanoid threats from the interior, they provided a robust construction capability. The 3rd Legion built the elves stone roads and a palace and great wall around their city. Upon completing their 200 years of service to the Empire and with gratitude from the Elvish kingdom, it was coordinated for them to march inland and create a new city on the northern shore of the Great Lake.
The Great Lake
The Great Lake was a massive lake at the center of the island that could be 400 miles long and 200 miles wide. Because of its great size the lake can have terrible winter storms that blow through the western gap in the mountains off the Far Sea. Most of the year the Great Lake is a source of easy transportation and endless fishing and hunting. Fed by the snow melt from the surrounding mountains it changes its height by a few feet over the year with spring being the fullest time of the year. It never freezes as the Far Sea keeps it “warm” through the winter with the lows getting around freezing with steady light.
Founding of Khazadhol
The king of the High Elves coordinated with the three chiefs of the Wood Elf tribes that lived around the Great Lake for the Dwarves to be able to build a settlement in peace. Boundaries were set and restrictions were placed on how they could expand and with those agreements the legion made their last march in the service of Ruma. When they arrived at the site of their new settlement they built their standard temporary fortified marching camp. Their numbers were around 3,000 warriors and 1,000 camp followers. From these Dwarves and this temporary marching fort, a new and thriving city grew.
The settlement grew to a village and then a town and to the thriving city of 10,000 that it is today. It is the largest and most vibrant city on the Great Lake. The marching camp grew into a fort and the village grew into a walled city. The dirt roads turned into paved roads and the wood homes became stone buildings. The city prospered to the point that it has a complex aqueduct and sewer system. The Dwarves of the 3rd Legion proved that they were not only masters of war, but masters of engineering.
Left to their own, they devised a system of government where every citizen could vote for the consular who was elected on the winter solstice for a one-year term. After his or her term was up, he or she became a senator. The consular instructed the day to day running of the government while the senate passed laws, raised and spent money and approved treaties with the elves. Under this system the city of Khazadhol flourished. The farms expanded outward. The dwarves discovered marble, silver and gold in the mountains to their north. They harvested fish and timber. Often these were all refined and traded with the High Elves and the wood elves. Though marauding orcs and kobolds were a regular threat from the northern mountains, the veterans of the legion drove them away and ensured a constant level of safety for the city of Khazadhol. Within fifty years of its founding the thriving city had dark news arrive.
A Decision of War
In what became year zero of their current age, they learned that the Empire had fallen and that barbarians had arrived. One day in late spring a messenger came from the Senate of Ruma. The runner said the Senate ordered them back to service and that a Civil War had befallen the empire. Though at this point, the Dwarves of the 3rd Legion were all about 300 years old, which is getting up there in age for a Dwarf. The senate debated for a day what to do. They decided to hold a public quorum and asked all the legionaries to come to debate how they should respond. As they were formed and discussing this is in the great forum of the city, a second runner arrived. This time the runner claimed to represent the Consular Qaysar. The runner said that the Consular Qaysar had been framed by fractions in the senate and that to defend himself he needed their help and the service of all loyal Legionaries and legions. The quorum began their debate anew. This continued for several days when they finally settled on reforming half of the 3rd and marching back to Ruma in defense of the Republic. They understood that they were never truly released from their service to the Republic until death. On the morning that the aged Dwarves of the 3rd legion were prepared to march, a Wood Elf runner came in haste with terrible news. A terrifying human army of barbarians had landed on the western coast of the island and destroyed several High Elf coastal villages. The barbarians occupied these villages and made clear that they intended to stay. And, not only did they intend to stay, but they intended to expand. They had sent a large force up the other large river that flowed out of the Great Lake to the east coast. This river flowed out of the eastern side of the Great Lake to the eastern coast of the island. The barbarians had decided to send a scouting party up the river and that is where they encountered the Wood Elves. The Wood Elves slew the party, but several escaped and returned to their newly occupied villages. The Elvish scouts followed and saw that the barbarians had additional forces arriving from over seas and that they were massing an army of 3-4,000 to push up the river against the elves. At this point, the wood elf chief of the Panapuu tribe sent the emissary to the Dwarves requesting their urgent help.
This barbarian army was too close to home for the Dwarves to ignore. The 3rd Legion was going to battle again. Instead of marching west to return to the Republic, it marched east in defense of their city. The combined force of wood elves and dwarves fell upon the humans and routed the barbarian army and drove it back to the coast. The Elves sent scouts to follow the human army and to estimate the forces that remained. The scouts returned and told of at least 5,000 more warriors that could quickly come together from the dispersed villages. The barbarians had landed in force and they appeared to have more on the way. The city’s Consular decided that even with the Papapuu elves they lacked the strength to decisively defeat the invaders. Plus, the eastern coast of the island had been only sparsely populated. After talking with the chief of this wood elf tribe they decided they would defend this pass to prevent the barbarians from coming inland, but that they would not attempt to drive them away.
The Consular, with the advice of the Senate, met with the three wood elf chiefs and the king of the high elves in Khazadhol. All parties decided they would send a joint delegation led by the High Elves to meet with the barbarians. The delegation went to the barbarians and met with the King of the Langtskjegg. The king explained that they were fleeing a massive orc army that had fallen upon their homeland and that they had fled to these shores. He claimed they had no further aims of conquest and all they wanted was land to farm in peace on. The six parties settled upon the Treaty of the Six Peoples. In this treaty the parties agreed upon boundaries for all for peoples and agreed that barbarians would make a death and loss payment to all the High Elf families they had harmed when they conquered the Elven villages on the east coast of the island. Lastly, to keep the peace, the Treaty obligated each party to participate in an annual council which would be held at the city of Khazadhol which was nearest to all. They would discuss issues of importance to all parties.
Peace and Growth
Despite the initial bloody start between the peoples of the island, the Treaty has held and not only has peace reigned, but trade has prospered. By the time the “War of Six Peoples” had come to an end, the Dwarves decided that they would not march off in force to aid the Republic, but would send an emissary. Over the next two years they sent two parties of emissaries, but neither returned. Rumors of war and great slaughter reached the High Elves from their trading contacts, but no formal message reached the Dwarves. The Dwarves decided after the second mission failed that they would remain on their island and await what would come from the Republic they once called home.
The city of Khazadhol grew in size and prosperity. With the Treaty of the Six People in place the city became the hub of trade on the island. The Dwarves built roads that connected their city to the different peoples. Each brought trade and knowledge to the great market forum at Khazadhol. The Dwarven quarries and mines produced marble, gold, silver, concrete and iron that was sought after by the other people. Additionally, they became the center of logging and timber as they had access to the ancient trees that grew up in the mountains along smaller rivers that flowed from the mountains into the Great Lake. These raw materials flowed from their city to all over the island. Merchants and artisans from all over the island moved into the city of Khazadhol making it no longer purely a Dwarven city, but a city with a sizable population of humans, wood elves and high elves.
When the city was founded the Legionaries knew that over time their numbers would decline and that to be free they had to grow the number of legionaries. They created a path toward citizenship. When each child within the city came of age it was expected that they would serve two years in the legion. They would learn to fight and to build. Building was always critical to the capability of the legion. As such, every year a new set of legionaries was created. And, after two years a new crop of citizens was branded. The tradition came over from the old Republic of actually branding on the right shoulder the letters AAI (Ashuyukh (Senate), Ashkhas (People), Imbraturia (Empire)). The letters stood for Senate, People, Empire and were a mark of pride for the legionaries. The city state of Khazadhol took it one further. This brand became a mark of citizenship. In an official ceremony at the end of their two years of service each person became a citizen of the city with full rights to vote and have a voice before the senate. This was also an obligation for them to serve in time of need as declared by the Senate. Men and women could be citizens, but they all had to go through the same two years of service or be specially recognized by the Senate.
Service in the Legion
For their two years of service each recruit Legionnaire lives in the Fort within the city with his or her fellow recruits. Each class of recruits would form a century which was normally anywhere from 75-150. Their first few months was intensive weapons training and conditioning. This was led by career legionnaires. At the end of this first few months, they would be issued the dark blue tunic of a recruit. They would then begin the mission phase where for the next year they would break into “tens” get assigned missions to hunt down wolves that are attacking flocks of sheep, repairing roads of the state, repairing the aqueduct of the city and other similar activities. With the arrival of winter this would mostly end and they would train on large unit operations. They would prepare to fight as a century and as part of the legion. When spring arrived and snow in the mountains faded back the century would hunt orcs and kobolds and enemies of the state that thrived in the mountains above. They would fight alongside veteran centuries and would gain experience that proved vital to the long-term security of the city. In a major ceremony in late fall in the cities Forum under the light of hundreds of burning torches and lanterns the recruits became full members of the 3rd Legion and citizens of the city. They received their brand and maroon tunic as had their fathers and mothers before them to signify membership in the legion and now citizenship in the city state of Khazadhol.
The Adventure Begins!
The characters have just begun this journey. They are recruits who have just completed their weapons training and are entering into their mission phase. The year is 50 of the new of age known as the Age of Independence.