Today we continue our exploration of the Central Continent with Diamond Throne, its royal houses and people.

Diamond Throne & Sundrie Lands

When the dust settled at the end of the War of Talons, Diamond Throne was the city state that had taken the least damage. Many hold this fact to be the reason why all other city states unified under its king, Emnos Margraven.

Diamond Throne’s Royal Houses

Although the practice of rulership and stewardship through bloodline is not unique to Diamond Throne, it is the largest monarchical society in the central continent. At the end of the War of Talons five houses stepped forward to protect (and control) the territories of Diamond Throne, and they have been in power ever since. Each house has a heraldic insignia as well as a motto. It is unknown which house was the first to clip their motto, but it has proven a powerful campaign tool that all houses have adopted. That way a Hallbaron lord can assure a human peasant that “Nor Elf, Nor Orc shall profane his land.” and then turn to a half orc merchant and assure him that “Nor Elf, Nor Orc will be denied succor”.

Margraven
COA2Lands: Diamond Throne and its hamlets, The Grange, The Bright
Motto: By Godly Right
Head: King Emnos III, Lord of Diamond Throne, its Sundry Lands and Protector of the Hold.
History: Reportedly the second half of the Margraven motto is “…do we rule this land” although some claim that it is “…all things come to us.” The Margraven line claims that their blood is, in fact, semidivine. Supposedly Kord, god of strength took human guise and began the Margraven lineage. This, of course, is unprovable, and detractors point to the convenience of aligning themselves with a god whose followers are scarce.
Divine or not, the Margraven family has been in control of Diamond Throne for as long as it has been a nation. Three generations of kings have seen the country through wars, invasions and major disasters cementing their rule each time an obstacle is overcome.
The Margraven house controls equal parts mining regions and farming regions. Vassals of the Margravens are quick to point out that this knowledge of both parts of Diamond Throne’s economy make them the fittest to rule.
Policies: The Margravens take their noblesse oblige seriously, most see them as paragons of the feudal system. Protecting their lands in exchange for the work of their peasants. This has made them popular with the people, and the relative prosperity of the country under Emnos III further reinforces that.
Troops: Although the king himself commands all troops of all houses, house Margraven has its own troops as well. The Wolves of the Bright, as they’re often called, spend a lot of time patrolling the central territories of diamond Throne. Red capes, a shield and an axe, as well as wolf-themed medals and insignia are common.
Oathhouses: Merrom, Du Lorle, Du Nomen, Tinstill,

Du Lien
COALands: The Deltas
Motto: The Land Yields
Head: Eleni, Warden of the Northeast
History: House Du Lien has always controlled Diamond Throne’s most fertile lands. And house Du Lien has always made sure the other houses are aware of this. Reportedly the second part of their motto is “…And Its Masters Harvest.” Which encapsulates what the Du Lien family represents for Diamond Throne; A sure source of food, a strong economical presence and a difficult opponent in negotiations. Still, the Du Liens know how to play along and rarely levy the full weight of their influence against any house.
Policies: If it helps grow crops or produce better cattle, House Du Lien is interested. Whereas other houses find druidic influence undesirable and barbaric, Eleni Du Lien has actually employed the spirit-touched in the past as advisors. Many wonder if she herself has picked up these strange arts, but no real evidence has come forth.
It is no secret that all other houses depend on the Du Liens for food in any given year, a fact that gives this house most of its political clout. When it comes to politics though, the Du Liens remain carefully unaligned, preferring to levy their considerable influence evenly across households.
Troops: Du Lien troops are almost always on horseback and a Du Lien horse is easily recognizable to connoisseurs. Referred to as the Harvest Guard, the troops of House Du Lien are renowned for their bravery and stamina in battle. Sun motifs and green accents are common on their armor; lances and longswords are common at their side.
Oathhouses: Nonikos, Sandelholm, Montvin, Cassaron, Citrunic

Hallbaron
COALands: The Cape
Motto: Nor Elf, Nor Orc
Head: Alphonse, Warden of the Southwest
History: House Hallbaron has never been well liked by anyone, a fact that suits them just fine. They do not lack refinement, education or martial prowess but the Hallbarons, as a family have always wanted more from life. Through Diamond Throne’s history they have always pushed for more land, more status and more coin. Many say that the King tasked them with guarding the gates of Mandravo as a punishment for this attitude. In truth they simply control the closest territory. That said, house Hallbaron doesn’t take their assignment lightly (or gladly) and their protectorates are notoriously xenophobic. The more popular completion of their motto is “Nor Elf, Nor Orc Shall Profane Our Lands”. Clearly a sentiment that was popular during the elven skirmishes of centuries past, but after the War of Talons, it is a statement that does not earn this house any non-human friends.
Policies: The Hallbarons’ vassals do three things, mine, guard the edge of Mandravo and complain about the previous two. Whereas the Bright may be rich with gold and diamonds, most of the coal, bronze and iron in the region passes through Hallbaron hands first. As such this clan holds a lot of influence. If the Hallbarons decide to limit the weapon production of another house it is not difficult for them to restrict shipments to their lands, and unlike other houses who merely threaten and posture the Hallbarons always have at least one active embargo. It is to the point that other houses simply see it as part of the cost of doing business and have what is essentially a “Hallbaron tantrum budget”.
Troops: Not counting the odd skirmish with highwaymen or bellicose tribes from the freelands, House Hallbaron probably does the most fighting of all the noble houses now a days. Gnolls often find ways through the Shieldspine mountains and it falls on Hallbaron troops, or The Red Bird Legion as they’re called, to keep the lands free of offending monstrous humanoids. Cardinal heads, Crimson wings and other similar adornments are common in their troopers, but otherwise the rank and file of this house are somewhat motley in their choice of armor and weapons.
Oathhouses: Chorrosco, Du Vert, Menzann

Berrenhall
CCDTBerrenhallLands: The Vale
Motto: From Darkness
Head: Aloysius, Warden of the Southeast
History: Some might say that house Berrenhall got a raw deal as far as lands, whereas the Du Liens have ample arable land and the Margravens control the diamond and gold trade, the Berrenhalls lord over a land of narrow valleys and bat-filled caves. And yet, they’re a house that is second only to the Du Liens in monetary success. How? Wine, of course. Using their valleys as vineyards House Berrenhall and their vassals control the bulk of wine production. Further the cave system under their lands is a huge natural cellar, indeed many claim that the secret to the amazing quality of Berrenhall wines is natural, underground aging. True connoisseurs (who must also be very wealthy) can take a sip and identify not just the place where the grapes were grown, but which cave they were aged in. Most affirm that the full motto of the house is “From Darkness We Bring Greatness.”
Policies: Politically speaking, house Berrenhall is often seen more as an obstacle than a player. Traditionally slow to action, and reluctant to throw their weight around, other houses vie for Berrenhall support, but it is rarely given.
Historically there is a common ancestor to the Berrenhall and Hallbaron lines (hence the similarity in their names) But neither house goes out of their way to point out the connection.
Troops: The Vale is patrolled by the Ironheads, Often mocked for their large and bulky helmets, they are nevertheless respected by most who have seen them in action. It is also worth mentioning that one of Berrenhall’s Oathhouses, Manassar, controls a very large naval fleet, which the king has assigned to patrol the shores of Mandravo. The Manassar Fleet usually accepts sailors and warriors from all houses, along with peasants and foreigners. The only stipulation is whether they can pull their own weight.
Oathhouses: Toberrus, Oakenhaus, Manassar

Obleea
COALands: The Shores
Motto: Wake Not The Dragon
Head: Zelvara, Warden of the Northwest
History: Records of when house Obleea rose to prominence are difficult to come by, but for as long as anyone can remember there has been a strange and powerful family controlling Diamond Throne’s northern shore. Many assume that the members of house Obleea come from a different land, others believe they are of elven descent, others still believe them to be warlocks or in league with a dark power. Theories aside there is no denying the otherworldliness of the family.
Policies: House Obleea rules over its lands in the same way it influences the politics of Diamond Throne, through veiled intimidation and allusions to mystical powers. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who was carried off in the night after offending an Obleea. Their Motto “Wake Not the Dragon” is one of the few family mottos that doesn’t need completion. Most people understand what the phrase is getting at.
Regardless of the veracity of those claims, house Obleea has never shown any ill will toward the rest of Diamond Throne, in fact they have often used (or claim to have used) their abilities to help the other houses for the good of the country.
Troops: The Skullsages are roving judges that settle disputes in Obleea territories (and others as well, if requested). They are equal parts warriors, judges and mystics. The Skullguard are their armed bodyguards and enforcers, so called because of the skull emblems they wear on their shoulderpads.
Oathhouses: DuZahn, Calbosso, Madakan, Gierdin

Population

Diamond Throne and its Sundrie Lands boast a fairly large population, most of which is human. The humans of diamond throne are fairly diverse, but fair hair and light eyes are somewhat more common. Skin tones and facial features vary wildly, howerver.
A few dwarven families have taken root in the lands, but they are scarce. Halflings move through Diamond Throne regularly; the locals see them as a nuisance but they are generally tolerated because of their access to rare and exotic wares. Outsiders might say that Diamond Throne has a Half-Orc population that is surprisingly large, the surprise being how disenfranchised they are despite their numbers. Seen as brutish and dumb by the general populace, Half-Orcs are usually relegated to menial tasks. Full Orcs are outright ostracized and sometimes even attacked. Conversely elves are seen as strange and wondrous, indeed half-elves are somewhat common in Diamond Throne’s lands and often find themselves getting ahead simply by cultural inertia.

Magic and Religion

Out of all the countries and lands in the Central Continent Diamond Throne is probably the one most influenced by the Pentatheon. Most major cities will have either a joint temple or an individual temple for each god. Small towns will often have a small, but well-kept shrine to one of the five. There are also places where individual churches of the Dark Council operate openly, and due to monetary or political influence are tolerated by the local governments.
The populace tends to regard arcane magic as they would a weapon; glad when it is being used to benefit them, very scared of it when they don’t know the person wielding it. There are a few wizards, (usually hermits) around Diamond Throne and the King seems glad to employ eldritch might if he thinks it will benefit his people. Once there was a university with a strong magic component in Moonhold, but it was destroyed along with the rest of the city.
Spirit magic is thought of as eerie and savage. Unlike other places in the continent, a traveling shaman should not expect a hero’s welcome in Diamond Throne.

Current Events

These are interesting times to live in Diamond Throne. The Lunar Event left many of its cities entirely devastated. This, coupled with an ongoing mild and dry weather has damaged a lot of Diamond Throne’s agricultural presence. Roving lunar monsters are as much a problem here as they are over the rest of the continent and many of the major houses have had to devote more resources than they’d like to keeping the lunar menace under control.
Fortunately for them The Exilarchy of Cogs, a strange city of mechanical inhabitants reappeared some time ago and they have been very forthcoming with information on how to deal with lunar monsters. However they refuse to share their weapons with Diamond Throne, a stance that does not endear them to the locals.

Major Cities

Diamond Throne Proper: The seat of power for the whole region, it was spared a great deal of damage from the Lunar Event due to King Emnos employing several wizards and artificers to safeguard the city. Diamond Throne is the largest city in the country and houses representatives from every other major house along with most minor houses. Each deity in the Pentatheon is also represented with their own temple.
Moonhold (Destroyed): Once the crown jewel of Mining Country the City of Silver was destroyed during the Lunar Event. Worse still its ruins continue to be a haven for lunar monsters and the Hallbarons seem reluctant to spend any more resources eradicating them.
White River City: The ancestral home of house Du Lien, White River City is a bustling city. Riverboats, sea vessels and caravans regularly converge here to do business.
Outpost Balor- The Largest fort on the border with Mandravo, Outpost Balor serves as a center of operations for House Hallbaron’s ongoing efforts to keep Diamond Throne’s lands monster free.

I hope you enjoyed this look at Diamond Throne, remember there is now a Critical Hit World Building Archive where you can find all the articles related to in-game history and data.

Illustrations by KayCee Wilson.

The Author

Rodrigo

Rodrigo

Nobody really knows what Rodrigo's deal is. He is a perpetual enigma, an unknown quantity, the X factor. He's the new kid in school, the unlisted number, the person all your friends talk about, but you've never met. How can one person be so mysterious, you ask? THAT IS ALSO TOTALLY A MYSTERY! You can try to keep tabs on him on twitter by following @fearsomecritter, but that probably won't help.

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7 Comments

  1. November 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm — Reply

    So Good!
    I’m looking forward to seeing this play out.

  2. November 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm — Reply

    Oh dear, this is amazing!

  3. December 1, 2013 at 7:13 am — Reply

    This, this right here is why Rodrigo is a excellent world builder. Its this attention to detail that makes him a fearsome critter.

  4. Andante
    December 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    Love it! Is the motto completion thing historically inspired? Or something you thought up to reflect the Diamond Thrones area?

    • December 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm — Reply

      I’m pretty sure I came up with it.

      And thanks for all the praise, guys! I’m glad you’re digging the extra materials.

  5. Ian
    December 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    Impressive! I am currently struggling with detailing a campaign that is based in an area 100 miles square. Rodrigo puts me to shame. Just as an aside my current GM often says at the table that he is about to, ‘take a leaf out of the book of Ian’s hero’, by which he means ‘I am about to steal one of Rodrigo’s ideas’.

    • Paul Bennett
      December 9, 2013 at 8:03 am — Reply

      looking up old maps of England (as its well covered throughout history and has a lot online) can yield good, quick results for populating your world.

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