Kingmaker in Eberron
The Five Nations of Khorvaire
The Five Nations
The human-dominated civilizations on the continent of Khorvaire trace a lineage to the ancient kingdom of Galifar. which was made up of five distinct regions or nations. These were Aundair, Breland, Cyre. Karrnath. and Thrane. Four of these survive to the present day as independent countries; Cyre was destroyed before the start of the campaign. The devastated territory it once occupied is now known as the Mournland. A common epithet among the people of Khorvaire is “By the Five Nations.” or some version thereof. The Five Nations refers to the ancient kingdom of Galifar and harkens back to a legendary time of peace and prosperity.
History of the Five Nations
The Five Nations were named for the eldest scions of Galifar the First. The new king granted his sons and daughters—his warlords—these portions of the realm to govern in recognition of the help they provided in establishing the kingdom. Galifar had a vision for a unified empire that stretched across Khorvaire, and he trained his family for the many wars of conquest that would be required to establish his dream. As each son and daughter came of age, they became Galifar’s warlords and generals, leading his armies to victory. Along the way, Galifar also trained them for the peace that would follow, honing five visionary leaders as he honed his weapons and troops for every battle. Galifar’s eldest daughter, Aundair, governed the northwestern portion of the kingdom and helped shape the region that would eventually bear her name. The southwestern portion of the kingdom became the domain of Brey, Galifar’s second daughter. During her reign, the region came to be called Breland. Cyre, youngest son of Galifar, governed the southeastern portion of the kingdom and gave his name to the region in 32 YK. Karrnath, the eastern region of the kingdom, was turned over to Galifar’s eldest scion, Karrn, to govern. This area was the original seat of Galifar’s power, and it was only natural that his oldest son would be granted control of the area. The southern portion of the kingdom became the domain of Thrane, Galifar’s middle son. As with the other nations, the region adopted the name of its governor-prince in 32 YK.
For almost a thousand years, the great kingdom of Galifar rose atop the pillars of the Five Nations to create an unprecedented age of peace and prosperity. For almost a thousand years, the scions of the kingdom governed the Five Nations and followed the rites of succession as put forth by Galifar the First during his forty-year reign. This honored tradition was abandoned a century ago, when the last king of Galifar, Jarot, died. For the first time in the history of the kingdom, the scions refused to honor the rites of succession. Each governor-prince eventually decided to claim the throne and the crown for himself or herself, and the kingdom broke apart in all-out war.
To understand the Five Nations as they exist today (in the year 1000 YK as reckoned by the people of Khorvaire), it helps to understand the history of this important region.
King Galifar I established a method of government and succession that lasted for almost a thousand years. It was a process with a specific structure that, in practice, rarely worked as presented in the royal decree. By decree, when the current monarch abdicated the throne (usually to retire) or died, his or her oldest living scion became king or queen.
As the new monarch accepted the crown and took charge of the kingdom from the seat of power in Thronehold, his or her five oldest sons and daughters ascended to the governorships of each of the Five Nations. Over the centuries, the reality did not always match the decree.
Not every monarch had a scion of ruling age when he or she died, for example, and
many did not have five children of their own to pass the administration of the Five Nations to. (The preferred age to take the crown was nineteen, though some were allowed to be crowned as young as sixteen, some were denied until they were twenty-one, and many were not afforded the option until they were much older, depending on how long their parent stayed on the throne.)
In general, the practice developed such that the crown heir’s children were sent to study at the feet of the current governor-princes, learning about the portion of the kingdom that he or she would one day administer. If a new monarch ascended the throne but was too young to govern, the prior governor-princes remained in place or regents were appointed until the scion could take over the role.
The Five Nations Today
The Last War officially ended four years ago with the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold. Four years ago, the nation of Cyre disappeared in a terrible and unexplained conflagration that turned the entire area into a devastated region now known as the Mournland. Today, in addition to the remaining four of the Five Nations, the old kingdom has been divided into fifteen distinct countries, twelve of which were recognized by the historic treaty. In the largest cities of Khorvaire, idealists rejoice that the war has finally ended.
Lightning rails and trade roads are once again open to those with the money and means to travel. Marketplaces again bustle with merchandise and goods from all corners of the continent. Only seven years ago, a noble would have paid handsomely to enjoy Brelish cheese and Aundairian wine in the same meal, but now such trade is once again common. At the same table where such a meal is shared, ideas and tales are exchanged, and many learn about nations and people they were once taught to fear.
For all the open smiles and friendly handshakes, old grudges do not die easily. The Five Nations have a century of dark memories of rivalries and atrocities to put behind them, and forgetting such things is never easy. For every border that has been moved, someone’s home or family has been displaced. For every battle lost or won, someone’s loved one has died. Friendships and alliances may still defy national boundaries, but there are those who plot retribution and renewed mayhem. Cities such as Sharn demonstrate an ability to live openly with representatives of all nations, races, and ideologies, but such progressive thinking doesn’t extend across the countryside.
Can you help extend this period of peace and hold off the flames of the next war?