Lore from the May 2020 Developer Stream (Queen Amenthiel, Avalia, Noble Court Politics)

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Benonai

  • 2022-06-22 20:41

I wanted to document some of the lore that was given by Istuulamae during this stream that ties several known bits of information about the area together to give us a better understanding of the culture and heritage of the Thronefast region.  Hope you enjoy

Avalia began as a mining town shortly after the founding of Thronefast close ot 450 years ago, bringing materials from the mountainous region down to the port just outside the gates of Thronefast.  There it could ferry its goods out into the Bethrale Sea and around the world.  At that time, the growing relations between the elves and dwarves helped bolster the international trade, allowing for the goods to bring money from the outside instead of just being the quarry for the building of the new city.  Looking at the smooth and blonde stone for which Thronefast is recognized, is greatly to do with this quarry.  Although the mines may be empty today, it would not surprise me to find some resources still scattered in the area north of Avalia still today.

As the town grew over the next 300 years, so did its usefulness.  No longer were the mining camps producing raw material for bulk trade, but now feeding the bustling metropolis of Thronefast was becoming the demand.  Thus the supply of the region switched to agriculture as the gentle rolling hills at the base of the mountains and abundant waterways and lakes provided fertile ground.  At this point, Avendyr's Court, the court of the high nobles, set as Avalia's stewards the house of Sevil.  This noble house took advantage of their new found privilege and the citizens of the crown that lived there.  The details are murky at their specific crimes, but we can draw inferences from what we know.

During this time, around 700-750 IH, the leader of the house of Sevil, Wolsifen Sevil, procured land, some say through illicit means, away from the capital and built an "estate" off the main thoroughfare of Avendyr's Pass.  The term estate was necessary as the actual constructtion was more of a fortress.  It was built in a very defensible position atop high perches in the Roans but still close enough to the main artery of travel into Thronefast that it could monitor the traffic.  Wolsifen supplied the farmland around the fortress with indentured servants from the surrounding countryside. 

Let's go back briefly to what we just learned.  If Sevil used his position in Avalia to levy taxes on all the goods coming from the "Foreland," the regoin outside the gates of the city, the the people impoverished by his heavy hand would be those indentured to him.  There is a problem, however.  Since the main source of income had been ore, which is barged much easier than carted over land, then the path over land would be the smarter strategy for those businesses getting their crops and textiles in and out of Thronefast.  Sevil would need to own the water routes and land routes in order for his scheme to work.  Therefore, Sevil constructed his castle away from the city on the main trade route to levy taxes on imports and exports on land while he alrady controlled the ports outside the city.

We know that Sevil's house was eventually removed from the court and their noble title revoked.  At least one member of the house was put to death for their crimes against the kingdom.  At that point, Luckson Estate in Avendyr's Pass was evacuated and fell into obscurity until repopulated over a century later by the fleeing hero of Thronefast, E'mani Karos, who was charged with treason.  He renamed Luckson Estate to Black Rose Keep.

Avalia was also rid of the Sevils at that point, and as the town continued to service the city's food supply, it also became a quiet retirement village for those who left the service of the crown by choice or by necessity due to injury.  The bustling trade post it had been in times past gave way to quiet forests and darkened taverns.

Ten years ago, a tragedy in Azeris claimed the lives of the preceding king, a large swathe of Avendyr's Court, and countless military.  It even claimed the life of the successor's husband, Amenthiel of the House of Amensol.  The so-called Queen of the Burning Heart stepped in with the fervor and shrewdness of her ancestor, Avendyr, and made sweeping policy changes in the area.  Couple this with the elevation of lesser nobles to seats of power on Avendyr's Court at the death of so many on the high court, and the mood of the kingdom shifts from tragedy to colonialism all at once.

We know from other sources that the estate of Deviare was just recently added to the Thronefast kingdom.  It is only now considered Thronefast territory.  It is this push to colonize more outposts that has been the staple of Amenthiel's reign. Her change in much closer territories, such as Avalia, stems from using the land under control of the crown in order to suit the vision of the monarch.  Now that the expansion is underway, there needs to be a way to pay for it. In comes Avalia.

Amenthiel has given to the House of Ventori the task of changing Avalia from a sleepy retirement home into a bustling trade hub once again.  This new managment has brought unwelcomed change for the current inhabitants, even to the point of driving out the veterans with military force.  Heavy handed actions have been used to sway the vets into leaving; for instance, the burning down of the most popular tavern for the ex-military citizens.

On the other hand, ridding the Foreland of criminal activity has been Amenthiel's concern to drive growth.  This has brought about a wave of adventurers to the area, seeking fortune and bounties for the capture or death of the criminal organizations around, such as the Gadai, a local mafia using theft, extortion, and kidnapping as its income, and the Black Rose Keep forces, who are self-described freedom fighters against the crown.

These two consequences have combined to bring new problems to the Foreland.  The rapid growth and influx of adventurers have brought prices for goods and services to levels never seen, driving more of the population into poverty.  The driving out of the current citizens of Avalia have further alienated the veterans and driven them to sympathize with the criminal organizations in the area, some even joining the ranks.  An explosion of crime and poverty have erupted, mixed with more sanctioned skirmishes from mercenaries and the crown's money going to the visitors rather than its own citizens.

 

This is the extent of new information and how it has melded with the known information.  It's dizzying to think how much of Istuulamae's time is taken up developing the regional political intrigue and pushing it out for Keeper consumption.  It's also very elegant how this narrative drives many other aspects of the game like mob camp placement, harvesting sites for specific nodes, boss encounters, and simple quests like providing crafted items in Avalia or bounties on Gadai members or even expatriot bounties.  Then there is the glimmer of hope that there will be the other side of the story where you can build faction with one of these repressed groups and make a name for yourself standing against the monarchy.  One can only hope...

Benonai

 

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