Population: 3,740,840 (Humans 78%, Bugbear 7%, Gnoll 6%, Andra 4%)
Religions: The Three, Nine Daughters, Bugbear Pantheon, Gnoll Pantheon, Shebolleth
Imports: Weapons, grains, livestock, soldiers
Exports: stone, copper,
Alignment: CE, CN, NE, LE
Life and Society
Iontia (ee-OWN-she-ah) is a theocratic dictatorship of worldwide infamy. Led by four prelates who serve without question or reservation at the feet of their Dread Master, the nation carries a population that borders on full slavery, watched by an intricate network of spies and agents that work tirelessly to maintain the oppressive regime and squeeze out any and all opposition.
They are openly belligerent to most of the bordering nations, with the Bephalon Union and Breistea currently bearing the brunt of their militant ambitions. Harguth and Ocrus, bordering to the west, are wary, even as hostilities there have yet to return, Iontia having felt the blows from the violent inhabitants of both of those countries and weathered considerable losses to them in battle. Hyarjecht to the north controls the flow of the Bendwellen River and thereby holds a measure of power over Iontia. To the south, the cold wastelands of the Ulkechar have yet to entice the Prelates and their troops to invade.
Most of the country is desert and wasteland, with the bulk of the population centered at oases along trade routes and roads. The capital city of Fusillauch is at the middle of the largest patch of arable land left, carved from a hill that rises above the plain and dominating the view for miles around. Quarries dot the countryside, with slave-cut marble, granite, and alabaster being exported across the world.
Arcane magic is expressly forbidden in Iontia, the slightest cantrip or potion carrying a capital judgement. The worship of The Three is mandatory throughout the lands, and it is this pyramid upon which the power structure is based. Other pantheons are knelt to but different peoples, both in the open and secretly, and are generally followed alongside The Three from day to day.
Iontia has little use for racial purity, breeding their inhabitants with humanoids in programs designed for population explosion when summary executions and wars have culled their numbers too far. Gnoll and bugbear tribes and nations stand side by side with Iontians in these wars and actions, and are sent abroad often as agents and ambassadors.
Major Geological Features
Dominating the northwest plains of Iontia, this expansive wasteland once held a rich forest that surrounded the The Dendever Valley and used the rivers seasonal crest to nourish its lands. Lifetimes of logging and clearcutting for fuel and materials has left this area an ochre-hued ruin, the soil a chalky film of russet unfit for farming. Dust storms and flash floods are common here. Most of the population outside of the oasis live underground, the tunnels and chambers of the underworld serving well the growing populations of humanoids that live beneath the wastes.
Marching along the northwest banks of the Dendever River Valley, the Deepstone Forest is dominated by petrified wood, enormous stands of trees calcified by the pollution in the Dendever River. The neighboring nation of Harguth has done all it can to stop the spread of the corruption into their portions of forest, and the damage appears to have been halted and even reversed in some spots. Towering Oak, pine, elm, aspen, and blue top trees mingle among the pearlescent blonde shine of the petrified trees. Shamans of the area enter Iontia secretly to try and heal the river flow after it enters the valley. The forest is known as a haunt for aberrations and magical beasts, with groups of tasloi, ettercaps, and andra making the most of the forests camouflage to keep their societies vibrant and capable of fending off the Iontia hegemony.
The main valley as carved by the Dendever (called the River of Ash by some), wide and empty hills rise up from the bottom of the valley on either side, leagues of land that slowly rolls down to the banks of the river. Wild horses, antelope, and rothe graze here, moving freely back and forth across the boarders into Harguth and Hyarjecht. Seasonal floods leave a calcified crunch to the grasses and soils twice a year, and it’s not until the rains have washed away the dust that the animals return to crop the thick bladed grasses. Settlements are few, with the recent hostilities between Iontia and Harguth (and the damage Harguth delivered) giving few reason to stay.
Formiataut “The Ant Hill”
Two hundred feet high and slender as a pine, the fossilized cone geyser Fromiataut, called the Ant Hill by most, belches steaming, lava-heated water into the air once every hour. Prayer carvings of every kind decorate the sides of the cone, some dozens of feet in the air. A shanty town has grown near the base of the geyser, and recently a cave complex of incredible size and scope was uncovered leading under Foriataut, suggesting the geyser was once used as a source of power for a city or civilization long forgotten.
River of Ash (Dendever River)
The Dendever River flows into Iontia through Hyarjecht, crossing the border a clean, blue tributary and eventually being heavily polluted before reaching the Lake of the Calm and The Wild to the south. Mills crowd the shores as the river tumbles through the Dendever Valley, the flow and gravity combining to move mill wheels driving all sorts of industry, from sawmills and grain mills to steel-shaping trip hammers and foundry bellows. Riverboat yards are here as well, with the Iontians crafting barges and destroyers to protect their interests from invaders and saboteurs. Waste from the mills and the towns surrounding them usually ends up in the river, with industrial runoff turning the river a milky white and thickening it with grit.
Sunburned and salted with a rusted powder residue, the Sunfire Hedes is the vast swath of wastelands along Iontia’s borders with Breistea and Ulkechar. A crimson beach without a shore, the stifling air and wind-whipped dust makes travel treacherous. Nights are frigid as the day’s heat evacuates quickly into a sky often devoid of clouds. Storms and rain avoid this area almost year-round, instead sweeping along the coast to the south and reaching back inland hundreds of leagues to the east. Law is nearly unknown in the wastes of the Sunfire Hedes, with underground towns and cities heavily populated with humanoids encouraged in their breeding and violence by the Prelates of Iontia. Crossing the unmarked areas is most often lethal, although shattered statuary of immense size has piqued the curiosity of many who look to the desert as a source of adventure.
The highest lands in Iontia cover thousands of square miles between Nichal, Yarmol, and Fusillarch. Hills and valleys go on as far as the eye can see, some tree covered, some bare, but all flattened on their top as though pressed down by hands from above. Winds are fierce at the summits, and settlements keep to the valleys and travel stays to the passes more often than not. Wolves and bears are often seen chasing antelope and deer throughout the area, and cold rivers and streams bubble up from the ground and disappear just as quickly, with unseen aquifers feeding the thousands of creeks and waterways.
Earthsister Usabis (31,000 84% yeralt minotaur, 16% mustadi)
Isolated from other mustadi warrens during the rise of the Prelates of Iontia, Usabis held out for a considerable time against the forces of the Dread Lord. The numbers were worn down however, and sufficient losses forced a full retreat by the mustadi into the bowels of the earth. Having considered the warren decimated and no longer a threat, the prelates turned their attention elsewhere, leaving Earthsister Usabis to its fate. That fate has not been as final as the Prelates would prefer, for the mustadi have found strong allies below ground. Still occupying the lower levels of their warren and playing the role of the exterminated with considerable stealth and coordination, the mustadi have found a strong partnership with under-dwelling minotaurs of the yeralt nation Shadowall, that has provided defense and succor to the mustadi and allowed for communication with other warrens. While not in open war with Iontia, Shadowall is opposed to the nation’s position as conquerors, and will defend their home as well as Earthsister Usabis and the 26,000 yeralt that live there.
Fusillarch (City 60,540)
The capital of Iontia occupies a rise in the center of the largest oasis left in the country. Crowded and noisy, the walled city envelopes the hills, with the vast and looming towers of the Dread Fastness rising above all other buildings. Slaves and serfs till the countryside, filling the carts that stream back and forth to and from the other cities with vegetables, grains, and cages of livestock. Blockhouses crowd the roads and countryside, squat structures for housing and training troops that will become the front line for the expansionist aims of the Prelates and their Dread Lord. Within the city proper, temples to The Three are ubiquitous, crowded most days with citizens struggling to maintain the mandatory worship under the eyes of the Faith Inquisitas, bronze-garbed citizen soldiers and zealots that act as city-guard and church enforcers. The average citizen finds their day filled with hard work and struggle for survival, with many juggling three or four endeavors to fill their bellies and earn the favor of their masters.
Jurda (Metropolis 138,900)
Jurda is the largest and most populated city in Iontia. It fills a shallow valley in the northern area of the country, marching up along one side of the depression until it looks out on the expanse of the Brownpowder Hedes. Jurda is surrounded by dozens of quarries, with dimension stones and gravel beign torn from the ground and used in construction or shipped off to other nations. Tens of thousands of workers live in virtual slavery, working for their meager meals and water and crowded into large tenements in the city. Each tenement is almost a town or village by itself, with grey and black markets working alongside approved commerce, leadership chosen from within the ranks, and even subsets of their own laws. Rebellion is generally met with pitiless retribution, with entire buildings leveled with everyone inside. Jurda is infamous for holding the manse of the Hand of the Obliterator Bogomesh Leif Anjar, a brooding square tower crowded with vultures and carrion crows.
Kima (City 17,400)
This city near the Bephalon Union has seen growth in the past few years as troops and slaves have begun relocation toward what looks like the Dread Lord’s next campaign. With the quarrelsome states of the Union smarting from losses in their war of aggression against Krajnarod, the Dread Lord and his faithful are poised to use the Union’s recent setbacks as incentive to attack. Kima rings loud with smiths and craftsman creating weapons, siege engines, and other articles of war. A growing slave population provides for the skilled trades and soldiers. Security is tight and brutal, just like the living conditions of all but the most favored of residents. Tantarra Lief Pamar has begun spending a lot of time in the area, and there are rumors that a culling may happen if the needs of material and manpower for invasion of the Bephalon Union are not met.
The Monokahn, caves and chamber complexes stretching thousands of feet under the surface of the Brownpowder Hedes, boasts a population of close to thirty thousand humanoids, with gnoll, goblin and bugbears intermingling with some of the most vile and malicious humans one can find. Survival of the fittest is the only law in this untamed city, and cunning and intelligence often win out against brawn and brute force. There is a rigid pecking order of leadership, changed only through assassination and coup. Trade conditions are harsh here, and most inhabitants are just as likely to end up in someone’s stew pot as they are to end up as allies.
This abandoned mustadi warren lies somewhere under the central plains of Iontia, lost to visibility by obliteration from the Iontian ascendancy in the area. This warren once thrived and flourished alongside a heavily forest and amid lush plains, but the Prelates of Iontia conquered the lands, drove out the mustadi, and mismanaged the land into a waste. Now, the warren lies hidden and dormant, with younger mustadi often hunting for its location to acquire its riches and history.
Sili (City 51,740)
This large city in proximity to the Lake of the Calm and the Wild serves as one of two headquarters for the Iontian armies in the south. Hostilities with Ocrus have not gone as the Prelates would have liked, and recent events have suggested that Ocrus may even be preparing to stage some retaliatory strikes. The city once stood on the shores of the lake to the west, but was actually leveled and rebuilt away from the water in an attempt to blunt the power of the Ocrussian fleet on that lake. Millet and wheat are planted and harvested heavily to the east, and the population writhes with rebellious thoughts, with a strong neighbor to the south, two hundred miles of border, and conditions of violence inherent to the area that push the people to push back just as hard.
This wide avenue, one of the many maintained roads in Iontia, lies between Jurda and Fusillarch, connecting the largest Iontian city with the current capital. The road is always strewn with bodies, with the flesh of executed criminals, apostates, and those who have simply worn out their welcome feeding the stunted and twisted cacti and succulents that fill the ditches to either side. Even the bones are eventually devoured by the plants. Part of this road also famously travels through a half-mile long, two hundred foot tall skeleton of a reptilian worm, the fossilized structure remaining from an ancient time of giant creatures of nightmarish size and reputation.
This massive crater is the site of a meteor strike tens of thousands of years ago, the impact of which blasted a quarter of a mile into the ground. The raised cliffs of the crater are twelve miles across and dotted with caves and canyons. Several bugbear tribes have spread out through the region, populating the area with fresh troops for the Prelates.